NJPW PPV Coverage
Andrew’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 Ratings & Review
With AEW’s announcements and many of the Elite playing a part in Wrestle Kingdom, what happens? Does Tanahashi retain his Ace status?
You know, I’m not gonna start off complaining since European fans basically need to be up at stupid hours in the morning to watch many things live. So if I need to lose a little sleep to watch great wrestling, so be it.
What I will complain about, is my own stupidity in not taking the day off of work. So this should be a fun ride! Let’s get this party started!
- NEVER Openweight 6 Man Gauntlet:
Yujiro Takahashi, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll w/Pieter vs Jeff Cobb, David Finlay & Yuji Nagata – Finlay wins via Rollup after miscommunication between Page & Yujiro
Jeff Cobb, David Finlay & Yuji Nagata vs Chuckie T, Trent Barreta & Hirooki Goto – Finlay wins via Rollup after Chuckie missed Moonsault
Jeff Cobb, David Finlay & Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith – Archer wins via Killer Bomb on Finlay
Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith vs Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Ryusuke Taguchi – Yano wins via Rollup after Low Blow on Davey Boy @27:45 – *** 1/4
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Will Ospreay – Ospreay wins via Stormbreaker @18:15 – **** – TITLE CHANGE!!
- IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: Roppongi 3k vs Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado(c) – Takagi wins via Last of the Dragon on SHO @6:50 – ** 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Rev Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Title: Zack Sabre Jr vs Tomohiro Ishii (c) – Sabre Jr wins via Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness @11:35 – *** 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championships: EVIL & SANADA vs The Young Bucks vs Guerillas of Destiny (c) – SANADA wins via Moonsault on Matt Jackson @10:15 – *** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- IWGP US Heavyweight Title: Cody (c) vs Juice Robinson – Juice wins via Pulp Friction @9:00 – *** 1/4 –TITLE CHANGE!!
- IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title: Kushida (c) vs Taiji Ishimori – Ishimori wins via Bloody Cross @11:15 – **** 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White – White wins via Blade Runner @14:20 – **** 1/2
- No Disqualification IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Chris Jericho (c) – Naito wins via Destino @22:35 – **** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – Tanahashi wins via High Fly Flow @39:15 – ****** – TITLE CHANGE!!!!!
- Page accidentally hits Chase Owens who tried to interfere on behalf of the group, Yujiro questioned Page, Page pushed Yujiro into the rollup. So this is just furthering the dissolution of The Elite/Bullet Club members. The second match was probably the most solid wrestling, Chuckie T held it together, but a lot of Chaos helped Finlay sneak the win. Nagata and Suzuki faced off, which then turned into Suzuki using a chair on Nagata on the outside. The now 3 match deep team was no match for the brutal Suzuki-Gun in the shortest leg of this gauntlet. The rag tag team against the bad boys was entertaining. Makabe managed to even out the power with Yano and Taguchi’s combined humor adding a different vibe to this match. At one point Yano was asking Taguchi for Baseball signals on what to do next. Even if it’s not a long lasting team, these fun loving tweeners are a good foil against Ishimori & The Guerillas of Destiny for New Year’s Dash. Very solid for a Pre-Show gauntlet.
- Will and Kota lived up to the hype. Lots of fast paced action, quick strikes, a few high flying moves and an interesting finish. Interesting in regard to the fact that the trainers and the stretcher came out, so Ibushi seems to be knocked out completely. Not sure if this is a path for AEW, Kota being written out of New Japan stories for other reasons…or an actual injury. But one of the match highlights had to be Ibushi tapping into his admiration for Nakamura and landing a Bom-a-Ye after shaking off a suplex. Very good match, the ending just leaves an odd taste.
- The Suzuki-Gun duo tried to start off cheap, Roppongi 3k took early control, but once the LIJ team got in, Suzuki-Gun were never legally in the match again. As for a match, it was pretty short and the Junior Tag League Finals were better. A double backfired mist spot looked weird cause I don’t think BUSHI’s mist came out right, but hey, the correct team won. Bow down to Shingo Takagi.
- Sabre wanted to win the match in 60 seconds, that didn’t really go the way he expected but hey, a win is a win. We saw an odd combination of Sabre’s submission style with Ishii’s brutal strikes but Sabre caught Ishii one too many times with different holds. As soon as Kevin Kelly was done saying the name of the move, Ishii eventually verbally submitted. Damn, champions keep dropping like flies.
- G.o.D. comes out with a new tron, new masks and new music. The music I don’t like as much, but the others are cool. This new good guy G.o.D. gimmick was an early highlight with Tama stopping Loa from cheating, and instead cheering on EVIL to break out of the Scorpion Death Lock, even pushing the bottom rope to him to help him get the break. There was an unwitting Magic Killer with EVIL and a stunned Loa, hitting the move on Tama. But after a small super kick swan song, Matt gets hit with the Magic Killer/Moonsault combo, and LIJ wins another belt!
- Juice wearing some polka dots to continue the Dusty under current, and Cody comes out in Jacksonville Jaguars colors. Brandi gets involved very early, so that telegraphs her getting thrown out and Cody losing. The toss out spot was awkward and the match felt very “color by numbers” for how Cody has done matches lately. Juice adds an exclamation mark by doing 2 Pulp Frictions, but another title change. This is following the Wrestle Kingdom 11 pattern with titles changes leading up to the semi main event. Let’s see if it continues.
- Goofy entrance by Kushida with a kid coming out dressed as him and Taguchi playing Doc Brown to make him to correct size. And the match was tremendous. A little bit of everything, Ishimori showcases his prowess as he unseats the Ace of the Junior Division. This is the first must watch of the night. Damn good match.
- Okada goes back to his classic Rainmaker look including getting rid of those awful pants. This match was a classic Okada match. We saw a bunch of spots that haven’t quite looked right since he lost the belt, White showed a lot arrogance and resiliency. He also maintains the ability to pull off the Blade Runner out of nowhere. So this match was great, the finish was cool and unexpected, but the biggest take away is Okada might finally be remembering who he is. No more red hair and balloons.
- Naito started off with more urgency and the match had much better chemistry than their first meeting, and that was still damn good. we saw numerous call backs, big false finishes and near falls. Naito even got to delve into his love of Baseball a little bit with a few kendo stick spots. But still, great match, told a great story and these two work well together. Now does this set up an entire night of title changes, or is this building a false expectation for the surprising Omega retain?
