New Japan Pro Wrestling
NEW JAPAN CUP 2019
Day 10 – Aired 3/21/19
Act City Hamamatsu, Shizouka
Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero and Excalibur (!!!) on commentary.
SANADA vs COLT CABANA
Colt is a bit more businesslike at the top but is still bringing his signature energy as the bell rings. Nice response for SANADA and an equally nice one for Colt! YAY! Lockup, Cabana takes control early, SANADA escapes and gets the wrist and we get a nice mat and grappling sequence from both. SANADA takes down Colt but Colt gets a headscissors and hangs on to SANADA in the middle of the ring. Escape attempt by SANADA is reversed as Colt just shoves his head back into the headscissors. Headstand by SANADA and he is able to kip out of it and we get a standoff.
Colt offers a handshake, SANADA does not take it, Colt shakes the refs hand to show he’s trustworthy but SANADA hesitates. Lock up, SANADA gets the leg and looks for the Paradise Lock but Colt escapes and looks for one of his own, SANADA blocks so Colt gets a unique cover for 2. SANADA snags the legs again and thinks about the Paradise Lock, Colt offers the hand and SANADA is wary, then takes it and Colt turns it into a cover for 2! Colt offers a handshake and SANADA hesistates again. SANADA shakes and Colt is sneaky and whips SANADA, they go for a quick exchange as SANADA snags the Paradise Lock, chants for SANADA as he hits the basement dropkick and Colt heads outside.
SANADA tells Colt to get back in the ring, Colt tells SANADA to back off first and SANADA teases going after him and instead holds open the ropes for him. Colt heads inside but picks a different route as he doesnt trust SANADA. SANADA charges but Colt hits an elbow before eating a dropkick by SANADA which sends him to ringside, and SANADA follows with a pescado wiping Colt out. Colt is sent back inside but rolls all the way across and out to ringside again, SANADA follows and tries to send Colt in again, but Colt slowly rolls outside again. SANADA stops him and covers but only gets 1.
Snapmare and headlock by SANADA grounds Colt. Colt fights out and hits big strikes and hard elbows, SANADA gets a rana but eats a stiff elbow and Colt hits a series of jabs, ducks an enziguri and hits the Flip Flop and Fly elbow. Flying Apple connects in the corner and he gets the double jump splash on SANADA and covers for 2. Colt picks SANADA up and keeps on him, misses the standing springboard moonsault but evades Skull End. SANADA looks for Skull End out of the corner but Colt escapes and reverses a SANADA springboard attempt into a firemans carry, SANADA drops behind for Skull End but Colt picks the leg and gets the Billy Goat’s Curse! SANADA fights for the ropes and gets the break.
Colt stays on SANADA in the corner, sits SANADA up top and looks for a rana but SANADA rolls it through into a sunset flip for 2, then gets an O’Connor Roll into a Skull End. Colt reverses but SANADA is able to drape Colt on the top rope and hit an Anarchist Suplex, looks for the moonsault but Colt gets the knees up and cradles SANADA, but only gets 2! Dropkick by SANADA is evaded and Colt goes for the Superman Pin but SANADA rolls through with the momentum out of the pinning predicament. SANADA charges Colt in the corner but Colt kicks him away and looks for Superman again but SANADA moves and gets behind Colt for Skull End, Colt drops into another rollup for 2 and SANADA is able to do a Sliced Bread flip into Skull End and drops down with it, and Colt finally taps to give SANADA the WIN!
SANADA defeats Colt Cabana by submission after Skull End to advance to the Semifinals
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
That was a very fun outing from both, with Colt striking a nice balance of his usual shtick while also going move for move with SANADA. SANADA going over was pretty clear, but Colt has some good love from the crowd based on his tournament performance, and I am SO HAPPY to see Colt make it so far his first time out and to be so well received for it! Nice work all around.
After the match he goes over to Kevin Kelly’s mic and apologizes on air, asking forgiveness for tapping out.
ZACK SABRE, JR. w/ TAKA MIchinoku vs HIROSHI TANAHASHI
ZSJ sporting some heel-ish facial hair right now. We get the bell and they feel each other out, looking for their opening and grappling to the mat. Great mat sequence as Tana goes hold for hold with ZSJ and we get a standoff. They go a grappling route again with each trying to stay a step ahead of the other, Tana gets the leg of ZSJ but ZSJ transitions and looks to extend Tana’s arm. They work the mat some more to another standoff, and ZSJ might be getting flustered. Tana calls for the knuckle lock, Tana shows his power advantage over ZSJ and works him down with the test of strength, ZSJ fights back and transitions the position into a dominant position and rolls through with the wrists to put pressure on Tana.
