Recommended matches --
- Hiromu Takahashi vs. Toru Yano
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Yuji Nagata
Korakuen Hall was again the venue today.
New Japan Cup second round match: Taiji Ishimori defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru (9:18)
This had a creative start as Kanemaru attacked Ishimori on the stage during is entrance. Kanemaru proceeded to work over Ishimori's left leg.
Ishimori's selling was great but there wasn't much to the match otherwise. Kanemaru worked over the leg for five minutes. Ishimori hit a handspring kick and started his comeback.
Ishimori missed a knee strike. They traded cradles. Ishimori went for the Bloody Cross but Kanemaru pulled the ref in his path. The ref took a bump. Kanemaru hit a low blow. Kanemaru tried to spit whiskey but Ishimori covered his mouth and made him swallow it. Ishimori covered for a two count.
Kanemaru went for Deep Impact. Ishimori caught him coming off the ropes and teased Bloody Cross. Kanemaru blocked and used a cradle for a near fall.
The finish saw Ishimori try for a Yes Lock. Kanemaru blocked. Ishimori hit a lungblower for a near fall, then hit Bloody Cross for the pin.
New Japan Cup second round match: Tomohiro Ishii defeated Togi Makabe (13:28)
It's clobbering time.
The bar for stiff brawls between veterans has been set very high in this tournament. This was good but I honestly expected more.
They traded power moves right away as both men went for tackles and lariats. Ishii got the upper hand and hit some hard chops in the corner. Makabe came back with a powerslam and a northern lights suplex for a near fall.
Ishii hit a German on Makabe into the turnbuckle. Makabe sold this as if he had been shot by a sniper rifle. Ishii dropped some knees on the neck area as he went to work.
Makabe came back with a lariat, dropping Ishii. They traded simultaneous lariats before Makabe dropped Ishii with a lariat. Makabe hit a spider German but Ishii no-sold it and hit a lariat with Makabe perched on the buckle.
Ishii hit a delayed superplex. Makabe no-sold it. Ishii hit a lariat for a two count. Makabe hit a German with a bridge for a two count.
Makabe went up top for the King Kong Knee Drop but missed with it. Ishii hit a headbutt and a lariat. Ishii hit another headbutt. Makabe fired up and hit a series of chops and forearms to the side of Ishii's neck. Ishii cut him off with a lariat.
Ishii then hit the Vertical Drop Brainbuster for the pin.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI (13:55)
Ibushi charged the ring as if he had been shot out of a cannon and beat up Suzuki-gun one-on-three before the opening bell.
Sabre and Taichi recovered and cut Tanahashi off in the ring. Taichi held Tanahashi while Sabre hit a dragon screw. Taichi then brawled around the arena with Ibushi, choking him with a cable.
Back inside, Sabre and DOUKI worked over Tanahashi's left leg. This continued forever. I genuinely believe that Taguchi may have been sleeping on the floor during the match. Sabre worked for a cobra twist. Tana slid out and hit an inverted dragon screw.
Ibushi and Taichi got tags. They traded a series of kicks. Taichi hit a mid kick. He tried a last ride but Ibushi blocked and hit a high kick into a double down.
Taguchi tagged in and Taichi tagged him with a kick on the belt line before tagging DOUKI. DOUKI hit Taguchi with a lariat for a two count. DOUKI hit Suplex de la Luna. Ibushi jumped in and broke up the pin. Ibushi and Taichi brawled to the floor.
Taguchi used two different cradles for near falls. DOUKI blocked a hip attack. Tana jumped in and hit DOUKI with a slingblade.
The finishing sequence saw Taguchi hit a Bomaye for a near fall. Taichi and Sabre jumped in. Ibushi and Tana took them out to the floor. DOUKI used a cradle for a near fall. Taguchi then hit an enzuigiri and used Dodon for the pin.
Sabre and Taichi attacked Tanahashi and Ibushi after the match. They teased hitting a belt shot but Taguchi jumped in and grabbed the belts. Tana and Ibushi recovered and Taichi and Sabre bailed.
Another Way to the Grandmaster video played before intermission.
New Japan Cup second round match: Hiromu Takahashi defeated Toru Yano by countout (9:17)
This was one of the best comedy matches you'll ever see.
Hiromu entered wearing a construction helmet and started the match still wearing it. The referee took hand sanitizer away from Yano before the match.
The match began and Yano immediately produced hair clippers. Hiromu rolled outside and crawled under the ring. Yano went out after him. Hiromu appeared on the other side of the ring and grabbed the clippers.
Hiromu threatened to use the clippers but the battery was dead. Yano then produced a second set of clippers and threatened Hiromu's hair with them. Hiromu ran wild with a shotgun dropkick. He sent Yano into the barricade.
Yano reversed another whip into the barricade. They brawled around the arena. Yano produced a pair of scissors and again threatened to cut Hiromu's hair.
They fought their way back to the ring. Yano exposed a turnbuckle. Hiromu avoided the exposed buckle and hit a superkick. Hiromu went for a sunset bomb off the apron but Yano blocked. Yano produced another set of scissors.
Yano taped Hiromu to Yota Tsuji. Yano used the scissors to cut off a chunk of Hiromu's hair.
They fought backstage. Hiromu used the tape to blindfold Yano and pushed him into an elevator. Hiromu sent the elevator to the ground floor.
Still taped to Tsuji, Hiromu hopped back to the ring. He beat the count back in at 19 and advanced.
Hiromu and Tsuji hobbled to the back together after the match, still taped together.
New Japan Cup second round match: Kazuchika Okada defeated Yuji Nagata (20:15)
The story early on was that Okada may have been too confident going into the match and Nagata was going to make him fight for everything he got.
Nagata opened with a headlock takeover. Okada ran into a high kick. They brawled outside where Okada sent Nagata into the barricade.
Back inside, Nagata ducked a back elbow and hit an exploder. Okada came back with a back elbow. Nagata blocked a tombstone attempt and hit an overhead belly-to-belly at the ten minute mark.
Okada's facial expressions were awesome in this stretch of the match, as though he was realizing that he might actually lose.
They traded strikes as the intensity was kicked up a notch. Okada hit a shotgun dropkick and an air raid crash for a two count. Okada teased a top rope elbow but Nagata cut him off and hit an exploder off the turnbuckles for a two count.
Okada hit a dropkick to the back, then a second dropkick. Okada went for his Deep In Debt head and arm choke but Nagata reversed into a Nagata Lock crossface. Okada forced a break.
Nagata fought for an exploder. Okada blocked and applied a cobra clutch. They did a long submission tease but Nagata broke the hold with an exploder. Okada missed a dropkick. Okada caught a PK.
They traded strikes and slaps. Nagata ducked a spinning Rainmaker and hit a backdrop suplex for a near fall. Nagata fought for a suplex. Okada grabbed the top rope. Nagata hit a grazing enzuigiri.
Okada then rolled off the ropes into the head and arm choke. Nagata's facial expressions while in the choke were incredible.
Nagata fought the choke for a long time but eventually tapped.
Okada closed the show with his post-match press conference in the ring.