- WOW! This match is tremendous story telling. Tanahashi pulled off a Styles Clash, Kenny bit Mutoh’s Flashing Elbow, Tanahashi’s Slingblade and High Fly Flow, as well as, wiping out Milano on the Japanese commentary. So Omega had a war against the Japanese legends, and Tanahashi even tried to play Omega’s game a little by using the table Omega introduced. Tanahashi crashed through the table, but still, many little threads were played with here. Amazing way to start the new year.
Well this show was built like previous Wrestle Kingdoms prior to 12, with an undercard that built towards the main events. The last four matches were great and well worth watching the entire show. Every match having a title change I believe is unprecedented, but definitely added a level of “new beginnings” into the new year and new royal family.
Everyone associated with The Elite also lost their matches, so I don’t know if that means they are cutting ties or just that New Japan wanted the titles on full time wrestlers. But hey, Tanahashi claims the IWGP Heavyweight for the 8th time, which is the most in history. Yes he already had the most at 7, since the man in second place is Tatsumi Fujinami with 6, but this just further cements Tanahashi’s legacy as the Ace.
It wasn’t a start to finish banger like last year, but the big matches felt gigantic, Jay White was made, Okada is back, Tanahashi is still the Ace and Naito overcame his Jericho demon. Los Ingobernables de Japon all belts! Tanquilo! Assenayo!
Overall Score: 8.25/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/21/23)
It all comes down to this!
Does NJPW need the Rebel?
David Finlay took out Jay White, but will he truly take over Bullet Club and NJPW? Or will he meet a Skull End at the hands of Sanada?
- Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuto Nakashima VS Taichi & DOUKI; Taichi & Douki win.
- Shota Umino & Ryohei Oiwa VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Ryohei win.
- Six Man Tag: Tama Tonga, Tomohiro Ishii & Tomoaki Honma VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, El Desperado & Ren Narita VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
- Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Naito & Takagi win.
- Six Man Tag: Chaos VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Lio Rush; Hiromu wins and retains the title.
- New Japan Cup 2023 Finals: SANADA VS David Finlay; Sanada wins the cup and will challenge Kazuchika Okada for the world title at Sakura Genesis.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Chaos VS The United Empire!
The IWGP World Champion teams with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, their battle over the belts as water under the bridge. But will Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi be able to turn the lights out on Jeff Cobb & Aussie Open? Or will the Imperial Unit, Aussie Arrow & Dunkzilla score some golden tickets to the top?
The trios sort out and Kyle Fletcher wants someone to step up. Fans cheer as the Head Hunter obliges. The bell rings, the two circle, and fans rally up. The two tie up, Hashi headlocks, grinds, but Fletcher powers up and out. Hashi RAMS shoulders, Fletcher comes right back to run Hashi over! Fans applaud that, and Fletcher flexes on Goto. Fletcher stands Hashi up to CHOP! Fletcher whips, Hsahi reverses and Goto runs in, Bishamon double shoulder Fletcher over! Hashi runs, ZANMAI! But Davis storms in to attack! Davis runs, but into a DOUBLE HIP TOSS onto Fletcher! Cobb runs in, but into a DOUBLE DROP TOEHOLD onto Fletcher!
Fans fire up as Okada joins in to WAR DRUM Cobb down! Chaos stands tall and Goto brings Fletcher up. Goto bumps Fletcher off buckles, stomps him, then CLUBS him! Goto ROCKS Fletcher, whips him corner to corner, then runs in, but Fletcher puts Goto up top! Goto BOOTS back, but Fletcher GAMANGIRIS! Goto falls to the floor! Davis and Cobb drag Okada and Hashi off the corner to throw into railing! Cobb CHOPS Hashi, Davis rains down fists, but the ref reprimands them both. The Empire lets off, but Fletcher brings Goto out to RAM into railing right in front of commentary! Aussie Open throw up the crowns, then Davis puts Goto in the ring. Fletcher covers, TWO!
Fletcher sits Goto up to ELBOW him in the head, then ELBOWS him again. Fletcher stomps Goto to the ropes, tags in Cobb, and Cobb drags Goto up. Cobb snapmares Goto, and mocks the Rainmaker Pose before the GACHIMUCHI MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Cobb and Okada stare down, but Cobb brings Goto up. Cobb suplexes Goto, but Goto slips free! Goto CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! Goto runs, but into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Cobb says that was as good as Okada’s. Goto crawls to ropes, Cobb takes aim to mock Kenny Omega, BANG! Cobb runs to V-TRIGGER!! Fans fire up as Cobb tells the Cleaner to “Suck It!” Cobb covers, TWO!
Cobb keeps Goto down, then stands on his back! Cobb surfs while mocking Goto’s pose. Cobb then steps off, taunts Hashi and Okada, then tags in Davis. Fans rally as Davis drags Goto up, and Goto throws body shots! And CHOPS! Davis scoops to SLAM Goto and SENTON! Kneeling cover, TWO! Hashi kicks Davis, fires off hands, but Davis CHOPS Hashi down! And KICKS him out of the ring! Davis goes back to Goto, bumps him off buckles, and he tags Fletcher in. Fletcher taunts Hashi now, then brings Goto around. Goto CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Fletcher knees low, whips, but Goto reverses!
Goto runs in, but into BOOTS! Fletcher runs, Goto follows, but Fletcher gets around! Goto switches, Fletcher switches, repeat! Goto suplexes Fletcher high and hard! Fans rally up while both men are down! Hot tags to Cobb and Okada! Fans are thunderous as Okada fires forearms! Okada whips, Cobb reverses, Okada ducks ‘n’ dodges to ELBOW Cobb down! Okada BLASTS Davis for good measure! Okada whips Cobb corner to corner, runs in and back elbows! Kick and- Cobb suplexes! Okada slips free, kicks low and DDTs! And then kips up! Fans fire up for Okada as he waits on Cobb. Cobb rises, and he blocks the Alabama Lift!
Cobb CLUBS away on Okada’s back! Cobb runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Fans fire up, Okada covers, TWO! Fans rally for Okada as he clamps on the MONEY CLIP! Cobb fights up, powers Okada back but Okada sends him to a corner. Okada runs in, is put on the apron, but he ROCKS Cobb first! Okada climbs up, leaps, but into Cobb’s arms! For a BIG suplex! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Cobb tags in Davis and Davis storms up on Okada. Davis fires off forearm after forearm in the corner! Davis then whips corner to corner, runs in, and clotheslines! Okada staggers, Davis wrenches and scoops!
