3/26 NJPW New Japan Cup Night 14 results: Vetter’s review of Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito, and Shingo Takagi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in tournament semifinal matches, Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi vs. Will Ospreay and Aaron Henare, and Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan vs. Yoh and Yoshi-Hashi

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “New Japan Cup – Night Fourteen”
March 26, 2022 in Osaka, Japan at Osaka Jo-Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton were on commentary…

1. Gedo, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori, and El Phantasmo defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Ryusuke Taguch, and Master Wato (w/Jado) via DQ at 9:11. This was a brawl throughout, so the action kept moving. This is essentially the same match as the previous two shows, except Tanahashi has replaced Jado in the match. However, Jado hopped in the ring and assaulted Gedo, leading to the ref  calling for the DQ. Acceptable action.

2. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Togi Makabe defeated Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Minoru Suzuki at 9:20. Ishii and Suzuki charged at each other at the bell and traded stiff forearm shots. Charlton wondered what would happen if these two wound up on the same flight to the U.S. this week. Funny. Late in the match, Kanemaru grabbed his bottle of whiskey and took a swig. However, Yano hit the low blow, and Kanemaru sprayed the whiskey on Taichi; this distraction allowed Yano to get the schoolboy rollup on Kanemaru for the pin. The interactions between Ishii and Suzuki carried the match.

3. EVIL, Sho, and Yujiro Takahashi defeated El Desperado, Douki, and Taka Michinoku at 9:45. All six brawled to the floor. The main storyline here is the feud between Sho and Desperado; at some point, they’ll have a singles match. They finally squared off at 5:00 and traded blows. Evil hit his Everything is Evil/rock bottom on Taka for the pin.

4. CIMA, T-Hawk, and El Lindeman defeated Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask, and Hirooki Goto at 9:25. The announcers talked about CIMA’s health, saying it wasn’t clear if he would be able to wrestle on this show. Kelly said he was “a step slow” in his tournament match against Okada a few days ago. Honma and Lindeman, who look a lot alike, traded offense, as Kelly wondered if Lindeman will be in the best of super juniors tournament. CIMA and Goto traded some good offense. T-Hawk put Tiger Mask on his shoulders, flipped him to the mat, and scored the pin. The last two minutes were really good.

5. Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan defeated Yoshi-Hoshi and Yoh at 13:23. Late in the match, Yoshi-Hoshi hit a top-rope blockbuster on Cobb for a nearfall. Cobb hit an overhead release German Suplex on Yoh. O-Khan followed that by applying the claw and hitting the chokeslam (hand on head not throat) for the pin on Yoh. Disappointing that Yoh has moved into the “designated jobber” status in multi-man matches like Taka Michinoku, Douki, Honma, Bushi, Gedo, etc. After the match, Cobb and O-Khan spoke to Yoshi-Hoshi; Charlton said they want tag title shots against Yoshi-Hoshi and Goto.

6. WIll Ospreay and Aaron Henare defeated Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi at 7:10. All week, Ospreay has complained on Twitter, saying he didn’t tap out last week to Sabre in the tournament. He got on the mic and complained some more here, vowing to not wrestle this tag match, because he wants Sabre instead. However, Takahashi attacked him and the match began. As expected, Takahashi and Ospreay traded some good, fast reversals, providing the best action of the show so far. Henare hit his modified brainbuster on Bushi for the pin. Nonstop action.

7. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Shingo Takagi in a New Japan Cup semifinal match at 19:21. Standing reversals and a feeling-out process to open. Kelly wondered if Shingo’s neck is fully recovered from a package piledriver that Chase Owens gave him onto a chair a week ago. Sure enough, Sabre went to work on the neck, applying cravats and holds. Charlton said these two first had a match in 2009 in Germany. Sabre applied a Divorce Court armbreaker at 8:30, but Shingo reached the ropes, and the crowd was fired up.

Sabre stomped on Shingo’s left elbow, and Shingo sold it like his arm was shattered. Sabre applied a double armbar on the mat with his legs around Shingo’s waist, and Shingo nearly tapped out but reached the ropes at 11:30. Shingo hit a Death Valley Driver and they were both down. Shingo hit a top-rope superplex, and they were both down at 13:30. Sabre got a jackknife rollup for a nearfall and a Dragon Suplex for a nearfall.

Shingo hit a Last of the Dragon sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 16:00. They traded headbutts, then forearm shots. Shingo nailed the Pumping Bomber clothesline, but sold the pain in his arm. Sabre applied a sleeperhold on the mat. Shingo got to his feet, climbed to the second rope and fell backward, in an attempt to break the hold. However, Sabre kept it firmly on until Shingo passed out. I am shocked. Shingo was my initial pick to win this.

8. Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada in a New Japan Cup semifinal match at 27:45. There is just an intensity in the air as Naito took off his robe and shirt. These two have met eleven times in singles matches, with Okada having won six and Naito having won five. The building was quiet, but it wasn’t boredom. The wrestlers brawled to the floor, where Okada hit a DDT at 7:30. Back in the ring, Okada was in control, working over the head and neck. Okada hit a basement dropkick to Okada’s left knee at 10:30. They brawled back to the floor, and Naito hit a dropkick on the knee as it was tied up in the barricade, and Okada really sold the pain in his leg.

Back in the ring, Naito hit a standing neckbreaker at 16:00, and the crowd was coming alive after being quiet thus far. (Fans still can only cheer and stomp in Japan; no cheering allowed). Okada hit a neckbreaker over his knee and applied a Money Clip sleeperhold. Okada nailed a stellar dropkick at 18:00 and went back to the Money Clip.

Okada hit a top-rope elbow drop, but he missed a Rainmaker, and Naito turned it into a Russlan Legsweep, and they were both down at 20:30. Naito hit a springboard spinning DDT, then a top-rope hurricanrana. Naito hit a second-rope blockbuster and a Destino for a believable nearfall at 23:30. However, Naito missed a top-rope corkscrew splash, and they were both down, and the crowd is fired up.

Okada got up first and hit his flying two-legged dropkick, sending Naito into the corner. Okada hit a German Suplex, missed a Rainmaker clothesline, but hit a DDT at 26:30. Okada missed a dropkick and Naito got a rollup for a believable nearfall. Moments later, Naito gets an inside cradle for the pin.

Excellent, excellent match. Naito got on the mic and thanked the crowd for showing up. He asked where Sabre was hiding, and he taunted him to come out. Sabre walked down the ramp, but refused to enter the ring.

Final Thoughts: The top two matches were superb, as expected. I anticipated Okada losing here; even if Sabre wins the tournament, Naito can claim he deserves a title shot because he pinned Okada. The undercard was all fine, nothing spectacular, but all the matches moved at a quick pace. The tournament concludes Sunday with Sabre vs. Naito in the finals, and the rest of the lineup will come out later today.

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