NJPW New Japan Cup 2019: Day 2 (3/9/2019)- Nagoya, Japan
TOMOAKI HONMA & YOSHI-HASHI vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori)- 5/10
Heels win. Also, there is a post-match beat-down.
SATOSHI KOJIMA & CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)- 4.5/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents. Usual Suzuki-Gun stuff happened. Yano got the win cleanly, then the heels attacked their respective New Japan Cup babyface opponents after the match.
SUZUKI-GUN (Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Shingo Takagi & EVIL)- 4.75/10
HIROOKI GOTO, JUICE ROBINSON, & KOTA IBUSHI vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, & Sanada)- 6/10
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, TOGI MAKABE, & YUJI NAGATA vs. COLT CABANA, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, MANABU NAKANISHI, & SHOTA UMINO- 6.75/10
NEW JAPAN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH: Toa Henare vs. Lance Archer- DUD!
The match started off with them immediately going to the outside and brawling there for a long time without getting counted out. They eventually got back into the ring and a spot or two and then wound up on the outside again. They once again brawled on the outside for a while without getting counted out… until, of course, it became time for the Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys™, at which point the referee suddenly started to actually do this job because the spot called for him to do so.
Archer hit a short-arm clothesline but Henare kicked out. Archer proceeded to turn into a total cartoon character, wasting time and harassing the referee for no reason. He put his hands on the referee but was not disqualified for this. He then went back to wasting time. From the time Henare made it back into the ring after the count-out to the time he got up after Archer’s shenanigans were done, we had an entire minute pass during which the only moments that Henare wasn’t lying on the mat were the few seconds during which Archer picked him up to hit him with the short-arm clothesline. When Henare finally got up, Archer immediately hit him with a shoulder tackle, then went to waste even more time by posing on the turnbuckle.
Archer got down and went for a pin but Henare kicked out. Archer threw a punch or two, then did the face-grind pit, then yelled at the referee, then picked Henare up for Old School but instead of two or three steps on the ropes, he walked half way around the ring before doing it. Was his balance impressive? Yes. But it was also COMPLETELY F*CKING BORING.
After hitting Old School, Archer wastes even more time not doing anything. He picked Henare up but Henare was FINALLY able to fire off a punch. Henare went ALMOST TWO AND A HALF MINUTES DURING WHICH HE WAS ON HIS UNDER HIS OWN POWER FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF ONE SECOND! During this time he was hit with: one clothesline, one shoulder tackle, two punches, one forearm clubber to the back, and one “grind your face into the mat,” as well as two attempts at lateral press pinfall.
Henare started to make a comeback and things began to look like they might actually get exciting sometime soon, but then got a spot where Archer cut Henare off and picked him up and set him up like he was about to lift him for a vertical suplex or something… but instead of hitting the move, he just started yelling at the fans to shut up. FOR ALMOST FIFTEEN SECONDS. Then Archer realized he had probably given Henare too much time to recover so he gave him a few clubbers to the back before going for the move… but Henare just lifted Archer up instead anyway. If you were going to do that then why even do the forearm clubbers? If you didn’t do them then at least you’d have the idea that the fans bought Henare enough time to recover, but this way you’re wasting a bunch of time, then doing forearm shots just for the sake of having Henare pretty much ignore them.
They closed it out with a very good final two and a half minutes, but that was not enough to make up for all of the boredom and stupidity that came before it. This was two guys who were given eleven minutes to fill but only came up with six minutes worth of stuff, and decided to fill the interim with “you just stay on the mat while I stall.”
NEW JAPAN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH: Mikey Nicholls vs. Hikuleo (w/Jado)- 4.25/10
We had the usual count-out stupidity. Kevin Kelly is outright telling us that if a Bullet Club member wins the New Japan Cup, he’s just going to lie down for Jay White in the main event of G1 Supercard… which tell us that three guys (almost a quarter of the field) have absolutely no chance. Yes, I know that Chase Owens had no chance anyway and that they’re not going to give the win to Hikuleo, but Fale was otherwise a valid contender, and I could certainly immerse myself in a story based around Hikuleo being pushed as if he has an actual chance to win here in his first big tournament in order to establish him right away. Why would you push “three of these guys have no chance to win” as the story instead of pushing that if a Bullet Club member wins, he can challenge for Naito’s Intercontinental Title and then Bullet Club will have both top titles?
