[Please note: this show features the final match in the 2020 New Japan Cup. Head here if you want to start my daily reviews from the beginning.]
It’s time for a new start for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). For the first time in months, a limited number of live audience members will be allowed inside Osaka-jo Hall for the finals of the 2020 New Japan Cup. Pro-tournament favourite, Kazuchika Okada, has had arguably the easier of the brackets, as he easily dispatched of Gedo, defeated the proud veteran Yuji Nagata and then had matches against two junior heavyweights in Taiji Ishimori and Hiromu Takahashi en route to the finals; conversely, EVIL has let the darkness inside him come to the front, as he tormented Satoshi Kojima, out-muscled Hirooki Goto, decimated YOSHI-HASHI and turned his back on his longtime partner SANADA to earn his chance at a double championship match against current NJPW Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito. Following the disruption of his return from excursion, Master Wato also looks to seek some revenge on the man who interrupted him, DOUKI. Both of these matches and more on the final night of the 2020 New Japan Cup.
+ Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL (New Japan Cup 2020 Final Match): this was basically just the match you’d expect between the two (that is, a very good wrestling match), with a potential twist thrown in just near the end. It’s not entirely clear what things mean right now, but it was interesting, it elevated the match, and it makes for a really good upcoming match between the winner and Naito. This was good, if not great
+ CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & SHO) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & Hiromu Takahashi): every one of the nine combinations of wrestlers in the ring at any time was a match I’d be happy to see – I won’t go through them all, but basically Ishii/Shingo have power, Naito/SHO have speed and Yano/Hiromu have comedy, and almost every combination has a previous story to act upon. Both the crowd and I got suckered in to a few near finishes in this match. I really enjoyed this, and the final moments have a lot to say about some plans going forward, and I absolutely adored the aftermath
+ Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Ryusuke Taguchi: I really enjoyed this match. Ibushi/Sabre had a few great sequences, and Taguchi/Desperado had the best moment of the match, believe it or not. I still can’t bring myself to care much for Tanahashi, but Nagata was good as well, and Taichi is Taichi (which can mean whatever you want it to mean). This was a lot better than I expected it would be
+ Hirooki Goto & Gabriel Kidd vs Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan): this was probably above average, with Tenzan being the weakest link of the four. Kidd is going to be really good, and I like Kojima and Goto, and they made the most of a relatively simple tag team match
– Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & BUSHI): frankly, I’m happy that SANADA is not legitimately dead after that head bump he took in his match against EVIL. Ishimori/BUSHI were fun together, but this was not much of anything
– Master Wato vs DOUKI: Wato looks really good very early but soon immediately lost that spark. The crowd was dead silent for the most part, which frankly made this come across as really awkward to watch. Neither guy was impressive throughout, and I worry for the future of Wato
– Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma): I am not entirely certain Makabe/Honma are still members of GBH, and frankly I spent much of this match thinking about that because the action was not very good. I do still like Tsuji and just how THICK that boy has become
> I wonder if we will get an open weight G1 Climax this year. SHO, BUSHI and Hiromu, plus whatever weight class some of the Young Lions count as, could make for an interesting roll of the dice
Should you watch this event: The main event was good, though certainly not the match of the tournament, but the CHAOS/LIJ six man tag was my match of the night. The aftermath of the main event was the clear highlight of the show, and it makes for a very interesting match at Dominion.