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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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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 7 A Block

KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?

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KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?

Aside from the big names being stuck in the middle of the pack, we’ve got poor little Zack Sabre at zero points. Can he twist Fale into a pretzel and figure it out?

Then we have Okada facing a banged up Ospreay, while KENTA takes on a rising EVIL.

Do we still have any undefeated participants in A Block after today?

Ratings:

  • Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Shooter wins via Boston Crab @3:55 – ** 1/4
  • Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Yuya Uemura: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:50 – ***
  • Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs Jeff Cobb, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:50 – ** 1/2
  • Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI, Ren Narita & Tomohiro Ishii: BUSHI wins via MX @7:35 – **
  • A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale: Sabre wins via Countout @6:30 – ** 1/4
  • A Block: Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Victory Roll @12:00 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: KENTA vs EVIL: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @15:05 – *** 1/2
  • A Block: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @19:15 – *** 3/4
  • A Block: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:55 – **** 1/2

 

 

Analysis:

Still a lot of heat from their NXT past and Moxley’s debut match in NJPW. Juice and Mox don’t face each other until the end of their block schedule, but if this needed more heat…well this was gasoline. Juice and Mox stay on each other, brawl to the back while the Young Lions fight, but Mox apparently gets the best of the brawl. He returns to the ring to help Shooter, hit their Hart Attack tandem move and Shooter sinks in the Boston Crab.

There’s history between Taichi and Goto centering around the NEVER Openweight Title, Yano and Suzuki have fun history and it looks like Uemura is stepping up to Suzuki. So there’s a lot of fun moments, Uemura has a death wish trying to fight Suzuki, but it’s still fun. A lot of moving pieces in this one that kept it very entertaining.

Honma got put through the paces, Jay White got tossed around a little bit by Jeff Cobb, but the Bullet Club tag partners proved to be more useful than Cobb’s. Chase has picked up a few wins in the tag matches, so he might get some kind of push coming soon.

BUSHI continues to pick up pinfalls in these tag matches, and this sort of builds for Ishii and Naito, but not a ton happens. YOSHI-HASHI is there, Shingo looks like a million bucks and BUSHI wins the match, LOL. This was very paint by numbers.

Sabre jumps all over Fale at the start and tries a plethora of submissions to no avail. A kendo stick shot from Jado pushes the action to the outside. Fale and Bullet Club look to have an advantage, but Sabre dodges some double team tactics, grounds Fale with a Triangle Arm Bar, and then races to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale couldn’t make it back fast enough, so Sabre gets the first Countout win of this year’s tournament.

Tanahashi is really showing the age and injuries this year, so all of these flukey wins just come off as forced. The match was slow, had moments of being interesting, but Tanahashi not even being 50% of what he used to be makes these hard to watch at times. Archer is getting over well, but Tanahashi winning at this point does hurt the credibility a little. I get the story they’re telling, but unlike last year where Tanahashi could push through injuries, this year, they are much more obvious, and he’s much more hampered.

EVIL took the fight to KENTA and then they went to the outside. Through the back and then into the crowd area next to the ramp. EVIL went for Darkness Falls on a bunch of a chairs, but KENTA stopped him and suplexed him onto said chairs. When it got back in the ring, EVIL tried to weaken the legs and KENTA went after EVIL’s upper body to mitigate the power advantage. Heavily booed, KENTA played up heel nicely (I guess WWE did help for something), and eventually he gets the best of EVIL and lets him take a nap. KENTA moves to 4-0.

We get a solid match between two guys who are right on the precipice of the Main Event scene. Kota outsmarts SANADA early by not going for the stupid dueling Dropkick spot, and from then on it was an interesting struggle. Between fan support and the general “anything you can do, I can do better” pacing, this was entertaining, yet slow and felt too long in some spots. Both looked pretty good, but this could’ve been told faster and SANADA’s perpetual struggles are a little frustrating for anyone who is a fan of his.

