Who makes it into the New Japan Cup’s second round?
NJPW’s comeback has already been incredible, and it’s not stopping yet! We finally have the last matches of the first round, who survives into the second?
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.
- YOH VS BUSHI; BUSHI wins and advances to the second round.
- Hirooki Goto VS Yujiro Takahashi; Goto wins and advances to the second round.
- Satoshi Kojima VS EVIL; EVIL wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
YOH VS BUSHI!
One half of Roppongi 3K put the SHO in SHOCKING as he defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Shingo Takagi! Now we’ll see if Yoh can keep pace! Will the Black Mask avenge the Last Dragon or end up just the same?
The bell rings and the two circle. Yoh and Bushi tie up and are in a deadlock. Yoh gets an edge and puts Bushi on the ropes, but Bushi turns it around. Yoh turns it back and lets up, to CHOP Bushi. Bushi CHOPS back, and we have a chop fight! Yoh changes to forearms then runs, but Bushi pushes him all the way out. Bushi runs but Yoh gets back in, to huricanrana Bushi out! Yoh slingshots, PLANCHA! Down goes Bushi but Yoh takes his time getting back up. The ring count begins, Yoh hobbles a bit but he clubs Bushi. The count passes 10 of 20 as Yoh keeps walking off the rough landing. Yoh gets Bushi in at 14, then brings him up for a snap suplex. Cover, TWO! Yoh keeps his cool but Bushi bails out of the ring. Yoh hurries after and stomps Bushi while he’s down.
Yoh brings Bushi up, throws uppercuts, then wrenches the arm to whip Bushi. Bushi reverses and sends Yoh into railings instead! The ref checks on Yoh but he’s okay to continue. Bushi brings Yoh up to whip into more railing! That was an even rougher impact than the first. The ref reprimands Bushi but he brings Yoh up and around the railing. Neckbreaker TO THE RAILING! Yoh writhes in pain and the ref checks on him. Somehow, Yoh is okay and Bushi leaves him behind. The ring count climbs past 10, then to 15 before Yoh gets up. Yoh crawls over to the ring, gets up and in at 18! Bushi stomps Yoh down again then rakes the eyes at the ropes. The ref counts, Bushi only lets go with one hand, so the ref counts again. Bushi lets up and starts to toy with Yoh.
Bushi brings Yoh up, but Yoh throws forearms! Bushi kicks and clubs Yoh back for that, but Yoh throws more forearms. Bushi forearms and hits another neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Yoh is toughing it out but Bushi keeps his cool. Bushi toys with Yoh more, then brings him up to bump off buckles. Bushi CHOPS Yoh and gives more toying kicks. Yoh kicks back so Bushi stomps him. Bushi throws body shots, whips Yoh corner to corner, then runs in only to get a boot! Yoh tries another boot but Bushi blocks and kicks back. Bushi whips again, but Yoh comes back with a handspring elbow! Yoh kips right up! Yoh waits for Bushi to rise and rallies with forearms! Yoh whips, Bushi reverses, but Yoh comes back with a flying elbow! Yoh fires up, goes to a corner and climbs up top. He waits for Bushi to rise, to drop him with the missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!
Yoh keeps his cool as he drags Bushi up in a dragon sleeper. Bushi drops, victory rolls, TWO! Bushi kicks, Yoh blocks to a dragon screw! Then step through, FIGURE FOUR! Bushi endures as Yoh drops to crank back. Yoh puts on the pressure but Bushi sits up. Bushi grits his teeth, works to turn the hold, but Yoh brings it right back. Yoh drops to crank but Bushi sits up to turn. They continue to fight, Bushi rolls it but Yoh keeps it rolling, ROPEBREAK! The ref helps undo the leg lock, but Yoh brings Bushi up. Yoh laces up the legs for a fisherman Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO!! Bushi survives but Yoh gets right to his feet. Yoh brings Bushi up, throws forearms and hoists Bushi to the top rope. Yoh climbs to join Bushi, but Bushi slips out the bottom! Yoh adjusts, flies, but Bushi dodges!
