NJPW New Japan Cup 2020: Day 7

NJPW New Japan Cup 2020: Day 7

By Big Red Machine
From July 02, 2020

NJPW New Japan Cup 2020: Day 7

Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - 8.75/10

Holy sh*t Hiromu made Ishii do something different! Hiromu’s neck being the target will never not be terrifying, and some of the bumps he took here really scared the hell out of me, but this match had some damn excellent drama. That being said, if we’re going to have separate divisions, I’d really prefer it if a small guy like Hiromu wasn’t able to pick a large guy like Ishii up so easily. It’s not like Hiromu is Shingo or Ospreay, who are visibly jacked as f*ck.

YOSHI-HASHI vs. EVIL - no rating, very curious segment

EVIL attacked YOSHI-HASHI with a chair before the bell and smashed his leg up. YOSHI-HASHI said he could still go, so the referee ordered the match started. EVIL pretty much immediately locked in a Sharpshooter and the ref stopped the match.

The execution here was great, and I do like the fact that they’re changing things up a bit after six straight cards that have been pretty much the same. The thing that has me the most intrigued, though, is why they chose to do this angle in this spot. This is normally the sort of thing you do with big names to eliminate one guy from the tournament while protecting him and to build to a grudge match down the road on a show where it can get more attention. YOSHI-HASHI is the lowest guy on the CHAOS totem pole, and EVIL is fifth out of six in LIJ. Hopefully this means Gedo has some actual plans for these guys.

LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, & BUSHI) vs. YUYA UEMURA & CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Sho) - 7/10

Much better than we usually get from the pointless NJPW tag matches.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Taiji Ishimori (w/Gedo) - 6.75/10

It’s f*cking Okada and Ishimori! Can we please just let them wrestle instead of having Ishimori wrestle the f*cking referee in the corner while Gedo hits Okada with a weapon on the outside? You can’t claim to be the “king of sports,” if you’re going to have your wrestlers constantly put their hands on the referees and not be penalized for it in any way!

And if your heel cheat in pretty much every match but the babyfaces overcome it and win half the time, all your doing is making the cheating less effective as a storytelling tool. It’s not different than having a finisher get kicked out of all the time.

Stuff got good for a bit but then we got another f*cking ref bump followed by Gedo trying to hit Okada with Brass knuckles but getting foiled. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same thing they built the Gedo vs Okada match around in the previous round. Okada foils the interference and makes Ishimori tap, ending what can only be described as an ASTOUNDING waste of a first time ever singles match-up between two tremendous wrestlers.

Taichi vs. Sanada - 4.5/10

Now that Taichi isn’t wrestling someone he’s in a tag title feud against, his partner is all of a sudden not at ringside for his match. Because that totally doesn’t make these alliances feel like constructs created for the purposes of a storyline and not real camaraderie between the wrestlers.
Oh my G-d they managed to make it three whole minutes before going to the outside for the usual bullsh*t. Into the barricades. Taichi drags Sanada around through the (empty) crowd. He hits him with a guardrail. He chokes him with the guardrail. And all the while, Red Shoes doesn’t do sh*t. Then, once they’ve gotten all of their sh*t in, all of a sudden he starts enforcing the count-out rule again.

Now that the referee has given him some actual incentive to get the match back to the ring, Taichi gets Sanada back to the ring. Funny how that works. Maybe if one of these referees actually disqualified the heels for cheating, they’d stop doing it in every f*cking match?

Once we’re back into the ring, it’s Taichi doing his f*cking choking routine again. After about five rounds of that, Taichi squanders the advantage he has spent the last seven minutes getting by doing the stupid little taunting kicks whose purpose in every match seems to be to give the opponent an excuse to fire up and create more drama because the wrestlers are more concerned with getting more snowflakes from Uncle Dave than they are with trying to win this supposedly real competition. Like with the cheating, this is another spot that needs to be saved for situations where it makes sense with the story and the emotion. Doing in every match makes it feel like a hollow trope that your doing just to do it rather than like something real with actual emotions behind it.

Sanada is in control for a bit so we can get our Paradise Lock spot in. At least doing it in the rope makes a bit more sense so there is a reason why he can’t just stomp the defenseless opponent’s head in until he wins by stoppage or TKO.

After that spot, it’s matter of moments until Taichi is in control again and we’re right back to the stupid soft kicks. He’s already made this mistake once this match. Making it again just makes him look like an idiot, and thus works against building him up as a threat for the tag titles.
Sanada had the win with Skull End but Kanemaru came out to distract Red Shoes. It’s Kanemaru and not Zack because this has nothing to do with the tag title feud because, again, that totally doesn’t make things feel artificial.

Just when I was about to praise Sanada for being smart and not releasing the hold, he releases the hold to go yell at Kanemaru. All five other members of LIJ are in the building, but apparently not one of them gives enough of a sh*t about Sanada to come out and stop Kanemaru from screwing him out of the match. Taichi gets up and hits a backdrop driver, then locks in the Stretch Plum for a good dramatic false finish.

Sanada gets control again and apparently Taichi grabbing the referee and holding him down isn’t enough for a DQ, so the heels are allowed to get in a low blow and some other cheating for a final nearfall before Sanada wins with an O’Connor Roll into his bridging pin, knocking Kanemaru off of the apron with Taichi in the process. That was a great finish, but it was tacked onto a boring, repetitive match that I feel like I’ve seen about ten times over the past week.

Final Thoughts
This was a rather frustrating show to sit through, despite the awesome start. I went four months without New Japan, and after just a few shows, I’m already up tot the same level of being fed up with the stuff that bothered me before. There is some great stuff, but far too often we get stuff that would have been great if not for it getting dragged down by stupid bullsh*t that doesn’t even help the matches, but rather just feels like a check-box they’re making sure to fill.

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