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New Japan Cup Full Review & Ratings! Zack Sabre Jr. wins the New Japan Cup

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Below is my full review and star ratings for all the tournament matches from the New Japan Cup.

New Japan Cup – First Round Report

Juice Robinson def. Yujiro Takahashi

  • Rating: ***1/4

Juice with a side kick but missed a cannonball in the corner. Takahashi with a big boot and a sliding leg drop for a near fall. Takahashi blocks the Pulp Fiction and tosses Juice to the floor. Juice with a back suplex and a spine buster. Juice clothesline Takahashi to the floor and delivers a cross body. Juice with a slingshot spear. Takahashi with a stun gun that sends Juice to the floor. Takahashi backdrops Juice over the barricade onto chairs as Robinson was bleeding from the back. Takahashi with a Fisherman’s buster through the chairs but Robinson gets in the ring as they teased a countout. Takahashi with a Fisherman’s buster but Juice kicks out. Juice gets crotched on the top rope as Takahashi delivers a top rope Fisherman’s buster for a good near fall. Takahashi with three thrust kicks but Juice with a big clothesline. Juice with a cannonball in the corner and a double knee gut buster for a near fall. Takahashi blocks the Pulp Fiction and pushes Robinson into Red Shoes. Takahashi with a low blow and inside cradle but Juice kicks out. Takahashi delivers the Tokyo Pimp but Juice kicks out. Takahashi with a Canadian back breaker but Juice kicks out for another good pop. Juice with a power bomb but Takahashi kicks out. Juice delivers the Pulp Fiction and gets the win.

  • This was good but not great 

Michael Elgin def. Tomohiro Ishii

  • Rating: ***3/4

Elgin and Ishii with shoulder tackles. Elgin with a power slam for a near fall. Elgin with chops. Ishii with chops. Ishii with a power slam and slaps. Elgin with a scoop slam and a slingshot splash. Elgin with a suplex and middle rope dropkick. Elgin with a Falcon Arrow but Ishii kicks out. Elgin and Ishii deliver chops and elbows to each other in the corner. Ishii with a belly-to-back suplex. Elgin and Ishii deliver suplex but both stand up. Elgin with a Blue Thunder Bomb but Ishii kicks out. Both Elgin and Ishii no sell each other’s elbows. Ishii with a power bomb and jackknife cover but Elgin kicks out. Elgin with a DVD in the corner and a splash from the top turnbuckle but Ishii kicks out. Elgin with a deadlift Falcon Arrow but Ishii kicks out as the crowd pops. Ishii with a German suplex but Elgin no sells it and delivers a super kick. Ishii with a top rope super plex for a nice reaction but Elgin kicks out. Ishii with a clothesline but Elgin kicks out. Elgin with a bicycle kick, Ishii with a head butt and Elgin with a standing enzuigiri. Elgin with a German suplex but Ishii kicks out. Elgin with a top rope power bomb but Ishii kicks out. Elgin with a buckle bomb but Ishii with a Frankensteiner and standing enzuigiri. Ishii with a head butt and sliding clothesline for a near fall. Elgin with a half-and-half suplex and buckle bomb but Ishii with a clothesline. Elgin delivers a popup power bomb but Ishii kicks out. Elgin delivers the Burning Hammer for the win.

  • A really fun hard hitting match.  

Bad Luck Fale def. Lance Archer

  • Rating: **

Archer with strikes in the corner but Fale with a power bomb. Fale sends Archer into pile of chairs. Fale with a Samoan drop but missed a big splash. Archer with a shoulder tackle for a near fall. Archer delivers Old School for a near fall. Fale delivered a splash in the corner. Archer attempted a super plex but Fale blocked it. Archer with a face buster and a choke slam for a near fall. Fale delivered a clothesline and a big splash for a near fall. Finish came out of nowhere as Fale connected with the grenade for the win. 

  • It was an okay match.  

Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Taichi

  • Rating: **3/4

Taichi stalled early. Taichi got the advantage when his woman climbed on the ring apron as he attacked Tanahashi with a knife stick. Tanahashi with a scoop slam and a middle rope somersault for a near fall. Taichi tossed Tanahashi into the barricade. Taichi attempted a power bomb on the entrance ramp but Tanahashi countered with a hurricanrana. Tanahashi delivered back-to-back dragon screws to Taichi who’s foot was in-between the middle rope. Tanahashi applied a cloverleaf but Taichi grabbed Red Shoes to help him break the hold. Taichi delivered two belly-to-back suplex and a super kick for a near fall. Taichi delivered a power bomb which dropped Tanahashi on his head. Taichi delivered a step-up enzuigiri but Tanahashi delivered a sling blade. Tanahashi delivered the High Fly Flow but hurt his injured knee in the process. Taichi showed Red Shoes away, kicked Tanahashi low and landed the Gedo clutch for a near fall. Taichi with a power bomb and a jackknife cover for another near fall. Tanahashi delivered three reverse neck breakers and back-to-back sling blades for a near fall. Tanahashi climbed to the top turnbuckle delivered the High Fly Flow for the win.

  • A fine match as the crowd was totally behind Tanahashi.

Kota Ibushi def. YOSHI-HASHI

  • Rating: ****1/4

YOSHI delivered a head scissors, then hung Ibushi on the top rope and delivered a dropkick for a near fall. Ibushi with the KENTA strikes and a standing moonsault for a near fall. YOSHI with a spinning neck breaker but Ibushi landed on his feet and delivered a running knee strike. YOSHI suplex Ibushi on the ring apron which got botched. YOSHI and Ibushi brawled in the crowd with Ibushi delivering a head scissors which got a nice reaction. Ibushi climbed on the balcony and delivered a moonsault for a big reaction. Ibushi with a springboard dropkick and a snap-dragon for a near fall. YOSHI slows Ibushi momentum down by delivering three straight head butts. We got an awesome slap exchange as the crowd roared for. YOSHI countered a power bomb with a face buster and delivered the Code Red for a great near fall. YOSHI with a German suplex. Ibushi with KENTA strikes but YOSHI with a big lariat for a near fall. YOSHI with a running power bomb for a near fall. YOSHI applied the Butterfly Lock but Ibushi put his foot on the bottom rope. YOSHI with a sliding double knees for a near fall. Ibushi delivered his version of the Rainmaker. Ibushi delivered a straight jacket German and got the win after delivering the Kamagoye Knee Strike.

  • This was a great match that’s worth watching. YOSHI did a good job but Ibushi was the star of this match. Ibushi is so awesome and plays a great babyface.

Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tetsuya Naito via Submission 

  • Rating: ***3/4

Sabre delivered an overhead kick and then worked on the arm of Naito on the floor. Sabre delivered uppercuts. Naito delivered a neck breaker and dropkick to the back. Naito with an over-the-rope kick for a near fall. Sabre delivered the Northern Lights suplex. Sabre caught Naito running off the ropes and applied an Octopus hold but Naito grabbed the ropes to release the hold. Sabre delivered uppercuts but Naito delivered a tornado DDT. Sabre delivered an overhead kick. Naito went for a rolling kick but Sabre countered by applying the STF for a cool spot. Sabre applied a key hold but Naito broke free. Sabre applied a guillotine and transitioned into an ankle lock but Naito broke free. Sabre slapped Naito but Naito countered by delivering a German suplex. Naito delivered a spine buster. Sabre delivered the penalty kick for a near fall. Sabre applied a knee bar but Naito held on a grabbed the bottom rope which the crowd popped for. Naito with forearms, a step-up enzuigiri and Gloria for a near fall. Naito went for the for the Destino but Sabre countered by transitioning into a leg hold. Sabre then wrapped Naito other knee across the back of his neck as Naito tapped out. 

  • A great technical and different style of match from what we have seen in the New Japan Cup so far.

