It’s the New Japan Cup Semifinals!
Four of NJPW’s best battle as Rainmaker takes on Timebomb, and Cold Skull takes on the King of Darkness! Will it be an ALL LIJ FINALS?!
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.
- SANADA VS EVIL; Evil wins and advances to the finals.
- Hiromu Takahashi VS Kazuchika Okada; Okada wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
SANADA VS EVIL!
On the right side of the bracket, former IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions face each other! The Cold Skull knows the King of Darkness wants to win by any means necessary, but is Evil really that evil?
Because of what Evil has done to his opponents so far, Sanada is wary of his former tag partner. Evil lets Sanada be as he enters the ring and takes off the jacket. The bell rings, and the two stare down. Sanada offers a handshake. As faction members, he wants this to be respectful. Evil steps closer, and takes the handshake. To reel Sanada in! Sanada gets free of the STO, dragon sleepers, but Evil spins out and gets away. The tag partners know each other well, and the two reset. They circle, approach, but Evil kicks low! Evil headlocks, Sanada powers out, but Evil runs him over! Things speed up, Sanada hip tosses but Evil blocks! So Sanada hits low, flips back and arm-drags Evil away.
Evil bails out but Sanada builds speed. Sanada tumbles out as Evil evades, and then slingshots back into the ring. Sanada wants Evil to get back in but Evil takes his time thinking on strategy. Sanada holds the ropes open for Evil, and Evil returns. Evil tries to sucker punch but Sanada boots! So Evil clotheslines Sanada out! Evil pursues Sanada, drags him up, and whips him to the railing! Evil brings Sanada up to whip him the other way! Sanada crashes even harder this time and the ref checks on him. Evil doesn’t miss a step and he grabs a chair! Evil shoves the ref away and puts the chair around Sanada’s head! To POST him!! Evil is truly willing to do anything to win against anyone in his way! He stands on Sanada’s head but the ref reprimands him.
Evil goes to the ring and leaves Sanada to the ring count. Sanada slowly stirs but the count reaches 10 of 20 before he sits up. Sanada stands at 13, gets in the ring at 15, but Evil is on him with knees. Evil throws Sanada down to then dig his elbow into Sanada’s face! The ref reprimands but Evil stops, just to do it again! The ref counts and Evil lets up, to wrap Sanada in a chinlock. Evil digs his knee into Sanada’s back hard! Sanada kicks and reaches as he endures, then fights his way up and out. Evil knees low again, runs, but into the basement dropkick! Sanada takes out the legs to even things with Evil. Both men slowly rise, and Sanada is up first. Sanada throws forearms on Evil, whips him, but Evil reverses. Sanada dropkicks the leg again!
Evil runs again, but into a huricanrana! Evil bails out, Sanada slingshots for the PLANCHA! Direct hit! Sanada brings Evil up as the ring count begins. Sanada puts Evil in at 8 and follows to cover. TWO, but Sanada keeps his cool. Sanada brings Evil up, but Evil blocks the back suplex! Evil elbows Sanada’s neck then rakes Sanada’s face! Sanada kicks back, Evil catches it and hands it to the ref! To mule kick Sanada down! Sanada tumbles to a corner while Evil catches his breath. Evil runs in but blocks the boots. He turns Sanada sideways, lariats, and Tree of Woe STOMPS! Cover, TWO! Evil drags Sanada up and fisherman but Sanada slips out. Evil elbows Sanada first, whips him to a corner, but Sanada tumbles over and out! Sanada springboards, Evil gets under, Sanada comes back to get another mule kick!
Evil fisherman but Sanada fights it off! Sanada suplexes Evil to the ropes, DRAPING MAGIC KILLER! Cover, TWO!! Sanada grows frustrated but he drags Evil around. Evil resists but Sanada still brings him up to a fireman’s carry. Evil slips out, Sanada elbows him, Sanada runs but Evil uses the ref as as shield! Evil suplexes Sanada and uses the ref for ASSISTED MAGIC KILLER! Everyone is down after the tag partners use their team move on each other! Evil drags Sanada up and throws a forearm. Sanada forearms back, but Evil does, too. Sanada forearms again, Evil returns it, and we have a brawl! They pick up speed as they go back and forth, but Evil gets the edge! Evil ROCKS Sanada, but Sanada comes back with a European Uppercut!
