NJPW New Japan Cup 2020: Day 6 (7/1/2020)- Tokyo, Japan
NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 QUARTERFINAL MATCH: YOSHI-HASHI vs. BUSHI- 5.75/10
BUSHI jumped the bell on YOSHI-HASHI, so I guess LIJ are heels now? I can never keep track with them, which is absolutely not a good thing.
BUSHI stomped on YOSHI-HASHI and choked him with his shirt, but YOSHI-HASHI quickly made a comeback by just running through him, then he beat the sh*t out of him in the corner. They traded chops in the corner, with YOSHI-HASHI pretty much no-selling BUSHI’s chops. Why even have the guy get jumped if it’s not going to be relevant one minute later?
YOSHI-HASHI started to work the head and neck, starting with what seemed like an accidental chop to the throat, but then he just went with it, hitting a brainbuster and locking in a rear chinlock and so forth. Eventually they started just trading moves back and forth, but the story of YOSHI-HASHI working the neck and head was always there. He eventually got BUSHI in the Butterfly Lock for a long time, and while BUSHI was able to get to the ropes, YOSHI-HASHI put him away with Karma.
NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 QUARTERFINAL MATCH: Sho vs. Sanada- 7.25/10
Sho worked the arm while Sanada worked the knee. Sho could have sold better, but other than that, I really liked this match. They seemed to be making an effort to do some new and different spots that still fit in with their story.
YOTA TSUJI & CHAOS (Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, & Hiromu Takahashi)- 6.25/10
The ref pats Yano down for weapons… while leaving the chair that Yano brought to the ring just sitting in the corner of the ring.
Yano has the lock of hair he cut off of Hiromu’s head on the previous show in a bag in his tights. Now he’s chasing Hiromu around and Hiromu is running away like he’s afraid of… his own hair. Remember six months ago when HIromu made this emotional comeback after being out for a year and a half after breaking his neck during a match and recaptured the championship he was forced to vacate? Well he’s apparently a comedy goof now. Hiromu Takahashi is to NJPW as Buff Bagwell is to WCW.
Naito appears to have just disappeared. Hiromu tags in Shingo, so Yano tags in the Tsuji. Heat on the young lion.
Eventually Tsuji fought back and we git the tag to Ishii and Hiromu and they face off and hit each other very hard because that’s the quarterfinal match that we’re trying to preview here… but if you want me to get excited for Hiromu’s match, why are you starting the match off by having him be a clown afraid of his own hair?
Hiromu worked very well with both Tsuji and Ishii, but as I just said, I can’t get into it because they killed Hiromu with that stupid hair crap in the beginning of the match, and for no gain. Hiromu beat Tsuji with the young-boy favorite Boston Crab, which was only made weirder by the fact that a minute earlier, Tsuji had locked Hiromu into a very non-young-boy move, which was a wacky Lucha submission. That was jarring to see.
NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 QUARTERFINAL MATCH: Taichi (w/Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Kota Ibushi (w/Hiroshi Tanahashi)- 6.75/10
We’re mere moments into the match, and Taichi is already manhandling the referee to stop him from seeing interference. At least Tanahashi has run over to stop the attack. Now Taichi hops to the outside and drags Ibushi into the crowd and it’s every f*cking Suzuki-Gun match ever. They’re in the area for the non-existent crowd for a full minute before the referee starts counting, and meanwhile Taichi has been choking Kota to death with a cable. Cue Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys™. Now Taichi is choking Kota with his boot and the referee isn’t doing anything about it. Does he WANT Ibushi to die?
Taichi stomps on Kota’s chest after teasing a stop to the nuts. Why not just stomp him in the nuts? The referee has made clear that he’s not going to disqualify you no matter what you do? You know… because it’s so important that this tournament not become tainted by having a DQ or count-out finish that we’re going to let the heels cheat their asses off right in front of the referee. Because that definitely doesn’t taint a tournament.
And if don’t think I’m completely right about this, after said stomp to the chest, Kota rolled to the outside, and Taichi immediately starts manhandling the referee again and there is no DQ. At this point in the match, Taichi has manhandled the referee as many times as he has performed a legal offensive maneuver in the ring to Ibushi.
Tanahashi runs over to protect Ibushi from Zack. When the referee sees this, he runs over and yells at them. Dude…if the seconds are fighting, EJECT THEM FROM RINGSIDE. That’s your job!
Now Taichi has Kota back in the ring and it’s time for EVEN MORE CHOKING! Kota gets a punch in but Taichi stomps on him and chokes him yet again. Kota fire up and shoots off some big forearms to the face… and Taichi goozles him for EVEN MORE CHOKING!
FINALLY, after almost seven minutes of nothing but choking and the occasional interference by Zack followed by Tanahashi chasing Zack away, we got something new: Leg kicks! Kota got an advantage with his strikes and had Taichi down… then he gives him those stupid little kicks and shoves and encourages his to get up and take his best shot… so Taichi does just that and f*cking floors Ibushi with a kick. I don’t think I’ve seen someone look like a bigger geek since Bethe Correia dared Holly Holm to try kicking her so Holly did and knocked her the f*ck out.
Eventually this picked up and actually got pretty good, but then we got a ref bump for the finish. Why even do a ref bump when the ref has shown that he won’t DQ anyone for cheating? This is a perfect example of why you need to enforce the rules. If you don’t, then all of the cheating just kind of blirs together and fans become numb to it and things barely make sense. This wasn’t a dastardly act; it was just another time Taichi cheated. This one just happened to be the finish, and the referee just happened to be bumped for it. This match could have been much better, but it was dragged down by making a mockery of the rules for the sake of basically six straight minutes of choking spots at the beginning.
NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 QUARTERFINAL MATCH: Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL- 7.25/10
EVIL is allowed to get away with shoving the referee down when the referee tries to stop him from using a chair, and then allowed to get away with using a chair. Red Shoes will often refuse to count a pin or to count someone out if he doesn’t like the way the wrestler has been acting, but here, despite this, he was perfectly fine counting Goto out because… um… uh…
They hit each other a lot, really hard. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I’ve seen it so many times from these guys that didn’t stand out as particularly great, either.
The novel thing there was the finish, which was set up by a ref bump and then a low blow by EVIL. This is the sort of thing that I realize that I should care about, but NJPW has shown their face-heel alignments (and especially LIJ’s, but other’s as well) to be so damn fluid from match to match that I have no faith that this will actually go anywhere. Sure, it will be a component in a feud between Goto and EVIL that will maybe blow off in the fall, but it’s not like this moment will set the tone for the story of the feud or even set the babyface/heel dynamics because the fact that EVIL did something immoral and dastardly isn’t going to last past this match. It’s just a catalyst for your standard “heated NJPW feud” where they have a bunch of generic matches where they hit each other very hard.
This was a very meh show from New Japan. There is absolutely no quality control in this company with the comedy and cheating and other bullsh*t and the inconsistencies. I just want to watch some good wrestling. NJPW’s roster is capable of that, but the booker allows them (or maybe even orders them) to minutes upon minutes of stuff that undermines that at the beginning of most of the matches. It’s very frustrating to see.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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