New Japan "New Japan Cup 2015"
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  March 8th, 2015
Location:  Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  2,015 (Super No Vacancy Full House)

After some surprises on Day 1 of the New Japan Cup, we are back with the second round.  Beyond that there is nothing really exciting on this card, although we do get two of the young lions teaming with veterans in a mid-card match that should be exciting.  Here is the full card:

- Jay White vs. YOSHI-HASHI
- Tenzan, Honma, Captain New Japan, Liger, and KUSHIDA vs. Kojima, Nakanishi, Tiger Mask, Taguchi, and Máscara Dorada
- Hiroshi Tanahashi and Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata and Sho Tanaka
- Karl Anderson, Gallows, Tama Tonga, and Cody Hall vs. Nakamura, Okada, Sakuraba, and Tomohiro Ishii
- New Japan Cup - Round 2: Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- New Japan Cup - Round 2: Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano
- New Japan Cup - Round 2: Bad Luck Fale vs. Tetsuya Naito
- New Japan Cup - Round 2: Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Only eight matches which is below average for a big New Japan card, so this won’t be my longest New Japan review.

Jay White vs. YOSHI-HASHI
They start out with armdrags and White dropkicks YOSHI-HASHI out of the ring.  White goes out after him but YOSHI-HASHI throws him into the railing.  After a moment they return to the ring and YOSHI-HASHI chops White.  White chops him back but YOSHI-HASHI drops White onto the top rope and hits a dropkick.  YOSHI-HASHI applies a single leg crab hold but White gets to the ropes.  They trade elbows and White hits a scoop slam.  White goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick.  Lariat by YOSHI-HASHI in the corner and he goes for a neckbreaker, but White reverses it into a small package for two.  YOSHI-HASHI grabs White and this time he hits the neckbreaker for a two count.  YOSHI-HASHI goes for a powerbomb but White reverses it into a hurricanrana.  DDT by White, but YOSHI-HASHI kicks out of the cover.  White goes off the ropes but YOSHI-HASHI catches him with a lariat.  Scoop slam by YOSHI-HASHI, he goes up top and he hits a Swanton Bomb for the three count.  A solid opener, both of these guys show a lot of promise.  I like when the younger wrestlers go against each other in singles matches instead of against veterans as they have more freedom to do their thing.  A good way to begin the show.  Score:  6.0

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Honma, Captain New Japan, Liger, and KUSHIDA vs. Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Tiger Mask, Taguchi, and Máscara Dorada
My feelings on ten minute ten man tags is well-known, but to re-iterate, I generally don’t like them as it doesn’t give any chance for a wrestler to shine or to get any type of structure going.  Anyway, Liger and Tiger Mask begin things and they trade holds on the mat.  KUSHIDA and Dorada are tagged in next and Dorada hits a hurricanrana.  Dorada runs around in the corner and he hits a missile dropkick before tagging in Nakanishi.  Nakanishi chokes KUSHIDA but KUSHIDA dropkicks Nakanishi in the knee.  KUSHIDA tags in Honma and Honma trades chops with Nakanishi.  Shoulderblock by Honma but Nakanishi avoids the Kokeshi. Nakanishi tags in Kojima and Kojima hits a DDT.  Kojima stomps Honma and tags in Dorada.  Dorada slams Honma and he hits a diving leg drop.  Dorada tags in Tiger Mask as Taguchi comes in too, and Honma is double teamed.  Scoop slam by Taguchi and he hits the falling headbutt on Honma for two.  Rolling vertical suplexes by Taguchi but Honma reverses one.  Honma tags in Tenzan and Tenzan knocks around everyone.  Mongolian chops by Tenzan and he hits a lariat. 

