New Japan Pro Wrestling
NEW JAPAN CUP 2019
Day 6 – 3/14/19
Nara Centennial Hall
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero on commentary.
Second Round Match
LANCE ARCHER vs WILL OSPREAY
Archer starts yelling at the audience early on telling them to shut up, and they yell right back as we get the bell. Chants for Will. Will asks for Archer and Archer gets right up chest to chest. Will uses speed to evade the big man, Archer tries a backdrop and hip toss and head throw and Will lands on his feet 3 consecutive times and Archer heads outside. Will feints the dive to psych out Archer and then looks for a plancha but Archer catches him and tries to manhandle him, and ends up throwing him by the neck off the top of the guardrail onto the floor hard. Archer drops Will chest first across the barricade and rolls Will back inside.
Will tries to fight up with some strikes and a handspring but Archer catches him and hits a fallaway slam, then teases Will’s shtick. Archer hits a THICK short arm clothesline (which Will sells incredibly), lines up Will and just runs through him with a tackle. A reverse ripcord uranage plants Will, Archer covers but only gets 2. BIG open hand chop to Will’s chest, Will tries to fight back but eats an elbow and gets dropped. Archer grounds Will, and the crowd starts to fire up. Slaps by Archer to the face of Will as Archer keeps Will grounded and slowed down. Will hits a HUGE slap, but Archer doesnt register it AT ALL, hits Will with running elbows in the corner but Will gets the feet up before eating an INSANE chop from Archer.
Archer looks for Blackout but Will escapes and lands the handspring enziguri to stun Archer. Will with a top rope 619, hits Pip Pip Cheerio to put Archer down and covers but only gets 1. Suplex attempt by Will is blocked by Archer’s power but Will turns Archer’s reversal into Stundog Millionaire and hits a satellite DDT for 2. The crowd gets behind Will. Will stays on Archer but Archer snatches a Black Hole Slam and covers but only gets 2. Archer lines up Will again and looks for a tackle but Will catches him coming with a standing Spanish Fly, and both are down. The crowd gets behind Will.
Both are up and they trade shots. BIG elbow from Archer drops Will. Will keeps coming back but Archer keeps putting him down. Chops by Archer get absorbed by Will one after the other, but Will is able to get behind Archer and toss him with a release German suplex. Pip Pip Cheerio is caught for a chokeslam but Will escapes and hits an enziguri, looks for the Os-Cutter, Archer looks for the Pounce, Will evades and hits a head kick and looks for the Os-Cutter again but gets POUNCED IN MID-AIR and Will rolls outside! Great spot. Hard chokeslam onto the apron by Archer, then rolls Will back in.
Archer looks for another chokeslam and Will lands HARD and HIGH! Cover by Archer but Will is out at 2, but he looks pretty glassy-eyed. Archer looks for Blackout again, but Will lands on his feet and hits the Robinson Special! Os-Cutter called for again but Archer catches it, Will turns it into a rollup for 2. Os-Cutter connects, Will rolls Archer over but only gets 2! Rocky calls for Stormbreaker – can Will get Archer up? Will hits the hooking superkick and sets up for Stormbreaker but cant get Archer up. Kicks by Will lands sharp and Archer is stunned, Will exposes the elbow and looks for the Hidden Blade but Archer reverses it into Blackout and covers BUT WILL KICKS OUT AT 2!
HUGE pop for Will. Archer sits Will up top in the corner, climbs up top with him and Archer seems to look for a top rope Spanish Fly! Will fights back and hits a Hidden Blade to Archer on the ropes, then gets down and sets Archer up for Cheeky Nandos which connects, then since Archer is on the middle rope Will uses the elevation to get him up on his shoulders for Stormbreaker and hits Archer with it! Cover by Will and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Will Ospreay defeats Lance Archer by pinfall after Stormbreaker to advance to the Quarterfinals
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a VERY good match, with Will pulling out another HUGE win over someone much larger than he is, and showing the power he has inside him by finishing Archer with Stormbreaker. Archer also may be out in his 2nd match but he looked really good in both outings, and showed that he has potential to be a REALLY GOOD singles monster in terms of in-ring storytelling if people will give him the right setup to be. I’m more of an Archer fan coming out of this tournament than I was going in, and thats always great to feel. Will going over is the right move though, as he is already a main eventer in his own right and I feel like his future in NJPW is bright. Really great work all around.
