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New Japan Cup semifinals results: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii

The Big Takeaway --

Bad Luck Fale and Katsuyori Shibata advanced to the New Japan Cup finals, taking place on March 20th. 

Prelim Results --

Juice Robinson, Tomoyuki Oka & David Finlay defeated Hirai Kawato, Yuji Nagata & Katsuya Kitamura when Robinson pinned Kitamura with the Pulp Friction.

Gedo & Jado defeated Desperado & Taka Michinoku when Jado pinned Michinoku with a DDT.

Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Tiger Mask, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima when Suzuki pinned Tiger Mask with the Gotch piledriver.

Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin & KUSHIDA defeated BUSHI, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito when Taguchi pinned BUSHI with the la magistral cradle.

Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto defeated Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Kenny Omega when Okada pinned Takahashi after the Rainmaker.

New Japan Cup Semifinals Results --

Bad Luck Fale defeated EVIL

There was an interesting spot early as EVIL tried to do his usual chair into the post spot, but Fale countered it and attacked him on the outside and into the crowd, the highlight being Fale throwing a barricade on a prone EVIL. 

Fale hit a big splash in the corner, then another big splash on the floor, but EVIL kicked out. He then motioned for the Grenade, but when lifting him EVIL escaped and ran to the referee. He fired back with some shots and hit three lariats but the referee was pulled out of the ring by Tama Tonga. BUSHI laid Tonga out with the MX as they brawled to the back.

Fale went for the Bad Luck Fall but EVIL escaped and gave him a headbutt. He tried for the STO, and even was misted, but Fale escaped. EVIL walked into a big time lariat, ate the Grenade, and was thrown to the ground with the Bad Luck Fall for the win.

This was a better match than you would think. It helped that the crowd was hot for it.

Katsuyori Shibata defeated Tomohiro Ishii

They felt each other out for a while before they went into some good back and forth, with Shibata controlling. They traded hard elbows for a long time before Ishii got the better of it. Ishii laid it in with lariats but Shibata stood tall. 

Ishii continued to pelt him with forearm shots but Shibata gave him one of his own. Ishii laid out Shibata but he immediately got up and smacked him with a big boot. Ishii started to mount a comeback, but Shibata retaliated with an STO and applied an armlock.

Shibata tried to go for a sleeper after this, but Ishii threw him over his shoulder. Shibata retaliated with another boot to the face.

There was more back and forth. Ishii laid out Shibata with the lariat but he immediately popped back up. Ishii responded with another, then followed that with a sliding D. Ishii continued headbutting him. Shibata went to the floor and begged Ishii to do something. They slapped each other silly until Shibata went for the sleeper. Ishii hit a side suplex but Shibata immediately popped up and laid him out. 

Shibata went for the penalty kick but Ishii grabbed his arm and put on an armlock, only for Shibata to escape. Ishii destroyed Shibata’s shoulder until Shibata roared back with an enzuigiri.

Shibata finally had the sleeper locked in. Ishii tried to grab the rope, but Shibata hit a half dragon suplex. 

They traded one counts until Shibata got the sleeper in once again. This time, Ishii started to pass out as he fell to the floor. Shibata hit the penalty kick, but then transitioned into another sleeper to make sure he’s out to win the match.

This was an incredible match. It was on par with Ishii vs. Omega from March 12th. The intensity was great and the last few minutes were really awesome.

Ishii sold the sleeper, struggling to get up after the match and still wanting to lay it into Shibata. The young lions took him out of the ring  Shibata cut a short promo to end the show.

Final Thoughts --

This was a one match show, with that one match being really awesome. The prelims are what they are -- if you’ve seen one New Japan multi-man tag, you know what to expect; good action, good build towards future matches, but absolutely nothing you need to see.

The two tournament matches delivered. EVIL vs. Fale was a good brawl, with EVIL looking like a top act in hanging in there with Fale until the very end. The main event was incredible, with Ishii continuing to be one of the most consistently top-notch workers in the industry today, and Shibata more than held his own in the match as well. 

The final match in this tournament sounds like a tough sell, but Fale does well in big main event matches and Shibata should be an interesting opponent for him. Aside from the 235 multi-man tags, it should be an interesting night tomorrow.