The New Japan Cup is almost TOO amazing!
After a great opening week, the New Japan Cup 2020 raises the bar on itself with a star-studded third day! Who moves on to the second round?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Ryusuke Taguchi VS SANADA; SANADA wins and advances to the second round.
- SHO VS Shingo Takagi; SHO wins and advances to the second round.
- Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Taichi; Taichi wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
Ryusuke Taguchi VS SANADA!
The Funky Weapon is primed but he’s up against the Cold Skull, who was red hot for a good stretch this year. But now that everyone’s starting from scratch, will Taguchi scratch the itch of finally getting those big titles? Or will Sanada take a step closer to challenging his faction leader?
The bell rings and Taguchi wants double fist bump. Sanada leaves him hanging, so they circle. They approach, tie up, and are in a deadlock right away. Sanada powers Taguchi to the ropes but lets up with a pat on the shoulder. Taguchi plays like that stung, and circles with Sanada again. They tie up again, Taguchi gets around but Sanada wrenches out to the standing switch. Taguchi wrenches back to a wristlock, then again, and he brings Sanada to a knee. Sanada gets up, wrenches one arm, then the other arm, then hammerlocks. But Taguchi slips through to hammerlock Sanada back! Sanada goes to elbow but Taguchi spins him for a snapmare and chinlock. Sanada kicks and reaches but Taguchi grinds him down.
Sanada slips out the back and hammerlocks, but Taguchi gets up to turn it back on Sanada again. Taguchi shifts to a headlock, grinds Sanada to the mat, and cranks back on the head. Sanada powers up, pries out, but Taguchi spins through to get the hammerlock again. Sanada reaches back to headlock, shift sides, and throws Taguchi for the takedown! Taguchi headscissors, Sanada pops out and the two stand off. Taguchi applauds but asks for the fist bumps again. Sanada still leaves him hanging, but Taguchi keeps asking. Taguchi even kneels to prove this isn’t a trick. Sanada gives him the fist bump, but blocks the cheap shot kick! Taguchi apologizes and asks Sanada put the foot down. Sanada does, the two back away, but then Taguchi swings! Sanada dodges, double dropkicks cancel out!
Sanada asks for the fist bumps? Taguchi is surprised and hopes the cameras are seeing this. Taguchi applauds, then goes to give the fist bumps back. But then both men try to cheap shot! They catch each other, and both let the other down, but Taguchi fakes Sanada out again! Taguchi has the leg for a takedown! Taguchi steals PARADISE! He stands on Sanada and poses for the cameras. But Sanada has gotten his arms free without Taguchi knowing! Taguchi does a dance, but turns around into a takedown! Sanada shows Taguchi how Paradise is done! And Taguchi is definitely stuck as Sanada stands on him for the cameras. Sanada shows mercy, as he dropkicks Taguchi out of Paradise! Taguchi falls out of the ring, too, and Sanada takes his time fetching him into the ring.
Sanada brings Taguchi up, back suplex lift for the atomic drop! Taguchi clutches his ass in pain! Sanada brings Taguchi up again, for another atomic drop! Taguchi grits his teeth in pain from his ass! Wait, is he powering up, too? Sanada brings Taguchi up, Taguchi slips out of the lift, but Sanada elbows him away. Sanada runs, but dodges the Funky Weapon! Taguchi crashes down and Sanada covers, TWO! Taguchi survives the damage to his ass but Sanada clamps on a chinlock. Sanada cranks it to a sleeper hold and Taguchi starts to turn red. Taguchi kicks and flails, and starts to scoot to get the ropebreak! Sanada lets go quickly, and drags Taguchi up to club him to a corner. Sanada wrenches and whips Taguchi corner to corner, but runs into a BOOT! Taguchi runs, but Sanada dodges the Funky Weapon again!
Sanada runs and sunset flips, but Taguchi rolls through to basement dropkick! Both men are down but stirring. Taguchi fires himself up as he and Sanada rise. Sanada gets to ropes, Taguchi fires up, hip attack at the ropes! And another! And then a baseball slide to an apron hip attack! Cover, TWO! Taguchi keeps going as he brings Sanada up. Snap suplex for uno amigo! ANother, dos amigos! Taguchi wants tres but Sanada suplexes him first! Taguchi flails and fends it off, to suplex Sanada again! But Sanada slips out to the dragon sleeper! But before Sanada can complete Skull End, Taguchi spins around to hit TRES AMIGOS! Both men are down again, but Taguchi kips up!? Taguchi calls upon the powers of the King of Strong Style as he goes to a corner. “ORYA!” Taguchi runs but into a basement dropkick! No Bum-a-ye just yet!
