Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki) vs. BULLET CLUB (Jado, KENTA & Taiji Ishimori) - 6.5/10
KENTA and Mizuki kept beating each other up. Desperado and Ishimori worked together and gave me the impression that they could be building to either a tag title rematch, or a Jr. Heavyweight title match at Sakura Genesis or the New Japan Cup finals, or both I guess. Desperado submitted Jado with Numero Dos for the win.
Post-match - The best thing about these KENTA matches are his backstage promos that everyone should go out of their way to watch. He's just a next level trash talker and troll.
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay) (w/Bea Priestley) - 7/10
I can 100% say that the United Empire has been my favorite thing of the whole tournament, be it singles matches of their tag matches, they're all so enjoyable for many different things. What felt like such a weird team to being with, they've really come together and complemented each other. There are teams right now like The Inner Circle or ROH's Ingobernables, that seemed weird at their creation, and at least one of them managed to feel more natural out of seeing them every single week, with tons of promos and skits, but the UE, they just work right now with their in-ring work alone.
This played as an outro to yesterday's Sabre vs Ospreay match, so they paired up again, but we also got a lot of Taichi and Kanemaru going against Cobb and O-Khan. As usual, Cobb won with Tour of the Islands on Kanemaru.
Hirooki Goto, Ryusuke Taguchi & Yuji Nagata vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) - 6.5/10
Shingo vs Goto aside, this was just ok, nothing match. Goto/Taguchi/Nagata is one more weird ass team we've had this tournament, so there really isn't much in terms of building or anything there. SANADA pinned Taguchi with the Japanese Clutch.
New Japan Cup 2021 Second Round Match
YOSHI-HASHI vs. David Finlay (w/Juice Robinson) - 7/10
This was a perfectly solid, well wrestled match, but it's between two guys that have no luck at winning their next match, not even a dark horses could they tell a story. I do think the match suffered a bit for the clash of styles, YH has had his best matches with strong style guys that can push him, but Finlay is just not that type of guy, we're in a way watching two guys that are most known for being babyfaces in peril. The one good thing about that is that both guys were credible winners, so the near falls meant a bit more. Finish saw Finlay reverse Karma into a Slumdog Millionaire and finish him with an Acid Drop.
New Japan Cup 2021 Second Round Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) - 8.5/10
In terms of White vs Tana matches, this wasn't close to being their best, but it also being a White and Tana match, this was really good. This was also taken slightly more seriously than some, we had minimum Gedo interference, and when he did, Tana got rid of him quickly with a Dragon Screw.
Match was built around Tana working the leg, and while White worked the leg too, he mostly focused on trying to hit the Bladerunner, so it was a lot of Tana escaping it and going back to the leg. At the end, after many attempts, White finally landed the move and won.
White vs Finlay for the quarter finals.
Post-match - White cut a great promo, saying he's going to save Tanahashi's title legacy by saving us from Ibushi, and that once he wins at Sakura Genesis, he'll come after Tanahashi's NEVER title because Tana is too fat to carry titles now.
Ok show, even with the Tana v White main event, this show felt on the weaker half of the tournament. This corner of the brackets was just a bit too weak to begin with. We're down to two quarter final shows and the two final shows on the 20/21.