NJPW Super J Cup 2019 Day 1

NJPW Super J Cup 2019 Day 1

By NWK2000
From August 22, 2019

NJPW Super J Cup 2019 Day 1
Introduction - It's here, it's finally here! Super J Cup 2019! I'm jazzed as hell, let's get it on!

Super J Cup Round 1 Match
Soberano Jr. vs Rocky Romero - 6/10

I don't know what Soberano's theme is, but it's amazing. Soberano is here and now, the Mexican Welterweight Champion.

To start, the crowd is overwhelmingly pro Rocky despite him denying Soberano Jr a handshake. Rocky tries some mind games but they end up doing one of those "flip over monkey flip attempts" Lucha exchanges. Soberano Jr clears the ring and now he showboats. Now we get a handshake and a slap to the chest by Rocky. We get a chest slap war, and an eyepoke which sets up Rocky as the villain of the piece. Rocky cuts off a springboard attempt from Jr. Rocky works over Jr nice and slow, even cutting off a comeback, but Soberano fights back with a top rope Rocker Dropper. Jr fights back some more after a two count, but Rocky ducks the top rope crossbody, which plays nicely into his abdomen working from earlier. Neck drape diving footstomp for a two. Three Forever Clotheslines, two in the corner and a third once Soberano ducks out for a two. Big kick exchange, and a Twisting Tornillo gets a second round past for Soberano Jr.

This was an above average match that really picked up in the last minute. Great way to open the show.

Super J Cup 2019 Round 1 Match
TJP vs Clark Connors - 8/10

This has an interesting little backstory, as TJP trained at the first form of the LA Dojo, while Connors (obviously) is a current student.

They make the story of the match known immediately. TJP is the crafty veteran, but Connors is just a brick shithouse, but not as experienced. The first technical exchange shows us however, that not only does Connors have a technical knack, but he also has a lot of TJP's stuff (the spinning headscissors for one) scouted. Long headlock spot gets reversed into a Cobra Twist by TJP. Connors gets to muscle through, but TJP outsmarts him on a few exchanges which leads to an arm snap. TJP combines being a slow, methodical heel and a high flyer expertly, working Clark's arm. They do a knuckle lock pin spot which makes sense given the arm. Snap Suplex Bridge spot knocks this sumbitch up a .25 by itself. TJP traps the hands on the Sharpshooter, but when Connors frees his hands, TJP transitions right into a Muta Lock! Connors 'Connors' up and motors through his comeback including a snap Powerslam which would make Randy Orton shed a tear of joy for a 2. Connors stomps two mudholes and gets a sunset flip into a Boston Crab. Crazy stomp spot off of a dropdown leads to the Chickenwing Buster for a two. A Superplex into a Brainbuster isn't enough to put Clark away! Kevin Kelly can't identify the Detonation Kick when TJP sets up for some reason, but Connors avoids it with his spear and crab. TJ reverses into the heel hook, which Connors crawls to the ropes for, only for TJP to reverse into a hold that traps the arm, causing Connors to have to tap, TJP advances.

CLARK CONNORS IS MONEY! That match was super good, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Clark as a prolific member of the New Japan roster a few years from now.

Super J Cup 2019 Round 1 Match
BUSHI vs. Caristico - 4/10

My first thought when Caristico walked out was "Look at this bootleg Original Sin Cara lookin' jerk" only to find out that he IS the original Sin Cara. Whoops! Caristico is the current NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion.

Bushi jumps Caristico during his entrance but Caristico can't place his body properly so Caristico sells while BUSHI stomps nothing. Glad to see some things never change. Caristico sells BUSHI's heelish activity, but the first move he does all night is a Handspring Elbow. Okay. Caristico does a dive where he looks like he ate more shit than BUSHI did. The lads do moves and Caristico botches a headscissors. A LUCHADOR BOTCHED A HEADSCISSORS. Caristico managed to take a DDT bump not on his head at all. Caristico hits a top rope Spanish Fly and it's over.

