We’re nearing the end of this year’s New Japan Cup, with tonight containing the semi-final matches. First we have the night’s undercard action, which sees the usual suspects. Young Lions, United Empire, Bullet Club, CHAOS and more.
This is the debut show in Xebio Arena Sendai, which looks straight up like a stadium you’d see WWE or AEW run in the United States. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and hopefully NJPW runs it frequently. But enough about the building, let’s get right into the action.
Juice Robinson & Yuya Uemura vs. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
Kicking off action is Juice Robinson teaming with Yuya Uemura to take on Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb, the steady tag team unit of The United Empire. A win here for the United Empire just helps to give more momentum to Will Ospreay later tonight. However, Robinson is looking to put some steam behind his FinJuice partner as well.
Uemura stood tall in the ring as the United Empire dashed in to start. O-Khan took him outside, while Robinson took Cobb out in the ring with a leg lariat. Uemura got a tag, and Robinson scoop slammed him onto Cobb before hitting a jumping senton of his own.
Cobb would block a body slam and tag in O-Khan, who would throw Uemura around like a small child before applying a head and arm choke. Uemura got the boot on the ropes, before Cobb tagged in and dumped him onto the mat. O-Khan tagged in and hit a few Mongolion Chops before Uemura hit a big dropkick.,
Robinson got the tag and threw some jabs at both members of UE, and was able to win out. A Full Nelson slam dropped O-Khan, before he’d fire back with a judo toss. Both men tagged out, and Uemura would try his best to stand with Cobb and nailed a bodyslam. Cobb sent Uemura flying when he tried the Boston Crab, before sending Robinson flying as well with a suplex.
Uemura hit a dropkick and looked for the double arm suplex before being turned inside out with a lariat. Cobb sent Uemura off the ropes and gave him a Tour Of The Islands, ending this match.
United Empire have been the best for undercard matches lately, and this was no exception. Uemura & Robinson showed excellent babyface fire, before Uemura fell like most to the Tour of The Islands. Match Rating: 2.75/5 (** 3/4)
CHAOS (SHO, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Jado)
Here we see some B-Level teams from CHAOS & BULLET CLUB go at it. Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Fale, and Owens all failed to make it to the semi-finals. Fale & Owens not even getting past the first round is a sore spot, and alongside Jado they’ll let some frustration out tonight.
Fale would start and call out Yano to start, but instead he would get SHO. SHO was completely outmatched in size, and had to chop Fale down with the dropkicks before looking for a submission attempt. Fale broke free and sent SHO out to the floor. Jado would throw him into the apron, showing that as a legal wrestler who still just serves the same role.
Back in the ring, Fale would stomp onto the back of SHO, on commentary Gino noted that Fale apparently dropped 265 kg ahead of this tournament, which seems impossible. Jado would tag in and hit a shoulder tackle before mouthing off to YOSHI-HASHI, before tagging into Owens.
Owens hit a big lariat, before asking SHO to bring it, and he did as he hit a spear and tagged in YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI-HASHI hit headhunter before setting him over the top rope and nailing a dropkick.
Owens was taken with a Rewind Kick, before YOSHI-HASHI tagged Yano. Jado & Fale got Yano down, and Jado grabbed the kendo stick. YOSHI-HASHI made the save, the referee stopped Yano from using the kendo stick. Yano would hit two quick low blows behind the referees back, before rolling up Jado to start.
Typical BULLET CLUB vs. CHAOS undercard action, with a lot of comedy between Fale, Yano & Jado. Nothing memorable here, but it was fun and didn’t overstay its welcome. Match Rating: 2/5 (**)
Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
Whenever SANADA & Zack Sabre Jr. end up on opposite sides of a match, you know to at least expect some great wrestling. Adding Taichi, DOUKI, BUSHI & Naito to the mix cements that this should be one to remember.
Taichi and Naito would start this one up, as Taichi went for some ‘Greco Roman Throat Holds’ on everyone on the other side of the ring. Naito came back with some chokes of his own, giving as good as he got. BUSHI tagged in, and would look for a neckbreaker before being shoved into a knee strike from DOUKI and get another Greco Roman Throat Hold from Taichi.
Taichi would get a tag from Zack Sabre, who effortlessly caught BUSHI’s kick into an ankle lock, before just dragging him to the corner to bring DOUKI in. DOUKI slammed BUSHI down and hit a double stomp. DDT gave him an opening, SANADA tagged in alongside ZSJ.
They’d quickly get to grappling, with SANADA keeping on getting the Full Nelson, before ZSJ finally broke free. ZSJ went for a PK after dodging a low dropkick, but SANADA countered into a dragon screw, and followed up with a dive as ZSJ went outside. Back in the ring, SANADA set up a TKO, but SANADA countered into an Octopus Stretch. They’d trade pinfalls on the mat, but SANADA almost got it.
SANADA hit a back elbow and standing moonsault, before landing in a triangle choke. Naito tried to make the save, but Taichi stopped him and applied the Stretch Plum. DOUKI tagged in, and SANADA quickly was hit with Daybreak, before setting up Suplex De La Luna. SANADA countered, L.I.J hit a triple dropkick, and Skull End was countered into a roll up. Skull End was finally locked in, and DOUKI had to tap.
SANADA & ZSJ might have only had a solid two minutes of action in this match, but it stole the show. DOUKI & SANADA also had a great showing, and it’s becoming clear that perhaps SANADA is just really damn good. Match Rating: 3.25/5 (*** 1/4)
Should NJPW just give us another SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr. clinic at Sakura Genesis? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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