The New Japan Cup semi-finals are finalised today in Shizuoka, as the final two quarter-finals take place.

Quick Results
Gabriel Kidd pinned Yuya Uemura in 7:22 (**¾)
Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb pinned Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in 11:58 (**¾)
Bad Luck Fale & KENTA pinned Toa Henare & Juice Robinson in 8:37 (**¼)
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI pinned Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori & EVIL in 10:14 (**½)
New Japan Cup 2021 – Quarter-Final: David Finlay pinned Jay White in 19:24 (***¾)
New Japan Cup 2021 – Quarter-Final: Will Ospreay pinned SANADA in 18:56 (****)

The tour’s moved to the Twin Messe Shizuoka in Shizuoka – it’s the final stop before the weekend’s trip to Sendai for the finals. Yes! It’s the venue where they literally park the bus backstage in plain sight!

Gabriel Kidd vs. Yuya Uemura
The early scrambles come to nought in our Young Lion opener, before Kidd’s arm wringer took Uemura down to the mat.

Uemura tries to work Kidd’s leg, but Kidd counters with a sleeperhold on the mat that forces Uemura to roll to the ropes. A side headlock from Uemura ends with Kidd taking them to the corner for some chops, before Uemura knocked him back down. A whip takes Kidd into the ropes for a hiptoss, with a… People’s Elbow from Uemura following for a near-fall. Kidd scurries to the ropes to block a Kanuki suplex as Uemura was pushing on, but Kidd fires back with a slam and a back senton for a two-count. He tries to follow up with a suplex, but Uemura wriggles out and sparks some back-and-forth elbows that eventually had Kidd on his knees.

Getting back up, Kidd finds a way back in with a brainbuster, then put Uemura away with a double underhook suplex. A decent enough opener, with the heavyweight Kidd eking out a win over the junior heavyweight Uemura. **¾

United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) vs. Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji
O-Khan and Nagata start us off, locking up and breaking in the ropes… but Cobb holds Nagata for a cheapshot as Yota Tsuji tried – and failed – to make a save.

A front kick from Nagata earns him a shoulder tackle, but he kicks out at one as O-Khan began to work on the ear. Nagata returns with a Fujiwara armbar, but O-Khan wriggles to the ropes. Tsuji tagged in and gets laid out with right hands and chokes from O-Khan, before Cobb came in and charged Tsuji back into the corner. O-Khan’s back with kicks as he proceeded to take a seat on Tsuji, before… Tsuji bit at O-Khan’s foot? Not sure how that worked. Cobb’s back in to trade elbows as he takes Tsuji into the corner for another battering. He misses a leaping elbow into the corner, but Tsuji’s too worn down to hit a body slam… so instead he dropkicks Cobb off the ropes.

Nagata tags back in to kick O-Khan off the apron as he proceeded to kick away at Cobb. A stuttering dropkick takes out Cobb’s leg, but Nagata can’t follow with an Exploder… so it’s back to the kicks, only for one to get caught as Cobb lands a back suplex. O-Khan’s back with Mongolian chops, which Nagata blocked ahead of a spinning heel kick. My feed drops out, recovering as O-Khan returned to drive Tsuji’s head into his leg. A front kick is next for a near-fall, before Tsuji’s sunset flip rolled into a Boston crab as Nagata puts the boots to the downed O-Khan. The hold’s powered out of by O-Khan, but Nagata lands an Exploder as Tsuji returned with a flip senton and the Mount Tsuji splash, before a spear gets another two-count.

Cobb’s back with a side salto suplex that nearly wins it for O-Khan, before O-Khan grabbed Tsuji and put him away with the Eliminator. This was fine, but dragged a little at the start as the Empire went on to collect another W. **¾

Bullet Club (KENTA & Bad Luck Fale) vs. Juice Robinson & Toa Henare
Fale and Juice start this one off, with Juice getting thrown backwards into the corner.

An arm wringer from Juice goes nowhere as Fale throws him into the ropes, but a dropkick staggers the big man as Henare tagged in. Some double-teaming leads to Fale charging through them, before KENTA came in to help out with the Tongan Massage Parlour. KENTA works over Henare’s fingers, then rakes the eyes before Henare fought back with a suplex as Juice tagged in to try and take advantage with some Dusty punches. A face crusher has KENTA down ahead of a back senton, only for KENTA to duck a leg lariat and return with a scoop slam.

