Recommended matches --
- Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji
- Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. El Desperado
New Japan Cup round one match: Togi Makabe defeated Yota Tsuji (8:42)
This was an excellent opener and was probably Makabe's best match in years.
Tsuji hit a spear right at the opening bell and scored a quick two count. Tsuji then hit a shoulder tackle for another near fall.
Makabe rolled outside and Tsuji followed. Tsuji peppered Makabe with strikes before Makabe reversed a whip into the barricade and established control of the match. Makabe hit a slam and used a single-leg crab.
Tsuji fired up and hit a tackle into a double down. Tsuji was first up and hit a vertical suplex for a near fall. Tsuji used a Boston crab but Makabe powered out. Tsuji answered with a second spear for another near fall.
Makabe hit his best powerslam in years for a near fall. Makabe applied a crab but Tsuji forced a rope break. Tsuji used a cool rolling cradle for a two count. Tsuji hit the ropes but ran right into a lariat.
Makabe then hit a German suplex into a bridge for the pin.
New Japan Cup round one match: Toru Yano defeated Jado (w/ Gedo and Yujiro Takahashi) (9:08)
This should get votes for worst worked match of the year. You have to see this to believe how bad it was.
They both played to the nonexistent crowd for comedy. Yano came to the ring with a spray bottle of hand sanitizer. Yano untied a corner pad.
Yano ducked a kendo stick shot. They had a battle over who would drop their weapon first. The ref took Jado's stick and Yano hit Jado with the corner pad. Jado took a delayed flop bump.
Up to this point it was just a typical comedy match that wasn't clicking. Then things took a turn.
Jado took the ref and Yujiro ran Yano into the barricade. Jado followed up with some chops, back rakes and biting.
Jado sent Yano into the exposed buckle. Jado used a cradle for a near fall. Jado used an abdominal stretch. Gedo took the ref and Yujiro and Gedo hit a double back suplex on Yano for a two count. Yano untied a second turnbuckle pad. Jado hit Yano with it.
The finish saw Jado take the ref. Gedo jumped in. Gedo tried a low blow but Yano blocked. Yano hit low blows to Gedo and Jado. Yujiro jumped on the apron but didn't do anything. Yano used a schoolboy for the pin.
Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura (13:28)
Suzuki-gun's attack before the opening bell failed and the faces ran wild at the outset. Taichi and Sabre doubled up on Tanahashi to take control of the match. Sabre hit a PK and an assisted dragon screw as they went after Tana's left leg.
They continued working the leg. Suzuki used a kneebar. Taichi and Suzuki used chairs to attack the leg on the outside.
The match turned when Sabre went for a cobra twist. Tana reversed into a dragon screw and tagged Ibushi. Ibushi lit up Sabre with strikes and hit a standing moonsault for a near fall.
Suzuki and Nagata tagged in and traded strikes. Suzuki used misdirection and applied a rear naked choke. He went for the Gotch-style piledriver but Nagata slipped out and hit an exploder suplex.
The babyfaces cleared the ring and went four-on-one against Suzuki. Uemura hit Suzuki with a double underhook suplex and used a crab before Suzuki-gun jumped back in to break it up.
The match broke down. Suzuki and Uemura were left the legal men. Suzuki took the ref. Kanemaru hit Uemura with a whiskey bottle. Suzuki then hit the Gotch for the pin.
Suzuki and Nagata had a pull-apart after the match while Ibushi and Sabre talked trash. Taichi and Sabre then double-teamed Ibushi and posed with Ibushi and Tanahashi's tag titles.
Another Way to The Grandmaster hype video played. This was the same video as last night.
We then had an intermission for cleaning and disinfecting the ring.
New Japan Cup round one match: Hiromu Takahashi defeated Tomoaki Honma (18:47)
If you have any doubt as to whether Hiromu is one of the ten best wrestlers on earth, watch this match. He got a great match out of Tomoaki Honma. Honma was great too.
They established that Honma had a power edge as a heavyweight as they traded shoulder tackles at the outset. Honma missed a kokeshi and only after that was Hiromu able to drop him with a tackle.
Hiromu hit a dropkick and Honma rolled outside. Hiromu hit a shotgun dropkick off the apron. Hiromu did a lap around the ring and hit a second dropkick on the floor, sending Honma into the barricade.
