NJPW Cup 2017: Rounds 2-3-4

Yuji Nagata vs EVIL Round 2

This weird house show shit. I don't understand it when they do it for the G1, don't understand it here. Of course, a lot of this takes place out on the floor, which is great for a single camera shoot from the wall of the building. EVIL controls most of the match, which I mean, after beating Tanahashi, he shouldn't have too much issue with Nagata. Nagata has a few minutes where he lays a beating on EVIL, though. There was an avalanche exploder, but this is otherwise a Road To... match. EVIL won with the STO.

Juice Robinson vs Katsuyori Shibata Round 2

This should be fun. Juice gonna take some shots, scream, and have a good performance, I predict. Shibata seems to have really enjoyed his time kicking Englishmen, as he's still rocking the WOS stuff. There's a nice spot of Juice breaking a full nelson with power, and Shibata breaking one with wacky English technique, and the 200 people in the place being very impressed. CJ's shoulder becomes the main point of attack for Shibata. You know this is a house show match when Shibata doesn't even bother to hit the corner dropkick with any impact. Shame. This on a real show could have been a good showcase for Juice's rise up the card. Juice did take some shots and scream, though. Shibata wins with the PK.

Tomohiro Ishii vs Sanada Round 2

Another match that should be on a real show, not in a god damn gym. There's a fucking basketball backboard in the middle of the shot. It's like 2002 ROH. However, I feel like they're probably going to be really stiff anyway. Of course, more on the floor action. At least this hard cam is at a higher angle to be able to see it a little better. Sanada very much dominates the opening few minutes, but I'm entranced by Red Shoes dancing on one of the logos in the corner. The frick are you doing, dude? Fucking lol at Ishii HEADBUTTING SANADA'S HAND TO COUNTER PUNCHES. Sanada is so fucking athletic. Of course, hitting Ishii usually just makes him hit you harder unless you KO him, so those stiff shots from Sanada don't do much. Ishii fights off the dragon sleeper to the point where Sanada just lets it go and tries to pin him. So I guess that move has lost it's death touch. There's a long finishing stretch of roll ups and counters and near falls, ending with Ishii winning with a brainbuster.

Bad Luck Fale vs Yano Round 2

Bad Luck Fale vs EVIL Round 3

LIJ vs BC, all up in this mug. Fale ain't having shit to do with EVIL's chair bullshit. About time someone called foul on that. Oh boy, a brawl around the building. Are there no count outs in the NJ Cup? After brawling all over the arena for MINUTES, Fale gets back into the ring and Red Shoes decides to start counting. Lol. Fale works the back, with EVIL kind of working sympathetic underdog. EVIL does eventually get his chair shit in, don't worry. BUSHI shows up to mist Fale. LIJ fuckery. EVIL then hits a series of lariats and has Fale pinned, but Tama Tonga pulls Red Shoes out of the ring. Bushi and  Tama then brawl. GANG RULEZ. Fale gets pissy and hits both the Tongan Spike and Bad Luck Fall to end the match.

Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomohiro Ishii Round 3

Man. These guys are going to kill each other. Again. Can you believe that it only takes them about 2 minutes to start hitting each other really hard? And that's basically the whole match, so, you know what you're getting with these two. An extended elbow battle ends with Ishii's nose/eye busted, and Shibata twitching on the mat. Towards the middle of the match, Ishii gets mad about something (probably getting hit in the head 250 times) and starts repeatedly chopping Shibata in the fucking throat. Fucking headbutts. That's going to come back to bite Shibata in the ass one day. Probably very soon after this match. Shibata wins with a rear naked choke. If you've seen any of their matches, it's basically that. 

Bad Luck Fale vs Katsuyori Shibata Finals

Lmao at Fale's Bane mask. Lucha Bane. Dang, Fale rips the announcer's suit. What a jerk. Shibata wisely starts off by immediately kicking Fale in the head a few times. Much like the match with EVIL, Fale takes this to the floor and into the crowd, using chairs and guardrails to throw around like an asshole. This guy is unruly as heck. Fale has had a pretty good showing in this tournament, but now he's doing a fucking nerve hold, so fuck him. Shibata's seemingly permanently taped up shoulder becomes the focus of the match. Luckily for him, he's pretty good at kicking people, too. Lmao, why the fuck is SHIBATA of all people doing Vandaminator knock offs? After turning the Bad Luck Fall into a rear naked choke, Shibata wins with the PK. Shibata has won the cup! He uses this opportunity to challenge Okada for the IWGP Championship. 

Certainly a drop off in quality from round 1, which isn't that surprising since all of round 2 was done on house show like events. This whole tournament was a big set up for the first ever Shibata vs Okada title match, and Shibata's first IWGP Championship shot since returning to the company in 2012. Little did he know that it would also be his last as he ended his career doing something needly reckless and stupid.