New Japan Cup Day 8, Evil And Sanada Go To War
Evil Continuing His Dark Ways
Moments after Hirai Kawato made his return to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) as Master Wato following his approximate 30-month excursion to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) the semi-finals of the 2020 New Japan Cup got underway as the former 2-time World Tag League Champions (2017, 2018) and 2-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship winning team known as Cold Darkness (Evil/Sanada) faced off against one another.
Going into the match the partners had a 1-1 singles match record against one another. Sanada defeated Evil during G1 Climax 27 in 2017 while Evil won a G1 Climax 29 match in 2019.
After his amazing New Japan Cup run last year, Sanada had the opportunity to return to the finals for a second straight year, however; his regular tag team partner was searching for his singles glory. Unlike previous rounds, Sanada was able to dictate the pace and stayed on the offensive throughout.
Evil was only able to counter Sanada when deciding to use underhanded tactics, something that was on display in his match against Yoshi-Hashi in the quarter-final round and Hirooki Goto in the second round. Despite the unsavory flavor of his methods, Evil’s turn towards darkness brought him immediate results.
On multiple occasions, it seemed as if Sanada was going to put his partner away, but Evil resorted to multiple chairs and low blows to help him defeat his partner at the twenty-minute and thirteen-second mark to qualify for his first-ever New Japan Cup finals.
Interestingly, Evil did not help Sanada to his feet nor check on him after the match — instead storming to the back to presumably give his post-match comments.
Despite losing, Sanada has put his name back in title contention in the singles division. While he won’t be next in line for an IWGP Intercontinental or IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, his name is definitely in the discussion.