Okada slips free of the torture rack but Davis elbows him away. Davis runs, but Okada pops him up tot he Alabama Lift! REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Fans fire up and Okada tags in Hashi! Hashi powers up, runs, but Davis swats the lariat! Hashi CHOPS! Davis staggers, but he blocks the superkick to spin Hashi for a BIG back suplex! Davis powers up now, he runs, but Hashi dodges the lariat to DRAGON SUPLEX! Hashi runs to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans are thunderous and Hashi fights up! Hashi full nelsons, pump handles, but Davis fights Karma! Goto runs in to ROCK Davis! Hashi SUPERKICKS! Bishamon coordinates, but Davis fights free!
Fletcher CLUBS Goto! Aussie Open double wrench, but Goto ducks the double forearms! Goto runs to DOUBLE LARIAT Aussie Open down! Cobb ROCKS Goto, runs, but Okada DROPKICKS! Fans fire up as Okada leaves it in Bishamon’s hands. Goto clotheslines Davis in a corner, then Hashi clotheslines, too! Feed to the clinch, and Hashi runs, but Fletcher intercepts with a DROPKICK! Davis fireman’s carries, AUSSIE DENTAL PLAN! Fans are thunderous as Aussie Open aims at Hashi! Off come the elbow pads! DOUBLE LARAIT SANDWICH!! And then, double pump handle, to COREALIS!!! Cover, the Empire wins!!
Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall
They may not be in the New Japan Cup finals, but Davis & Fletcher may just gotten themselves an IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match! Will Aussie Open prove they ARE the best tag team in the world?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Lio Rush w/ YOH!
The Ticking Timebomb has been going back and forth with the Bad Child in the background of the tournament, but now their battle gets the spotlight! Will Hiromu keep this title tranquilo? Or is this going to be his final hour as champion?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and time keeps on ticking into the future!
The bell rings and fans rally up already as the two stare down. Fans rally for “HI-RO-MU!” as he circles with Lio. They rush in, Lio dodges and the forearms fly! Lio runs, Hiromu runs, Lio redirects, both men dodge, but then they avoid crashing into each other to go the other way. DOUBLE LARIATS collide, but neither man falls! Hiromu fires a forearm, Lio gives it back, they go back and forth, but Hiromu gets the edge! Hiromu whips, Lio reverses and leaps, but into a fireman’s carry! Lio slips free, mule kicks the legs out, but Hiromu ducks the heel kick! Hiromu whips again but Lio reverses again, but Hiromu reverses back!
Hiromu follows Lio, Lio dodges Hiromu, then dodges again! Lio whips, Hiromu reverses to follow, but Lio drops down! Hiromu drops down, Lio springboards and RANAS! Hiromu comes back, Lio handsprings under the lariat, then mule kicks and ENZIGURIS Hiromu out of the ring! Fans fire up, Lio builds speed, and Lio DIVES! Direct hit and Hiromu hits railing! Fans fire up with that fast ‘n’ furious exchange! Lio drags Hiromu up, puts him back in the ring, and fans applaud as Lio waits on Hiromu to get up. Lio says he’s gonna win that title, and he suplexes high and hard! Cover, TWO! Hiromu is still in this but Lio keeps cool.
Lio brings Hiromu up but Hiromu rakes eyes! The ref reprimands, but Hiromu fireman’s carries. Lio sunset flips, Hiromu sits on it, TWO! Lio has the sunset, TWO! Hiromu fireman’s carries gain, to TOSS Lio out of the ring! Lio bumps off the apron but he stands back up. Fans rally up as Hiromu runs, to SUNSET FLIP, but Lio holds the ropes! Lio throws down fists, then backflips and goes up, to RANA- NO! Hiromu blocks to APRON POWERBOMB! Fans fire up, Hiromu drags Lio off the apron into a fireman’s carry! DEATH VALLEY DRIVER into railing! Fans fire up again while both men are down!
The ref checks Lio, and though he writhes in pain, Lio doesn’t give up. Hiromu stands up, paces, and he brings Lio up. Hiromu puts Lio back in and fans applaud. Lio flounders to a corner but Hiromu whips him corner to corner. Hiromu runs in to clothesline, snapmare and basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Hiromu drags Lio into a headscissors squeeze! Fans rally as Lio endures, and Hiromu puts on more of a squeeze! Lio reaches out, Hiromu grabs that arm to keep it from the ropes! Hiromu puts on more pressure, but Lio rolls to get the ROPEBREAK! Fans applaud, and Hiromu lets off before the ref counts.
Hiromu drags Lio up from the ropes, fireman’s carries, but Lio slips off! Hiromu blocks a kick, flips Lio but Lio lands on his feet! Hiromu mule kicks, front kicks and whips, but Lio reverses! Lio runs in, but into a BOOT! Hiromu goes up for a HANGING HEADSCISSOR! the ref counts, Hiromu lets off and drags Lio out to RAM him into railing! And then snap suplexes to the floor! Hiromu catches his breath while Lio writhes again. Fans rally, Yoh and the ref check on Lio, but he’s okay to continue. The ring count starts, and Lio sits up slowly. Hiromu grins, he brings Lio up at 9 of 20 and puts him in at 10. Cover, TWO!
Fans rally while Lio hangs tough. Hiromu paces around Lio, sits him up and eggs him on. Lio throws a forearm, but Hiromu eggs him on. Lio stands to SLAP Hiromu! Fans fire up, but Lio drops to a knee from the pain in his back. Hiromu stands Lio up again, but Lio SLAPS him again! Hiromu swings, Lio bobs ‘n’ weaves and fires back! Lio kicks, whips, but Hiromu blocks to SLAP! And SLAP! Lio fires off fast hands! Lio whips but Hiromu reverses. Lio slides to a stop, BOOTS back, and he runs up to shove Hiromu to a corner. Lio runs in to clothesline, whip, and LEAPING LARIAT! Fans fire up while both men are down!
Lio crawls to a corner, goes up the corner, but Hiromu bails out to the apron. Lio joins Hiromu out there, but Hiromu fireman’s carries! Lio slips back in, and handsprings Hiromu down! Then Lio DIVES! Direct hit into railing again! Lio then goes up to SPRINGBOARD TORNILLO! Direct hit and both men are down! Fans fire up and the ref checks on both men. They’re okay to continue so the ring count begins. Both men stir at 5 of 20, but are still down at 10. Lio starts to drag himself up with the apron, stands at 14 and slides into the ring. Hiromu is still down at 15! And at 17! Hiromu springs up and in at 19!!
