Round Two of The New Japan Cup Tournament continues with two big matches slotted for the end of the night. Hiroshi Tanahashi will take on fellow fan favorite Ryusuke Taguchi, and Kota Ibushi will try to avenge last year’s loss to Zack Sabre Jr. in a rematch.
Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, & Manabu Nakanishi b. Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino, Ren Narita, & Yota Tsuji when Tenzan submitted Tsuji with the Anaconda Vice – The usual “Veterans vs. Young Lions” match that opens many of these shows. Umino got in Nagata’s face, starting the match off hot. Narita took the brunt of the damage early on. Umino got the tag and ran wild, even slamming Nakanishi. It definitely looks like Umino is getting groomed for bigger things. Honma and Kojima exchanged Machine Gun Chops. Honma avoided Kojima’s elbow, and Kojima avoided the Kokeshi. The Lions banded together and decked Tenzan with a triple dropkick. Tsuji used a Boston Crab that Tenzan powered out of. Tenzan hit Tsuji with a sideslam, and followed up immediately with the Anaconda Vice for the submission
After the match, Umino again got in Nagata’s face and the two had to be pulled apart. Whether this was true disrespect, or simply a challenge of courage wasn’t clear. But either way, the two will likely have a match soon.
IWGP US Champion Juice Robinson, Michael Elgin, & Mikey Nicholls b. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Hikuleo w/Jado) when Nicholls pinned Hikuleo with a Mike Bomb – After a few minutes of stalling, the heels all pounced at once. Elgin managed to clean house before getting hit from behind with Jado’s shinai. Elgin grabbed the stick and broke it, but that distraction allowed the heels to get the jump on him. Bullet Club got the heat on Elgin until Juice got the tag and went at it with Owens. A multi-man brawl broke out with everybody hitting big moves. Nicholls was left in the ring with Hikuleo, who then got pinned with a Mike Bomb.
Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) b. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare when Archer pinned Henare after a Killer Bomb – This match is interesting to me because Toa Henare teamed with Makabe during the World Tag League. He wants to become part of Makabe’s Great Bash Heel stable. The heels went on the offensive off the bat and took the match to the floor. Henare took the brunt of the punishment until Makabe got the tag and rallied. Henare tagged back in and fought with Archer while Smith and Makabe brawled on the floor. Smith helped Archer hit a Killer Bomb, and prevented Makabe from making the save as Archer pinned Henare.
IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi of Los Ingobernables De Japon b. Hirooki Goto & Yoh of CHAOS when Takagi pinned Sho with Last Of The Dragon – The match degraded into a brawl early on. Chris Charlton pointed out that Takagi has not been pinned or submitted since he joined LIJ last year. Takagi hit Sho with a DVD and tried for Last Of The Dragon. Sho reversed into a pinning combination, but Takagi kicked out. Goto made the save after a powerbomb on Sho. Finally, after Naito disposed of Goto, Takagi pinned Sho with a Pumping Hammer and a Last Of The Dragon.
Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & BUSHI) b. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & Taka Michinoku) when Bushi pinned Michinoku with a Bushi Roll – Of course, Suzuki-Gun attacked before the bell. Taka low blowed Bushi right off the bat, and the brawl spilled to the floor. By the time the match got back in the ring, Evil was the one getting triple teamed. Eventually Sanada got the hot tag and ran wild. He put Taka in the Paradise Lock and took the fight to Suzuki. After going back and forth, Sanada tagged in Bushi. In the ensuing six way brawl, Bushi tried a flying headscissors, which Taka reversed into a Just Facelock. Bushiwas ablke to turn that into a Bushi Roll for the pin.
After the match, Sanada and Suzuki had a pull apart brawl.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay) b. Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, & Colt Cabana when Yano pinned Cabana with a Roll-Up – This time, it’s completely understandable that there would be CHAOS members on each side, as five out of the six men are part of upcoming tournament matches. Ospreay came charging out of the gate against Okada, and they exchanged several holds and reversals. The all CHAOS team managed to cut off Hashi, and work him over. Okada got the tag and made a comeback. He again traded moves and reversals with Ospreay. A double tag out to Yano and Cabana lead to a standstill with both men holding turnbuckle pads like weapons. Yano managed to shove Cabana into Ishii, and roll him up from behind for the pin.
Hiroshi Tanahashi p. Ryusuke Taguchi with a Dragon Suplex – The crowd did seem to be receptive to Taguchi, probably because he is looked at as an underdog against Tanahashi. Chris Charlton called the match “Ace vs. Ass”, which certainly wins for most creative subtitle in a wrestling match. Taguchi again tried for a fistbump, and showed his honesty by fistbumping Red Shoes. However, when Taguchi tried to cheap shot, Tanahashi was ready for it. Taguchi gained control with his own Hip Attacks, and managed to dropkick Tanahashi to the floor. Back in the ring, Taguchi applied the Ankle Lock. A Boma Ye got Taguchi a surprisingly close near fall. Taguchi stayed on the offense with a Tiger Suplex and another Ankle Lock. Tanahashi rallied and hit a pair of Sling Blades, and followed up with a Dragon Suplex to get the pin. A little bit of a surprise finish, not that Tanahshi won, but that the finish was a Dragon Suplex instead of a High Fly Flow.
Zack Sabre Jr. (w/Taka Michinoku) s. Kota Ibushi with a Calf Slicer – Taka did his usual intro, and Ibushi was naturally the crowd favorite. Sabre caught Ibushi in a leapfrog and reversed into a leglock. Ibushi quickly escaped. Sabre kept Ibushi grounded with his submission holds. Ibushi made his comeback using his agility and striking abilities. Sabre used a guillotine headlock, and tried for his Zack Driver. Ibushi escaped with a lariat. Sabre reversed a piledriver into a roll-up, but Ibushi kicked out. Ibushi countered a triangle choke with a powerbomb for a two count. Several exciting reversals with each man escapig the others moves and holds. Zack managed to get the upper hand with a Calf Slicer. Ibushi struggled for a bit, but when he failed to make it to the ropes, he was forced to tap out. A little surprising of a finish, given Sabre submitted Ibushi last year. However, it still furthers the story of Sabre being unbeaten in Cup Tournaments. And of course, it continues to prove that when Gedo wants to push a star, he REALLY pushes a star.