Taguchi bails out but Sanada aims at the ropes. Slingshot but Taguchi avoids the pescado! TRIANGLE CROSSBODY! Taguchi takes Sanada down on the outside! Taguchi gets up as the ring count begins, and he brings Sanada up at 7 of 20. He puts Sanada in at 13, then goes to a corner. Taguchi aims and springboards, but Sanada gets under! Sanada comes back, but Taguchi dropkicks the leg out! ANKLE LOCK! Sanada fights to his free foot, uses a corner to go up and over, and gets SKULL END!! Taguchi flails, Sanada drops back for the body scissors but Taguchi rolls back! Cover, ONE, but Taguchi gets the ANKLE LOCK! Taguchi cranks on the foot but Sanada endures! Sanada rolls, kicks Taguchi back but Taguchi still has a hold on the foot!
Taguchi cranks and leans on the ankle but Sanada gets up again. Sanada enziguris, but it misses! Taguchi drops elbows on the ankle and leans on the hold! Sanada endures, crawls, reaches, but Taguchi drags him away! Sanada moves around, brings Taguchi down by his legs, and uses Taguchi’s legs to throw him over. SKULL END! But Taguchi hammers away with his free arm! Sanada holds on but fades, and Taguchi uses knees to bring Sanada down more. But Sanada stands right back up! SKULL SWING! But Taguchi cradle counters, TWO!! Sanada dropkicks but Taguchi deflects! LA MAGISTROL! TWO!?! Sanada escapes, Taguchi enziguris! Taguchi runs, but Sanada follows to waistlock at the ropes! Taguchi standing switches to roll Sanada up, TWO!! Things speed up, FUNKY- ATOMIC DROP! O’Conner Roll, JAPAN CLUTCH! SANADA WINS!
Winner: SANADA, by pinfall
An incredible technical exchange ends it all! The Funky Weapon misfired, and now the Cold Skull is hot again! Will Sanada keep that going, even as his fellow LIJ members are also in this tournament?
SHO VS Shingo Takagi!
Speaking of a Los Ingobernables de Japon member wanting to challenge the leader, the same goes for the Last Dragon! Will Shingo show Sho that he’s just not ready for the big time?
The bell rings and Sho rushes Shingo with a BIG clothesline! Shingo stays up but wobbles, so Sho hurries to try again! The clothesline hits but Shingo still stays up. Shingo throws forearm after forearm, but Sho gives a SUPER FOREARM back! Sho whips, Shingo reverses, Sho boots but Shingo blocks it! Shingo rocks Sho with a right, runs corner to corner, but Sho follows to clothesline back! Sho keeps moving, shoulders Shingo, Shingo rebounds to shoulder Sho back, but Sho comes back to LARIAT Shingo down! Cover, TWO! Sho goes right for an ARMBAR! Shingo scrambles and gets the ropebreak! Sho lets go but goes after Shingo with stomps at the ropes! The ref backs Sho down and Shingo sits up.
Sho hurries over to stomp Shingo again, and even stand on his chest! The ref reprimands and counts, but Sho lets up at 4. Shingo gets up, Sho cravats to snapmare and KICK! Sho watches Shingo sputter, but Shingo eggs Sho on. Sho kicks again! Shingo stays sitting up and dares Sho to keep going. Sho KICKS and Shingo falls over! Shingo grits his teeth as he gets back up, and both men egg the other on. Shingo catches Sho’s kick, throws a forearm, but Sho gives it back. The two brawl back and forth, picking up speed! Sho gets the edge as he throws elbows from all sides, but Shingo stands up to give it all back! Shingo runs, into Sho’s dropkick! But Shingo keeps going to run Sho over! Shingo whips Sho but Sho holds ropes, only for Shingo to clothesline him out of the ring!
