NJPW and AXS wrap up the 2019 New Japan Cup in one night! THREE HOURS of action, all in a row! Who makes it through to the finals to then win it all?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Quarterfinals
- Kazuchika Okada VS Will Ospreay; Okada wins and advances to the semifinals.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Zack Sabre Jr; Tanahashi wins and advances to the semifinals.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scenes for the 2019 New Japan Cup Quarterfinals!
The major tournament of the Spring continues into the third round’s Elite Eight! The Head Hunter, Yoshi-Hashi, fell to fellow Chaos member, the Stone Pitbull, Tomohiro Ishii! And Colt Cabana’s Cinderella run struck midnight as Cold Skull, Sanada, put him away with Skull End. But tonight wraps up the Quarters with two major main-event level matches! The Submission Master again meets The Ace in a rematch from 2018’s Finals! Will Zack Sabre Jr. stay undefeated in the Cup? Or will Hiroshi Tanahashi refuse to #JustTapOut? And before that, Chaos clashes again as the Aerial Assassin again challenges The Rainmaker! Will Will Ospreay finally overcome his mentor? Or will Kazuchika Okada take that step closer to revenge on Jay White?
Kazuchika Okada VS Will Ospreay!
The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion has defeated the current NEVER Openweight Champion the two times they’ve met before, but never say never to the Aerial Assassin! Will Okada stay perfect against Ospreay? Or will this be the time for a shocking upset?
The bell rings and fans cheer for Okada as he and Ospreay stare down from opposite corners. Okada and Ospreay circle and tie up, but break. They go again and Okada waistlocks. Ospreay standing switches but Okada drop toeholds to a switch. Ospreay switches and floats to a facelock. Okada stands and pries his way out to a wristlock. Ospreay rolls and breaks to spin to wrench Okada. Fans applaud the technical showcase as Okada handsprings through to his own wrench. Ospreay stands and spins through to snapmare Okada, but Okada reverses to the wristlock right away. Ospreay stands again and uses his foot to pry free to a headlock. Okada powers Ospreay to the ropes, but as he usually does, he fakes a chop on the break to pat Ospreay’s shoulders.
Okada kicks Ospraey for a headlock, but Ospreay powers out. Ospreay gets run over but gets right back up! Okada grins then pie faces Ospreay. Ospreay grimaces as he forearms Okada back. Okada returns the forearm and now it’s a brawl. Okada whips but Ospreay reverses and speeds things up for a monkey flip! Ospreay is ready as Okada bails out, but he fakes Okada out with a handspring superhero landing! Okada catches his breath on the outside but Ospreay waits. Okada gets in but Ospreay dropkicks him back out. Fans rally as Ospreay slingshots, but Okada dodges and boots. Okada whips but Osrepay leaps over to hit back! Ospreay uses the railing as a springboard but into an uppercut! Okada paces while Ospreay checks his face.
Okada looms over Ospreay before putting him in. Fans applaud as Okada continues this in the ring. Okada drags Ospreay up and scoops for a dumping slam. Then a slingshot senton! Okada mocks the superhero landing pose a moment then brings Ospreay back up. Okada bumps Ospreay off buckles then stands him up for back elbow after elbow. He then brings Ospreay out, but Ospreay fights back. Okada kicks and hits a neckbreaker, cover, TWO! Okada keeps on Ospreay with a chinlock and fans start to rally up. Ospreay endures as Okada drives his knee in. Ospreay gets up and fights out, but Okada knees low. Okada whips Ospreay corner to corner but runs into a back elbow. Ospreay runs out but into a tackle. Okada puts him on the top rope to dropkick Ospreay out! Ospreay crashes down but Okada catches his breath.
Red Shoes starts the ring count but it climbs to 10/20 before Ospreay sits up. Ospreay crawls at 13, stands at 15 and drags himself in. But Okada kicks at Ospreay right at the ropes, egging him on with trash talk. Ospreay drags himself to his feet but Okada forearms him back down. Ospreay drags himself up again and glares at Okada. Okada throws another forearm then eggs Ospreay on more. Ospreay stands again, blocks the forearm, and slingshots to body scissors Okada out! Fans fire up as Ospreay builds speed for the SASUKE SPECIAL! The Aerial Assassin knocks the Rainmaker down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Ospreay fires up. Ospreay looms over Okada now before putting him in. Ospreay throws fast strikes on Okada then whips, but Okada reverses, Ospreay handsprings to enziguri! Cover, TWO! Okada crawls to a corner but Ospreay runs in corner to corner. Okada dodges and runs back in for a back elbow. He kicks but Ospreay reverses to a forearm. Ospreay runs but into a flapjack! Ospreay winces from his rib injuries, but Okada stalks him for an Aabama lift. But Ospraey slips out and kicks back. Okada counters with a boot then gets the Alabama lift again. Okada adjusts, reverse neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Ospreay still lives but Okada keeps his focus. Okada goes to a corner and climbs up. Okada leaps and hits the Macho Elbow! Fans fire up, because Okada hits the Rainmaker pose! Only for Ospreay to roundhouse him down!