Sanada runs, Evil goes to the corner, LARIAT! Evil fireman’s carries, DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives but Evil keeps his cool. Evil drags Sanada up, and slashes Sanada’s throat! Evil drags Sanada up more, spins him around, but Sanada fights the STO again! Sanada elbows but Evil still tries! Sanada slips out, full nelson spin to a cravat, Shiranui into dragon sleeper! Evil fights free, Sanada ducks the lariat and dropkicks! But Evil stays up, only to run into the full nelson! Sanada shifts it to double chicken wings, TIGER SUPLEX! Bridge cover, TWO!! Sanada can’t believe Evil escapes! Sanada drags Evil up, dragon sleepers, but Evil fights back! Sanada stays clamped on as Evil starts to fade already! The ref checks, and raises the arm once. He raises it twice. Evil revives!
Evil hits back again and again, but Sanada cranks on the hold! Sanada stands with Evil, then drops back, but Evil pops out! Evil reels Sanada in, Sanada dodges the lariat and runs, into a LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives but Evil is too tired to be frustrated. Evil stands and slashes his throat. Evil brings Sanada up, reels him in, but Sanada denies the STO! Sanada wants to steal the STO! Evil gets free of that, but Sanada Shiranuis. Evil denies that, so Sanada uses the corner! SLICED BREAD! Sanada lands on his head but he still covers, TWO!! Both men are down and the ref checks on them. Sanada stirs even after spiking himself, but it’s Evil who heads over to him. Evil lets Sanada stand on his own before he runs at Sanada. Sanada dodges the lariat, O’Conner rolls, DRAGON SLEEPER! SKULL END!!
Evil endures as he’s caught in the middle of the ring! The ref checks on him again. The arm falls once, twice, but it flails on the third! Is Evil really okay? Evil pops out but Sanada goes to the corner, MOONSAULT, onto knees!! Evil saves himself at the last second! Both men are down again, but they crawl for opposite corners. Sanada runs in but Evil sends him into the ref! Evil then sends Sanada in again! The ref flops out of the ring, Evil LOW BLOWS!! He really IS evil! Both men are down and the ref is recovering. Evil gets more chairs! Evil brings one chair over to Sanada, to put around his head again! He staggers to the other chair, for the HOMERUN!! Sanada writhes while Evil hides the evidence. Well he less hides it as he kicks it out of the ring.
Evil still staggers around, grabs Sanada’s legs, and STOMPS THE BALLS!! He did this to Goto, now he does this to his ally! Evil gets the ref back in the ring, drags Sanada up, and spins him for EVERYTHING IS EVIL! Cover, Evil wins!
Winner: Evil, by pinfall
Evil said what he meant and meant what he said. He won by any means necessary, and is now a New Japan Cup 2020 finalist! Will the King of Darkness get to do whatever he must against the Rainmaker? Or will it be an LIJ VS LIJ finals?!
Hiromu Takahashi VS Kazuchika Okada!
On the left side of the bracket, the Ticking Timebomb takes on the Rainmaker! The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion has had more, more and MORE fun than he’s had in a long time. But is that fun going to end when Okada puts him Deep In Debt?
After Okada has his time on the corner, Hiromu gets in his face. Hiromu backs off and both men take off their elaborate jackets. The bell rings and both men just stare down from the corners. Hiromu shouts, “O! KA! DA!” but Okada doesn’t respond. Hiromu steps forward and the two start to circle. They approach, feel out the grapple, back away, and then approach again. They tie up, and are in a deadlock as Okada just keeps Hiromu back. Okada pushes Hiromu to ropes and Red Shoes calls for the break. Okada lets up, has Hiromu let him go, and fakes the chop to pat him on the shoulders. But Hiromu turns things around fast! Hiromu has Okada on the ropes, and returns the shoulder pats. Then he clotheslines Okada against ropes!
Hiromu eggs Okada on, dodges him and throws forearms. Hiromu runs, dodges the boot and huricanranas Okada down! Okada sits up while Hiromu paces. Hiromu brings Okada up, whips him to forearm him and put him on the ropes. Hiromu kicks the ropes, runs, but Okada dodges the dropkick. Hiromu dodges the elbow, fireman’s carries but Okada slips! Okada wraps on Deep In Debt! Hiromu runs around but Okada stays on tight. Hiromu gets the ropebreak and Okada lets go. Hiromu bails out but Okada pursues. Okada clubs Hiromu with double ax handles, then brings him up for a neckbreaker! Hiromu writhes while Okada calmly adjusts his knee pads. Okada goes into the ring and leaves it to the ring count.
