NJPW and AXS move to the second round of the 2019 New Japan Cup! Will Kota Ibushi continue the comeback? Or will he #JustTapOut to Zack Sabre Jr?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Ryusuke Taguchi; Tanahashi wins and advances to the quarterfinals.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Kota Ibushi; ZSJ wins and advances to the quarterfinals.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for the 2019 New Japan Cup’s second round!
The best wrestling of the Spring continues as the G1 Supercard approaches! The field narrows as Yoshi-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada get through to the quarterfinals to show Chaos still has it. However, the clown prince, Toru Yano, didn’t quite make the cut against Colt Cabana! Meanwhile, Los Ingobernables de Japon scores another victory of Suzuki-Gun as Sanada eliminated Minoru Suzuki himself! The Cold Skull got his payback, but will he continue on towards the finals?
As for tonight’s profiled matches, the Submission Master and the Golden Star have a rematch from last year’s New Japan Cup! Zack Sabre Jr. made Kota Ibushi tap out on his way to the top, but will history repeat itself? And first, the Funky Weapon and Junior Heavyweight icon, Ryusuke Taguchi, has made it this far, but now he faces The Ace. Will Taguchi defy the odds against Hiroshi Tanahashi? Or will the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion take a step closer towards his revenge on Jay White?
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Ryusuke Taguchi!
The New Japan Cup is feeling funky as the team captain of the main unit takes on the Once in a Century Talent for the first time in a long time! Tanahashi is 3-0 against Taguchi, can he keep that streak going? Or will Taguchi get the biggest upset so far in this tournament?
The bell rings the old friends go to fist bump, but Tanahashi doesn’t give it. Fans rally for Tanahashi already but Taguchi makes sure he hears what they’re saying. Taguchi and Tanahashi circle and tie up, and Tanahashi gets the arm wrench. Taguchi reverses quickly, but Tanahashi throws body shots. Tanahashi wrenches but Taguchi wrenches back fast again. Taguchi shifts to a hammerlock, but Tanahashi slips around to his own. Taguchi gives the hammerlock back, but Tanahashi drop toeholds. Tanahashi floats but Taguchi slips out to get his own headlock. Tanahashi slips out to get a headlock again, and he has Taguchi trapped on the mat. Taguchi endures and works his way up to his feet. He powers out and things speed up!
Tanahashi counters the back elbow to keep things moving, but Taguchi drops to get the ankle lock! Tanahashi throws Taguchi off, and fans applaud the stand off. Taguchi offers the fist bumps again, but Tanahashi doesn’t give it. Taguchi gets fist bumps from Red Shoes, and the fans even encourage Tanahashi to give them. Tanahashi goes to, but he sees through Taguchi’s trap! He catches the kick to elbow the leg. Tanahashi whips but Taguchi reverses. Tanahashi sunset flips but Taguchi rolls through to dropkick! Taguchi gives Tanahashi a close-up hip attack, then another. Taguchi also drops elbows then grinds Tanahashi’s feet in the corner. He whips Tanahashi but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi runs in but Taguchi goes up and over, so Tanahashi slides out to trip and drag Taguchi down. Tanahashi gives Taguchi the ankle lock against the post!
Red Shoes counts Tanahashi but he lets go at 4, to swing the leg into the post! Tanahashi slams Taguchi’s leg into the post again, then goes back into the ring. Tanahashi stalks Taguchi and grabs the leg. He stomps and elbows it down, then again. Taguchi endures as Tanahashi pulls on the leg in a toehold. Tanahashi traps the leg and digs his knuckles into the knee. Taguchi fights back, and even gets Tanahashi in a chinlock. Tanahashi bucks him off but Taguchi gets the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets Taguchi go, then stomps the bad leg more. Taguchi writhes while fans duel. Tanahashi drags Taguchi up. Taguchi CHOPS but Tanahashi feels stronger for it. Taguchi goes after Tanahashi’s own bad leg, but Tanahashi snapmares and hip attacks Taguchi! The Funky Weapon gets a taste of his own medicine while we go to break.
