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New Japan Cup night three results: Tanahashi vs. Taichi, Ibushi vs. ZSJ

Recommended matches --

  • SANADA vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
  • Shingo Takagi vs. SHO
  • Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi

Report --

Korakuen Hall was the venue today. 

Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI defeated Yuji Nagata, Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura & Gabriel Kidd (10:34)

This was a fun opener. 

Suzuki-gun attacked before the opening bell. Kidd and DOUKI ended up starting the match as the legal men. Kidd and Uemura cut DOUKI off. 

Suzuki-gun then stormed the ring as a unit and cleared it. A wild brawl broke out around the ring. Suzuki choked Nagata with a camera cable. Suzuki-gun gained the upper hand in the brawl and began working Uemura over in the ring. 

The match built to a Suzuki and Nagata showdown. Suzuki blocked an exploder attempt. Nagata blocked a penalty kick. Suzuki worked for a choke but Nagata fought it off. Suzuki-gun cleared the ring and quadruple-teamed Nagata. 

Nagata came back with an overhead belly-to-belly on Desperado. Tsuji tagged in. Tsuji and Kidd doubled up on Desperado. Tsuji hit a spear and got a Boston crab applied but Kanemaru broke it up. 

Uemura hit a dropkick on Kanemaru. Suzuki put Uemura in a choke. Nagata broke the hold and brawled to the floor with Suzuki. 

The finishing sequence saw Desperado block a vertical suplex and hit a spear off a misdirection. Tsuji fought off Pinche Loco and hit a vertical suplex for a two count. Desperado hit a strike, then used Pinche Loco to pin Tsuji. 

New Japan Cup first round match: SANADA defeated Ryusuke Taguchi (15:47)

This was a very good match. They did a little bit of comedy early just so you knew that it was a Taguchi match but Taguchi had his working boots on. 

Taguchi offered a fist bump before the bell but SANADA declined. 

They locked up and started off with a chain wrestling sequence that ended in a stalemate. Taguchi again offered a fist bump. SANADA pondered the offer for several seconds. He accepted, but was on guard for when Taguchi tried to throw a kick. 

Both went for a dropkick simultaneously and missed. SANADA then offered a fist bump. Taguchi accepted. Both then tried to throw kicks at the same time. Taguchi tried the paradise lock and posed and danced. The hold was not applied. SANADA then correctly applied the hold and broke it with a dropkick. 

SANADA hit some atomic drops and Taguchi sold his ass. SANADA stepped out of the way of a hip attack and covered for a two count. SANADA used a chinlock. Taguchi blocked a charge into the corner and hit a dropkick. 

Taguchi hit a series of hip attacks in the ropes. Taguchi went for three amigos. SANADA blocked the third amigo and briefly applied Skull End. Taguchi escaped and hit the third amigo. 

SANADA blocked a bomaye. Taguchi rolled outside. SANADA missed a plancha. Taguchi hit a diving crossbody off the second rope to the floor. 

Back inside, Taguchi got an ankle lock applied. SANADA escaped and applied Skull End. Taguchi escaped that and went back to the ankle lock. SANADA powered out and used Skull End. SANADA used the spinning Skull End but Taguchi cradled him for a near fall. 

Taguchi used a magistral cradle for a two count and rolled SANADA up for another close near fall. SANADA rolled through and used a Japanese clutch for the pin. 

New Japan Cup first round match: SHO defeated Shingo Takagi (17:07)

An excellent match. 

This was an upset in the sense that Shingo rarely loses. In another sense you could see that Shingo and SHO for the NEVER title is a planned direction so the finish made sense. 

Shingo had his right hand taped up so they built the match around SHO attacking the injury. 

They charged at each other at the opening bell and traded an awesome series of power lariats. SHO got a near fall off one of the lariats and locked in an armbar. Shingo forced a rope break. SHO kicked at the right arm. 

SHO hit a dropkick. Shingo no-sold it and hit a shoulder block before clotheslining SHO over the top rope. Shingo rammed SHO into the barricade and hammered him with kicks. Shingo hit a DDT on the floor and they did a countout tease. 

The pace slowed for the first time at the five minute mark as Shingo used a chinlock and hit some short kicks. They traded strikes. SHO tried a spear but Shingo blocked with a front facelock. SHO powered out of that and hit a vertical suplex.

SHO hit a lariat, ducked under a Shingo lariat and hit a spear. Shingo elbowed out of a German attempt but left his arm vulnerable and SHO attacked it. Shingo hit a jab and a lariat. 

Shingo went to the mat and SHO locked in a cross armbreaker. He transitioned to a triangle which Shingo powered out of. Shingo went for noshigami but SHO blocked and hit a series of kicks. They hit simultaneous lariats. They traded suplexes. 

Shingo hit a lariat. SHO hit a jumping knee strike. Shingo hit a pumping bomber off a misdirection spot and followed with noshigami. SHO kicked out at two. 

Shingo hit a left arm lariat in the corner. They climbed to the top. Shingo went for a superplex. SHO blocked with headbutts. SHO hit a powerbomb on his knees. 

SHO hit a lariat and Shingo took a flip bump. Shingo kicked out at one. SHO hit a wheelbarrow German into a bridge for a near fall. 

SHO called for Shock Arrow but Shingo powered out. They exchanged lariats and forearm strikes. Shingo hit a double sledge to the chest. SHO hit ten unanswered forearm strikes. Shingo hit a jab and a headbutt. Shingo hit Made in Japan but SHO kicked out. 

