The quarter finals conclude on Day 6 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual tournament, the New Japan Cup. Two of the best wrestlers in the world collide in this third quarter final match, when Kota Ibushi looks to strike out the submission master, Zack Sabre Jr. Toru Yano also looks to outwit SANADA, as the Los Ingobernables de Japon super athlete will attempt to use his speed to get passed the tricks of the wily veteran Yano. Some huge tag team contests also make up the card, with appearances from Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi and Juice Robinson to name but a few.
I reviewed Day 5, with the first half of the quarter final matches, here.
+ Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr. (New Japan Cup 2018 Quarterfinal Match): this entire tournament may well be the push that Zack Sabre Jr. needed to finally adapt his oft-ridiculed submission style to the more “legit” NJPW presentation. Ibushi is still one of the absolute best, no question, but this was an evenly split match between two fantastic wrestlers, with strikes, submissions and a few outside shenanigans that will make you wince
+ Toru Yano vs SANADA (New Japan Cup 2018 Quarterfinal Match): I’ve mentioned recently that I am starting to get a bit sick of Yano, but damn if this wasn’t a good match, and everything a Yano match should be. I remember enjoying their G1 match from last year, and enjoyed this one too
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Michael Elgin vs CHAOS (Chuckie T, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii): I was very interested to see how this match would go for Tanahashi and Okada facing off, and it was everything you could hope for. Elgin and Ishii were the BIG BOIS, Juice and Chuckie had some speed, but the crowd was totally enamoured with Tanahashi and Okada, which meant that every person got a huge response when they did anything. Another great tag match
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito) vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): damn Suzuki is a scary man, as he is beating poor Hirmou like a child. I loved seeing two of my favourites, El Desperado and BUSHI going face to face, and any Suzuki/Naito segments had the crowd in a frenzy. This was a really exciting, back and forth match
+ Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tanga Loa & Yujiro Takahashi) vs Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka): Suzuki-gun’s entrance sent the crowd into a frenzy, as all four members were wandering through the crowd and harassing them in various ways. This was a lot of fun as the Bullet Club had to play complete good guys, and both the K.E.S, Yujiro and Owens all looked great coming out of it
+ Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI): I was surprised how much I enjoyed this match. I admit I am not usually a hgue fan of Makabe, but everybody was on their A-game for this contest. This may have been the first time I heard a “Henare” chant from the crowd, and it was easily the most dominant Goto has looked on this tour. This was really good
– David Finlay & Ren Narita vs Shota Umino & Tetsuhiro Yagi: basically the same as every other young lion match, only that Finlay is not able to carry them as well as Nagata is. Everybody was fine, but the ending looked really sloppy and awkward
Should you watch this event: Completely opposite to yesterday’s show, this crowd was bonkers for every match, and that really added to the atmosphere. All but one matches are listed as positive, and even that opening tag match may appeal to some people. Both NJC matches were great, and the top tag matches were heated, back and forth contests, which overall made this one of the best shows in the tournament bracket so far.