Both men are down but Ospreay gets to the apron. Ospreay’s ribs bother him again but he still climbs up. Ospreay springboards and hits the Pip Pip Cheerio flying forearm! Cover, TWO! Okada narrowly escapes but Ospreay keeps his focus. Ospreay drags Okada up for the underhooks, but Okada resists the lift. Ospreay kicks him in the face again and again, then again! He puts Okada back in for the underhook, lifts him up, STORM- Arm-drag! Okada shotgun dropkicks Ospreay into the corner! Both men are down but Okada is stirring. Ospreay slowly gets up as fans rally both ways. Okada and Ospreay meet in the middle and Okada throws a heavy right. Ospreay grits his teeth and hits back. Okada hits again, but so does Ospreay. Okada throws an uppercut, then another. He toys with Ospreay now, but Ospreay backslides! ONE, to a clobbering clothesline!
Both men are down again but Ospreay still has wrist control. Ospreay drags Okada up for another clothesline. He still holds Okada’s hand as fans rally up. Ospreay drags Okada up, wristlock wring out but Okada dodges to dropkick Ospreay in the back! Okada whips but Ospreay dodges another dropkick to standing Shooting Star! Okada gets the knees up! Point blank EuroUpper, but Ospreay pops up to roundhouse and hooking SUPERKICK! Okada is on his knees and Ospreay takes aim! The arm band comes off, but Okada ducks the back hand! Okada fireman’s carry and throw, but Ospreay counters with a stunner! Okada boots back but runs into a dropkickflip and enziguri! Ospreay hook SUPERKICKS again! Ospreay puts Okada up top, Electric Chair, and then the top rope?! SUPER ICONOCLASM!! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives!
Fans are thunderous as both men slowly stir. Ospreay gets to a corner and to his feet. He aims again, Robinson Special spin kick hits! Ospreay calls for it now, springboards, but into Okada’s German Suplex! Okada holds onto the waistlock and drags Ospreay back up in the wristlock. He swings Ospreay out, but SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives again! Ospreay keeps going and climbs to the top rope. Shooting Star onto Okada’s back! But Ospreay isn’t done there, he’s back up top for another Shooting Star! Cover, TWO!? Okada still lives but Ospreay won’t let up. Ospreay runs, springboards, but into a dropkick! Okada drags Ospreay up fast, gut wrenches and tombstones! But Okada roars as he drags Ospreay back up and in, swings out, Rain- STORMBREAK- SPINNING TOMBSTONE!? And then, RAINMAKER!! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; advances to the semifinals
The clash of Chaos ends with the Rainmaker going 3-0 against the Aerial Assassin! But will Okada’s quest of redemption continue from semifinals into the 2019 New Japan Cup Finals?
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Zack Sabre Jr!
The Ace knows what it’s like to #JustTapOut to the Submission Master, but he looks to redeem his 2018 defeat on the Road to G1 Supercard! Meanwhile, the 2018 cup winner wants to keep his streak going, will ZSJ look to go back-to-back in the tournament?
The bell rings and the cheers already build for Tanahashi as he circles with ZSJ. They approach and Tanahashi avoids ZSJ’s grip. ZSJ grins as he toys with Tanahashi, and ZSJ reels Tanahashi in for a headlock to cravat to armlock. Tanahashi rolls and gets ZSJ’s leg for a cover, but ZSJ immediately gets the headscissors. ZSJ squeezes but Tanahashi pops out to headlock. ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock and then cover, ONE! Tanahashi gets up and fans applaud this early exchange. The two circle again and fans rally behind Tanahashi. Tanahashi and ZSJ tie up again, and ZSJ kicks Tanahashi’s grip away. They go again and Tanahashi gets a leg but ZSJ grabs for Tanahashi’s. ZSJ rolls and gets the arms again, but Tanahashi gets the legs again.
Tanahashi has a toehold and ZSJ shouts in pain before getting Tanahashi with a hammerlock. Tanahashi wrenches the leg but ZSJ gets the arm again. ZSJ wants an armbar but Tanahashi blocks with the monkey grip. Tanahashi turns over and gets behind ZSJ but ZSJ gets away. Fans applaud again as the two stand back up. Tanahashi calls for a test of strength, but ZSJ hesitates to accept. ZSJ and Tanahashi go back and forth on the knuckle lock, but Tanahashi has the superior power. He brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reverses. Tanahashi reverses back and brings ZSJ down again. Fans rally as ZSJ pries his way through to go after the fingers. ZSJ and Tanahashi push against each other, but ZSJ rolls through to reel Tanahashi in. Tanahashi gets up and rolls through to reel ZSJ in!
They go shoulder to shoulder now but ZSJ bridges to spin and reverse to a single wristlock. ZSJ wrenches Tanahashi’s arm back and forth but they go back to the knuckle locks. Tanahashi kicks and Northern Light Suplexes ZSJ! ZSJ gets up to check his arm but Tanahashi is on him with kicks. Tanahashi whips and sleeper holds, but ZSJ switches to his own. Tanahashi switches back, but ZSJ shifts through to Pele the arm. But he gets caught! ZSJ slips free and wrenches more, then steps over for a modified arm triangle! Tanahashi endures but ZSJ shifts to hammerlock stomp! ZSJ rests against ropes while Tanahashi writhes. ZSJ circles Tanahashi like a shark before going after the arm again. He bends it from finger to elbow for a keylock stomp! The Ace is in trouble while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns again as ZSJ paces around. He stands on Tanahashi’s legs then drags him up for an armlock. ZSJ tortures the arm again, wrenching through to a Fujiwara! Tanahashi endures as ZSJ grabs the other arm for a Rings of Saturn! Fans rally up as Tanahashi endures. ZSJ rolls through to a cover, TWO! ZSJ keeps his cool as he toys with Tanahashi again. Tanahashi only gets angry as ZSJ kicks him. ZSJ throws a BIG European Uppercut, but then he taunts Tanahahsi. Tanahashi forearms back and rocks ZSJ. ZSJ EuroUppers back, then gives another in the corner. He gives a third, then a fourth. Tanahashi fires up and gives them all back! ZSJ returns EuroUppers then w ips, but Tanahashi boots him away.
