While the undercard was great, it’s time to get to the big matches of the night. We have the final match in the 2021 New Japan Cup as Shingo Takagi & Will Ospreay clash, as well as another taste of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi as a trio. Let’s get right into the action!
David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Toa Henare vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
It would be hard to argue that David Finlay had the greatest match of his life last night with Will Ospreay. Tonight, he tags with Juice Robinson and Toa Henare to take on Los Ingobernables de Japon. Henare has been doubting his position in NJPW after a failed tournament run, and tonight could come with a choice.
Finlay would start alongside Naito, but Naito wanted Robinson instead, a steady rival of his. BUSHI attacked from behind as Naito lured Robinson in, only to take a hip toss and dropkick. Finlay hit a double axe handle, but despite his one good leg, he’d fight hard with Naito. Naito hit a dropkick to the ankle, and looked like the cat who caught the canary as he applied a submission.
SANADA tagged in, and applied the Paradise Lock on Finlay, and hit the dropkick. He’d drag him by the left leg, and tag in BUSHI to hit the Wishbone Snap. BUSHI hit a dropkick and did the BUSHIrooni, but Finlay fought back with a spinning backdrop. Robinson & Naito got tags, and Robinson would take out all of L.I.J one at a time. Naito fought back with a DDT, before tagging SANADA who was almost caught with a powerbomb before Robinson hit a spinebuster.
Henare got the tag and hit the diving shoulder tackle. A running samoan drop got a two count, before almost getting a stalling Vertical Suplex. SANADA would look to apply Skull End, before this one broke down with Finlay & Robinson making the save. Henare hit a double spear, but was rolled up soon after with the European Clutch from SANADA for the win.
Considering Finlay could barely stand, this match was pretty fine. The story of Henare trying to prove himself and failing keeps going after this match. Robinson & Finlay abandoned him in the ring after the match, and he’d show more and more frustration. Match Rating: 2.75/5 (** 3/4)
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Jay White)
Last night, the dream team of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi were in the ring when the Earthquake hit Japan and halted the show. Tonight, they get another chance to show how powerful they are united, provided that Okada & Ibushi can get along as they face the BULLET CLUB.
White would start with Tanahashi, and was able to beat Tanhashi down in the corner with some strikes. Tanahashi came back out with a springboard crossbody, before tagging in Okada. They’d hit a double back elbow together, but Okada got distracted by Gedo allowing White to hit from behind. Gedo attacked Okada on the outside before sending him back into the ring, where Fale tagged in and choked him. Fale took time to punch Ibushi, before tagging in Owens. Owens applied a cravat to wear down Okada before tagging Fale. Okada went for a bodyslam on Fale, and got it on the third attempt.
White prevented Okada from making a tag, but wasn’t able to keep Tanahashi out for long. Tanahashi threw some heavy blows, before setting up the somersault senton off the middle rope. They’d trade rear waste locks, before White grabbed some hair and set up a DDT. Blade Buster followed and got a two count.
Tanahashi fought back with Twist & Shout, but White tagged in Owens, who got the taste slapped out of his mouth before Ibushi tagged in. Ibushi hit the running roundhouse kick, a standing moonsault, and some big forearm strikes.
Owens came back with a lariat and running knee strike before this one broke down. Tanahashi dropped Owens with a sling blade, before Ibushi hit the V-Trigger and Kamigoye for the win.
Another solid showing from this dream team of the top guys in NJPW, but again showing the issues between Okada & Ibushi. Solid action from start to finish, namely with Owens & Tanahashi who could make a great singles match. White would lay down a challenge to Tanahashi after the match, having a win over Tanahashi who is NEVER Openweight Champion. Match Rating: 3.25/5 (*** 1/4)
New Japan Cup 2021 Final Match: Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay
After the field of 30 has been run through, it all comes down to this. Twice now, Shingo Takagi & Will Ospreay have had instant classics, and we get a third now. Shingo beat Okada, Goto, KENTA and EVIL to get here. Ospreay beat Tenzan, ZSJ, SANADA and Finlay. It’s The Dragon vs. The Commonwealth Kingpin, they’re 1-1 historically, and this might be their biggest one yet as only one man will move forward to face Kota Ibushi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
They’d lock up hard to start this match, with Ospreay throwing the first strike, but Shingo getting the first strike down with a shoulder tackle. Ospreay popped right up, avoided an early Made in Japan attempt and a wheelbarrow German Suplex before looking for OcCutter, which Shingo blocked.
