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NJPW ‘New Japan Cup 2019’ (3.10.19) Results & Review

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Night three of the 2019 New Japan Cup takes place in front of 4,780 fans at the Baycom Gymnasium. Four more tournament matches are set as we move past the first half of round one. The main event between Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi is the match everyone circled when the bracket was announced. The time has finally come. Let’s get started!

New Japan Cup First Round Match
Ryusuke Taguchi def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan @ 12:08 via Kido Clutch – *3/4

Taguchi convinces Tenzan to humor him with a fist bump before they start. Tenzan takes a boot to the gut instead but Taguchi can’t captialize with a shoulder tackle. A headbutt, shoulder and a hip thrust from Tenzan, followed by the Mongolian chops and hip attacks. He sidesteps Taguchi’s hip attack, headbutts Taguchi’s butt and gives it the Mongolian chops. Taguchi finally makes his comeback with a hip attack and springboard dropkick before appling Oh My & Garankle. Tenzan gets to the ropes, blocks the third amigo, gouges the eyes, hits the mountain bomb and locks in an anacanda vice. Taguchi rolls the hold into a pin and is quick to respond with an enziguri, bummer ye and back to the ankle lock. Tenzan boots him off, counters a second bummer ye with a spinning heel kick, lands a headbutt off the top but before he knows it is rolled up on an attempted suplex and Taguchi advances. The two fist bump after the match.

New Japan Cup First Round Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Shota Umino @ 14:48 via Texas Cloverhold – ***

They lock up and head to the ropes. Instead of a clean break, Umino buries an arm in Tanahashi’s chest. Tanahashi looks to do the same but Umino is quicker with a forearm. Headlocks are traded back and forth until a Tanahashi scoop slam and elbow drop. He applies the Indian Death Lock, Umino fires off overhands in the hold before getting to the ropes. Tanahashi knocks Umino down with repeated forearms but Umino keeps getting back up and takes Tanahashi down with a dropkick. Umino ducks a slingblade, lays Tanahashi out with an elbow and attempts a slam. Tanahashi tries to fight it off but can’t and is caught in the Boston Crab.

Tanahashi is quick to escape and catches Umino’s boot into a dragon screw, followed by a Boston Crab of his own. Umino struggles but gets to the ropes, Tanahashi stays on him with a senton off the second. They trade strikes and Umino surprisingly comes out on top. He follows with a dropkick off the top and applies the Texas Cloverhold on Tanahashi. Thirty-three straight forearms to the jaw by Umino. He has Tanahashi rocked but his suplex is turned into Twist & Shout. Tanahashi looks to finish with the Texas Cloverhold but Umino cradles him for a near fall. The crowd rallies but Tanahashi kicks out, connects with the dragon screw and finishes the young lion with the cloverhold.

New Japan Cup First Round Match
Zack Sabre Jr. def. EVIL @ 15:34 via Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness – ***1/2

EVIL connects with a boot out the gate and applies a strong headlock. Sabre armdrags out, gets caught again, flips his way free but is shouldered right back down. EVIL asks for a knucklelock, they trade positioning, EVIL ducks a PK and Sabre turns a senton to an armbreaker. Sabre is caught running in with a sidewalk slam but turns Darkness Falls into a full nelson. EVIL powers out but his bulldog is countered into a cobra twist. He transitions into one of his own, lands a lariat and takes Sabre down with Darkness Falls for a two count.

Sabre takes control of the arm and turns EVIL’s chop into an armbar. EVIL pulls the referee between the two of them and uses the referee to assist him with Magic Killer. After a corner lariat, EVIL takes Sabre to the top and drops him with a superplex. He sets up for EVIL but Sabre counters into Zack Driver which EVIL also escapes. Sabre bridges on an O’Connor Roll, EVIL turns it into a German suplex, has two lariats blocked but connects with a discuss lariat. He again looks for EVIL, Sabre victory rolls, EVIL hooks him up for EVIL but Sabre counters into a cobra twist and grounds EVIL in the hold for the win.

New Japan Cup First Round Match
Kota Ibushi def. Tetsuya Naito @ 20:40 via Kamigoye – ****1/2

Naito gains the advantage on the headlock with a hair pull, armdrags out and avoids a standing moonsalt from Ibushi. He bails to the outside, Ibushi follows but Naito is quickly back in and acts as if it’s Ibushi who’s stalling. Naito sends Ibushi over the top to the apron, sweeps the leg and lands a slingshot dropkick to the outside. He stays on Ibushi, driving him into the rails and slamming him headfist into a table. Naito waits for Ibushi to come back in, quickly gets back on top, lands a low dropkick, poses and follows with a neckbreaker.

Ibushi fires off forearms but Naito isn’t impressed. He asks for more and cuts Ibushi off with a series of back elbows. Ibushi ducks an elbow, lands a dropkick, ducks a slap and peppers Naito with a flurry of strikes. He catches Naito’s boot, hits the standing moonsault and catches Naito running in with a hurricanrana. Naito bails to the outside, Ibushi follows looking for the Golden Triangle Moonsault but Naito cuts him off and delivers a neckbreaker on the apron. He takes Ibushi back in, drapes him off the second rope and delivers another neckbreaker. Ibushi blocks Gloria, flips out of a German, Naito ducks a high kick and lands an enziguri. Ibushi catches a flying forearm into a straightjacket German and the two begin trading strikes.

They start by trading forearms on their knees, work their way up to their feet and it turns into a slap exchange. Naito drops Ibushi with a spinebuster and heads to the top for a poison rana. Ibushi sweeps the leg and attempts the draping deadlift German but Naito pulls Ibushi over the ropes and hits a sitout tombstone piledriver on the apron. Gloria. Ibushi turns Destino into a piledriver, Naito turns a powerbomb into a slingshot DDT. A lariat from Ibushi followed by the Golden Star Bomb. Naito sidesteps Kamigoye and lands Destino for a two count. Ibushi slides out of the second attempt at Destino, drills Naito with a high kick followed up with Boma Ye, Tiger Driver and wins with a Kamigoye.

The ending scene is a close up shot of the IC title with Ibushi in the background. He gives a speech and that’s how we end the show.

A show with big expectations delivers in a big way. By far the best day of the tournament and the main event registers as one of the best matches of the year. Shota Umino showed spunk by locking Tanahashi in his own move, the chemistry between Sabre and EVIL is incredible and yet it still managed to be topped by what we saw from Naito and Ibushi. The top three matches were all business, you could not have expected anything more than what we got tonight.

Second Round Matches
Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi
Kazuchika Okada vs Mikey Nicholls
Will Ospreay vs Lance Archer
Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi
Chase Owens vs YOSHI-HASHI

Recommended Matches
Ibushi vs Naito
Sabre vs EVIL

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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