Recommended matches --
- Yuya Uemura vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata
New Japan Cup first round match: Taiji Ishimori defeated Gabriel Kidd (8:54)
There was not a lot wrong with the work in this match but it would have benefited greatly from having a crowd.
Kidd grabbed an armbar. Ishimori briefly escaped but Kidd got back to the armbar and got a quick one count. Kidd hit a shoulder tackle. He tried for a crab but Ishimori forced a rope break before the hold could be applied.
Ishimori tripped Kidd near the ropes and tossed him outside. Ishimori whipped Kidd into the barricade, then rolled him back inside for a near fall. Ishimori hit some knee strikes and raked Kidd's back.
Ishimori hit double knees in the corner. He teased an attack off the second rope but Kidd intercepted him with a dropkick. Kidd fought for and finally landed a vertical suplex for a near fall.
Ishimori cut Kidd off. He teased a sliding German but opted for a springboard attack instead. Kidd was supposed to catch him off the ropes and apply a crab but the timing was messed up. Kidd got the crab but Ishimori forced a rope break.
The finishing sequence saw Ishimori hit a back elbow and a back handspring kick for a near fall. He then applied the Yes Lock and Kidd tapped.
New Japan Cup first round match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Yuya Uemura (9:34)
These two had a good match. They had a hot start and a great series of near falls at the end.
Uemura is gigantic.
They came up with a creative start as Uemura attacked Kanemaru before the opening bell. Uemura hit a slam and a dropkick. Kanemaru rolled outside. Uemura avoided a whip into the barricade and hit some strikes.
Back inside, Uemura used a side headlock. Kanemaru broke free and took the fight back to the floor. This time he was able to send Uemura into the barricade. Kanemaru then hit a leg slice over the edge of the barricade.
In the ring, Kanemaru used a headscissors on the mat. Kanemaru hit some short kicks to taunt Uemura. Uemura fired up and hit a vertical suplex, a dropkick and a springboard crossbody for a near fall.
Uemura hit his trademark double underhook belly-to-belly but Kanemaru kicked out at two. Uemura charged but Kanemaru pulled the referee in his path. Kanemaru hit a kick and grabbed his whiskey bottle. The ref pulled the bottle away and Uemura rolled Kanemaru up for a near fall.
Uemura used three quick cradles for near falls. Kanemaru then cut him off with a dropkick and hit an inverted DDT for a near fall.
Kanemaru then climbed to the second rope and hit Deep Impact for the pin.
Kanemaru poured whiskey on Uemura after the bell.
Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, SHO & YOH defeated Shingo Takagi, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI (12:15)
The CHAOS team went four-on-one against BUSHI at the outset. Goto hip tossed YH on top of BUSHI for a near fall. LIJ then used a four-on-one to cut YH off. They focused on YH's left arm in working him over. EVIL hit a senton for a two count.
SANADA used a cobra twist. Shingo tagged in and took a shot at his first round opponent SHO on the apron. Shingo hit a knee drop on YH. YH fired up and tagged SHO who had a nice power exchange with Shingo. SHO powered Shingo up with a suplex for a near fall.
SHO and Shingo exchanged strikes and lariats. Shingo ducked a lariat and hit a German. SHO no-sold it and hit a lariat into a double down.
YOH and BUSHI tagged back in. YOH hit a nice hip toss, a dropkick and kipped up. YOH hit a head and arm suplex into a bridge for a two count as the other six competitors brawled around ringside.
BUSHI hit a jaw breaker and a rewind kick. YOH tried a Pele kick but their timing was off and it looked bad. Goto tagged in and fell victim to a four-on-one. BUSHI hit a back stabber for a near fall and a swinging DDT for another two count.
BUSHI called for the MX. Goto ducked and the move missed. Everyone jumped in for a big move. YH hit EVIL with a lariat and fought off a Magic Killer. SHO suplexed Shingo.
The finish saw Goto hit BUSHI with an ushigoroshi and a GTR for the pin.
A Way to The Grandmaster hype video played before intermission.
New Japan Cup first round match: Yuji Nagata defeated Minoru Suzuki (20:36)
This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but these guys presented a master class on getting a lot out of a little, playing to your strengths, selling and intensity. Happy Birthday to the king, as Suzuki turned 52 today.
Suzuki hit a big boot at the opening bell. Both men then fired off a series of strikes. Suzuki laughed as Nagata gave him his neck and invited some forearm shots. They traded forearm strikes to the side of the neck. Both saw their necks turn red from the force of the strikes.
