New Japan Pro Wrestling
NEW JAPAN CUP 2019
Day 5 – 3/13/19
ZIP Arena Okayama
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero on commentary.
Second Round Match
CHASE OWENS vs YOSHI-HASHI
We get some tension to begin and Chase takes HASHI to the mat and then paintbrushes him. HASHI fires back hard. Chase looks for the piledriver early, HASHI counters and looks for Karma, Chase escapes and they evade each others moves, HASHI is able to snag the Butterfly Lock but Chase gets the ropes. HASHI stays on him and looks aggressive, laying in a nice chop. Jado teases a shot with the kendo stick and Chase takes advantage, dumps HASHI and sends him into the barricade. Chase brings HASHI up the entranceway, gets momentum with HASHI and throws him hard shoulder-first into the apron mimicking HASHI’s recent injury, and heads inside as the ref counts. HASHI gets back in at 18.
Chase works the shoulder and arm, and gets a closed fist shot to the face. Slam to HASHI, Bret Hart style elbow off the middle rope connects, Chase taunts HASHI and hits a neckbreaker for 2. Chase misses an elbow drop and HASHI tries to rise, gets the reverse spin kick and drapes Chase over the top rope before hitting the dropkick to the back. Cover by HASHI by only 1. HASHI looks for the Bunker Buster but Chase escapes, they trade shots and Chase hits a short-arm clothesline for 2. Package Piledriver attempt is countered and HASHI drops Chase neck-first into the top turnbuckle, sits Chase on top, Chase counters a superplex, ties HASHI in the Tree of Woe and hits a double stomp, driving the injured shoulder down, and covers for 2.
Package Pildriver is reversed again but Chase gets a Sharpshooter instead. (Love that Rocky calls out Riki Choshu for that move.) Chase uses the ropes for leverage but HASHI gets a rope break. They go to the apron and Chase looks for the piledriver but HASHI backdrops him onto the apron. HASHI looks to climb, gets a blockbuster off the top and covers for 2. Karma attempt is blocked and Chase gets the ref distracted as Jado is in, HASHI intercepts but Chase is able to get a shot with the stick while the ref is dealing with Jado, and Chase takes down HASHI with a Nightmare on Helms Street. Big knee strike follows, Chase covers but HASHI is up at 2! Nice pop. Superkick by HASHI, lariat by Chase, Jewel Heist is blocked and HASHI floors Chase with a nice lariat.
HASHI fires up, looks for Karma but Chase reverses, Jado looks for a shot but HASHI evades and Chase takes a shot to the head instead, HASHI gets the crowd behind him, running double knees connects and HASHI covers for 2, then transitions to the Butterfly Lock. Chase fights out, hits a back elbow but eats another HASHI lariat. Karma attempted again and HASHI is able to plant Chase, covers and gets the 3 count and the WIN!
YOSHI-HASHI defeats Chase Owen by pinfall after Karma to advance to the Quarterfinals
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
That was a fun and engaging match, with HASHI now picking up his 2nd win in the 1st tournament where he’s been able to advance at all. Chase Owens continues to be an unsung MVP of all of New Japan, just executing with utter precision and perfection from both a character and ring-work perspective. HASHI also picked it up here and showed what he is capable of when he locks in. Consistency is his big issue here, but it feels like the crowd is ALWAYS rooting for him, which is fantastic. They want him to succeed. I want him to succeed. And if he can figure out how to bottle the kind of focus and energy he brought here and then build upon that, he might finally get the break out everyone has been waiting for from him. He has it in him, and it served him extremely well here. Nice work.
Second Round Match
TAICHI vs TOMOHIRO ISHII
Taichi is out again with the iron glove of the now-retired Takashi Iizuka. Some love for Taichi from this crowd. Taichi keeps the pace slow and slithers to the outside to start. Ishii yells at Taichi but Taichi indulges in every moment. Taichi keeps in the ropes, Ishii finally has enough and puts hands on Taichi and things start to fire up until Taichi heads outside again and slows it down again. Ishii just sits in the middle of the ring and waits as the ref counts. Taichi starts walking up the ramp, but then gets back in the ring and Ishii just CHARGES HIM. Ishii brings Taichi outside again and throws him into the railing, then into the ringpost, then over the barricade.
