The Ace is still in the hunt.
Hiroshi Tanahashi took another step towards claiming his first New Japan Cup in a decade with a win over Juice Robinson Friday in Tokyo. Tana’s win keeps the possibility of another chapter being written in the epic Okada vs. Tanahashi rivalry, with the winner of the tournament likely to challenge IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada at the Sakura Genesis event on April 1.
Below are the results from the seventh night of the current tour.
Yujiro Takahashi & Tanga Loa defeated Tomoyuki Oka & Tetsuhiro Yagi
Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Taichi defeated Shota Umino, David Finlay & Michael Elgin
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
YOSHI-HASHI, Chuckie T & Hirooki Goto defeated Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale
Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka defeated Kazuchika Okada & Gedo
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Yujiro Takahashi & BUSHI defeated Zack Sabre Jr., TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
New Japan Cup Semifinal bout:
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Juice Robinson
Tana refused a handshake before the bout. They started at a deliberate pace, doing knuckle locks and tests of strength. Tana took it to the mat with a side headlock. Juice escaped, Tana missed a bodypress off the middle rope, and Juice rolled him up for a nearfall.
Tana slid outside and posted Juice’s left leg. He continued stomping on the leg on the floor, exhibiting a mean streak. Back inside, he employed a deathlock and a modified figure four, continuing to attack the lower extremities.
The pace picked up near the fifteen minute mark, as Juice fired up and nailed a lariat. Juice missed a cannonball, which looked painful. They went outside and Juice whipped Tana into the barricade. Back inside, Juice went to the top, but got crotched.
Tana looked for High Fly Flow, but Juice pushed Red Shoes into the ropes, crotching Tana, leading to a double down. Back on their feet, they traded chops and uppercuts. Juice went for a gutbuster, but Tana countered, hitting a dragon screw. He slapped on the cloverleaf, continuing to attack the legs, but Juice made the ropes.
Juice countered a Sling Blade attempt with a full nelson slam, into a nearfall. Juice went for Pulp Friction, but Tana turned it into a Sling Blade. Tana went up top, but Juice nailed him with a jab. He went for a superplex, but Tana shoved him off and hit High Fly Flow. Juice rolled through for a nearfall.
Juice popped up and hit a flying crossbody, followed by a High Fly Flow of his own for a great nearfall. Juice went for Pulp Friction, but Tana slipped out. They traded strikes, selling exhaustion, with Tana getting the best of the exchange. He hit two High Fly Flows on an exhausted Juice to earn the win.
This was an absolute clinic and one of the best matches of the tournament so far. Check it out.