After trading forearms, they moved on to trading slaps to the face and neck. Suzuki teased going down after several unanswered slaps but stayed up. The first five minutes of the match consisted entirely of strikes back and forth.
Nagata hit a big boot. He went for a second boot but Suzuki grabbed a kneebar. Nagata forced a rope break. They rolled outside where Suzuki sent Nagata into the barricade. Suzuki hit Nagata with a bucket and a water bottle.
Suzuki grabbed a chair. The referee tried to grab the chair. Suzuki shoved the ref to the ground and he took a bump. Suzuki then retrieved a second chair and used it on Nagata's right arm. Suzuki wrenched Nagata's left arm in the barricade.
They teased a countout but Nagata made it back in at 19. They traded strikes again in the corner. Suzuki dropped Nagata with a slap. Suzuki tried for a figure four around the post but the ref broke it up.
Suzuki hit a series of palm strikes to the chest in the corner. Nagata tried to fire up but couldn't. Suzuki hit a kick in the corner. He went for a PK but Nagata caught the kick. Nagata then hit a series of kicks to a seated Suzuki.
Nagata hit a big boot in the corner. He tried for a suplex but Suzuki caught him in a guillotine. Nagata powered out of the hold and wrenched Suzuki's right arm. Nagata then hit a series of kicks to the right arm.
Nagata continued working the right arm. Suzuki sold as though his elbow was dislocated. Nagata tried to wrench the arm again but Suzuki blocked and applied a rear naked choke. Nagata teased passing out. Suzuki gave up the hold and made a cover but Nagata kicked out.
Suzuki used a sleeper. He transitioned for a Gotch-style piledriver attempt. Nagata blocked the piledriver. Suzuki hit a knee strike. He tried for the piledriver again but Nagata powered out.
They traded forearm strikes. Nagata was bleeding from the mouth. They traded hard slaps to the face. Suzuki hit a headbutt and Nagata dropped to a knee. Suzuki hit two more headbutts and both men went down. The last headbutt was borderline unsafe. They traded more strikes.
Nagata hit an exploder out of nowhere. Suzuki used misdirection to try to set up a rear naked choke but Nagata blocked and hit a high angle suplex hold and pinned Suzuki for the upset.
New Japan Cup first round match: Kazuchika Okada defeated Gedo (15:31)
They used every trick in the book to make this a passable manager vs. wrestler battle.
Gedo entered with his right arm in a sling. He cut a promo. Okada entered. Okada demanded that Gedo remove the sling before the match started. Gedo pulled a spray bottle out of the sling and tried to spray something in Okada's eyes but Okada blocked.
The bell rang and Gedo laid down, inviting Okada to pin him. Gedo tried to pull brass knuckles out of his jacket but Okada blocked and took them away. While the referee disposed of the knuckles, Gedo pulled a wrench out of his pants and used it on Okada's abdomen.
Gedo again used the wrench on the floor. Gedo grabbed a table and hit Okada with it. Okada beat the count back inside but Gedo sent him back to the floor. Gedo used a chair on Okada at the five-minute mark.
Back inside, Gedo hit a series of kicks and punches. Okada blocked a kick and hit a big boot. Okada hit a running back elbow in the center and another in the corner. Okada hit a DDT for a two count, still selling his abdomen.
Okada hit a scoop slam. He teased a top rope elbow but Gedo rolled out of the ring. Gedo used a hammer to attack the abdomen and tossed Okada back inside.
Okada reversed a whip and missed a dropkick attempt. Gedo covered for a two count. Gedo used a bow and arrow but Okada reached the ropes for a break. Gedo blocked a flapjack but Okada countered with an air raid crash.
Okada went for a tombstone but Gedo fought it off by holding on to the referee. Gedo threw Okada into the ref and hit a low blow.
Gedo retrieved another set of brass knuckles that had been taped to the post. Gedo used the brass knuckles and revived the referee. Gedo used the Gedo Clutch but Okada kicked out at two.
Jado made his way to ringside. Gedo tried a Blade Runner but Okada blocked. Okada again tried for the dropkick but Gedo avoided it.
Jado took the ref. Gedo tried another brass knuckles shot but Okada ducked and hit a dropkick. Okada hit a second dropkick at 15 minutes, sending Jado crashing to the floor.
Okada hit a tombstone and used the Deep In Debt for the submission victory.