Tanahashi runs, forearm smash! Fans fire up with The Ace as he clubs and forearms ZSJ more. Tanahashi scoop slams ZSJ then hops up. Somersault senton hits, cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his cool as he stands back up. He runs but ZSJ boots him. Tanahashi still runs but gets another boot. He goes again, but runs into ZSJ’s cobra twist! But Tanahashi switches it onto ZSJ! But ZSJ slips through to reverse it back! ZSJ locks it on but Tanahashi powers out back to his own! Tanahashi pump handles ZSJ for a slam! Taka Michinoku coaches ZSJ up but Tanahashi stands first. Tanahashi lifts but ZSJ slips through for another step-through armlock. ZSJ twists the arm! Penalty Kick outta nowhere!
Fans rally while both men are down. ZSJ clutches his own foot, he may have hurt himself from kicking Tanahashi so hard. Tanahashi and ZSJ slowly stand, and Tanahashi dumps ZSJ to the apron. ZSJ grabs Tanahashi for a rope-assisted Iron Octopus! Red Shoes counts but ZSJ lets go at 4. But Tanahashi gets ZSJ’s leg for a dragon screw! Then a dropkick to the bad leg, then another dragon screw! ZSJ tumbles into the ring, writhing while Tanahashi fires back up. Tanahashi grabs the leg for the figure four, into the Cloverleaf! ZSJ endures a hold now, but he slips through to reel Tanahashi in for a triangle! Tanahashi resists but ZSJ reels him in deeper. Tanahashi fades! Red Shoes checks on Tanahashi, but the fans give Tanahashi a second wind! Tanahashi powers up to pop out, back to his Cloverleaf! ZSJ scrambles to a ropebreak!
Taka grows concerned for ZSJ while both he and Tanahashi are down. Fans continue to rally and Tanahashi stomps ZSJ’s bad leg. He drags ZSJ up and whips but ZSJ reverses to a guillotine facelock. ZSJ goes after the arm for the hoverboard wristlock, but Tanahashi powers through to Twist ‘n’ Shout! But Tanahashi holds on to Twist ‘n’ Shout again! Tanahashi still holds on, for the hat trick! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he runs, to Slingblade! Cover, TWO! ZSJ escapes but The Ace takes control back while we go to another break!
NJPW on AXS returns again as Tanahashi stands up. ZSJ sits up but Tanahashi is on him. Tanahashi wants the full nelson but ZSJ pops through to his own! Tanahashi switches again but ZSJ gets around him for the Octopus! He has Tanahashi locked in and pulls back on the arm! Tanahashi manages to stay off the mat and he powers out! But ZSJ denies the dragon screw to instead PELE Tanahashi’s arm! But Tanahashi palm strikes back! ZSJ kicks and kicks but Tanahashi tanks them. Dragon screw escaped to a EuroClutch cover, TWO!! ZSJ hurries to kick again! Cover, TWO!! Tanahashi survives and ZSJ is beside himself! Taka panics while the fans are thunderous for Tanahashi again!
ZSJ grabs a wrist and drags Tanahashi up. He facelocks but then scoops, but Tanahashi slips out. Okana roll to a EuroClutch! TWO, into Napalm Death!! ZSJ has the legs and Tanahashi flails about! Tanahashi lost to this last year but he refuses to give up this year! He stomps and kicks ZSJ and gets a grounded dragon screw! Both men are down from serious leg pains while the fans reach that fever pitch. Tanahashi stands up and goes to ZSJ. He full nelsons but ZSJ slips out to a victory roll, EuroClutch, TWO!? Tanahashi narrowly escapes, but ZSJ EuroUppers! Tanahashi eggs him on so ZSJ gives more. ZSJ catches Tanahashi to a backslide but Tanahashi resists! Tanahashi spins ZSJ for a palm strike! ZSJ EuroUppers but Tanahshi Sling-Dogs! Into a Japanese Clutch now, Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; advances to the semifinals
The Ace ends the Submission Master’s Cup streak! Taka and ZSJ can’t believe it, but the tournament run is over! With no back-to-back winner possible now, will Tanahashi be the one to move on all the way to New York and Madison Square Garden?
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Semifinals
- Kazuchika Okada VS Tomohiro Ishii; Okada wins and advances to the finals.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi VS SANADA; SANADA wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scenes for the 2019 New Japan Cup Semifinals!
There’s no stopping things now as we get to the Final Four! The only members of Chaos remaining are The Rainmaker and the Stone Pitbull after they defeated Will Ospreay and Yoshi-Hashi, respectively. Now Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii must clash to find who is worthy of representing the stable in the tournament finals! And after The Ace put away the 2018 New Japan Cup winner, he takes on the Cold Skull! Will Tanahashi survive Skull End? Or will he learn the power of Tranquilo from Sanada?
Kazuchika Okada VS Tomohiro Ishii!
