Today, New Japan Pro-Wrestling will hold the first day of the 2020 New Japan Cup. The New Japan Cup is NJPW‘s annual 32-man single elimination tournament, usually scheduled for the Spring. The winner will challenge Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships at NJPW Dominion on July 12. Today’s card will hold four of the sixteen matches in the first round.
New Japan Cup 2020 Day 1 Results
New Japan Cup First Round Match: Togi Makabe def. Yota Tsuji (8:41)
It’s going to take a while to get used to hearing Togi Makabe’s actual music be played instead of a generic dubbed track to avoid playing licensing fees. As a young lion, Yota Tsuji was overeager to prove himself against the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Makabe. Tsuji leveled Makabe with a spear and a shoulder tackle as soon as the bell rang. Makabe quickly gained the advantage back, but Tsuji showed more than one would have expected for a young lion. Makabe leveled Tsuji with a lariat and pinned him with a bridging German suplex to advance to the second round.
New Japan Cup First Round Match: Toru Yano def. Jado (9:07)
Jado entered wearing a shirt that said “So What, I Don’t Care.” I’m sure he does care somewhat but he’s been wrestling for thirty years and hasn’t had a singles match since 2016 for good reason. Toru Yano started the match by attempting to rally a crowd that didn’t exist with “Yano To-Ru” chants. Amused, Jado responded by chanting “Jado-o!” at him. As the referee fought Jado to take away his kendo stick, Yano knocked Jado square on the head with a turnbuckle pad. Jado fell on his face a la Ric Flair and Yujiro Takahashi briefly attacked Yano while the referee was checking on the fallen Jado. Despite Jado’s sluggish pace, he was able to work over Yano with punches to the lower back and a cobra twist. Yano thwarted Jado’s kendo stick attack and pinned him with a low blow and schoolboy to advance to the second round.
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura (13:27)
The bulk of this match consisted of all of Suzuki-gun collectively trying to destroy Hiroshi Tanahashi’s knees. Leg locks and a cheeky dragonscrew from Zack Sabre Jr. left Tanahashi writhing in agony. ZSJ and Ibushi always fight hard, even in large tag team matches when they don’t have to. Yuya Uemura has been vocal about wanting to fight Minoru Suzuki head on and he briefly locked the Boston crab on Suzuki before Kanemaru broke it up. Suzuki got his revenge with the Gotch-style piledriver on Uemura for the pin.
New Japan Cup First Round Match: Hiromu Takahashi def. Tomoaki Honma (18:45)
Hiromu and Honma have been building up this first round match as a battle of two men who have both had their necks broken. The power of youth is evident: despite being sidelined for over a year, Hiromu has not lost a step, while nearly every movement Honma makes is labored. Hiromu dominated the heavyweight Honma with dropkicks and neck holds. Honma made a brief rally with a running bulldog and a Kokeshi. Honma attempted a Kokeshi headbutt of his own but missed. Hiromu hit Honma with a death valley driver on the outside of the ring, and Honma barely avoided being counted out. Hiromu pushed Honma into the mat with his foot on the back of Honma’s neck. Honma made a comeback and hit three consecutive Kokeshis only for Hiromu to kick out. Honma went for the top rope Kokeshi but missed. Hiromu capitalized with the Time Bomb to to win and advance to the second round. His opponent will be Toru Yano.
New Japan Cup First Round Match: Tomohiro Ishii def. El Desperado (20:17)
El Desperado taunted Ishii about his height, but Ishii seemed to take advantage early with his superior strength and durability. Desperado used leg kicks and twists to target Ishii’s knee and removed a corner turnbuckle pad. Ishii eventually had enough and used strikes to level the junior heavyweight. Persistently, El Desperado kept going back to the knee. He applied his Numero Dos stretch muffler but Ishii managed to flip over and break the hold. Ishii hit a powerslam to turn the momentum of the match. He attempted to powerbomb El Desperado but his knee buckled and he needed to do it a second time, but it only received a near fall. Despy hit a discrete low blow followed by a small package hold, but Ishii kicked out at two, followed by the Guitarra de Angel only for Ishii to kick out again. El Desperado went for the Pinche Loco, but Ishii levelled him with a headbutt and a lariat for a two count. Finally, he hit the vertical drop brainbuster to defeat El Desperado and take his place in the second round. His opponent in the second round will be Togi Makabe.