Shingo would punch Ospreay in the recently broken nose, before taking this one to the outside. Ospreay was thrown into the barricade, and had his injured shoulder attacked as well. Back in the ring, Shingo went after the nose again, before hitting a huge shoulder tackle. Ospreay countered a brainbuster attempt into a cutter, Shingo countered but Ospreay nailed the handspring kick.
This one again spilled to the outside, and Ospreay dropped Shingo back first onto the guardrail, targeting his noticeable injury. Back in the ring, Ospreay stomped right onto that back, before hitting a low dropkick. A simple pendulum backbreaker hit Shingo, but only got a one count.
Shingo would take the springboard forearm smash, but manage to kick out at two. Ospreay threw some Kawada style kicks, before Shingo faked out Ospreay with a punch tease before hitting a DDT. Shingo managed the pop up Death Valley Driver, before sending Ospreay over the top rope.
Bea Priestley shielded Ospreay, before Ospreay snuck around Shingo and shoved him into the chairs where fellow United Empire members sat. Ospreay set up a table, and struggled to try and drive Shingo through it. Priestley pulled the table away when Shingo almost set up a driver through it.
Back in the ring, Shingo caught Ospreay off a handspring kick attempt, and promptly dropped him face first onto the turnbuckle. Ospreay fired back with a superkick, before running into a pop up powerbomb. Shingo would move into a crossface, applying pressure on the nose.
Ospreay got the ropes, but Shingo moved right into the Noshigami facebuster. Shingo would take an enziguri before Ospreay used a Spanish Fly setup for a powerbomb. Ospreay didn’t expect Shingo to spin through and land on his feet, and nor did Shingo expect a big lariat from Ospreay.
A Bloody Sunday would follow, but Shingo kicked out at two. Ospreay went for a running boot into the corner, and Shingo caught him to take him up top for Stay Dream. This was fought off as Ospreay hit a springboard dropkick, and went for a Spanish Fly off the top rope for a two count.
Shingo caught the OsCutter into a Noshigami attempt, before opting for a big lariat instead. They’d trade hard forearms in the middle of the ring, before Ospreay hit a hook kick. Shingo blasted off the ropes with a Pumping Bomber, but Ospreay somehow landed on his feet with enough left to nail an OsCutter for a two count.
Ospreay sent Shingo to the outside, and came off the turnbuckle for an OsCutter on the floor. The table from earlier would be set back up, and Shingo was placed onto it. Ospreay came off the top rope and hit a 450 Splash.
Ospreay would hope to win by count out after this, but Shingo showed some life at 15, came face to face with Kota Ibushi on commentary and broke the count at 19. Shingo was met with a dropkick and a shooting star press, but kicked out at two. Ospreay set up Hidden Blade, but Shingo collapsed in the middle of the ring.
Shingo would have to be lifted into Stormbreaker, but Ospreay went for some Kawada kicks and woke him back up. Another level of Shingo was met, and Ospreay hopelessly hit kicks as he got cornered. Shingo exploded with some lariats, and Ospreay hit London Falling. Chelsea Grin was set up, but Shingo countered into Made In Japan.
Shingo hit Pumping Bomber and looked for Last Of The Dragon, but Ospreay moved into a crucifix pin. Ospreay would then be caught in the pop up Death Valley Driver, before being put back on his feet and hit with a reverserana. Pumping Bomber was countered into a spanish fly, before Ospreay hit a rolling elbow to the back of the head. Hidden Blade was hit, and set up Stormbreaker. It wasn’t easy, but Will Ospreay won the 2021 New Japan Cup.
No one expected any less than a five star match there given their history, and that’s what we got again. These two had an absolute war, easily the best final match in New Japan Cup history. It went thirty minutes, but was so dense with action that it felt more like fifteen. Both men used their full arsenals, and it could have gone either way. Truly a match for the ages. Match Rating: 5/5 (*****)
Can Will Ospreay defeat Kota Ibushi? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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