Taichi pops up and just TOSSES a chair at Ishii’s face, and follows with a chair shot to the head, works over Ishii and heads back inside as the ref counts. Ishii back in fairly quickly and Taichi is right on him, and works over Ishii. A kick to the back wakes Ishii up and he asks for more, which Taichi obliges. Taichi plays dominant over Ishii, Ishii fires back so Taichi goes to the eyes. Ishii finally able to get a step ahead of Taichi and hits a nice vertical suplex. Chops in the corner by Ishii collapse Taichi. Ishii says “who are you” to Taichi, whips him to the corner but Taichi hits a sharp gamengiri.
Buzzsaw kick misses but Taichi able to hit another gamengiri and a boot to the face to take down Ishii. Taichi steps on Ishii derisively, hits Kawada kicks to the head but Ishii is unphased and chops Taichi HARD in the throat! Repeatedly! Ishii is now in control and lays in multiple headbutts and steps on Taichi in return. Short kicks to the head by Ishii, then slaps. Taichi fires up and lays in kicks, Ishii with a chop and Kawada kicks of his own, but Taichi hits a great hook kick to drop Ishii. Stretch Plum attempted by Taichi, Ishii fights out, but Taichi hits a GREAT backdrop driver and the PANTS. GO. FLYIIIIIIIING. Taichi with an INSANE Buzzsaw Kick, covers but Ishii is out at 2! HOLY SHIT THE CRACK ON THAT ONE.
Taichi grounds Ishii and locks in the Stretch Plum, and keeps wrenching it. This is becoming a nice signature submission for Taichi actually – he knows how to wrench it well. Ishii begins to fade, Taichi releases and covers Ishii and Ishii BARELY gets the shoulder up. Taichi looks for the Last Ride but Ishii looks to block, finally hoisting Taichi and dropping him overhead. German suplex by Ishii plants Taichi and both are down. Ishii hits fast elbows and swats away an enziguri, they run the ropes and Ishii hits a BIG lariat, covers Taichi but only gets 2.
Last Ride powerbomb by Ishii connects and he folds Taichi up, but only gets 2. Sliding lariat misses and Taichi gets the ref KOed before hitting Ishii with an enziguri. Taichi grabs the mic stand, the ref is still out, and Ishii says to bring it and opens up for it. Taichi decides to drop the weapon and hits a kick and they start trading strikes! Great pop for that. Taichi starts connecting with a series of mid-kicks, Ishii counters but then eats another jumping enziguri and both are down again. Taichi hits an axe bomber to the back and a follow up to the front, covers Ishii but only gets 2. Taichi fires up, hits Last Ride and folds up Ishii but only gets 2 again!
Black Mephisto is reversed and Ishii hits a stuff piledriver, but TAICHI IS UP (FIGHTING SPIRIT!) and hits a Buzzsaw Kick! Taichi chants! HUGE headbutt by Ishii, HUGE kick to the head by Taichi, but Ishii hits lariats and covers Taichi but only gets 2! Vertical Drop Brainbuster is reversed and Taichi gets a low blow and Gedo Clutch but only gets 2! Taichi fires up again and looks for the superkick but Ishii ducks, then catches the next kick attempt and hits an enziguri of his own, follows with a sliding lariat and covers but STILL only gets 2! The crowd is alive. Vertical Drop Brainbuster connects, Ishii covers and we get the 3 count and the WIN!
Tomohiro Ishii defeats Taichi by pinfall after a Vertical Drop Brainbuster to advance to the Quarterfinals
JAY’S RATING: 4.5 out of 5
This was an OUTSTANDING match, and while I’ve been feeling the same growth from Taichi that many have been noticing lately, this was FAR AND AWAY the strongest performance I have seen from him yet, just delivering great action (especially his striking game – the more he embraces Kawada the better), great character and great drama throughout. I could praise Ishii but I’d just be repeating the same things that everyone already knows – the dude is incredible and he delivered another standout performance here. But I cant help but want to talk about Taichi because for me this was a turning point. There was love for Taichi in this crowd already, but it was still a bit ambivalent. By the end, he won the crowd over and fucking earned it through the work. Super impressed by his performance here, but also VERY happy to see Ishii advance. (GOD I’d love to see Ishii in the finals. We shall see.)
Two strong matches here, with the main event between Ishii and Taichi delivering a truly outstanding match from top to bottom. It was just an incredibly well told story that unfolded to perfection, and showed that Taichi has some real superstar potential if he can continue to channel it as he did here. HASHI advancing is good too as he put in a strong performance, and I’m hopeful that he can maintain his focus and momentum. Loving this tournament so far.