The hijinks of Toru Yano and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi stole the show again as this year’s NJPW Cup reached the second round of competition.

Hiromu carefully peered through the curtain before heading to the ring for the match against Yano. He had a construction helmet on to protect himself from Yano’s attempts to shave his head.

Hiromu isn’t taking any chances tonight. Courtesy: NJPW.

Yano enters with one of his DVDs in one hand and a steel chair in the other. Although the official insists, Hiromu won’t remove his safety helmet.

After yesterday’s mischief, Hiromu insists that Yano be searched thoroughly. The official finds nothing. As soon as the bell rings, Yano has a pair of clippers in his hands. Hiromu scurries out of the ring and halfway across the arena.

As the official argues with Yano, Hiromu crawls under the ring to hide. Yano hands over the clippers. The official begins their count. Yano looks under the ring. Hiromu steals the clippers. Smiling, he takes off the safety helmet, which knowing Yano is probably not a good idea.

Yano wants to take a little off the top. Courtesy: NJPW.

Hiromu stomps on Yano, tries to turn the clippers on but nothing happens. Yano reaches for another pair which has Hiromu begging off in a corner.

Hiromu takes it to Yano. Yano cannot match Hiromu’s uncanny quickness. He bails to the floor. Hiromu throws Yano into a steel barricade. He reaches for Yano’s chair but the official steps on it. Yano hurls Hiromu into the barricade. Hiromu banks Yano off some wooden bleachers.

Yano surprises Hiromu with a pair of scissors. Hiromu fights Yano off, rushes back to the ring. Yano shoves the official stalking Hiromu with yet another pair of scissors and a roll of athletic tape. A Young Lion, Yuya Uemura,  pays the price for attempting to stop Yano.

Toru Yano goes to work with a roll of tape. Courtesy: NJPW.

Yano tapes Uemura and Hiromu’s legs together. Yano cuts a piece of Hiromu’s hair off. Hiromu and Uemura hobble their way to Yano clocking him from behind. Hiromu tapes up Yano and pushes him into an elevator. Yano is sent five floors down. Hiromu and Yuya Uemura scramble back to the ring and Yano is counted out.

Taiji Ishimori versus Yoshinobu Kanemaru – New Japan Cup Tournament Match

Kanemaru blindsides Ishimori as he makes his way to the ring. Kanemaru whips Ishimori into the ringside barricade putting the boots to him. Ishimori returns the favour. In the ring, Ishimori takes over until Kanemaru connects with a well-placed drop kick to his left knee. Kanemaru goes after the knee with a brutal leg lock, stomps, a knee breaker and smashes it on a ringside barrier. The official checks on Ishimori as he rolls around on the floor unable to stand. Ishimori avoids Deep Impact pinning Kanemaru with Bloody Cross.

Winner: Taiji Ishimori
Match Rating: 3.5 / 5

Tomohiro Ishii versus Togi Makabe – New Japan Cup Tournament Match

The two NJPW bruisers square off once again. They both run the ropes with Makabe winning the shoulder butt challenge. It is a battle of attrition with both men chopping and forearming the other until they drop to a knee or two.

A back-suplex into a turnbuckle has the official checking on Makabe. Ishii drives knee after knee into Makabe’s neck. Makabe can barely stand. Ishii ignores the official’s count and has to be physically pulled off of Makabe. A lariat gives Makabe some breathing room. Makabe powerbombs Ishii for a two count. A spin kick, a running lariat and brainbuster pin Makabe.

Winner: Tomohiro Ishii
Match Rating: 4 / 5

Suzuki-gun (Douki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi) versus Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi

Taichi gets some assistance from steel chair. Courtesy: NJPW.

The faces turn things around on Suzuki-gun as they charge the ring taking the fight to the floor before the bell rings. Suzuki-gun go after Tanahashi’s knee. Me, I am kinda getting tired of the angle being Tanahashi’s “injured knee”. Taichi brains Ibushi with the bell hammer, hits him in the ribs with a steel chair while the World’s Most Electrifying Wrestler holds Tanahashi in one of his mind-numbing submission moves that always cures insomnia. The match ends in a big mess with Taguchi pinning Douki with Dodon.

Winners: Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi
Match Rating: 3 / 5

Toru Yano versus Hiromu Takahashi – New Japan Cup Tournament Match

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi via countout
Match Rating: 4 / 5

Kazuchika Okada versus Yuji Nagata – New Japan Cup Tournament Match

Nagata submits to the Cobra Clutch, as expected. No surprise here.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada
Match Rating: 3.5 / 5




NJPW is back to form with just a crazy, compelling and commanding set of matches.