It’s time for the last two matches of the second round in this year’s New Japan Cup. We have a match which once happened in the Tokyo Dome with Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, and a clash of mid-card hopefuls in YOSHI-HASHI vs. David Finlay. Let’s waste no time and get right into these two matches!
New Japan Cup Match: YOSHI-HASHI vs. David Finlay
There are only two real underdogs left in this year’s New Japan Cup, and tonight they meet in second round action. YOSHI-HASHI finally hit his stride after suffering in the 2020 New Japan Cup, while David Finlay has often just been seen as a tag team specialist. Tonight they both have a chance to reach the quarter finals, and anything is possible past this point.
YOSHI-HASHI would be taken down quickly by Finlay, who showed back in the Pure Tournament for ROH that he’s a fantastic wrestler. He’d fail to take total control on the mat, with YOSHI-HASHI slipping into a headscissors. Back to a vertical base, YOSHI-HASHI would hip toss Finlay over the top rope, but Finlay would dodge any potential dives.
He’d slip back into the ring and nail a dropkick, before hitting a quick snap suplex. YOSHI-HASHI put him to the apron, hit a stun gun before slipping under the bottom rope to trip him face first onto the apron. Finlay would be sent face first into the ring post, before YOSHI-HASHI took him back into the ring for some strikes. YOSHI-HASHI threw some chops, but Finlay came back with some uppercuts.
Finlay went for a suplex, but YOSHI-HASHI slipped behind him and went for one of his own, before Finlay landed on his feet and finally landed a backdrop. He followed up with a backbreaker, before hitting the running uppercut. YOSHI-HASHI slipped outside and was hit with a plancha over the top rope.
A diving uppercut off the second rope got Finlay a two count. Another backbreaker kept the pressure on YOSHI-HASHI, before he’d be yanked off the top rope. A running lariat from YOSHI-HASHI was followed by a powerbomb attempt, but Finlay countered.
The second attempt would land, but only managed a two count. YOSHI-HASHI would apply the Butterfly Lock, and do his best to keep him in the center of the ring. Finlay got too close to the ropes, and YOSHI-HASHI moved to a sleeper hold, only for Finlay to counter into a Blue Thunder Bomb.
A quick roll up got a two count, before YOSHI-HASHI countered a stunner with a backstabber, before hitting a running meteora for a two count. Finlay slipped out of Karma, only to take some hard chops but manage to hit a stunner. All he had left was Trash Panda, and YOSHI-HASHI still kicked out at two. YOSHI-HASHI came back with a hard lariat, and nailed a snap dragon suplex before a second lariat for a near fall.
He’d finally set up Karma, but Finlay broke free. After a superkick, a Fisherman Brainbuster landed, but Finlay counterered Karma into a stunner and ran up the middle rope and came back down with another stunner for the win.
This match was always going to have a fundamental issue. It was two underdogs, without someone to fight up against. This gave a weird dynamic, where both men felt ever so slightly out of place. Despite this, they gave some great performances here, especially Finlay who proved himself well as he moved forward to the quarter finals. Match Rating: 3.5/5 (*** 1/2)
David Finlay will now face the winner of Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi on March 18th.
New Japan Cup Match: Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Ever since Jay White returned to NJPW as The Switchblade, he’s been a rival of Hiroshi Tanahashi. They’ve met five times, and White has won three encounters, including one over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in 2019. Tonight is simply about advancing in the New Japan Cup, but if Tanahashi can even up their record, that’s all the better for him.
White asked Tanahashi to lay down for him to save him the stress of having to potentially face his Golden Ace tag team partner if he wins. Tanahashi laid down, and went for a roll up for a near fall. He’d apply a side headlock and take White into the corner, only to be hit with some knee strikes to the stomach. Tanahashi fired back with a crossbody, before flexing on Gedo & White.
White snapped and decided to beat down Yota Tsuji at ringside, before throwing Tanahashi into the barricade. He was channeling his inner Suzuki and beating up Young Lions left and right, before slamming Tanahashi spine first into the barricade. Back in the ring, White would hit a backbreaker for a near fall before applying a single leg boston crab, but Tanahashi crawled to the ropes.
White would apply a cravat, before moving into a snapmare and a rear chin lock. Tanahashi would fight out, before White applied an abdominal stretch, and played air guitar on Tanahashi before pulling at his stomach and yelling at him to “Get in f***king shape”.
This fired Tanahashi up, who proceeded to hit a hip toss and running forearm to drop White. He’d hit the scoop slam and look for the diving flip senton. White crawled away, so Tanahashi hit a low dragon screw and pulled him back into place to hit the senton.
Tanahashi looked to hit a slingblade, but White countered. They’d make each other dizzy with standing switches, before White grabbed a handful of hair to stop Tanahashi, spun him around and hit a DDT. A running back elbow into the corner would be followed by Bladebuster.
White would look for the uranage, but Tanahashi refused to make it easy. Instead, White took him down and tried stomping him out. Tanahashi was quickly back to his feet, and ready to trade forearm blows in the middle of the ring with White. White would start to win out but Tanahashi picked the pace up, only to walk into a flatliner and have White quickly move around into a German Suplex.
Tanahashi would once again fight off the Uranage, so White just grabbed a handful of hair and slammed him down to the mat before looking for a sleeper suplex. White would send Tanahashi over the top rope, but Tanahashi was able to get back in, only to be planted with the Uranage.
Gedo yelled for his favorite move, the Kiwi Crusher, but Tanahashi countered out into Twist & Shout. White would slip to the apron and hit a dragon screw through the ropes, but took too long getting in and got hit with one himself.
He’d fight off another, only for Tanahashi to dropkick the other knee and hit another low Dragon Screw. Texas Cloverleaf would be applied, and White barely made the ropes. Tanahashi hit a slingblade and looked for Aces High, but White took him off the top rope and looked for Blade Runner.
White would be hit with a cross armed German Suplex instead, before countering a Blade Runner attempt into a roll up. Another attempt was met with a dragon screw, but a third landed flush.
This wasn’t their best match yet, but another solid addition to their backlog of matches all the same. White’s body shaming of Tanahashi was good for a laugh and some heel heat, and they really brought it in the final stretch of counters. Match Rating: 4/5 (****)
This win keeps the New Jay-pan Cup running, and he’ll meet David Finlay next. He also just pinned the NEVER Openweight Champion, giving him a potential title shot if the tournament doesn’t work out. Will Jay White win the New Japan Cup?Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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