It's amazing to know that nearly 10 years removed from his WWE run, and 15 years in his career overall Original Sin Cara still is this bad. That aside, they told a rudimentary story.

Super J Cup 2019 Round 1 Match
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jonathan Gresham - 6.5/10

The story of this match is that Gresham spends the first minutes of match counter Taguchi's stuff. They even work the comedic "Taguchi runs the ropes until he gets tired" spot into this. Now Taguchi is outfoxing Gresham by stepping over armdrags during an armdrag exchange. They spend the next couple sequences blending comedy and escapes. All the while Gresham works the arm. Joint manipulation on the bad arm/hand of Taguchi. Taguchi tries to get back into it, but Gresham is right back on the arm, but Taguchi scrambles for the ropes, but Gresham is right back on the arm. Arm trapped ankle lock leads a two count. Taguchi finally counters with a hip attack. Now Taguchi spams hip attacks. Super hip attack for a two. Taguchi hits 2/3rds of the Three Amigos but Gresham goes back to the arm. Springboard arm drag into a crucifix pin for a 2 count. Pinning roll through counter sequence leads to the Tajiri rolling around on the mat spot. Taguchi illustrates he is dizzy by running at Gresham in the corner and eating shit. They trade being in the corner for a chop like 9 times, trade submission finisher, and Taguchi rolls up Gresham to advance, damn it!

This was actually a really good match that plateaued as it went on.

Super J Cup 2019 Round 1 Match
El Phantasmo vs Robbie Eagles - 9/10

Because this is a blood feud, Phantasmo tries to jump Robbie at the start. He misses though and gets a Suicide Dive for his troubles. Phantasmo bales out of the ring when Robbie tries for more, but Robbie closes that with a tope to the outside. Robbie is a house of fire until Phantasmo gets a thumb to the eye. Phantasmo continues to be a nefarious criminal with things such as pectoral rakes and kicking Robbie in the back of the head in the tree of woe. Phantasmo does the "stand on your crotch in the tree of woe" that Edge and Christian used to do. This popped me. Phantasmo continues to be a villain until Robbie fires up with a 619 to the hamstrings and a springboard dropkick to the knee, working the legs. ELP fires back, superkick exchange, and a big lariat from Phantasmo. Strike after a strike exchange which El Phantasmo ends with, swear to God, titty twisters. ELP might be my new favorite.

Eagles no sells some chops, drags ELP to the corner and goes ape shit with punches and chops. and corner double knees for a two. Step Enzuguri, Super Frankensteiner, and a one man More Bang for Your Buck aren't enough to put Robbie away. Take notes Caristico, THAT is how you do an apron DDT. Reverse Slice Bread into a DDT! 450, ELP gets his knees up to block, and Robbie catches his knees! Robbie goes for his second Ron Miller Special, but ELP shoves Robbie into the ref. Meanwhile, ELP straight up Falcon Punches Robbie in the dick and rolls him up for the three.

Man, this was a main event level match! This was great!

Super J Cup Round 1 Match
YOH vs Dragon Lee - 7/10

Some lucha exchanges that end in a standoff, and a dropkick that sends Lee to the outside who, despite having the minimum done to him so far, stands and politely waits for YOH to pump up the crowd and do a dive. Not a good start. YOH does standing double foot stomps for multiple nearfalls, which makes YOH look killer. YOH dropkicks the leg after Lee fights back, which he no doubt saw Lee innocuously sell earlier. More dropkicks work Lee's core and legs, and YOH zeroes in on the leg. Lee fights back and...does a flip onto his leg to the outside, which allows YOH to go back to the leg. They tease a countout, but YOH throws Lee in and struts around and slides in on his own time. I like this very much. Kevin Kelly tries to tell us that during the comeback that Lee is making his comeback on "one leg", when he's very clearly using both. Lee does a horrifically unsafe looking dive. onto YOH. YOH and Lee barely making the count, YOH this time barely making it due to wear/tear instead of arrogance, was a marvelous piece of storytelling. YOH tries to go for the leg again but Lee fights back for a nearfall. Now YOH has to fight back from Lee's onslaught. YOH can kip up though because his legs aren't beat to powder, awesome! Top Rope Dragon Screw looks brutal. Dragon goes for some Shibata offense for a nearfall, a PK gets reversed into the Calf Crusher. Figure Four happens, and they briefly do the "Sting no sells the Figure Four spot, but Lee stops midway to opt for a rope break instead. Do one or the other guys. Big move exchange which YOH wins. They do a strong style strike exchange on the top after YOH cuts him off from a diving move, which looks super indy and dumb. Lee wins it, and teases a powerbomb after a big ripcord knee, but YOH locks in the calf crusher, but Lee gets the ropes. Sloppy Poisonrana and a PK by Lee for a nearfall. Then Lee just randomly hits the Desnucadora for the win