The bad knee slows Bushi down and Yoh hits a mule kick. Yoh runs but into Bushi’s dropkick! Bushi gets to the apron, drags Yoh up and through the ropes, APRON DRAPING DDT! Yoh is stuck upside-down but Bushi drags him back in. Bushi hits the Fisherman Neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Yoh survives but Bushi says he’ll end this! Bushi hobbles to a corner, climbs up top, and watches Yoh rise. Bushi leaps, but into Yoh’s waistlock! GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging, ONE, but Yoh holds on! Full nelson, but Bushi breaks that to get ANOTHER German Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!! Yoh is growing frustrated but he’s also fired up! Yoh drags Bushi up into the waistlock, then the full nelson. Bushi flips out and backslides, ONE, SUPERKICK! Yoh takes Bushi down but he needs to finish!
Yoh drags Bushi back up, but Bushi ROCKS him with that palm strike! Yoh gives it back, and it’s a palm strike fight! ENZIGURI from Bushi, but Yoh mule kicks. Bushi kicks, Yoh catches it and ducks the enziguri, but not the mule kick! But Yoh SUPERKICKS again! Bushi rises slowly and Yoh also works to stay up. Yoh catches Bushi into the full nelson, Bushi switches, Yoh switches, but Bushi switches again! BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO! Both men slowly rise again, and Bushi runs at Yoh, into the COMPLETE SHOT! Cover, TWO!! Yoh won’t let up, he gets the CALF KILLER! Bushi endures, crawls, reaches, but Yoh drags him away by the heel! Yoh reels Bushi in, Bushi denies the full nelson and ENZIGURIS! Yoh wobbles, into a CODE BREAKER! But Bushi can’t capitalize, he’s just too tired!
Bushi drags Yoh up to fireman’s carry, F5 into CODE BREAKER! Bushi goes to the corner, waits for Yoh to rise, MX!!! Cover, BUSHI wins!
Winner: BUSHI, by pinfall
The other half of RPG3K falls! Bushi avenges Shingo and now LIJ has THREE contenders in the running! Will we see one of them reach the end to challenge Naito?
Hirooki Goto VS Yujiro Takahashi!
Chaos’ Fierce Warrior and the Bullet Club’s Tokyo Pimp are itching to get some gold again, but only one of them will advance! Who makes big moves on behalf of their faction?
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Goto waistlocks but Yujiro wrenches out to a wristlock. Goto rolls, wrenches and wristlocks to a hammerlock then headlock and takeover. Yujiro headscissors but Goto gets free. Yujiro and Goto reset and tie up again. Yujiro pulls hair but Goto powers Yujiro to the ropes. They both pull hair as Yujiro turns things back around, and the referee reprimands them both. Yujiro lets go first and Goto follows. Goto ducks the sucker punch to kick and headlock back. Yujiro powers out, Goto rams him but Yujiro comes back to collide with Goto. Neither falls so Yujiro runs, but his shoulder tackle still doesn’t topple Goto. Yujiro dares Goto try, but then Yujiro grabs Goto’s hair! Yujiro brings Goto in but it’s Goto who suplexes! Cover, TWO!
Yujiro bails out but Goto dares him to get back in. Yujiro takes his time and Jado checks on him. Yujiro does return, but scrambles away as Goto comes over to stomp! The ref has Goto give Yujiro space, and Yujiro returns, to again get away before the stomping. Yujiro and Jado protest but Goto rushes out after them. Yujiro kicks and forearms Goto back, then whips him. Goto reverses to send Yujiro into railing! Goto clubs Yujiro down, whips him but Yujiro reverses to clothesline! Goto doesn’t go down and Yujiro apologizes, but he suckers Goto into a dragon sleeper and reverse DDT! Goto hits the ground and Yujiro leaves him to the mercy of the ring count. Goto sits up at 6 of 20, stands at 15, and gets in at 17! Yujiro kicks Goto while he’s down, then brings him up to snapmare him back down for a leg drop. And elbow drop! And falling headbutt! Cover, TWO!
