Reviews

NJPW Super J Cup 2016 Day 1 Review

Air Date: 20/7/16

Earlier this year NJPW announced the return of the Super J-Cup, featuring some of the top juniors from around the world. There’s a lot of quality talent in this tournament and it promises to be a lot of fun, it’s just a shame the second day isn’t for another month.

Kaji Tomato vs. Matt Sydal (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Kaji is here representing K-Dojo, and his gimmick is that he is a tomato. Or at least he loves tomatoes. It’s great. This was a fun sprint style match, Kaji looked pretty good and got a decent amount of offence, looking like a real threat to Sydal. One might think given Tomato’s gimmick that this might be a bit of a comedy match but they worked it completely straight which I appreciated. Matt Sydal pins Kaji with the Shooting Star Press ** ½

Kenou vs. Gurukun Mask (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Kenou is here representing Pro Wrestling NOAH while Gurukun Mask is from Ryuku Dragon Pro Wrestling, a company I know absolutely nothing about.  One hell of a match here, very strike heavy from both men. We got a few ringside shenanigans on the part of Kenou but it was very brief and the match moved on beyond it quickly which I appreciated. Kenou pins Gurukun Mask with Ragou *** ½

Yuma Aoyagi vs. Taichi (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Aoyagi is an All Japan representative on this show, and I feel bad that he was involved in this stupidity. We got a lot of stalling from Taichi, who feels like he’s doing a bad Ingobernables tribute act, and general Suzuki-Gun silliness. The sad part is once this match actually started Yuma did a lot to try and save it, but the damage was done. Totally skippable match. Taichi pins Aoyagi with a powerbomb ** ¼

Eita vs. Jushin Thunder Liger (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Eita is from Dragon Gate and seemingly started getting a big push coming out of their annual King of Gate tournament. Which makes his lose here all the more surprising, since there are several other guys on the DG roster that could come in to put on a great match and lose. And make no mistake, this was a great match. Eita immediately went after Liger, who was playing the grumpy veteran who isn’t going to take any of this young punk kid’s shit. I am all for Liger having a miracle run in his, presumably, last Super J Cup but there are better guys to have him go over. Jushin Thunder Liger pins Eita with a brainbuster ****

Will Ospreay vs. Titan (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Titan is a luchador from CMLL that has been getting a fair amount of buzz from what I’ve seen. This was a super underwhelming match, everything was worked well but it felt like a preliminary match and never really got out of first gear. Will Ospreay pins Titan with the Os-Cutter ** ¾

Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. BUSHI (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Kanemaru is coming in as a representative of Suzuki-Gun and is the current GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, so his win here over BUSHI makes sense while still feeling like a bit of an upset. This was another hot match, starting with some fun crowd brawling including a sweet balcony dive by BUSHI. Things slowed down a little once they got back into the ring but it was still a lot of fun and BUSHI looked good even in defeat. Kanemaru pins BUSHI with a brainbuster *** ¼

Daisuke Harada vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Taguchi has been damn good since the Best of the Super Juniors this year and he continued that great run here. This was just a great back and forth match with Harada trying and failing to desperately keep the Funky Weapon down while also countering a lot of his signature spots. I’ll admit I have never liked Taguchi but this year has really turned me around on him, cutting down on comedy has helped a lot. These guys went all out and delivered big time, easy match of the night so far. Taguchi pins Daisuke Harada **** ¼

Taiji Ishimori vs. KUSHIDA (Super J Cup 2016 First Round)

Pretty good match here, although a little more reserved than the previous match. Ishimori more than held his own against the Junior Ace, pulling out some beautiful high flying and throwing some absolutely gorgeous strikes but KUSHIDA was far and away the MVP of this match. Like a lot of his matches, the main story of this match was KUSHIDA working the arm and trying to get the Hoverboard Lock on, and it worked well as always. The pacing of this match was so perfect that the crowd was about ready to explode once KUSHIDA had the lock properly locked in. KUSHIDA makes Ishimori submit to the Hoverboard Lock *** ¾

Overall: 6.0

What a mixed bag of a show, two four star plus matches and then maybe half a dozen that were barely three stars. That said, apart from a few booking issues like Eita losing and an all Bushiroad second road, there isn’t much to really complain about this show. Very easy watch with no real filled. Other than Taichi. Fuck Taichi.

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