New Japan CUPdate: March 18

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Semifinal Sunday lineup complete

Act City Hamamatsu saw the second night of quarterfinal action on March 18, as the semifinal lineup was completed with two nights left on the tour.

Watch the replay now!

The first tournament match of the evening pitted David Finlay against Shota Umino. The two contenders threw furious hands at the bell, Umino shoving referee and father Red Shoes Unno aside to continue a vicious assault in the opening seconds. A basement dropkick followed, as Umino had early control and the full backing of the Hamamatsu fans. On the outside of the ring though, it was a different story, and Umino was taken into the ringside steel by the Rebel.

Having successfully driven the air from Umino’s lungs, Finlay tried to do the same to the crowd, slowing the pace and cutting off Umino’s flurry of offense at the five minute mark. The crowd would still have breath to chant for Shota though, and a front slam and flying forearm saw a break for the Roughneck. Finlay would escape an attempt at an Umino exploder, but not a dropkick, and Act City roared in approval as ‘Shooter’ followed up with a cannonball tope off the apron.

Umino only continued to build momentum, until Finlay was able to stall his young foe with an Irish Curse backbreaker. Now in the plus position, Finlay would bury crossface forearms to Umino and followed with a running elbow to the back of the head, taunting the official all the while. After too much jawing, Umino made Finlay pay with his exploder suplex on the run, but was struggling at the ten minute point of the match.

Umino started to get the upper hand in a strike exchange with effective European uppercuts, but was cut off with a thrust to the throat by Finlay and a rabid flurry of strikes to the downed Roughneck. Rolling neckbreakers and a reverse Bloody Sunday would see hope for Umino, but he was cut off with perfect timing and a lariat and spear were followed by a powerful Dominator. The match passing 15 minutes, Finlay took Umino to the top, but would be dropped; a tornado DDT and then a hangman’s brainbuster would see the momentum swing back to the Shooter as the Hamamatsu crowd willed him to take the match home. Umino wanted Death Rider but was stopped with a head butt. The two went back and forth wildly with backslides and attempts at their respective finishes, but it was Finlay who had it in the end, Trash Panda connecting to put Finlay through.

The main event of the evening saw IWGP Tag Team Champion Hirooki Goto look to advance by maintaining an unbeaten 7-0 record against NEVER Openweight Champion Tama Tonga. A high pace was set on this match as well, as both looked for knockdowns, hip tosses and elbows for a stalemate; the speedy succession of moves would see Goto onto the apron, where a sudden Stungun over the ropes would have Goto reeling, and Tama with the first sustained advantage of the match.

Tonga contuinued to pile pressure on Goto until the CHAOS member followed his foe into the ropes and caught him with a lariat. As he gritted his teeth, Goto followed with another knockdown, and a plancha that hit with full force on the floor. Bringing Tama back inside, Goto wanted a top rope elbow, but was denied by the NEVER Champion who found a superplex and then an exploder to the Bishamon member at the ten minute mark.

Goto would pull himself to his feet and into an exchange of painful elbows; Tama wanted to shift gears but would instead be stopped with Ushigoroshi. Tama had his own counterpunch up his sleeve though, and an SRC was followed by Supreme Flow for a near two before he set for a Gunstun. Goto saw the move coming, and the pace once again quickened, but Villano would score for Tama instead as the match grew increasingly hard to predict.

Tonga would once again think Gunstun, but Goto would catch his foe in mid air, carrying him to the corner for a one man Shoto. Just as he did with Kyle Fletcher in the second round, Goto landed a mid kick and went for Ushigoroshi again, but this time was stopped with a Tonga Bloody Sunday; the exchanges kept going as a Jay Driller was denied by Tonga, but the NEVER Champ had the last word as he turned the GTR into Gunstun for three.


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