New Japan Cup night 5 (March 11) Preview

Second round underway, special tag bout in store



March 11 sees the second round get started in New Japan Cup, as Aichi will see the first two members of the cup’s elite eight decided. Plus, a special tag match will see a special glimpse into the future of NJPW in Dolphins Arena.

Watch all of New Japan Cup LIVE in English on NJPW World!

Main event: New Japan Cup Second Round- SANADA vs KENTA

Singles record: 3-0 SANADA

If there’s one thing that KENTA can expect from this second round matchup in our main event, it’s a very different SANADA to the man he faced last back in October during the NJPW World TV Championship tournament, and if there’s one thing that fans can expect, it’s a very different kind of match than the one that played out on an autumn night in Chiba last year. Then, with 15 minutes on the clock, both engaged in a cautious affair that saw them toy with the clock, KENTA consistently avoiding contact and frustrating the fans in attendance. 

Now, there is no time limit on the clock, as there must be a winner in New Japan Cup matches. Not only that, but SANADA, fresh off his opening round match with taichi, is reinvigorated, and with a fire unseen in recent months. It’s an equation that does not look good for KENTA, the BULLET CLUB member looking down the barrel of a fourth singles loss against Cold Skull. Yet if KENTA can stall SANADA’s momentum just as it gets going, it’s something the STRONG Openweight Champion is sure to delight in, and the potential to meet either a significant enemy in Tetsuya Naito, or an ally in Chase Owens in the quarterfinals is all the more enticing. 

7th Match: New Japan Cup 2nd Round- Chase Owens vs Tetsuya Naito 

 A first time singles clash sees Tetsuya Naito and Chase Owens first to fight for a spot in the last eight. Though they’ve yet to square off one on one, Owens and Naito have collided on and off through the years, Owens most notably attempting to sell off ill gotten Naito merchandise from the man himself. Trolling aside, the Crown Jewel certainly isn’t going to be taking Naito lightly, and nor should El Ingobernable look past Chase to a potential quarterfinal meeting with LIJ teammate SANADA. 

With significant wins over the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Great-O-Khan and Tomohiro Ishii in recent years, Owens is certainly capable of surprising Naito. Yet with El Ingobernable already excited to meet KENTA or SANADA in round three, and driven to move closer to his goal of main eventing at Wrestle Kingdom 18, is Naito undeniable?

6th Match: Ren Narita & Shota Umino vs Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Though the Dream Team of Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi are not heading into this special tag bout as IWGP Tag Team Champions, having just barely fallen short of Bishamon at Anniversary on March 6, they still represent a huge opportunity for Ren Narita and Shota Umino, and this contest is set to be one to look back on by historians in years to come. 

Narita and Umino haven’s teamed together as a duo since way back before their respective excursions. During that time, each found their own way to success and self expression, Umino returning with a flair for the dramatic and penchant for the glamorous, while Narita is a straightforward competitor letting his wrestling do the talking. Certainly when the tour kicked off in Korakuen last week, Narita had no interest in Umino’s showboating, and the antagonism in the air may be very familiar to one of their opponents tonight. 

As Hiroshi Tanahashi emerged on the grand stage in NJPW, he, Shinsuke Nakamura and Katsuyori Shibata would be grouped together as the ‘new Three Musketeers of Fighting Spirit’, a combination that all three admitted later they hated as much as they hated one another. Yet their teaming together back on October 1 2004 was a significant sign of things to come for all three individually. Narita and Umino will certainly be conscious of the significance of this bout, and of how significant it would be to score a victory over two of NJPW’s greatest figures in the last two decades. 

5th Match: Tomoaki Honma, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs United Empire (Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)

CHAOS and United Empire will collide in six man action in Aichi. After YOSHI-HASHI and Kyle Fletcher went to battle in Yamanashi Friday, Hirooki Goto awaits in the second round Sunday in Shiga. The next night in Ehime, it’ll be a United Empire derby when Will Ospreay takes on Mark Davis; Ospreay is excited to pit himself against the powerful Dunkzilla in his first ever singles match against a fellow United Empire member; what hints might Saturday offer on what could happen 48 hours later?

4th Match: CHAOS (Lio Rush, Tomohiro Ishii & YOH) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI)

More six man action sees Lio Rush and Hiromu Takahashi continue their campaigns on the way to their New Japan Cup final championship matchup March 21 in Nagaoka. Meanwhile, Tomohiro Ishii might be dealing with the disappointment of his first round cup exit, but will always have spirits brightened by fighting his hard hitting rival in Shingo Takagi. 

3rd Match: Just 4 Guys (DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, SHO & Taichi) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi & Dick Togo)

Despite incredible battles in recent weeks, most recently Taichi’s incredible first round cup clash with SANADA, the lack of results for Just 4 Guys must feel like somewhat of a miscarriage of justice for its members. A miscarriage of justice is just what put EVIL past Ren Narita into the second round of the cup, as the King of Darkness did just about everything short of dropping a cartoon safe on the head of the Son of Strong Style in tainted victory earlier this week. Fans in yamanashi will be eager for justice to be served on both ends of the balance here tonight.

2nd Match: TMDK (Kosei Fujita & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs BULLET CLUB (David Finlay & El Phantasmo)

The biggest talking point emerging from the first round of the New Japan Cup has been the transition of the Rebel David Finlay into BULLET CLUB. Yet while his allegiance with Gedo has seen him inspired to impressive success, not everyone in the group has welcomed the sudden coup d’etat. El Phantasmo has certainly been conflicted by the move, with Gedo speculating that ELP is still loyal to the departed Switchblade Jay White. Now Phantasmo loyalty is likely to be put to the test in direct tag competition; will he and Finlay be on the same page?

1st Match: Toru Yano, Oskar Leube & Tama Tonga vs United Empire (Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan)

 Six man action will start off the night in Aichi. With key matches coming up in the next week for many of these six, who makes a clear statement of intent tonight?