NJPW New Japan Cup 2018: Day 3
By Big Red Machine
From March 11, 2018
YUJI NAGATA & TOMOYUKI OKA vs. REN NARITA & TETSUHIRO YAGI - 4.5/10
It was nice of Nagata to let Oka get the win here.
SHOTA UMINO vs. EL DESPERADO - 5.5/10
Good showing from Umino.
MICHAEL ELGIN, JUICE ROBINSON, TOA HENARE, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, & Tanga Loa) - 6/10
Fale is in a different Tongans shirt from last night, so these guys are definitely going to be ready to capitalize financially on whatever Bullet Club split occurs. Chase Owens is oddly growing on me as a babyface.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, HIrooki Goto, & Toru Yano) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & K.E.S.) - 5.75/10
I'm not thrilled with Davey Boy Smith Jr. wrestling in jeans. It's like he's trying to recreate his father's crappy WWF 1999 run. Yano pinned Kanemaru with a heel finish even though he's a babyface.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Takashi Iizuka & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe & TAKA Michinoku) - 5/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents, just like in almost every Suzuki-Gun match. This then went on to be every Suzuki-Gun brawl ever. Suzuki-Gun won when Iizuka hit Taguchi with the Iron Fingers.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada & BUSHI) vs. CHUCK TAYLOR & KAZUCHIKA OKADA (w/Gedo) - 6.75/10
NJPW CUP FIRST-ROUND MATCH:
Kota Ibushi vs. YOSHI-HASHI - 6.75/10
Kota did a big balcony dive, but YOSHI-HASHI had so much time to get out of his way to the point where it looked like he was purposely trying to get hit with the move. The other problem with this spot, of course, was that THIS MATCH HAS COUNT-OUTS. If the match has count-outs, DON'T DO A BALCONY DIVE! Or if you really, truly feel like you have to do it, do a freakin' ref bump, first!
YOSHI-HASHI would later hit a Canadian Destroyer- possibly the first one in the history of New Japan... and Kota kicked out of it. The story of the match was YOSHI-HASHI just hitting Kota with big stuff and Kota kicking out of it, then Kota making a very quick comeback and winning.
NJPW CUP FIRST-ROUND MATCH:
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tetsuya Naito - 8.5/10
A great, exciting wrestling match with Zack using his technical skills to keep Naito away from his usual tricks. I was very happy to see Zack get the big win here (cheap plug for my upcoming New Japan fantasy booking scenario).
Another mildly disappointing show from New Japan buoyed by an awesome main event between two world-class workers. With both the New Japan Cup finals and Strong Style Evolved between now and Sakura: Genesis 2018, Gedo's booking style makes it nigh-impossible for these undercards to have any meaning. At this point, running the quarterfinals as four shows rather than two feels like a money-grab more than anything else.