Fans fire up again as now Lio and Hiromu are down in the ring. Lio drags Hiromu around in a facelock, sits him up, but Hiromu throws a forearm! Lio wobbles but comes back, only for Hiromu to throw another forearm! Lio comes back again, but Hiromu throws yet another forearm! Lio fires off forearm after forearm in return! Hiromu drops to his knee, and Lio staggers away. Lio drags Hiromu up, fisherman’s, but Hiromu blocks! Hiromu CLUBS away on Lio’s back to bring him down! Lio goes to ropes, stands up, but Hiromu ELBOWS him! Lio blocks the superkick, kicks back, and STUNNERS!
Hiromu wobbles, Lio fires up, and Lio runs, into a POP-UP POWERBOMB! Hiromu then drags Lio back up, fireman’s carries, but Lio pops up to POISON-RANA!! Lio runs, to RUSH HOUR!! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives two stunners and fans are thunderous! Lio removes some wrist tape, grabs at Hiromu, but Hiromu grabs at Lio’s leg. Lio stomps Hiromu into letting go, and Lio goes to the corner. Lio pounds the buckle pad, the fans clap along, and Lio climbs. But Hiromu ROCKS Lio first! Hiromu climbs up, fireman’s carries Lio again, but Lio fights back. Lio HEADBUTTS Hiromu down!
Fans fire up as Lio adjusts, and Hiromu runs in! Lio BOOTS Hiromu down, to FINAL HOUR to Hiromu’s back! Lio isn’t done, he goes back up top! FINAL HOUR onto knees!! Hiromu rolls Lio into the fireman’s carry! TIMEBOMB!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Lio survives and fans are thunderous again! Hiromu rises up, drags Lio up, and Hiromu roars. But Lio spins Hiromu around! Hiromu dodges the lariat, ROCKS Lio with a forearm, then spins for the ROLLING ELBOW! Lio dodges the Superkick, rolls and cartwheels around, but Hiromu still SUPERKICKS him down! Fans fire up, Hiromu roars and runs, but Lio dodges! DOUBLE LARIATS collide!!
But both men roar as they sit back up!! Fans are electric as they run again, DOUBLE LARIATS collide! Neither man falls, but Hiromu drops to his knees! Lio roars, he runs, but Hiromu dodges! Into a SPANISH FLY!!! Cover, TWO!!! Hiromu survives but Lio hurries to fisherman! Hiromu slips free, spins Lio, wrenches and tuck shim, HIROMU ROLL!! TWO!!! Lio escapes, dodges the lariat, and CALF KICKS Hiromu down! Then Lio fisherman’s for a POLE SHIFTER!!! Cover, TWO!??! Fans are volcanic as Hiromu survives!! Lio goes to a corner as he slaps sense back into himself. Lio goes back up top! FINAL-
NO, Lio has to bail out as Hiromu moves! Lio runs at Hiromu again, but into an OVERHEAD suplex into the buckles! Fans rally as hard as they can while both men are down! Hiromu stands up and storms his way over to Lio. Hiromu drags Lio up by his hair, dragon sleepers and inverted suplexes, but Lio slips out to turn things around on Hiromu! But Hiromu standard suplexes, tucks Lio in, and then throws him back to a dragon sleeper! Lio still fights it off, so Hiromu suplexes for VICTORY ROYALE!! Cover, TWO!!! Lio survives and fans are electric again. Hiromu pounds the mat and roars, and the fans rally back up!
Hiromu drags Lio up, runs, but Lio SUPERKICKS first!! Yoh is fired up even, and Lio roars! Lio drags Hiromu up, tucks his arms, for DIRECT DRIVE!!! Lio uses his tag partner’s move to set up him going to the top rope! FINAL HOUR FLOPS!!! Hiromu moves out of the way and survives, and Lio is furious! Lio powers back to his feet, he roars again and he runs in at Hiromu, but Hiromu back drops! Lio sunset flips, TWO!! Lio swings, into a fireman’s carry! DYNAMITE PLUNGER!! Cover, TWO!! Now Hiromu is furious! Hiromu runs, to HIROMU-CHAN BOMBER!!! And then dragon sleeper to inverted suplex, TIMEBOMB MK II!!! Cover, Hiromu wins!!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)
The Timebomb went off, and there is still time on his reign! Will he have to keep fighting this hard to continue proving he’s the Best of the Super Juniors?
Wait, Zack Sabre Jr. comes out to the ring? What business does the Front Man have out here? ZSJ gets the mic to say, “Alright, alright, calm down. Hiromu-chan, tranquilo please. I’m not a Junior Heavyweight.” But ZSJ does know who is. Hiromu, your next challenger is the newest member of TMDK! He’s got a little video message for you, so please watch. The video rolls, and someone is making a lot of people tap out. Joining The Mighty is… ROBBIE EAGLES! “Surprise!” Eagles is making his return at Ryogoku, for Sakura Genesis! “The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion will surrender to the Sniper, because Robbie Eagles is Mighty, and The Mighty Don’t Kneel.”
Everyone is going nuts learning of Robbie’s defection from Chaos to TMDK, and ZSJ wishes Hiromu luck. “Matane, dickhead.” ZSJ leaves, and now Hiromu gets the mic to respond. He starts by saying Zack scared him, he really thought Zack was challenging for a second. And to think it was Robbie. Why’d Robbie join TMDK? And challenging Hiromu for Ryogoku? It’s March 21st, that only gives them a couple weeks. There have been an awful lot of video messages making challenges these days. Is it about who can upload a video to the editors faster? That doesn’t seem fair. But naturally, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!
And Hiromu is ready to go to Sakura Genesis to have fun with Robbie! Then they’ll have more, more, more, more, more, more, MORE fun. The Timebomb is ready for the Sniper of the Skies’ Mighty return, will Hiromu continue to be the Best of the Super Juniors?
New Japan Cup 2023 Finals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
Two men who are very different yet very similar meet in the final match of this tournament. The Cold Skull is no longer tranquilo, he’s “one of the guys.” And the Rebel sharpened his edge to take out the Switchblade, and now he’s just Too Sweet. These two have grown, but who will prove they’ve grown stronger when they take the Cup?
The introductions are made, the cup is presented, and only one man can take the golden ticket that comes with it!
