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Andrew’s 2nd Round New Japan Cup 2019 Ratings & Analysis

New Japan Cup second round action! The Cup is well known for some upsets, so let’s see what we got! 

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New Japan Cup second round action! The Cup is well known for some upsets, so let’s see what we got!

This round we get an interesting mixture of styles. Men that are trying to prove themselves, main eventers in trap matches and the comedy stylings of Colt and Yano.

With all of that, we should get a little bit of something for everyone.

Ratings:

  • YOSHI-HASHI vs Chase Owens: YOSHI wins via Karma @14:10 – ** 1/4
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brainbuster @22:55 – ****
  • Will Ospreay vs Lance Archer: Ospreay wins via Stormbreaker @18:10 – *** 1/2
  • Kazuchika Okada vs Mikey Nicholls: Okada wins via Rainmaker @17:25 – *** 3/4
  • Ryusuke Taguchi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Dragon Suplex @17:20 – *** 1/4
  • Zack Sabre Jr vs Kota Ibushi: Sabre wins via Orienteering with Napalm Death @16:10- ****
  • Colt Cabana vs Toru Yano: Cabana wins via Superman Pin @7:50 – **
  • SANADA vs Minoru Suzuki: SANADA wins via Moonsault @28:45 – **** 1/4

 

 

Analysis:

Chase Owens took YOSHI up the ramp a little and ran him down and rammed him into the ring, ala his infamous gif from September 2018. Chase even yelled to commentary, ” I just YOSHI-HASHI’d YOSHI-HASHI!”. It was amusing and the match was alright. It went too long and YOSHI still doesn’t have people’s confidence as evidence by the silence of the crowd. YOSHI stringing some wins together could mean he’s going to get a chance at a push, but people have yet to buy in.

Taichi did his usual cowardly heel stuff a little, but then the match turned. Taichi got the crowd behind him, and actually put in effort. There was a great moment where he threw Red Shoes at Ishii, and went to the corner to decide on the weapon to us. He started to grab the bag with the Iron Fingers, but shook his head and got his mic stand. When Ishii stood up and told Taichi to hit him with it, Taichi had a moment of pride and integrity and threw the mic stand away and the strike exchange started. Both men showed glimmers of their teachers in good ways Tenryu for Ishii and Kawada for Taichi. If this continues, this is a Taichi I think everyone can rally behind.

Fun match that continues the story of Ospreay beating heavyweights and finding ways to pull off Stormbreaker on the bigger men. A few awkward moments and bad camera angles hurt a few moves, but it was definitely one of Archer’s best singles matches ever. Plus Ospreay was the very first person to kick out of Blackout.

Nicholls brought a lot of intensity and split open Okada’s chest with some chops. Hard hitting ordeal, but the Rainmaker prevailed in the end. Ending sequence with Mikey Bomb and Rainmaker attempts was fun, Rolling Rainmaker to set up the classic was a nice touch. Good match.

Taguchi had a few cute spots and eventually turned up the seriousness, but it went the way many expected. B-Triggers and Bumayes a plenty, but after fighting out of the most believable near fall of being in a prolonged Ankle Lock, Tanahashi put together enough to edge out the purveyor of Funky Weapons.

Going into this match Kota has a 2-1 record against Sabre, even though Sabre’s lone win came in last year’s New Japan Cup. This match was a nice back and forth that showed off Sabre’s technical prowess and Ibushi’s short temper. The ending sequence was a lot of counters and transitional moves, so it was quite intense.

Cabana and Yano are very similar since they are more comedy before technical skill, so you should know what you’re getting into. This was good comedy. It ends with Yano trying to hit Cabana with a turnbuckle pad, misses and hits himself in the head. Cabana trips him and then does the SUPERMAN! For the…up…set? It was entertaining. Cornette would have a stroke, but I was amused.

