By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “New Japan Cup Night 6”
March 15, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World
The English broadcast team was hosted by Kevin Kelly…
1. David Finlay and Ren Narita vs. Shota Umino and Tomoyuki Oka. Kelly noted that Chuckie T was busy with a match and would not sit in on commentary as he did for the last English broadcast. Don Callis returns for the finals if memory serves. Kelly noted on commentary that Finlay was nursing a back injury from a match with Jay White. Oka performed a nice overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Finlay at one point and then targeted the back with a Boston crab. Finlay picked up a near fall off a lariat clothesline. He followed up a clunky stunner for the win…
David Finlay and Ren Narita defeated Shota Umino and Tomoyuki Oka.
Powell’s POV: The usual NJPW decent opener involving the young lions. The stunner finish wasn’t awful, it just looked slow and it wasn’t very crisp, so the finish was flat.
2. Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto vs. Togi Makabe and Toa Henare. Late in the match, Henare performed a spinebuster on Hashi for a two count. Makage and Goto fought at ringside while Hashi came back with a lariat for a two count. Hashi applied the Butterfly Lock and Henare submitted…
Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto defeated Togi Makabe and Toa Henare.
Powell’s POV: A solid albeit predictable match in that you had to know Henare was taking the loss for his team.
3. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, and Chase Owens vs. Taichi, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer, and Takashi Iizuka. Archer did his water spitting bit in the crowd. David Finlay joined Kelly on commentary and said he joined because he was in the first match and thus had nothing else going on. The teams brawled at ringside, up the aisle where the broadcast teams sit, and into the crowd. Finlay noted that it was his first time sitting in on commentary. In the ring, Smith performed a vertical suplex on Loa. Finlay noted that his father Fit Finlay and Smith’s father wrestled one another beginning in their teenage years. Later, Takahashi performed a couple of suicide dives. Taichi came back with a couple of kicks. Later, Owens was worked over by Smith and Archer, who performed the Killer Bomb for the win. After the match, Smith and Archer roughed up some of the young boys at ringside.
Taichi, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer, and Takashi Iizuka defeated Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, and Chase Owens.
Powell’s POV: This was a big brawl with the teams fighting all over the building to start and then they settled into a nice matc. With so many wrestlers involved, they were able to keep a good pace with everyone contributing. The finish was a little strange in that that the referee just stood by as Smith and Archer hit multiple double team moves on Owens with the other wrestlers fought at ringside.
4. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, and Bushi vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Kelly advised Finlay to pretend he’s invisible and avoid eye contact when Suzuki walked by their table during the entrances. Naito rested on one knee against the ropes during introductions. Suzuki looked down at him and Naito never looked up at him. Kelly said that this was a case of indifference rather than fear from Naito. Early in the match, the teams brawled and Suzuki went after Naito. Suzuki threw him into the barricade and then they fought into the crowd where Suzuki threw a stack of chairs at Naito’s head. Suzuki bent Naito’s leg around the railing for the bleachers where fans are seated.
Back in the ring, Takahashi threw a series of strikes at Suzuki, who laughed at him and then worked him over. Naito tried to help, but Suzuki took him down and worked over the same leg he targeted earlier. Naito sold the knee as he worked over Desperado while also taking time to taunt Suzuki, who was standing at ringside. Suzuki tagged in and licked his lips before going after Naito. Suzuki went for a running knee. Naito avoided the knee and then stood up and spat in the face of Suzuki, who then threw punches at Naito. Kelly noted that it was rare for Suzuki to throw punches and the fact that he was doing so was a sign that Naito had angered him. A short time later, Suzuki performed the Gotch piledriver on Bushi and pinned him clean. After the match, Suzuki laid the IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt in front of him. Naito teased entering the ring, but he ended up leaving instead…
Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, and Bushi.
Powell’s POV: I love the way Kelly and his broadcast partners always act horrified by Suzuki. Don Callis is especially good at that and it plays perfectly into Suzuki’s gimmick. Finlay was conversational with Kelly early on and then he mostly disappeared as Kelly called the action down the stretch. Callis continues to be missed. The match was similar to what we saw in the last match with the wrestlers all brawling into the crowd at one point. However, this was the more meaningful match due to the bigger personalities involved. They were clearly spotlighting Suzuki and Naito and that’s a match to look forward to.
5. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, and Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Chuckie T. Kelly noted that Tanahashi would face Robinson in the quarterfinals of the New Japan Cup. Kelly also invited Finlay to sit in on commentary if he has an early match tomorrow. Robinson and Okada started the match. Okada turned and knocked Tanahashi off the mat. Tanahashi entered the ring tried to hit Okada, who was being held by Robinson. Okada avoided the punch and Tanahashi struck Robinson accidentally. Robinson wasn’t pleased, but they teamed up for a dropkick on Okada, then Robinson shooed Tanahashi to the apron. Tanahashi tagged himself in to continue to build tension between the two. Okada tagged out to avoid Tanahashi.
