NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 Day 9 – The Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL, Master Wato vs. Douki

Mike Murray's report on Saturday's New Japan Cup Finals featuring Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL and Master Wato vs. Douki.

NEW JAPAN CUP 2020 Day 9 – The Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL, Master Wato vs. Douki

By: Mike Murray

Mike’s Match Ratings

Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs GBH: Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma – 3.25*
Gabriel Kidd & Hirooki Goto vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima – 3*
DOUKI vs Master Wato – 2.75*
Bullet Club: Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro takahashi vs  LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON: BUSHI & SANADA – 3*
SUZUKI-GUN: TAICHI, Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs IWGP Tag Team Champions: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi with Yuji Nagata & Ryusuke Taguchi – 3.5*
CHAOS: Tomohiro Ishii, SHO, Toru Yano vs  LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON: Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito – 4*
EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada – 3.75

The show starts with a great video package. Shots of empty seats, highlights of the NJPW Together Project from June 15, an emotional Hiroshi Tanahashi, old footage of Jyushin Liger, Okada celebrating in front of a crowd–New Japan is back and tonight is the first show in months they have held in front of any kind of live audience. As the show starts, all members of the audience appear to be wearing masks. There are empty seats to help with social distancing and limiting of people in Osaka-Jo Hall.

The middle of the ring reads, “Thank you for waiting”.

YUYA UEMURA & YOTA TSUJI VS GREAT BASH HEEL (GBH): TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA

This was a great way to start out the show. Before the bell rings there is a shot f Liger wearing an amazing Hawaiian shirt at the commentary table. The Young Lions were given a lot of chances to get some licks in on the veterans. The crowd was really strongly behind all of the Young Lions’ offence and comebacks, adding a lot to the match.

The finish came when Makabe hit a bridging German suplex on Uemura for the three count. Fun little tag match to kick off the show!

WINNERS: GBH in 9:12 

GABRIEL KIDD & HIROOKI GOTO VS TENCOZY: HIROYOSHI TENZAN & SATOSHI KOJIMA

When Kojima came out through the curtain and looked at the crowd, he had a big smile on his face. The audience is applauding everything. At the beginning of the match, Goto couldn’t knock Tenzan down. Kidd tried to work over Kojima’s arm to eliminate the lariat. Tencozy double teamed Kidd.  Headbutts by Tenzan to Goto. Kojima throws Goto into the corner and lays in the chops to the chest–the crowd is applauding like crazy. Kojima hits a cutter on Kidd. Goto and Kidd double team Kojima with a missile dropkick by Kidd into a side Russian leg sweep by Goto. That was pretty cool. Tencozy hit a 3D on Goto. Kidd escapes from an attempted 3D. Kidd suplexes Kojima for a two count. Kidd runs off the ropes to hit a lariat but ends up eating one from Kojima, who pins Kidd for the win.

WINNERS: TENCOZY in 9:58

Another fun tag match that the crowd elevated. The audience is into everything so far. Kidd looked very good against the veterans and had a few chances to show off his fighting spirit!

DOUKI VS MASTER WATO 

DOUKI swings his club/pipe and misses. Master Wato hits a shotgun dropkick and DOUKI is outside the ring. Wato hits a corkscrew plancha on DOUKI outside the ring and the bell sounds. Wato hits some killer chest kicks on DOUKI. Wato is thrown out of the ring and DOUKI hits a suicide dive through the ropes to the baby-blue-battler.

The end of the match comes when Master Wato hits a gut wrench facebreaker before climbing to the top rope and hitting a corkscrew senton for the win.

WINNER: MASTER WATO in 7:47 

When your name is “Master”, you better be good–maybe even great–at what you do. If you have trouble putting away a lower tier talent like DOUKI, maybe “Master” is not the name you should be going by.

In the battle for WH Park’s Ring Gear of the Night award, this was a very underwhelming match.

After the match, Yoshinobu Kanemaru ran down and suplexed Master Wato. Tenzan came in for the save, chased off Kanemaru and raised Wato’s arm.

Let’s be honest, by checking Twitter or anywhere else on the internet, Master Wato has not been welcomed with open arms by the fan base, but I am very interested in seeing what happens with him. Can he be salvaged? Will he disappear? This gimmick looks like a dud but I am fascinated to see what comes out of it.