Sho has a rough landing but Shingo goes out to fetch him. Shingo drags Sho up to whip into railing! Then he stands on Sho’s head and kicks away! The ref reprimands but Shingo brings Sho up. Shingo fireman’s carries Sho for a snake eyes off the apron, then a DDT to the floor! Shingo takes his time catching his breath as the ring count climbs. He drags Sho up at 10 of 20, puts him in at 12, and then follows to clamp onto Sho with a chinbar. Sho endures as Shingo shifts, and drives elbow after elbow into his chest and shoulder! Shingo sets Sho down, for a BIG knee drop! Sho writhes in pain but Shingo stands on his head to add on. Shingo stomps then walks it off before toying with Sho. Sho gets up but Shingo slaps and kicks him around. Sho gets mad and gets up to throw forearms! Shingo throws them back, and he ROCKS Sho!
Sho flounders, hits back, but Shingo jabs away to then CHOP Sho to a corner! Shingo brings Sho back out to whip and knee! Then he runs, Sho SPEARS, but Shingo blocks!! Shingo knees away then goes to suplex, but it’s SHO who suplexes Shingo! Both men are down but Sho gets to his feet first. Shingo runs out of a corner but Sho runs him over. Sho throws forearms and kicks, then goes corner to corner for a corner clothesline! Sho keeps moving, dodges Shingo’s clothesline, and comes back with a SPEAR! Sho takes Shingo down, covers, TWO!! Shingo survives but Sho doesn’t lose focus. Sho brings Shingo into a waistlock but Shingo elbows back. Sho grabs the arm but Shingo stays on his feet.
Shingo rolls but Sho uses that to get the wristlock and shoulder breaker! And another! And then a torturing wristlock to a third shoulder breaker! Sho runs, into the back elbow! JAB! LARIAT! Shingo catches his breath while Sho is dazed on the mat. Shingo goes to Sho but Sho catches him to an armbar! Shingo clasps hands to resist but Sho breaks it free! Sho drags Shingo into a triangle hold, but Shingo powers up for a dead lift POWERBOMB! Shingo drags Sho back up, Gory Especial, but Sho resists! Sho shows his strength, spins through to kick and kick and KICK, then SUPERKICK! Sho watches Shingo rise, then runs, but double clotheslines hit! Neither falls, so they both clothesline again! Still neither falls, Shingo swats Sho’s third clothesline away, to get a SNAP SAIDO! Sho gets up!?
Sho swats Shingo’s clothesline away to waistlock, GERMAN SUPLEX! Sho holds on, for a SECOND! Sho wants a third but Shingo gets the ropebreak. Sho lets go, KICKS, then waistlocks again. Shingo elbows but Sho kicks low. Sho runs but Shingo follows to clothesline at the ropes. Shingo runs but Sho KNEES! Sho runs, Shingo goes perpendicular, to PUMPING BOMBER! SLIDING LARIAT! Shingo isn’t done with Sho, he drags him up, Gory Especial, NOSHIGAMI! Cover, TWO!?! Sho survives Shingo’s Gory Bomb but Shingo isn’t done with him yet. Shingo kicks Sho while he’s down, then drags him up. Sho resists the torture rack and elbows away. Shingo whips Sho, corner clotheslines, then brings Sho back up to hoist him up top.
Shingo climbs to join Sho, but Sho goes after the bad arm! The ref counts as Sho has the top rope wristlock, so Sho throws hands and headbutts! Sho keeps going until Shingo wobbles. Sho adjusts, SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER! But it’s double edged given that height, and Sho clutches his knees. But Sho gets to his feet, runs, and PUMPING BOMBERS SHINGO!! Cover, ONE?!?! Sho won’t worry about being shocked, he just drags Shingo into a dead lift waistlock! Shingo resists, but Sho powers through to GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Shingo escapes at the last possible second! Sho just fires up more, takes aim with his bow, and brings Shingo into the doubl eump handle. But Shingo back drops Shock Arrow away!
Sho runs to clothesline Shingo on the back, but Shingo comes back to clothesline! Sho stays up and Shingo eggs him on. The two start brawling with big forearms again! Sho wobbles, throws another, but Shingo DOUBLE CHOPS! Sho fires up to throw elbows from all sides, then all from the right! A total of 10 but he walks into a JAB! And HEADBUTT! Shingo grits his teeth as he dodges Sho’s clothesline, for MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO!?!? Shingo can’t believe Sho survives! Shingo gets up, runs, PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, TWO?!?!? How?!? Shingo doesn’t worry about that, he just brings Sho back up. Shingo pump handles and fireman’s carries, but Sho slips out to arm-drag to the KIMURA!