This was a match that was almost carried exclusively by the story, which was one of the best ones so far at least until Lee remembered how to sell a fourth of the way through. from there they put on a match that I feel like I've seen at an American indy 100 times now. YOH is a Shinjiro Otani level worker, I've feel it's too bad they slotted him with a big move Junior Heavyweight guy who really hampered the match. No offense meant to Dragon Lee obviously, I've seen some of his better matches, but sometimes things just don't work out the way you'd think.

Super J Cup 2019 Round 1 Match
SHO vs Taiji Ishimori - 8.75/10

Taiji is the other half of the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.

YOH is a scary mofo. He beats the shit out of Ishimori and then does a running kick to the arm on the apron. YOH circles the ring to line up a punt to Ishimori's arm, which is pretty terrifying if you ask me. He gets it. Ishimori hits a Senton on a standing SHO from the top rope to get back into it but is smart enough to crumple his arm on the landing. Gold star for Taiji! Kravate ram into the turnbuckle but Ishimori, and immediately SHO is in danger. Really gets across how dangerous and good at his job Ishimori is. SHO has transformed from terrifying warrior to babyface in peril. Ishimori works the neck more. Kevin Kelly calls a Bully Choke a Yes Lock. Haha how, and why? Couldn't you just call it a Crossface, even if that's what it was? SHO of course, gets back into it with a spear, which of course should play into the neck story from earlier. But because he's a badass he can come back with wrist trap kicking combos for a nearfall. YOH slams Ishimori into a cross arm breaker, and they make a big deal out of breaking the grip so SHO can fully apply it but Taiji just gets to the ropes anyway. That doesn't stop SHO from working the arm though. Taiji fires back with a handspring kick. Triangle Moonsault to the outside by Ishimori! Kevin explains why Ishimori calls it the Yes Lock, which is good, but it still seems weird for a killer like Ishimori to call a move its WWE name. They do a super realistic strong style strike exchange where SHO gets turned around and has to get reoriented to continue. I hate it when strong style strike exchanges end in someone running off the ropes, because you know the other guy will counter, and that's what Taiji does, but at least SHO counters a similar sequence. SHO actually gets his running lariat though to show us who's in control. They counter each other's big moves and go for big submissions which Taiji gets the better of. Now they're just hitting big moves on each other Ishimori for nearfalls, SHO hits Shock Arrow for the win!

This was a GREAT match, consistently good from bell to bell, but lacked that extra salt and pepper that Eagles/Phantasmo had, which is weird considering how deep the R3K/BC feud goes.

Super J Cup 2019 Round 1 Match
Amazing Red vs Will Ospreay - 10/10

Will Ospreay's dubbed theme is no "Elevated" but it still fuckin' slaps. Amazing Red still has not aged since 2009.