Yujiro is frustrated but he drags Goto back up to dig a knee into the back. Yujiro grinds Goto with a chinlock but Goto starts getting up. Yujiro snapmares him down to run and basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Yujiro is again frustrated but he manages to crack a smile as he brings Goto back up. Yujiro throws Goto out then distracts the ref so Jado can whip Goto into railing! The Master Heater gets away with it as Yujiro keeps insisting on something. The ref stops talking with him to start the ring count on Goto. Goto gets to his feet at 13 but slowly goes along the apron to finally get in at 17. Yujiro smothers and covers, TWO! Yujiro brings Goto up and pushes him into a corner. Goto hits back but Yujiro eggs him on. Yujiro then stomps and punches and CHOPS back! Yujiro whips Goto corner to corner and hits a helluva kick! Yujiro brings Goto up and hooks the leg for a facebuster! Cover, TWO!
Yujiro still grins as he looms over Goto. Yujiro toys with Goto but Goto CHOPS back! Goto fires off more but Yujiro mule kicks. Yujiro runs and boots, but Goto stays up! Goto runs and clotheslines but Yujiro manages to stay up! Yujiro runs and boots but Goto runs to clothesline! Goto runs again, into a boot! Yujiro tries again but Goto dodges to DISCUS! Both men are down after that back and forth, but Goto is up first. Goto fires forearms on Yujiro, whips him corner to corner, then runs in to hit the windmill kick! SAIDO! Cover, TWO!! Yujiro survives but Goto won’t let up. Goto fireman’s carries Yujiro but Yujiro rakes eyes! Yujiro gets to a corner, Goto runs in and hits a corner clothesline! Goto drops Yujiro down to then climb up top. Yujiro gets up to intercept with a body shot!
Yujiro climbs up, the two brawl, and Yujiro gets the edge. Yujiro brings Goto up, hooks a leg, SUPER FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Goto survives and Yujiro can’t believe it. Yujiro brings Goto up, fireman’s carries, but Goto fights out to waistlock. Yujiro elbows the German suplex away, then runs, but Goto follows! Yujiro dodges, Goto follows to run past, but now Yujiro follows to clothesline! Goto stays up, Yujiro fires up and runs again, but into a fireman’s carry! USHIGOROSHI! But Goto can’t capitalize with a cover! Both men slowly rise, Goto throws forearms first, but Yujiro responds with forearms of his own. The two start to brawl back and forth, even picking up speed. Yujiro gets the edge but Goto comes back to DECK Yujiro! Goto drags Yujiro up, suplexes, but Yujiro fights out to BITE the hand!
Goto gets to ropes, Yujiro stops biting, and he BOOTS Goto down! Yujiro staggers back over to Goto, brings him up and fisherman lifst, but Goto resists the suplex. Goto lifts but Yujiro resists. They fight for suplex control, and Goto gets Yujiro up on the ropes for a DRAPING GTR!! Cover, TWO!?! Yujiro survives but Goto won’t let up! He turns Yujiro around, but Yujiro grabs at the ref! Goto pushes the ref away and clubs away on Yujiro. Goto runs, into Jado’s kendo stick attack! Yujiro clotheslines Goto down! Yujiro fires up, brings Goto back into the fireman’s carry, MIAMI SHINE! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives Yujiro’s best and Yujiro can’t believe it! Yujiro drags Goto back up, but Goto denies the basement DDT to get a basement mule kick! Yujiro demands Goto get up, and then he basement mule kicks again!
Goto sits up again, and blocks the third basement mule kick! But Yujiro DECKS him with a forearm! Yujiro drags Goto back up, but Goto is dead weight. Yujiro only needs to sit Goto up, but then Goto revives to fireman’s carry! Yujiro rakes eyes to get free again! Jado distracts the ref and Yujiro grabs his pimp cane! Yujiro takes aim at Goto, but Goto ducks the cane to HEADBUTT! Goto throws Yujiro into Jado, then fireman’s carry! G T W!! Cover, TWO!?!? Goto is furious but fired up as he drags Yujiro back up. TRUE G T R!! Cover, Goto wins!!
