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2021 New Japan Cup Update: Round Two Kicks Off Thursday, All 16 Competitors Now Official



NJPW New Japan Cup 2021

The first round of the 2021 NJPW New Japan Cup has come to a close following today’s show in Kyoto. We now know exactly who will be advancing to the Round of 16, and fans won’t have to wait very long at all as the action begins with two big tournament matches on Thursday, March 11.

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Let’s start on the left side of the bracket. EVIL was one of two competitors to receive a first round bye, as a reward for winning the 2020 New Japan Cup. He will enter the tournament fresh, but is coming up against The Empire’s Jeff Cobb, who is coming off a win over third generation legend Satoshi Kojima.

Great O-Khan will also carry The Empire flag into the second round. He’s coming off a huge upset victory over former IWGP double champion Tetsuya Naito, who took the newcomer far too lightly consider the wear and tear already on his body from another recent loss to the current champion. O-Khan battles Toru Yano next, in a match he wins 99% of the time in a straight-up fight, but you can never really count out the trickster king in a setting like this. Yano is New Japan’s go-to bracket buster.

Hirooki Goto takes on Shingo Takagi in what should be the hardest-hitting match of the second round. Both are coming off hard fought victories, although it’s perhaps more impressive that Shingo put down “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada to advance.

Round out the left hand side of the bracket, the evil emperor Minoru Suzuki goes to war against Bullet Club’s KENTA. I take back what I just said literally one paragraph ago — this might be the hardest hitting match of the tournament. This one is actually pretty exciting, as it’s the first time Suzuki and KENTA have faced off one-on-one since a Pro Wrestling NOAH show in 2005.

Moving to the right side of the bracket we have Will Ospreay, the third member of The Empire still alive in this tournament, taking on Zack Sabre Jr. in a battle of Britain’s best. Their last four singles matches together range from ****1/4 to ***** ratings from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Sabre’s character work has improved tremendously and Ospreay’s all-around game is better from working with heavyweights at such a high level, so there’s no reason this shouldn’t be among their best outings together.

We’ve also got Yuji Nagata, another third generation legend, taking on SANADA in second round action. We also found out earlier today that David Finlay and YOSHI-HASHI have advanced and will be taking on each other next.

Last but certainly not least, “Switchblade” Jay White and “The Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi renew their personal rivalry in a match that will 100% guaranteed be great because these two can’t wrestle anything but great matches together. Tanahashi is coming in fresh as the NEVER Openweight Champion and has vowed to help put that title on the map as a legit top singles championship; especially now that the IWGP Intercontinental belt is being merged with the IWGP Heavyweight belt.

  • EVIL vs. Jeff Cobb (3/11)
  • Great O-Khan vs. Toru Yano (3/11)
  • Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi (3/13)
  • Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA (3/13)
  • Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (3/14)
  • Yuji Nagata vs. SANADA (3/14)
  • David Finlay vs. YOSHI-HASHI (3/15)
  • Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (3/15)

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STF Underground Episode 100! WrestleMania Prediction Round Table, Guest Cameos From Sammy Guevara, Joaquin Wilde, & More!



STF Underground

Welcome to EPISODE 100 of STF Underground!

In this episode we celebrate 100 episodes strong with a WrestleMania round table. This episode features guest cameos from previous guests such as Sammy Guevara, Joaquin Wilde, & more! PLUS, a surprise run in that you won’t want to miss!


Facebook: STF Underground Podcast
Twitter/IG: @STFUnderground

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Will Ospreay Defeats Kota Ibushi To Become New IWGP World Heavyweight Champion



During today’s NJPW Sakura Genesis event at Ryogoku Sumo Hall, the “Golden Star” Kota Ibushi’s reign as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion came to an unfortunate end at the hands of Will Ospreay.

The two men went head-to-head for the fourth time in just over two years, expending everything in their respective arsenals in a brutal half-hour battle. In the end, the “Aerial Assassin” kicked out of two consecutive Kamigoye knee strikes, catching Ibushi with a running knee, the Hidden Blade and Stormbreaker to win New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s most coveted prize.

This kickstarts Ospreay’s first run as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, a brand new title belt that was recently christened by merging the historic IWGP World Championship with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Ibushi was beaten down by the United Empire, receiving a thunderous Tour of the Islands at the hands of Jeff Cobb. The faction gained another new member at Sakura Genesis as well, with Toa Henare looking to change his losing ways by aligning himself with Ospreay’s new crew, seeing the success it has already brought former Young Lion the Great O-Khan.