Okada and Ospreay were expected to blow the roof off, and well I’d say this was a damn good shot. Ospreay is obviously dinged up, but he fought through the pain and pulled off numerous flipping counters and found a few different ways to hit the Os-Cutter. They both let their personalities fly and this was a lot of fun to watch. Okada always has this older brother aura since he’s the one that brought Ospreay to New Japan and Chaos, so whenever they get together, it’s very much like two siblings trying to outdo the other. Ospreay had a great flurry at the end, flipping through a Rainmaker attempt, to try his Stormbreaker, but Okada flipped through that and hit a short arm lariat. Rolling Rainmaker and a normal Rainmaker later, Okada edges out the little brother. Great match.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

Well this night struggled cause the first two Block matches were really weak. The next two amped-up the intensity a little, but fell short of a memorable match. The main event was fantastic, but generally speaking this felt like it was slow, plateau’d for a while and only picked up at the end. Nothing out right awful, but a lot of matches that could’ve been a little better.

Still a solid enough night if you’re following it all, but only the main event is worthy of seeking out individually. It is nice to see that everyone is on the board with some points. So if Okada and KENTA stumble a little, the rest of the block could plausibly catch up.

 

Block A Standings:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 4-0 (8 Points)
  • KENTA: 4-0 (8 Points)
  • Lance Archer: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • EVIL: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • Kota Ibushi: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • SANADA: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Will Ospreay: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Bad Luck Fale: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Zack Sabre Jr: 1-3 (2 Points)

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 6 B Block

Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii and Jon Moxley come in at the top of the standings. How do we see B Block take shape?

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Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii and Jon Moxley come in at the top of the standings. How do we see B Block take shape?

This whole day is based around two major things:

Will Jay White or Tetsuya Naito get a win?

Will Moxley or Ishii kill one another?

Let’s find out!

Ratings:

  • Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens vs Zack Sabre Jr & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Fale wins via Grenade @4:50 – **
  • Tomoaki Honma & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer: Archer wins via EBD Claw Hold @9:50 – **
  • SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs KENTA, Kota Ibushi & Clark Connors: BUSHI wins via MX @9:02 – ** 1/2
  • YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay & Toa Henare: YOSHI wins via Fisherman Buster @8:45 – ** 1/4
  • B Block: Shingo Takagi vs Taichi: Takagi wins via Last of the Dragon @14:40 – ****
  • B Block: Jeff Cobb vs Juice Robinson: Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @13:20 – *** 1/2
  • B Block: Toru Yano vs Jay White: Yano wins via Brass Knuckle Low Blow/Roll-Up @3:05 – ** 1/2
  • B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs Hirooki Goto: Naito wins via Destino @16:00 – *** 3/4
  • B Block: Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii: Moxley wins via Deathrider @20:35 – **** 1/2

 

Analysis:

Well Fale tried to outsmart the Rainmaker in his last G1 match, and that didn’t go too well. So Sabre is being a whiny child, tried to step to Fale and for the most part, got brushed off. Fale isn’t really in a position to eat another loss, but it’s unusual for Sabre to be doing so poorly. I’m curious if Sabre continues this slide until maybe TAKA Michinoku returns to be his hype man, or Sabre gets off the schneid.

People, everybody dies. You know that, Lance knows that, Honma knows that…Kairi Sane knows that. This didn’t really add much to things except the undercurrent of a quiet Minoru Suzuki is scary for the whole world. Also – Everybody Dies!

Now that SANADA and EVIL have had their match, there is some symbiosis back on the LIJ undercards. KENTA and Kota teaming together was a cute call back, but nothing of heavy merit came from this match. BUSHI continues to rack up positive momentum during these tags, Clark Connors is impressive for an LA Dojo Young Lion. So decent match, but aside from EVIL and KENTA brawling after the match and SANADA and Ibushi having a rather civil fan support battle, nothing too important for the impending matches.

Okada and Ospreay did have the crowd hot, but aside from a small flourish, this was mostly YOSHI and Henare. Surprisingly, YOSHI-HASHI has put together a few pinfalls in the tag matches, so that tends to actually play a role in the second half story telling. Ospreay may be on his way to a big upset since even if Okada seems to be positioned to win A Block, he won’t make it through unscathed.

