On Thursday’s show in Ehime, the second round of the New Japan Cup kicked off with two matches spotlighted including the main event between EVIL and Jeff Cobb.
The match saw Cobb assume the babyface role, to the betterment of the match with his style as an impressive big man, especially for the comeback. EVIL controlled early and the match was nothing special until Cobb’s return as he was able to showcase his power suplexes and led to the audience backing the member of the United Empire.
As Cobb attempted The Spin Cycle, EVIL committed the violent act of grabbing Red Shoes by the shirt! This caused Red Shoes to struggle to maintain consciousness on the floor and was a brutal referee bump. This prompted Dick Togo’s involvement, but Cobb hoisted both EVIL and Togo slamming them simultaneously off his shoulders.
It ended with Yujiro appearing to distract Red Shoes after his miraculous recovery, EVIL hit a low blow and Everything is Evil for the victory.
It wasn’t a stellar main event match, plagued by the usual Bullet Club sideshow that accompanies EVIL’s main matches. They adjusted the dynamic with Cobb for the better of the match but this one was still hurt by the overall presentation of the outside involvement.
The other second-round matchup featured Toru Yano upsetting The Great O-Khan, the latter coming off a major victory against Tetsuya Naito in the opening round.
There was plenty of comedy from Yano as the two screamed at one another from distance, had an intense staring contest seated in chairs, and O-Khan threatened to destroy the KOPW trophy (a babyface move if there ever was one). Then, it turned into a wrestling match with Yano showcasing his belly-to-belly suplex after O-Khan ran into the exposed buckle.
In the unique spot of the match, Yano tied O-Khan’s ponytail to the guardrail forcing O-Khan to cut a portion of his hair to break free and then run at Yano with the sharp object he used to cut it. Yano avoided, landed a low blow, and took O-Khan down for the pinfall.
So, they are once again putting Yano forward as the underdog that can outsmart the others while playing underdog, which is a formula that people get into. Neither of his New Japan Cup matches have been classics but they have their own flavor and you do get into the cleverness unless Yano isn’t your cup of tea. Typically, a loss to Yano means little but I felt this did somewhat negate O-Khan’s big win over Naito by falling to the comedic figure in the very next match.
The New Japan Cup picks up again on Saturday with two excellent matches on paper as Shingo Takagi takes on Hirooki Goto, and KENTA faces Minoru Suzuki in second-round action.
Here are the full results from Ehime on Thursday:
*Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI over David Finlay & Yota Tsuji in 10:32
*Yujiro, Bad Luck Fale & Jado over Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma & Yuya Uemura in 10:27
*Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Yuji Nagata & SHO over Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, SANADA & BUSHI in 12:01
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Toa Henare over Jay White, KENTA & Chase Owens in 13:18
*New Japan Cup Second Round: Toru Yano over The Great O-Khan in 13:02
*New Japan Cup Second-Round: EVIL over Jeff Cobb in 23:08