This match has a good bit of history from All Japan and crossover issues between Suzuki and SANADA’s mentor Keiji Mutoh (Great Muta). Going into this match SANADA only had 1 win over Suzuki out of 6 singles meetings. Suzuki dominated a good portion of this match, and just brutalized SANADA. However, SANADA showed great resiliency and the unrelenting drive to beat Suzuki. There was a good exchange of submissions in the middle of the ring with Suzuki finding Knee Twists and an Indian Deathlock to try and break Skull End, but SANADA wouldn’t give up. Suzuki basically gassed himself out, and one more Moonsault attempt was the end of Suzuki.

 

2nd Round Overall Score: 7.25/10

Good round with most New Japan Cup brackets busted (including mine). Most of the bigger upsets came in the later shows, but we did get pretty solid matches from everyone. YOSHI-HASHI is getting a little bit of a push, so maybe people will start buying into him. Maybe? Not me at the moment, but maybe soon. SANADA hasn’t put to rest the specter of Minoru Suzuki, but he got over the hump a little.

Also let’s not forget that Zack Sabre got a win that threw people into a tizzy. It makes sense, because the contrast in styles has always proven the two men to be equal. So many people expected Ibushi to get a run since he signed the contract but, that’s also being accustomed to the Western style of rewarding people just because. Ibushi and Naito are most likely in like for some big stuff the next year or so, but New Japan tells stories with their main talent, they don’t just throw things at the wall and see what sticks.

Quarter Finals Matches:

  • YOSHI-HASHI vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay
  • Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Colt Cabana vs SANADA

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis

New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?

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New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?

Okada was the favorite going into this Cup since he’s…well…Okada. Many close calls and rough matches brought up the question of who would meet him in the Finals. SANADA overcame Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Colt Cabana and Hiroshi Tanahashi to get here. Even though Okada is the favorite, SANADA has done a lot to establish himself in this tournament.

That’s enough typing, let’s see how the show went.

Ratings:

  • Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura: Nagata wins via Nagata Lock 2 @6:30 – **
  • Michael Elgin, Toa Henare & Colt Cabana vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino: Elgin wins via Elgin Bomb @8:20 – ** 1/4
  • Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad vs Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano: Suzuki-Gun wins via Killer Bomb @7:30 – ** 1/2
  • Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @11:40 – *** 1/4
  • Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay: Taichi wins via Gedo Clutch @10:20 – ***
  • Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @9:45 – *** 
  • IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens: Juice retains via Pulp Friction @22:10 – ***
  • NJ Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @33:05 – *****

 

Analysis:

We get the usual veterans versus Young Lion match. You could tell the length of the New Japan tour wore on the veterans a little since early on the moves were slow and a little sloppy. But once the Young Lions turned up the aggression, the Veterans put them in their place well enough.

Solid 6 man action. TenCozy worked with Colt and Henare mainly, then when Elgin and Umino got tagged in, there was an almost obvious sense of “oh okay, the finish will be soon”. Shota keeps showing great fire and resilience, he must be slated to go on an excursion soon. He’s the most elevated Young Lion at the moment, and the fans really do seem to appreciate him.

Suzuki-Gun pick up the win in a rather one sided affair. Makabe had a small flurry, but the usual outside of the ring shenanigans and overpowering the opponents put the match away pretty easily for Suzuki-Gun. With a win over two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag champions, the MSG could schedule Taguchi Japan vs Suzuki-Gun. However, it seems Lance Archer wants to murder Rocky Romero in a cage…so I’m not sure if that’s foreshadowing.

Well now, we get a few nice wrinkles here. Ibushi and Naito are headed for an Intercontinental Championship match, and there’s a lot of good tension there. Ishii didn’t really want to participate with Taguchi’s bullshit, but once EVIL hit him on the apron there was a fire started in Ishii, aimed directly at EVIL’s head. Ren Narita even got some good offense in for a Young Lion against Shingo. However, after a big pile up in the ring, Shingo ducks under a lariat from Ren Narita and lands Pumping Bomber with authority. Good match, and a lot of tension to build towards matches.