Kelly asked Finlay who was in charge of Tanahashi’s gear when he was a young lion. Finlay didn’t remember, but he did acknowledge that he was in charge of Okada’s gear back then. Later, Elgin and Ishii squared off to pick up from their New Japan Cup opening round match. Things were fairly even between them and then Tanahashi and Okada both tagged in. Kelly stated that if Tanahashi wins the Cup there is a chance he could choose to face Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship or Suzuki for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Kelly noted that Tanahashi is 4-3-2 against Okada in singles matches. Okada applied the Cobra Clutch. Kelly stated that Okada had not used the move on Tanahashi in the past. Elgin quickly broke it up.
Robinson checked in and hit a double knee gutbuster on Okada for a two count. Okada came back with a neckbreaker onto his leg and then tagged in T. Robinson avoided Sole Food once, but T hit it a second time. It was just another move, as Robinson popped right up after taking it. T performed a backslide on Robinson for a two count. T went for the Awful Waffle, but Robinson slipped out of it and ended up hitting Pulp Friction for the win. After the match, Elgin encouraged his teammates to shake hands. They went face-to-face and jawed at one another. Okada stood on the ropes behind them and held up his title belt before heading backstage. Robinson offered Tanahashi a handshake. Tanahashi did not shake Robinson’s hand. Robinson patted him on the chest and then left the ring…
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, and Michael Elgin defeated Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Chuckie T.
Powell’s POV: Good storytelling early on that played into the Okada and Tanahashi rivalry while also creating some tension between Tanahashi and Robinson heading into their semifinal New Japan Cup match. Robinson was the right guy to go over in the match in that it gave him some momentum going into that match.
6. Sanada vs. Toru Yano in a New Japan Cup quarterfinal tournament match. Kelly said Yano has been in New Japan Cup tournaments than anyone. He did his usual merch plugging by holding up a DDT before the match. Kelly noted that Sanada’s mentor Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta) retired the moonsault the night before. There was Yano comedy early with Sanada performing a rolling cradle while Yano’s face was covered by his own t-shirt. There was also an early tease for Sanada being counted out, but he raced back to the ring to beat the referee’s count. Rinse and repeat only with Yano racing back to beat a 20-count a short time later. Late in the match, Yano did his low blow kick while distracting the referee. Yano had Sanada pinned, but Sanada reached out and stopped the referee’s hand from counting three. With the ref down, Sanada low blowed Yano and then applied Skull End. Yano quickly tapped out. After the match, Sanada put Yano, the referee, and a young lion in the Paradise Lock. Another young lion rolled them over and “unlocked” the trio after Sanada left the ring…
Sanada defeated Toru Yano to advance to the semifinals of the New Japan Cup tournament.
Powell’s POV: The usual Yano comedy with Sanada going over strong in the end. The spot with Sanada stopping the referee’s hand from making the three count was nice and suspenseful. I can’t say that this was a match that I was looking forward to, nor would I have had Yano advance to the quarterfinals, but they did a good job and this was fairly quick and painless, and even a little more fun than I expected.
7. Koba Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in a New Japan Cup quarterfinal tournament match. Taka Michinoku spoke over the house mic for Sabre prior to the match. Sabre focussed on the arm of Ibushi early. He also went after Ibushi’s leg, which he sold before throwing a series of kicks and then performed a standing moonsault for a two count. Sabre came back with an abdominal stretch. Sabre caught Ibushi in an arm submission, but Ibushi powered him up and powerbombed him for a two count. Ibushi signaled for his Kamigoye, which Kelly noted was the difference maker when they met in the G1 tournament. However, Sabre countered into a pin. Ibushi reversed the pin for a two count. Sabre reversed again for an excellent near fall.
Sabre applied another submission hold with his legs wrapped around the neck of Ibushi, who once again powered him up. Sabre slipped away and applied an abdominal stretch. Ibushi slipped out, but ran into an elbow. Sabre slapped him. They jockeyed for position. Ibushi crossed the arms of Sabre and performed a suplex. Sabre avoided a knee strike and applied an octopus hold. Sabre released the hold to punch the back of Ibushi’s head, then applied the hold, which at this point was like a modified full nelson. Ibushi’s shoulders were down, but the referee called for the stoppage rather than count the pin…
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Kota Ibushi via ref stoppage to advance to the semifinals of the New Japan Cup tournament.
Kelly noted that it would be Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Sanada and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Juice Robinson in the semifinal tournament matches. The latter match will take place on Friday. Michinoku spoke in Japanese after the match.
Powell’s POV: An excellent match with Sabre working the submission based style that is a cool contrast to Ibushi’s style. The semifinals should be a lot of fun. Overall, this was a solid show. The main event is worth going out of your way to see and I definitely enjoyed the six-man that set the stage for a Suzuki vs. Naito match. Callis is definitely missed on color commentary. It’s nothing against Finlay or Chuckie T who filled in, but Callis is the pro and they just don’t add much to the broadcast. I will be by with coverage of tomorrow’s show on Friday afternoon.
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