These two men are not only faction teammates, but they’re good friends. However, even friends can fight to see who is the better. Will they still be friends after giving their all in this match?
The bell rings and fans are thunderous already. Ishii and Okada stare down as they approach. Okada feels it out and he ties up with Ishii. They push against each other but Okada uses leverage to get Ishii back to ropes. Red Shoes calls for the break, and Okada actually follows through to hit Ishii! Ishii is as surprised as anyone, and now he and Okada trade forearms! They go back and forth, fast and furious, until Okada kicks low. Okada headlocks but Ishii powers out. They collide and Okada bounces off of Ishii. Ishii dares Okada to try again, and Okada does. They collide again and again Okada bounces off of Ishii. Ishii runs now but Okada dodges to bounce Ishii, then run him over! Fans applaud for that display of power from The Rainmaker!
Okada brings Ishii up for elbows to the shoulders. He snapmares Ishii and runs to teasingly kick Ishii instead. Ishii gets up and throws furious forearms and headbutts! Okada throws forearms back but Ishii doesn’t budge. Ishii eggs Okada on so Okada throws more forearms then uppercuts. Okada runs but he really bounces off Ishii this time. Ishii toys with Okada now, then throws forearms. Okada takes them to give back a EuroUpper. Okada throws Ishii out to whip him at railing. Ishii reverses but Okada stops himself, only to turn around into Ishii’s powerslam! Both men are down but Ishii stands first. Ishii drags Okada up and into the ring, and he stalks behind him. He stands Okada up for a CHOP! Then another CHOP in the corner. Ishii chops more and more, making sure Okada stands to take them!
Ishii does not let up on Okada with those chops, making sure Okada stands up again to keep taking them. Red Shoes grows concerned but Ishii just toys with Okada now. Ishii stands on Okada’s face but Okada pushes him off. Okada drags himself up but Ishii starts slapping him around. Okada stands and dares Ishii to keep giving him chops. Ishii does CHOP Okada more, and more, and more. Okada’s chest is starting to turn red and purple like his trunks but he forearms Ishii back. Ishii CHOPS Okada off his feet! Ishii then drags Okada up for a suplex, but Okada blocks. Okada breaks free but Ishii chops him again. Okada reverses, kicks and DDT’s! Both men are down and stinging from the damage done but fans rally up.
Okada nips right up! He waits for Ishii to stand before rallying with forearms and elbows. He whips but Ishii reverses, only for Okada to lariat him down! Fans fire up with Okada while Ishii bails out. Okada slingshots and splashes Ishii down! The Rainmaker is back in control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Okada puts Ishii back in the ring. Fans applaud as Okada returns. He drags Ishii up and scoop slams him. Okada heads to the top rope but Ishii runs in! Okada leaps over but runs into a boot. He runs back in and elbows Ishii. Okada drags Ishii up for forearm after forearm, but Ishii spits on him! Okada gives Ishii more forearms, but Ishii tanks them all. Ishii even backs Okada up as he takes the forearm shots! Ishii gives Okada one big forearm and it staggers him. Okada ends up in a corner and Ishii forearms back again and again! Ishii trash talks in Japanese but Okada returns the favor. Okada manages to back Ishii down as he takes those shots, then they start going back and forth!
Ishii fires from both sides! Ishii whips but Okada reverses, only for Ishii to deny the dropkick. Okada stands and Ishii runs in, but Okada catches him into a waistlock. Ishii denies the German but misses the enziguri. Okada misses his senton and Ishii runs for the sliding lariat, but Okada dodges. Okada Alabama Lifts to the reverse neckbreaker! Ishii writhes but Okada brings him back up. Okada scoop slams again, then goes to the top rope again. Macho Elbow! Okada hits his Rainmaker pose, but sees Ishii getting back up! Ospreay got Okada before but Okada won’t let Ishii do it to him! Okada boots Ishii then whips for the flapjack! Okada gets to the top rope again, and leaps for missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!
Fans fire up while Okada keeps his cool. He drags Ishii up and gut wrenches but Ishii slips out and shoves. Ishii runs in, but into the Alabama. Ishii powerbomb counters! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Ishii is building speed. Okada boots and uppercuts in return, but walks into the German Suplex! Ishii roars and runs, to clothesline Okada down! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives again but Ishii drags him up. Ishii runs but into a dropkick! Okada drags Ishii up, gut wrenches, but Ishii reverses it! Okada fights out and now both men fight over the gut wrench. It’s Okada who gets the TOMBSTONE! But he’s not done there, wring out for a headbutt and clothesline!! Both men are down while we go to another break!
NJPW on AXS returns as Ishii and Okada get to a corner each. Ishii runs corner to corner for a heavy clothesline! Ishii then hoists Okada up top and climbs up to join him. SUPERPLEX BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!? Okada lives and everyone is surprised! The fans reach that thunderous level again as Ishii runs and hits the Sliding D! Cover, TWO!! Ishii cannot believe it but Okada still lives! Ishii drags Okada up again, suplex but Okada fights out! Okada goes to boot but Ishii forearms him. Ishii runs into another dropkick! Okada drags Ishii up and around for a backslide, but Ishii rolls through, RAINMAKER! But Okada holds on to stand Ishii up again, for- Ishii takes the lariat! Ishii headbutts again and again, but swings into a BIG German Suplex!!
