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New Japan Cup quarterfinals results: Naito headlines against Ishii

David Finlay vs. Jay White

Quick opener. Solid for however long it lasted. Both guys looked fine in what they did, and had some cool back and forth with one another. Just didn’t last all that long. We’re in for a couple of years of these kind of matches, since they only started last year. Finlay took the loss this time, submitting to Jay White’s boston crab.

Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Juice Robinson

Solid match. For whatever reason, they’ve taken Moose’s chant and have given it to Juice Robinson as they tried to get that over a lot during the match. It ended up working, but that’s kinda blatant just stealing it from Moose, who was here only a week or so ago doing the same thing. Both Hall and Robinson are improving as workers as they both did some good stuff here and there. Tanahashi got the win over Hall with a Texas Cloverleaf, which is his go to submission finish. I think Tanahashi’s gotten more wins with the cloverleaf than Okada has with the Red Ink.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Kushida, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma and Katsuyori Shibata

Your good, typical New Japan ten man tag. Tiger Mask worked on Taguchi’s butt. And by that I mean he kicked it, literally to ward off future offense. Nakanishi worked a lot of the match for whatever reason. Everyone got a great flurry of offense near the end of the match. He got the torture rack on Shibata but he countered into a sleeper. Nakanishi escaped but Honma gave him a kokeshi when sent him right back into Shibata’s sleeper. Shibata followed that with the penalty kick for the win.

They teased some potential matches after this match between Shibata/Nagata, GBH/Tencozy and even Liger/Kushida, though Kushida is already taken for next month’s PPV. Those all feel like pretty fresh bouts. Shibata/Nagata had an excellent G1 match a few years ago.

Bushi and Evil vs. Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi

Crowd wasn’t into this match a whole lot for whatever reason despite Okada being in here. Nothing was bad, but it just lacked heat and felt like something was missing. Both heels worked over Okada a lot as Yoshi-Hashi tried to make the save, but was eliminated to the floor. Yoshi-Hashi clobbered Evil with a lariat and got rid of him as Okada did his comeback then pinned Bushi with the rainmaker.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal: Satoshi Koijma vs. Toru Yano

Didn’t last long, but was a fun match while it lasted. It was more Yano antics. Kojima went for the lairat but Yano tried to do the ref spot. Kojima grabbed the ref, knowing what he was about to do, but Yano ended up low blowing him. Kojima blasted him in the back of the head, but Yano came back and cradled him for the surprise win, so he makes it to the semifinals next week.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal: Hirooki Goto vs. Tama Tonga

This wasn’t that interesting for a while, but it started to pick up as the match went on. Tonga's clearly doing some of Karl Anderson's spots as a tribute to him. Goto and Tonga had some great back and forth counters before Tonga laid him out with a gun sun. He went for the waistlock DDT but couldn’t get him. He shoved the ref into Goto then tried for a headbutt, but Goto responded with one of his own followed by a penalty kick for the win.

Okada came to the ring after the match to extend his hand. Goto blew him off, so they’re still playing off that storyline of Okada wanting Goto to join Chaos.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal: Michael Elgin vs. Bad Luck Fale

Solid match. It had a few cool bumps and Elgin worked well with Fale. He was also one of the more over guys on the card, so match reactions were better here. They worked a big guy match and did a lot of power spots. Elgin was able to get Fale up, unlike a lot of people, because I guess his gimmick is that he’s a strong guy. Elgin gave him a suplex and tried for a buckle bomb but Fale came back with a spear. He hit the grenade, but Elgin kicked out. Fale went to the top rope, but Elgin cut him off and managed to hit a powerbomb and pin him.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal: Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii

Great match. The last five or ten minutes of this was fantastic. Crowd really liked Ishii but absolutely love Naito so they were into this match from start to finish. They traded a lot of back and forth offense. Naito spit at one point, which is really gross. I don’t know what’s worse, that or all the headbutts these guys like to do. Naito’s confidence as a heel is staggering; it really is amazing to witness. He hasn’t had too many big profile matches like this, but it really shows when he’s put in a position like this.

Naito slapped Ishii hard, but Ishii retaliated with a bit time lariat and a press powerbomb for a near fall. He went for a sliding D, but Naito came back with an enziguri. People were 100 percent behind Naito. It’s so funny in pro wrestling when you try and be a babyface you get booed, but as a heel you get cheered. Naito hit a koppo kick and Gloria but Ishii kicked out. Ishii came back with a sliding D but Naito still kicked out. Ishii picked him up for a brainbuster but Naito transitioned into Destino and nailed it to win the match.

Evil and Bushi came to the ring after the match. Evil beat up Ishii and laid him out with an STO. Maybe he’s a challenger for the TV title down the line. Naito cut a promo, saying when he wins he won’t challenge for whatever title he chooses in April.

The last New Japan Cup show, featuring the finals and semifinals, will be on March 12. Hirooki Goto will face Michael Elgin and Toru Yano will square off against Tetsuya Naito in semifinal bouts, with the winners facing off in the finals