A DDT from KENTA has him ahead, before he pushed out of a Pulp Friction and took a leg lariat. Tags bring us back to Henare and Fale, but Henare just gets squashed in the corner before he returned with a leaping shoulder tackle to help his way towards a near-fall. A spear drops Fale for a two-count, before Juice took KENTA outside… only to get taken into the guard rails. Inside, Fale hits a back elbow, then an elbow drop on Henare for a two-count, before a Grenade gets the win. This was fine, but utterly skippable, unfortunately, as Henare takes yet another loss as the dream of a good cup run feels like another lifetime ago at this point. **¼

Bullet Club (EVIL, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
We’ve got Shingo vs EVIL on Saturday – our only confirmed semi-final – so of course, we’re getting this tag.

Shingo and EVIL start, but of course EVIL tags out instantly as Ishimori and Owens try to gang up on Shingo, but to no avail. Ishimori’s charged down as Naito comes in to tie him up with some headscissors. BUSHI tags in to catch Ishimori with an overhead kick in the ropes, but Owens pulls him off the apron as the Bullet Club dragged the match to the outside. Of course the timekeeper’s wiped out by EVIL.

Back inside, a neckbreaker from Ishimori drops BUSHI for a two-count, before stomps from EVIL kept BUSHI grounded. The chained up abdominal stretch follows, but the ref doesn’t spot it before it’s broken up as EVIL gets a two-count from it. BUSHI fought back in with a DDT as Shingo was raring to go on the apron… and sure enough, he gets the tag as he cleared the ring. Punches wear down EVIL in the corner before Ishimori tries to make a save… but ended up eating his half of a double clothesline. A suplex gets Shingo a two-count, before EVIL took Shingo to the corner… Dick Togo grabs the ankle to hold him there as a Fisherman suplex takes Shingo out of the corner as Chase Owens tags in.

Chase hits a clothesline out of the corner for a two-count as my feed drops. It’s back with Naito hitting Combinacion Cabron to Owens, before a kick from Ishimori in the ropes led to the Bullet Club swarming the ring. Double knees, clotheslines and a knee strike get Chase a two-count, but he can’t follow up with a package piledriver as LIJ return the favour, almost leading to Naito winning with a roll-up. The cover’s broken, but BUSHI dives onto Ishimori with a tope suicida on the outside, before Naito’s enziguiri and Destino gets the win. **½

New Japan Cup 2021 – Quarter-Final: Jay White vs. David Finlay
White’s got a monster of a lead in the head-to-head here, with most of it coming in their days as Young Lions, where Finlay’s solitary win came in their first meeting in September 2015.

Hey, they finally acknowledged Finlay as an Impact tag champion! Those belts aren’t over here though, which makes me wonder if Impact really do only have one set, and kept them for the Good Brothers to wear on AEW?

We start with White buying time by leaning between the ropes, before a lock-up ended with White powdering to the outside. Gedo distracts on the apron, and opened up the door for White to attack… before they head outside with Finlay hurling White into the rails. Gedo tries to attack, but he just distracts as White bides his time to shove Finlay into the post. White charges Finlay into the rails, then dropped him throat-first, before a backbreaker back inside barely gets White a two-count. A grounded bear hug wears down Finlay some more, as did knees to the gut, before Gedo again got involved as White distracted the referee. A neckbreaker from Finlay stops all that, before an uppercut takes White to the outside.

A plancha wipes out White on the outside, as Finlay looked to make his advantage count. White clubs away to block a uranage, then rolls back up with a chop before a Cactus clothesline from Finlay took both men to the outside. Again Gedo distracts, as White capitalises by shoving Finlay into the rails, but Finlay recovered… only for Gedo to get involved again. White drops Finlay across the top rope as Juice Robinson finally does something and carries Gedo to the back in a Fireman’s carry. That distracts White as Finlay gets a two-count from a roll-up… only for White to stop that momentum with a DDT. A Blade Buster gets White a two-count, ahead of a Boston crab as Finlay blocked a uranage, but Finlay manages to get to the ropes to force a break as White couldn’t get another win with that move. Harkening to the past.