The bell rings, fans are thunderous already, and they rally behind “SA-NA-DA!” Finlay shrugs that off as he feel things out with Sanada. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Sanada powers Finlay back to the ropes. Red Shoes calls the break, Finlay mocks Sanada as a “strong boy,” but he and Sanada slowly let off. Fans applaud the sportsmanship, and the two reset. The two tie up again, and now Finlay powers Sanada back. But then Sanada powers Finlay back! They go back and forth, and Finlay puts Sanada on ropes. Red Shoes again calls the break, and Finlay lets off, but he swings on Sanada! Sanada avoids the sucker punch and fans applaud.
Finlay smirks while he and Sanada reset. Fans again rally up for “SA-NA-DA!” Gedo tells Finlay to show everyone who’s boss, and the two circle. Finlay and Sanada feel it out, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Finlay powers up and out but Sanada runs him over. Sanada keeps moving, Finlay hip tosses but Sanada makes it an arm-drag! And then Sanada DROPKICKS Finlay out of the ring! Sanada aims, PLANCHAS, but Finlay moves! Finlay fireman’s carries to ROLLING SENTON on the floor! Gedo fires up while Finlay dares Taka and Douki to do something. Finlay then taunts Taichi on commentary before he stomps Sanada!
Finaly rains down fists on Sanada, then stomps him! Red Shoes reprimands but Finlay taunts Taichi more. Finlay drags Sanada up, puts him in, and fans rally up. Cover, ONE!! Sanada hangs tough but Finlay stands on Sanada’s hand! Red Shoes reprimands, Finlay lets off, and fans continue to rally. Finlay stomps Sanada more, brings him up, but Sanada throws a body shot! And another! Finlay UPPERCUTS Sanada right down! “That’s how it’s done!” Finlay rains down fists on Sanada again and again! Red Shoes reprimands and Finlay “apologizes,” before he drops a leg! Cover, but Red Shoes says that’s not enough of a press.
Finlay is annoyed, but he snap suplexes Sanada and lateral presses, TWO! Fans fire up for Sanada but Finlay is annoyed. Finlay SLAMS Sanada’s bad arm on the mat, then he clamps on a chinlock. Sanada endures the knee in his back, but Finlay then shifts to a cobra clutch! Gedo says to ask Sanada but Sanada endures. Sanada fights up but Finlay cranks on the hold more. Finlay grinds Sanada back on and then thrashes him around. Sanada fights back up again, throws body shots, but Finlay knees low! Finlay whips, Sanada reverses and dropkicks the legs out! Finlay swings, but into a BIG back suplex! Fans fire up while both men are down!
Sanada sits up first and fans rally behind him. Sanada drags Finlay up, but Finlay ROCKS him and whips him. Sanada reverses, then hurdles, hurdles and DROPKICKS! Fans are thunderous as Finlay bails out again. Sanada takes aim, to PLANCHA! Direct hit and down goes Finlay! Sanada encourages the fans to get louder and the fans oblige! Sanada goes back to Finlay, drags him up and into the ring, and then covers, ONE!! Finlay hangs tough but fans continue to rally behind Sanada. Sanada goes to fireman’s carry but Finlay CLUBS away! Sanada knees low, whips, but Finlay reverses to TACKLE Sanada out of the ring!
Finlay RAMS Sanada into railing! And then RAMS him in again! Taichi is only annoyed on commentary as Finlay lets off. Red Shoes tells Finlay to bring this back into the ring, so Finlay APRON BACK SUPLEXES Sanada! Finlay pushes Sanada in to cover, TWO! Sanada hangs tough but Finlay says fine. He sits Sanada up to CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo wants more so Finlay gives Sanada another CROSSFACE FOREARM! And then another! And another! And another! Sanada crawls but Finlay sits him up to BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up again as Sanada stays in there.
Finlay argues the count but Red Shoes says he was being fair. Finlay gives toying kicks to Sanada, then runs, but into a fireman’s carry! T K O!! Fans fire up while both men are down again! Sanada storms up on Finlay, but Finlay throws a forearm! Sanada CHOPS in return! Finlay ROCKS Sanada with a forearm, but Sanada CHOPS again! Finlay UPPERCUTS and eggs Sanada on. Sanada UPPERCUTS in return! Fans rally as Finlay staggers, and he UPPERCUTS again! Sanada UPPERCUTS! Finlay shakes it off, to UPPERCUT again! And again! And again! Finlay runs, but Sanada dodges to O’CONNER- NO, Finlay slips free to roll him up! TWO!!
Sanada and Finlay stand, Sanada spins Finlay to SLICED BREAD INTO DRAGON SLEEPER! Finlay flails but Sanada drops back, SKULL END!! Finlay fights as Gedo shouts, but Sanada has him caught in the body scissors! Finlay fades, Gedo freaks out, but Finlay grabs at Sanada’s new haircut. Red Shoes reprimands and Sanada pulls back harder! Sanada then lets go to go up top! ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto knees!! Finlay saves himself and both men are down! Finlay snarls as he stands up, and he storms over to Sanada. Gut wrench to Canadian Rack, but Sanada slips free, only to run into the IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!!
Fans fire up but Finlay just gut wrenches again! CLIFFHANGER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up again while Finlay and Gedo are frustrated. Finlay says it’s time, and he brings down the kneepad. Finlay slashes his throat and he drags Sanada back up. But Sanada suplexes first! Finlay slips free, backslides, suplexes, but Sanada slips out! Sanada waistlocks, Finlay elbows free and runs, but into a POP-UP CUTTER!! Fans fire up again as Finlay sputters. Sanada hears the fans rallying so he brings Finlay up to chicken wing, and TIGER SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Finlay escapes but he’s in the drop zone!
Sanada goes up top, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay survives and Gedo is only moderately relieved! Sanada slashes his throat now, to dragon sleeper! SKULL SWING! But Finlay spins things around, PRIMA NOCTA!! Cover, TWO!!! Sanada survives and both men are down, but the fans rally up again. Finlay waits on Sanada to rise, and Finlay runs in, into an ELBOW! Sanada QUEBRADA, to the SKULL- NO, Finlay fights up and snapmares free! But Sanada DROPKICKS! Finlay comes back, but Sanada gets around, only for Finlay to buck the O’Conner! Sanada runs in, but into DEEP SIX!!
