We’re back for more exciting coverage of the New Japan Cup! Tonight features the upper right bracket which is loaded with talent. Honestly, I sniped this bracket from my fellow writers to cover more Kota Ibushi matches. You can read about my appreciation for the Golden Star here. Lets do it to it!
Previous New Japan Cup 2020 coverage:
Sanada vs Ryusuke Taguchi
This match was a slow plotting affair compared to the other matches on the card. One thing is for sure in wrestling, I will never get tired of the Ankle Lock. Taguchi finds clever ways to reverse and apply the ankle lock. My favorite spot of the match was Sanada swinging Taguchi while applying the Dragon Sleeper.
The match ends with multiple pinning combination spots. Sanada ends up getting the best of Taguchi in that exchange and comes away with the victory.
Nothing special here. Sanada, in his prime, was clearly getting the victory over the veteran.
Winner – Sanada
Sho vs Shingo Takagi
The pace and intensity picked up greatly here. Sho and Takagi went right after each with devastating kicks and clotheslines. Spot of the match definitely goes to Sho’s German Suplex. Not just any German Suplex. Sho picks up Takagi from a laying face down position. Takagi even extends his body in a Superman like pose briefly to accentuate the strength of Sho.
Sho hits the Shock Arrow, a cross armed package Piledriver, for the win. This was the match of the night without a doubt. Shows you don’t need to a ton of high spots for a great match. Bring the intensity and sell properly. This elevates the violence even more.
Winner – Sho
Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
As Kota Ibushi fan, this match was a let down. These two guys have had great battles in the past, but this one just didn’t do it for me. Zack applies multiple holds throughout the match in attempt to wear down the Golden Star.
Kota Ibushi ends up hitting the Kamigoye for the victory. I do appreciate finishing moves actually finishing a match. Not a bad match, but it was disappointing knowing the talent in the ring.
Winner – Kota Ibushi
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Taichi
Taichi took advantage of Tanahashi posing on the turnbuckle by delivering a Powerbomb before the match started. Red Shoes rang the bell after Tanahashi was rolled back into the ring. Taichi tried to cover but Red Shoes was having none of it. This match featured a lot of power moves followed by resting.
After delivering a super kick to Tanahashi, Taichi hits the Black Mephisto for the upset victory over the Ace. Post match Tanahashi’s tag team champion partner, Kota Ibushi, attempts to make the save. Tanahasi and Ibushi end up laid out by Taichi and co. This sets up Ibushi vs Taichi instead of tag team partners facing off.
I would categorize this as a decent Tanahashi match. He’s not my favorite in NJPW, but tends to deliver solid outings every time.
Winner – Taichi
Another fine night of NJPW wrestling action. Surprisingly, I enjoyed night 1 more than this card. MVP and match of night easily go to Sho and Takagi. One thing this night did better was setting up the next round. Kota Ibushi excels when facing a pure heel like Taichi. I also expect great things from Sho vs Sanada.
With Covid-19 halting sports here in the United States, NJPW has been a great distraction. I can’t wait to cover the next round on 7/1! Also, stay tuned as fellow Sports Obsessive writers, Chris and Conrad, cover the rest of the action.