Shingo endures the double wristlock as Sho cranks back on it hard! Shingo reaches, but Sho gator rolls him away to the double ump hnalde! CROSS-ARM DRIVER! Sho fires up, gest the double pump handle proper, SHOCK ARROW!!! Cover, SHO WINS!?!
Winner: Sho, by pinfall
IMPOSSIBLE! One half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions pins Mr. Openweight?! Sho heads on, but will he and Shingo meet again with the NEVER Openweight Championship on the line?
Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr!
The Golden Star and The Ace are still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and still have a bone to pick with the #DangerousTekkers. But for now, they all try to climb the mountain to challenge the Double Champion, Tetsuya Naito! Will Ibushi score the first blow? Or will he #JustTapOut?
The bell rings and Ibushi circles with ZSJ. Ibushi avoids ZSJ as he slides around, but ZSJ stays back as Ibushi tests with kicks. ZSJ tries to get a leg but Ibushi kicks at him. They feel things out and go all around the ring, and ZSJ gets the facelock. He brings Ibushi down to a waistlock then shifts to the arm. ZSJ goes back to the facelock but Ibushi powers him down to the mat. Ibushi finds a way to the lateral press, but ZSJ gets out fast to go after the arms with his legs. Ibushi gets the mount again, another press, but ZSJ gets out and away. The two reset and circle again. ZSJ keeps his distance as Ibushi looks ready to swing on him. They approach and Ibushi kicks ZSJ in the leg! ZSJ backs off, they circle, approach, and Ibushi tries hands. ZSJ avoids, but his kick is deflected.
ZSJ lunges at the leg, Ibushi stays on top with the waistlock but ZSJ slips out and around to float around and get the mount, to an armbar! Ibushi clasps hands and moves around, but ZSJ stays wrapped on with body scissors. ZSJ grabs at IBushi for a chinlock but settles for fish hooking his face. They move around, ZSJ goes after the armbar again, but Ibushi rolls back to get around ZSJ. Ibushi waistlocks then goes after ZSJ’s arms a la Rings of Saturn. ZSJ rolls, Ibushi wants a ghost pin, ZSJ slips out to body scissor roll Ibushi back into the chinlock, but Ibushi gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go and Ibushi bails out, both men taking their time to reset. They go again, testing the waters with grabs and kicks, and Ibushi makes contact with the leg! Ibushi kicks and KICKS and ZSJ falls to the mat. Ibushi KICKS ZSJ in the back, covers, ONE!
Ibushi clamps onto ZSJ with a chinlock and grinds him down. ZSJ gets the ropebreak with a leg and Ibushi lets go with a slap on the back. Ibushi backs off and both he and ZSJ talk trash. ZSJ gives Ibushi free shots and Ibushi fires off. But ZSJ catches a kick to a heel hook! Ibushi scrambles as ZSJ grapevines the legs! ZSJ cranks but Ibushi gets the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but the damage is done. Ibushi goes to a corner but ZSJ is on him with a standing toehold. ZSJ turns Ibushi over for a modified calf killer. ZSJ traps one leg, pulls on the other, and twists Ibushi around. Ibushi gets another ropebreak and ZSJ lets go. Ibushi drags himself up in the corner so ZSJ backs off. ZSJ runs in but Ibushi goes up, over and rolls to ROUNDHOUSE ZSJ down! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO!
Ibushi keeps his cool, and stomps ZSJ on the back! Ibushi brings ZSJ up for forearms and ROCKS ZSJ. ZSJ comes back with a strong European Uppercut, but Ibushi just ROCKS him again. ZSJ wrenches but Ibushi ROCKS him, then whips him to a corner. ZSJ goes up and comes back, into a SNAP-RANA! ZSJ ends up outside, Ibushi fires himself up, and goes to the corner, only for ZSJ to get far away from there. ZSJ won’t let Ibushi fly out at him, and takes a breather. ZSJ retruns but Ibushi BOOTS him out! ZSJ hurries and trips Ibushi up, for a HANGING KNEEBAR! Ibushi falls to the floor which does help for a moment, but ZSJ just clamps on tighter. The ref reprimands, submissions don’t matter on the outside! ZSJ lets go and leaves Ibushi behind as he goes to the ring.