They had a fairly bland match. Someone decided that the 6’8 heel monster should need help beating a tag team guy in a singles tournament, so we had a spot where Jado hit Nicholls with his Kendo stick. Hikuleo then picked Nichols up for some sort of move… and the idiot cameraperson decided that this was a good time to zoom in on Jado, so we missed what I assume was Nicholls countering this big move. Is it really that hard for New Japan’s camera crew to understand to not take the camera off the action unless it’s a double-down?
For those wondering, Mikey Nichols is part of CHAOS, where he will basically just be the designated loser so that Okada, Ospreay, Goto, Ishii, etc. don’t have to. He got off to a fine start, doing the job here for Hik-WAIT! WHAT? He WON?! WHY?! Hikuleo is a big scary monster and he’s f*cking HAKU’s son. Why the hell does Gedo insist on destroying his credibility by beating him all the time?!
NEW JAPAN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH: Will Opsreay vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado)- 5/10
The referee clearly saw Jado trip Ospreay up, and then saw Jado try to hit Ospreay with his Kendo stick, which distracted Ospreay and allowed Fale to get an advantage on him. Not only did he not call for a disqualification, but he didn’t even eject Jado from ringside! Then Fale hit the ropes like he was going to dive onto Ospreay, and the referee took his eyes off of Ospreay and Jado in order to stop Fale from diving as if diving was somehow illegal. The referee turning his back to Jado for no reason of course allowed Jado to hit Ospreay with his Kendo stick. F*cking Kevin Kelly with his “hey! Come on now!” is doing more to stop Jado from cheating than the G-d damn referee is! At this point, the only possible kayfabe explanations are that Red Shoes is completely incompetent and New Japan doesn’t give a sh*t, or that Red Shoes is on the take from Jado and New Japan doesn’t care. Both of those are very bad.
Fale worked over Ospreay’s ribs by running him into the usual stuff on the outside. Meanwhile, inside the ring, Red Shows stood there with thumb up his ass, not doing his job. Then it became time for the Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys™, so Red Shoes started to count. Shock of shocks, Ospreay made it back in time.
Fale continued to work over the ribs until Ospreay made short comeback that ended in a ref bump. Jado hit in with the Kendo stick and then got into the ring but Ospreay managed to slip free of Fale’s grasp and beat them both up with the Kendo stick. The ref got up and we got another spot or two. Then Fale took over and got a nearfall with the Grenade, then went for the Bad Luck Fale but Ospreay reversed it with a hurricanrana… into a pin that looked embarrassingly fake, and was made even worse by the fact that BOTH OF FALE’S SHOULDERS WERE CLEARLY UP FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE COUNT. Fale and Ospreay probably could have had a pretty good match if left to their own devices, but between the overbooking and the horribly botched finish (which I almost want to blame on the person who booked a f*cking hurricanrana finish on BAD LUCK FALE than on the poor wrestlers who were unable to execute it, because it’s the sort of thing that I think most people would have just assumed wouldn’t work from the outset. There are many big-men in this business who are noted for their agility. Bad Luck Fale is not one of them).
NEW JAPAN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada- 8.75/10
Elgin worked Okada’s back, Okada worked over Elgin’s head, and they packed one hell of a lot of drama into this match. Using each other’s finishers was something I hadn’t seen in quite a while so it actually felt exciting rather than something they were doing just for the sake of doing it.
A rather disappointing show from New Japan. The undercard was going to be what it was, but I was hoping for a lot more from the New Japan Cup matches, with only the main event delivering anywhere close to my anticipated level.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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