Winner: Hirooki Goto, by pinfall
GTR FTW! The Tokyo Pimp falls and the Fierce Warrior is rising! Will Goto finally reach the title he has yet to hold?
Satoshi Kojima VS EVIL!
Hiromu, Sanada and Bushi have advanced while Shingo has fallen. Will the King of Darkness give LIJ a huge mathematical advantage in the coming rounds?
The bell rings and Evil stares Kojima down. They approach, feel out the grapple but Kojima backs away. They circle, still feel things out, then Evil kicks low to headlock! Evil grinds Kojima down but Kojima throws body shots. Kojima powers out but Evil runs him over! Evil waits for Kojima to get up and dares him to bring it. Kojima kicks Evil low then headlocks in return. Evil pulls hair and powers out, but Kojima runs him over! Evil bails out in frustration and Kojima flexes the pecs. Kojima slingshots but Evil moves and the plancha crashes and burns! Evil clubs Kojima on the back, whips him to railing hard, then grabs a chair! Red Shoes reprimands Evil, but Kojima dodges the chair shot! Evil tosses the chair to Kojima, to PUNCH it into him!
Evil is an evil genius, and he adds on by stomping Kojima down. Red Shoes reprimands Evil again but Evil pushes him away! Evil grabs the chair and clamps it onto Kojima’s arm! Evil POSTS the trapped arm!! Kojima clutches the arm that just got crunched while Evil goes back into the ring. Kojima gets up and into the ring before a count begins, but Evil is right on him with stomps. Evil wrenches the bad arm, and clubs it with an elbow! Kojima CHOPS back but with the bad arm! That hurts him more than it does Evil, but he still CHOPS. Evil eggs Kojima on then knees low. Evil wrenches and clubs the arm again! Kojima falls to the mat as he clutches that arm, but Evil stands on him for a cocky cover. Red Shoes chooses not to count that, so Evil SLAMS the bad arm on the mat. And again!
Kojima gets up but Evil is on the bad arm at the ropes. Evil wraps the arm around the top rope, but lets up as REd SHoes counts. THen comes back for more! Evil lets up again and Kojima drops to the apron. Evil brings Kojima up and wrenches the arm for a shoulder hotshot! Kojima stays standing but that arm is vulnerable again. Evil grabs the arm but Koijma foorearms Evil down! Kojima slingshots, but Evil avoids the elbow drop! Evil wags his finger because he’s too smart for that. Evil pushes Kojima deeper in then drops the senton! Cover, TWO! Evil clamps onto the bad arm to grind it down with an armlock. Kojima endures, but Evil brings him around for a motorcycle stretch. Kojima endures as both arms are being pulled back, but he works to turn things around.
Evil keeps Kojima in place, but the third time’s the charm! Kojima turns the hold around, only for Evil to turn it right back! Evil digs a knee in then uses his head. Kojima continues to endure, but Evil shifts to a waistlock. Kojima fights back with elbows, and spins around to DDT! Both men are down and Kojima gets to a corner. Evil runs in but Kojima boots him away. Evil runs in again but gets more boots. Kojima dodges the third time then CHOPS Evil! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Kojima fires up as he adds more CHOPS! SO MANY CHOPS! Kojima whips corner to corner and hits a big forearm smash! Evil goes down and Kojima heads up top! But Evil intercepts with forearms! Evil goes out to the apron to bring Kojima along, but Kojima blocks the fireman’s carry! Kojima holds the ropes for dear life, and then clubs away on Evil’s back. APRON DDT! Kojima drops Evil but he also falls out of exhaustion.
Kojima stands at 4, fetches Evil and puts him into the ring at 10. Kojima climbs again, aims, and hits a MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Kojima keeps his focus as he looms over Evil. Kojima brings Evil up, throws big forearm sover and over, then spins, into an eye rake! Evil blocks the kick, gives it to Red Shoes, and mule kicks Kojima down! Kojima gets to a corner while Evil fires himself up. Evil runs corner to corner, BRONCO BUSTER! Cover, TWO! But into a FUJIWARA! Evil bends the fingers on the armbar but Kojima endures. Kojima reaches around, and gets a ropebreak with his legs! Evil holds on until Red Shoes counts 4. Evil toys with Kojima, then runs, but Kojima swats the clothesline away! Kojima kicks and hits a CUTTER! But Kojima can’t capitalize, so he stalks and stomps Evil into a corner.
