NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 Day 3: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Taichi, Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr
By: Mike Murray
*Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Douki over Yji Nagata, Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura and Gabriel Kidd. El Desperado pinned Tsuji.
*Sanada over Ryusuke Taguchi
*Sho over Shingo Takagi
*Kota Ibushi over Zack Sabre Jr
*Taichi over Hiroshi Tanahashi
SANADA VS RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
The match starts with lots of wrist control attempts between the two, with each applying holds and reversing each other. Taguchi tries to fool Sanada a few times and attempts to put Sanada into the Paradise Lock. Sanada escapes and puts Taguchi into the Paradise Lock properly and proceeds to dropkick Taguchi right into his funky weapon. Canada hits a couple of atomic drops thereby weakening Taguchi’s butt… Taguchi misses a hip attack but does get his Three Amigos tribute in. The closing sequence saw Taguchi applying the ankle lock, Sanada getting out and putting on Skull End as they traded their submissions. Taguchi tried for another hip attack that was countered into another atomic drop and Sanada pinned him for the win.
WINNER: Sanada in 15:49
Mike’s rating 2.75 out of 5
This was a fun opener to the New Japan Cup matches of the day. The match had some nice transitions and not too much comedy. I would have liked to have seen Sanada come out looking stronger by submitting Taguchi instead of the pinning combination.
SHO VS SHINGO TAKAGI
Sho flies out of the starting blocks and hits Takagi with clotheslines. Sho kicks Takagi’s right arm and weakens it- Takagi’s thumb is already tapped up. Takagi runs Sho into the barricades outside the ring and DDTs him onto the mat outside. Sho is rolled back into the ring and Takagi works on his neck with elbow strikes, a stomp, and a foot to the side of Sho’s head. Sho tries for a spear but Takagi catches it and gets a front face lock on instead. Sho tries for an armbar on Takagi’s weakened arm, but Takagi powerbombs Sho and gets out of the submission attempt. Takagi hits a Pumping Bomber and Blood Fall. Sho delivers a Powerbreaker.
The finish comes when after a forearm exchange, Sho hits 10 forearms that the announcers count. Takagi hits Made In Japan but Sho kicks out and hits a piledriver and then hits Shock Arrow for the win.
WINNER: Sho in 17:12
Mike’s rating 4 out of 5
This was a really good match. Sho looked like he was confident in himself that he could beat the veteran Takagi as long as he didn’t let Takagi get the upper hand for too long. Lots of stiff strikes from both guys. Takagi’s arm and it’s effectiveness were pretty consistent throughout the match.
ZACK SABRE JR VS KOTA IBUSHI
Ibushi looks like he has put some muscle. This was a perfect empty arena match with the focus on Sabre Jr’s ground game vs Ibushi’s strikes and explosiveness. Sabre concentrated his attack on Ibushi’s legs and targeted his right knee and ankle. Lots of good mat wrestling, so many submission attempts and sequences by Sabre Jr. Ibushi was throwing some heavy leg kicks. These guys are two of the best in the world and this match was great. The finish came with when Ibushi hit a knee strike to Sabre Jr and followed it with a Kamigoye.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi
Mike’s rating 4 out of 5.
Fantastic match, definitely worth the watch. Today’s show is shaping up very strong. Let’s hope the man event can deliver.
TAICHI VS HIROSHI TANAHASHI
If you think Taichi’s lip-synching entrance is stupid with a crowd, it is even dumber with an empty arena. Tanahashi has an epic new entrance jacket with what looks like ice spikes on his shoulders! As Tanahashi stands on the second rope, Taichi powerbombs him, thankfully the spikes are not ruined. My youngest daughter walks through and says she remembers “weird hair” (Taichi).
This match was another overbooked main event. As the match starts, Douki is out and works over a stunned Tanahashi outside the ring. Taichi chokes Takahashi with camera cables on the outside. When Tanahashi is rolled back in, Red Shoes refuses to count Taichi’s pinning attempt. Takahashi is thrown back outside. Tanahashi throws Taichi into the barricades and Douki tries to hit Tana with some sort of metal pipe. Tahiti gets the advantage and runs Tana into the bleachers. Tight grabs a chair and uses it twice. All the while Red Shoes stays in the ring and there is no count. Taichi runs Tanahashi into the ring post. Tsuji, who is at ringside, starts to bang on the mat to encourage the Ace of the universe. Takahashi hits a second rope somersault senton, a dragon screw leg whip. Taichi hits some bigs chest kicks. Takahashi gets two sling blades after a few attempts and hits a High Fly Flow. As he tries to follow up, he is distracted by Douki. With Tana and Red Shoes distracted, Taichi seizes the opportunity to kick Tana between the legs.
Taichi hits the Last Ride for a two count. A side suplex, the pants come off, superkick, and Black Mephisto for the win.
WINNER: Taichi in 21:51
Mike’s rating 2.5
Overbooked, too much interference (yes, I know that is Suzuki-gun’s game) and Red Shoes looked completely useless as an official again. It looks like the break did not do anything for poor Takahashi’s knees. The previous two matches were way above this one and the post-match beat down by Taichi and Douki on Tanahashi led to Ibushi coming out to save his partner. Looks like we may get Taichi and Douki (?!?) challenging for the IWGP Tag Team titles at Dominion. Hopefully, Sabre Jr will be teamed with Taichi instead of Douki for that match
After Day 3 of the New Japan Cup, Round 2 will have:
Sanada vs Sho
Kota Ibushi vs Taichi
Let me know what you thought of today’s New Japan Cup show in the comments below or on twitter @ScarboroughDad and thanks for reading.