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3/27 NJPW New Japan Cup Night 15 results: Vetter’s review of Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in tournament final, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Satoshi Kojima, and Tiger Mask vs. Cima, T-Hawk, El Lindaman, and Tatsumi Fujinami, Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi vs. Evil and Dick Togo

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “New Japan Cup – Night Fifteen”
March 27, 2022 in Osaka, Japan at Osaka Jo-Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton were on commentary.

1. Bushi defeated Kosei Fujita at 7:19. These young lions continue to impress. Bushi dominated, of course, and won with a Boston Crab in the center of the ring.

2. Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori, and El Phantasmo defeated Jado, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Master Wato, and Ryusuke Taguchi at 10:05. Late in the match, Jado finally got his hands on his long-time friend Gedo and the crowd was really behind their brawl. However, Owens wound up hitting Jado from behind, allowing Gedo to cover Jado for the pin. Good brawl, but I really figured the faces would win here at the conclusion of this tour.

3. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Minoru Suzuki defeated Yoh, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii at 8:18. Taichi and Yano opened and got into sumo stances; it appears we are going to have a feud between these two that will end in a sumo match. Poor Taichi. Once again, Suzuki and Ishii carried this match with their intense brawling. In the end, Taichi pinned Yoh. Suzuki and Ishii had to be separated by refs and young lions, but once they got on the entrance ramp, they brawled some more.

4. Sho and Yujiro Takahashi defeated El Desperado and Taka Michinoku at 2:24. Again, Sho wants a title shot from Desperado, and he attacked both of them as they walked to ringside (I started my stopwatch at the onset of the attack). Sho hit Taka with his wrench in the ring. The ref called for the bell to start the match, but Taka was knocked out. They got Desperado on the floor and Taka tapped out. This was fine as an angle and didn’t need to be longer than this. After the bell, Sho ripped off Desperado’s mask! The crowd, which is barred from making noises with their mouth, couldn’t help but boo this horrific assault.

5) Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, and Will Ospreay defeated Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, and Yoshi-Hoshi at 10:32. Just like on Saturday, O-Khan and Cobb made it clear they wanted a tag title shot from Yoshi-Hoshi and Goto. Pretty standard match. Honma struggled to flip Cobb mid-match, causing Cobb to land awkwardly on his head, and Kelly actually swore on-air (he apologized profusely.) At the end of the match, Honma jumped off the top rope, but Cobb caught him, hit the Tour of the Islands spinning powerslam, for the pin. After the match, Cobb and O-Khan beat up Yoshi-Hoshi and Goto some more.

6. Shingo Takagi and Hiromu Takahashi defeated Evil and Dick Togo at 8:29. The storyline here is Evil is angry and embarassed by losing in the New Japan Cup tournament to the junior-heavyweight Hiromu, and he attacked Hiromu on Saturday. So, Hiromu ran at Evil and attacked him to kickstart this match. Hiromu won the match by hitting the Everything is Evil/Rock Bottom on Togo, using Evil’s own move. After the match, Hiromu got on the mic and taunted Evil some more. He said he wanted Evil to demand a match between them, because Hiromu wasn’t going to ask for it.

7. Tiger Mask, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima, and Kazuchika Okada defeated CIMA, El Lindeman, T-Hawk, and Tatsumi Fujinami at 14:17. The legend Fujinami, age 69, came out to a separate entrance from his Strongheart teammates. Fujinami demanded to start against Okada, which popped the crowd; they traded some basic mat holds for about two minutes. Satoshi got his never-ending chops on T-Hawk. Fujinami, and Tanahashi traded slaps, and Charlton said, “Oh no! He’s a senior citizen!”

Okada got in and hit a drop kick on Fujinami, but Fujinami got a dragon screw leg whip on Okada before tagging out. The action was fast and furious. Okada wound up hitting the Rainmaker clothesline on T-Hawk for the pin. This match was a blast and easily the best, most memorable non-tournament match of the entire 15-show tour. After the match, Fujinami entered the ring, shook hands with everyone on Okada’s team, and the five of them posed together. Just neat stuff all the way around.

8. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tetsuya Naito to win the New Japan Cup at 24:43. They opened with mat reversals, which would seem to favor Sabre, but Naito hit a mid-ring huracanrana at 3:30. They brawled to the floor, and Sabre worked over Naito’s left ankle. Back in the ring, Sabre tied Naito in a pretzel and focused on that sore ankle.

Sabre tied Naito up in the ropes at 13:30 and Naito screamed in pain. Naito hit a spinning DDT at 16;30 and they were both down. Sabre kept him on the mat in a sleeper hold. Sabre hit a Michinoku Driver at 20:00, and they were both down. Sabre nailed several European uppercuts. They traded rollups. Sabre nailed a running kick to the face for a nearfall at 24:00, and the crowd was fired up. Sabre hit another Michinoku Driver for the pin. Good match; I’d say both semi-final matches were better, but this was very good.

Post match, Sabre grabbed the mic and said a few sentences in Japanese (he did that the other day, too.) He then switched to English, saying he’s the best technical wrestler in the world, and very soon, will be proclaimed the best wrestler in the world. The confetti cannon went off to shower him in streamers as he posed with the cup to conclude the show.

Final Thoughts: I was hoping for this outcome. Sabre vs. Okada feels like a more fresh matchup than another Okada vs. Naito bout, and they can always go back to that later, with Naito pointing out he pinned Okada in the semifinals. Sabre is now a two-time winner of the New Japan Cup.

The eight-man tag in the semi-main event was a blast. The rest of the show was solid and moved several storylines forward (Evil-Hiromu, Taichi-Yao, Sho-Desperado, etc.).


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