The quarterfinals start and end all on one day!
NJPW wraps up the round of eight all at once! Does Los Ingobernables de Japon dominate the semifinals?
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.
- Hiromu Takahashi VS Tomohiro Ishii; Hiromu wins and advances to the semifinals.
- EVIL VS YOSHI-HASHI; Evil wins and advances to the semifinals.
- Kazuchika Okada VS Taiji Ishimori; Okada wins and advances to the semifinals.
- SANADA VS Taichi; Sanada wins and advances to the semifinals.
PLAY BY PLAY
Hiromu Takahashi VS Tomohiro Ishii!
The Ticking Timebomb has been having a lot of fun in the New Japan Cup, while the Stone Pitbull has been all business. Will Hiromu be able to break through the wall that is Ishii?
The bell rings and Hiromu rams Ishii with a shoulder! Ishii stays up so Hiromu runs again, rams Ishii, but Ishii stays up. Ishii stays up the third time, then things speed up! Hiromu hurdles, dodges but Ishii runs him over! Hiromu is right up but Ishii kicks and whips him away. Hiromu comes back from the corner to ram shoulders with Ishii again, and again, and again! Hiromu corner clotheslines Ishii then runs, only to get run over! Ishii stalks Hiromu to ropes, brings him up and CHOPS him! Ishii CHOPS again, and Hiromu goes to a corner. Ishii throws forearms over and over and dares Hiromu to get up. Hiromu does stand, and he goes forehead to forehead with Ishii. Ishii CHOPS, Hiromu CHOPS, and this starts to look familiar.
Hiromu chops but Ishii CHOPS, and then Ishii dares Hiromu to keep going. The CHOP fight continues back and forth, until Hiromu wobbles. Ishii CHOPS him at the ropes again, and again, and again! Hiromu falls over and Ishii kicks him while he’s down. Ishii drags Hiromu up and slaps him around. Hiromu goes forehead to forehead again, pushes Ishii, but Ishii throws forearms back. Hiromu takes them but the CHOP knocks him back down! Ishii stomps Hiromu at the ropes, the ref reprimands, but Hiromu is up to pie face and CHOP! And CHOP, CHOP, CHOP, CHOP! Ishii headbutts and Hiromu falls again! Hiromu bails out of the ring, Ishii hurries right after, and puts him back in the ring. There’s no rest with the Pitbull after you!
Ishii sits Hiromu up to KICK in the back! And then kick while he’s down! Ishii toys with Hiromu again, wanting to see what the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion still has. Ishii puts Hiromu in a corner, slaps him around, but Hiromu gets in Ishii’s face again. Hiromu throws forearms but they barely make Ishii flinch. Ishii CHOPS and Hiromu falls down again. Ishii stands Hiromu up, whips him corner to corner, then runs in. Hiromu boots back, runs and rams Ishii, but still nothing. Ishii whips, Hiromu reverses and hits a corner clotheslines! Hiromu rolls Ishii and runs to hit a basement dropkick! Ishii is finally down and Hiromu can finally catch his breath. Hiromu brings Ishii up, whips but reels him in to forearm and put on the ropes. Hiromu kicks the ropes to jam Ishii, then runs, ducks and huricanranas! Ishii is down and now Hiromu eggs him on.
Hiromu drags Ishii up, suplexes, but Ishii resists. Ishii suplexes but Hiromu resists. The two fight for suplex control, and Ishii powers Hiromu up and over! Ishii looms over Hiromu then brings him up for headbutt after headbutt. Ishii whips Hiromu into the corner but Hiromu comes back to run him over! Hiromu drags Ishii up, FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Hiromu keeps his cool as he gets up and brings Ishii into the fireman’s carry. Ishii slips out, shoves Hiromu into a corner, but Hiromu comes right back with the shotgun dropkick! But Ishii comes right back to BLAST Hiromu with a shoulder! Hiromu ends up in the corner but both men are down. Ishii sits up while the ref checks on Hiromu. Hiromu is okay to continue so Ishii drags him up. Hiromu resists the back suplex, clubs Ishii on the back and gets free.
