Wrestling Review: NJPW New Japan Cup (2020) (Day 2)

Following all the action from day one, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual tournament, the New Japan Cup, continues, as four more tournament matches and one preview 8-man tag team match take centre stage. Though there will be no live crowd, the Rainmaker, Kazuchika Okada, looks to unleash a storm on mentor-turned-manager-turned-malcontent Gedo, who will almost certainly have some tricks up his sleeve. We will see round two of the best damn dad fight int he world, as Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki beat each other to a pulp in hopes to advance, and two young lions, Gabriel Kidd and Yuya Uemura, look to play spoiler in their respective matches against Taiji Ishimori and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. In the previous tag match, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, SHO and YOH will face off against the Los Ingobernables de Japon quartet of BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA and Shingo Takagi.

+ Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki (New Japan Cup 2020 First Round Match): hot damn, this was great. As the lone great match on the show, these guys completely drew me into their fight – and a dad fight is exactly what this was. Suzuki threw some monster forearms, and Nagata chopped Suzuki down with kicks in reply, so this really was a back and forth, edge of your seat match. I loved it, and it was definitely the match of the tournament so far
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, SHO & YOH): this was fun, mostly whenever EVIL, Shingo or Goto were in the ring, but everyone pulled their weight. Yes, even YOSHI-HASHI had a good showing as he and Shingo turned each other’s chests into raw meat. I am looking forward to live crowds coming back more than ever, as I think Shingo and SHO would have really got them going, and will again for their upcoming tournament match

Kazuchika Okada vs Gedo (New Japan Cup 2020 First Round Match): this was boring, and a waste of a main event, especially after Nagata/Suzuki went to war before them. This reminded me of those old John Cena versus John Laurinitis or Michael Cole matches, and that is as damning an indictment as I could give. At least I got to hear the original ‘Bullet Club for-for-for-for-for life’ music.
Yuya Uemura vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (New Japan Cup 2020 First Round Match): much like the Ishimori/Kidd match below, this was technically a well wrestled match, but I never gave Uemura a chance. I guess in hindsight, Uemura has a higher chance of defeating Kanemaru than Kidd did of beating Ishimori, but this was still mostly an exhibition match for Uemura
Taiji Ishimori vs Gabriel Kidd (New Japan Cup 2020 First Round Match): this was fun, but the simple fact it was a young lion (no matter how good that young lion is) kind of ruined the atmosphere. Ishimori is great, and Kidd is well on his way, but I couldn’t bring myself to care for this

> I love the fact that NJPW aren’t hiding the fact that this coronavirus bullshit has set pro wrestling back months in their plans, as they have proper cleaning and disinfecting of the ring during the intermission.

Should you watch this event: This was not as good as the first four matches of the tournament, but you absolutely need to see Nagata/Suzuki. Take or leave the rest unless you’re a specific die hard fan of the competitors.

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