NJPW New Japan Cup 2020
Night 8 – Semifinals
Event Date: July 3, 2020 (19:00 JST)
aired live on NJPW World
Commentary (English, recorded remotely): Kevin Kelly
Commentary (Japanese): Milano Collection AT, Jushin Thunder Liger, Shunpei Terakawa (1, 4), Koki Yamazaki (2), Yuichi Tabata (3), Hiroshi Tanahashi (3, 4)
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1, 2), Makoto Abe (3, 4)
A brief look at this year’s New Japan Cup featuring heavyweights, juniors, and young lions.
Kimihiko Ozaki is in the ring, and he announces tonight’s matches.
El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi vs Gabriel Kidd & Yuji Nagata & Kota Ibushi (IWGP Tag Champ) & Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Tag Champ)
(referee: Kenta Sato)
Result: El Desperado pins Gabriel Kidd after Pinche Loco
Good match. This was a nice opener that continued the buildup for Taichi and ZSJ versus Tanahashi and Ibushi. The first part of the match was basically Taichi and the rest of Suzuki Gun trying to dismantle Tanahashi’s knee. That effectively put Tanahashi out of the match, so we then got pairings of ZSJ versus Ibushi, Nagata versus Suzuki, and Kidd versus El Desperado. This was a fairly basic NJPW tag match, but all the matchups were entertaining and did what they were supposed to (which is, they made me want to see all of these rivalries continue to build).
After the match, Suzuki Gun attacks their opponents some more. Minoru Suzuki wasn’t too interested, but everyone else had a mild melee that ended with Taichi and ZSJ hurling insults at Tanahashi and Ibushi.
SHO (IWGP Jr. Tag Champ) & Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs BUSHI (NEVER 6-Man Tag Champ) & Shingo Takagi (NEVER 6-Man & Openweight Champ) & Tetsuya Naito (IWGP IC & Heavyweight Champ)
(referee: Kenta Sato)
Result: SHO pins BUSHI after the Shock Arrow
Good match. This was a nice tag match where everyone mixed it up with everyone, but for the highlights were definitely when SHO and Takagi were in the ring together. They’re definitely building towards another singles match between those two, and the post-match shenanigans all but set up a NEVER Openweight Title match for SHO. I suspect we’ll see that happen at in Osaka coming up.
The Grand Master is revealed, and it is Master Wato. Coming soon.
Soon is now, and Master Wato (who is Hirai Kawato returning from his excursion to CMLL) enters the ring. As Wato poses, Douki appears behind him and attacks the Grand Master with his pipe (or whatever it is). Master Wato’s arrival is ruined as Douki beats him up and then walks away. Wato is helped away from the ring by a young lion.
The ring is sanitized as we take a brief intermission.
New Japan Cup Semifinal Match
EVIL (NEVER 6-Man Tag Champ) vs SANADA
(referee: Marty Asami)
Result: EVIL wins via pinfall after EVIL
Very good match. SANADA put out his hand to EVIL as the opening bell rang. Hesitantly, EVIL extended his own hand, but then he kicked SANADA in the gut. That started the action, and it set the tone for the whole match. SANADA wrestled a mostly fair match while EVIL was never above going for a shortcut or a straight-up illegal move. Both men still ended up fighting a pretty even match though. That is, until SANADA took a scary fall off the ropes and landed on the top of his head late in the match. SANADA was clearly hurting, but he still found a way to go for Skull End. It was clear he didn’t have much fight left in him though, so the tension at the end of the match was all based on whether or not SANADA could finish off EVIL quickly (also wondering if SANADA was okay).
New Japan Cup Semifinal Match
Hiromu Takahashi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champ) vs Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)
Result: Kazuchika wins via referee stoppage (while Okada has Takahashi in the Cobra Clutch)
Great match. I was pulling for Takahashi in this match, so I was invested right from the start. I knew it would be a difficult fight and improbable win for Takahashi to pull off, but I really wanted to see it happen. As Takahashi has done throughout the New Japan Cup, he adapted to Okada’s style well, and he even turned some of Okada’s go-to moves back onto Okada. This match had a nice build to it, so it started very quietly, but by the end the intensity had picked up considerably. Each man built up their attacks progressively, and neither wanted to be the first to take a big risk. I was thoroughly entertained by this match, regardless of the outcome. Also, I think Hiromu Takahashi is the MVP of the tournament no matter what happens after tonight.
Good show. I was wondering how they were going to do a show with only two tournament matches, and I liked how they did it. The tournament matches were longer tonight, which makes sense considering it was the semifinals. I don’t think either match was my favorite of the tournament so far, but they were both very good. Unfortunately, both of the guys I wanted to move on lost, but I still enjoyed the show, and I’m still looking forward to the finals.
Match of the Night
Hiromu Takahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
This was a great step for Takahashi and the Jr. Heavyweight Title. There’s still room to climb after this, but this was still a memorable match.
Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/248169?showResult=1