Hiromu swings, Ishii ducks, Ishii swings but Hiromu ducks. Hiromu waistlocks, Ishii elbows but Hiromu ducks. Hiromu swings but into Ishii’s waistlock. Ishii spins Hiromu around, but Hiromu tries to suplex! Ishii resists, spins out, ducks another clothesline and back suplexes Hiromu down! Ishii takes his time returning to Hiromu, and eggs Hiromu on. Hiromu sits up, Ishii reels him in, but Hiromu counters the bomb into a huricanrana! And TRIANGLE HOLD! Ishii endures, stays on his feet, but Hiromu squeezes tight! Ishii starts to fade, the ref checks on him, but Ishii stays awake! Ishii gets a second wind, to dead lift! BUCKLE BOMB! Both men are down from that one!
Ishii stands, runs back in and corner clotheslines Hiromu! He hoists Hiromu up top, climbs up to join him, but Hiromu hits back. Ishii headbutts, brings Hiromu up, but Hiromu resists. Ishii still powers Hiromu for the SUPERPLEX! He has to crawl to the cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives but Ishii is waiting. Hiromu stands, Ishii runs, Hiromu swats the clothesline away! Hiromu SLAPS Ishii, but Ishii enziguris Hiromu! Hiromu falls but Ishii fires up! Ishii dares Hiromu to stand, then runs, to LARIAT Hiromu inside out! Hiromu gets up?! Hiromu roars as he flounders about the ropes. Ishii watches as Hiromu stands and heads over.
Hiromu throws forearm after forearm but there’s not enough power. Ishii DECKS Hiromu with one! Ishii sits Hiromu, SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu still lives! Ishii drags Hiromu up, suplexes, but Hiromu cradle counters! TWO, Hiromu leaps and catches Ishii for a triangle, but Ishii POWERBOMBS him again! Cover, TWO and Hiromu sits on Ishii! Cover, TWO!! Ishii and Hiromu go to opposite corners, run in, and LARIATS Hiromu again! Ishii drags Hiromu back up, suplexes again, but Hiromu fights out! SUPERKICK, fireman’s carry, DYNAMITE PLUNGER! Cover, TWO!?! Ishii survives but Hiromu is too tired to be frustrated. Hiromu shouts at Ishii, gets up and runs, LARIAT! But Ishii just wobbles!
Hiromu tries again, LARIAT, but still Ishii wobbles. Hiromu tries again, but Ishii swats it away! SUPERKICK! Ishii topples over, but this isn’t over yet! Hiromu drags Ishii up, fireman’s carry, Death Valley into the corner! Hiromu still isn’t done with Ishii, and he drags him up to another fireman’s carry. But Ishii slips out, suplexes, only for Hiromu to pop out and pop up. But Ishii escapes the rana to GERMAN SUPLEX! Hiromu stands?! LARIAT, but Ishii just powers through, to headbutt! Hiromu stays up to heabutt back!! Ishii falls over!! Hiromu grins as he powers up and runs, ducks and LARIATS ISHII!! Hiromu still has energy to give and he drags Ishii back up. Fireman’s carry, TIMEBOMB!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Ishii will not be demolished so easily!
Hiromu is frustrated, what must he do to win? Hiromu shouts at Ishii, brings him back up, reels him into a dragon sleepr, but Ishii spins through! Hiromu resists the suplex but Ishii headbutts! Ishii runs, into the spin, Hiromu hits a BRAIN BUSTER!! Hiromu takes Ishii’s move but that’s not all! Dragon sleeper, lift, TIMEBOMB 2!!! Cover, Hiromu wins!!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall
Incredible! After so much explosive offense, Hiromu is in the Final Four! Will Hiromu win his way to giving us the dream match meant for the anniversary?
EVIL VS YOSHI-HASHI!
The King of Darkness showed us just how evil he can be with how he defeated Hirooki Goto, and vows to keep going by any means necessary. The Head Hunter has already taken out the Black Mask, will he add another LIJ member? Or is Evil joining Hiromu in the Final Four?
