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NJPW ‘New Japan Cup 2018’ 3.11.18 Results & Review

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The 2018 New Japan Cup continues on into the third night at the Baycom Gymnasium. Two more tournament matches tonight, that’s why you’re reading this so let’s see what happened.

Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka def. Tetsuhiro Yagi & Ren Narita @ 9:15 via Oka Boston Crab on Narita
El Desperado def. Shota Umino @ 8:22 via Numero Dos
Fale, Yujiro, Tanga & Owens def. Elgin, Juice, Finlay & Henare @ 9:42 via Tanga Apeshit on Henare
Goto, Ishii & Yano def. Archer, Smith & Kanemaru @ 9:47 via Yano Cradle on Kanemaru
Takashi Iizuka & Taichi def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi @ 10:44 via Taichi Tensho Jujihou on Taguchi
Kazuchika Okada & Chuckie T. def. SANADA & BUSHI @ 9:01 via Okada Cobra Clutch on BUSHI

New Japan Cup First Round Match
Kota Ibushi def. YOSHI-HASHI @ 22:24 via Kamigoye

When Ibushi is motivated he’s a pure joy to watch wrestle. He and Y-H displayed many fun and creative spots you won’t see anywhere else but between these two. Even the standard Ibushi moonsault off the second floor balcony is so insane that despite being a regular act of his, is always a joy to watch. At one point, Ibushi front flipped out of Karma, a spot I’m not sure anyone else on the New Japan roster would be able to physically accomplish. Y-H isn’t nearly as innovative, but where he excels is displaying heart. When Ibushi seemed at have the match won, he headbutted his way out of a Kamigoye. Ibushi demands the best out of his opponents and when Y-H is motivated, as we’ve seen this last month, he can also be a pure joy. Once Y-H started going for the kill, hitting a Destroyer and following up with a running power bomb, the match hit that next level. In the beginning we saw Ibushi giving up too much offense, cluing you in that he was going to be the one to win. By the end you had a couple of great spurts from Y-H that were convincing finishes. This match was a lot of fun despite not everything coming off clean. When you’re going at next level, it’s fine to have a few missteps and Y-H was definitely up to this challenge. He has now put together a string of three straight great matches. Hopefully his motivation continues.

New Japan Cup First Round Match
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tetsuya Naito @ 22:43 via Submission

From an in ring standpoint, you can’t find much fault in this match. The crowd was firmly behind Naito, as you’d expect, and they were genuinely shocked when Sabre won. The problem for me was, it was a predictable win. There wasn’t any world where New Japan was giving us Ibushi versus Naito in the second round so right there I knew Sabre was winning. Sabre’s offense is an acquired taste. While he does many submissions you’ll see nowhere else, when it’s a predictable outcome and a New Japan main event (meaning it must go at least twenty minutes) it’s hard to stay engaged. They did nothing wrong in terms of their wrestling. Naito’s selling was fantastic and hit all the notes, showcasing the danger of Sabre. Once you know the New Japan tropes, the magic of unpredictability can be somewhat diminished. If you were watching solely based on the in ring and not following any story I’m sure this would be engaging but as it was presented I found myself disinterested and was waiting for the match to end. Sabre advancing to the next round to face Ibushi will be an easier watch, neither seems like an obvious choice.

Another night of good wrestling match, this time I felt the semi-main event outshined the main event. While the main did have the bigger win and seemed to have surprised the live crowd, it was something I could see coming from miles away and therefore lost my interest. The undercard was one of the most consistent of the tour and if you’re someone who watches those, my favorite was the Bullet Club match. Other than that, I’d say stick with the Ibushi versus YOSHI-HASHI match. Y-H has been on fire over the last thirty days, producing his third great singles match. Ibushi continues being an absolute joy and looks to be having a lot of fun which is nice to see.

Recommended Match
Kota Ibushi vs YOSHI-HASHI

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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