The stream started with the announcements that New Japan promised earlier in the week. The first was something called “Lion’s Gate Trial”. From what it sounds like, it’s the initiative to find new young lions no matter
Takaaki Kidani then announced that Michael Elgin has officially signed a two year deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He comes to the ring wearing the lion mark t-shirt. He says that he had two goals growing up - one was to be the very best, and the second was to wrestle in NJPW. He has accomplished the latter, but since NJPW has the best wrestlers, he still needs to accomplish the former.
The third announcement involved Katsuyori Shibata. He’s officially signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He’d been a freelancer since making his return in 2012. He officially signed his contract in the ring.
The next announcement was that the Super J Cup would be coming back for the first time since 2009. Promotions from all around the world would be involved, including NJPW, CMLL, ROH, Kaientai Dojo, NOAH, Zero One, Dragon Gate, Suzuki-Gun (they do hold their own shows every now and then) and Ryuku Dragon. KUSHIDA, Naomichi Marufuji and Taka Michinoku came to the ring and said a few words. Very interesting as the Global Cruiserweight tournament is scheduled around the same time.
Following that, Kidani announced that the Tiger Mask anime would be revived. It featured an image of Okada staring down Tiger Mask.
Aside from the tag match, All matches tonight are the opening round of the New Japan Cup.
Yujiro Takahashi vs. Toru Yano
This didn’t last long. Yujiro jumped him at the bell and beat him up with a steel chair on the outside. The referee was counting as Yujiro posed. As the referee approached 18, Yano got up, low blowed him, and entered right at 20 to win by count out. Clever finish.
Michael Elgin vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Good little match while it lasted. Hard hitting and basically what you would expect from these two. Elgin took control of the match. Tenzan cut him off, hit a uranage and went for the anaconda vise but Elgin escaped. Tenzan went for a moonsault, but Elgin grabbed him and gave him a buckle bomb, then pinned him with a spiral powerbomb.
Tama Tonga vs. Togi Makabe
Tonga came out wearing new gear, which included a chest protector and camo pants. Tonga jumped Makabe at the bell, but Makabe started no selling his offense and made a comeback. He missed the king kong knee drop and Tonga took advantage. He cut off Makabe with a gun stun then pinned him with his waistlock DDT in a big surprise. Match itself was solid but nothing special.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomoaki Honma
This was a really good match. They had a back and forth stiff kind of match as you’d expect. The finish was really good as Honma does a great job of making you believe he’s about to get the big win, only for something to stop him right before he can get it. Kojima did his comeback and even DDT’d Honma on the apron outside. Honma got up rather quickly from that and teased a double count out spot.
Kojima went for the lariat but Honma kokeshi’d this arm. Honma followed with two more, then went for his top rope kokeshi finish but Kojima rolled out of the way. Honma tried for a sitout piledriver but Kojima blocked it and hit a lariat, but Honma kicked out. He hit one more and got the win.
Katsuyori Shibata and Kushida vs. Kazushi Sakuraba and IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada
This was pretty good while it lasted. They all did different things, and felt like there was a different dynamic with Kushida being in here as he doesn’t do heavyweight tags all that often. Shibata and Okada worked together, while Sakuraba and Kushida grappled on the mat. Kushida and Okada had some fun interactions near the end. Okada eventually got the win with the Rainmaker.
Okada grabbed a mic after the match and talked about the new member of Chaos they had been hyping for a while. They showed a video of Will Ospreay, who said he was the newest member of Chaos. He officially challenged Kushida for the IWGP Jr. title at Invasion Attack. He promised to be the first champion from the United Kingdom and also said he would defend the title all over the world. That should be one hell of a match.
Hirooki Goto vs. Yuji Nagata
Pretty good match. They worked stiff and the dynamic of Goto’s new edge worked well here. The last few minutes were pretty good. Goto came out wearing all white, which I guess is the next step in whatever direction he’s taking. Goto was working a more subtle heel style as he’s been doing a bit more recently. People were totally behind Nagata. They pelted each other with a lot of kicks. Nagata got him in the white eyes armbar but Goto escaped. Nagata nailed Goto with a high kick to the head and Goto sold it like he was nearly knocked out. Nagata missed an enziguri which allowed Goto to grab him and roll him up in a unique way to win the match.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Yoshi-Hashi
Very good match. Yoshi-Hashi is one of the more underrated guys on the roster and he and Naito had a good back and forth contest. Yoshi-Hashi shows a lot of fire as a babyface.They brawled around the ring, then eventually found themselves back in the ring as they had a decent back and forth contest. YH at one point gave Naito a clothesline that sent him to the floor. Naito made a comeback and hit some high impact moves but YH kicked out of them.
YH waffled him with a clothesline and hit a tombstone and a powerbomb into a bridge but Naito kicked out of all of that. He went for the swanton bomb but Naito moved. Yoshi Hashi and Naito traded some great back and forth slaps and YH even had Naito in a new submission. Naito cut him off with a big spinebuster then hit the Destino for the win.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Evil
Really good match, the last few minutes are great. They brawled around and out of the ring to start. Evil got the heat by grabbing a steel chair, placing it on Ishii’s head then smacking him with a steel chair shot, sending the other chair flying in a cool spot. This is Evil’s first big time singles match and looked really good. He has a ton of potential with matches like these.
He scored a nearfall with a nice looking clothesline from the top rope. He went for the STO but Ishii headbutted him. Ishii actually hit and STO of his own and smacked Evil with a lariat but he kicked out. Ishii hit a Dragon suplex and another lariat but Evil still kicked out. Ishii followed that with the brainbuster and that’s it.
Bad Luck Fale vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Pretty solid match as Tanahashi did a great job in carrying Fale and worked a pretty good match with him. They worked this match like you would expect - Fale dominated early while Tanahashi sold and tried to rally a comeback. Big time high fly flow from the top rope to the floor. Fale came back with a big splash and tried for the grenade but Tanahashi blocked it and gave him a big time German suplex. Fale came back and tried for the Bad Luck Fall but Tanahashi countered.
He went to charge at him in the corner but Tanahashi countered. Tanahashi went for a high fly flow but Fale grabbed him in mid air and hit the grenade, then followed that with the Bad Luck Fall and won the match in a upset, though they push him strong every year in this tournament so it’s not a gigantic surprise.
Fale takes a mic and says the Bullet Club is still here, and this is a new era.
Matches for the next round are Fale vs. Elgin, Tama Tonga vs. Hirooki Goto, Satoshi Kojima vs. Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito.