*Togi Makabe over Yota Tsuji in 8:42 in the New Japan Cup
*Toru Yano over Jado in 9:08 in the New Japan Cup
*Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru over Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura
*Hiromu Takahashi over Tomoaki Honma in 18:46 in the New Japan Cup
*Tomohiro Ishii over El Desperado in 20:18 in the New Japan Cup
TOGI MAKABE VS YOTA TSUJI
This was a tremendous opener and one of Makabe’s better performances in years. This was designed to showcase Tsuji even though he was going to lose. Makabe played the bully, which he can pull off well with his mannerisms and dismissive nature in handling Tsuji. Tsuji got a hope sequence including this awesome-looking cradle into a bridge for a two-count. Makabe hit a huge lariat and won with a bridging German suplex.
WINNER: Togi Makabe at 8:42
TORU YANO VS JADO
This was awful and on the lower end of the matches this year.
Jado got the kendo stick, which was removed by referee Marty Asami while Yano clocked him with the turnbuckle padding as Jado staggered for a long period before doing the Flair flop. Yujiro got involved and Yano was Irish whipped into the exposed buckle and hit with the dreaded padding that he took a bump from. Gedo got into the ring and Yano hit a low blow to both behind the referee’s back and rolled-up Jado.
WINNER: Toru Yano in 9:08
Even during a pandemic with limited entertainment options, this was a grand waste of time. Awful.
HIROMU TAKAHASHI VS TOMOAKI HONMA
Takahashi worked overtime and led to Honma’s best singles match since coming back from his nearly career-ending injury and saw flashes of the old Honma. They teased a lot of dangerous offense, which was concerning given both their medical histories. Honma took a DVD onto the edge of the apron and they teased the count-out but Honma was in at nineteen. Each attempted kokeshi head butts including Takahashi coming off the ropes. Honma fired up after kicking out at one but fell to the DVD in the corner and Time Bomb as Takahashi advances.
WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi at 18:46
It was the right result that establishes the junior heavyweights as viable in the tournament to defeat heavyweights. I don’t expect the junior heavyweights to win often but Takahashi and Shingo Takagi should be handled with care. This was a great piece of work by Takahashi as Honma is a limited performer these days and they had a great match.
TOMOHIRO ISHII VS EL DESPERADO
If this was held at a packed Korakuen Hall it would have torn the house down and may have propelled El Desperado to a higher level as he was excellent. Desperado targeted the knee throughout the first half of the match as a prelude to Numero Dos that Ishii fought throughout the match. Down the stretch, they used all the tricks to make you bite on Desperado’s near falls from a low blow behind the back of Red Shoes, Desperado hitting Guitarra de Angel and El Es Culero, and then led to Ishii shutting down Desperado. He landed a big lariat and brainbuster for the victory.
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii at 20:18
This was a solid main event and the time off has not affected Ishii, conversely, this was a big main event for El Desperado, and he improved his stock a lot even with a loss in the first round. He stepped up in a big way.
Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano vs. Hiromu Takahashi will take place on Wednesday, June 24th in the next round.
It was a quick show to watch in under two hours and will be a similar format on Wednesday with the following matches in the opening round of the New Japan Cup streaming at 6 am Eastern:
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Gedo
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata
*Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Yuya Uemura
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Gabriel Kidd