Finlay aims from the corner and he wants Sanada to stand! Sanada rises, Finlay runs in, and SPEARS!! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives again and fans are thunderous! Finlay fumes, he drags Sanada back up, and he suplexes, but Sanada knees free! Sanada blocks the lariat, dodges the next, CORRIENDO SHIKI DRAGON SLEEPER!! Sanada uses some Naito moves to get to his! And then, SIDE- NO, Finlay slips around to GERMAN SUPLEX! But Sanada stands right up!? Finlay CLOBBERS Sanada, but Sanada stands right up again! ROLLING ELBOW from Finlay, and a flurry of HEADBUTTS!
Finlay spins, into a FOREARM from Sanada! And then a ROLLING ELBOW! Sanada runs, into a HEADBUTT!! Finlay suplexes, for TRASH- NO, Sanada slips free! SHINING WIZARD!! Shoutout to Keiji Mutoh, before the SIDEWINDER!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!
Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (2023 New Japan Cup Winner)
Just 5 Guys get in the ring to celebrate with Sanada! His shoutouts to the Stardust Genius and the Wrestling Genius help him take the cup! But then, what happens to Finlay? Does the world NOT need the Rebel after all?
As for the Cold Skull, he is presented the cup by NJPW President Obari, and they pose for the photo ops. Then Sanada gets the mic to say, “I won the New Japan Cup for my first time, here in my hometown. However, I’m not satisfied. Next is the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Okada-san, are you still here or have you left? If you are still here, I want you out here.” Fans cheer for that, and chant for “O-KA-DA!” Just5Guys wait, and here comes the Rainmaker! Okada brings the world title to the ring, and he stares Sanada down. Sanada tells Okada that the world title belt will be Sanada’s as he changes the landscape here.
As such, Sanada tells Okada, “Thanks for all your work.” Okada takes the mic to say, “Sanada-san, congratulations on winning the New Japan Cup. And, thank you for all your work. My rival, I’ve been waiting for this. But what took you so long, huh!? What is this talk of a new landscape? Just because you changed your hair and your allegiance, you think that means you can beat me? On April 8th, I will show the difference between the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and New Japan Cup winner! I will beat the living daylights outta you in Ryogoku!” Okada has said his piece, and he raises the belt as he exits the ring.
Sanada tells Okada, “Nobody understands what you just said more than I do. But seeing as I won the main event, please get out of here.” Okada says okay and fans applaud as Okada walks up the ramp. Sanada continues to say, “Just5Guys will take the top spot in NJPW, and I will be the NEW IWGP World Heavyweight Champion the next time you see me. So for now, are you ready for the gift?” The spotlight shines on Sanada, Taichi even gets his phone out to be one of the “stars” in the night sky. Sanada says that he must confess, out of everywhere in Japan, he loves Nagaoka the most. “OI, NAGAOKA! See you next time!”
The Cold Skull is red hot after joining Just5Guys, changing his look, and winning the New Japan Cup! The streamers fly, will Sanada truly change everything in NJPW?
A great finish to the New Japan Cup, as well as the additional matches included on the night. Great Six Man Tag of Chaos VS United Empire, big win for the Empire with Aussie Open pinning one of the tag team champions. Aussie Open VS Bishamon is going to be an awesome match, it could really go either way, but it feels like if they’re gonna do it, they might as well do it now so Aussie Open can use the Summer for their reign before the G1 Climax comes in.
And that IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match was quite the show-stealer. Lio and Hiromu went all out, the fans loved it all, and as great as Lio is, Hiromu winning makes sense. Hiromu has NJPW’s backing since they also helped him down that All-Star Junior Fest event, so Hiromu is of course leading the way for the division. And it seems the theme of 2023 in NJPW is change. Robbie Eagles is leaving Chaos to join TMDK, though I honestly thought it was gonna be United Empire because of Will Ospreay, but TMDK is filling out its division bingo card, so Robbie is the Junior Heavyweight singles guy now. Probably won’t beat Hiromu, though.
And that New Japan Cup finals match itself was awesome stuff. It is as I figured the other day: Finlay lost here because his real story is with the Bullet Club, and his story is about whether or not he can truly be leader after taking out Jay White. Sanada and Okada get to revive their rivalry, Sakura Genesis is going to be huge. And it would be even bigger if Sanada actually won. Okada’s only had the world title since WrestleKingdom, four months feels short for such a title reign, but maybe Gedo will want to shake things up outside of just shuffling faction members around.
My Score: 8.9/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/19/23)
The semifinals are here!
The New Japan Cup 2023’s Final Four!
Four is bad luck in Japan, but these four are grateful to be in the New Japan Cup semifinals! David Finlay VS Tama Tonga, Sanada VS Mark Davis, who will win to go for it all?
- Shota Umino & Oskar Leube VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Oskar win.
- Six Man Tag: Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Ryohei Oiwa VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi & Team Strong Style VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Jeff Cobb & Kyle Fletcher; Cobb & Fletcher win.
- Shingo Takagi & BUSHI VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Henare & Khan win.
- YOH & Lio Rush VS Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi; Naito & Hiromu win.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances to the finals.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA VS Mark Davis; Sanada wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga w/ Jado VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Good Bad Guy settled things with Bullet Club, but fate has intervened to have him face the NEW leader! Will Tama get past Finlay and into the finals? Or will the Rebel take over everything?
The bell rings and the fans rally up. Tama and Finlay circle, Tama claps to get the fans going more, and then he ties up with Finlay. They go around, Tama puts Finlay on ropes, but he lets off slowly as the ref calls break. Fans applaud and the two reset. They circle, fans rally up for Tama, and the two tie up again. Tama powers Finlay back but Finlay turns it around to have Tama on the ropes. The ref calls the ropebreak again, Finlay lets off slowly, but then swings on Tama! Tama dodges, then hits a headlock takeover! Tama grinds Finlay down, but Finlay keeps his shoulders up. Finlay fights to his feet, powers out, then slips around to headlock!
Tama powers out, hurdles, drops, then DROPKICKS Finlay down! Finlay bails out while fans fire up! Tama storms up to the ropes and slingshots but Finlay slides in! Tama lands on the apron, Finlay storms up but Tama ROCKS him with a forearm! Tama hurries in, and he arm-drags Finlay around! Finlay blocks the next, whips, but Tama reverses. Tama hurdles, but gets caught to a fireman’s carry! HOTSHOT, then BIG back suplex! Fans applaud, that was a good sequence, but Tama crawls to a corner. Finlay stalks Tama, drags him up, and UPPERCUTS him! Finlay whips corner to corner hard and Tama bounces off buckles! Finlay covers, TWO!
