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New Japan Cup 2020 - Night 8
July 3, 2020
From Osaka, Japan. The venue is allowed 30% capacity of paying, real live fans. Our English host is Kevin Kelly.
Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji vs. Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe
Tsuji and Honma immediately trade forearms. Honma scores a shoulder block, allowing Uemura a chance to unload on Magabe before succumbing to a shoulder block as well. Makabe softens Uemura's back with hard whips into the rail. Uemura loses a slugfest to Honma and nearly gets pinned. Uemura takes loads of stiff shots before making a hot tag to Tsuji, who runs roughshod through Honma. Tsuji holds his own against Makabe with wild forearm shots and a spear. The Young Lions tease an upset with a double dropkick followed by Unemura's Boston Crab on Makabe. Uemura nails a double underhook suplex for 2! Honma catches Tsuji with a lawn dart head butt, and Makabe hits Uemura with a lariat and German suplex to win at 9:22! Lively opener, it's always fun when it seems like the Young Lions might win, ***.
Winners: Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma
Gabriel Kidd and Hirooki Goto vs. Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Goto and Tenzan lock up and Goto wins a shoulder block challenge. Tenzan boxes the ears. Goto slips away from a double team situation and Kidd holds his own in a chain wrestling sequence with Kojima. Kidd lands a chop but runs into Kojima's strong shoulder block. Tenzan and Kojima seem to enjoy themselves as they clear Goto out of the ring and resume picking Kidd apart. Goto gets a hot tag and runs wild, suplexing Tenzan for 2. Tenzan cuts him off with a back drop of sorts. Kojima tags and lights up Goto's chest with rapid chops. Goto gains some separation and tags in Kidd to hit a vulnerable Kojima with drive by attacks. Kojima cuts him off with a cutter for 2, but Goto saves the match. Goto and Kidd double team Kojima with an assisted missile dropkick. Tenzan and Kojima answer with a tandem cutter on Goto. Kidd desperately blocks a suplex from Kojima, slaps the face, and hits his own suplex for 2! Kojima beheads Kidd with a lariat to win at 10:00. Fun match with a couple of legends showing a great prospect how it's done, ***.
Winners: Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan
DOUKI vs. Master Wato
DOUKI is a junior member of Suzuki-gun and is the rat-bastard who robbed Wato of his triumphant debut with an ambush. DOUKI attempts another cheap shot, but Wato is ready for him and quickly hits a twisting senton to ringside. Springboard forearm by Wato gets 2. Wato connects with some martial arts kicks before DOUKI dumps him for a suicide dive. DOUKI sends Wato into the rails and shoves the referee away in order to attack with his walking stick. Wato takes some abuse before hitting a wild dropkick. DOUKI cuts him off with a lariat but can't put the martial artist away. Wato hits a desperation enziguri and roundhouse KO blows. Wato's wild powerbomb and Spiral Tap finishes at 8:08. Match was alright, but Wato seems to be a work in progress, **.
Winner: Master Wato
Wato's celebration is cut short by an ambush by Yoshinobu Kanemaru! He hits a hard suplex, perhaps punishing Wato for his mediocrity, before Hiroyoshi Tenzan runs in for the save. Tenzan endorses Wato with a handshake and arm lift.
Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI and Sanada)
LIJ get the better of Ishimori early on, but Takahashi's interference allows Bullet Club to take control of BUSHI. Ishimori hits a flying seated senton to polite crowd applause. Sanada gets a needed tag and rushes in with a head scissors takedown and slingshot plancha to ringside. He puts Ishimori into the Paradise Lock and disrespectful running dropkick to the rear. Ishimori tries to steal the Paradise Lock but has to settle for an enziguri. Takahashi returns and bites Sanada's finger to escape a fireman's carry, but Sanada returns the favor and dropkicks the knee. BUSHI clears the ring and hits both Bullet Club guys with a suicide dive. LIJ swarm Takahashi, an BUSHI gets 2 on a Backstabber. Takahashi answers with a Northern Lights suplex for 2. Takahashi hits a snap DDT for the win at 9:17. Solid exhibition tag with little drama and low stakes, **½.
Winners: Bullet Club
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and El Desperado) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata, and Ryusuke Taguchi
Tanahashi appears to be in a great mood as he starts against a glum Taichi, but he falls victim to a Suzuki-gun ambush from behind. Ibushi makes the one-man save and helps Tanahashi hit rapid attacks on Taichi to restore order. Tanahashi perches on the top rope only for ZSJ to dropkick him to the floor. Taicho holds Tanahashi in place as ZSJ delivers brutal dragon screw leg sweeps. Tanahashi survives Suzuki-gun's onslaught and makes the hot tag to Nagata, who lights up Kanemaru. Nagata fends off Desperado with an overhead suplex and nails Kanemaru with an exploder for 2. Ibushi helps with a springboard missile dropkick and outwrestles ZSJ to hit a standing moonsault! The sound of crowd applause has never been so beautiful to my ears. ZSJ can't get an ankle lock on Ibushi so he applies his patented abdominal stretch into an armbar. Tanahashi breaks the hold, and Ibushi catches ZSJ and Taichi with a double Pele kick! Nagata tags and gets caught by Desperado's atomic drop, but he fakes him out to hit a knee lift. The heroes swarm Desperado, but Suzuki-gun swarms the ring to prevent a pinfall. Tanahashi hits a slingshot crossbody to the floor (and seems to hurt his knee in the process) while Nagata nearly finishes Desperado with a lariat. Desperado finishes Nagata with a Tiger Driver at 12:45! Really under the radar great tag match here. This same match would be newsworthy in the main event of any North American television show, but it's pretty routine for New Japan midcard showcases, ***¾.