Calf branding by Tenzan and he suplexes Taguchi.  More Mongolian Chops but Taguchi hits a hip attack.  Taguchi tags in Kojima and Kojima hits rapid fire chops on Tenzan in the corner.  Jumping elbow by Kojima and he hits a diving elbow drop.  Kojima and Tenzan trade chops and Tenzan hits a heel kick.  Tenzan tags in Captain New Japan and Captain New Japan hits a shoulderblock.  All of Captain New Japan’s teammates run in the ring and Kojima is assaulted in the corner.  Diving headbutt by Captain New Japan, but Kojima kicks out of the cover.  That was Captain New Japan’s moment, and it was wasted.  Taguchi runs in and hits Captain New Japan with a hip attack, then Taguchi hip attacks everyone else as I realize how much I hate Taguchi.  What a goober.  Dorada files out of the ring with a moonsault, while in the ring Kojima hits the Koji Cutter on Captain New Japan.  Kojima lariats Tenzan and then lariats Captain New Japan to pick up the three count.  I would love it if just once New Japan would surprise me and have the wrestler designated to take the fall actually picked up the pinfall victory.  Maybe one day, but today was not that day.  Dorada is still awesome but otherwise nothing special, aside from Tenzan flipping out on Kojima after the match and kicking his ass.  Score:  4.0

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata and Sho Tanaka
Tanahashi and Tanaka start the match, Tanaka gets Tanahashi in the ropes and he gives a mostly clean break.  Shoulderblock by Tanahashi but Tanaka fires back with elbows.  Scoop slam by Tanahashi and he tags in Komatsu.  Komatsu applies a chinlock and stomps on Tanaka.  Tanaka tags in Nagata, chops by Komatsu but Nagata elbows him back.  Komatsu elbows Nagata down and Komatsu applies a camel clutch.  Nagata elbows Komatsu and he knees Komatsu in the stomach.  Nagata tags in Tanaka and Tanaka hits a hiptoss.  Tanaka tags in Nagata and they trade elbows.  Kicks by Nagata to Komatsu but Komatsu hits a jumping elbow and tags in Tanahashi.  I swear it is more interesting than this play by play makes it sound.  Tanahashi and Nagata go at it, and Tanahashi hits a dragon screw.  Texas Cloverleaf by Tanahashi but Tanaka quickly breaks it up.  Tanahashi and Nagata trade elbows but Nagata dropkicks Tanahashi in the knee.  Tanaka comes in to help again but Tanahashi dumps him out of the ring.  Exploder by Nagata to Tanahashi, and Nagata tags in Tanaka.  Jumping elbow by Tanaka, he picks up Tanahashi and hits a suplex for a two count.  Tanaka applies a crab hold to Tanahashi (ha) but Tanahashi rolls out of it and they end up in the ropes.  Tanahashi uppercuts Tanaka and he hits a back breaker.  Tanahashi tags in Komatsu and Komatsu elbows Tanaka in the corner.  Tanaka and Komatsu trade elbows, and Komatsu hits a single arm suplex on Tanaka.  Komatsu applies a crab hold to Tanaka but Tanaka gets to the ropes.  Tanaka gets away and slaps Komatsu, but Komatsu applies a single leg crab hold and Tanaka submits.  It was fun to see the young lions facing off with Tanahashi and Nagata, including them occasionally getting the upper hand.  A good showing by both and a very solid match.  Score:  6.5