NJWP on AXS returns as Tanahashi continues to give Taguchi hip attacks. Tanahashi drags Taguchi up to whip but Taguchi reverses. Tanahashi avoids Taguchi’s hip attack to kick the Funky Weapon. But then he runs into a hip attack the second time! Taguchi runs but his Funky Weapon takes an Atomic Drop! Tanahashi runs but into the Funky Weapon! Both men are down but fans rally up. Taguchi and Tanahashi slowly sit up, and Taguchi gives Tanahashi close-range hip attacks again. Taguchi grinds Tanahashi into ropes with a Funky stink face! Fans cheer as Taguchi starts an infinite Funky Weapon train! Tanahshi turns over but Taguchi goes to the outside to hip attack him back in! Fans fire up as Taguchi takes aim. Springboard missile dropkick! But Tanahashi rolls all the way out!
Taguchi follows Tanahashi with a triangle dropkick! Tanahashi drops down and Taguchi triangle planchas! Direct hit takes out The Ace and Taguchi gets in the ring. Taguchi is feeling it while he catches his breath. The 20 count begins and Tanahashi stirs at 9. Tanahashi crawls at 13 but Taguchi goes out to fetch him. Taguchi has Tanahashi in an ankle lock on the ropes! He lets up at 4, having gotten his payback from before. Taguchi apologizes to Red Shoes, but Tanahashi gives Taguchi a dragon screw! And dropkick! And another dragon screw! Taguchi collapses but Tanahashi drags him in for the Cloverleaf! Taguchi drags himself to the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets go to stomp Taguchi more while fans duel again. Tanahashi drags Taguchi up and scoop slams him into a drop zone. The Ace then hops up and strikes a pose, only for Taguchi to trip him up!
Taguchi gets the ankle lock again! Tanahashi scrambles to the opposite corner to shove Taguchi away. Tanahashi runs, but Slingblade is countered into chicken wings. But Tanahashi counters the Dodon into Twist ‘n’ Shout! Tanahashi holds on, but Taguchi hits Uno Amigo! Taguchi pops up but gets another Twist ‘n’ Shout! Tanahashi drags Taguchi up, for Dos Amigos! Taguchi tries again, but Tanahashi blocks. Taguchi also blocks Tanahashi, and he gets TRES AMIGOS! Both men are down but Taguchi nips right up! Taguchi shouts out to the King of Strong Style, getting the fans into it! He aims at Tanahashi, BUM-A-YE! Cover, TWO!! Taguchi can’t believe he didn’t put Tanahashi away with that, but he still has more to give. He looms over Tanahashi then drags him up into chicken wings. Tanahashi resists but still ends up in a Tiger Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!!
Taguchi is furious, but he goes after Tanahashi again. Chicken wings but victory roll! Taguchi sits on it, TWO!! ANKLE LOCK! Tanahashi endures the twist in his leg, and rolls, but Taguchi holds on to keep the lock! Taguchi twists but Tanahashi reaches for ropes, only for Taguchi to pull him away. Taguchi drops elbows on the knee and twists even harder! Fans duel and Tanahashi gets up again, and manages to turn and cradle! TWO, and Tanahashi gets Taguchi in another victory roll! TWO, and Tanahashi rocks Taguchi with a left hand! Tanahashi runs, but into an enziguri! Taguchi fires up and runs, but into a Slingblade! Tanahashi fires up as he drags Taguchi around, and Tanahashi chicken wings! Taguchi denies the stolen Dodon but gets another Slingblade! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous as Tanahashi full nelsons to a Dragon Suplex! Bridge, Tanahashi wins!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; advances to the quarterfinals
The Ace got quite the fight out of the Funky Weapon, but he’s still undefeated against his friend. But to show there is still respect and friendship between then, Tanahashi finally gives Taguchi the fist bump. Will Tanahashi continue his quest for vengeance and make it to Madison Square Garden?
Taguchi’s dream was to be IWGP Heavyweight Champion #69. He didn’t make it there, he didn’t get the job done, because he couldn’t finish it off. He got soft.
As for Tanahashi, he feels the odds were against him. But he still made it through to the second round with his Dragon Suplex. Tanahashi knows the history of MSG. It is where Tatsumi Fujinami first used a Dragon Suplex. This felt right to bring it back. Like a comeback salmon, or perhaps comeback dragon. Will Tanahashi bring the comeback dragon to get back the heavyweight championship?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Kota Ibushi!
