New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s return after a coronavirus-caused hiatus has centered on their annual New Japan Cup tournament.
In a normal year, the single-elimination tournament would take place in the spring, and produce a challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight champion at Sakura Genesis (fka Invasion Attack). But as we’re all painfully aware, 2020 isn’t a normal year.
Not all of this year’s differences are bad though. One wrinkle this time around is that the Cup winner will challenge for both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles at Dominion on July 12 in Osaka. That’s because Tetsuya Naito is still champ-champ, having won both belts back on night two of Wrestle Kingdom 14 by defeating Kazuchika Okada, waaay back in early January.
The Rainmaker was one of the men in the field for the New Japan Cup, as he tried to earn a rematch at Dominion. But before we tell you if he’s still in the running for that, here’s a quick glance at how we got to the semi-final match-ups which took place earlier today (July 3).
One semi-final was a showdown of Los Ingobernables de Japon stablemates. Sanada came into the match selling a groin injury, and EVIL was more than willing to exploit that. His final low blow set up his tag partner for his Everything is EVIL STO finisher.
.@151012EVIL 'Low blow'— njpwworld (@njpwworld) July 3, 2020
Watch Free▶https://t.co/CcdQ1XrpWA#njpwworld #njpw #njcup pic.twitter.com/79hZfwNqQK
The main event was Okada vs. Junior-Heavyweight champ Hiromu Takahashi. Daryl’s best friend put up a hell of a fight, and refused to give up despite being caught in the Cobra Clutch multiple times.
／— njpwworld (@njpwworld) July 3, 2020
7月3日 NEW JAPAN CUP 2020準決勝 のアーカイブ無料配信中‼️
@rainmakerXokada × @TIMEBOMB1105
今すぐ見る⏩https://t.co/AIO9ZMLN9t#金8はプロレス #njcup pic.twitter.com/afuKJinDjE
It eventually proved to be too much for Takahashi, however, and he tapped out to close the show.
Okada vs. EVIL will take place July 11, the day before Dominion.
Who ya got?