Fans rally but Finlay stomps Tama’s hand! Tama clutches that hand, but Finlay fishhooks his face! The ref reprimands, Finlay lets off, and Finlay says that was the nose, not the eyes. The ref doesn’t believe him. Finlay throws Tama out! Gedo tells the ref to leave Finlay alone, but the ref reprimands Gedo for getting on the apron. Finlay drags Tama up to RAM him into railing! No Man’s Land disappears as the railing go back! Finlay rains down fists, but fans rally up for Tama. The ref reprimands Finlay but he drags Tama up and puts him in the ring. Finlay covers, ONE!! Tama is hanging tough but Finlay is amused.
Finlay digs his knee into Tama’s face, he wants the ref to Too Sweet but the ref says no thanks. Finlay drags Tama up, whips him hard into the corner, and Tama bounces off buckles again! Fans rally while Finlay taunts them, “You think Tama’s getting to the finals?” Finlay stomps Tama, then springboard stomps! The ref reprimands, but Finlay clamps on with a cobra clutch. Finlay thrashes Tama around but Tama endures. Gedo tells Tama to give up but Jado coaches Tama to hang tough. Fans rally, Tama fights up and throws hands, but Finlay CLUBS him down! Finlay stomps and elbows Tama, but the ref counts.
Finlay lets off, he brings Tama up to whip corner to corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Finlay! Fans fire up but Gedo is mad! Jado coaches Tama, Gedo coaches Finlay, but Tama is the first to stand. Tama roars, CLOBBERS Finlay, and ELBOWS him! Tama whips, Finlay reverses but Tama CLOBBERS Finlay again! OFF COMES THE VEST! Finlay goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then clinch, for an EXPLODER! Finlay scrambles away and out of the ring, but Tama PLANCHAS! Direct hit this time and the fans fire up! Tama slides into the ring to let the ring count handle Finlay.
Finlay sits up at 5 of 20 so Tama goes out to fetch him. Tama puts Finlay in, stalks him to a corner, and Finlay wants mercy, but gets body shots instead! Tama whips Finlay out and then back into the corner, runs in, but Finlay elbows him away! Finlay storms up, but into a scoop! Finlay slips free to CHOP BLOCK! Tama writhes and clutches his knee but Gedo is loving this! The ref checks on Tama but Tama refuses to let this stop him. Finlay storms up on Tama to sit him up, “Look at this beautiful face!” CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo likes those, so Finlay sits Tama up again, to CROSSFACE FOREARM!
Finlay drags Tama up again, and he fires off MORE crossface forearms! Fans rally for Tama but Finlay looms over him. Finlay drags Tama up by his hair, sits him up, and BLINDSIDER LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Tama is still in this and Finlay is annoyed. Finlay paces around while Tama slowly rises. Finlay drags Tama up, gut wrenches and Canadian Racks, but Tama slips free! TONGAN TWIST!! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Fans rally as Tama and Finlay stir. Both men crawl over to each other, and Tama ROCKS Finlay with a forearm! Finlay ROCKS Tama right back! Finlay eggs Tama on and Tama sits up.
Tama ROCKS Finlay with another forearm, but Finlay ROCKS Tama again! Tama growls, he and Finlay sit up again. Tama ROCKS Finlay, Finlay ROCKS Tama, repeat! They throw forearms as they slowly stand, and they speed up as the fans rally! Finlay gets the edge, Tama fires off a strike fest! Finlay rebounds but into SRC!! Tama goes to a corner, fans fire up as he climbs, and Tama aims! SUPREME FLOW!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Jado and Tama rally the fans by pounding the mat. Finlay drags himself up with the ropes, Tama runs in, GUN- NO! Finlay rolls Tama, with tights! TWO!! GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again!
Finlay drags Tama up with a dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, OSAKA STREET CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up while Finlay grows frustrated. Finlay aims as Tama rises, Jado warns Tama of what’s coming, but Finlay runs in, into a KNEE! Tama SUPER- NO, Finlay dodges to DEEP SIX!! Tama staggers up, into a SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!!! Tama survives and Gedo is furious! Finlay argues the count but the ref says that was all fair. Fans rally back up, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. “X marks the spot!” Finlay drags Tama up but Tama is deadweight. Finlay still hauls Tama up, suplexes, but Tama slips free!
Tama rolls Finlay, ties up the legs, and he has a SHARPSHOOTER!! Finlay endures and fans fire up! Tama sits deep on the hold, Finlay flails and fights forward! Finlay claws at the mat, but Tama goes deeper! Finlay fights back up, crawls and reaches out, but Tama drags him away again!! Finlay shouts in pain but he hasn’t given up yet! Another fight forward, and Finlay gets the ROPEBREAK! Tama lets go and Finlay writhes in pain, but the fans rally up again. Tama drags Finlay up, hooks an arm, but Finlay fights and RAMS Tama into a corner! And again and again and again! The ref counts, Finlay lets off and staggers away.
Tama runs in, but Finlay fights off the DDT! IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Finlay gut wrenches to a CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay is beside himself but Tama survives again! Fans are thunderous for Tama but Finlay is right on him. Suplex and- NO, Tama fights, wrenches, but Finlay ROCKS him! But Tama cradles!! TWO!!!! Finlay escapes but the SUPERMAN PUNCH hits! BLOODY SUNDAY!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Finlay barely survives but Tama just pounds the mat. Finlay rises up, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks, spins Tama, suplexes, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again and ROCKS Tama!
Tama roars, but Finlay fires off a flurry of forearms! Finlay spins, into a HEADBUTT! GUN- NO, Backslide! Deadlift TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Even El Phantasmo has to give old rival Finlay credit on that one. Gedo gets the mic to make the announcement official: The Rebel wins, and he just beat the NEVER Openweight Champion! Finlay will take the EFF over everything! Gedo needs the Rebel, Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel! But will the Rebel get what he wants in the tournament finals?
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS Mark Davis w/ The United Empire!
New team, new look! The Cold Skull is looking sharp, but will he still bring about a Skull End? Or can Dunkzilla conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?
The bell rings and the fans rally up as Davis and Sanada circle. Davis eggs Sanada on but Sanada feels things out. They keep circling, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Davis powers out, Sanada RAMS shoulders, but neither man falls! Sanada ducks Davis’ chop, gets an arm and wrenches, but Davis whips Sanada away! Davis CHOPS this time, and Sanada is stinging. Davis whips, Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Sanada whips, Davis cartwheels, then scoops and SLAMS! And SENTONS! Fans fire up while Sanada bails out, but Davis goes out after Sanada. Davis brings Sanada up to whip him into railing!
Sanada drops to his knees, but Davis drags Sanada up to ROCK with a forearm! Great-O-Khan is on commentary and he waves the glowstick in praise. Davis puts Sanada on the apron to CLUB and KNEE and CLUB again! Davis gets space, fans rally up, and Davis runs in to KNEE LIFT Sanada into the ring! Crowns up and the Empire high-fives. Davis gets in the ring while Sanada sputters. Davis knees for the cover, TWO! Davis clamps onto Sanada’s arm but Sanada endures. Fans rally, Sanada fights up to his feet, and he throws forearms! Sanada wrenches but Davis DECKS him! Davis drags Sanada up but Sanada waistlocks!
Davis fights free of the hold, CHOPS Sanada to the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Davis runs in but Sanada dodges the splash! Sanada reels Davis in to back suplex, but Davis turns it into a CROSSBODY! Davis drags Sanada back up and back suplexes, but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada hits the BIG back suplex! Both men are down but their teams coach them while the fans rally up. Sanada kips up, and then he fires up! Sanada DROPKICKS Davis, Davis stays up, so Sanada DROPKICKS! And dropkicks, but misses this time! Davis runs, but Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Then he DROPKICKS Davis out of the ring!
Sanada takes aim and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and down goes Davis! Sanada stares down the Empire, but then he encourages the fans to get louder. The fans oblige and Sanada likes that. Sanada may have a new haircut but he is still Sanada. Sanada puts Davis in the ring, drags him up to fireman’s carry, but Davis fights it! Davis fireman’s carries now, but Sanada fights it! Only for Davis to rise up again! Sanada fights more, gets to the apron, and he counter punches! Sanada slingshots, but Davis HOTSHOTS him! And then TRIANGLE JUMP FOREARMS! Sanada falls, and Davis DIVES?!? Direct hit into the railing!
Fans fire up as No Man’s Land disappears again! Red Shoes checks both men, they’re both okay to continue, but their teams argue about territory. The ring count starts, Davis drags Sanada up at 7 of 20. Davis puts Sanada in at 10 of 20, aims from the corner and climbs up! Sanada rises, Davis FLYING SHOULDERS him down! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this but Davis keeps his cool. Davis drags Sanada up, but Sanada blocks the lift! Sanada throws down elbows, but Davis CHOPS him! Davis whips, Sanada goes up and out and springboards in to MISSILE DRPOKICK! Davis stays up!?
Davis swings, misses, and Sanada CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! But Davis KNEES low! Davis back suplexes but Sanada KNEES free! Sanada runs, into a LARIAT! Davis hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up and rally as Sanada survives. Davis drags Sanada by a leg, says it’s time to end this! But Sanada kicks Davis away, so Sanada JABS him down! Davis gets the legs, YANKS Sanada up, but Sanada rolls through! Sanada fireman’s carries to T K O!! Cover, TWO!! Davis is still in this, but Sanada goes up top! ROUNDING BODY- NO, Sanada has to roll through as Davis moves! Davis scoops to POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO!!
Davis drags Sanada up, wrenches and torture racks, but Sanada slips free! Sanada ELBOWS Davis, QUEBRADAS and has the dragon sleeper! Davis snapmares free to clothesline in the corner! Sanada falls over and fans fire up! Davis climbs the corner, goes to the very top, and DIVING SPLASH, but he FLOPS as Sanada moves! Sanada goes up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto the knees!! Davis cradles Sanada, TWO!!! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Davis rises first, drags Sanada up, and fans rally up. Davis swings, but Sanada blocks the forearm to fire UPPERCUT after UPPERCUT!
Sanada spins, into JAB! But he still ROLLING ELBOWS! Davis ENZIGURIS!! Sanada is down and Davis fires up! Fans rally, Davis throws off the elbow pad! Davis waits, Sanada rises up, Davis keeps moving, LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?! Sanada survives and fans fire up again! Davis stalks Sanada to the corner, then runs side to side, SLIDING FOREARM! Davis shouts “DEAD!” and he drags Sanada up into the torture rack! But Sanada slips free again! O’Conner BRIDGE!! TWO!?! Davis escapes by nanoseconds! Sanada storms up, but Davis trips him! Davis has the legs, Close Your Eyes and Count to F@#$!!! Cover, TWO!?!?!? HOW?!?!?
The fans, the Empire and Just5Guys are all going nuts! Davis roars, he wrenches, torture racks, but Sanada slips free again! SIDEWINDER DDT!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!!
Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Davis drove the Cold Skull into the ground, but then Sanada did it back to him! Will Davis find his singles success another time?
Wait, David Finlay and Gedo make his way back out to the ring to see the other finalist in person. Gedo gets the mic to say they just want to give Sanada words of support. Gedo tells Sanada to do his best, because in Nagaoka, Finlay’s gonna beat his face in with the shillelagh, and throw him out of the ring like trash! “See You Next Time, Just Five Losers!” Gedo and Finlay leave, having copied and mocked Sanada’s catchphrase and his new team. Sanada gets the mic to say, “Oi, Finlay! And the people of Gunma. I promise I will beat Finlay on Tuesday, and come back here as the New Japan Cup winner.” Fans applaud that! Sanada then tells Gedo and Finlay to get outta here.
Finlay and Goto leave, flipping Sanada off over their shoulders. Sanada says this debut with J5G is a day he’ll never forget. Fans applaud that, and the mic is handed over to Taka Michinoku. Taka says, “Soon enough, it’ll be us who changes the scene here in NJPW! JUST! FIVE! GUYS!!” The Cold Skull is red hot, but will that heat bring him through to win it all?
A great semifinals for the New Japan Cup! Both matches were awesome stuff, and though Tama came close, I figured Finlay would win. He has been winning since his Heel turn and joining the Bullet Club, but he hasn’t quite won the Club over, yet they can’t really deny him, either, because he’s now in the finals of the tournament. The big things in Sanada VS Davis were Sanada’s new look, and that he buries that piledriver. But similarly to Finlay, Sanada’s getting a push because of the big change in allegiance, and now they’re both in this great match for the finals that honestly could go either way.
Gedo as booker does love to push the guys he backs as a manager, but Finlay’s story could be more about controlling Bullet Club than getting the title. And Sanada has openly stated he sees Okada as a rival and Okada reciprocated, so revisiting that now, with Sanada and Okada both having changed ever so slightly, we could get an awesome match for the world title.
My Score: 9/10
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