Hashi didn’t learn a thing from his match with Bushi, because while he’s getting on the corner, Evil is getting a chair! Evil SMACKS Hashi in the back! Hashi writhes, clutching his leg, but Evil has another chair! Evil puts the chair around the knee and stomps it! Then CON-CHAIR-TO to the leg!! And again!! Hashi screams as Evil hits a THIRD!! The ref backs Evil off but what good does it do Hashi?! Evil lets Hashi alone as the ref gets the chair off the leg. Hashi still wants to fight?! Hashi stands up, the bell rings, and Hashi throws forearms on Evil. Evil doesn’t even sweat it, and he kicks the bad leg! Hashi still stands back up, throws more forearms, and a CHOP! Evil feels that one but he kicks the leg again.
Evil reels Hashi in, trips him up and stomps away on the leg! Then he steps through, laces the legs, SHARPSHOOTER! Hashi endures the leg lock as Evil sits deep! Hashi refuses to lose like this, and he crawls for the ropes! But Evil sits even deeper! Evil tries to rip the legs off but Hashi refuses to give in! Evil drags him from the ropes, sits deep again, but the ref calls it!! Evil wins!!
Winner: Evil, by referee stoppage
Brutal! The King of Darkness did just as he promised, and the Head Hunter is done for! The ref and the Young Lions have to get Evil to stop, but he’s going to keep going into the semifinals. Hashi tries to #GetBackUp, but Evil just stands over him. Evil STOMPS the leg!! The Young Lions get Evil away from Hashi, and Evil finally leaves. Will Evil be this evil if he has to face a fellow LIJ member?
Kazuchika Okada VS Taiji Ishimori!
The Rainmaker wants to get back to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and the Intercontinental Championship is a cherry on top. The Bone Soldier Reborn just wants to have a taste of that golden feast. Will Okada deny Ishimori that opportunity?
The bell rings the two circle. Okada and Ishimori approach, and then Ishimori rakes Okada’s eyes! Ishimori throws forearms then runs, but into Okada’s BOOT! Ishimori flounders about but Okada calmly walks over and brings him up. Okada elbows Ishimori in the neck, scoops him and slams him, then goes to the apron for a slingshot senton! Cover, TWO! Okada isn’t at all worried as he brings Ishimori up again. Okada elbows Ishimori’s neck, then again, but Ishimori throws chops. Okada doesn’t flinch and he rocks Ishimori with a right forearm. Okada snapmares and runs to basement dropkick Ishimori out of the ring! Ishimori winces as he clutches his neck. Ishimori sits up but wait! Gedo appears! Okada glares at Gedo and he stays back, but Ishimori attacks from behind!
Ishimori dumps Okada out then goes after him, to wrench and whip into barriers! Okada topples over as the referee reprimands the Bullet Club, but Gedo gets away with a wrench shot! Gedo is continuing from his failure to screw Okada over! And Ishimori is keeping the ref from seeing all of this! Gedo leaves Okada alone and Ishimori stomps Okada down. Ishimori brings Okada up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Ishimori wraps Okada up in a chinlock and digs his knee in. Ishimori jams his knee in again and again, but Okada endures. Okada reaches for ropes, Ishimori cranks harder, then drops a leg! Cover, TWO! Ishimori is upset with the count and so is Gedo, but the count is the count. Ishimori looms over Okada now as he stomps him to the ropes.
Ishimori cranks Okada’s neck with a cravat and headbutts away! Okada goes to a corner, Ishimori CHOPS! Ishimori whips Okada corner to corner, blocks the boots and turns Okada sideways. Ishimori enziguris then runs side to side, SLIDING GERMAN! Gedo cheers but he’s literally the only one. Ishimori covers, TWO! Ishimori and Gedo are both upset with the count again, but Ishimori wraps on a chinlock. Okada endures as Ishimori grinds him down and cranks him around. Okada fights up, fights back, and fights free. But Ishimori elbows Okada on the neck! Ishimori whips, Okada reverses, and Okada runs in, but into Ishimori’s boot! Ishimori runs, but into a BIG flapjack! Ishimori flounders and writhes but Okada is down, too.
