New Japan Cup, Semi-Finals, March 19:
Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Tomoyuki Oka defeated Katsuya Kitamura, Hirai Kawato & David Finlay
Kitamura is a big body builder that has his first ever match a few days ago. He and Oka started the match slugging it out. Already, you can see that Kitamura has all the tools to be a huge star. He has a great look, hits really hard and comes off like a badass. Team Juice worked over Kawato, who hit a great dropkick on Oka to get back into it. The finish saw a flurry from Juice until he ended up in a Kitamura crab. Juice couldn’t take him off his feet with a stiff lariat. It took a second to knock him down. Juice got the win with the Pulp Friction on Kitamura.
Jado & Gedo defeated TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado
This was a nothing match. It was okay when Desperado & Gedo were in the ring, other than that it wasn’t great. Jado pinned TAKA with a hangmans DDT.
Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Tiger Mask IV, Jushin Thunder Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyshi Tenzan
This started with a big brawl and took a while to settle into a tag match. Liger escaped the Suzuki-Gun assault and tagged in Kojima, which led to seem really intense striking between them. It was cool seeing Suzuki in the ring with Tenzan & Kojima. Tiger hit a diving head butt on Suzuki for a near fall before Suzuki pinned him after a Gotch Style Piledriver.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin & KUSHIDA defeated BUSHI, SANADA, Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi
This was really good. Tanahashi & Naito started the match to a big pop. Tanahashi had to fight back into the match with a double dragon screw on Hiromu & SANADA. We then saw Elgin & SANADA square off which was a great clash of power against agility. KUSHIDA & Hiromu picked up the pace as they tried to out quick each other. The finish saw Taguchi pin BUSHI with a cradle.
Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Kenny Omega, Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga
This was what you’d expect. It was just a tag match with some decent action. Tonga had some new gear, which looked really good. Omega & Okada got to square off a couple of times. YOSHI looked good. He is one of the most under appreciated wrestlers in the world. The finish saw Okada pin Yujiro after a Rainmaker.
New Japan Cup Semi Final
Bad Luck Fale defeated EVIL
This was really good. Fale started the match by bringing EVIL into the crowd and trying to get him counted out. EVIL got back into the match and worked on chopping the big man down. Fale launched himself with a spear. EVIL delivered some lariats, but the ref was pulled out by Tonga, who hit EVIL with a neckbreaker. BUSHI made the save. This led to a good run of counters as Fale & EVIL escaped each other’s big moves before Fale floored him with a lariat. He then hit The Grenade and the Bad Luck Fall to advance to the tournament final. Fale having a good run in the NJ Cup has become something of a tradition, however, a final match would have done a lot for EVIL.
New Japan Cup Semi Final
Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tomohiro Ishii
This was an all out war, and right up there with any of the classics these men have had in the past. It was non-stop hard hitting, strong style action. There was a forearm battle that lasted for several minutes until Shibata eventually fell down. The blasted each other will all sorts of kicks, elbows, forearms and chops. They both hit German suplexes. Ishii took to chopping Shibata in the throat at one stage. Ishii had the advantage for a time, but Shibata would kick out of suplexes, lariats and powerbombs. There were lots of really well done one count kicks outs, that just added to the excitement and intensity of the match. Ishii pulled out a rolling armbar, as he targeted the taped up shoulder of Shibata. The finish saw both guys popping up from big moves before Shibata put Ishii down with a sleeper, hit a PK, then went back to the sleeper and put Ishii out. Needless to say, go and watch this match.
After the match Shibata sat cross legged over a fallen Ishii, as Ishii tried to claw his way back to his feet as he was attended to by the young lions. Shibata secures his place in tomorrow’s New Japan Cup Final against Bad Luck Fale. That show will have English commentary from Kevin Kelly & Don Callis.