Match 1 – Toru Yano v Colt Cabana
Another fun comedy match from two of the masters.
Cabana, already up to speed on Yano’s tricks, found Yano’s tape. Red Shoes realised he hadn’t done a proper check of Yano’s tights and found another roll hidden away, Colt grabbed it and threw it into the crowd while Yano used the distraction to grab Colt for a quick roll up and a 2 count! Colt then tried to get Yano to take things seriously and start a wrestling match, but Yano ran off to take off a turnbuckle pad, Colt stopped this attempt. Yano decided to extend a peace offering of powdered curry which Colt accepted, then threw away to the crowd, Yano came in with another roll-up for 2! Yano then went out to the crowd in search of his curry powder, Colt followed him out and was eventually thrown back into the ring but rolled out the other side, he does the same a few times with Yano trying to catch him with stomps, Cabana somehow managed to roll on top of Yano for a pin attempt but Yano kicked out. We then got a little bit of wrestling when Cabana hit Yano with some hard elbows to Yano, Yano got away after an eye rake. Both men then tried misdirections off the ropes until they both hit the same rope and looked confused. They both then went for turnbuckle pads, traded punches, and Cabana hit a headscissor take-down. Back out of the ring, Yano found more tape under the ring, but Cabana got hold of it and hid it in his singlet. Cabana threw Yano into a barrier, then taped a turnbuckle pad down to Yano-proof it! He threw Yano back in, Yano took off one turnbuckle pad, ran to the next but was confounded by the tape Cabana used earlier! Meanwhile, Cabana grabbed the blue pad, but missed Yano with a swing. Yano grabbed the white pad, but Red Shoes, trying to get some semblance of order, told him to put it down, Yano threw it to Cabana, Cabana threw it back, back and forth, then it was thrown to Red Shoes and Yano went for a quick pin attempt, but Cabana kicked out. Cabana tripped Yano over his back, then hit the Superman pin for the win! Yano, looking huffy, offered Cabana a box of curry powder to show respect for his win.
I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love a good comedy wrestling match now and again and I could watch these two go at it all day. With Cabana now making appearances in NJPW I hope we get to see them in matches together a lot more! It’ll be interesting to see how Colt fares in the quarter finals.
Winner by pinfall – Colt Cabana
Match 2 – Minoru Suzuki v SANADA
This was slightly more serious…
We got a far more traditional match from the outset with the men trading wristlocks, headlocks and takeovers. They then went into striking with Suzuki hitting SANADA with a kick and a chop leading to dueling chops, an elbow to SANADA’s head and an attempted big boot. SANADA caught the boot but couldn’t get Suzuki into the Paradise Lock, Suzuki reversed the attempt into a leglock. SANADA escaped and got Suzuki in the Paradise Lock, but it turned out he was just playing possum and pulled SANADA out into an Achilles lock over the apron. Suzuki then went to work on SANADA’s legs, ramming his knee into the ringpost and wrapping his legs around it before taking him out to the floor and wrapping the leg around a barrier and hitting stiff kicks to knee, then hitting it with a chairshot. SANADA managed to get back to the ring at 16 before being tossed back out by Suzuki for more attacks to the knee. Back in the ring, he continued to assault the knee until SANADA came back with some chops, but it was to no avail as Suzuki put him back down with kicks to the knee again and again, then back into the Achilles lock, and a figure 4 around the leg. SANADA dragged Suzuki to the rope to get the break.
Suzuki goaded SANADA to get back up, and he does with big chops to Suzuki, dueling elbows, before a dropkick to Suzuki’s knee and a Dragon Screw to Suzuki. SANADA started building up some steam now but was shutdown after Suzuki dodged a springboard and ran in with a big boot and a PK for 2. They went back to dueling elbows again, harder this time, Suzuki was rocked but started smiling and came back with big elbows to SANADA, pulling him back up for another, then shouting at SANADA to get up. We then got a sequence of hard shots and reversals, ending with SANADA trying for Skull End, but Suzuki reversing it into a rear-naked choke, SANADA powered up, but Suzuki pulled him back down, trying unsuccessfully for a pin. Suzuki hit knees to SANADA’s face, then went for the Gotch piledriver. SANADA blocked it and backdropped Suzuki. As SANADA went to pick up Suzuki, he was caught in the rear-naked choke but was able to reverse it into skull end. He went up for a moonsault but missed and got taken down by Suzuki. Suzuki threw him, but SANADA flipped over the top, went for a springboard, but got caught by Suzuki again and locked into a kneebar. SANADA eventually managed to reverse the submission into a pin for 2. Suzuki then locked in a sleeper, hit a slap combo, then went back to sleeper. SANADA was almost unconscious but managed to power out, tried a TKO, but didn’t have the strength. We got more back and forth, with both men looking exhausted, until SANADA hits a big saito suplex for 2. SANADA went for the moonsault again, but Suzuki was back up to pull SANADA back to the mat. SANADA got in some kicks then hit a moonsault into Skull End, locking it in on the mat. Suzuki managed to grab SANADA’s foot and twist it, but SANADA reversed back to Skull End, we get a series of reversals from Skull End to Suzuki going for SANADA’s leg but it ends with Suzuki fading. He tried to reach ropes with his legs but SANADA turned it into a pin for 2. SANADA struggled getting to the top for the moonsault, but he finally hit it for the pin.
This was a solid match ending with both men almost too exhausted to continue. It was a war of attrition with the younger SANADA coming out on top, but barely. I’m a big SANADA fan, so hoping he gets to the final of the tournament. With Ibushi now out, there’s a good chance of it happening. I’ll be surprised if Cabana wins in the quarter finals, but the outcome of SANADA v either Tanahashi or Zack Sabre Jr is less certain.
Winner by pinfall – SANADA