Tana rolls back through to release the pressure and they test the strength again, ZSJ gets pushed back into a bridge but is able to work over the arm and take control of Tana. Northern Lights suplex by Tana and he gets his wrists free again. Sleeper by Tana is reversed, they trade holds, ZSJ looks to Pele the arm, Tana looks to turn it into a dragon screw but ZSJ gets another unique arm submission instead before stomping the arm hard. Arm stomp again by ZSJ, and he keeps Tana grounded as he wrenches the arm and looks for the double chickenwing, and moves it into a cover for 2.
Mocking kicks by ZSJ to Tana followed by a big Euro, but Tana wakes up and fires back, another Euro by ZSJ connects and another few in the corner but Tana fires up and puts ZSJ in the corner before hitting a series of Euros. They trade, Tana blocks a ZSJ charge and hits a running elbow off the ropes to drop ZSJ. Chants for Tana. Tana with a slam and the middle rope somersault senton, cover but only 2. Sling Blade is blocked with a boot and an abdominal stretch, but Tana reverses the stretch, ZSJ overtakes again, Tana reverses again and turns it into a pumphandle drop.
Suplex by Tana is reversed as ZSJ is able to twist the arm and hits a running PK that mightve caught Tanaa a bit high in the mouth! ZSJ is dumped on the apron but catches Tana in an Octopus Hold of sorts while tied in the ropes, but Tana gets the rope hung dragon screw, a dropkick to the knee and another rope hung dragon screw to take control. Tana looks for the Cloverleaf but ZSJ uses his frame well to block it and ZSJ is able to reverse it into a triangle hold. ZSJ works the wrist to drive Tana down further and it looks like Tana is fading in the hold. Chants for Tana as he revives and is able to break free and get the Cloverleaf but ZSJ quickly crawls to the ropes for the break.
Tana stays on ZSJ but ZSJ gets a body scissors and a guillotine before switching over to key lock and wrench the arm in classic British style, but Tana is able to turn it into a series of Twist and Shouts. Sling Blade by Tana connects and Tana folds ZSJ up but only gets 2. Tana looks for the Dragon Suplex, ZSJ reverses and they trade counters until ZSJ is able to climb Tana and lock in an Octopus, pulling back on the arm and shoulder. Chants for Tana. Escape by Tana picking the leg is countered by ZSJ into a Pele to the arm, Tana slaps him but ZSJ lays in kicks, Tana catches one and looks for a dragon screw but ZSJ is able to turn it into a European Clutch for 2, then follows with a great THUDDING PK and covers but still only gets 2!
Big chants for Tana. ZSJ looks for the Zack Driver but Tana gets an O’Connor Roll for 2, ZSJ looks for Orienteering With Napalm Death but Tana is fighting to keep it from locking in fully, and kicks ZSJ away to escape while hitting a grounded dragon screw on ZSJ’s leg. The crowd is getting behind Tana more and more. Dragon suplex by Tana is countered into a wrist-clutch pin by ZSJ for 2, they trade shots but ZSJ looks for a backslide, Tana looks to block and slaps ZSJ, eats a slap but gets a reverse Sling Blade and a Fujinami-style Ankle Clutch Prawn Hold, the ref counts and Tana gets the 3 Count and the WIN with a page from ZSJ’s own playbook! ZSJ is livid!
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Zack Sabre Jr by pinfall with a European Clutch to advance to the Semifinals
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a great match with the main story being Tana finally getting a win over someone who has had his number in the past in ZSJ, and now advances to the semifinals against SANADA. I usually like this kind of match more, though it was a great match, I feel like it JUST crossed into that territory at the very end. I think it could have honestly used just 2-3 more beats to take it home, something of a flurry, and it just would have elevated to that next stage. But nonetheless both were outstanding here, with ZSJ’s cockiness getting the best of him while he still was in step at every moment with the legendary former IWGP champ. And Tana showed that he can go a ground game with the best of them, ZSJ included on that list, picking up a win with a shock pinning combo in classic ZSJ fashion. Great story, well told.
Day 10 is a fun couple of tournament matches, with Colt’s breakout run coming to a halt in the Quarterfinals and SANADA moving on to Tanahashi, setting the semis as that match along with Ishii vs Okada. While in many ways a Tana/Okada final is the least interesting choice to me here, I feel like its where the storytelling seems to be going in terms of who they want in the conversation with Jay White at Madison Square Garden. They want a big-money NJPW player, and it doesnt get bigger or more money in that company than those two. If they keep delivering action like its been throughout this tournament so far, I can’t really complain.