The allure of Hiromu Takahashi vs Toru Yano was just too strong to deny so I’m here to review day 5 of New Japan Cup action which means I also get to see Yuji Nagata take on Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii vs Togi Makabe.  I’m expecting a one-match show here so let’s see if this can overdeliver on my low expectations.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Taiji Ishimori

Kanemaru attacked during Ishimori’s entrance and controlled things from here focusing mostly on the knee of Ishimori.  Cool spot where Kanemaru went to spit his whiskey mist and Ishimori cleverly blocked it.  After this Ishimori got into the match and hit some nice offense before putting Kanemaru away with the bloody cross. This was fine.

Winner: Taiji Ishimori Rating: 4 out of 10

Tomohiro Ishii vs Togi Makabe

Really good beefy match here with both these men clubbing one another with neither wanting to stand down.  Ishii can sometimes miss for me as he has rather lifeless matches but this one had a lot of intensity.  Ishii won to advance.

Winner: Tomohiro Ishii Rating: 6 out of 10

Non Tournament Match: Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi Def. Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & DOUKI)// Taguchi pins DOUKI off a Dodon

Toru Yano vs Hiromu Takahashi

In the build-up, Yano had threatened to cut Takahashi’s hair…so Hiromu came out in a hard hat and this ones was already a MOTY contender.  The haircutting shenanigans continued with Yano threatening it whenever he found himself in trouble.  The action spilled outside and Takahashi found himself taped to a young lion which made things even more nutty.  Yano was stuffed in an elevator and sent down to the bottom floor leading to a count-out win for Takahashi.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi Rating: 8 out of 10

Kazuchika Okada vs Yuji Nagata

There was a good match in here but they fell into the Okada trope of having things go too long.  The story of the rough and tough Nagata getting back into the match with his strikes could’ve been told in a quicker time and that would’ve benefited this match. Okada was forced to get physical at times and showed he can throw some nice strikes but his mobility won him the match as he was able to get away from Nagata before suffering too much damage from his strikes.  An ok match where the result was never in doubt as Okada put Nagata away with the camel clutch.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada Rating: 4 out of 10

Maybe it’s the long break between shows but I enjoyed this more than I was expecting to.  Ishii and Makabe delivered a genuinely enjoyable fight, Yano and Takahashi lived up to the expectations for how galaxy-brained their match would be and the other two tournament matches didn’t stink up the joint.

All images courtesy of NJPW1972.com