Ospreay went on to call out Kazuchika Okada after his big win, claiming that his story will not be finished until he avenges his loss to “The Rainmaker” from Wrestle Kingdom 15.

Before the record-breaking former champion could answer the challenger, however, Shingo Takagi ripped the microphone out of Okada’s hands and issued a challenge of his own. The “Last Dragon” reminded everyone that he defeated Okada in the first round of the 2021 New Japan Cup.

While this still has to be officialized by New Japan management, Ospreay in no uncertain terms agreed that he would put the IWGP title on the line against Shingo Takagi first, and then he would come for revenge on the great Kazuchika Okada.

This article was originally published by Matthew Wilkinson and edited by Mike Killam. 

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4/2 NJPW STRONG Results: Rocky Romero vs Kevin Knight, Team Filthy In Action Against Team Brody



April 2, 2021

Kevin Kelly and Alex Kozlov run down the match card and discuss the 2021 New Japan Cup USA tournament starting next week. This year not only does the winner get the traditional tournament, but they will be awarded the brand new STRONG Openweight Championship!

Rocky Romero def. Kevin Knight

Rocky got the win with a cross armbreaker in about nine minutes. Knight went after the leg and back on the mat early on, but ran into a dropkick. Rocky lit him up with kicks all over the body, Knight came back with heavy blows in the corner, but Rocky gave it right back to him with more chops. The Young Lion set in with European uppercuts one after another, and took him down with a shoulder tackle, but Rocky shook off the Boston Crab. Knight continued to work the back with body slams and knee drops, and eventually got the Boston Crab locked in. He kept trying for a vertical suplex throughout the match and Rocky had different counters for it each time. In the end it was his Achilles heel, as Romero reversed the suplex into a crossface, rolled into a big German suplex, and slapped on the cross armbreaker to get the submission.

Alex Coughlin & TJP def. Jordan Clearwater & Misterioso

Misterioso and TJP spent the first few minutes grappling back and forth looking for advantages, but kept coming up even. When that didn’t work they started trading flash counters. Misterioso got the better of the exchange and went for a dive outside, but Coughlin pounced him clear across the ring. Clearwater tagged in but rushed right into a double-team beatdown. TJP nearly wrenched his arm out of its socket, and Coughlin slowed things down with various holds, working the back with knees and clubbing blows. Misterioso eventually got the hot tag and caught Coughlin with some close pinning combinations, running through both with a double clothesline. Coughlin gave him a backbreaker right into a crazy impressive bridging fallaway slam, all in one fluid move. Clearwater got the tag and rushed in, putting the boots to Coughlin in the corner. He hit a huge lariat, but TJP made the save at the last second. Misterioso went for a dive to the outside but crashed and burned. TJP hit the Mamba Splash on Clearwater shortly after to win.

Team Filthy (Chris Dickinson & JR Kratos & “Filthy” Tom Lawlor) def. Brody King & Logan Riegel & Sterling Riegel

The Riegel twins tried to work on Dickinson with some double-team offense at the start, but the “Dirty Daddy” ran through both with clotheslines. Brody tagged in and they started trading heavy forearms. Dickinson took out the big man’s knees and backed him into the heel corner. Kratos and Brody started trading even heavier forearm shots until things broke down into a brawl on the floor. Team Filthy got a hold of Sterling Riegel and beat the hell out of him, alternating with quick tags for quite some time. Kratos mauled his arm, which set up Lawlor to come in and work it over with different holds and submissions. Sterling eventually shocked everyone by trading blows with Dickinson and took him down with a backbreaker. Brody got the hot tag and scared off Lawlor before squashing him and Kratos in the corner. He tried to toss Logan Riegel into an assisted dropkick, but Kratos pounced the poor kid across the ring. Sterling then tried for a crossbody, but the juggernaut swatted him down. Dickinson started pelting Sterling with forearms until the ref called for the bell.

Team Filthy beat down all the babyfaces after the match. Tom Lawlor tried to get Chris Dickinson to break Sterling’s arm but he refused to do it. Possibly out of respect after Sterling stood up to him and traded shots during the match. Kratos had no problem injuring him, however, and brutally snapped his arm backwards and stomped on it. Dickinson shook his head and walked through the corner before the others.

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