NJPW New Japan Cup 2018 Finals
By Big Red Machine
From March 21, 2018
SHOTA UMINO vs. TETSUHIRO YAGI - 4.5/10
TOMOYUKI OKA vs. TAICHI - 4.75/10
Taichi worked the leg and back. Oka was a good babyface.
MICHAEL ELGIN, TOA HENARE, & TOGI MAKABE vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, & Tanga Loa) - 4.75/10
KILLER ELITE SQUAD vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) - 7.25/10
This was shockingly exciting, considering that Yano was involved.
DAVID FINLAY JR. & JUICE ROBINSON vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) - 6.75/10
Juice pinned Goto to set him up as the challenger for the NEVER Openweight Title, presumably at Sakura: Genesis.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada, & BUSHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, & Takashi Iizuka) - 5.5/10
This was a pretty dull match based on what you'd expect. Iizuka had the Iron Fingers on but the ref made no effort to get them away from him. Sanada made Iizuka tap while Suzuki and Naito brawled to the back.
CHASE OWENS & KOTA IBUSHI vs. CHUCK TAYLOR & KAZUCHIKA OKADA (w/Gedo) - 6.5/10
Major props to the announcers for the Chase Owens/Okada story, which gave this match some extra life.
NEW JAPAN CUP FINALS:
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (w/TAKA Michinoku) - 9.5/10
First, the bad stuff, which had nothing to do with the actual wrestling:
1. The announcers told us that referee Red Shoes won't count a wrestler's shoulders to the mat if they are in the process of applying a submission. That's bullsh*t! You can't just go making up your own rules, Red Shoes! Why is this allowed?
2. There was as spot where Tanahashi jumped up for a senton, and while he was in the air, the f*cking director/producer/whatever decided that it would be a good time to cut to the audience. It has been eighteen hours since this happened. If the person who made this decision has not been fired by now, something is horribly wrong with New Japan.
As for the match itself... it was basically what you'd expect from these guys, only better. Tanashashi worked the knee and tried to hit the High Fly Flow (and, of course, inexplicably doesn't go for the cover after he finally does hit it, just so he can try it again and it can get reversed, making Tanahashi look like an idiot... but hey, he didn't let someone kick out of his move. Good job, there, Tanahashi). Zack, of course, started to work on Tanahashi's permanently-injured arm, then shifted to the legs when the opportunity presented itself. They had several excellent struggles in submissions and some crazy-close nearfalls off of Zack's signature roll-ups before Zack finally made Tanahashi tap clean in the middle of the ring to win the New Japan Cup.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Zack obviously calls out Okada for what will almost certainly be a Match of the Year candidate at Sakura: Genesis.
I was expecting a one-match show, but this show somehow managed to exceed my expectations ion how one-match-ish it was. I was at least expecting something exciting out of the eight-man tag and the semi-main, but neither came close. Even worse, some of the other matches (particularly CHAOS vs. Juice & Finlay) felt like their results were pretty much forced based on the needs of filling out the Sakura: Genesis card, which is a side-effect of Gedo's patterned and painfully rigid booking. Just watch the main event, and you can watch the K.E.S. vs. CHAOS match if you really want to, but this was truly a one-match show.