ZSJ and Taichi aren't satisfied and beat up Ibushi some more. Tanahashi makes the save and they clear out ZSJ and hit Taichi with a tandem suplex.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and SHO) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito, NEVER Champion Shingo Takagi, and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi)
SHO aggressively goes after Shingo and manages to get the better of him. He makes a baffling tag to Yano, who immediately unties some buckle padding, and makes himself an easy target for LIJ. The match breaks down, and Shingo takes the opportunity to smash SHO through a barricade. Order is restored with LIJ picking Yano apart. Ishii gets a tag but has trouble with the quick Takahashi, but still manages a hard back elbow shot. They exchange stiff chops, and Takahashi scores a shotgun dropkick. Takahashi maneuvers into a German, but Ishii answers with an overhead suplex of his own. Takahashi no-sells a nasty German and dropkicks Ishii's face. Shingo and SHO return and pick up where they left off. SHO's spear gets 2 but Shingo blocks a package piledriver. They slug it out and I momentarily forget this isn't a singles match. Shingo nails a devastating spinning lariat and tags in Naito, who doesn't like SHO much either. SHO cuts Naito off with a standing lariat, and makes another ill-advised tag to Yano. Naito doesn't have much patience for Yano and rakes the eyes, but Yano blocks his neckbreaker . Naito blocks Yano's low blow and the match breaks down. Ishii's lariat earns Yano a hilarious nearfall on Naito. SHO goes after Shingo again, only to suffer a DDT and low lariat. Yano grabs Shingo and Naito by the hair, but Takahashi breaks it up. LIJ triple team poor Yano and Naito finishes with a jackknife pin at 15:00. The SHO/Shingo rivalry carried this, but Ishii and Takahashi's exchange also provided some sizzle, ***¼.
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon
Shingo dares SHO to try something, but their fight will have to wait for another day. LIJ drape their numerous championships on the canvas and bask in their own greatness.
New Japan Cup 2020 Finals:
EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada
Okada breaks a headlock and EVIL goes right for a lariat and spinebuster for 2. EVIL pursues Okada to ringside but gets shoved into the rails. Okada is selling some neck pain as he hits a neckbreaker in the ring. EVIL answers by snapping Okada's arm over the top rope and whipping him into the rails. EVIL wraps Okada's arm in a chair and smashes it into the ring post. He chases away the ref and wraps Okada's head in a chair and viciously bats it off with a second chair. EVIL turns his attention to Okada's arm, maybe trying to take the Rainmaker out of his arsenal? Okada's DDT buys some time and space. Okada hits a running elbow to the heart and dropkicks EVIL off the top rope. Draping DDT off the barricade by Okada! EVIL kicks out and scratches back into the fight, hitting a vertical suplex. EVIL repeatedly elbows the arm but Okada answers with a wild flapjack. They restart with a series of counters until Okada hits a dropkick and Tombstone Piledriver, and then goes for a Cobra Clutch in lieu of a pinfall. EVIL passes Okada's leg to the ref and hits a blind low blow! EVIL brings some chairs in the ring and hits Darkness Falls onto the pile! This gets a late, slow 2 count. EVIL follows with a hard superplex but Okada kicks out! EVIL rakes the eyes but Okada answers with a neckbreaker for a breather. They slug their way back to their feet and Okada hits a dropkick to set up a modified chinlock. EVIL escapes via raking the eyes. EVIL no sells a dropkick but runs into Okada's Tombstone Piledriver. Okada reapplies the Cobra Clutch and seems to have EVIL in a daze, so he hits a pair of short arm Rainmakers, and goes back to the clutch. Gedo arrives right on cue to distract Red Shoes while Yujiro Takahashi sneaks in to plant Okada with a slam. EVIL is slow to his feet, but hits a hard lariat for a good nearfall. EVIL breaks the Cobra Clutch by smashing Okada into Red Shoes, which allows him to blatantly stomp the groin. EVERYTHING IS EVIL finishes Okada at 31:50! EVIL makes for a novel cup winner, and he looked good as the nefarious villain throughout. This was a bit long for the sake of being long, ***¾.
EVIL is presented with the New Japan Cup and calls out his stablemate and next opponent, the IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito, who arrives on cue. Naito is ready to defend his belts against EVIL at Dominion. EVIL then cheap shots with Everything is Evil, and out comes Bullet Club for some applause. They join EVIL in putting the boots to Naito, until the other LIJ members run in for the late save. EVIL and his new Bullet Club brothers appear satisfied with the shots fired.
Final Thoughts: This wasn't an all time classic or anything, but the good feelings that come from having pro wrestling in front of an actual live crowd are overwhelming. It's like scratching an itch you didn't realize you had. Thumbs Up for a fun show with interesting story developments.
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