NJPW New Japan Cup 2018: Day 6
By Big Red Machine
From March 15, 2018
DAVID FINLAY JR. & REN NARITA vs. SHOTA UMINO & TOMOYUKI OKA - 4/10
Fine for what it was. The crowd really got behind Oka towards the end.
TOGI MAKABE & TOA HENARE vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) - 5/10
The match was fine, aside from Kevin Kelly's insistence on using the term "Western Lariat" when the guys doing it are in no way Western. They're not even from Western Japan!
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tanga Loa, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Takashi Iizuka, the Killer Elite Squad, & Taichi) - - 0.5/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents. Davey Boy Smith Jr. choked Fale with a chair, right in front of the referee but there was no DQ. How stupid are these guys. They did nothing for the match that they couldn't have accomplished with a simple punch, but by doing it this way, they made the whole thing look like a farce. I've said it before and I'll say it again: New Japan needs Jim Cornette to be a supervising agent on all of their matches aside from Zack Sabre Jr. and Okada, because those are the only two guys who don't engage in this sort of stupidity.
This problem would persist throughout the entire match. There was a point where Iizuka was choking Tanga Loa with his wrist tape so the referee counted to five and Iizuka didn't stop... so the referee just started counting again! WHAT THE F*CK?! The second time he got to five, he didn't disqualify Iizuka, either; just took the tape away. Iizuka then proceeded to start choking Tanga Loa with his hands... and the referee just started to count again. This was infuriatingly stupid. I don't understand how any promoter or booker could possibly allow this referee to ref another match again, and how someone in Iizuka's position on the card wouldn't be fired for this.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, & BUSHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Minoru Suzuki) - 6/10
I didn't like whatever it was that Naito was doing with Suzuki. Mind games are okay for YOSHI-HASHI, but against Minoru Suzuki? Is Naito crazy? I also wasn't a fan of the finish. I just don't see what Suzuki pinning BUSHI does for anyone, and it hurts the team of BUSHI & Hiromu, who seem to be the next in line for a shot at the Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, MICHAEL ELGIN, & JUICE ROBINSON vs. CHUCK TAYLOR & CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada) (w/Gedo) -
Kevin Kelly took a break from calling the action to ask his color commentator for tonight, David Finlay Jr. (making his commentary debut), which young-boys where in charge of Tanahashi's gear and Okada's gear when Finlay was a young-boy. WHO THE F*CK CARES?! And if there is anyone out there who just said "I do!" he or she should consult a mental health professional immediately.
The match itself was just a really great six-man tag. They tried to do some stuff to build up tension between Juice and Tanahashi ahead of their match in the next round of the New Japan Cup, but I didn't find that stuff to be very effective. Chuck Taylor had a good showing, and didn't look out of place in the ring with guys like Okada and Elgin at all. And, of course, seeing Okada and Tanahashi go at it is always a treat.
NEW JAPAN CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Toru Yano vs. Sanada - 6.5/10
This was better than most Yano matches, as they actually tried to use his penchant for roll-ups to create believable nearfalls rather than structuring the match around his dumb, repetitive comedy with the nearfalls feeling incidental. That being said, that spot where Sanada avoided the ref counting a pin on him by holding the ref's arm up so it couldn't hit the mat was idiotic. He still got pinned!
NEW JAPAN CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (w/TAKA Michinoku) - 9/10
Holy f*cking sh*t. This match was basically Zack doing his usual Zack stuff and Ibushi doing his usual Ibushi stuff, but both guys are so good at fitting their style into someone else's that they were able to come up with this insane match full of great twists, new and interesting stuff, callbacks to their G1 match, and an absolutely crazy finish. GO WATCH THIS MATCH NOW!
This was a mostly dull show from New Japan aside from the main event. The CHAOS & Taylor vs. Elgin, Tanahashi, & Juice match overachieved and the semi-main was better than and different than the typical Yano match, but there is no reason to watch anything other than the top three matches.