Wrestling Review: NJPW New Japan Cup (2018) (Day 5)

Please note: due to the nature of this being a tournament, there will be FULL SPOILERS for the entire first round (days 1 through 4) of the New Japan Cup.

The quarter finals begin on Day 5 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual tournament, the New Japan Cup. After surpassing Yujiro Takahashi and Tomohiro Ishii, respectively, Juice Robinson will go one on one with big Mike Elgin in the first quarter final match, while the Underboss of the Bullet Club looks to take out Hiroshi Tanahashi. As always, various tag team matches play host to the previous and upcoming tournament competitors, as well as the various champions the tournament winner might choose to fight.

+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale (New Japan Cup 2018 Quarterfinal Match): this was very much a ‘David vs Goliath’ match, despite the fact that the ‘David’ here is one of the best in the company. Fale hit several huge slams, which meant Tanahashi had to use his athleticism to escape the situations rather that power back. As it should be, the ending here was the best part of the match and a very cleverly worked final few moments
+ Michael Elgin vs Juice Robinson (New Japan Cup 2018 Quarterfinal Match): this was a very back and forth fight, with some either very stiff, or very cleverly faked slaps and elbows in the middle. Elgin’s thigh-slapping is so obvious for his “big” elbow strikes, but Juice is really smooth in the ring. I enjoyed this, all the way up to the sudden ending, and the pst match might prove that Juice is one of the biggest babyfaces in Japan right now
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) vs CHAOS (Chuckie T, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano): it is around this time, day 5 or so, of these tournament runs where I start to get sick of Yano. Yano and Chuckie T could work a good comedy program together, but not with Ishii and SANADA involved, and those two were great here. Just give me 20 minutes of Ishii every night and I’d be happy
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) vs CHAOS (Chuckie T, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano): it is around this time, day 5 or so, of these tournament runs where I start to get sick of Yano. Yano and Chuckie T could work a good comedy program together, but not with Ishii and SANADA involved, and those two were great here. Just give me 20 minutes of Ishii every night and I’d be happy
+ Chase Owens & Kota Ibushi vs Suzuki-gun (TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.): this was more fun than the preceding matches, but still felt like the competitors were going through the motions more than anything. Maybe I am just getting sick of the same people in the same matches, because the solo tournament fights are still fun

– Bullet Club (Tanga Loa & Yujiro Takahashi) vs K.E.S. (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer): this was really boring, and even the crowd was hard pressed to care what was going on. I don’t have much positive to say about this at all, except that Archer has a good ‘bad guy’ look, and he enjoyed teasing the commentators a bit
– Shota Umino, Tomoyuki Oka & Yuji Nagata vs David Finlay, Ren Narita & Toa Henare: I wish Oka had continued his mini rivalry with Goto. The Finlay/Nagata portions were fun, especially when Nagata let a cheeky smile cross his face. Umino looked really good in this match, but I am stil not sure about Henare. Another match where you knew everything that was going to happen before it did
– Ryusuke Taguchi & Tetsuhiro Yagi vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): this was exactly what you’d expect. I don’t recall seeing Yagi before this tournament tour, but he is slowly getting there. Yay for Desperado, as always, but otherwise this was nothing special

Should you watch this event: The wrestling on this show was not bad, but the crowd was so horrible it was hard to get invested in the matches. They came alive for the two tournament matches, but for the most part were almost able to ruin an otherwise above average show. The final four matches – two tags and two NJC matches – were worth watching, but don’t bother with the rest.

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