The ring count begins and Ibushi hobbles up at 7 of 20. Ibushi gets in at 11, but ZSJ stands on the bad leg. ZSJ walks all over the bad leg then cranks the other, for a modified figure four to a kneebar! They’re in the ropes but ZSJ keeps twisting and pulling! The ref reprimands, ZSJ lets go, but again the damage is done. ZSJ toys with Ibushi, kicking him harder and harder. Ibushi fires off forearms but ZSJ sweeps the legs! ZSJ watches Ibushi get to a corner, then runs in for a EuroUpper! Ibushi comes back, into a boot! ZSJ boots the clohteline, PELES the arm, but Ibushi LARIATS back! Both men are down and the ref checks on them. They’re okay to continue, and Ibushi slowly rises. Ibushi drags ZSJ up, reels him in, and lifts, but ZSJ counters to a GUILLOTINE! Ibushi stays up, pops free, but ZSJ gets the leg for another KNEEBAR!
Ibushi stays up, shifts back, and dead lifts ZSJ into a full nelson! ZSJ breaks the hold, wrenches, and CRANKS the arm between his legs! Then he wrenches, hooks Ibushi up for the IRON OCTOPUS! Ibushi powers out, has ZSJ as a backpack, and ZSJ sleeper holds. But Ibushi keeps fighting, so ZSJ gets the roll up, to a HALF CRAB! ZSJ sits deep on the hold but Ibushi grits his teeth as he endures. ZSJ adds the other leg, and he has another heel hook! Ibushi reaches and gets the ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets go in frustration but he comes back to STOMP the bad leg! ZSJ KICKS Ibushi down but Ibushi sits back up. ZSJ kicks more but Ibushi sits up again. ZSJ kicks and kicks but Ibushi stands. Ibushi blocks, swings a punch, but gets caught to a crucifix pin! TWO, and ZSJ gets a triangle hold!
Ibushi powers up, dead lifts and POWERBOMBS ZSJ! ZSJ gets up, dodges one kick, blocks another and EuroUppers! Ibushi PELES back! Both men are down but Ibushi sits up first. Ibushi gets up, brings ZSJ in, powerbomb lift but ZSJ avoids the Last Ride! ZSJ mule kicks, runs in, Ibushi double stomps, but ZSJ catches them! ZSJ wants another leg lock but Ibushi KICKS ZSJ away from below! ZSJ comes back to PENALTY KICK! ZSJ has to catch his breath before he brings Ibushi up. ZSJ scoops, Ibushi slips out, V-TRIGGER!! KENNY~!! Ibushi sits ZSJ up, KAMI-GOYE!!! Cover, Ibushi wins!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall
One half of the #GoldenAces succeeds and is heading to the next round! Is the start of Ibushi becoming a triple belt champion?
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Taichi!
We saw one half of this tag team rivalry compete, now it’s time for the other! Will we see a sweep or a split? Will the Once in a Century Talent be ready for the Sliest Wrestler in the World?
But while Tanahashi is on the corner per his entrance tradition, Taichi grabs him for a SUPER POWERBOMB! Taichi grins as he paces around Tanahashi. Red Shoes reprimands but there’s only so much he can do about it now. Taichi wants the match to start already but Red Shoes tells him to wait. Red Shoes checks on Tanahashi but Taichi looms closely. Red Shoes moves Taichi back and Young Lions come in, but Taichi kicks the Young LIons out! Taichi demands Red Shoes get this match on the record but Red Shoes has to help Tanahashi first. Red Shoes gets the title belt off Tanahashi, and Tanahashi manages to sit up. Tanahashi wants this match, too, so the bell rings. Taichi BUZZSAWS! Taichi kicks Tanahashi out of the ring and Tanahashi flops to the floor.
Taichi keeps Red Shoes’ attention and this allows DOUKI to attack! It’s never a fair fight when it comes to Taichi! Douki uses his walking stick to choke Tanahashi! The ref misses all of this as Douki brings Tanahashi up to wrench and whip into railing! Red Shoes finally spots Douki and tells him to leave. Taichi drags Tanahashi up and chokes him with camera cables! The Young Lions get Red Shoes’ attention about this and Red Shoes reprimands Taichi. Taichi stops, but only for a moment! Douki stays and Taichi drags Tanahashi up, Suzuki-Gun continues to buck Red Shoes’ authority. Taichi puts Tanahashi in to cover but Red Shoes refuses to count. Red Shoes stands up for himself as he wants Tanahashi to have a fair chance. Taichi CHOKES Tanahashi with his bare hands!
