New Japan Cup First Round Results, March 3rd:
Toru Yano defeated Yujiro Takahashi w/Cody Hall
This was the best match Yujiro Takahashi has ever had. Mainly because it lasted less than two minutes and never got into the ring. Yujiro attacked Yano on the outside, pranced around while the referee was counting until Yank shoved him off the apron and made it back inside, winning the match without one offensive move.
Michael Elgin defeated Hroyoshi Tenzan
This was a test to see if Elgin could have a great match with someone like Tenzan, who is limited at times. Well he passed the test because this was a great match. Elgin is so over its ridiculous. He had the crowd going nuts for everything he did even against a veteran like Tenzan. There was lots of heavy blows and Elgin was able to power up Tenzan more than I expected. There was one great sequence where they exchanged strikes with neither guy going down until Elgin hit a stiff lariat. Tenzan went for the Anaconda Vise but Elgin made it to the ropes. Elgin took Tenzan out of the corner for a buckle bomb and followed it up with an Elgin Bomb, which was extremely impressive, to get the win and advance.
Tama Tonga defeated Togi Makabe
Tama Tonga scored the biggest win of his career here. The push that he has been after for so long is finally happening. He got the win over an established NJPW veteran and one of the guys he will be challenging for the tag titles soon. Tonga had a good showing here despite it not being the greatest match. He jumped Makabe before the bell with a dropkick and controlled a lot of the match. Makabe hit all his usual spots including a German suplex that landed Tonga high on his neck. Makabe missed the King King Kneedrop. Tonga won after hitting a Gun Stun in tribute to Karl Anderson and the double arm DDT. The New Japan Cup usually has some surprise results to elevate people. This was one of them.
Satoshi Kojima defeated Tomoaki Honma
This was great! Honma & Kojima had the crowd going nuts by the end of this. This was a classic Honma G1 performance. He missed lots of Kokeshi’s, until he finally rallied back as the crowd got behind him more with every move. Kojima DDT’d him on the apron and they had a rapid fire exchange of forearms on the floor before making it back in at 19. Honma blocked a lariat with a Kokeshi, which was a great spot. Honma hit a series of Kokeshi’s and missed the big one off the top. Just as you thought Kojima was going to finish it, Honma hit a Brainbuster. Kojima finally won with a lariat. Kojima still deserves another run at the top. He’s too good.
Kazuchika Okada & Kazushi Sakuraba defeated KUSHIDA & Katsuyori Shibata
Okada & Shibata had an incredible exchange to kick this off. Now that Shibata has signed signed with NJPW I really hope it means that Shibata will be getting a mega push. Okada vs Shibata at Wrestle Kingdom 11 sounds good to me. KUSHIDA and Sakuraba had a great exchange on the mat and Sakuraba & Shibata were able to renew their rivalry from last summer briefly. The finish of this saw Okada vs KUSHIDA, which saw some amazing wresting. KUSHIDA countered a Rainmaker into a Rainmaker Hoverboard Stretch, which looked awesome. Okada pinned KUSHIDA when he connected with the Rainmaker.
After the match Okada introduced Will Ospreay as the newest member of CHAOS. Ospreay said via a video that he will take the IWGP Jr title from KUSHIDA, become the first ever British champion and defend it all over the world. If you haven’t seen Ospreay before, trust me when I tell you, you’re in for a major treat.
Hirooki Goto defeated Yuji Nagata
This was a good match playing off the story of Goto hitting a slump. Nagata controlled the majority of this match with strikes and submissions to the point where he was almost toying with Goto. Every time Goto would try and fire back, Nagata would cut him off again. Nagata locked him in the Nagata Lock, but he escaped. Goto got in very little offence. He almost stole it when he countered a Back Drop Driver into a pin and a crucifix style pin. Goto caught Nagata with a cradle to steal the win, but it was a less than impressive victory for Goto, where he only just scraped by.
Tetsuya Naito defeated YOSHI-HASHI
This was fantastic and maybe the best match YOSHI had ever had. It’s the best I can ever remember him having. This was one hell of a performance from him. YOSHI took Naito to the limit and looked like he might even sneak out the win, even though everyone knew it was highly unlikely. Naito heeled it up and YOSHI played the underdog. When they got going this was really fast paced and exciting. YOSHI pulled out lots of moves you don’t normally see from him, such as a nice shoulder breaker, followed by a powerbomb that he got a great near fall from. YOSHI locked on a submission that can only be described as an upside down Cattle Mutilation, and it felt like an eternity before Naito was able to escape. They exchanged slaps, with Naito coming out on top. Naito won when he hit Destino. This is worth checking out.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated EVIL
This match was awesome and easily the best EVIL has looked since returning to NJPW. Ishii was the perfect opponent to bring out the physicality of EVIL. EVIL took control early when he wrapped a chair around the head of Ishii and drove him into the ring post. EVIL hit lots of strikes, a nice clothesline and dropped Ishii on his neck with a fishermans buster. Ishii fought back, but EVIL still had control. EVIL dropped Ishii on his head with a gnarly looking half and half suplex. Ishii hit a lariat right in the face of EVIL and got some near falls with a powerbomb and suplexes. Both guys hit headbutts and Ishii caught EVIL with his own STO and a dragon suplex. The finishing stretch of this was excellent and the typical thing you get from an Ishii match. Ishii won after a sliding lariat and a Brainbuster. This was the match of the show.
Bad Luck Fale defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was a great main event. Tanahashi is such an incredible big match performer. Fale took control of this when he went after the back of Tanahashi on the outside. Fale kept control until Tanahashi was able to bodyslam Fale, which was such a small thing that was built to so well that the crowd went crazy for it. Tanahashi hit a High Fly Flow to the floor, but was unable to put Fale in the Texas Cloverleaf of German suplex him. He was able to get the German later in the match to another big pop. Tanahashi countered the Bad Luck Fall into a Slingblade, but missed the High Fly Flow. Fale won after the Grenade and Bad Luck Fall. Fale floats around NJPW quietly, but is always able to cause believable upsets in tournaments like this.
This was a really fun show. Kojima vs Honma and the last three matches are all worth checking out, with EVIL vs Ishii being the match of the show.
The Quarter Finals take place tomorrow morning at Korakuen Hall live on NJPW World at 18.30 JST (4.30AM EST/9.30AM UK)
Michael Elgin vs Bad Luck Fale
Tama Tonga vs Hirooki Goto
Satoshi Kojima vs Toru Yano
Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito