TenCozy & Yuya Uemura vs Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, & Yota Tsuji - 5/10
See? I was right, trade Uemura for Tsuji so that Uemura can face off against Nagata and the match is now better. This was better than yesterday's at least. Uemura vs Tsuji as expected was great. Kojima pinned Tsuji with a lariat.
Suzuki-Gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) vs Will Ospreay & Shota Umino - 6/10
Oh man, are we building towards another Taichi vs Ospreay match? That's at least what was hinted here. Match was ok, Ospreay and Umino are great. Taichi submitted Shota with the Stretch Plum.
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Hikuleo) w/Jado vs Juice Robinson, Mikey Nicholls, & Ren Narita - 5/10
Virtually the same stuff we've been seeing since Chase and Juice clashed, but now it was Chase that picked up the win over Narita with the Jewel Heist and a Package Piledriver.
Post-match - Chase hit a second PP on Narita as Hikuleo and Fale held Juice and made him watch.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad) vs Michael Elgin, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Toa Henare - 6.5/10
Archer pinned Henare with the Blackout, which adds another win for SZKG and KES since they got eliminated from the tournament, they're surely building to something here. The stuff between Elgin and Smith was great, the stuff with Suzuki and Taguchi was great, but for different reasons.
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, & Tomoaki Honma - 6/10
Good match, the stuff with Naito and Ibushi will never not be good. EVIL won with a Sharpshooter which I guess is new for him. With both the G1 Supercard and Wrestling Dontaku on the horizon, I wonder where Naito vs Ibushi will be unleashed.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) - 7.5/10
I'm just imagining that backstage, Ishii and Okada flipped a coin to see who was getting YH and Okada lost, because boy, is YH is huge fucking wimp AND a huge dick, fucking poser keeps acting like a dick, slapping everyone in the head, pretending to be tough, and then running away from his striking challenges into submissions. I'm glad that Ishii and Goto beat the living shit out of him, ending with a Ushigoroshi by Goto, a Sliding Lariat by Ishii, and the finishing GTR for the win.
Everything between Okada and Ishii was awesome, I just couldn't get stupid YH out of my head.
New Japan Cup 2019 Quarter Finals Match
"Boom Boom" Colt Cabana vs "Cold Skull" SANADA - 8.5/10
I really liked this match, it showed a completely different side of Cabana, that even with his happy mood, his British style can still be deadly and should be taken seriously. The one thing here, while SANADA was a perfect counter wrestling wise, he is not in the character department and he never really played into making Cabana look good, he just went in there and wrestled and in a way, made Cabana look inferior.
The story of the match was pretty much that Cabana's style is somewhat new to Japan and caught SANADA off-guard in many situations, but SANADA still managed to counter himself into victory. There was some comedy stuff here and there, but it was all intended as actual offensive/defensive maneuvers. At the end, SANADA tapped out Cabana with the Skull End in a way that I loved, because as SANADA locked him up, Cabana's only escape was hoping to pull SANADA's hair, but as the ref told him off, Cabana lost his only chance and tapped out immediately.
I've seen a lot of comments from this match and the Okada vs Ospreay match that the crowd was dead and badly mic'd. Are we forgetting this is Japan? Are we forgetting that when people actually mat wrestle, people pay attention?
New Japan Cup 2019 Quarter Finals Match
"Ace" Hiroshi Tanahashi vs "Submission Master" Zack Sabre Jr w/TAKA Michinoku - 9/10
Really great match that played into both men's styles and their previous matches. There was a lot of hold trading, reversing submissions, and great selling. The story told by the commentary was that Tanahashi's knees were hurting, but that Zack was soo confident and cocky that instead of going for the kill early, he went to torture Tanahashi and destroy his upper body and it ended up working against. In the same vein, Tanahashi worked a smart match, taunting and pushing Sabre into falling for his challenges that led to Tanahashi's victory.
There were some great near falls, both with pins and submissions towards the end, and mostly with Sabre on top. At the end, Tanahashi got the Japanese Leg Clutch Hold to pin Sabre, and if you ask me, it was a bit of a fluke win, because Sabre was on top in this match. Commentary sold that once again, Tanahashi won with another Fujinami move, which is the only reason i'll excuse not using the High Fly Flow.
As much as I wanted Sabre's streak to continue, I don't mind Tanahashi winning because realistically, I agree that only him and Okada are the credible contenders for the G1 Supercard title shot, no one would expect Sabre, or SANADA, or Ishii going into NYC.
Post-match - Tanahashi did his air guitar shtick and the fans went crazy for it.
Good show, I liked it more than yesterday's for sure. I think these brackets have become really big in terms of match ups, but the dragging of the tournament over days has kinda taken a lot of that away. I'm starting to realize that someone that I love about single elimination tournaments is the idea that the finalists have pretty much run a gauntlet, but here, guys take so much time between tourny match and tourny match that they just feels like matches, hence why I felt that Ospreay vs Okada was a bigger deal than just a little show in Shizuoka, Japan.
I don't blame NJPW, they sell more tickets, their dudes rest more, they take the show all over the country, they include more people, a bunch of good excuses for this schedule, but it's because of the short period of time that I will always consider someone winning the Battle of Los Angeles a bigger deal.
Something I do want to mention that I didn't on the last review. Excalibur is the best commentator out there. He calls the action with some next level move calling, they're not just all throws Cole!; Furthermore, he points out little things in the wrestler's mannerisms, as calling that SANADA sometimes limps because of Suzuki's work, or Sabre's overconfidence. He makes a lot of references to past matches, past shows, even other men's history like how he called the story of SANADA going to Mexico and contrasting it with Cabana's story in the UK and how the clash was working. Lastly, the dude knows a lot of guys personally and can make references that sound legit, like calling a move that Rocky Romero once locked on him, meanwhile Kevin Kelly will tell us that he had breakfast with Nakanishi and had a talk with Goto and I just can't buy that shit. If Excalibur can escape the obscurity of PWG's DVDs and does more NJPW, he can EASILY win commentator of the Year.
Anyway, final four are set. Okada vs Ishii and Tanahashi vs SANADA. Given the Jay White endgame, there's really just two men that could credibly win the tournament.