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NJPW ‘New Japan Cup 2019’ (3.24.19) Results & Review

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The 2019 New Japan Cup comes to its conclusion in front of 3,991 fans at Aore Nagaoka. The fans of Niigata pack the arena in support of their hometown hero as SANADA makes his first appearance in the New Japan Cup final. Let’s get started!

IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship
Juice Robinson (c) def. Chase Owens @ 22:13 via Pulp Friction – ***1/4

Juice leaves the title on the ramp and charges after Owens. He lands his punches, Owens bails, Juice looks to follow with a placha but Owens slides back in and backs Juice off before bailing again. Jado grabs Juice’s leg, Juice goes on the chase, Owens cuts off and throws into the rails. He drops Juice chest first onto the turnbuckle and gives boots to the head. Juice fires up, asks for more and they trade forearms.

Juice drops Owens with a leg lariat, Owens grabs for the referee and Jado involves himself with the cane. Owens drapes Juice over the top and boots off the apron into the rails. He looks to drop Juice chest first onto the rails but Juice counters into a suplex and drives Owens back first into the post. He follows with a senton to the back, Owens gets the knees up on the follow up to the chest and flurries with two knees and Jewel Heist. Juice backdrops out of the piledriver and lands a cannonball before taking Owens to the top for a superplex followed by a jackhammer and looks for Pulp Friction.

Owens finds himself caught in a Boston Crab, Jado distracts the referee before Owens taps. Juice lets go thinking he’d won, sees the distraction and tries to apply the hold again. Owens pushes Juice off and into the referee who falls to the outside. Jado comes in with the cane, Juice stops the attack and breaks the cane over his knee. He turns his attention back to Owens who throws powder in Juice’s face followed by a low blow. Owens can’t lift Juice for a piledriver, Juice lands his punches and a falling powerbomb. Jado pulls the referee out and Fale comes in with a spear. Juice ducks the attack with the belt, sends Fale over the top and finishes Owens with Pulp Friction.

Katsuyori Shibata comes out to the commentary booth to call the main event.

New Japan Cup 2019 Final Match
Kazuchika Okada def. SANADA @ 33:08 via Rainmaker – ****1/4

They start by locking up and trading both waist locks and wrist locks. SANADA sweeps the leg and picks the ankle, Okada grabs the arm for an armbreaker but SANADA keeps his arms clasped and turns into a reverse figure four. Okada pulls him into a headscissors, SANADA breaks free and they’re at a stalemate. SANADA spins the wristlock into a headlock and catches Okada into a bow & arrow. They’re at another stalemate, SANADA sweeps the leg, gets caught in a headlock but frees himself with forearms to the ribs only to be shouldered back down.

Okada comes in with a boot, gets caught into a Paradise Lock, SANADA dropkicks him free and sends Okada into the ropes for the double leap frog dropkick. Okada holds the ropes, sends SANADA out and follows him with a plancha. He brings SANADA back in for elbows, neckbreakers and a low dropkick before applying a headlock. SANADA fights the hold, Okada transitions to a chinlock but SANADA escapes and lands a low dropkick to Okada’s knee. Okada’s lariat misses, takes a back elbow, avoids the standing moonsault but SANADA lands on his feets and follows up with a dropkick to the back of the head.

Double leap frog dropkick from SANADA, Okada bails but is quick to come back in to avoid the placha. SANADA low bridges Okada back out, fakes the dive and lands a senton off the apron to Okada on the floor. He sends Okada back in but gets caught with an elbow and DDT. SANADA fights out of two reverse neckbreakers before Okada finally manages to connect and follows with a top rope elbow drop. Okada hits the Rainmaker pose, SANADA elbows free and comes off the top with a springboard dropkick. They trade forearms before Okada lifts SANADA to the top and dropkicks him out of the ring.

Okada follows him out, sends SANADA into the rails, boots him over, lands the draping DDT to the floor and has a big smile on his face. SANADA makes it back in at the count of eighteen but Okada jumps off the top with a dropkick and sets up for the tombstone. SANADA fights out, lands the tombstone himself followed by a high angle backdrop suplex. The crowd rallies as SANADA sets up for Skull End. Okada reaches for the ropes but before he can make it, SANADA hooks the arms into a bridging Tiger Suplex. SANADA heads to the top for a moonsault but eats Okada’s knees on the way down.

Backslide into a wrist-clutch lariat by Okada. He sets up for Rainmaker but SANADA fights out and is taken down with a dropkick and tombstone. SANADA turns the Rainmaker into Skull End, Okada pulls him back into position for a Rainmaker, SANADA ducks but is caught in Okada’s Skull End. He quick to escape, locks in a Skull End of his own and spins Okada. Okada gets his head free for a second, rolls SANADA up but SANADA grabs the head and reapplies the hold. He lets go and tries a pinfall win but Okada kicks out. SANADA heads to the top for a moonsault but Okada rolls out of the way.

Okada sidesteps a corner elbow, fires off a John Woo, rolling elbow from SANADA into a TKO and backbreaker. He goes to make his way to the top but Okada grabs the boot. SANADA stomps his way free but Okada cuts him off on the second. Again, SANADA boots himself free, this time moonsaulting off the second into Skull End but Okada transitions into the hold himself and hits the spinning tombstone. SANADA boots his way free of the Rainmaker, looks for Skull End, Okada spins free and lands the discuss Rainmaker and wins with match with the Rainmaker.

Okada says SANADA is tough and promises they’ll wrestle again. White and Gedo come out to congratulate Okada on his win but tell him he will not win the title. Shibata congratulates Okada before he makes his exit and that’s how we end the show.

The hometown crowd being heavily invested in SANADA gave the match a great atmosphere and allowed the masterclass pacing to shine through. This was a slow and methodical match that takes a special presence to keep the audience engaged. Not once did they lose the crowd, everything hit its mark, a fitting conclusion to the tournament. The special moment of Okada and Shibata at the end was the cherry on top. Excellent moments all around.

Recommended Matches
Okada vs SANADA
Juice vs Owens

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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