Welcome back to Sports Obsessive’s coverage of the 2020 New Japan Cup! The sweet 16 match ups continue this week with a few intriguing pairings. NJPW never seems to disappoint and this round is no exception. Who will advance in attempt to dethrone, the double champion, Tetsuya Naito at Dominion?
If you’ve missed any part of our coverage, feel free to check them out below:
Bushi vs Yoshi Hashi
Didn’t write down many notes for this match. Nothing wrong with this match, but definitely the weakest on the card.
Winner – Yoshi Hashi
Sho vs Sanada
This was my most anticipated match and it sure did deliver. Both guys sell their respective injuries beautifully while every strike looks as brutal as the next. Sho goes for the Shock Arrow, but Sanada keeps managing to trap Sho into the Dragon Sleeper.
Sanada applies another Dragon Sleeper on Sho, but finally locks his legs around Sho’s waste while wrenching the neck backwards. With nowhere to go, Sho taps. Every moment of the match felt believable and managed to get both guys over.
Winner – Sanada
Kota Ibushi vs Taichi
Ibushi out with Tanahashi while Zack Sabre Jr. joins Taichi at ringside. Favorite spot of the night goes to Taichi shaking the ref’s hand before the match. Great smug heel tactic to suck up to the ref right before you’re about to cheat. Taichi wastes no time sending Ibushi to outside. Eventually Tanahashi disposes of Sabre Jr after a ref bump.
With no ref, Taichi hits Ibushi with a metal object hidden in his mask. Taichi follows up with Black Mephisto and scores another upset. This was a similar match that Taichi had with Tanahashi in the first round, but this worked better since Ibushi excels as the broken sympathetic face.
Winner – Taichi
Evil vs Hirooki Goto
Ready for some power moves?! Evil wasted no time by waiting for Goto near the entrance door and got the action started right away. While on the outside, Evil hooked a chair around Goto’s neck and drove him into the ring post. Setting the tone to see who is the better hoss.
Evil whipped Goto into Red Shoes and delivered a massive boot to Goto’s groin. New Japan of course had the perfect camera angle making this look even better. Red Shoes recovers to count the pin fall for a 2. Evil then hits Everything is Evil for the win. Even though Evil was heavily favored, I continue to be thoroughly entertained by Goto matches.
Winner – Evil
Match of the night was tough this time around. Besides the first match, the three other matches were solid. Ultimately I’ll go with Ibushi vs Taichi purely because I enjoy a small dose of overbooking. It also had the most surprising finish while still feeling justified. Ibushi doesn’t need the victory while Taichi gets elevated by beating two top guys.
MVP goes to Sho. He continues to bump like a boss and I’m sad that he got eliminated. There’s still plenty of great matches to cover however. I am eyeing Sanada vs Taichi. Both guys have been consistent and I’m not sure which direction NJPW will go. Stay tuned as fellow Sports Obsessive writers, Chris and Conrad, cover the rest of the action.