Super J Cup First Round, Korakuen Hall, July 20th:
Matt Sydal (ROH) defeated Kaiji Tomato (K-Dojo)
Tomato is a smiley guy that came to the ring dressed as… You guess it, a tomato. This was a very good showing from Tomato, who is extremely quick. Sydal grounded him and played the veteran role, but Tomato got a lot in towards the end of the match. He hit two really nice Tiger Suplexes and a snap small package. Sydal won after a Meteora and a Shooting Star Press.
Kenoh (NOAH) defeated Gurukun Mask (Ryukyu Dragon)
This was great. Gurukun hit a lot of really fast kicks and flew around the ring. Kenoh, who has been having an impressive year in NOAH in the Jr tag division hit lots of extremely stiff kicks and knees. This was an excellent showing from both guys. Kenoh was the heel and the Korakuen crowd really got behind Gurukun. There was one point where they stood face to face exchanging thunderous kicks to the chest. Kenoh won after several strikes and a move I can barely describe. Almost a powerbomb where he flips his opportunity over twice. Kenoh is one to watch in this tournament.
Taichi (Suzuki-Gun) defeated Yuma Aoyagi (AJPW)
Taichi, who is an NJPW wrestler on loan to NOAH with the rest of Suzuki-Gun had El Desperado with him at ringside. Desperado caused all sorts of interference. Aoyagi is a really solid wrestler. Nothing fancy, but what he does, he does well. Taichi has improved a lot since he moved over to NOAH. There was one miscue where Taichi seemed annoyed and kicked Aoyagi harder than he should have. There were some fun near falls at the end before Taichi won with a Last Ride.
Jushin Thunder Liger (NJPW) defeated Eita (Dragon Gate)
This was a hell of a match. You might know Eita from the time he spent in DGUSA in 2012/13. He had a match this past May with Akira Tozawa which is easily one of the best matches in Japan all year, so he is on quite the roll at the minute. He impressed here. Right form the bell he attacked Liger and hit a dive. Eita was cut around his right eye early on. Liger dropped him on the exposed floor with a Brainbuster. There was some excellent back and forth at the end and the energy of the match was great. The crowd were into everything. Eita locked Liger in an arm submission and it looked like Liger would surely tap. Liger won with a Brainbuster. The crowd chanted for Eita after the match.
Will Ospreay (CHAOS) defeated Titan (CMLL)
This was a fantastic display of athleticism and high flying. They took to the air straight away. Ospreay hit a shooting star off the apron. Titan hit a spectacular moonsault to the floor. They both hit kicks and strikes out of awkward positions. Ospreay proved here that Lucha is another style that he is completely comfortable with. Ospreay won after a flurry of flips and an OsCutter. Ospreay & Sydal meet in the next round. They had an amazing series of matches in Rev Pro last year, so that should be excellent.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Suzuki-Gun) defeated BUSHI (LIJ)
Kanemaru is the current GHC Jr Heayweight champion. This was a decent match between two guys that aren’t afraid to break a few rules. They brawled into the crowd, again with Desperado getting involved. BUSHI hit a DDT on the floor and a dive off a balcony on both guys. The match was nothing special, but it was solid. The crowd were really into BUSHI. BUSHI tried to most Kanemaru, but it backfired when Kanemaru hit a low blow and a Brainbuster to pick up the win and advance.
Ryusuke Taguchi (NJPW) defeated Daisuke Harada (NOAH)
This was great. Harada is one of the top Jr’s in NOAH and a guy that I was looking forward to seeing in this. These guys had a hell of a match, with Taguchi leaving the comedy behind. They both use the ankle lock, so we seen some nice counters between them. Taguchi blocked Harada’s hip toss/knew strike and turned it into an ankle lock. Harada hit a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Harada hits lots of really hard elbows and forearms. Harada survived an ankle lock at the end and kicked out of Dodon for a great near fall. Taguchi then hit Dodon onto his knees to pick up the win. I was expecting Harada to get the win here.
KUSHIDA (NJPW) defeated Taiji Ishimori (NOAH)
What an incredible main event this was. Go out of your way to see this one. NJPW’s top Jr met arguably NOAH’s top Jr and it was spectacular. Ishimori is a wrestler that doesn’t get enough of a mention when the best juniors in the world are being discussed and he proved that here. KUSHIDA is absolutely killing it time and time again at the minute. This had just about everything you could want from a great junior heavyweight style match. Flying, mat wrestling, strikes, counters, drama and amazing skill. I can’t begin to recap this move for move. KUSHIDA got the win after he hit La Mistica and locked on the Hoverboard Lock.
The show is available on NJPWWorld.com now.
The quarter finals on August 21st:
Liger vs Taichi
KUSHIDA vs Kenoh
Ospreay vs Sydal
Kanemaru vs Taguchi