Red Shoes counts, Taichi stops at 4, but then chokes again! Taichi stops at 4 again, then stalks Tanahashi to the ropes. Taichi uses the ropes to choke Tanahashi now, and again Red Shoes stops. Another stop at 4 but Tanahashi throws body shots! Tanahashi backs Taichi down but Taichi chokes him again! Taichi stands on Tanahashi’s head then lets off to bring Tanahashi up. Taichi throws Tanahashi out and Douki lurks close again. Taichi goes out to deal with Tanahashi himself, but Tanahashi throws hands and kicks back! Tanahashi whips Taichi into railing! Douki creeps close but Tanahashi backs him off with a glare. But Taichi clobbers Tanahashi from behind! Red Shoes argues with Douki but Taichi whips Tanahashi into railing! Taichi opens the gate and drags Tanahashi through. Taichi throws Tanahshi into folded bleachers!
Taichi has camera crews clear out and he takes a chair to JAM Tanahashi with it! And again, right in the head! Tanahashi goes down and Red Shoes reprimands Taichi, but Taichi presses the chair’s edge into Tanahashi’s throat! Tanahashi kicks and flails but Taichi eventually lets up. Red Shoes tells Taichi to bring this back in the ring, so Taichi drags Tanahashi up by his hair. Taichi POSTS Tanahashi the moment they’re ringside! Taichi puts Tanahashi in the ring, looms over him, then covers with just a hand. But again, Red Shoes refuses until Tanahashi’s had time to get back into this. The Young Lions rally for The Ace but Taichi snapmares and KICKS Tanahashi in the back. But Tanahashi fires up and sits up. Taichi toys with him but Tanahashi eggs him on. Taichi basement BOOTS Tanahashi down!
Taichi drags Tanahashi up, but Tanahashi throws forearms back! Taichi kicks the leg then whips, but Tanahashi comes back with the flying forearms! Tanahashi keeps the fire building and the Young Lions rally again. Tanahashi brings Taichi up for more forearms and body shots, and Taichi falls to the mat. Tanahashi scoops and slams Taichi, then goes to the corner. Second rope senton! Cover, TWO! The rallying continues and Tanahashi feeds off that energy. Taichi stands, Tanahashi runs, but Tanahsahi blocks the boot to a DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi doesn’t lose his cool, he gets up and watches Taichi in the corner. Tanahashi goes corner to corner but the splash misses! Taichi gamanguris! Tanahashi drops and Taichi shakes out his legs as he walks about. Taichi dares Tanahashi to sit up, and then BUZZS-
NO! Tanahashi blocks the kick! But Taichi rakes the eyes! Taichi kicks the leg but Tanahashi throws forearms. They go back and forth, forearm for kick, but then Taichi fires off several shots! Tanahashi hobbles to ropes but Taichi dares him to come back. Tanahashi does with a furious strike fest! Taichi wobbles to ropes but he still smirks. Taichi comes back to KICK Tanahashi hard in the chest! And again! But Tanahashi blocks, elbows the leg and throws forearms. Taichi boots, back kicks, and looms over Tanahashi as he drops to a knee. Taichi slaps Tanahashi, ducks the palm strike, for a SAIDO! Tanahashi is down but Taichi catches his breath instead of trying to cover. Taichi drags Tanahashi back up but he’s dead weight. The Young Lions rally and Taichi drags Tanahashi back up again.
Taichi reels Tanahashi in, but Tanahashi blocks the bomb lift! Taichi unleashes the Kowata kicks, then brings Tanahashi back in. Powerbomb lift, but Tanahashi slips out! The bad leg buckles, Taichi boots, but runs into a scoop! SWINGING SIDE SLAM! Both men are down again but the rallying builds. Tanahashi rises slowly but he returns to his feet. Tanahashi watches Taichi rise, then builds speed, but the Slingblade is denied! Tanahashi elbows the suplex away, tries again, but still no Slingblade! Tanahashi reaches for ropes but Taichi CLUBS and lifts! SLINGBLADE COUNTER! Tanahashi fires up as the Young Lions rally. Tanahashi runs, but Taichi ducks the Slingblade to Alabama lift! Tanahashi flails, TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Tanahashi runs again, to hit a proper SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO!! Taichi survives, but Tanahashi has more to give!