Okada holds on and drags Ishii up again. Okada has the wrist again, wrings out, but into an arm-drag and armbar! Ishii pulls on the arm but Okada flails and turns. Okada wants a cover but Ishii pulls him back down! Okada reaches with his long legs for a ropebreak! Ishii lets go but the damage was done. Fans are thunderous again as Ishii drags Okada up to yank on the arm. Ishii whips and yanks, then reels Okada in, but Okada spins! Ishii dodges to enziguri! Then he runs, but into another dropkick! But he’s right back up!? Okada shotgun dropkicks Ishii down! Both Ishii and Okada are slow to stand, but Okada fires up and runs, into a lariat! Cover, ONE?! Ishii lariats again! Cover, TWO!!
Ishii roars as he drags Okada up again. He suplexes but Okada fights out to wristlock. Ishii headbutts backwards but runs into yet another dropkick! Okada drags Ishii up, wristlocks and wrings out, but Ishii dodges to copy the Ranimaker! But Okada tanks it! Okada forearms but Ishii headbutts. Okada swings but into Ishii’s suplex, only to slip out and gut wrench, SPINNING TOMBSTONE! But Okada’s still not done, RAINMAKER!! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; advances to the finals
The leader of Chaos continues to prove why he’s their leader! Okada now makes it to the 2019 New Japan Cup finals, but who will meet him there?
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS SANADA!
The Ace and The Cold Skull both know the Rainmaker awaits them in the final round. Who will outlast the other to then step to Kazuchika Okada for the cup trophy?
The bell rings and fans are fired up all over again! Sanada watches as Tanahashi poses for the crowd. Then he poses for them, too! And the crowd favors the hometown hero! Sanada and Tanahashi circle and tie up. They’re even in strength but Tanahashi gets Sanada to ropes. Sanada pushes Tanahashi back then gives a clean break. Fans applaud as he and Tanahashi circle again. They tie up again, and Tanahashi waistlocks. Sanada standing switches but so does Tanahahsi. They keep going with the switches, so Sanada wrenches the arm. Tanahashi reverses and wrenches back. Sanada rolls and breaks free to fireman’s carry takedown. Tanahashi headscissors back and squeezes tight. Sanada works his way up and out to then roll Tanahashi for a deathlock!
Sanada shifts to pull on those legs harder but Tanahashi endures. Tanahashi drags Sanada’s hair but lets go at the ref’s count. Sanada pulls back but Tanahashi gets a headlock. Tanahashi wrenches hard but Sanada endures. Tanahashi shifts to a cravat but Sanada handsprings through the snapmare! Sanada runs but Tanahashi dodges. Tanahashi swings but Sanada dodges, then the double dropkicks cancel out! Fans duel again but Sanada’s clearly got more fans here. Sanada and Tanahashi circle again and tie up. Sanada catches the kick to push Tanahashi down, then he goes for it. He gets Tanahashi partway to Paradise but Tanahashi small packages! TWO, and Tanahashi trips Sanada up for a toehold.
Tanahashi wrenches Sanada’s leg and then stomps away. Tanahashi drops an elbow on the leg then wrenches harder. Sanada endures and tries the chinlock back but Tanahashi cranks the ankle. Sanada gets his free leg around Tanahashi, but Tanahashi stands up to stomp and elbow the leg again. Tanahashi makes it a butterfly deathlock now but Sanada continues to endure. Sanada drags himself backwards towards ropes but Tanahashi forearms him down. Fans rally up for the hometown hero as he CHOPS Tanahashi with open palm slaps. Tanahashi puts more pressure on the legs but Sanada refuses to quit. Sanada drags himself back and gets the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets go but keeps on Sanada with stomps.
Tanahashi stomps and stomps but fans still cheer Sanada. He whips Sanada but Sanada reverses. Sanada hurdles and hurdles and dropkicks Tanahashi! Tanahashi bails out but Sanada slingshot planchas Tanahashi down! The Ace is in trouble in Cold Skull Country while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Sanada returns to the ring. Tanahashi grabs the leg for a dragon screw! Fans actually boo Tanahashi but he just takes that as a sign he’s doing what he has to to win. Tanahashi drags Sanada up for a scoop slam into a drop zone. He hops up and poses for his somersault senton! And he hits it! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up as Tanahashi runs. Sanada sees it coming and dodges to dropkick the legs out! But his next kick is caught for another Dragon Screw! But then Sanada returns the dragon screw! Both men are down with leg pain but fans fire up again. Sanada and Tanahashi slowly stand, and Sanada stalks Tanahashi to the corner. He whips corner to corner but Tanahashi reverses. Sanada tumbles and springboards but misses! Tanahashi gets a grounded dragon screw!
Tanahashi keeps on the legs with the figure four, but Sanada resists the Cloverleaf. Sanada crawls as Tanahashi turns, Sanada gets the ropebreak. Tanahashi has to let go, but he won’t let up as he stomps Sanada’s legs. Tanahashi stands Sanada up to kick the legs. He runs but Sanada huricanranas, only to be blocked into the Cloverleaf! Tanahashi sits deep on it! Sanada endures as fans rally up! Sanada powers up and drags himself to the ropes, but Tanahashi pulls back harder! Fans give Sanada a second wind and he gets another ropebreak! Tanahashi lets go but the damage is done. Tanahashi drags Sanada back up and over but Sanada forearms. Sanada hits again and again, but Tanahashi catches the kick to dropkick the other!