Shingo hit another pumping bomber but SHO again kicked out. Shingo went for Last of the Dragon but SHO blocked and got a kimura. 

Shingo tried to roll through the kimura but SHO kept the hold and then hit a piledriver. SHO followed with Shock Arrow for the pin. 

**********

The Way to The Grandmaster video played before intermission. 

**********

New Japan Cup first round match: Kota Ibushi defeated Zack Sabre Jr. (15:16)

This was good but these two have had much better matches. Sabre is usually protected in the New Japan Cup and Taichi and Sabre have clearly been pushed as challengers for Ibushi and Tanahashi's tag titles, which makes me wonder if something is up. 

They told a striker vs. grappler story. Sabre used his mat skills to attack all of Ibushi's limbs.

Sabre tried to get Ibushi to the mat right away. Ibushi tried to keep his distance and measure Sabre for kicks. 

Sabre finally got Ibushi to the mat. Ibushi escaped and rolled outside. Ibushi hit some hard kicks to Sabre's legs, dropping him. Sabre caught a kick and got a heel hook. Ibushi forced a break. Sabre used a scissors on one of Ibushi's legs and an ankle lock on the other. 

Sabre missed a charge into the corner. Ibushi hit a high kick and a standing moonsault for a one count. Ibushi hit a hurricanrana and Sabre rolled outside. Ibushi teased a golden triangle but Sabre stepped away before Ibushi tried it. 

With Sabre on the apron, Ibushi hit a high kick. Sabre pulled Ibushi to the floor and used a kneebar. Back inside, Sabre used another heel hook around the bottom rope. Ibushi hit some punches but Sabre took out his legs with a sweeping kick. 

Sabre blocked a series of strikes. Ibushi hit a lariat into a double down. Ibushi went for a last ride but Sabre blocked with a guillotine. Sabre grabbed a heel hook. Ibushi powered out. 

Sabre wrenched on Ibushi's arm before transitioning to an octopus. Ibushi slid out. Sabre used a single-leg crab before getting another heel hook. Ibushi forced a rope break. 

Sabre ducked a strike and used a crucifix for a near fall. Ibushi hit a Pele kick. Sabre escaped a last ride. Ibushi hit a double stomp to the chest. Sabre hit a penalty kick. 

Ibushi blocked a Zack Driver and hit a knee strike. He then immediately hit the Kamigoye and pinned Sabre. 

New Japan Cup first round match: Taichi (w/ DOUKI) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi (21:51)

Tanahashi was amazing in this match. 

Taichi hit a powerbomb as Tanahashi posed on the turnbuckle during his entrance. Tanahashi sold this big. 

Uemura and Tsuji climbed into the ring to check on Tana and Taichi kicked them off. Red Shoes continued to attend to Tanahashi. 

The bell rang. Taichi hit a high kick and Tana rolled to the floor. DOUKI attacked Tana with a pipe. Taichi choked Tana with a cable. He threw Tana back in but Red Shoes refused to count the pin. 

Tana fought off a second DOUKI attack on the floor. Taichi went out after him and beat Tanahashi all around the empty arena. Back inside, Red Shoes again refused to count the pin. 

Tsuji began pounding on the ring to fire Tanahashi up. Taichi hit a kick and a big boot. Tana fired up with strikes and a flying forearm. Tana hit a slam and a somersault senton for a near fall. Tana blocked a kick and hit a dragon screw. 

Tana missed a charge into the corner and Taichi hit a jumping high kick. Tanahashi blocked another kick. Taichi blocked the follow-up dragon screw. They traded forearm strikes. Taichi kicked at Tanahashi's left leg. 

Tanahashi came back with a flurry. Taichi hit a series of kicks. Tanahashi blocked a kick. They traded strikes. Taichi hit a kick and dumped Tanahashi on his head with a suplex. Tanahashi blocked a last ride. Taichi hit Kawada kicks. 

Tanahashi blocked a kick and hit a black hole slam. Tsuji again pounded on the apron to fire Tanahashi up. Taichi twice blocked slingblade. He hoisted Tana up for another suplex but Tana turned it into a slingblade. 

Taichi blocked another slingblade. He teased Black Mephisto. Tanahashi escaped and hit twist and shout. Tanahashi hit another slingblade. 

Tanahashi hit a High Fly Flow to a standing Taichi. He went to climb the ropes again but DOUKI jumped on the apron. Tana knocked DOUKI off. Tana blocked a low blow from Taichi. Taichi shoved the ref and hit a low blow. Taichi used the Gedo clutch but Tanahashi kicked out. 

Taichi measured a thrust kick. Tana blocked. Taichi hit an axe bomber and a last ride for a near fall. 

Tanahashi fought off Black Mephisto again and hit a series of forearms. Taichi dropped Tanahashi with one counter forearm. Tanahashi climbed to his feet and dropped Taichi with a slap. 

Taichi blocked a whip into the ropes and hit another backdrop suplex. Taichi hit an axe bomber and a jumping high kick before taking his trousers off. 

Taichi hit a superkick and Black Mephisto and got the relatively clean pin. 

**********

Taichi put Tanahashi in the stretch plum after the bell. Young Lions jumped in to break it up but DOUKI and Taichi cleared the ring. Ibushi then ran in for the save. 

Taichi and Ibushi faced off. DOUKI jumped Ibushi from behind. Taichi hit Ibushi with one of the tag belts. DOUKI then pulled Tanahashi to his feet and Taichi dropped him with a belt shot also. 

Taichi closed the show with a promo while standing over Tanahashi and Ibushi.