The first night of the 2019 New Japan Cup takes place in front of 1,688 fans at Korakuen Hall. The tournament kicks off with four first round matches. Let’s get started!
Bad Luck Fale, HIKULEO & Taiji Ishimori def. Will Ospreay, Mikey Nicholls & Rocky Romero @ 6:53 via Ishimori Bloody Cross on Romero – **1/4
Ospreay meets face to face with Fale before the bell. Fale shoves Ospreay away causing Ospreay to charge and attack from behind before the bell. Fale uses his size to ground Ospreay and Bullet Club use the numbers to keep him down until a handspring overhead kick brings in Nicholls. The newest member of Chaos manages to get HIKULEO up for a DVD but HIKULEO quickly responds with a Samoan Drop. Romero and Ishimori make their way in and Romero beings teeing off on Ishimori, cutting off the handspring enziguri with a knee. Ospreay and Nicholls land a pair of planchas, Romero rolls Ishimori up, Ishimori sends him off to Jado with the cane and Ishimori finishes with Bloody Cross.
Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad def. Satoshi Kojima, Toru Yano & Toa Henare @ 8:12 via Smith Bulldog Bomb on Henare – **
Smith and Yano start off and none of Yano’s games work. Suzuki-Gun triple Yano until he manages an atomic drop on Suzuki and bring in Kojima. A pair of machine gun chop flurries, heads to the top, but Suzuki cuts him off. They trade forearms, Suzuki ducks a lariat, Kojima slides out of the piledriver and lands a cutter. Archer and Henare are in and Archer’s headbutts have no effect so he takes Henare for a Black Hole Slam. K.E.S. attempt to double Henare but he dumps Archer over the ropes flurries on Smith, Smith slams Henare into the exposed buckle and finishes with the Bulldog Bomb.
EVIL & BUSHI def. Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku @ 5:08 via BUSHI MX on TAKA – **1/4
Sabre and EVIL trade holds until it breaks down to an EVIL chop and senton. He catches Sabre’s boot turns it into a discuss lariat and bronco buster in the corner. They trade full nelsons, EVIL transitions to Darkness Falls and Sabre escapes to a guillotine. BUSHI connects with a top tope dropkick and swinging neckbreaker on TAKA but TAKA shoves the rana off, locks in the crossface and Sabre catches EVIL in an abdominal stretch. BUSHI makes the ropes, EVIL catches Sabre’s PK, lands Darkness Falls and BUSHI finishes TAKA with MX.
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & Shingo Takagi def. Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto & SHO @ 10:26 via Shingo Last of the Dragon on SHO – **3/4
Neither Naito or Ibushi can get an advantage over the other early so they tag out to Goto and SANADA. After some flashy grappling by SANADA, SHO comes to the aid of Goto but Shingo trips SHO from the outside. Shingo cuts off another flurry by SHO, leading to SHO hitting him with a spear and slamming Naito. Ibushi fires up a combination of strikes on Naito, ending with a standing moonsault. Naito catches a boot, hits a neckbreaker, SANADA comes in but Ibushi gets both with a double overhead kick. Shingo and SHO trade strikes, Goto comes to help SHO but is cut off by SANADA. Both Ibushi and Naito land a dropkick each, Pumping Bomber and Last of the Dragon from Shingo wins the match for LIJ.
Naito leaves the IC title in the middle of the ring.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan def. Michael Elgin, Shota Umino, Colt Cabana & Ryusuke Taguchi @ 12:26 via Okada Rainmaker on Umino – **1/4
Umino backs Tanahashi to the ropes and gives a chop. They trade headlocks before Umino uses his speed advantage to power Tanahashi to the mat. Taguchi fakes out Tenzan on the double fist bump, Tenzan takes a boot instead and the team take turns giving Tenzan a hip attack. Okada forearms Taguchi’s butt, dropkicks the butt and sends his team in for hip attacks on Taguchi. Headscissors and double jump splash from Cabana followed by a lariat curiosity of Makabe. Elgin lands a series of lariats on Okada followed by a falcon arrow. Okada backdrops out of powerbomb, sidestep an elbow from Elgin and drops him with a neckbreaker. Elgin fights off the top, lands a superkick, Umino forearms Okada down, knocks Tanahashi off the apron, Okada catches Umino with a dropkick and Rainmaker.
RevPro’s El Phantasmo has a video package play. Bullet Club’s logo appears at the end of the video.
New Japan Cup First Round Match
YOSHI-HASHI def. Manabu Nakanishi @ 12:27 via Butterfly Lock – **
Big ups to Nakanishi. It wasn’t pretty but you can’t deny his willingness to go all out. Y-H attempted to take him out by attacking the knees but Nakanishi refused to stay down. 52 year old, broken down Nakanishi managed a suplex off the second rope, an ugly looking plancha and a crossbody off the top all within the span of two minutes. He had Y-H beat with the Argentine Backrack but Y-H shoved the referee which allowed him time to recover. He then would grind Nakanishi down with the Butterfly Lock to pick up the win and advance. What we saw from Nakanishi was by no means good on any technical level but extremely impressive to see nonetheless.