Tanahashi drags Sanada up but Sanada uppercuts free! Tanahashi returns it, so Sanada uppercuts again. They go back and forth with those EuroUppers, then Sanada fires many forearms. Sanada spins but into the palm strike! Tanahashi full nelsons but Sanada breaks free. Sanada runs but into a scoop, only to slip out to the dragon sleeper! Sanada cranks back, but Tanahashi spins through, Twist ‘n’ Shout! Tanahashi holds on for another Twist ‘n Shout! He drags Sanada up again, but Sanada denies the hat trick for Anarchy Suplex, the draping neckbreaker! Fans rally up for Sanada as he stands back up. Sanada drags Tanahashi up for chicken wings and a Tiger Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!! Tanahashi survives but Sanada won’t let up.
Sanada drags Tanahashi up in the dragon sleeper, and drops down into body scissors! Tanahashi endures Skull End as fans rally and Sanada squeezes tight. Tanahashi starts to fade! Red Shoes checks on him but Sanada lets Tanahashi free to head for the top rope! MOONSAULT onto Tanahashi’s back! Then MOONSAULT onto KNEES! Cradle cover, TWO!! Tanahashi was so close but so far from snatching that from Sanada. Fans rally and duel as Tanahashi and Sanada sit up. Sanada gets to a corner and Tanahashi runs in, but into an elbow. Sanada hops up, quebrada to dragon sleeper, but another cradle counter! TWO!! Palm strike! Tanahashi runs, but into a fireman’s carry! Tanahashi escapes to steal the dragon sleeper! But Sanada turns it around, but Tanahashi victory rolls! TWO and Sanada has it, TWO!!
Both men narrowly escape the other but now Tanahashi full nelsons. Sanada resists the suplex and slips out to Salida to a sleeper! Sanada cranks back and swings Tanahashi around! But Tanahashi reverses to an inverted Twist ‘n’ Shout! Tanahashi runs, Slingblade! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives but Tanahashi still has something to give. Tanahashi drags Sanada up and full nelsons, Dragon Suplex but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada dodges, rolls and clutch, but Tanahashi pushes him away! Tanahashi rolls Sanada for the Japanese Clutch, but into SKULL END!! Sanada holds on tight, fans are thunderous, and Tanahashi taps!! Sanada wins!!
Winner: SANADA, by submission; advances to the finals
The Cold Skull makes The Ace tap out!! This may very well be the biggest New Japan Cup win for Sanada as he now moves on to face The Rainmaker! Who comes out of the finals the #1 contender to the Switchblade’s reign?
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Finals
- Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA; Okada wins and will challenge Jay White for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at G1 Supercard.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scenes for the Finals of the 2019 New Japan Cup!
This is it! A winner will be crowned to wrap up the tournament! The field of 32 is now just two as The Rainmaker looks for redemption while The Cold Skull wants his first taste of being at the top. Sanada came close to defeating Okada when they fought over the title last year, can he change the outcome this time? Or will Okada come closer to revenge on the treacherous Switchblade?
Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA!
One man returns to the New Japan Cup Finals. The other finally arrives after going the furthest he’s ever gone. Who goes even further, all the way to New York and the G1 Supercard? Who meets Jay White in Madison Square Garden?!
The fans are thunderously divided even before the bell. Sanada still has the home field advantage, but it may not be enough against THE franchise player. The bell rings and fans explode with cheers! Sanada shrugs it off as he circles with Okada. They tie up but back off. Okada and Sanada circle again and tie up. Okada waistlocks but Sanada standing switches. They go switch for switch, but Sanada wrenches to a wristlock. Okada rolls and wrenches back, but Sanada spins and trips Okada up for a toehold. Sanada wrenches the leg but Okada pries him off with a leg. Okada pulls on the arm but Sanada resists the armbar. Sanada gets Okada’s leg off him to go back to the toehold. Okada sits up to rear mount and waistlock. Sanada switches and has Okada now. Sanada shifts to the legs and pulls back again.
Okada endures while working on an escape. He reaches back but Sanada stands out of reach. Okada still gets an arm and pries Sanada off with a keylock. Sanada stands but Okada arm-drags him down. Sanada headscissors but Okada pops out and fans applaud. The dueling continues as both men back off and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Okada and Sanada circle. They tie up again and Okada blocks Sanada’s knee. Okada rolls and wrenches to a keylock to bring Sanada back down. Sanada stands but Okada shifts to a hammerlock. Sanada headlocks out but Okada pries his way out to another keylock. Okada brings Sanada down again but not for long. Sanada spins and trips Okada to turn him into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow lock. Okada pops out to a cover, ONE and Sanada sweeps to a cover. ONE and the two stand off again. Fans applaud as Sanada and Okada circle again. Okada and Sanada tie up again, and Sanada lunges to get the leg. Sanada waistlocks but Okada grounded switches. Okada floats to a facelock then headlock, then grinds Sanada hard. Sanada hits back and powers out, but Okada runs him over with a shoulder.
