New Japan Cup 2016, Quarter-Finals Review (Naito vs Ishii, Goto vs Tonga, Elgin vs Fale, Yano vs Kojima)

Quarter-finals of the New Japan Cup 2016 already and we still have more questions than answers so let”s see what happened:

Jay White defeated David Finlay @ 5:41 via submission:

Pretty much the same solid, entertaining match these two always have. Given the way NJPW works with their Young Lions, we should get plenty more of such matches in the coming months. Which is good news for White and Finlay actually, having replaced Komatsu and Tanaka for opening match duty, the next step is a learning excursion (usually in CMLL and/or ROH) and then they will graduate to the Jr Heavyweights. Will take awhile of course, but they’re getting there.

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Juice Robinson defeated Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall in 9:58 via submission:

Hilariously they’ve taken the Moose chant and given it to Juice now. Well, whatever works, I guess. Robinson is not only improving but is also starting to get good reactions from the crowd, which bodes well for his NJPW future. Hall is also steadily improving, and both him and Juice got some time to shine here. Solid tag overall, Tanahashi scored the win with a Texas Cloverleaf on Hall. I gues it was one of those days where Hiroshi didn’t feel like doing the High Fly Flow…

Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Katsuyori Shibata, KUSHIDA and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask IV in 11:08 via pinfall:

Pretty standard NJPW multi-man tag match, meaning it wasn’t extraordinary but still lots of fun. I would probably have rated it a bit higher if they haven’t decided to have Nakanishi work for a good portion of the match. Problem with that is Nakanishi (never the world’s greatest worker in the first place) makes Fale look like a cruiser-weight nowadays. Aside from that, fun stuff, crowd was 200% behind Shibata who thanked them for their support with a typically crisp performance. Shibata scored the PK on Nakanishi for the win. Post-match, all kind of matches were teased via various stare-downs, Nagata locked eyes with Shibata (oh yes, please…), as expected Tenzan co,fornted GBH and … Liger teased going after KUSHIDA??? That’s one match I would pay to see.

Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI defeated EVIL and BUSHI in 9:09 via pin:

Nothing bad, but felt a bit too much like a card-filler to me. EVIL and BUSHI worked over Okada a lot and that’s NOT what the crowd wanted to see. Of course, the Champ soon turned things around and finished BUSHI off with the Rainmaker. Seems like CHAOS vs Los Ingobernables is really becoming a theme for this tournament.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal Matches: Toru Yano defeated Satoshi Kojima in 5:41 via pinfall:

Bit of a surprise here, but one that does make sense in hindsight. As stated above the theme of this tournament is clearly Los Ingobernables (or more specifically Naito) vs CHAOS, so the master of the Destino will have one more CHAOS roadblock in the semi’s. The match itself was the typical Yano stuff which somehow always ends up being entertaining. Kojima was clearly having fun here, until Yano surprised him with a roll-up. The Sublime Master Thief strikes again.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal Matches: Horooki Goto defeated Tama Tonga in 9:24 via pinfall:

Slow starter, took them awhile to get going, but once they did this turned out to be rather entertaining. Goto continues to show much focus in his matches, like last time he patiently waited for Tonga to make a mistake so he could capitalize. A Tonga attempt to use the referee as a shield backfired allowing Goto to hit a PK for the win. Post-match Okada came out and extended his hand to Goto, once again inviting him to join CHAOS. Goto once again declined but no doubt we’ll have the conclusion to this particular storyline at the Finals.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal Matches: Michel Elgin defeated Bad Luck Fale in 10:10 via pinfall:

As expected, this match was designed to get Elgin’s power-moves even more over than they already are. In doing so, Elgin also carried Fale to an acceptable match, which is always quite a feat considering. Solid big guy match overall, finish came when Elgin hit the Ellgin-bomb. Big Mike was one of the most over guys on the card tonight.

New Japan Cup Quarterfinal Matches: Tetsuya Naito defeated Tomohiro Ishii in 16:21 via pinfall:

Fantastic match with a great crowd. It’s amazing how popular Naito has become since he turned heel, but also very well deserved because his heel-work is off the charts awesome. About the only thing that had been missing since Naito became the leader of Los Ingobernables was a really great match to go with his fantastic character-work and Ishii happily obliged. Amusingly, Naito’s work has been so good that the crowd were clearly rooting for him to win towards the end, simply because they want to see a big showdown between Naito and one of the champions. Naito countered a Brainbuster into the Destino to win what was easily the best match of the tournament thus far.

Post-match, Naito cut a promo and stated that when he wins the NJC cup, he won’t challenge for whatever title in April. Translated: “I’m Naito, I do whatever the hell I wanna do, whenever the hell I wanna do it”. Awesome.

So, all of this means we’re getting the following semi-finals:

Michael Elgin vs Hirooki Goto

Toru Yano vs Tetsuya Naito

Semi’s and final will happen on March 12, full preview and predictions next week of course.

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