New Japan Cup First Round Match
Taichi def. Tomoaki Honma @ 17:56 via Holy Emperor’s Crucifix Tomb – ***
Taichi entered through the crowd a la Iizuka but with his own spin, singing his way down the stairs. He reveals the satchel but still no sign of the iron fingers. Honma is ready to go, he starts by firing forearms so Taichi bails. Honma follows, sends Taichi over the rails with a lariat, sends him back in misses kokeshi and eats the buzzsaw kick. Homa rolls out and Taichi follows, shoves the referee away and chokes Honma with a chair. The dueling Taichi chants begin. Honma makes it in at nineteen but collapses went Taichi sends to the ropes. Taichi stands on Honma’s head, the final straw for Honma.
Honma stands up, catches Taichi’s kick and slaps him acros the face. He continues his flurry with a bulldog, kokeshi and suplex. Taichi lands a wristclutch superkick, enziguri, misses a superkick but connects with another enziguri. Honma backdrops out of a powerbomb, headbutts Taichi, followed by a sitout tombstone piledriver and kokeshi off the second rope. Taichi cuts off the top rope kokeshi but Honma still manages to gain the advantage with a sunset bomb off the second and a kokeshi rocket. Taichi up-kicks from his back, hits an enziguri, Honma ducks a laroat into an armtrap pinning combination. Taichi kicks out, hits a Saito suplex and advances with Holy Emperor’s Crucifix Tomb.
New Japan Cup First Round Match
Chase Owens def. Juice Robinson @ 24:37 via Package Piledriver – ***1/4
Owens dictates the pace early by bailing outside, ducking a lock up and shoving Juice aside. Juice dropkicks Owens outside but Owens avoids the plancha, Juice avoids the elbow drop, they shove each other and Owens spits on Juice. Juice takes Owens down and begins wailing on him. Owens kicks his knee out, sends Juice to the floor, Juice sidesteps a dropkick, Owens ducks the leg lariat and leg sweeps Juice into the rails. Two more throws into the rails, sends Juice back in and slaps him. Juice flips out of a backdrop, connects with a bulldog, senton, flapjack and a lariat.
Owens sends Juice over the top rope where Juice misses the apron and lands headfirst on the bottom of the rails. Owens follows him out, looking for the package piledriver. Juice sends him into the rails and looks to follow with a cannonball but eats a superkick instead. Owens suplexes Juice into the rails, attempts Juice Box in the ring but Juice fires off a leg lariat. Owens catches a punch, turns it into a front release suplex, sets up for the piledriver, Juice sends him to the apron, punches Owens to the floor, hits a plancha and cannonball off the apron.
Juice tries to bring Owens back in but eats the rails instead. Owens removes the floor pad, hooks Juice up for the piledriver but Juice backdrops out. Owens avoids a top rope crossbody, hits Juice Box, Juice sits on the sunset bomb. They trade pin attempts. Owens is caught with his feet on the ropes and is caught again holding the ropes for leverage. Juice hooks him for Pulp Friction but can’t bring Owens down. Owens lands Jewel Heist and follows with the Package Piledriver to score the first upset of the tournament.
New Japan Cup First Round Match
Tomohiro Ishii def. Yuji Nagata @ 21:34 via Brainbuster – ***3/4
The match starts of with Ishii backing Nagata into the ropes. Nagata slaps Ishii and grins. They ducks each other’s strikes, Nagata takes Ishii down with an armbar and lands a PK into Ishii’s back. Ishii fires up with headbutts and chops, backing Nagata into the corner. Nagata lands a kneelift, Ishii block a suplex, hits the ropes and is thrown over Nagata’s head with a belly-to-belly. Strikes are exchanged back and forth, Ishii powerslams Nagata and they begin to trade chops for kicks. Ishii absorbs all the kicks and crumples Nagata with a forearm.
Nagata is quick to regroup and lands a twisting brainbuster, takes Ishii to the top for an exploder but Ishii blocks, looks for a sunset flip into a powerbomb, Nagata blocks but is still taken down with a powerbomb. A corner lariat from Ishii is followed with a suplex off the second. Nagata catches a lariat into an armbar while blood is spewing from his mouth. PKs to the front and back of Ishii, exploder off the second, Ishii ducks an enziguri but takes another exploder. He pops up and the two begin trading slaps across the face.
Nagata knees out of a brainbuster, Ishii lands a slap, Nagata ducks an enziguri and hits a backdrop suplex, German suplex and PK. He removes his knee pad, Ishii drops Nagata with a lariat but Nagata is out at one. More kicks from Nagata, Ishii connects with an enziguri, sliding lariat and finishes Nagata with a brainbuster. Ishii pours water on Nagata after the match as a way to aid his pain and that’s how we end the show.
This was a long show with a lot of nothing on the undercard but the tournament matches all had their moments. Nakanishi is by no means good but he’s fun to rally behind because he tries hard. We saw glimpses of the old fiery side of Honma. His comebacks were very good and he helped emphasize the sleaziness of Taichi. Owens got the upset win over Juice in what was a very long match but they showed a sneaky side of Owens. In matches half this length during the G1, I have no doubts Owens will flourish. The main event hit big time. There were of course no doubts but fiery Nagata is a blast and Ishii never allows himself to be overshadowed.
Second Round Matches
Taichi vs Tomohiro Ishii
YOSHI-HASHI vs Chase Owens
Ishii vs Nagata
Juice vs Owens