Okada kips up! And he starts to rally with forearms! Okada whips, Ishimori reverses, but Okada elbows him down! Okada fires up and goes after Ishimori in the corner. Okada whips corner to corner, hits a back elbow, then kicks for a spike DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool as he paces about. Okada drags Ishimori up, gut wrenches, but Ishimori fights free. Okada elbows, whips, Ishimori handsprings to hit a neuralizer enziguri! Both men are down again and Gedo cheers Ishimori. Okada and Ishimori to go opposite corners and stand up. Ishimori runs in, and double knees! He snapmares Okada and runs again, but Okada ducks the Shining Wizard! Okada rolls Ishimori, TWO! Ishimori gets a Yes Lock! But Okada gets the ropebreak!
Ishimori lets go fast and is very frustrated. Gedo coaches Ishimori up, Ishimori drags Okada up, but Okada resists the gut wrench! Okada clubs Ishimori but Ishimori hits a heavy body shot. Ishimori runs in but is popped up to the Alabama lift, REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Both men are down again but Okada sits up. Okada goes to Ishimori, brings him up, scoops and slams, and per the formula, heads to a corner. Okada climbs up top but Gedo creeps closer. Okada hops down to run him off, but Ishimori handspring heel kicks Okada down! Okada crashes into barriers, staggers up, and Ishimori TRIANGLE MOONSAULTS! Direct hit and Okada goes down! Ishimori is also down but Gedo coaches him up.
The ring count begins, Ishimori sits up at 4 of 20 and stands at 6. Ishimori brings Okada up at 10 and puts him in the ring. Cover, TWO! Gedo and Ishimori are upset again, but Ishimori stays focused. Okada slowly rises, Ishimori runs from a corner, shotgun dropkick blasts him to a corner! Then corner METEORA! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Ishimori can’t believe it! Gedo argues with the ref but Ishimori takes aim again. BANG, and he brings Okada up. Ishimori underhooks but Okada blocks! Ishimori knees, runs, dodges Okada’s boot, and tilt-o-whirls into a takedown! YES LOCK! Okada endures, powers up, reaches, but Ishimori cranks harder! Okada refuses to give up, and uses his legs for the ropebreak! Ishimori lets go and is frustrated all over again.
Ishimori fires himself up and Gedo says this is his chance. Ishimori brings Okada up, but Okada fights out of Bloody Sunday to uppercut! Ishimori jumps and knees! Ishimori runs, into a dropkick! Okada drags Ishimori up, gut wrenches, but Ishimori fights and reverses the gut wrench! CIPHER UTAKI! Cover, TWO!?! Okada survives and Gedo argues that was three! It wasn’t, and Ishimori is furious! Ishimori drags Okada up, underhooks, but Okada slips out to gut wrench! JUMPING TOMBSTONE! Okada has the arm, DEEP IN DEBT! Gedo gets up on the apron and Okada lets Ishimori go to run him off again. Okada turns back to Ishimori, wrenches, DEEP IN DEBT!
Ishimori endures, reaches, so Okada arm-drags Ishimori. But Ishimori grabs the ref to bring him along! Ishimori is Deep In Debt again, but Gedo attacks Okada! Gedo has the brass knuckles! Okada gets up, but he ducks the punch to shotgun dropkick Gedo down! Ishimori kicks and whips but Okada reverses to dropkick again! DEEP IN DEBT!! Okada is determined to win this way, and Ishimori starts to fade out! Okada cranks, Ishimori taps, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by submission
The Rainmaker keeps winning without even needing his iconic signature! Does Hiromu stand a chance against this transformed Okada?
SANADA VS Taichi!
The Timebomb and the King of Darkness are into the semifinals, but what about the Cold Skull? Is the hot streak going to get hotter? The Sliest Wrestler in the World swept the current IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, will beating a former one solidify his chances of taking those titles?