Second Round Match
MIKEY NICHOLLS vs KAZUCHIKA OKADA
We get the bell and the crowd is behind Okada solidly. Nicholls really is looking great. They lock up, Okada gets the wrist, Mikey out of it and trades wrist control as Okada picks the leg and takes things to the ground. They grapple into the ropes and Okada gives the pat on the break and Mikey just SLAPS Okada! Hard lock up, they evade some shots and Okada is able to snatch a snapmare and the running single leg dropkick. Okada with a headlock, Mikey reverses, they take each other over and Mikey gets control on the ground.
Okada tries to escape but Mikey keeps things grounded, refusing to release the headlock. Okada finally escapes but Mikey gets him trapped in the ropes and gets the headlock takeover again to keep Okada grounded. Reversal by Okada into a headlock, Mikey reverses that and they jockey for a headlock until Mikey lands a nice back suplex, Okada rolls outside but Mikey follows and hits a back suplex onto the apron. Mikey drives Okada into the apron and lays in a LOUD chop, and rolls back in as the ref begins the count, but Mikey decides to Okada back in (little pop for that) himself and covers but only gets 2.
Okada chants. Mikey hits a great stalling suplex, cover again but still 2. Mikey stays on Okada, lays in a HUGE chop but Okada just absorbs it and fires back. They trade shots but Mikey lays shots into Okada in the corner repeatedly. Half Crab applied by Mikey but Okada gets the ropes to break. Slam by Mikey but Okada evades the knee drop and hits a Psycho Crusher Euro to a kneeling Mikey and both are down. Okada gets a sequence on Mikey, hits a big running back elbow and Mikey bails, but Okada follows up with a dive outside. The marks on Okada’s chest from Mikey’s chops are INTENSE.
Back inside and Okada hits the corner back elbow and DDT combo, covers Mikey but only gets 2. Slam by Okada and climbs, Mikey moves and hoists Okada up into a Big Ending-style move, covers but only 2. Okada blocks the Firemans attempt but Mikey hits that step-in short lariat and covers for another 2. Mikey looks for the Mikey Bomb but Okada reverses and plants Mikey with a flapjack, and both are down again. Okada misses the corner elbow but hits a John Woo Dropkick, tosses Mikey away and climbs and connects with a big missile dropkick and covers but only gets 2.
Slam by Okada who climbs and looks for the diving elbow which connects, and Okada calls for the Rainmaker. Mikey reverses but gets sat up top for the dropkick, Mikey hits a hard shot to cut it off and sits Okada up top instead, climbs and hits a top rope superplex! DVD by Mikey connects but the sliding lariat is reversed by Okada for a rollup and 2 count, Mikey looks to follow, Okada looks for the tombstone, Mikey escapes but eats an Okada dropkick. Chants for Okada. Rainmaker attempt is blocked into a spinebuster by Mikey and a sliding lariat, cover but only 2.
Mikey lines Okada up in the corner and climbs and lands the moonsault, covers but a close 2 count only. Trash talk by Mikey who sends Okada to the ropes but Okada evades with a headscissors, Mikey looks for a sliding lariat but Okada evades again, looks for a Rainmaker which is turned into a Mikey Bomb attempt but Okada reverses that into a discus lariat, then follows up by drilling Mikey hard with a Rainmaker, covers and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Kazuchika Okada defeats Mikey Nicholls by pinfall after Rainmaker to advance to the Quarterfinals
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a strong match between two game performers, though not quite as strong as the previous match in my opinion. However, even between the first and second rounds Mikey is starting to drop into this singles role, his chop game is insane and his “full-speed ahead” offensive approach could really grow into something. Okada going over, however, wasnt really in doubt, and I think that held this one back too. Thats not a dig at Mikey or his urgency… just story-wise, it would have made ZERO sense for Okada to lose here. Nonetheless, both looked great, and Okada picked up a solid win to advance. And thats only good things.
Another strong day of tournament action. Love seeing Will advance in a great match with Lance Archer, who is showing that we shouldnt underestimate him, and Okada moves forward after a strong showing with Mikey Nicholls. More to come as we edge closer to the Quarterfinals, with 4 matches left to determine that round. Keeping particular eyes on ZSJ vs Ibushi on Saturday and Suzuki vs SANADA on Sunday (plus, Colt/Yano should be fun, at least for folx like me who do really love that shtick).