By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “New Japan Cup – Night Ten”
March 17, 2022 in Shizuoka, Japan at Shizuoka South Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World
So far, we know the quarterfinals will feature Kazuchika Okada vs. CIMA and Jeff Cobb vs. Tetusya Naito… Kevin Kelly was once againalone on commentary…
1. Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo defeated Tiger Mask and Yoh at 7:36. Really good, fast-paced action. Phantasmo hit Tiger Mask with the super kick for the pin.
2. Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato defeated Taka Michinoku and Desperado at 8:21. Another decent match. Kelly talked about an earthquake in northern Japan. Kelly spoke about Sho’s recent attacks on Desperado, and that Desperado probably would have given him a title shot if he had just asked. Taguchi got Taka to tap out to the ankle lock.
Immediately after the match, Ishimori and Phantasmo hit the ring and attacked Taguchi and Wato. Just as the babyfaces got back in control, more of the Bullet Club hit the ring, which led to the Guerrillas of Destiny hitting the ring, and our next match is immediately underway.
3. Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, and Gedo defeated Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Jado at 7:14. Everyone brawled throughout; the ref really never got control. Owens covered Jado after a low blow for the pin. Kelly continued to talk about how Jay White orchestrated all of these assaults on the G.O.D. from the United States.
4. Jeff Cobb and Aaron Henare defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomoaki Honma at 9:29. I am a bit surprised Cobb isn’t facing Naito in a multi-man match to lead into their quarterfinal matchup; this matchup here is random and doesn’t match any current storylines. The heels extensively worked over Honma. Henara hit a fisherman’s brainbuster move on Honma for the pin. Solid action, but Tanahashi wasn’t in the ring much here.
5. Evil, Sho, Dick Togo, and Yujiro Takahashi defeated Bushi, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Hiromu Takahashi at 9:53. Tanga Loa joined Kevin Kelly on commentary, and they talked about Loa’s tournament match against Shingo, and Jay White betraying them. Good, fast-paced action again, with Yujiro hitting a spinning faceplant on Bush for the pin. Evil attacked Hiromu with a chair to the gut after the match, leading into their third-round match on Friday. Chase Owens ran into the ring and hit a package piledriver on a chair, also leading to their next tournament match. Good job promoting both matches.
6. Kazuchika Okada, Yoshi-Hoshi, and Hirook Goto defeated Douki, Taichi, and Minoru Suzuki at 10:16. Shouldn’t Cima have an advantage going into their quarterfinal match? Okada has wrestled in multi-man matches on every show of this tournament, while Cima has been able to rest! Yoshi-Hoshi and Goto hit their team slam move on Douki for the pin. Really good under-card today.
7. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Great-O-Khan in a third-round match at 20:04. Mat-based reversals and holds to start. Loa said Sabre has better understanding of his body, and his ability to apply holds to arms and legs. They rolled to the floor at 8:00 with O-Khan having a leglock in place. O-Khan wrapped Sabre’s right leg in the barricade and worked it over. They got back in the ring, with O-Khan focused on a leglock. The crowd was still fairly quiet for this heel-heel matchup.
At 13:00, they were on their feet and trading blows, with Sabre hitting European uppercuts while O-Khan countered with Mongolian chops, and the crowd came alive. Sabre suddenly tied him in a double-armbar on the mat at 16:30, and got a crucifix rollup for a nearfall. O-Khan applied a claw hold on Sabre’s right knee. O-Khan hit a backbreaker over his knee at 19:00. O-Khan went for the claw slam, but Sabre reversed it into an armbar, and O-Khan suddenly tapped out. This match built nicely to the finish.
8. Will Ospreay defeated Sanada in a third-round match at 16:55. Intense reversals early, as Kelly made the case for why either man could win. They brawled to the floor at 5:00, and Ospreay injured Sanada’s left arm in a barricade. Back in the ring, Ospreay went to work on the injured arm. Sanada tied him in the Paradise Lock at 9:30. Ospreay hit a springboard flying forearm.
Ospreay went for a Oss-cutter, but Sanada blocked it at 13:30. Sanada locked in Skull End submission hold and went for a moonsault, but Ospreay blocked it. Ospreay hit a Hidden Blade/running forearm for a nearfall at 16:00, and the crowd was hot. Ospreay hit several forearms to the back of the head until the ref eventually called for the bell. I would not be surprised if Sanada was legit knocked out here; I don’t feel like we were at the climax of the match, as this ended a bit abruptly.
Ospreay got on the mic and vowed that he will win the Cup. He said he has a score to settle with Sabre for breaking his nose last year.
Final Thoughts: A very good show. The undercard matches were all quick and fast-paced. I expected both Sabre and Ospreay to win, but I thought there was a possibility that Sanada could pull off the upset here. Regardless if Sanada was knocked out, this just ended before we had a peak. The tournament’s third round wraps up Friday with Evil vs. Hiromu Takahashi and Chase Owens vs. Shingo Takagi. I predict Shingo winning, and Takahashi advancing when Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa cause Evil to be eliminated.