Okada speeds things up but Sanada blocks the hip toss. Sanada body shots and flips off the leg to trip Okada up. Sanada puts Okada in Paradise! Fans can’t believe Sanada pulled it off! Sanada then dropkicks Okada out of Paradise! Sanada stalks Okada to a corner then whips corner to corner. Okada elbows him back then runs, but Sanada hurdles. Okada fakes out the other hurdle to throw Sanada out. Then slingshot splash wipes him out! Okada eyes that New Japan Cup trophy while adjusting his knee pads. He comes back to Sanada and puts him back in, which fans applaud. Okada takes his time following after then stands Sanada up. He bumps Sanada off the buckles, then throws in back elbows. Okada brings Sanada out to club and neckbreaker! Cover, ONE, but Okada keeps his cool.
Fans rally and duel again, but the Okada fans start to outnumber the Sanada fans. Okada snapmares Sanada and runs to basement dropkicks him down! Okada stalks Sanada to ropes and wraps on a chinlock. Sanada endures the knee as he’s being bent backward. Sanada fights his way up but Okada wrangles him back down. Okada keeps on Sanada but Sanada powers up and out. Sanada runs but into Okada’s sleeper hold! And then down to the chinlock again! Fans rally and duel while Sanada endures all over again. Sanada feeds off the energy to fight out again. He runs but avoids the sleeper to dropkick Okada’s leg out! Both men are down while Sanada catches his breath and Okada clutches his leg. But fans rally up and both men get back up.
Sanada rallies with forearms and elbows on Okada! He hits Okada with a back elbow but Okada avoids the standing moonsault, only to get a dropkick to the back! Sanada outsmarts Okada there and gets control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns and Sanada brings Okada up. Okada hits back then runs but Sanada hurdles. Sanada dropkicks Okada out of the ring, but slingshots. Okada gets in but Sanada lands on the apron. Okada forearms but gets dumped back out. Sanada builds speed but tumbles when Okada dodges. Sanada cannonballs off the apron onto Okada! Fans fire up as Sanada drags Okada up and in. Sanada covers, TWO! Cold Skull keeps his cool but Okada resists the back suplex. Okada elbows but Sanada whips. Okada dodges and speeds up to elbow Sanada down! Fans fire up with Okada now as he drags Sanada up. Okada whips Sanada corner to corner and elbows him. He kicks and DDT’s, then covers, TWO! Fans rally while Okada looms over Sanada.
Okada waits for Sanada to stand before the Alabama lift. Sanada fights out but Okada boots him back. Okada lifts again but Sanada sunset flips, only for Okada to jackknife back to Alabama, reverse neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Okada grows slightly annoyed with Sanada but he keeps on him with a scoop slam. Okada heads up top, and leaps for the Macho Elbow! He hits his Rainmaker pose! He wristlocks and wrings Sanada but Sanada elbows out. Okada clubs Sanada and whips but Sanada tumbles and springboards for a missile dropkick! Fans duel again as both men are down. Okada and Sanada slowly sit up but it’s Sanada who brings Okada up. Sanada forearms but Okada returns it. They go back and forth, then pick up speed! Okada rocks Sanada but Sanada EuroUppers!
Sanada drags Okada back up for a fireman’s carry. Okada slips out and waistlocks, but Sanada blocks the German. Sanada elbows free and runs in at Okada in the corner, only to be put on the top rope. Okada dropkicks Sanada down and out! Okada catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Sanada. Red Shoes says Sanada’s okay so Okada goes out to fetch him. Okada whips Sanada into railing, then boots him over them! Okada drags Sanada back up from the other side and drags him out, draping DDT to the floor! Sanada writhes and clutches his neck while Okada walks away with a grin. The ring count begins and climbs to 10/20 before Sanada stirs. Sanada crawls over at 15, and gets in at 18! Okada just heads up top again as Sanada stands, for a missile dropkick! He blasts Sanada to the other corner! Cover, TWO!
Okada keeps his cool while fans duel for both men. Okada drags Sanada up and gut wrenches, but Sanada revives to reverse to the dragon sleeper! But Okada gut wrenches again, only for Sanada to gut wrench! Sanada hits the tombstone! The hometown hero might have the fans back as he drags Okada up for a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Okada still lives but Sanada keeps focus. Sanada drags Okada up in the dragon sleeper, but Okada reaches with his legs. Okada manages to move forward, so Sanada shifts to a Tiger Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!! Okada survives again and we go to break!
NJPW on AXS returns as Sanada drags a dazed Okada back up. Sanada scoops for a backbreaker then heads up top. MOONSAULT onto knees! Okada and Sanada are both slow to standing again, but Okada drags Sanada up. He backslides and rolls Sanada for Rainmaker! But Okada drags Sanada up again, but Sanada dodges, only to get a dropkick! Okada brings Sanada up again, TOMBSTONE! And the Rainmaker pose! Okada drags Sanada up a third time, wristlocks and wrings out, but Sanda Salidas into Skull End!! Sanada cranks back on the dragon sleeper, then drops for the body scissors, but Okada rolls through! Okada swings, Sanada ducks and now Sanada swings but Okada ducks! Okada steals Skull End!! Sanada endures his own hold but rolls through like Okada did, to get it back!
Fans are thunderous as Okada endures the dragon sleeper. Sanada cranks and swings Okada around! Then body scissors! Fans are at a fever pitch as Okada is trapped! Okada looks to be fading, but he still flails and reaches back. Okada pops free to make it a cover, TWO!! Sanada uses the other side for the Skull End! Okada endures being bent the other way now, but he uses those long legs to kick around. Okada starts fading again, so Sanada covers, TWO!? Where did Okada find that? But Sanada climbs up, MOONSAULT FLOPS!! Okada managed to dodge and now both men are down again! Fans go past thunderous for these two men, and we go to one last break!