BULLET CLUB: TAIJI ISHIMORI & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI VS LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (LIJ): BUSHI & SANADA

Ishimori and BUSHI start off the match. At one point Ishimori had BUSHI on the top rope and was trying to take off BUSHI’s mask, causing the crowd to boo heavily. SANADA applied a Paradise Lock on Ishimori and Milano Collection AT gave it two thumbs up from the commentary desk. Ishimori tried to put a Paradise Lock on SANADA but couldn’t get it and SANDA just rolled out. Takahashi and SANADA both bit one another’s thumbs. BUSHI hit a suicide dive to both Bullet Club members outside of the ring.

The finish came when BUSHI and Takahashi were both trying to get backslides for pinning attempts and Takahashi hit Pimp Juice (a snap DDT to a kneeling BUSHI) for the three count.

WINNERS: BULLET CLUB in 9:20

This was a quick and fast paced match. After an intermission where the ring had been sanitized, this match brought the crowd back into things. Nothing special but also nothing terrible.

SUZUKI-GUN: TAICHI, ZACK SABRE JR., EL ESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU VS IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: HIROSHI TANAHASHI & KOTA IBUSHI WITH YUJI NAGATA & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI 

The whole purpose of this match is to set up tomorrow’s IWGP Tag Team Championship match between Ibushi and Tanahashi versus the challengers: TAICHI and Sabre Jr. Suzuki-Gun spent a good chunk of the beginning of the match working over Tanahashi’s knees. Ibushi and Sabre Jr. had a very good interaction the middle of the match. El Desperado and Taguchi added a little comedy and worked well together. The finish came when El Desperado hit Pinche Loco on Taguchi for the win.

WINNERS: SUZUKI-GUN in 12:44

After the match, TAICHI and Zack Sabre Jr. grabbed the belts and held them up in the middle of the ring. Ibushi came in and the heels double teamed him. Tanahashi came in for the save and hit a Sling Blade. The champs took back their belts and left the challengers lying in the ring.

CHAOS: TOMOHIRO ISHII, SHO, TORU YANO VS  LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (LIJ): SHINGO TAKAGI, HIROMU TAKAHASHI & TETSUYA NAITO 

Naito takes some hand sanitizer spray from Yano before the match starts. Shingo says he will start against SHO. SHO shoots Shingo into the ropes and neither guy can knock each other down. SHO takes it to Shingo and after knocking him down, SHO tags in Yano. Yano unties the corner pad and Red Shoes admonishes him. Shingo ignores Yano and instead attacks SHO who is on the apron and runs him into the barricades outside the ring. Naito is tagged in and works over Yano before tagging in Hiromu. The audience is applauding everything. Yano is pulling at Hiromu’s hair. Ishii is tagged in and overpowers Hiromu and destroys him with chops in the corner. Hiromu fights back with slaps to Ishii’s chest. Hiromu hits a shotgun dropkick and tries for a vertical suplex. As Ishii and Hiromu struggle for advantage, the crowd claps to encourage them.

SHO and Shingo are tagged in and SHO is whipped into the unprotected turnbuckles. Shingo beats him down. SHO hits a suplex. Shingo stops an attempted German suplex but SHO spears him. Both guys trade forearm strikes and the crowd claps along with each one. SHO tells Shingo to hit him and Shingo obliges. After another exchange of strikes, Shingo tags in Naito. SHO ends up clotheslining Naito and tags in Yano, who bounces Naito’s head off of the exposed turnbuckle for a two count. Naito tries for a neck breaker but Yano grabs his hair. Yano tries for a low blow but Naito blocks it. Ishii comes in and Yano and Ishii double team Naito. Shingo saves Naito. SHO comes in and tries for another spear on Shingo but Shingo catches SHO and hits him with a DDT. Yano grabs both Naito and Shingo’s hair and Hiromu comes in and pulls Yano’s hair. Shingo hits a clothesline on Yano in the corner, Naito hits him with an atomic drop followed by an enziguri. Hiromu delivers a super kick and Shingo follows that with a lariat. Naito jumps in and pins Yano with a jacknife rollup for the win.

