New Japan Cup Day 3 Headline And Marquee Matches

Can Dangerous Tekkers Upstage The Tag Team Champions?

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Kota Ibushi (Left) and Zack Sabre Jr. (Right) Moments Before Their First Round New Japan Cup Match On June 22, 2020 via New Japan World

The headline and marquee matches of Day 3 of the New Japan Cup saw Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr/Taichi) and the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi square off in singles matches between the teams.

The first match saw Ibushi and ZSJ have their seventh singles match. Previously, Ibushi was 4-2 against ZSJ, including wins in the previous three matches against one of his more prestigious rivals, who won the New Japan Cup in 2018 in spectacular fashion. Per usual with any ZSJ match, he was able to impose his will at times due to his outstanding catch wrestling ability, keeping Ibushi off balance.

However, as has been the case in their last several encounters, Ibushi was able to take advantage of ZSJ with his Kick Boxing ability. Eventually, it would come down to a slick counter that would lead to Ibushi hitting ZSJ with the Kamigoye and coming away with the victory. The match lasted fifteen minutes and fifteen seconds, the shortest of their seven singles matches. Ibushi’s victory moves him to 5-2 over ZSJ throughout their career.

The marquee of the evening saw the second singles match between Taichi and former 8x IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi. On March 10, 2018, Tanahashi defeated Taichi in twenty-three minutes and fifty-three seconds during the first round of the New Japan Cup.

Staying true to himself, Taichi would use underhanded tactics to gain an advantage over Tanahashi, including outside interference from fellow Suzuki-Gun member, Douki. The match was fairly even throughout, seeing Taichi exerting his will for stretches after bending the rules. Tanahashi was able to fight back, as he has always been able to throughout his legendary career.

To the surprise of many, Taichi was able to defeat Tanahashi with the Black Mephisto at the twenty-one minute and fifty-one-second mark, in what is the biggest win of his career. The results mean Ibushi and Taichi will face one another on July 1st in the second round of tournament action. 

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