The 2018 New Japan Cup continues, with two more matches of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual single-elimination tournament taking place. The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, Tetsuya Naito, goes one-on-one with the technical wizard, Zack Sabre Jr., while YOSHI-HASHI of CHAOS has the unenviable taks of competing against the Golden Star, Kota Ibushi. All the tag team action you know and love makes up the rest of the show, as well as a special singles match between young lion Shota Umino and one half of the IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions El Desperado.
I reviewed Day 2 of the 2018 New Japan Cup here.
+ Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (New Japan Cup 2018 First Round Match): I don’t really know how to describe this, except to say it was a really good match. These two have a certain style, and for whatever reason they just work really well together. I liked this match a lot
+ YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kota Ibushi (New Japan Cup 2018 First Round Match): this started off a bit slow, or at least uneventful, but it picked up dramatically before turning into one of the best matches so far. A brutal slap echange set the stage for the ending sequence, which was a phenomeal race to the finish. Easily the best match of the tournament so far
+ CHAOS (Chuckie T. & Kazuchika Okada) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & SANADA): Chuckie T is so out of place in NJPW. Beretta fit in much more ‘naturally’, for whatever reason, and the NJPW regulars are seemingly having some trouble meshing with Chukie’s style. BUSHI is still great, and SANADA was fun. SANADA should definitely win tomorrow… “should”
+ Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano): despite the interesting layout (see below), this was otherwise a fun romp. Ishii is just the best, and his moments with either of the K.E.S. boys were great. In fact, all of CHAOS are really good at their roles, thought Yano’s comedy is hit and miss as ever. This was good
+ Michael Elgin, Toa Henare and Taguchi Japan (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tanga Loa & Yujiro Takahashi): there was a surprising amount of comedy, especially from the Bullet Club team, which is a bit weird since I thought it may have been Juice or Finlay who were a bit more goofy. Owens teaming with the rest of the Club was interesting, since they are all impartial and he is Team Kenny. Nonetheless, this was a pretty good match, mostly because of how much was going on
– Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka): this was nothing special. Iizuka is what he is, Taichi is still not really working as a Heavyweight, and Taguchi Japan had the disadvantage of facing two heavyweights. I hate to even suggest it, but I think I am a bit over Tanahashi
– Shota Umino vs El Desperado: mah boi Desperado getting a singles match – I can’t remember the last time I heard his personal music. Much like the tag team match before it, this was not very good, but it was mostly a showcase for what Umino may be able to do in the future. At least I got to see Desperado outside a wild tag match
– Tomoyuki Oka & Yuji Nagata vs. Ren Narita & Tetsuhiro Yagi: this was not good, but I like watching the young lions grow. Nagata is obviously the best person to be in the ring with these newcomers, and while they are improving, this was simply not very good
> This card was interesting, becaue of the way the tag matches were set up: Desperado having a singles match meant that Kanemaru was in the CHAOS/Suzuki-gun six-man, and therefore Kanemaru was the only junior heavyweight. I understand Taichi teaming with Iizuka in the next match, but it was strange that it wasn’t Iizuka or another heavyweight in Kanemaru’s place, especially since Taguchi was then the only junior in the same following tag match
Should you watch this event: Good lord those two final matches were incredible. Both were simply phenomenal matches, with Ibushi proving why he is so valuable int he ring, and YSHI-HASHI getting better for every big match he is in. Naito and ZSJ put on an absolute clinic, too, and with a handful of good-to-great tag team matches on the udnercard, this was easily the best day so far.