“Welcome to Zack Sabre Time!” Taka Michinoku again asks who did fans pick to win this year’s New Japan Cup. Who do they want to win? Sounds like they want Ibushi, but just like last year, he’ll lose to the British Heavyweight Champion and the Submission Master, Zack Sabre Jr! The referee had to stop it last time, but maybe Ibushi will #JustTapOut this time, for 0-2 against ZSJ! So Golden Star, “C’mon ova here!” Ibushi makes his entrance, and this rematch begins!
Fans are strongly behind Ibushi even before the bell. The bell rings and ZSJ circles with Ibushi. Ibushi stays clear of ZSJ’s grip but ZSJ stays clear of Ibushi’s kicks. They approach but back away, then approach again. ZSJ backs away to a corner but Ibushi follows. Ibushi kicks but ZSJ manages to stay away. ZSJ gets Ibushi down on the mat and floats to a facelock, to gator roll, but Ibushi ropebreaks. ZSJ lets up and backs away to a corner. They circle again and approach. ZSJ gets another facelock to a cravat, then shifts to a headlock. Ibushi powers out but ZSJ runs him over. Ibushi nips up and things speed up. ZSJ catches the leg and brings Ibushi down to a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Ibushi pops out and covers, TWO, and ZSJ gets clear of a Penalty Kick! Fans applaud while both men stare down.
ZSJ and Ibushi circle again. They feel it out as they tie up. Ibushi kicks swift and hard to ZSJ’s leg and ZSJ gets to ropes. ZSJ and Ibushi circle again, and ZSJ tries to reel Ibushi in, only to get another kick. ZSJ backs off to rest that leg but Ibushi compels him to circle again. They tie up and ZSJ kicks, then catches Ibushi’s! ZSJ reels Ibushi into a heel hook but Ibushi gets a ropebreak. ZSJ lets go only to shift to a toehold! He cranks it against the ropes, but lets go at 3. Ibushi clutches his leg while getting to ropes. ZSJ grabs the bad leg and pushes it against the ropes while twisting the ankle. Red Shoes reprimands ZSJ so he backs off, and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns while ZSJ paces. ZSJ comes around to kick Ibushi in the leg. ZSJ toys with Ibushi but Ibushi kicks hard from the mat. So ZSJ grabs the leg for another heel hook! Ibushi endures as ZSJ shifts to a Calf Killer, then headscissors at the same time! ZSJ sits on Ibushi then leans back for a mix of triangle hold and STF! ZSJ even twists the ankle more, but Ibushi powers his way forward, so ZSJ lets go to twist the neck! Ibushi writhes but goes to ropes while ZSJ paces again. ZSJ drags Ibushi up for a chinbar neck wrench, then into a reverse cravat. Ibushi gets the ropebreak again, but ZSJ keeps pressure on him until 4. ZSJ backs off to let Ibushi stand up in a corner.
ZSJ runs in but Ibushi manages to go up and over and huricanrana! Roundhouse! But Ibushi has to sit down from his bad leg. Fans rally while Ibushi forces himself to stand. Ibushi dares ZSJ to stand, and then he unleashes a strike fest! Moonstault, but onto knees! And into another heel hook! ZSJ adds a kneebar with the grapevine, but Ibushi drags himself to ropes for another ropebreak. ZSJ lets go again but Ibushi’s leg is only feeling worse. Fans keep rallying behind Ibushi but ZSJ stomps right down on the bad knee! ZSJ scrapes Ibushi’s face for good measure. But Ibushi eggs ZSJ on, so ZSJ stomps again, only to get caught! Ibushi stands but ZSJ forearms. Ibushi ducks to PELE! Both men are down again, but Ibushi stands up first. Ibushi drags ZSJ up, but ZSJ rolls him for an Indian Deathlock!
ZSJ pushes on the legs, then sits up for a butterfly stretch. Ibushi endures even as ZSJ puts on a cravat and throws forearms. ZSJ digs knuckles into the knee, so Ibushi throws forearms. ZSJ SLAPS Ibushi down! But Ibushi just throws more forearms back! Ibushi punches ZSJ off the hold then toys with him into a corner. Ibushi throws more kicks and forearms, even as Red Shoes tries to pull him away. ZSJ hits back but Ibushi hits harder! Red Shoes manages to get Ibushi to back away, but ZSJ uses that opening to dropkick Ibushi’s legs! ZSJ sweeps the legs, too, then runs. Ibushi ducks the Penalty Kick, and gets the powerslam on the return! Ibushi hops up and moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Fans keep cheering while Ibushi wills himself back up.