Yano def. Davey Boy Smith Jr. via Count-Out

  • Rating: *

Yano choked Smith with his shirt and rolled him up for a near fall. Yano exposed the turnbuckle padding. Yano got a near fall after Smith went running into the exposed turnbuckle. Smith choked Yano with a cable. Smith delivered a gut wrench suplex for a near fall. Yano delivered an atomic drop and sent Smith into the exposed turnbuckle after shoving Red Shoes down. Smith places a steel chair in between the turnbuckles. Smith send Yano into the chair and delivers a side suplex for a near fall. Smith applied a crossface but Yano grabbed the bottom rope. Yano blocked Red Shoes view, delivered a low blow and rolled up Smith for a near fall. Smith delivered a power slam. Finish came with Smith charging at Yano but got crotched on the barricade as Yano won by count out.

  • This match was really dull and boring.

SANADA def. Chuckie T

  • Rating: ***

SANADA and Chuckie brawled in the crowd. Chuckie set up a table. SANADA delivered a snap suplex for a near fall. Chuckie delivered a power slam, a missile dropkick and a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Chuckie applied a figure-four but SANADA grabbed the bottom rope. SANADA delivered a dropkick and a plancha to Chuckie on the floor. SANADA went for a frankenstiener but Chuckie caught him and delivered a power bomb for a a near fall. Chuckle delivered a flip dive to SANADA on the floor. Chuckie delivered a flip dive over the barricade to SANADA. Chuckie scoop slammed SANADA onto a chair. SANADA delivered a power bomb to Chuckie through a table. SANADA delivered a springboard dropkick and a back suplex for a near fall. Chuckie delivered a Michinoku driver for a near fall. Chuckie delivered Eat Defeat but SANADA delivered a TKO for a near fall. Chuckie delivered the Omega Driver for a near fall. SANADA applied a dragon sleeper but Chuckie rolled him up for a near fall. SANADA applied a combination dragon sleeper and body scissors. SANADA delivered a top rope moonsault for the win.

  • This was a good match as both Chuckie T and SANADA worked well. 

New Japan Cup – Quarter Finals Report

Juice Robinson def. Michael Elgin 

  • Rating: ***1/4

Juice delivered a back suplex. Elgin delivered a step-up enzugiri. Juice was hanging from the middle rope as Elgin delivered a flip neck breaker from from the ring apron. Elgin with a snap suplex for a near fall. Juice delivered jabs but Elgin with a power slam. Elgin attempted a springboard splash but Juice moves out of the way. Juice delivered a plancha to the floor. Juice delivered a face buster for a near fall. Elgin delivered forearms but Juice delivered the double knees gut buster for a near fall. Elgin delivered a DVD into the turnbuckle. Elgin delivered a top rope superplex for a near fall. Elgin delivered a Tiger Driver for a near fall. Elgin went for a top rope corkscrew splash but Juice rolled out of the way. Elgin blocked a super kick and slammed Juice to the mat. Elgin delivered a clothesline and a super kick. Juice delivered a power bomb for a near fall. Juice went for the Pulp Fiction but Elgin delivered a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Juice went for the Pulp Fiction again but Elgin delivered a half-and-half suplex. Elgin delivered two big clotheslines and a buckle bomb in the corner. Elgin went for another power bomb but Juice countered with an inside cradle and got the win.

  • A good but not a great match. Elgin and Robinson worked well but didn’t take it to the next level.

Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Bad Luck Fale via Count-out 

  • Rating: ***

Tanahashi applied an abdominal stretch but Fale broke free by delivering a hip toss. Tanahashi delivered a baseball slide. Tanahashi jumps on the ring apron but Fale delivered a chop block. Fale sends Tanahashi into the chairs and throws the barricade on him. Fale delivered a splash to Tanahashi on the ring apron. Fale delivered a scoop slam and then sat on Tanahashi for a near fall. Tanahashi delivers forearms but Fale delivered big blows in the corner. Tanahashi delivered strikes in the corner. Tanahashi delivered three drop kicks a scoop slam which got a pop. Fale delivered a Samoan drop for a near fall. Fale delivered a Warrior Splash for a near fall. Tanahashi with a low drop kick but Fale delivered a clothesline for a near fall. Fale went for the Razor’s Edge but Tanahashi reversed it with a sunset flip. Tanahashi countered the grenade and delivered a German suplex for a big pop. Tanahashi delivered a sling blade and then clotheslined Fale to the floor. Tanahashi delivered a great looking High Fly Flow to Fale on the floor. Fale delivered the grenade on the ring apron. Fale attempted to Razor’s Edge, Tanahashi into the crowd but Tanahashi reversed and sent Fale into the crowd and won the match by count-out. 