The bell rings and the two stare down from across the way. Sanada and Taichi circle slowly, but then Taichi backs off. He seems more concerned about his hair than Sanada’s presence. The two circle again, but again Taichi backs off. Sanada keeps his cool and circles with Taichi again. Finally, Taichi ties up with Sanada, Sanada wrenches, and Taichi gets to the ropes. Red Shoes calls for the break, Sanada lets go, and they reset again. Another tie up, and Sanada rolls to then wrench to a hammerlock. Taichi hurries to a corner, but he’s untying the tag rope without anyone seeing. Sanada lets go, Taichi circles with him, but he’s hiding the tag rope. Sanada kicks low, headlocks, but Taichi uses the rope to choke him! Taichi chokes Sanada like he did Ibushi!
Red Shoes tries to stop him but Taichi is hiding the rope even as he smothers Sanada! Taichi stops as Red Shoes counts, and the trick has been exposed. Red Shoes takes the rope away, Taichi pushes Sanada out of the ring, then whips Sanada into barriers! Taichi drags Sanada up, through the gate, and bounces him off bleachers. Those bleachers sure get a lot of attention. Taichi brings Sanada across railing to choke him more! Red Shoes reprimands Taichi and he eventually lets up. Taichi borrows an idea from Minoru Suzuki and drags the railing over. He stands it on Sanada’s neck to choke him that way! Red Shoes reprimands and counts again, but Taichi lets up, just to do it again! Taichi lets up to argue with Red Shoes but Red Shoes stands up for himself.
Taichi brings Sanada up and POSTS him! Sanada staggers away but Taichi puts him back into the ring. Taichi kneels on Sanada but Red Shoes won’t call that a cover. Taichi lets up, and tries to hide a choke as a cover again! Red Shoes counts the penalty, so Taichi stops. Just to choke Sanada again! Red Shoes has Taichi stop again, but Taichi stands on Sanada now. Sanada gets up and Taichi toys with him. Taichi drags Sanada up but Sanada fires off forearms! Taichi chokes again, Sanada breaks free, so Taichi rakes the eyes! Taichi runs, but into Sanada’s elbow! Sanada standing moonsaults, Taichi moves, but Sanada lands on his feet to basement dropkick! Sanada and Taichi are both down, but Sanada can finally catch his breath.
Sanada brings Taichi up, fires forearm after forearm then whips. Taichi reverses, Sanada dodges and dropkicks the legs out! Taichi bails out, Sanada takes aim, slingshot PLANCHA! Sanada wants to hear the fans watching at home, and someone in the crew applauds him at least. Sanada brings Taichi up, puts him in the ring, but Taichi rolls out the far side. Sanada follows and clubs Taichi at the railing! And again! Taichi pulls himself up but Sanada is on him to put back in the ring. Taichi springs up to kick away at Sanada! Taichi uses the ropes as part of stealing Paradise, but Sanada drags him down! Sanada shows Taichi how this is really done! Taichi is stuck in a rope Paradise! Sanada leaves Taichi there while he catches his breath. Then Sanada runs in to basement dropkick Taichi out of Paradise! Cover, ROPEBREAK!
Sanada forgot how close he was, but he keeps his cool. Sanada brings Taichi up, fireman’s carries, but Taichi fights out and rakes the eyes. Taichi gets to a corner, dodges Sanada and GAMANGIRI! Sanada flops down and Taichi manages to walk off the bad leg. Taichi toys with Sanada, kicking him while he’s down. Sanada gets up and throws forearms back! Taichi stays up to KICK the leg! Sanada walks it off to throw a big forearm! Taichi kicks again, but Sanada comes back to forearm again. Taichi kicks, Sanada forearms, and they pick up speed! Sanada European Uppercuts, Taichi boots! Sanada boots, Taichi boots, only to be blocked! Sanada EuroUppers but Taichi back kicks! Sanada goes down but Taichi brings him back up. Sanada fires off forearms but spins into the GAMANGIRI! Down goes Sanada!
Taichi is also down, but he gets back up. Taichi fires up and off come the pants! Sanada rises as Taichi builds power. Taichi SUP- No! The kick is blocked! Sanada fireman’s carries, throws Taichi into the dragon sleeper! Taichi resists, clubbing and clawing, then turns around to HOOK KICK! Sanada swings, but into a SAIDO SUPLEX! Both men are down again, but Taichi sits up. Taichi slashes the throat, vowing to end this. Taichi drags Sanada back up, reels him in, Alabama Lift, but Sanada fights out to dropkick! Taichi ROCKS Sanada with a right, Alabama Lifts, but Sanada fights out again! Sanada and Taichi struggle for control, Sanada clubs away on Taichi’s back. Taichi staggers, swings into a suplex, DRAPING MAGIC KILLER! Both men are down again but stirring.
