It's day eight of the NJPW New Japan Cup 2020 and we're into the semi-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 Semi-Finals, Match 1: EVIL vs SANADA
First up in the New Japan Cup semi-finals, it's the battle of the LIJ best friends as former IWGP Tag Team Champions EVIL and Sanada face off. These two are no strangers to wrestling each other and right now they're at one win apiece.
To start the match Sanda offered a handshake to his partner and EVIL accepted but then immediately tried for his finisher. EVIL really has been his most evil in the New Japan Cup so far and there was no way he was going to go easy on Sanada here.
After Sanada knocked EVIL down with an arm drag, EVIL went outside of the ring to compose himself before Sanada held the ropes open for him to invite him back in. Once in EVIL almost immediately clotheslined Sanada to the outside and eventually whipped him into the railings.
This is when EVIL really started to live up to his name as he put a chair around Sanada's neck and then rammed him into the post breaking the chair.
Back in the ring the two tried everything and ended up exchanging punches on their knees in the middle of the ring. They continued striking on their feet before EVIL managed to hit a big clothesline and knock Sanada down.
In perhaps the scariest moment of the match, Sanada hit a sliced bread but landed right on his head which looked horrific. He managed to recover and put EVIL in the Skull End but then, perhaps in a moment of sympathy for his friend, released the hold.
Sanada's mistake cost him though as he then went to the top rope for a moonsault but EVIL had recovered enough to allow him to get his knees up.
EVIL then went for his favorite move during the New Japan Cup, the low blow, after the referee was knocked out. He brought a chair into the ring and put it around Sanada's neck again and hit him on the head with another chair.
After that, he delivered another low blow before hitting Everything is Evil and throwing the ref back in to count to three.
Grade: B - Everything really is EVIL.
New Japan Cup 2020 Semi Finals, Match 2: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiromu Takahashi
This one is going to be really hard for me to recap because I was shouting at my TV too much.
If this was a battle of outerwear Hiromu would be the clear winner as his jacket is far superior to Okada's coat.
Hiromu was extremely up for this match and the challenge of taking on Okada while Okada seemed a bit patronizing at the beginning.
After Okada first got Hiromu to the ropes Hiromu fired back, eventually hitting a stunning hurricanrana. Okada might be the bigger man but Hiromu was using all his speed to his advantage.
On the outside, Okada hit a DDT leading to Hiromu holding his neck and everyone watching at home cursing Okada. Back inside the ring, Hiromu hit a dropkick to knock Okada to the outside before delivering an apron shotgun dropkick to send Okada into the railings.
Hiromu then got Okada back in the ring to get a near fall before as he firmly took control of the match. But you can't keep the Rainmaker down as he managed to hit a flying back elbow strike and then a DDT for a near fall.
Okada then went to the top rope but Hiromu was already up and hit him with a suplex, taking them both to the ground. The pair then exchanged punches on the mat with Hiromu looking like he was daring Okada to end him.
Okada then scored a double dropkick knocking Hiromu off the top turnbuckle and to the outside again before throwing him into the railings and hitting an elevated DDT on the floor.
After getting back in the ring Hiromu took his revenge as this time he landed a dropkick that knocked Okada to the outside and then delivered a sunset flip powerbomb on the floor.
Hiromu then brought Okada back into the ring and hits a Dynamite Plunger for a near fall. Okada recovered to hit a massive dropkick and then the tombstone pile driver before applying the cobra clutch.
As Hiromu got out of the submission he rammed Okada into the post and then hit a Rainmaker on the Rainmaker for a 2.99 count.
Hiromu then got Okada in the D but Okada powered out before Hiromu attempted a roll-up. The next few minutes were some of the most nail-biting wrestling I have ever watched.
As Hiromu went for the Time Bomb 2 Okada managed to counter with a Tombstone. He then put Hiromu in the cobra clutch and released it to lift Hiromu up for the Rainmaker before replying the hold.
With Hiromu not willing to quit he released the hold again and lifted him up for more Rainmakers before reapplying the hold as the referee called for the bell.
Grade: A, as heartbroken as I am that was a fantastic match.Published 03 Jul 2020, 22:00 IST