Zack and Tanahashi have heat from the fact Tanahashi beat him in the New Japan Cup. Taichi apparently wants a shot at Ospreay for the NEVER, but Ospreay told him Jeff Cobb comes first, then we’ll see. So after a solid match and Taichi spinning the ref around, he connects with a low blow on Ospreay and then applies the Gedo Clutch for the pinfall victory. So Taichi should be in line for a future shot.

This was a fine match. Not a lot of weight beyond Goto being perceived as a possible threat for White. YOSHI-HASHI continued to show some of the aggression he found in the New Japan Cup, Mikey Nicholls looked…like he’s still getting used to Chaos/New Japan. Early tandem moves looked awkward like he was a step behind or in the wrong spot. It’ll get better with time of course, but he was noticeably out of place. Goto had a nice false hope moment went YOSHI bailed him out with an Axe Bomber on Jay, Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and went for GTR, but Jay countered it into a Blade Runner for the 1-2-3. So in typical Goto fashion, close, but no cigar.

We got to see a rare side of Juice Robinson with this match. He slid in and immediately starting throwing bombs with Chase. Juice doesn’t often lose his cool, but the matches are usually interesting when he’s not as goofy and aloof. Chase had some great moments where he swept Juice’s legs on the top rope and hung him over the turnbuckles for a nice Running Kneelift. But this turned into one of those heavy interference matches.  Jado was annoying very early on, Red Shoes was distracted or bumped constantly and even Bad Luck Fale came in and hit a Spear on Juice. Malfunction at the junction though when Chase tried to hit Juice with title and missed, hitting Fale (which was just a bad looking spot anyway). So Juice overcame the odds, but the excessive interference made me go from invested, to not caring pretty quickly. Also Mikey Nicholls making the save for Juice is…odd…since Mikey is Chaos and Juice is not. This whole match went from being pretty solid, to benefiting from a good beginning but the end was marred in garbage.

WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.

 

Overall Score: 7.25/10

The New Japan Cup Final match was tremendous, and there were a few wrinkles in other matches that seem to be leading to something, but overall the show was as to be expected. Decent undercard, great main event, but the US Title match was painfully underwhelming. Now in the last few years, the runner up does tend to get title shots if the winner is unsuccessful (which they are more often than not, I believe Cup winners are only 4-13 in title matches). So this tournament could’ve easily solidified SANADA as an up and coming main eventer.

Also, since a little bit of prediction never hurt anyone, I’m think Jay White retains at MSG. Coming off of a 2 year reign Jay White is the only new challenge to appear, and Okada has a tendency to have long programs overcoming Bullet Club leaders when they get the best of him early (look at the AJ Styles feud). Jay could hold it for a while, if G.o.D. win the Title vs Title match, that could play well into them helping Jay White win. That way Okada and Tanahashi could challenge G.o.D. for both belts, which keeps them both heavily involved in the Bullet Club angle, but removes them from the IWGP Heavyweight championship.

So even though the Finals were fantastic, and Okada is still the best wrestler in the business currently, Jay White should win at MSG.

 

 

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s Quarterfinals & Semifinals New Japan Cup 2019 Ratings & Analysis

Andrew’s combines the New Japan Cup Quarters and Semis out of necessity. Who made the finals? How were the matches leading up?

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Andrew’s combines the New Japan Cup Quarters and Semis out of necessity. Who made the finals? How were the matches leading up?

Due to personal plans, I figured it would be best to group these two and cover the Finals show in full on Sunday. So this way no article looks awkwardly short.

Now after an interesting first 2 rounds, we saw some upsets and some favorites pushed harder than expected.

Many of the usual suspects made the Quarters, so let’s see who gets out alive!

