Juice Robinson & Yuya Uemura vs. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) - 6/10
This was pretty decent for an opener and given that I'm not that high on Robinson. O-Khan and Cobb have been working well as a team, and either of them pairing up with Uemura was fun. Cobb won with the Tour of the Islands on Uemura.
At this point, I really wouldn't mind if we got a FinJuice vs UE match for the Impact titles with the latter taking them, be a good payback for what Dixie and Russo did years back to the IWGP tag titles.
CHAOS (SHO, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Jado) - 5/10
Nothing to this match, the action was ok, had a lot of shenanigans with Yano obviously. Yano got win over Jado with a roll up.
Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) - 7/10
Good stuff all around, 10 minutes of great pair ups. You just can't have a bad match with the Tekkers now a days. SANADA submitted DOUKI for the win.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi vs. BULLET CLUB (Jay White, KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) - 6.5/10, but with consideration.
Yeah, so an earthquake straight up interrupted this match. I was gonna write this whole thing about the ultimate dream team of Ibushi/Okada/Tanahashi, and it straight up triggered a natural disaster to have them all in the same ring as a team. That's some Dragon Ball Z power level shit right there. It was something special to see Ibushi immediately go into 'crowd control' mode, trying to calm the audience, speaks loudly of a champion. In the same vein, White's reaction was to get with the English commentary and heel it up by stealing everyone's championship titles and hoping that the roof would fall on Tanahashi.
As for the match, this worked to show that everyone is gunning for Ibushi, not just White and KENTA on the other team, but Okada and Tanahashi had separate moments where they showed dissension with Ibushi. Finish saw Ibushi win with Kamigoye over Yujiro.
New Japan Cup 2021 Semi Final Match
David Finlay vs. Will Ospreay - 9/10
This was pretty awesome. It started somewhat slow and the Ospreay heat segment felt kinda tedious. Even with the crowd extra motivated after the quake, Finlay being the natural underdog, and Ospreay in his most cockiness, the heat segment felt like filler, like we already know Finlay is the underdog, so how about we do something new instead to tell that story?
They did eventually, with the added foot injury to Finlay, which ended up working in an incredible way. Finlay had already started his comeback when he took a bad spill outside the ring, hurt his ankle, with doctors checking in on him and all, it was an angle that was clearly designed to protect Finlay as much as possible, which sounds kinda weird to want to protect him of all people, but he's a young up and comer, with a huge win under his belt, so without Yano there, may as well protect this win and not waste White losing.
Anyway, with the foot injury, even the countout tease looked credible, at that point, we got strong teases of submission, countouts, Juice throwing in the towel, but Finlay kept pushing forward, and even managed to get a good near fall before falling to the Stormbreaker. With his win over White, this match had enough dark horse fuel to make it matter and to really put a question mark over it, because an EVIL vs Finlay match wasn't that necessarily out of the realm of possibilities anymore, and it would had been a strong tease that EVIL could win two in a row a la Goto, or that Finlay could be one of those winners like Sabre, that we just don't see coming until we're there. Nonetheless, going this far really elevates him, where it will be interesting to see how things are followed through with him.
New Japan Cup 2021 Semi Final Match
Shingo Takagi vs. EVIL - 8.5/10
Similar to my comments about Shingo vs KENTA, this was one of the better EVIL matches out there since his turn, just because Shingo is awesome. I wouldn't say it was one of Shingo's worsts though, because not all of Togo's interference annoyed me, some was super sloppy, but the ones towards the end with Shingo making a comeback, that's the stuff I like when it comes to interferences.
Match was mostly EVIL working on Shingo's back with perfect selling, and Shingo mostly trying to decapitate EVIL via Pumping Bombers, he seriously may have the best Lariat in Japan right now that Joe Doering is not in the country. As mentioned above, the match worked out to Togo's interfernce, Shingo survived and came back, kicked out of Darkness Falls, hit a Made in Japan for a near fall, and won with a huge Pumping Bomber and Last of the Dragon's sequence.
Shingo vs Ospreay for the finals, in a BOSJ 2019 finals rematch.
Post-match - Shingo cut his winner's promo, Ospreay came out and Shingo cut a basic but perfectly good English promo on Ospreay. The traded shots and Shingo cleared the ring before closing the show.
This ended up being a great and memorable show. The two semifinals were good, and the earthquake situation will become a memorable moment going forward. Even the crowd came back extra motivated after that forced intermission.