When the updated brackets were announced for the 2020 New Japan Cup, this was the day everyone was looking forward too. You have former winners of the tournament in Zack Sabre Jr. & Kota Ibushi, the ace of the company in Hiroshi Tanahshi, a fast rising star in Shingo Takagi, and a man who had the rivalary of 2019 with Okada in SANADA.
Any of these men could go on to win the entire tournament, which makes it an unpredictable night. Add in the crafty Ryusuke Taguchi & Taichi, and the sheer star potential of SHO? This was going to be a night to remember. Did it live up to the hype?
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. SANADA
This was always going to be a very technically sound match, Taguchi & SANADA met that expectation. Face paced action with some comedy spots like Taguchi thinking he’s mastered the Paradise Lock only to be trapped in it himself made for a very enjoyable match. The final stretch was dramatic one, with Taguchi looking like he was going to pull off the upset with his ankle lock, only to fall to SANADA. SANADA won using an O’Conner Bridge after 15 minutes and 47 seconds of action.
Shingo Takagi vs. SHO
Anytime Shingo gets the singles spotlight, he proves he’s one of the best on the roster; with the same being able to be said of SHO. Following up an epic encounter from the 2019 Best Of Super Juniors tournament, they wasted no time getting into what would be another classic. SHO proved that he can hang with the now Heavyweight Shingo, and got the upset win. An incredible match from start to finish, we will see this one revisited soon as SHO didn’t just win the first round match, he pinned the NEVER Openweight Champion. SHO won with the Shock Arrow after 17 minutes and 6 seconds of action.
4.5/5 (**** 1/2)
Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Whenever Ibushi & Sabre are put in the same ring, you get magic, it’s that simple. This was a slower paced match to start due to ZSJ and his usual feeling out process, but once it got moving his lightning quick submission ability and Ibushis lethal strikes ensured great action. In the end, Ibushi would win, but if he doesn’t reach Naito at Dominion, we can expect them to meet again there in tag team action with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles on the line.
Kota Ibushi won with the Kamigoye after 15 minutes and 15 seconds of action.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi
Tanahashi these days is only as good as his opponent, and Taichi is not the best opponent for him when you take this into account. This one suffered from a very slow first half, and while things improved in the later moments, it never truly got going. It also felt very unlikely Tanahashi would face his tag team partner, making it obvious that Taichi would get the win, thus setting up the tag team title match for Dominion, provided neither Ibushi or him make it all the way to the finals. It didn’t help that this was the longest match of the night, while having the slowest action.
Taichi won with Black Mephisto after 21 minutes and 51 seconds of action.
2.5/5 (** 1/2)
Night Three Of The New Japan Cup Comes In At An Average Of 3.5
It was a great night of action for sure, easily the best night thus far. SHO vs. Takagi is a must see, and Ibushi vs. ZSJ is sure to thrill those who enjoyed their previous bouts. We will see SANADA vs. SHO & Kota Ibushi vs. Taichi in the next round, which should both be very good matches as well.
What was your favorite match of the third night of action in the 2020 New Japan? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
SUBSCRIBE NOW: Get TheOvertimer’s Hottest Stories, Breaking News and Special Features in your email, CLICK HERE!