Quarterfinals Ratings:

  • Tomohiro Ishii vs YOSHI-HASHI: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brainbuster @20:25 – ****
  • Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay: Okada wins via Rainmaker @20:10 – *** 3/4
  • Colt Cabana vs SANADA: SANADA wins via Skull End @14:55 – ** 1/4
  • Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Leg Clutch @21:10 – *** 1/2

 

Quarterfinals Analysis:

YOSHI had something to prove, and being that he and Ishii are stablemates, it felt almost personal. YOSHI came out with more fire and resiliency than we’re accustomed to expect from him and had a few nice near falls. Never really being able to hit Karma, and trying to go toe to toe with Ishii on strikes was his undoing. You don’t trying to go blow for blow with the Stone Pitbull.

Okada and Ospreay are great together. As much as I was previously against Ospreay, after his neck injury he seems to actually be doing more than just a plethora of pointless flips. Ospreay has started to become more calculated and Okada keeps getting pushed harder and harder each time these two get together. Though I feel their 46th Anniversary was better, this was still a damn good match. New Ospreay is best Ospreay.

Colt and SANADA. What can I really say. Colt tried to outsmart SANADA on multiple occasions but seemingly gassed himself out being quirky. He overshot the Superman Pin once allowing SANADA to roll out of it and then he just missed, leaving himself wide open for the Skull End. Hopefully we see SANADA get over the hump in the semis, but he’s in some pretty elite company.

Sabre and Tanahashi was a deliberately paced match with Tanahashi trying to keep Zack away from his legs. I’m surprised that Zack didn’t immediately go after the legs when we all know Tanahshi has two bad wheels. So something about Zack seemed to not be nearly as sharp and calculated as usual, so Tanahashi was able to land an Inverted Slingblade and squeak out the pinfall with a Leg Clutch, much to Zack’s chagrin.

 

Quarterfinals Overall Score: 6.75/10

After a first day of two great matches, the second was bound to not live up to the bar that was set because of well, Colt Cabana. No knock on Colt because he is a well rounded wrestler, but because he was basically Gaijin Yano in this tour, he wasn’t going to put on  a classic. Honestly, even Tanahashi and Sabre was a little underwhelming. When YOSHI-HASHI is a participant in the best match of this section, some soul searching might be in order.

 

Semifinals Ratings:

  • Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:10 – **** 1/4
  • SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: SANADA wins via Skull End @24:10 – ****

 

Semifinals Analysis:

Okada and Ishii was a hell of a slobber knocker. Ishii does have a G1 victory over Okada, so it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Okada was going to win, and there were plenty of callbacks to the match where Ishii won. Okada saved the match for himself a few times with desperation Dropkicks, as Ishii just kept coming at him and avoiding the Rainmaker attempts for the most part. A multitude of headbutts and attempted Tombstones is where the match swayed to Okada. Ishii kept trying to hit the Tombstone to weaken the neck for the Vertical Drop Brainbuster, but Okada was wise to it and hit a Jumping Tombstone of his own, to set up the Rainmaker finish. Solid match, with the type of aggression you’d expect from two men who really wanted the chance to beat the hell out of Jay White.

Tanahashi and SANADA is interesting. They have similar teachers and harken back to both for their distinctive style. Tanahashi has been referencing Fujinami a lot to avoid knee damage and SANADA loves himself some Mutoh. We saw this match be a little more of a mat based chess game, with both finding ways to work over the other. Tanahashi went through the litany of the moves he used in the tournament thus far, only to have SANADA either break out, or outright counter. Tanahashi tried to use the Leg Clutch he used against Zack Sabre, but SANADA blocked it and sunk in the Skull End. Which marked the end for Tanahashi.

 

Semifinals Overall Score: 7.5/10

These matches were great and lead to a rematch between Okada and SANADA. In what was one of Okada’s better title defenses last year, SANADA is a year older and hopefully with a new trick. The excessive attempts at the Moonsault, are what spelled SANADA’s doom last year.

See you tomorrow for the New Japan Cup Finals! Does SANADA or Okada face Jay White in MSG?


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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