It's day seven of the NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 and we're into the quarter-finals. The winner of the tournament will face Tetsuya Naito for both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships at NJPW Dominion on July 12 (in front of a crowd!).
New Japan Cup 2020 Quarter Finals, Match 1: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiromu Takahashi
First up, I will attempt to give an unbiased report on a Hiromu Takahashi match. I can't believe this match is kicking off the New Japan Cup quarter-finals, I've only had one cup of coffee and it's too early to watch Hiromu be thrown around.
The story of this match was basically Hiromu trying everything to knock down the immovable object that is Tomohiro Ishii.
There were some ferocious chops exchanges between the two that sound extra sore in the empty arena setting.
At one point Hiromu had Ishii down to apply the D but Ishii was able to power out and throw him into the corner.
If Ishii is the Stone Pitbull, then Hiromu is like one of those cute small puppies in the park who won't back down.
Hiromu did manage to hit a Timebomb, but it wasn't enough as Ishii kicked out after two.
Ishii then tried a comeback, but he got hit with a brainbuster and a TimeBomb #2 to finally put him away for good.
Grade: A. This was awesome but kind of painful to watch if you love Hiromu.
New Japan Cup 2020 Quarter Finals, Match 2: Yoshi-Hashi vs. EVIL
EVIL did not come to the New Japan Cup to play games.
Yesterday Yoshi-Hashi looked like he hurt his knee during his match with Bushi and he wasn't walking well when he came to the ring.
Once again, Yoshi-Hashi didn't even get the chance to take his coat off before he was attacked, as EVIL hit him in the back of the knee with a chair.
When the bell rung Yoshi-Hashi managed to get up and hit EVIL with a few strikes but he got quickly knocked back down.
EVIL then locked him in a sharpshooter and while Yoshi-Hashi tried to fight out there was nothing he could do and the referee had to call for the bell.
Grade: how can I grade this? It was quick and painless (unless you're Yoshi-Hashi)
New Japan Cup 2020 Quarter Finals, Match 3: Kazuchika Okada vs. Taiji Ishimori
I'm pretty sure the only thing about New Japan that doesn't work in an empty arena is Okada's coat. Okada entered from the stands but since there's no fans in the venue, it's a total heel move.
Meanwhile, Ishimori was wearing a mask that reminded me of Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is a good thing.
It didn't take long for Gedo to make an appearance and distract Okada to let Ishimori get the advantage. Poor Gedo he must be missing Jay White so much right now. I feel for you Gedo.
This was a very back and forth match with Ishimori really proving himself but the presence of Gedo was as much of a distraction for me as it was for Okada.
After Okada hit the tombstone, Gedo jumped on the apron once again distracting Okada. Then, when Okada tried to flip Ishimori, he took out the referee allowing Gedo to get in the ring and attempt to hit Okada with the brass knuckles.
Luckily Okada ducked the shot from Gedo and was able to put hit Ishimori with a dropkick and put him in a cobra clutch for the submission victory.
Grade: B a solid match but heavy on the shenanigans.
New Japan Cup 2020 Quarter Finals, Match 4: SANADA vs. Taichi
Taichi's entrance was longer than Yoshi-Hashi vs. EVIL.
Taichi took his time starting the match, backing away from Sanada. When they finally locked up Taichi immediately went to the ropes for a break.
A lot of this match was fought on the outside and Taichi was viciously attacking Sanada at one point even trying to choke him with a guard rail.
Playing the role of Gedo in this match was Yoshinobu Kanemaru who got some TV time by distracting the ref in particular while Taichi was tapping out to the Cold Skull.
While many had thought that New Japan Cup could be Taichi's tournament, he just didn't have enough to put Sanada away.
After Kanemaru provided the distraction again, Taichi took a page out of EVIL's book from yesterday and hit Sanada low.
But Sanda is clearly a tougher man than Goto as he managed to recover quickly and roll Taichi up for the win.
Grade B: Solid match, Sanda has balls of steel.