Sanada stands up and grabs at Taichi. Taichi resists but Sanada still stands him up to whip corner to corner. Taichi reverses, Sanada goes up and out but the springboard is intercepted! Taichi has Sanada in the Alabama but Sanada sunset flips through! TWO!! Taichi staggers up but boots Sanada! Taichi whips Sanada to a corner but runs into an elbow! Sanada QUEBRADA to the dragon sleeper! Body scissors, SKULL END!! Yoshinobu Kanemaru jumps off commentary to get on the apron! Red Shoes stops him there, but that means he misses Taichi tapping out like there’s no tomorrow! Sanada lets Taichi go to confront Kanemaru, but Taichi sneaks up to SAIDO SUPLEX! Taichi STEALS SKULL END!!
Sanada is caught in the dragon sleeper and body scissors! He flails and reaches, endures the crank, but starts to fade! Red Shoes checks on Sanada, the arm drops once. Sanada springs to life and gets the ropebreak! Taichi lets go and has to reset. Taichi drags Sanada up but he’s dead weight. Red Shoes checks on Sanada but he’s somehow okay. Taichi drags Sanada up by his hair, but then drops him. Is Sanada really still able to continue? Taichi drags Sanada up, reels him in, lifts, but Sanada resists! Sanada back drops Taichi! Taichi gets up, but walks into a big forearm! Sanada runs into a ROUNDHOUSE! Taichi blindside ax bombers, then GAMANGIRIS! Sanada is down again but so is Taichi! Taichi dusts his hands off and calls for the finish! SAIDO SUPLEX BRIDGE!! Cover, TWO!?!? Sanada survives and Taichi can’t believe it!
Taichi roars, powers up the arm, and waits for Sanada to stand. Taichi runs, into a SNAP-RANA! Cover, TWO!! Sanada and Taichi hurry back up, Sanada fireman’s carries, T K O!! But Sanada can’t capitalize with a cover! Sanada grits his teeth as he gets up and goes to Taichi. Sanada slashes the throat and drags Taichi into the dragon sleeper! SKULL SWING! Sanada drops Taichi and heads for a corner, but Taichi grabs Red Shoes and drags him down! Kanemaru goes after Sanada again! Sanada hops down and swings on Kanemaru, but Kanemaru rakes his eyes! Taichi LOW BLOW KICKS! Red Shoes returns, Taichi hooks the arms, but Sanada pops out to shove Taichi into Kanemaru! O’Conner roll, JAPAN CLUTCH! SANADA WINS!!
Winner: Sanada, by pinfall
The Holy Emperor’s tricks got the better of him! Taichi takes his frustrations out on Red Shoes as he shoves him down, but he still lost. Will this defeat doom his chances of taking the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships? As for Sanada, we’re getting an LIJ VS LIJ Semifinal match! Sanada takes to the mic to address Evil. Evil says he’s the number one, but Sanada looks to test that. “See you tomorrow.” Will the Cold Skull be ready for whatever the King of Darkness tries?
Another great bit of the New Japan Cup! I nailed all these results, and you can read the previous article to see that. Hiromu had an incredible opener and an amazing overcoming victory against Ishii. Evil destroys Hashi from even before the bell, but I just felt an LIJ VS LIJ match happening so it had to happen. I’m surprised Okada wasn’t the main event, but he and Ishimori still had a great match that admittedly wasn’t quite main event level. No offense to Ishimori but obviously Okada wins, he’s Okada. And Okada really is putting a lot behind the submission hold, and as I said before, that could be the key to him making an already amazing career last even longer. Sanada and Taichi have the best match, hence why they’re the main event. Sanada seems to be daring Evil to try something, and that match could be main event for tomorrow, too. The semifinals are going to be insane!
My Score: 9.3/10