Back inside, Hiromu hit some strikes to the neck and shoulder area. He followed up with a headscissors on the mat, working over the neck. Hiromu hit a series of unanswered strikes to the neck before Honma countered with a DDT.
Honma hit a back elbow and a bulldog. He went for a kokeshi but missed again. Hiromu tried a kokeshi and missed. Honma hit a brainbuster for a two count and hit a series of hard chops.
They traded strikes. They traded running back elbows. They hit a pair of simultaneous lariats. Honma hit a German suplex. Hiromu tried a German but Honma blocked. Hiromu hit a lariat.
Then it was time for the terrifying spot of the match.
Honma rolled to the apron. Hiromu teased a sunset bomb but Honma blocked. Honma knocked Hiromu into the barricade. Honma teased a diving kokeshi off the post but Hiromu blocked and hit a DVD on the apron.
Honma did a tremendous job of selling the DVD as though he were dead. It was delivered about as safely as it could have been, but there's not a lot of margin for error for two guys who have broken their necks.
Honma beat the count back in at 19. Hiromu hit some strikes. Honma tried to fire back but collapsed, selling exhaustion.
They traded strikes at the 15 minute mark. Honma hit a series of chops and tried another kokeshi but missed again. Hiromu went for a Dynamite Plunger. Honma blocked and hit a diving kokeshi, a standard kokeshi, then another diving kokeshi. He rolled Hiromu up for a two count.
Honma tried a kokeshi from the second rope but missed. Hiromu immediately covered for a two count. Honma hit a diving kokeshi to the back. Hiromu hit a lariat. Honma kicked out at one.
Honma ducked a superkick and hit a kokeshi. He went for a slam but Hiromu blocked and hit a superkick.
Hiromu hit a running DVD into the turnbuckle, then hit Time Bomb for the pin.
Awesome, awesome match.
New Japan Cup round one match: Tomohiro Ishii defeated El Desperado (20:18)
This was the best empty arena match I've seen during the pandemic.
They locked up. Desperado broke cleanly against the ropes but taunted Ishii over his height. Ishii fired up. Desperado hit a foot stomp. Ishii fired back with a tackle and some stiff kicks to the back.
Ishii hit a tackle and hit some short kicks to Desperado's head, taunting him. Desperado came back with a hard chop and a tackle. Desperado then turned his attention to Ishii's left leg and began working it over.
Desperado posted the left leg and sent Ishii into the barricade. Desperado hit a double knee drop to the bad leg and Ishii sold it big. While Red Shoes checked on Ishii, Desperado exposed a turnbuckle.
Desperado sent Ishii into the exposed buckle. He sent Ishii into the buckle a second time but Ishii no-sold it and hit a pounce out of the corner. Ishii then hit his chop and forearm combinations in the opposite corner.
Desperado went for a spear but Ishii blocked. Ishii tried a powerbomb but Desperado slipped out. Desperado hit a misdirection spear but Ishii answered with a heel hook on landing. Desperado forced a rope break, but now his left leg was compromised.
Desperado hit a spinebuster and applied Numero Dos. Ishii crawled to the ropes to force a break. They traded kicks. Ishii reversed a whip and sent Desperado into the exposed buckle.
Desperado pulled Red Shoes into Ishii's path and hit a low dropkick. Desperado then got Numero Dos applied again but Ishii powered out.
Desperado went for a pumphandle slam but Ishii slid out and hit a brainbuster. Ishii hit a powerslam into a double down. They traded strikes. Ishii dropped Desperado with a big forearm at the 15 minute mark.
Ishii went for a powerbomb but he sold as though his knee gave way. Ishii hit the powerbomb on the second attempt and stacked Desperado up for a near fall. Desperado blocked a lariat.
Ishii blocked a low blow attempt. Ishii hit a backdrop and used a sliding lariat for a near fall. Ishii went for the Vertical Drop Brainbuster but Desperado slid out. Desperado shoved Ishii into Red Shoes, then hit a low blow for a near fall.
Desperado missed a charge and hit the exposed buckle but quickly recovered and slammed Ishii's head into the exposed buckle. Desperado then hit Guitarra de Angel for a near fall.
Ishii blocked two Pinche Loco attempts. Desperado wound up for a lariat but Ishii hit a headbutt to the chest. Ishii hit a lariat but Desperado kicked out at two.
Desperado blocked a brainbuster and used El Es Culero for a great near fall.
Ishii then hit the vertical drop brainbuster for the pin.