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New Japan Cup Night 2 – Recap & Review

New Japan Cup 2018
Event Date: March 10, 2018 (18:00 JST)
aired live on NJPW World

City: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Venue: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
Attendance: 4,016
Series: New Japan Cup 2018

Commentary (Japanese): Milano Collection AT, Haruo Murata, Yuji Nagata (matches 5-8)
Ring Announcer: Makoto Abe


The same package video from night one of the New Japan Cup is shown. It highlights the history of the New Japan Cup as well as this year’s participants.


Match 1
Ren Narita & Ryusuke Taguchi vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champs)
(referee: Kenta Sato; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: El Desperado forces Ren Narita to submit to Numero Dos (stretch muffler)
Time: 7:30

Match Thoughts
This was a very nice opener, one of the better opening matches I can recall right now. Ren Narita was ready for this one, and he looked very good. Narita started off okay against Desperado, but some very well-timed double teams from the Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champs had Narita reeling. Taguchi came in and reset the match, and Narita had another good sequence with El Desperado to finish things off.


Match 2
Tetsuhiro Yagi & David Finlay vs Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata
(referee: Kenta Sato; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: David Finlay pins Shota Umino after Prima Nocta (stunner)
Time: 8:51

Match Thoughts
Good match. Both teams made for surprisingly good tag teams. The veterans worked well with their young lion partners (I think Finlay is a veteran in relative terms to the young lions), and that made the match pretty interesting. I also liked what Yagi did in this match. Umino seems to get a lot more attention, and he did close the match against Finlay, but Yagi looked good here and showed some nice personality at times.


Match 3
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs Tomoyuki Oka & Michael Elgin
(referee: Kenta Sato; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Toru Yano pins Tomoyuki Oka with a low blow and a schoolboy
Time: 7:57

Match Thoughts
Good match. Oka and Elgin made a good team. They worked together well, and their superior teamwork seemed to throw off Ishii and Yano. Elgin and Ishii picked up from where they left off last night, with Elgin hitting some very bog power moves throughout the match, and Oka complimented Elgin well. Elgin and Oka dominated this match, but Yano’s shenanigans always keep him just a few seconds away from a cheap move and a win. That happened in this one, but I don’t think it really hurt the match at all. It was fun, and the match was kind of meaningless in the big picture anyway.


Match 4
Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Takashi Iizuka vs Toa Henare & Juice Robinson
(referee: Marty Asami; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Davey Boy Smith Jr. pins Toa Henare after a Bulldog Bomb (sit-out powerbomb)
Time: 10:51

Match Thoughts
Pretty good match. Smith and Iizuka, both members of Suzuki Gun, started the fight before the bell and quickly took the match to the floor. Back in the ring, Robinson and Henare fought back reasonably well, but the violence and power of Smith and Iizuka were too much for them tonight. Smith looked good and seemed to be highlighted here in preparation for his first round tournament match coming up soon.


Match 5
TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki (IWGP IC Champ) vs BUSHI & SANADA (IWGP Tag Champ) & Tetsuya Naito
(referee: Marty Asami; guest commentary: Yuji Nagata; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: SANADA forces TAKA Michinoku to submit to Skull End
Time: 12:55

Match Thoughts
Very good match. I think this was easily the best tag match of the night so far. They kept teasing Suzuki and Naito fighting each other, but they never really did face off. Instead, this was a good back and forth battle between two strong teams. Suzuki Gun did brawl for a while, but most of their strategy seemed to be focused on Sabre and Suzuki trying to get submissions. The match did break down towards the end, and the pace picked up towards the finish. This was very well done in that it felt like we got to see a lot (and we did), but they still withheld a Suzuki versus Naito battle.


Match 6
Chase Owens & Tanga Loa (NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag Champ) & Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter & Kota Ibushi vs Chuckie T & YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto (NEVER Openweight Champ) & Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Champ) w/ Gedo
(referee: Red Shoes Unno; guest commentary: Yuji Nagata; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Kazuchika Okada forces Chase Owens to submit to a Cobra Clutch
Time: 12:57

Match Thoughts
Good match. The most interesting part of the match for me was watching to see how Ibushi worked with three members of Bullet Club. Ibushi certainly seemed like an outsider most of the time, but he and the Bullet Club all worked towards the same goal, so they worked fairly well together. Chaos felt like a more unified team, and they seemed to know it. At times Chaos didn’t seem to take their opponents seriously, but after a brawl on the floor that had Ibushi hitting a moonsault from the top of the wall leading up to the second level seats, Chaos paid more attention to the match. There was a fun breakdown towards the end where everyone hit a big move, and the finish worked well.


Match 7
New Japan Cup 2018 First Round Match
Lance Archer vs Bad Luck Fale (NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno; guest commentary: Yuji Nagata; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Bad Luck Fale wins via pinfall after a hand grenade
Time: 11:02

Match Thoughts
Pretty good match. This was mostly about two good big men slamming into each other. That happened for a while, then the fight went to the floor where there was an extended sequence involving chairs, barricades, and yelling. Back in the ring, Archer seemed to be the aggressor, but Fale managed to get some effective offense despite the (sort of) beating he was taking. This was fine, but I think Elgin versus Ishii from last night was a better big man match.


Match 8
New Japan Cup 2018 First Round Match
Taichi w/ Miho Abe, Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
(referee: Red Shoes Unno; guest commentary: Yuji Nagata; ring announcer: Makoto Abe)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Hiroshi Tanahashi wins via pinfall after a High Fly Flow
Time: 23:53

Match Thoughts
Very good match. Both men looked good here. Taichi took control of a large portion of this match. It started with Miho Abe messing with Tanahashi before the match started, and continued with Taichi playing games and avoiding Tanahashi in the early part of the match. Taichi managed to bait Tanahashi and gained an advantage after a brief journey out to the floor. Taichi seemed to be overconfident though, and Tanahashi mounted a comeback that Taichi had to cheat to even have a chance of averting. Regardless of the outcome, this was a good match for Taichi. It was also pretty good for Tanahashi, though not entirely surprising.


Ring Area
After the match, Tanahashi motions for something from ringside. Tomoyuki Oka reaches under the ring and hands Tanahashi an invisible guitar. Tanahashi proceeds to play air guitar, complete with sound piped in through the speakers.


Show Impressions
Night two of the New Japan Cup continued to be strong. I think night one was more consistently good, but I think the best matches of tonight were better than the best matches of last night. The winners of the tournament matches continue to not be terribly surprising, but the matches are good, so that’s all that really matters at this point.

Match of the Night
Taichi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
I liked the Suzuki Gun versus LIJ match quite a lot as well, but I think the main event was maybe the more compelling match tonight.



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