It’s time for Night Three of the 2021 New Japan Cup! Tonight’s undercard sees Jay White look to further scout and enrage Toa Henare, two Young Lions on the verge of graduation clash, and The United Empire take on two very tough veterans.
Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura
Action starts tonight with two young lions, but who knows how much longer we can call Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura that. Tsuji is in New Japan Cup action on the 9th against Yuji Nagata, while Uemura stays out due to his Junior Heavyweight Status. Uemura could prove that’s a non-issue if he can beat Tsuji tonight.
After a stalemate in their opening exchange, Uemura finally applied a hammerlock. Tsuji would be able to out wrestle Uemura and briefly apply a Full Nelson, but Uemura took him down to the mat and reapplied the Hammerlock. Uemura lost the hold, Tsuji applied a headscissor, and Uemura slipped out.
They are equally matched in technical ability, so Tsuji would run Uemura down with a shoulder tackle and hit an armdrag. Uemura applied an armbar, but Tsuji powered out and hit a scoop slam. A big hip toss and a jumping body press followed, and got a near fall. The Boston Crab was applied, but Uemura got the ropes.
Tsuji went for a suplex, and Uemura countered down into a small package for a two count. They’d trade blows in the middle of the ring, Uemura hitting a running forearm and scoop slam to drop Tsuji. Uemura was on a roll, but a flash pinfall from Tsuji was able to put Uemura down for the three count.
These young lions are ready for graduation, and could be vital for revitalizing the stale undercards of the company. They have the skills, fan support, and are branching out into their own unique movesets and styles anyways. Tsuji, Uemura & Kidd are all ready, and Tsuji definitely will prove that against Nagata. This match was crisp action from start to finish, but suffered from an early finish as things got to second gear. Match Rating: 2.5/5 (** 1/2)
Tomoaki Honma & Satoshi Kojima vs. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
So far, this New Japan Cup has belonged to The United Empire. Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb have both advanced to the second round, while tonight’s opponents Tomoaki Honma & Satoshi Kojima failed to move forward. Hiroyoshi Tenzan faces The United Empire’s leader, Will Ospreay in the main event, meaning Kojima & Honma can potentially harm his momentum and help their friend in this one.
Kojima would get things started with O-Khan, and end up fighting his way out of a side headlock. He’d get free but his shoulder tackles failed to make O-Khan budge, until a hip toss softened him up first. Honma got the tag, and alongside Kojima dropped O-Khan to set up and miss a Kokeshi.
O-Khan would grind down and attack the neck of Honma, sitting on it in the corner as he mocked Kojima from across the ring. Honma would be isolated in the United Empire’s corner, and just shoved down by O-Khan. He’d fight back, but only enough to hit a DDT and get a chance to tag in Kojima. Kojima would get O-Khan with the Machine Gun chops, set up the elbow drop and nail it for a near fall. A rolling elbow would be countered into the head & arm choke from O-Khan, but Kojima fought free.
Kojima looked for the Koji-Cutter, but the Iron Claw stopped him. Cobb tagged in, dropped Kojima with a headbutt and manhandled him before taking a Koji-Cutter. Honma got the tag, hit a bulldog and went for Kokeshi and managed to hit it! O-Khan stopped Honma after he hit a running headbutt, and Cobb was taken down with a double suplex. The top rope Kokeshi was blocked, Cobb missed one of his own, but hit the SpinCycle and then Tour of The Islands for the finish.
We only really get one good Honma performance a year since his neck injury, and he used that up against Suzuki yesterday. He did fine here, but Kojima and O-Khan put most of the work in, thankfully. Cobb was just here for another impressive finish. Match Rating: 2.75/5 (** 3/4)
Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson, Toa Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, KENTA, Jay White, EVIL)
While KENTA was able to take Juice Robinson out of the tournament last night, they met again in tag team action tonight. Dick Togo enters the ring for a rare match, as Jay White & Toa Henare continue to feel each other out ahead of their match on March 10th. Tanahashi & EVIL are still yet to enter tournament action, but are staying limber thanks to these opening matches.
White would flex on Henare to start, hype up starting the match with him… and then tag in KENTA. Robinson got the tag, and KENTA fled from him as well until he could get a cheap shot on him. He’d unload some hard strikes, before Robinson hit the Russian Leg Sweep and a senton.
Taguchi directed traffic as his team battered KENTA with lariats in the corner, before Henare was thrown into his ass, and he was swarmed by Bullet Club. He offered them a Too Sweet, and got stomped. Togo tagged in and hit a big fist drop, before EVIL applied the Cobra Twist with some extra leverage. Taguchi missed two flying hip attacks on White before finally hitting one and tagging Henare.
Henare went to work on White with some fast and hard strikes, taking away his tag options to finally ensure he gets some damage in. He’d nail a delayed Vertical Suplex, but be dropped by White who hit Bladebuster for a two count. Henare got thesamoan drop, but EVIL saved White before he could hit the Fisherman Buster.
White hit a DDT and tagged Dick Togo, but Henare hit a spear. Tanahashi tagged in and took the fight to Dick Togo, Taguchi helped clear the ring, Tanahashi hit the Slingblade and High Fly Flow for the win!
This one had it’s very light hearted and comedic moments with a focus on beating up Taguchi. Henare is ready to tear White apart, and their interactions were great once again. Tanahashi played the saving hero role to perfection, and hit a perfect High Fly Flow to win. Just a fun opening tag match, showing that EVIL, Tanahashi, White & Henare are all potential winners. Match Rating: 3/5 (***)
After the bell, Henare got a few extra shots in on White. Who will win Jay White vs. Henare when they meet on March 10th? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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