One of the cool things about this match is that because Amazing Red is small, even guys like Will get to do big man spots, getting the better of lockups, etc. They do a cool sequence that only these two can do, and it ends with Red teasing a buzzsaw kick, and the camera does a big closeup on Will wincing, waiting for it, and slow, fearful realization of how Red is just standing there....which leads to red just hitting an elbow, looking like the Juggernaut doing so, and hitting Red so hard he has a visible red mark at the point of impact, which, I must say, I've never seen before. . A bit wacky? Yes, but I loved it. I also like the idea that Will is content to do his usual, tease a dive a pose crap, but Red, with everything to prove, just goes right ahead with his dive, no pose necessary. This gives Red all the momentum, but Will just hulk smashes Red off the top to the outside with a chop, and now it's all him. Will throws Red into the crowd. Will hits the most batshit dropkick into the crowd I've ever seen, completely clearing the time keeper's table, and hitting a seating Red. Will continues to bully Red, throwing him around. More power moves from Will. Indian Deathlock on the arm. Will fucks around which gets Red back into it. Will sells the Hurricanrana Driver like Rock sells the Stone Cold Stunner, and it was fucking awesome. The crowd is so insistent on chanting in part for Red Shoes that Kevin Kelly has to bring it up. Fucking ingrates. Red dodges Pip Pip Cheerio and hits The Red Alert for a two count. Red bumps like a boss for a handspring flipping kick from Will. SASUKE SPECIAL! YAY! Pip Pip Cheerio for a nearfall. Now we're getting to the point where Red and Will have each other's standing flip moves scouted, but Will wins out, doing a cheeky point after a standing shooting star like "Haha you got hit by your own move," Will continues to be a dickbag to his hero and Red, and slaps Red to counter a big forearm. Red rightfully hits the biggest tope all night practically going into the crowd. Ospreay, catches Red out of midair and hits The Saving Grace for a two. Big kick exchange leads to big moves being countered out of. Red's Satellite DDT is the biggest, most genuine pop of the whole night, but only gets a super dramatic nearfall. Cheeky Nandos Kick by Will. Strong style strike exchange comes next on the apron. OS CUTTER ON THE APRON! FUCKING CHRIST! That sounded just as gnarly in fan cam as it does on the broadcast, hoo boy. Red sells like he died in a car accident. Red narrowly escapes a count out loss, and kicks out at 2 and a half of some huge Ospreay offense. RED KICKS OUT OF THE OS CUTTER! We then get as close to "I'm sorry. I love you" as too-cool-for-school Ospreay will ever get, as Ospreay hesitates setting up the Stormbreaker, to which Red counters. The fucking wackiest Code Red I've ever seen, like when Petey Williams did a Canadian Destroyer in the Team Canada days to another guy in red tights, so you don't know who ended up where until pins happened. Red comes out on top but only gets a nearfall. Rope Walk DDT into a Dragonrana and it's STILL not enough! Infrared gets a two count because Will gets a foot on the rope. Now Red is being a dick to Will, kicking him around and etc. Red screams "I WANT THIS!" and sets up for a running move, but it gets countered into a Spanish Fly for YET ANOTHER nearfall. Os Cutter that is immediately transitions into the world's prettiest Stormbreaker for the three count.

This match began telling a lot of a stories at once. Big Man vs Little Man, Young vs Old, Teacher vs Student, Fanboy vs. Idol. My initial thought process was "They're obviously hitting all these story beats because when will this match ever happen again?" And if they'd just carried on like that, that would've been a solid 9.75.

But then, the Os Cutter off the Apron happened, and somehow this match went up another gear and never slowed down. We got a ton of main event worthy story beats, combined with the workrate you'd expect from New Japan. Go and watch this immediately.

Post Match - Will does that post match promo you see in a lot of indies, where they put the match over, thank you for coming yada yada, but what adds extra oomph to it is Red on the outside looking heartbroken. Red re-enters the ring at Will''s request and they hug it out to close us out.

This reminded me a lot of the 1994 J-Cup, where there were some bumps in the road, but the stuff that was quality wayyy overshone that. I would recommend TJP vs Connors, YOH vs Ishimori, Phantasmo/Eagles, and obviously, the main event. Very much looking forward to the next round, which is very lucha heavy.

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