Months after it was meant to happen, New Japan Pro Wrestling finally begin their 32-man tournament!
New Japan Cup First Round: Togi Makabe defeated Yota Tsuji via pinfall (german suplex)
The Young Lion had a tremendous showing, but Makabe’s experience saw him through, levelling Tsuji with a lariat and pinned him with a bridging German suplex to go through to the second round.
New Japan Cup First Round: Toru Yano defeated Jado (low blow, roll-up)
This was Jado’s first singles match since 2016 and whilst a bit sluggish, he did not embarrass himself by any means. We got the usual Yano shenanigans and he put a stop to Jado’s Kendo Stick assault, hitting his low blow and roll up to advance.
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura (Gotch-style piledriver)
In our only tag match of the show, Suzuki-gun picked up the win despite Uemura and co’s spirited efforts. He even managed to lock in the Boston crab before he ultimately fell to Suzuki’s Gotch-style piledriver.
New Japan Cup First Round: Hiromu Takahashi defeated Tomoaki Honma via pinfall (Time Bomb)
Our first junior heavyweight advanced to round two by beating the veteran Honma. Hiromu proved too much in this ‘battle of the formerly broken necks’ as it’s been coined, with Takahashi outpacing Honma, hitting the Time Bomb for the win.
Honma did hit three Kokeshi’s in a row – which might be a personal best.
New Japan Cup First Round: Tomohiro Ishii def. El Desperado via pinfall (vertical drop brainbuster)
The Stone Pitbull made an expected advancement to round two, seeing off El Desperado. Despite did try to work on the knee of Ishii but his power shone through, dropping El Desperado with the vertical drop brain buster for the three count.