[Please note: there are full spoilers for all PREVIOUS days of tournament action. Day 13 is the overall final, but you can find my reviews of the first round here and here; the second round here; the quarter finals here; and, last night’s semi final here.]
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has boiled down a field of 32 top wrestlers to just two, and the New Japan Cup 2021 will find a winner. In the main event, Shingo Takagi (defeated all former winners, Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, KENTA and EVIL) and Will Ospreay (defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Zack Sabre Jr., SANADA and David Finlay) will rematch from their 2019 match of the year, and the winner will receive a championship match with Kota Ibushi in the main event of Sakura Genesis. Ibushi himself will be in action as well, as he teams with Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi once more to face the Billet Club trio of Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens. These three matches and more at the final of the 2021 New Japan Cup.
+ Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay (New Japan Cup 2021 Final Match): there are just not enough words to describe how good these two are together. Everything looks good, sounds deadly and comes at such a frantic pace that there are no time for replays before the next incredible moment happens. I loved this so much, and this was every part the match it was built up to be, and there was an interesting (if slightly clunky) aftermath
+ Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs BULLET CLUB (Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens): this mega power trio of Ibushi/Tanahashi/Okada is so interesting as part of the story, but it does make for a good match. Yesterday was interrupted, but thankfully this time they were able to do all their best stuff against Jay White especially, but Fale’s size adds some intrigue to the match. This was really good, and almost makes me think Okada won’t be a fan favourite for much longer
+ Toa Henare & FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito): I enjoyed this a lot. Naito seemed to be having a lot of fun against the injured Finlay, and FinJuice as a unit are really good (and deservedly the tag team champions at Impact Wrestling). I’ll always love BUSHI, but SANADA and Henare are anti-fun for me in almost every way. Nonetheless, Naito and FinJuice made this more than good enough to watch
– CHAOS (SHO, YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano) vs BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi, KENTA & EVIL): this was not great. I struggle to get excited for Yano matches when they are not explicitly short comedy bits, and adding in YOSHI-HASHI and Yujiro was a recipe for disaster for me. I really like SHO and KENTA and would love to see them in a long singles match, and EVIL is good in his role, but this was a miss
– Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma vs United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb): I’m still on board the O-Khan train, and I don’t think anything could knock me off. Cobb is a powerhouse machine, and I’ll always enjoy watching Kojima do his thing. Honma had a banger with Suzuki in the first round of the New Japan Cup, but this was not a good showing for him. Still, I enjoyed it
> YOH is back. Good for him, but I can’t help but think SHO was doing more than fine on his own
Should you watch this event: If all you care about is the main event, then it is an absolute must see match. If you’re also invested in the Ibushi/Okada/Tanahashi, “What will happen to the belt?” story as well, then seek out the six man tag before the main event, but there is no real reason to bother with the rest.