  • A fine match. The crowd was into Tanahashi and got into his big spots. 

SANADA def. Yano via Submission 

  • Rating: **

SANADA with a rolling cradle for a near fall. Yano chocked SANADA with his shirt. SANADA went for the Paradise Lock but Yano grabbed the bottom rope. SANADA with a head scissors and delivered a slingshot plancha to Yano on the floor. Yano grabbed a chair but SANADA kicked it in his face. SANADA and Yano exchanged forearm strikes. Yano countered the Skull End with an inside cradle for a near fall. Yano delivered an inverted atomic drop and then catapult SANADA into the exposed turnbuckle. Yano delivered a low blow but SANADA grabbed the referee’s hand to stop the count. Finish came with SANADA delivering a low blow and then applied the Skull End as Yano tapped out. SANADA applied the Paradise Lock to the referee and Yano after the match.

  • A fine match but was helped with the crowd reaction. 

Zack Sabre Jr. def. Kota Ibushi via Referee Stoppage 

  • Rating: ****

Story of the match was Sabre being able outwrestle Ibushi in the early part of the match. They also told the story  that Ibushi was the better striker. The crowd was totally behind Ibushi as they chanted his name and rallied behind him. Ibushi went for a kick but Sabre countered by applying a heel hock but Ibushi grabbed the bottom rope. Sabre stretched Ibushi’s arm in multiple different ways. Ibushi delivered a head scissors and the KENTA combination. Ibushi delivered a nice standing moonsault for a near fall. Sabre applied an abdominal stretch but Ibushi grabbed the ropes to force a break. Sabre delivered forearms but Ibushi with a quick half-half suplex for a near fall. Sabre with a bridge for a near fall and then smoothly transitioned into an STF but Ibushi grabbed the bottom rope for another nice post. Sabre with a forearm but Ibushi delivered a Pele Kick. Ibushi went for a power bomb Sabre countered with a triangle. Ibushi broke free by delivering a sit-out power bomb for a nice near fall. We had a great back-and-forth roll ups for really close near falls. There was a nice forearm exchange. Ibushi delivered a big lariat. Ibushi delivered a power slam and went for the middle rope moonsault but Sabre caught him on the landing and applied a triangle. Sabre countered a Last Ride by applying an Octopus hold. Ibushi went for the Kamigoye knee strike but Sabre countered by grabbing Ibushi’s wrist. With wrist controlled maintained, Ibushi delivered a double wrist suplex for a really good near fall. Finish came with Sabre tying up Ibushi arms and delivering strikes to the back. Red Shoes called for the stoppage as Ibushi was spent and unable to defend himself.

  • This was a great match and with good storytelling. Sabre is just a master at his craft. Ibushi was the star of this match and plays a perfect babyface. 

New Japan Cup – Semi Finals Report

Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Juice Robinson 

  • Rating: ****

Juice offered a handshake before the match but Tanahashi refused. Story of the match was Tanahashi methodically working over the legs of Juice. While Juice wouldn’t wouldn’t work over the injured knee or biceps of Tanahashi. Tanahashi went for a middle rope cross body but missed as Juice rolled him up for a close near fall. Tanahashi delivered strikes in the corner and then slammed Juice feet against the ring post. Tanahashi applied an Indian death lock but Juice delivered head butts. Tanahashi charged but Juice delivered a spine buster. Juice went a running cannonball but missed  and went into the turnbuckle. Juice sent Tanahashi into the barricade and delivered a running cannonball into the barricade. Tanahashi went for the High Fly Flow but Juice pushed Red Shoes as Tanahashi got crotched on the top turnbuckle.  Juice delivered big chops and went for the double knee gut buster but Tanahashi countered with a dragon screw. Tanahashi countered a super kick and delivered a dragon screw. Tanahashi applied a cloverleaf but Juice grabbed the bottom rope. Juice delivered a full nelson bomb for a near fall. Juice delivered a big lariat for another near fall. Tanahashi countered the Pulp Fiction by delivering a sling blade for a near fall. Tanahashi countered a superplex and delivered the High Fly Flow but Juice rolled him over for a great near fall. (The crowd was split at this point as they cheered for both Juice and Tanahashi.) Tanahashi countered a suplex and delivered back-to-back Twisted shout. Juice counted a third Twisted shout and delivered a gut buster for a close near fall. Juice delivered a cross body and followed it up with a frog splash for a great near fall. Tanahashi delivered a dragon suplex and back-to-back High Fly Flow to the back and the chest of Juice for the win.