NJPW on AXS returns as Okada gets to a corner. Sanada and Okada both stand slowly, and Okada is up first. But Sanada runs in, only to get a boot. Sanada staggers but runs back in, only to miss. Okada runs back in, but into an elbow. Sanada hops up, Okada gets under and shotgun dropkicks Sanada! But Sanada’s back up! Okada blocks, but Sanada spins to roaring elbow! Sanada fireman’s carry to TKO! Cover, TWO?! Okada survives and Sanada cannot believe it! But Sanada fires up with the energy of the fans and brings Okada up. Sanda scoops for another backbreaker, but Okada grabs his leg. Okada is an anchor so Sanada stomps him out first. Sanada heads for the corner but Okada still grabs the leg. Sanada stomps Okada again then climbs, but Okada anchors a leg again! Again Sanada kicks Okada off, quebrada to dragon sleeper!
Okada uses the ropes to get the sleeper, the gut wrench, SPINNING TOMBSTONE!! Then he drags Sanada up, but Sanada boots back! Okada still holds on, even as Sanada boots again and again. Okada swings but into a full nelson. Salida but Okada slips through to spinning RAINMAKER! Okada drags Sanada up once more, TRUE RAINMAKER!! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; 2019 New Japan Cup Winner; will challenge Jay White for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at G1 Supercard
He does it! Not only is Okada 5-0 all time against Sanada, not only is Okada a two-time cup winner, but he is the #1 contender to the title most synonymous with his career! Okada is presented the New Japan Cup trophy and he holds it high in the ring. Then he takes to the mic.
“The New Japan Cup… I WON!!” Lots of guys from NJPW went to America. Was this company not enough for them? The NJPW ring is the best in the world! To borrow one of Sanada’s expressions, Okada LOVES pro-wrestling! And speaking of Sanada, Okada knows Nagaoka was cheering for him. Okada promises that when he returns from America, they’ll have another match. And so, Okada now heads to Madison Square Garden to crush “that son-of-a-b*tch, Jay White!” Fans sure hope he does! But speak of the devil, here’s the Switchblade. Jay White and Gedo head down the ramp, that IWGP Heavyweight Championship in tow. Fans boo and jeer but White just smirks as he joins Gedo and Okada in the ring.
Gedo talks to Okada for White, but he gets booed just as much. Congrats on winning. Is something he won’t actually say. Because Hell awaits him! In New York and MSG, Okada will fall into the abyss! The idiots booing Gedo will join Okada, too! The one who sends you there will be the STRONGEST IWGP Heavyweight Champion ever, The Switch Blade, Jay White. White now speaks for himself as he talks to Okada in English. Fans drown White out with boos. White waits until the boos stop, then tells Okada that he never thought this would happen. White’s the champ and Okada’s the “sorry soul” trying to prove he’s worthy. But this is all very real. This is NJPW’s reality. But still, congrats.
Okada won the New Japan Cup and “the privilege” to step into the ring with White. Okada sure fought hard for this, but it’ll all be for nothing! “Because you can’t beat me.” Okada never will, and certainly not for the title. White is better and everyone knows it. White promises to walk in champion and walk out still champion! It will be 3-0 that White wins. And Okada will be down and out in the world’s most famous arena, because this is the Switchblade’s era! White drops the mic and leaves with the belt, Gedo following after. Okada picks the mic back up to say, “I have no clue what you just said.” But White, just know Okada’s on a whole different level!
Okada grins and White only gets riled up, but Okada continues to again announce his journey to Madison Square Garden! And he vows to return the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! Then in America, in NJPW, in the whole world, “I’m gonna make it rain~!!” The streamers and confetti rain down for Okada, but will fortune shine upon him in Madison Square Garden?
Okada admits, “That was rough.” Okada’s title defenses were rough, as was his G1 Climax win, but this New Japan Cup was particularly tough. Just as you win one match, another is on the way. Okada was the favorite to win this year, and he did. But that’s not all, he has one more match. He has to start all over again. But he’ll just keep moving forward, all the way to MSG. Will Okada raise both the New Japan Cup trophy and the IWGP Heavyweight title in New York?
What a great selection for three hours of wrestling! Just as this tournament started to look like Tanahashi’s story back, it became all about Okada! All these matches had amazing story, and seeing them all together, you really got the sense of how it all came together. That was a great parallel where Ospreay counters Okada, and Ishii tries the same only to fail. It was great for Tanahashi to defeat ZSJ for that story of ending ZSJ’s cup streak, but how great was it for the hometown hero to win against such a great wrestler as Tanahashi. At the same time, it seemed better for someone else to take on Okada this time, we’ve gotten plenty of Okada VS Tanahashi in the last 12 months.
Okada winning against Sanada was natural, Sanada’s not quite there yet. But I really enjoy the tease that Okada will give Sanada another crack at it should Okada win. For that matter, White and Okada had a great exchange in the ring. Especially Okada no selling everything White said to stay on his message. The G1 Supercard is going to be great, with both the ROH and NJPW matches, but Okada VS White Round 3 is definitely the one to watch. AXS TV promises another two hours of NJPW next week to cover part of G1 Supercard, so it will be perfectly natural if we get Okada VS White as part of it, and that will be amazing.
My Score: 9/10