The count reaches 10 of 20 but Hiromu gets up. Hiromu takes his time returning and is in at 15. Okada kicks low, elbows Hiromu down, then brings him up for a scoop slam! Slingshot senton! Okada paces again as Hiromu writhes. Okada finally covers, ONE, but Okada is still calm. Hiromu chops but Okada shrugs it off. Hiromu keeps chopping but Okada knees low and turns him for another neckbreaker! Okada looms over Hiromu as the Junior Heavyweight writhes. Hiromu gets up and chops away, but Okada knees low again! Okada whips, Hiromu reverses, but Hiromu runs into a boot! Hiromu comes back with a corner clothesline! Hiromu snapmares Okada, runs and basement dropkicks him down! Okada stirs and Hiromu brings him up. Hiromu CHOPS Okada and he feels that one.
Hiromu whips, forearms, puts Okada on ropes and kicks again! Hiromu runs and shotgun dropkicks Okada out of the ring! Okada stands as Hiromu gets on the apron, FLYING SHOTGUN DROPKICK! Okada is sent through the gate and to the commentary! Hiromu leaves Okada there and goes back to the ring. The ring count begins, Hiromu grins as Okada stirs at 6 of 20. But Hiromu goes out at 8 to fetch Okada and bring him back. Hiromu covers, TWO! Hiromu drags Okada back up, suplexes, but Okada blocks. Okada spins out but Hiromu ROCKS him with a forearm. Hiromu tries again but Okada still fights the suplex off. Okada clubs Hiromu, runs but into Hiromu’s SUPERKICK! Hiromu suplexes for the FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Hiromu keeps his cool.
Hiromu toys with Okada and even eggs him on. Okada stands, Hiromu tries to fireman’s carry but Okada blocks. Okada clubs Hiromu, Hiromu elbows back, then runs. Okada FLAPJACKS Hiromu high and hard! Hiromu flounders to the corner and Okada watches him stand. Okada runs corner to corner for a back elbow! Then the kick and DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool as he brings Hiromu up. Okada scoops, slams and heads to the corner. Classic Okada climbs up, but he has to leap over Hiromu. Hiromu runs into Okada’s uppercut, but still reels him in for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men are down but stirring. Red Shoes checks on them, and both men slowly rise. Okada throws forearms on Hiromu but Hiromu gives them back.
Okada hits again and eggs Hiromu on with his glare. Hiromu hits back and eggs Okada on. Okada forearms, Hiromu forearms, and they pick up speed. They brawl back and forth but Okada ROCKS Hiromu! Hiromu comes back, throws more forearms, and they start where they left off. Okada EuroUppers, Hiromu wobbles, and Okada just keeps adding on. Hiromu staggers back, Okada shotgun dropkicks Hiromu! Okada hoists Hiromu up and dropkicks him down! Hiromu tumbles from top rope to the floor! Hiromu writhes but Okada goes out to fetch him. Okada whips Hiromu to railing! Then BOOTS him over! Red Shoes wants this back in the ring but Okada brings Hiromu back up along the railing. Okada gives Hiromu a DRAPING DDT!
Hiromu is in a daze as Okada brings him up and in. Okada climbs the corner and waits for Hiromu to stand. HUGE missile dropkick! Hiromu flounders, Okada covers, TWO! Okada stalks Hiromu as he crawls, then watches as he stands. Okada dropkicks Hiromu in the back! Okada whips but Hiromu denies the dropkick this time! Hiromu aims, runs, and shotgun dropkicks Okada into the corner! Both men are down again but Hiromu sits up first. Hiromu watches Okada drag himself up the corner, and runs in for a corner clothesline! Hiromu puts Okada up top, climbs up to join him, but Okada resists already. Hiromu clubs away on Okada’s back but Okada clubs him back. Okada throws forearms and clubs Hiromu more. Hiromu staggers down, but CHOPS back!