Finlay escapes a Fireman’s carry and comes back with the John Cena spin-out side suplex. White quickly retaliates with a German suplex, then lifted Finlay over the top rope to the floor. A uranage back inside drops Finlay for a two-count, as White had to cheerlead for himself without Gedo at ringside, calling for a Kiwi Krusher that gets him a near-fall. Finlay tries to escape a sleeper suplex, and ends up landing a Blue Thunder Bomb after his Prima Nocta was blocked. Red Shoes Unno swivels like he’s about to go all Saturday Night Fever on us, before White just flung Finlay into the corner to avoid an Acid Drop. It leads to back-and-forth elbows that took Finlay to the uranage backbreaker that almost got the upset.

More Prima Noctas are avoided, but Finlay rebounds out of the corner with a clothesline before the Trash Panda almost gets him the win. Finlay then calls for the finish, but his Acid Drop leads to a series of counters before a roll-up drew a two-count. Another Prima Nocta is pushed away as White bounces Finlay with a sleeper suplex, before a Blade Runner was countered with a Prima Nocta! Acid Drop is next… and that’s the win! The mother of all upsets for Debbie kills another of Jay White’s dreams, after a “match of two halves” – this really picked up after Gedo was carried away, but that first half was so full of tropey goodness. ***¾

New Japan Cup 2021 – Quarter-Final: Will Ospreay vs. SANADA
Are you ready for SANADA to play “got your nose?”

Ospreay charges out with a shotgun dropkick at the bell, but quickly bails as SANADA hits back… yep, he went for the face. SANADA teases a knee to the face as Ospreay slid back in, but instead hits elbows before Ospreay hung him up in the ropes and booted him to the outside. Ospreay charges SANADA into the rails, then dropped him back-first across them. That’ll slip a disc. Back inside, a slam drops SANADA for a nonchalant one-count, before Ospreay wrenched back on the arm in almost a grounded abdominal stretch. On the apron, Ospreay lands a knee drop to the floor, before he tried to do the Jay White “give me your claps” act.

SANADA beats the count-out, but couldn’t avoid a springboard forearm as Ospreay picked up a two-count, before SANADA… went for the nose. A low dropkick takes down an angry Ospreay, as did a double leapfrog/dropkick, with Ospreay slipping back in to avoid a plancha… but he ends up taking a SANADA ‘rana instead. SANADA goes back to the nose after Ospreay had taken him to the corner. A Paradise Lock sees SANADA roll Ospreay face-first into the corner for a dropkick, before a plancha wipes him out on the floor. Back inside, a back suplex gets a two-count, before Ospreay ducks a springboard and floated his way in for a Storm Breaker… which SANADA countered into a Skull End before countering Ospreay’s counter into… a Tower of London?!

A moonsault off the middle rope misses as Ospreay ran back with a Spanish Fly. My feed drops out and recovers as a kneeling powerbomb from Ospreay gets a near-fall, before a rolling elbow’s ducked and turned into a Tiger suplex for a near-fall for SANADA. A slam from SANADA looks to set up for the moonsault, but Ospreay’s up and joins him on the top rope for what looked like a back superplex, only to opt for the Cheeky Nando’s instead. From there, he pulls SANADA down into a Hat Rack Crack for a near-fall, before a suplex attempt ended with a Skull End. It’s quickly escaped as Ospreay goes for an OsCutter as they counter, counter and counter, with a Skull End being escaped. A leaping rear kick from SANADA helps knock Ospreay woozy ahead of another Skull End, this time swinging him around before dragging Ospreay to the mat…

SANADA lets go, but lands in Ospreay’s knees as he goes for the moonsault. Ospreay tries for a Storm Breaker, but lands a hook kick before his OsCutter’s countered with a Japanese leg clutch for a near-fall… Ospreay’s back with a rolling elbow, then a pop-up reverse ‘rana, before the OsCutter drew another near-fall. A short Hidden Blade rocks SANADA, before a Storm Breaker swiftly drops him, and that’s Ospreay in the semis. ****

We’re back on Saturday for the New Japan Cup semi-finals in Sendai, with Shingo vs. EVIL and David Finlay vs. Ospreay, as that BOSJ rematch sure looks to be locked in for the finals on Sunday.

With the majority of names out of the cup, we’re at the stage where non-cherry pickers are getting their fill of seemingly inconsequential matches. Kinda like the final block nights in the G1. At least the two cup matches didn’t entirely go the way of the form book, and both delivered to some extent, as seems to be the usual for the cup this year.