Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) vs Ryusuke Taguchi & Ren Narita - 4.5/10
Nothing match, SZKG got heat on Narita for a while until Taguchi came in with his butt-based hot tag. Narita would tag again leading to Desperado tapping him out with the Guitarra de Angel.
David Finlay & Tetsuhiro Yagi vs Yuji Nagata & Shota Umino - 5/10
This match was a lot longer than it should had been, especially since 90% of the in-ring action was Narita and Umino fighting each other. Not that it's a bad thing, these two kids are great and Nagata and Finlay coming in every now and then surely didn't hurt. Finlay won via Stunner. I just barely noticed that Finlay has a tribal Travis Tomko tattoo, so let's hope he never trims the hair.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs Michael Elgin & Tomoyuki Oka - 4.5/10
WHY OH WHY do we need to get more Elgin vs Ishii? At least we get Oka vs Ishii, but also unfortunately, we get Elgin and Yano too, that was arguably the worse match in NJPW last year. Match went straight back to Ishii and Elgin continueing their match from last night and there was Yano comedy. I really didn't care much for the match, except Oka running wild over CHAOS, that was awesome.
Suzuki-Gun (Takashi Iizuka & Davey Boy Smith Jr) vs Juice Robinson & Henare - 4/10
This show is so thin on matches that we actually got Iizuka's theme here and he was walking alone during his entrance, Davey Boy just came out later and screamed at Iizuka for some reason. Replace Davey Boy for Elgin, and this would be the worst nightmare match I could get in NJPW. Also, just noticed that Juice Robinson is now going by 'The Flamboyant" Juice Robinson.
After the usual 'brawl around the arena with chairs and countout tease' Copyright Suzuki-Gun, Iizuka and Smith cut the ring on Henare and got heat on him for a while. Juice had the hot tag, ran wild for a bit, got Henare in and he got killed by Davey Boy Smith for the win. Smith looked awesome here, he is everything everyone wanted Matt Morgan to be.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre, Jr, & TAKA Michinoku) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, & BUSHI) - 7.5/10
TAKA cut a promo once again saying that Zack Sabre will beat Naito. TAKA has become the official Sabre Jr Ring Announcer. I have high hopes for Sabre this year and everything points to Ibushi vs Sabre at the semifinals, probably vs Tanahashi who is the only credible contender at that side of the brackets (I can't see Fale getting to the finals again).
Match started with Naito and Suzuki and I got chills just at them staring at each other, maybe this whole Naito running over guys like Taichi leads to Naito vs Suzuki for the IC title at one point. They immediately tagged out, and through the match, Naito just teased fighting Suzuki, and he surely was trying to piss him off. Naito did in fact mix it up with Sabre tho, which was the usual Sabre playing around with limbs and joints. Suzuki also mixed it up with SANADA to some good wrestling, Suzuki countered the Nudo into an armbar at one point. SANADA tapped out TAKA for the win with the Skull End. I liked this match, both for the teases, wrestling, and all.
This match alone has me salivating over a Naito vs Suzuki, and a SANADA vs Suzuki match. We know Okada is on a whole other level that literally everyone in the world, but Suzuki has to be having his best run to date, if he can keep up this pace until the G1, we're in for a treat.
Kota Ibushi & The Bullet Club (Tonga Roa, Yujiro Takahashi, & Chase Owens) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Chuckie T, Hirooki Goto, & YOSHI-HASHI) w/Gedo - 7/10
And continuing with this weird Ibushi and BC thing, Owens is explaining that tonight, he's with his Tongan boys. Owens offered Ibushi to Too Sweet with the rest of the team, but Ibushi rejected the idea, they did however all shake hands with Ibushi. This is getting interesting. Also, another Okada vs Ibushi tease.
Ibushi and YOSHI started the match, there was a big brawl in the stands where Ibushi did a balcony moonsault. Back in the ring, the Bullet Club had heat over Chuckie T for a while until he made a comeback against Yujiro and got Goto in. Bullet Club tried to get heat on Okada, but it didn't last long, and once everyone started hitting their spots, Owens was left alone with Okada, who easily took him out with the Cobra Clutch for the submission win. Good match.
New Japan Cup 2018 First Round Match
"Underboss" Bad Luck Fale vs "American Psycho" Lance Archer - 7/10
When it comes to big lad's wrestling, I don't think it gets any bigger than this. Early in the match, both men brawled up their way to the back around fans, where we usually get the Suzuki-Gun guy leaving someone for dead, but this time around, it was Fale who left Archer for dead going for the countout. They literally used Young Lions as their weapons. If you use a person as a weapon, do they count as foreign objects, or as interference?
Back in the ring, the match was mostly back and forward, they traded momentum on several occasions. At one point Archer hit Taker's Old School. They teased the Bad Luck Fall and Blackout on each other just to show how strong they are. Archer landed a chokeslam for a near fall, and soon after, Fale hit the Choke Slam Lariat for the win. It was a good match considering the players.
New Japan Cup 2018 First Round Match
"Ace" Hiroshi Tanahashi vs "Holy Emperor" Taichi w/Miho Abe, Yoshinobu Kanemaru- 8.5/10
Let it be known, that on March 10 of the year 2018, Taichi main evented against Hiroshi Tanahashi. This is Taichi's second test going up against a top gun in NJPW, in his match with Naito we did see him perform well and get into second gear, in this match, he worked more as a heel underdog, cheating a lot, but he did manage to get more intense towards the end of the match.
This match started with a LOT of stalling until Tanahashi, between chasing Taichi, dealing with Kanemaru, and being distracted by Miho Abe, left himself open for Taichi to hit him with the mic stand. It seemed like Taichi would work over Tanahashi for a while, but Tanahashi turned things around quickly and they went back and forward from there on. Tanahashi worked over Taichi's legs while Taichi worked over Tanahashi's head. As the match progressed Taichi started getting desperate to take out Tanahashi who wasn't having that much trouble overcoming Taichi. At one point leading into the finish, Taichi tried hitting Tanahashi with the mic stand again, but Tana took it away and we had a nice 'will Tanahashi cheat?" tease but Red Shoes was like "This isn't you Tana!". Tana would drop the stand, hit the slighblade and High Fly Flow for the win. Good match, the slower pace of the heavyweight division is really helping Taichi.
Post-match - Taichi is pissed and disappointed, Tanahashi looks at him as proud "you brought your best fight, but cheating won't lead you anywhere" look. Tanahashi does his usual guitar thing and promo.
Once again an abismal lower card, but this time the show started getting better and better. I can't really say go watch this show unless you want to watch the whole tournament, otherwise, it's totally ok to skip.