Now this was a fun match. It was a continuation of the Suzuki-Gun/LIJ drama, but Taichi has his own issues. Shingo is fighting as a Junior Heavyweight and Taichi moved up to Heavyweight last year, but was overlooked for the G1. So the fact that Shingo asks and gets in, yet Taichi moves up and was ignored has to bother him. With all of these little things eating through, Taichi brought out the Dangerous T that many of us have grown to love. Sure there was a brief moment of shenanigans with lovely Miho and the microphone stand, but 90% of the match was on the up and up. Pumping Bomber versus Axe Bomber was great, the callbacks to both of their mentors was wonderful and just generally speaking, when the Holy Emperor tries, those are great matches. Shingo getting the win won’t sit well with Taichi, but we’ve got plenty more time to see how this all falls.

Juice starts off the match in a 3 way tie for first, but Cobb really needs a win to legitimize his tournament. Being undefeated in ROH for about a year, as well as all his other accolades, he needs to stop losing. Cobb showed a little more fire than usual in this match and took it to Juice. Juice has been in hard hitting affairs all tournament and it looks like Juice might’ve finally hit the wall. Should be interesting to see if Juice flounders from here or if he recovers.

Well the Chaos revenge tour has another stop with Toru Yano and Jay White. Jay has not gotten off to a good start and it’s all his past decisions coming to bite him. This match…would be no different. Yano takes advantage of Gedo getting involved. Between Barbara Jean the turnbuckle pad and the brass knuckles from Gedo, Jay White’s nuts didn’t stand a chance. So Yano runs away with 2 more points and Jay’s pride…and other things…are a bit sore.

Goto started off the tournament looking like a new man, Naito has also looked different, but for different reasons. Naito sitting in the basement with zero points and Goto with the renewed sense of purpose makes for an odd dynamic. This match is one of their usual ones, where it’s quick bursts, hard hitting and a few solid false finishes. However, at multiple points Naito’s usual tranquilo is shaken and you can see him show levels of concern. Goto being the one with the power in the match, makes for some unique interactions. Naito does pull off the win, but it’s not for Goto’s lack of trying and kicking out of one running Destino. Naito finally gets some points, but it’s nothing near dominant enough to breathe a sigh of relief.

Moxley versus Ishii was the insane hard hitting match we expected. Ishii even flew. He hit a splash on Moxley through a table. The Stone Pitbull flew. Yes I realize there is a callback to Masato Tanaka in that move, but you don’t understand, Ishii flew. Anyway, the beauty of Red Shoes as a referee is he understands each wrestlers personality, so he gives them a little more leash to do what they like to do. Moxley used weapons, Ishii egged it on, there were huge strikes, Ishii’s torpedo style rising headbutts and just good violence. This was a bar fight and no one was upset. Moxley getting the win was a little surprising since most of us assume he won’t be available for many if any later dates once AEW TV starts up. This was just a nice change of pace for the usual New Japan and/or Strong Style match.

 

Overall Score: 7.75/10

With a great Taichi match and Moxley changing the pace, this show was definitely something to behold. Jay White’s continued spiral is more amusing than Sabre’s since this seems like retribution where Sabre is just a punk bitch when he loses. Even with an uneventful undercard, the main Block matches kept everything moving upward and onward.

With Moxley as the sole 3-0, who unseats the Death Rider?

 

B Block Standings:

  • Jon Moxley – 3-0 (6 Points)
  • Toru Yano – 2-1 (4 Points)
  • Tomohiro Ishii – 2-1 (4 Points)
  • Juice Robinson – 2-1 (4 Points)
  • Shingo Takagi – 2-1 (4 Points)
  • Jeff Cobb – 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Tetsuya Naito – 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Hirooki Goto – 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Taichi – 1-2 (2 Points)
  • Jay White – 0-3 (0 Points)


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