Welcome back to Sports Obsessive’s ongoing coverage of NJPW’s famous New Japan Cup! We’ve quickly reached the 4th day of the tournament, and with it comes the final matches of the Cup’s first round. There’s still some killer talent left in the brackets, which could have a real impact on the next round of the competition. On that note, let’s get to the ring!
Previous New Japan Cup 2020 Coverage:
YOH vs. BUSHI
This was a solid little opening match and, surprisingly, was not the fast paced, high flying battle I was expecting but was more deliberately paced, building up to a faster contest of one upmanship.
The advantage was pretty even between the two, although BUSHI had two moments that gave him that little extra shine: a vicious-looking neckbreaker over the guard rail and a jumping DDT over the ropes, planting YOH’s head into the apron.
Finally, the MX from the top sealed the deal.
Winner – BUSHI
Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. YOSHI-HASHI
This was a hard-hitting encounter, and yet it was strangely heatless especially when you compare it to the Suzuki-Nagata war earlier in the tournament.
It also didn’t help that the match went too long, with some false finishes that would have been quite satisfying if they’d been played out as the conclusion. It must be said that the two men weren’t doing enough to justify the length of the match.
Still, what we got was certainly watchable, and YOSHI-HASHI in particular looked good. He eventually took the submission win by utilising Karma.
Winner – YOSHI-HASHI
Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Goto is always watchable, and this match did not prove to be the exception to that rule. Every move that Goto executed here looked so damn crisp and on-point.
I’ve never been the biggest Takahashi fan but he looked decent enough here. Of course, with Jado at ringside, there was some Bullet Club shenanigans, with Goto being whipped into the guard rail by Jado while the ref was distracted, and the obligatory cane shot leaving Goto writhing in pain.
A second cane shot attempt by Takahashi missed, however, and a GTW and GTR later, Goto was victorious.
Winner – Hirooki Goto
Satoshi Kojima vs. EVIL
This was the match of the night and a solid hoss fight to boot, with both EVIL and Kojima stiffing each other up with hard strikes and lariats throughout.
EVIL dominated the early going, making use of a chair by wedging it onto Kojima’s arm and hurling it at the ring post. Although EVIL proceeded to work on the arm, as things escalated and the pace got quicker, the arm was quickly left behind as an exciting succession of counters, strikes and power moves between the two saw each man trying to seal the deal.
Eventually it was EVIL who would do so, smashing Kojima with Everything is EVIL for the decisive 1-2-3.
Winner – EVIL
The last night of the first round was perhaps not as compelling as previous nights of the Cup, with matches going a little longer than perhaps was necessary. Saying that, EVIL and Kojima had a really good hard-hitting encounter, and YOH and BUSHI certainly entertained. Goto looked as crisp as ever, and I’d argue the most interesting participants won on the night.
Now, onwards to the Second Round. As always, myself, Conor and Conrad have you covered, right here at Sports Obsessive!