Ibushi drags ZSJ up, but ZSJ slips through, only to get a forearm. ZSJ kicks Ibushi’s leg over and over, but runs into the double stomps! Both men are down from various pains, but the fans give them life to sit up. Ibushi drags ZSJ up in a half nelson, but ZSJ slips out to get a full nelson. Ibushi breaks that to standing switch to his own full nelson, but ZSJ kicks his way out of that. ZSJ drop toeholds back to the heel hook but Ibushi moves back, HALF ‘N’ HALF! Bridging cover, TWO! This epic rematch continues after the break!
NJPW on AXS returns once again, and Taka coaches ZSJ up while Ibushi feeds off the fans’ energy. Both men sit up, but Ibushi stands first. Ibushi buzzsaws but it’s blocked to a standing heel hook! Ibushi reaches for ropes but ZSJ German Suplexes him back! But Ibushi lands on his feet! ZSJ counter kicks Ibushi’s clothesline, then throws European Uppercuts. ZSJ hops on for the guillotine facelock! The body scissors are on and Ibushi starts to fade. ZSJ shifts to a scoop, but Ibushi slips out to LARIAT! Both men are down again as fans return to a fever pitch. Ibushi fires up as he drags ZSJ up. Powerbomb, but ZSJ slips out to the Octopus! Ibushi pops out, gut wrenches, and tucks ZSJ in! But ZSJ rolls through to the European Clutch!! Cover, TWO!! Penalty Kick blocked into a CHOP!
Both men are down again, but fans fire up. Taka coaches ZSJ but Ibushi’s up first. Ibushi drags ZSJ but ZSJ monkey flips him into an armbar! Ibushi glares at ZSJ through the triangle hold, and deadlifts ZSJ for the LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi shakes his head, he won’t let things go like last year. He pulls his knee pad down and vows to break ZSJ. Kamigoye BLOCKED, ZSJ Peles the arm! ZSJ runs in but into a backslide! He rolls through, spins around, rolls, but Ibushi counters to a straitjacket German! Bridging cover, TWO! Ibushi holds on to the wrists, Kamigoye rolled up into a Calf Killer! Ibushi endures as ZSJ pulls and rolls the leg around!
Fans are rabid as ZSJ does everything he can to keep Ibushi away. NAPALM DEATH! Ibushi is stuck with all four limbs and Red Shoes has to ask him! Ibushi taps, ZSJ wins!!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the quarterfinals
The Submission Master is still undefeated in the New Japan Cup! The comeback of Kota Ibushi is over already, but will we see ZSJ win back-to-back New Japan Cups? Taka makes sure to ask who fans think is gonna win. “In an unprecendented feat, the first foreigner to conquer the New Japan Cup two years in a row”, it will be Zack, Sabrrrre, Junioooor~! Taka says it, but will ZSJ make it come true when he’s up against The Ace next?
Ibushi admits “it’s all over.” His first goal of winning the New Japan Cup has already failed. “So near yet so far…” This tournament mattered the most to him. With his own will, he tapped out.
As for ZSJ, he keeps telling us all that he will win the New Japan Cup again. And then he’ll win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, and then he’ll defend that title at the inaugural NJPW Royal Quest. Of course, ZSJ will make sure to rename it by then, because he doesn’t believe in any monarchy. Will ZSJ revolutionize NJPW while becoming a dual promotion heavyweight champion?
Incredible stuff for the second round of this tournament. We’re clearly following ZSJ through most of AXS’s coverage, because this back-to-back New Japan Cup story is quite a good one. I did not think he’d defeat Kota Ibushi, because I really thought Ibushi was getting a push. Perhaps Ibushi can come back around to the title after G1 Supercard, since he is in NJPW full time now. But either way, ZSJ VS Ibushi was incredible, probably better than last year’s. Tanahashi VS Taguchi was a great match, too, but naturally Tanahashi wins. Tanahashi’s own story of wanting a rematch with Jay White is also great, so I’m thinking Tanahashi wins for that story to be pushed further.
My Score: 8.6/10