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NJPW ‘New Japan Cup 2019’ (3.21.19) Results & Review

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The 2019 New Japan Cup quarterfinals come to a close in front of 2,406 fans at Act City Hamamatsu. The last remaining quarterfinal matches see Colt Cabana taking on SANADA and the featured main event is a rematch of last year’s final between Zack Sabre Jr. and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Let’s get started!

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal Match
SANADA def. Colt Cabana @ 14:57 via Skull End – **1/4

They start off surveying the crowd reaction. Cabana takes SANADA down into a headlock, they trade control before Cabana locks in a headscissors. He pushes SANADA’s head back down, SANADA flips through, attempts the Paradise Lock, Cabana escapes and tries the same but struggles understanding the hold. Instead, Cabana goes for the Superman pin and offers to shake hands with SANADA after he kicks out of the pin. The shake is turned into a Cabana armdrag and by now having enough of the shenanigans, SANADA secures the Paradise Lock.

After being dropkicked free, Cabana bails and refuses SANADA holding the ropes open for him to return. He comes in his own way, SANADA dropkicks him back out and follows with a plancha. SANADA sends Cabana back in the ring but Cabana rolls out. Cabana is stopped the second time and SANADA hits a hurricanrana. Forearms from Cabana, catches a boot and lands more strikes followed by a double jump splash from the second rope. He catches SANADA’s springboard into a fireman’s carry and into the Chicago Crab.

SANADA rolls through Cabana’s hurricanrana off the second into a rope-assisted Magic Killer. Cabana ropes the ropes on an attempted dropkick and leaps for the Superman pin. SANADA rolls through and catches a second attempt into Skull End. Cabana rolls it into a jackknife pin, SANADA escapes, ducks a lariat and into Skull End for the win. Milano Collection AT calls for Cabana on commentary by saying “please come back”.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Zack Sabre Jr. @ 21:12 via Japanese Leg Roll Clutch – ****1/4

Both men go to the mat trading headlocks for headscissors. Tana takes the leg into a headlock but Sabre takes the arm for a cross armbreaker. Tana asks for a test of strength and they trade control back and forth. Sabre bridges and takes the arm but Tana transitions into a Northern Lights. They trade sleepers, Tana avoids an overhead kick to the arm but Sabre still manages to capture the arm, stomps and applies a double armbar.

Sabre toys with Tana on the mat. Tana fires up and both exchange uppercuts in the corner until Tana lands a boot followed by a flying forearm and senton off the second. Sabre in return lands a boot and the two trade Cobra Twists. Tana sends Sabre over the top rope but Sabre stays on the apron and apples a double armbar through the ropes. The referee calls for a break and Tana uses the opportunity to hit three Dragon Screws into the ropes and follows with a Texas Cloverhold. Sabre slides through into a triangle, Tana attempts to powr up but collapsed.

Tanahashi finally gets to his feet, stomps Sabre’s head while still in the hold and reapplies the Texas Cloverhold. Sabre gets a hold of Tana’s wrist, secures the kimura but Tana drops him with three twist & shouts followed by a slingblade. They go back and forth with full nelsons until Sabre gets the Cobra Twist and connects with an overhead kick to the arm. Tana catches a PK, slaps Sabre, goes for a Dragon Suplex but Sabre transitions into a bridging pin. Tana escapes, avoids Zack Driver into a bridging pin of his own but Sabre is there for Napalm Death.

Tanahashi escapes, lands a Dragon Screw to a seated Sabre, looks for a Dragon Suplex but Sabre transitions to a pin. They trade uppercuts and attempt backslides on one another. Tana drops Sabre with a reverse slingblade and catches him in a pin to advance to the semifinals. He gives the crowd an air guitar celebration and that’s how we end the show.

Unlike most other matches we’ve seen throughout the tournament, the even-handed nature of the main event resulted in great drama. This match was impossible to figure out at any point which is a testament to how strong Sabre has been featured since debuting in New Japan. He’s beat Tanahashi in two of their three prior meetings and as a result comes off just as capable of continuing that trend on any given night as Okada. Undoubtedly one of the best matches from New Japan this year.

Semifinals
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs SANADA
Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii

Recommended Match
Tanahashi vs Sabre

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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