Hiromu runs corner to corner, to shotgun dropkick Okada down!! Okada tumbles from top rope to floor, just as Hiromu did! Hiromu rests in the ring while Okada stirs on the outside. Okada stands and gets on the apron, but Hiromu runs and SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMBS Okada down!! Red Shoes checks on Okada but he’s okay to continue. A ring count begins as both men slowly stir. Hiromu stands at 10 of 20, brings Okada up, and puts him in at 14. Hiromu lifts Okada in the fireman’s carry, DYNAMITE PLUNGER! Cover, TWO!! Okada still lives but Hiromu won’t let up. Hiromu drags Okada up, another fireman’s carry, but Okada slips out to waistlock! Hiromu elbows out, ducks the clothesline to SUPERKICK! Hiromu runs into the dropkick!
Both men are down again but stirring. Okada rises, brings Hiromu up, gut wrenches him, and hits the TOMBSTONE! And then Okada grabs the arm, DEEP IN DEBT! Hiromu manages to stand, pulls at Okada’s hair, but then powers through to a fireman’s carry! CORNER DEATH VALLEY! Both men are down again, but Hiromu stands up. Hiromu fireman’s carries Okada again, but Okada fights free. SUPERKICK, and Hiromu fireman’s carries again, but Okada slips out to roll Hiromu. Okada dropkicks, but Hiromu gets right back up! Hiromu clotheslines but Okada stays up! Hiromu runs but into a tilt-o-whirl! Hiromu slips out, and STEALS RAINMAKER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Hiromu doesn’t waste time being shocked, he fireman’s carries, for TIMEBOMB!! Cover, TWO?!?! Okada survives his move AND Hiromu’s?!
Hiromu gets back up and drags Okada up. Hiromu has Okada in a dragon sleeper, powers him up to a gut wrench, but Okada slips out! Okada shoves Hiromu, discus- Hiromu catches Okada in a triangle hold! Okada stays on his feet, dead lifts and POWERBOMBS! Hiromu holds on, powers to a cover, TWO!! Hiromu wheelbarrows, for a COMPLETE SHOT! Both men are down again but sit up. Okada’s in a daze but he heads for Hiromu. Hiromu runs, but into another dropkick! But he gets up, too! Hiromu LARIATS Okada down! Hiromu fires himself up, drags Okada into the dragon sleeper and lifts again, hooks the leg, but Okada pops out! Gut wrench, JUMPING TOMBSTONE!! Okada drags Hiromu up and into DEEP IN DEBT!
Hiromu endures the clutch even as Okada cranks harder! Hiromu powers up, fireman’s carries, but Okada slips out again! Okada shoves Hiromu, ROLLING RAINMAKER! Okada throws off his elbow pads, to put Hiromu DEEP IN DEBT! Hiromu reaches but fades as Okada leans on the hold! Red Shoes checks but Okada lets Hiromu go. Okada drags Hiromu up again, for a RAINMAKER! But Okada doesn’t let go, he just brings Hiromu up again. RAINMAKER! Then, DEEP IN DEBT?! Hiromu is out of it, how can he possibly survive?! Red Shoes calls it, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by referee stoppage
Okada completely devastates the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion! And we have our finals set for July 11th! It will be Okada VS Evil, Chapter 5! As such, Okada takes up the mic. “Oi, Hiromu.” As far as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champions go, Okada respects Hiromu. Clearly he gave Okada a hell of a match. But this shows Hiromu is not ready to face a true heavyweight champion. Okada says this is the power of pro-wrestling. Now, for Evil and Naito, Okada is ready to face them both. Whether fans are live or watching at home, he thanks us all for supporting NJPW. We know Evil wants to win at all costs, but will Okada leave him with nothing after their epic encounter?
An incredible semifinals. Granted, I skipped the 8 Man Tag and Six Man Tag matches, but in regards to the 8 Man, when you see a Young Lion on one side, it’s just obvious that that side loses. For those matches, make sure to follow Andrew Balaz here on The Chairshot. Evil did pretty much all his evil tactics to Sanada, and that was pretty brutal. But with how Evil has been going, it is really great that he gets the nod for the finals. Okada and Hiromu had an amazing main event, they went above and beyond for just the semifinals, but it was natural for Okada to win. The Rainmaker clothesline does return, but Okada still makes Deep In Debt what finishes the match. Okada’s raise in aggression there promises for his match with Evil to be something truly incredible.
My Score: 9.2/10