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New Japan on AXS Report: New Japan Cup semifinals and finals


Tonight’s episode will feature the semifinals and finals of the 2015 New Japan Cup, which was held on March 15, 2015 at Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall.

First semifinal shown is between Hirooki Goto and Togi Makabe. They only showed a few minutes of highlights, but was as solid as you were gonna get with this time. Goto won after a roll up. It’s usually during these kind of tournaments where they do finishes like that as opposed to their actual finishers.

Tetsuya Natio & Kota Ibushi followed. This is one of those matches that are four star plus level in New Japan, which is awesome, but isn’t good enough to be truly memorable because it’s been a year of spectacular matches. Rewatching this again made me remember just how great of a worker Ibushi is. He not only has the basics down but he has the flash and charisma in his bouts to really be something. Naito has all of this as well, but of course has switched his style and that’s worked out better for him in recent months. Just a bunch of crazy back and forth moves. Naito did a sick reverse rana on the top rope and Ibushi landed right on his head. He must have Daniel Bryan syndrome or something as one’s body can only take so much damage for so long before there are repercussions. Naito took a ganso bomb. Ibushi finally got the win with a press powerbomb. Terrific match.

Ibushi in a post fight interview says he can’t lose now, he has to, and will, win.

Pre-match sitdown interview time! Ibushi talks about how the tournament style works for him the best, as he has to give his all in every match, or else he’ll be eliminated. When talking about Goto, he mentions that his performance and clumsy and straightforward, and would have thought the same if he would have faced Makabe in the finals.

The finals aired next. Really good match, though not as dynamic as the previous match. It was stiff and unpleasant to watch at times, but Ibushi’s timing is excellent and Goto has always been top notch in these kind of performances. The crowd was hot for everything and helped a lot too. Lots of back and forth action, especially towards the latter stages of the game where Ibushi was coming up with a lot of cool reversals and nearfalls. Eventually, Ibushi scores the big win with a phoenix splash and pins Goto to win the New Japan Cup.

After the match, announcer Shinpei Nogami asks Ibushi what title he would like to challenge for. Ibushi says he wants to challenge for all of them, but he wants to fight AJ and wants that title shot. He says he’ll beat AJ and thanks everyone for coming.

In his post match interview, he thanks Goto & Naito for their performances tonight. He wants to answer back for the fans’ support as they are always supporting him, so he’ll do his best against AJ. In the reflective interview, he had always wanted a shot at the IWGP title, so he challenged for it. 

Good show. All three matches were good, with the last two being pretty good to great.