Anderson, Doc Gallows, Tonga, and Cody Hall vs. Nakamura, Okada, Sakuraba, and Tomohiro Ishii
Anderson and Sakuraba are the first two in, Sakuraba goes for Anderson’s arm but Anderson gets into the ropes.  Sakuraba tags in Nakamura, Anderson gets the upper hand and he tags in Tonga.  Kneedrop by Nakamura to Tonga and he tags in Ishii.  Tonga and Ishii trade elbows, Nakamura and Okada come in the ring and Tonga is triple teamed.  Tonga hits Gallows by accident when he tries to help, and Tonga hits a jumping… crotch smash on Ishii.  Tonga slams Ishii while the rest of the Bullet Club clears the ring and battle into the stands.  Tonga tags in Hall as I finally get my first look at him, as Hall elbows Ishii in the corner.  Hall is very tall.  He tags in Anderson, and Anderson kicks at Ishii.  Gallows is next and he attacks Ishii in the corner.  Gallows scoop slams Ishii but Ishii avoids the elbow drop.  Ishii hits a vertical suplex on Gallows and he tags in Okada.  Okada clears the ring and he DDTs Gallows.  Jumping elbow by Okada in the corner and he hits a big boot followed by a scoop slam.  Gallows tags in Anderson, and Okada hits a flapjack.  Okada tags in Nakamura, Nakamura knees Anderson and he hits an inverted powerslam.  Anderson snaps off a spinebuster and all of Bullet Club run in, as Nakamura is attacked by everyone in the corner.  Discus lariat by Hall, cover, but it is broken up.  Hall jumps over Nakamura in the corner and hits a powerslam, but it gets a two count.  Hall picks up Nakamura and goes for the Razor’s Edge but Ishii runs in and lariats him.  Anderson and Gallows come in but Sakuraba also comes in and everyone takes turns attacking each other.  The ring clears with just Nakamura and Hall in it, Hall goes for a chokeslam but Nakamura knees out of it.  Nakamura hits a knee out of the corner and then levels Hall with the Boma Ye for the three count.  This had some fun parts but not long enough to get a lot going, Hall shows ability, although there was just too much going on for any one wrestler to shine.  A solid match but it never went past that.  Score:  6.0

Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi
This match is part of Round 2 in the New Japan Cup.  They go back and forth until Makabe hits a shoulderblock, but Takahashi pulls Makabe’s leg out of the ring and slams it into the ring post.  Takahashi attacks Makabe around the ring, focusing on Makabe’s leg.  Back in the ring Takahashi works over Makabe’s leg some more but Makabe starts hulking up.  Makabe lariats Takahashi in the corner and hits a series of mounted punches.  Northern Lights Suplex by Makabe but Takahashi dropkicks him in the knee.  Fisherman buster by Takahashi but it gets a two count.  Takahashi twists Makabe’s leg in the ropes and he hits a big boot.  Powerslam by Makabe as he comes back and he chops Takahashi in the throat.  Powerbomb by Makabe but Takahashi bites his hand.  Takahashi drops Makabe on the top rope and he hits a lariat.  Miami Shine by Takahashi but it gets two.  Takahashi picks up Makabe and he powerbombs Makabe head-first into the turnbuckles in very painful fashion.  Takahashi picks up Makabe but Makabe slips away and hits the Polish Hammer.  Takahashi goes to do a low blow but Makabe hits a lariat.  Makabe elbows Takahashi in the corner, he puts him up top and hits a spider German suplex.  King Kong Kneedrop by Makabe and he gets the three count.  This was average at best, there was some solid action but was randomly laid out.  The knee work was fine but meant absolutely nothing and was quickly forgotten.  Takahashi’s powerbomb was nasty but probably not on purpose, and Makabe isn’t the type to save a match.  What helped it is wasn’t very long and they kept the action moving, but still lacking.  Score:  4.0

Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano
This match is part of Round 2 in the New Japan Cup.  Yano puts a chair in the corner and throws water at Ibushi, before drop toeing Ibushi into the chair.   Yano removes the turnbuckle pad but Ibushi slips away.  Kick to the stomach by Ibushi but Yano rolls him up for two.  Yano hits a low blow and he rolls up Ibushi for a two count.  Ibushi knocks Yano out of the ring but Yano rolls back in.  Swandive missile dropkick by Ibushi, but Yano hits an atomic drop.  Monkey flip by Yano but Ibushi springs up to the top turnbuckle, hitting a flying sunset flip for the three count!  I guess it is only fair that Yano loses to a cradle.  It was short and to the point.  You can’t hate it but not much of a match.  Score:  5.0

