New Japan Cup 2016 Finals, March 12th:
Jay White defeated David Finlay
With White in the midst of a long winning streak over Finlay, Finlay played the underdog here and the crowd were pulling for him to get the win. This was the usually crisp contest between these two. It turned nasty as they exchanged stiff forearms and elbows. Finlay got in some nice near falls after a Finlay Roll and Small Package. White again got the win with a Boston Crab which he turned into a Liontamer.
Juice Robinson & Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Captain New Japan & Tiger Mask IV
Robinson picked up his first win in NJPW. This was your average NJPW tag, but fun nonetheless. Tiger & Liger had a great fast paced battle in the middle of this. Those two never cease to amaze with what they can do at their age. Captain got in some near falls on Juice. Juice hit a big diving headbutt, a heel kick and won via submission with a Cobra Clutch on Captain. NJPW must really see something in Juice after giving him the win here, even though everyone beats Captain New Japan. Steve Anthony will be challenging Tiger Mask for the NWA Jr title on March 19th.
EVIL & BUSHI defeated Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
This was a dominant performance from Los Ingobernables. Right away they singled out YOSHI and EVIL nailed him with his chair attack. Ishii eventually fought back into it and had a great battle with EVIL as they picked up where they left off in their NJ Cup first round match with a stiff exchange. The team work of LI was too much for CHAOS. The ref was distracted by EVIL. BUSHI misted Ishii and took out YOSHI with a dive, which allowed EVIL to hit a lariat and STO to pin the ROH TV champion. EVIL will now challenge Ishii for the TV title on March 20th. This was a short, but very fun match. It’s good to see EVIL get a singles opportunity against Ishii as the two have great chemistry together.
New Japan Cup Semi-Final
Tetsuya Naito defeated Toru Yano
This was brilliantly booked. Yano sprinted to the ring and rolled up Naito for the sort of near fall only Yano can get. Every single pin attempt from Yano can believably end a match and that’s what makes him great as the upset King. He tossed Naito into the exposed buckle and rolled him up for another great near fall and got another after a hair pull. Naito then distracted the ref, hit a low blow and pinned Yano with a jackknife pin to advance to the final. This was exactly what it needed to be.
New Japan Cup Semi-Final
Hirooki Goto defeated Michael Elgin
This was booked similarly to Goto’s other tournament matches as it continued the trend of Goto just about scraping by. Elgin dominated the most of this and unloaded right from the beginning with all his power moves. The delayed suplex, multiple German suplexes, a tiger suplex and heavy strikes. Goto was unable to get any sustained attack. There was a nice sequence of reversals which ended in Goto hitting the Ushigoroshi. Elgin hit a massive Falcon Arrow from the top for a big near fall. Goto battled out of the Elgin Bomb to hit a headbutt and get the win with a pinning combination. This was a really good match and did a good job of continuing Goto’s story, even though many expected Elgin to advance to the final.
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Ryusuke Taguchi & Katsuyori Shibata
This was great. Right from the bell Kojima & Shibata tore into each other with a flurry of forearms. Taguchi was worked over by TenKoji for a time, while Shibata was chomping at the bit on the apron. When he did he did his best to murder Tenzan. Shibata & Kojima then went at it again with Shibata shrugging off the Kojima chops in the corner and hitting his flurry of corner forearms. Shibata was taken out with a TenKoji Cutter. Taguchi mounted an ass attack to get back into it, but he was flattened by Kojima lariat. After the match Kojima tried to speak, but was met with a Shibata boot to the face. Kojima then laid out Shibata with a lariat and challenged him for the NEVER title. That match will be spectacular when it presumably happens at Invasion Attack. If you have never seen their match from the 2014 G1, go and watch it on NJPW World.
Kazuchika Okada & Kazushi Sakuraba defeated Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
There was nothing much to note here, but it was a fine back and forth match and fun for what it was. Okada & Sakuraba teamed well and hit a double suplex at one stage. Nagata & Sakuraba know each other well and had some good exchanges. Nagata dropped Sakuraba on his head with an exploder suplex. Okada did his best to make Nakanishi look good down the finishing stretch, but he can’t work miracles. Sakuraba took out Nagata with a dropkick and plancha to the floor allowing Okada to finish Nakanishi with the Rainmaker.
Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale defeated Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was a very good six man tag, with Tama Tonga again being the focus as Bullet Club begin to rebuild. BC singled out Honma until Makabe got the tag. Tanahashi had an exchange with Fale as he looked for revenge after Fale knocked him out of the NJ Cup. Tanahashi managed to slam Fale. There was lots of action here towards the end with bodies flying everywhere. Tanahahsi took out Yujiro & Fale with a High Fly Flow to the floor. In the ring Honma got some close near falls on Tonga after some Kokeshi’s. He went for one off the top, but Tonga caught him with a Gun Stun and hit the double arm DDT to get the win. After the match he hit another on Makabe , while Fale hit the Grenade on Tanahashi. Tonga then revealed that he would be challenging for the IWGP tag titles at Invasion Attack and his partner would be his brother Camacho/Micah. He then said it is a new era for Bullet Club. It looks more and more
like BC has been split in two with Omega heading The Elite with The Young Bucks, while Tama Tonga heads a new badass version of Bullet Club.
New Japan Cup Final
Tetsuya Naito defeated Hirooki Goto
This was a superb main event that told an amazing story. The little things Naito & Goto did here were so great. This has been the most interesting Goto has been in years and his character work here was fantastic. The trend continued of Goto being unable to mount an attack as Naito controlled the first portion of the match. Goto eventually got back into it with a big superplex and fought hard knowing that this was the big win he needed to get out of his slump. Goto hit two Ushigoroshi’s and even one from the top rope, but it didn’t get the job done. Goto hit the Shoten Kai, but Naito kicked out of Goto’s biggest weapon. Goto fought off a Los Ingobernables attack and had a second Shoten Kai attempt countered into Destino. The fought back to their feet with Naito smirking, knowing that Goto just couldn’t beat him. Naito then hit a dragon suplex and Destino again to win the 2016 New Japan Cup.
After the match Naito said he would challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight championship and continued to attack Goto until Okada made the save. Goto then finally accepted the handshake of Okada, so it looks like Goto has joined CHAOS.
Naito said he wouldn’t challenge for the title in April, but Okada taunted him until Naito accepted Okada’s challenge to have the match at Invasion Attack.
There is an incredible freshness to NJPW right now whether it be Tama Tonga heading Bullet Club, the push of Shibata, Kojima & Nagata having something to do, all the possibilities for Goto going forward or the ascension of Naito to the top. NJPW have been forced to rebuild, but with the depth of their roster they have lots of exciting things happening over the next few months.
This show is available now at NJPWWorld.com.