  • A great professional wrestling match as both Juice and Tanahashi worked really hard. After the match, Tanahashi shook Juice hand and gave him a hug as the crowd chanted for him. 

Zack Sabre Jr. def. SANADA via Submission 

  • Rating: ***3/4

Sabre and SANADA did some mat wrestling early and had a feeling out process. SANADA delivered a head scissors and followed up with a plancha to the floor. SANADA went for the Paradise Lock but Sabre reversed and applied an arm breaker. SANADA went for the Skull End but Sabre delivered a overhead kick to SANADA arms. SANADA delivered a dropkick and applied the Paradise Lock. Sabre countered a TKO and applied a hammerlock. SANADA delivered forearms but Sabre applied a abdominal stretch. SANADA delivered a back suplex for a near fall. Sabre rolled out of the way of a moonsault and delivered a PK kick. SANADA delivered a springboard dropkick. Sabre countered a TKO and applied a kimura but SANADA applied the Skull End. Sabre revered with a bridge attempts for a near fall. Sabre applied a triangle but SANADA countered with a TKO and a Tiger suplex for a near fall. SANADA went for a moonsault but Sabre caught him and applied a triangle. Sabre trapped the arms and leg as SANADA gave up.

  • A good technical wrestling match as both Sabre and SANADA worked hard. 

New Japan Cup – Final Round Report

Zack Sabre Jr. def. Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the New Japan Cup 

  • Rating: ***3/4

We got some chain wrestling early. Sabre delivered an overhead kick to the injured bicep of Tanahashi. Sabre went for the Orienteering with Napalm Death but Tanahashi placed his foot on the bottom rope. Tanahashi delivered a somersault senton for a near fall. Sabre applied an Octopus hold but Tanahashi countered with a dragon screw. Tanahashi applied an abdominal stretch and then delivered a pump handle slam. Sabre applied a triangle hold but Tanahashi countered by applying a cloverleaf. Sabre reversed the hold by applying a cross arm breaker. Tanahashi broke free by delivered a dragon screw. Tanahashi delivered a great looking High Fly Flow to the floor. Sabre let Tanahashi spins the cat and then applied a heel hook but Tanahashi grabbed the bottom rope. Sabre applied a guilotine hold but Tanahashi countered by delivering back-to-back Twist and Shouts. Sabre revered a third by cradling up Tanahashi for a close near fall. Tanahashi went for the High Fly Flow but Sabre caught him and applied a heel hook but Tanahashi grabbed the bottom rope. Sabre delivered a PK kick for a great near fall. Sabre delivered a low kick but Tanahashi delivered a sling blade for a near fall. Tanahashi delivered a snap dragon suplex and then bridged for another close near fall. Tanahashi delivered a High Fly Flow to the back but missed the second one. Finish came when Sabre pulled Tanahashi into the center of the ring and applied the Orienteering with Napalm Death as Tanahashi tapped out. 

  • This was a very good professional technical wrestling match as both Sabre and Tanahashi worked hard.

Post Match

Taka Michinoku asked Sabre what’s next? Sabre thought about it and said he wants to face Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. Michinoku then called out Okada who came out with Gedo. Gedo and Taka had a quick promo battle and then Okada left. Sabre and Taka celebrated to end the show. Kazuchika Okada will defend the IWGP Heavyweight Title against Zack Sabre Jr. on April 1st at Sakura Genesis.

Overall

New Japan Cup was a pretty fun tournament and had some good professional matches. The booking of this tournament was very good especially for Sabre who looks like a strong contender to face Okada. 


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