The second round of the 2021 New Japan Cup continued today in Amagasaki. Here are the results for the preliminary matches and full reports for the Cup matches.
Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Toru Yano defeated David Finlay, Yota Tsuji, & Yuya Uemura (10:57)
Ishii pinned Uemura after a lariat. Finlay and YOSHI-HASHI face off in the second round of the Cup tomorrow.
KENTA, Bad Luck Fale, & Chase Owens defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & DOUKI (7:24)
Owens pinned DOUKI with the package piledriver.
Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, & SHO defeated Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, & BUSHI (10:02)
SHO pinned BUSHI with the Shock Arrow.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, & Toa Henare defeated Jay White, EVIL, & Yujiro Takahashi (13:41)
Tanahashi pinned Yujiro with the High Fly Flow. He and White face off tomorrow in a second-round Cup matchup.
New Japan Cup second round: SANADA defeated Yuji Nagata (18:18)
I enjoyed this, although it went a bit long. This would have been a more exciting match had we not seen it a month ago.
They performed lots of chain wrestling early on. Neither man could establish an advantage on a test of strength, so SANADA shot forward and landed a Northern Lights suplex before sending Nagata to the floor. On the floor, SANADA hit a piledriver on Nagata. Back in the ring, SANADA continued to target Nagata's head with suplexes and holds.
Nagata fired up with forearms before dropping SANADA with a knee lift. He and SANADA had another counter exchange, with Nagata hitting a butterfly suplex for two. SANADA surprised Nagata with a jumping hurricanrana and followed it up with the plancha before pumping up the crowd.
Back in the ring, SANADA hit some signature offense with a dropkick after rolling over the ropes. He followed it up with the TKO for two. SANADA kept up the offense with a rope-assisted Magic Killer, but Nagata rolled out of the way on the moonsault attempt. They fought on the top rope, with Nagata withstanding a lot of punishment to stay up, before Nagata landed an exploder superplex.
Nagata landed a mid kick for two, but SANADA turned the follow-up into the Japanese Clutch for a near fall. Immediately upon kicking out, Nagata applied the Nagata Lock II and SANADA had to fight for a long time to reach the ropes. He followed it up with his own rope-assisted Magic Killer, but SANADA turned another suplex attempt into a lateral press, buying him some time.
SANADA locked on the Skull End and had the hooks in. Nagata powered out by twisting SANADA's ankle. They exchanged forearms in the center of the ring, with Nagata winning the battle after hitting an enzuigiri. SANADA went for his backflip into the Skull End, but flipped too far and had to re-adjust.
He eventually locked it on with the hooks in the center of the ring, which weakened Nagata enough for SANADA to land the moonsault and and win.
New Japan Cup second round: Will Ospreay defeated Zack Sabre Jr. (21:23)
This was fantastic. They eschewed the patterned NJPW main event formula for something far more energetic and heated.
Ospreay exploded right out of the gate with a shotgun dropkick and a plancha. He hit Pip Pip Cheerio upon re-entry, but Sabre countered the Oscutter and locked on the European Clutch for a fun near fall. Sabre targeted Ospreay's arm when he was on offense, wringing it with holds and striking it. Sabre foiled one quick comeback attempt with a Cobra Twist, but Ospreay got the advantage with a dropkick and brought his attack to the floor.
On the floor, Ospreay sent Sabre into the barricade before draping him across the apron for a knee drop. Back in the ring, Ospreay continued the beatdown and taunted the smaller Sabre. An uppercut and an arm drag finally bought Sabre some time to return to targeting Ospreay's arm. Ospreay went for his handspring kick, and Sabre countered it once, but the second attempt connected.
Ospreay laid in chops, but they weren't as effective due to his injured arm. Sabre caught a chop attempt, but Ospreay transitioned into a reverse Bloody Sunday for two. Ospreay kept up the attack and was met with a slap, so he laid in Kawada kicks. Sabre got the better of another sequence with a soccer kick and was able to follow it up with a sleeper. Ospreay powered out and hit the Cheeky Nando's kick and an Oscutter for two.
Sabre countered Stormbreaker into a European Clutch attempt, but Ospreay won the exchange after a hard forearm. They had another counter exchange where Sabre hit La Mistica before following it up with the Zack Driver for a close near fall. Sabre locked on a triangle hold, but Ospreay powered out and brought them both to the top rope. Ospreay's nose was busted open at this point.
On the top rope, Ospreay tried for a top rope Stormbreaker, but Sabre landed a flipping armbar into the Jim Breaks Special, which is an omoplata arm wringer. It looked like Ospreay might submit, but his foot barely made it to the ropes. They had a crazy counter sequence where Ospreay eventually just dropped Sabre to the mat. Sabre countered the Stormbreaker into a jackknife backslide for two, but Ospreay popped up and hit a thrust kick.
Ospreay went for the super Oscutter, Sabre caught it, but Ospreay crushed Sabre with a forearm to the back of the head. Ospreay then hit the Stormbreaker to win and advance.
Ospreay will face SANADA in the next round. That match will likely take place in the main event of the March 18 Shizuoka show.