Kojima throws big haymakers then hoists Evil up top. Kojima CHOPS Evil before climbing up to join him. SUPER KOJI CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Evil lives but Kojima won’t let up. Kojima drags Evil to his feet, reels him in and suplexes. Evil resists, the two struggle for control, and Evil manages a Fisherman Suplex! Both men are down but Evil sits up first. Kojima follows, Evil goes for a fireman’s carry but Kojima throws elbows. Evil still powers Kojima up onto his shoulders, but Kojima fights free. Evil clotheslines but Kojima stays up! Evil runs and clohteslines, but still Kojima stays up! Evil tries again and again but Kojima only falls to a knee after all that. Evil runs but Kojima clotheslines back! Kojima is the one left standing! Kojima fires up, runs, but into a LARIAT from Evil! Cover, TWO!!
Kojima survives but Evil won’t let up. Evil fireman’s carries, DARKNESS FALLS!! Cover, TWO!?!? Kojima shocks Evil by surviving one of his best! Evil gets to his feet and slashes the throat. Evil drags Kojima up, spins him around, but Kojima denies him the STO. Evil kicks, spins but into a forearm! Kojima runs, but Evil swats the lariat away! Evil runs, into a SOUTHPAW LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!! Evil shocks Kojima now but Kojima gets back up. Kojima brings Evil into the suplex, for the BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Kojima is beside himself as Evil lives. Kojima staggers up to his feet, powers up the arm, and runs, but Evil uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil kicks low, lifts Kojima, and makes Red Shoes help him in the MAGIC KILLER!! Everyone is down, even Red Shoes!
Evil and Kojima stir while Red Shoes goes to a corner. Kojima gets up in a corner, Evil runs in, BIG corner clothesline! Evil hoists Kojima up top then climbs up to join him. They stand on the very top, for a SUPERPLEX!! Evil crawls to the cover, TWO!?!? Kojima still lives and Evil has no words! Evil takes off his elbow pad, runs, but into Kojima’s LARIAT!! Both men fall and commentary is losing its mind! Kojima crawls and rises, hurries to cover, TWO!!! Evil survives because of that delay! Kojima rises again and dares Evil to stand. Evil does stand, Kojima runs in, but Evil swats the lariat away! And again! Evil ducks one but gets the southpaw again! Kojima runs, into EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, EVIL WINS!!
Winner: EVIL, by pinfall
The dark one is victorious, and we have FOUR members of LIJ in the second round! Hiromu, Bushi, Sanada and now Evil, will the LIJ OG become the New Japan Cup’s final four?
Evil takes the mic and essentially asks what is anyone going to do to stop him from winning the New Japan Cup? “THIS is EVIL! EVERYTHING is EVIL!” Is NJPW about to enter an Evil Era?
Great stuff again, but that is always expected from NJPW. Apologies to Yoshi-Hashi for not including his match, but I felt it was a bit of a given that he’d win. For coverage on that and the 8 Man Tag of Chaos VS LIJ, check out Andrew Balaz’s results-and-ratings article. I still included Goto VS Yujiro because of the length of time it was given. 15 minutes makes for a really good match out of even Tokyo Pimp. But I felt the highlights for tonight were the matches with LIJ members. Unfortunately, given how the bracket is formatted, we won’t get an all LIJ VS LIJ semifinals. Bushi and Evil are the two that might run into each other, depending on how the second round goes. But Bushi VS Yoh was good, and it seems LIJ has split things with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
Evil and Kojima had a much better match than I expected, but Evil still wins. We could still see an LIJ VS LIJ match in each of the last three rounds, from EVIL VS BUSHI in quarterfinals, to then a semifinal and THE final match, crowning one of them Naito’s Dominion challenger.
My Score: 9.1/10