WINNERS: LIJ in 15:01 

After the match, Shingo taunts SHO with the NEVER Openweight Championship belt, telling him that he will never get it. This tag match was great and tomorrow’s match between SHO and Shingo Takagi should be awesome. All three LIJ members line up their belts in the middle of the ring and pose for the ringside photographers. Afterwards, Hiromu points at Naito’s belts and yells at the double champ. Maybe we will get that Hiromu vs Naito match at some point.

NEW JAPAN CUP FINALS – EVIL vs KAZUCHIKA OKADA

After another intermission as the ring is again disinfected, we get a video package of highlights of the New Japan Cup and Okada and EVIL’s journey to the finals. Okada is using a new hold, the Cobra Clutch, to win his matches; EVIL has been taking any and all shortcuts to get his wins.

Both guys are hesitant to lock up. EVIL kicks Okada in the gut and gets a side headlock. A lariat knocks Okada down and EVIL hits Darkness Falls for a two count. EVIL tries for Everything is Evil but Okada blocks it and applies a Cobra Clutch. EVIL quickly gets to the rope and Okada releases the hold. 

Throughout the match, EVIL works on Okada’s arm by wrapping a chair around it and slamming it into the ring post, or wrapping the arm around the ropes.

The action starts to pick up as Okada hits a tombstone piledriver and applies a Cobra Clutch; EVIL reaches the ropes with his foot for a break. EVIL throws Okada into Red Shoes and kills the referee. EVIL follows that up with a low blow and goes under the ring and grabs four chairs and throws them into the ring. With the chairs piled up in the centre of the ring, EVIL hits Darkness Falls onto the chairs. EVIL removes the evidence and clears the chairs out of the ring as Red Shoes wakes up. Okada kicks out at two. EVIL delivers a big clothesline to Okada in the corner and puts Okada onto the top rope and hits a massive avalanche superplex, but only gets a two count.

Okada blocks an Everything is Evil attempt with a forearm shot. EVIL rakes his eyes. Okada hits an Air Raid Crash neckbreaker and both guys are down. As they get to their knees, they exchange forearm strikes. They stand and the crowd claps along with each forearm delivered. EVIL tries for a lariat but Okada stops him with a dropkick and attempts the Cobra Clutch again. An eye rake by EVIL releases the hold.

Okada hits a shotgun dropkick followed by another tombstone piledriver before applying another Cobra Clutch. Red Shoes checks on EVIL, who looks like he is out. Okada releases the hold and drags EVIL to his feet, hitting two Rainmakers and another Cobra Clutch. At this point, Gedo comes down to the ring, distracts Red Shoes as Yujiro Takahashi jumps in and attacks Okada. Both EVIL and Okada are down. The Bullet Club members return to the back. 

EVIL gets up and pulls Okada up. EVIL hits a lariat for a two count. Everything is Evil is blocked by Okada, who applies another Cobra Clutch. EVIL fights out and both men stumble into the corner, crushing Red Shoes along the way. EVIL delivers a low blow kick and stomps Okada between his legs. The crowd is booing! EVIL hits Everything is Evil, Red Shoes makes the count, and EVIL wins the New Japan Cup.

WINNER: EVIL in 31:50

EVIL calls out Naito, who strolls down to the ring and places both belts beside the New Japan Cup trophy. After Naito says his piece, the double champ lifts up his fist for the LIJ fist bump salute as EVIL joins him… with a TOO SWEET!!!!

EVIL hits Everything is EVIL as the members of Bullet Club come out applauding their newest member. EVIL stomps Naito’s hat!?! All the Bullet Club members Too Sweet each other over a prone Naito before EVIL stomps his former teammate. LIJ run out and chase off Bullet Club.

This certainly adds another level of intrigue to tomorrow’s main event as Tetsuyo Naito has his second double title defence against another member of Bullet Club. This time though, it is against the first person to join him in LIJ back in 2015; EVIL is now the first to defect from the group.

Tell me what you thought of today’s New Japan Cup finals in the comments below or on Twitter @ScarboroughDad. What did you think of EVIL’s turn? Who do you think is winning the main event at Dominion tomorrow? I’ll also be joining John & Wai for their NJPW Dominion POST Show tomorrow on their Patreon.