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NJPW ‘New Japan Cup 2018’ 3.16.18 Results & Review



New Japan returns to Korakuen Hall for the first of two New Japan Cup semifinal matches. Tonight it is Hiroshi Tanahashi against Juice Robinson so let’s get into what took place!

Yujiro Takahashi & Tanga Loa def. Tomoyuki Oka & Tetsuhiro Yagi @ 7:03 via Yujiro Pimp Juice on Oka – *1/2
Archer, Smith & Taichi def. Elgin, Finlay & Umino @ 9:46 via Taichi Tensho Jujihou on Umino – *3/4
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano def. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare @ 11:14 via Ishii Brainbuster on Henare – *3/4
Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Chuckie T. def. Ibushi, Fale & Owens @ 9:50 via Goto GTR on Owens – *3/4
Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka def. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo @ 13:29 via Suzuki Gotch-Style Piledriver on Gedo – *1/4
Naito, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI def. Sabre, TAKA, Kanemaru & Desperado @ 13:52 via BUSHI Super MX on TAKA – *3/4

New Japan Cup Semifinal Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Juice Robinson @ 29:53 via High Fly Flow – **1/2

Despite his best efforts, the crowd refused to boo Tanahashi. He attempted multiple times to get the crowd behind Juice but tonight the majority wanted to see the Ace succeed. Refusing to shake Juice’s hand, multiple occasions of targeting the knee, air guitar poses, nothing turned the crowd against Tanahashi. Neither an played the pure baby face, at one point Juice hit his own High Fly Flow and even held the ropes down to help Tanahashi back into the ring. There was a decent portion who rallied behind Juice but it was never more than 40% at any given time. At around at eighteen minute mark they kick into high gear with a strike exchange. This lead to Juice countering a High Fly Flow by rolling it into a pin for a great near-fall. There were several late kick outs by Tanahashi which created a feeling like Juice was going to pull off the upset. By no means was this bad, they managed to engaged me the entire match but the atmosphere felt off with Tanahashi trying to receive jeers and never once succeeding. Korakuen Hall expected and wanted Tanahashi to come out on top of Juice and that’s exactly what happened. The usual post-match air guitar celebration sent the crowd home happy as well as a nice embrace between Tana and Juice before he made his way to the back. An underwhelming main event but one with a result that sent everyone home happy.

Several pretty good matches, including the main vent, but nothing other than Tanahashi’s celebration felt special tonight. I’m glad to see the Ace advance to the finals so I walked away from the show feeling positive despite the show not providing anything particularly memorable. Roppongi 3K came out to clear the ring in the semi-main event, likely meaning we’ll see the junior tag three way for the titles once more which is more than okay by me. Ultimately a good show but nothing that I can say is worth going out of your way if you weren’t going to watch the show already.

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.