Bad Luck Fale vs. Tetsuya Naito
This match is part of Round 2 in the New Japan Cup.  Fale tosses around Naito but Naito hits a drop toehold followed by a dropkick.  Fale falls out of the ring, Naito dives off the apron but Fale catches him and slams Naito onto the floor.  Fale throws Naito onto a table and chokes him, Fale returns to the ring and Naito slowly follows.  Fale stands on Naito and chops him, cocky pin but Fale but it only gets a one count.  Fale jumps down on Naito’s back.  Fale goes for a body press but Naito rolls out of the way.  Elbows by Naito and he dropkicks Fale in the knee.  Another dropkick to the knee and Naito hits a missile dropkick to the knee.  Naito applies a leg lock but Fale gets out of it and throws Naito into the corner.  Naito kicks Fale in the knee but Fale clubs him in the face.  Samoan drop by Fale and he hits a body press for a two count.  Naito goes for a jumping elbow, Fale catches him but Naito rolls Fale to the mat and applies an ankle lock.  Tornado DDT by Naito and he hits a sliding kick, Naito goes up to the top turnbuckle but Fale recovers and grabs him.  Fale goes the Bad Luck Fall but Naito slides away, Naito goes off the ropes but Fale levels him with a lariat.  Grenade by Fale, but Naito kicks out.  Fale goes for the Bad Luck Fall but Naito reverses it with a hurricanrana, and he picks up the three count!  I enjoyed this match quite a bit, Naito can be hit and miss but going against a hoss kept him well focused as he didn’t do any of his silly stuff.  It was a bit sloppy in parts but overall it told a logical story and the crowd really enjoyed it.  Score:  7.0

Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata
This match is part of Round 2 in the New Japan Cup.  They shake hands to start because they are friends, I imagine that will be the last pleasantry.  They end up on the mat early on, back up Shibata gets Goto in the ropes but he lets him go.  Goto returns the favor but Shibata punches him and they trade elbows.  Shibata knocks Goto out of the ring but Shibata throws him back in, he gets on the apron but Goto elbows Shibata back to the floor.  They battle it out at ringside and barely make it back in the ring before the twenty count.  Goto applies a headscissors but Shibata gets out of it and applies a leglock.  Shibata kicks Goto and Goto rolls out of the ring to attempt to re-group.  Shibata slides him back in and continues kicking Goto in the arm.  Shibata goes for a cross armbreaker, Goto blocks it but Shibata elbows Goto down in the corner.  Goto fires back with a lariat and he hits a heel kick.  Backdrop suplex by Goto and he hits another lariat.  Goto picks up Shibata but Shibata snaps off a quick backdrop suplex.  They trade suplexes back and forth, and Shibata kicks Goto in the head.  Big boot by Shibata, he hits a second one and then a dropkick to the face.  Vertical suplex by Shibata and he applies a sleeper.  Goto gets out of it and drops Shibata onto his knee.  They trade elbows on their knees, then they trade lariats and boots back on their feet.  Shibata catches Goto with a STO and applies an armbar, but Goto gets out of it.  Lariat by Shibata, he picks up Goto but Goto headbutts him.  Shibata gets Goto on his shoulders and he drops him onto his knee, he goes for a PK but Goto catches it.  Goto goes off the ropes and hits a lariat , roaring lariat by Goto but it gets two.  Ura Shouten by Goto, but Shibata kicks out of the cover.  Goto picks up Shibata and plants him with the Shouten Kai, picking up the three count!  This was a really hard hitting and fun match, as you would probably imagine.  My only complaint is Shibata never felt like he was on the cusp of winning, once Goto got away from the arm work he took over, but it was still entertaining from start to finish.  Score:  7.5

Final Thoughts:

The show started a bit weak but picked up by the end.  The mid-card tag matches were fine but lacked anything special and the first two Cup matches are very miss-able, but it ended with two entertaining matches.  Not a top of the line event from New Japan, but generally worth watching. The crowd was hot too which always helps.

Grade:  B-

Back to New Japan Reviews

review completed on 3/10/15