Tanahashi goes right to a corner and to the top rope. Taichi stands, HIGH FLY FLOW-BODY! Tanahashi wants another but Douki stands in his way! Red Shoes tells Douki to get away but Douki keeps egging Tanahsahi on. Tanahashi swings on Douki, Douki ducks once, but gets ROCKED with the uppercut! Taichi grabs at Tanahashi, Tanahashi kicks, but Taichi blocks it! Taichi shoves Red Shoes away, to LOW BLOW Tanahashi!! GEDO CLUTCH!! TWO!?!? Tanahashi survives but Taichi is too exhausted to be frustrated. The Young Lions rally again but Taichi is up first. Taichi powers up, takes aim, but Tanahashi deflects the superkick to run! Into a LARIAT! Taichi drags Tanahshi up, powerbomb lift, LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO?!?! Tanahashi survives, this is not the end for him!
The rallying continues but Taichi gets up and slashes the throat. Taichi drags Tanahashi back up, Alabama lifts, but Tanahashi powers it down to club away on Taichi’s back! Tanahashi fires forearm after forearm, but Taichi DECKS him! Taichi brings Tanahashi up, but Tanahashi ROCKS him with the palm strike! Tanahashi fires up and brings Taichi back up. Taichi is dead weight now but Tanahashi just keeps going. Tanahashi whips, Taichi reverse but Tanahashi grabs hold. So Taichi brings Tanahashi in to SNAP SAIDO!! Taichi drags Tanahashi up again, runs, BLIND AX BOMBER! GAMANGIRI! Off come the pants!! Taichi powers up as Tanahashi slowly rises. Tanahashi turns around, into the SUPERKICK!! Taichi drags Tanahashi back up, Alabama to BLACK MEPHISTO!! Cover, TAICHI WINS!
Winner: Taichi, by pinfall
The tag teams split the series on the night! The Maestro trumps the Ace, but wants to keep going! Dragon sleeper! The Young Lions rush in but Douki clobbers them all! Taichi makes Tanahashi suffer until he is satisfied. But Ibushi comes hobbling out! Ibushi runs Taichi and Douki off as he comes to the aid of his role model. Taichi has Ibushi calm down and then joins him in the ring. These two will meet in the next round, but they’ll also meet for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. And then Douki blindsides Ibushi!
Taichi grabs Ibushi’s title belt and CLOBBERS him with it! And then he CLOBBERS Tanahashi with it! Taichi stacks the #GoldenAces and stands on them, as if he’s already won it all. Taichi grabs a mic to speak. “What happened to you guys?” These two are tag champions for now, but not if he can take care of them both by himself. As it stands now, Taichi won’t just take the tag titles, but the entire New Japan Cup, to become THE greatest in NJPW. Will all of Taichi’s dark dreams come true in the spotlight?
A great start to the second week of New Japan Cup, as the only match I could justifiably skip was the tag team match with Suzuki-Gun. I honestly thought the matches involving Suzuki-Gun would go on first, but it does work to make Douki’s return a bit more surprising. If he’d shown up just after being in the 8 Man Tag, it’d seem really stupid. One interesting thing to note, though still done to great effect, was that LIJ and Suzuki-Gun each split the night. Sanada gets a win over Taguchi, perfect for Sanada getting back on that great run he had before the pandemic shutdown, and then Sho gets a shocking and amazing upset over Shingo! I would really love to see a rematch of Shingo and Sho for the Openweight Championship.
Then it seemed very likely and natural for Tanahashi and Ibushi to split with Taichi and ZSJ. In order for Dangerous Tekkers to be a serious contender, they can’t both lose, and it adds to some drama for Taichi to be the one that wins. I think Ibushi beats Taichi to split the team series while also pushing forward to be a part of the Final Four. The tag titles can be on the line at Dominion, assuming someone else makes it to the finals over Ibushi. Dominion would definitely be the place for a great tag team match, and who knows, that could be a great moment for a title change.
My Score: 9.2/10