Match 1 – YOSHI-HASHI v Tomohiro Ishii
We start with the first of two intra-faction CHAOS matches.
YOSHI-HASHI started well, getting Ishii in a headlock and refusing to let go as Ishii tried to power out. Once he did finally escape, YOSHI-HASHI charged him but Ishii barely flinched. Ishii knocked YOSHI-HASHI down with a shoulder charge, YOSHI-HASHI got straight back up, ran at Ishii but Ishii tossed him over his head. YOSHI-HASHI got back up again, Ishii hit him with chops, YOSHI-HASHI came back with hard chops, but the tougher Ishii was unfazed and and knocked YOSHI-HASHI down with a big chop of his own. Ishii continued with kicks to YOSHI-HASHI’s back, then attempted a suplex but couldn’t get YOSHI-HASHI up. Ishii then hit multiple knees to soften up YOSHI-HASHI, but YOSHI-HASHI hit a vertical suplex to Ishii from out of nowhere! YOSHI-HASHI was back on the offensive with elbows and chops, then draped Ishii over the top rope and hit him with a dropkick for 2. YOSHI-HASHI dropped Ishii with a neckbreaker, then slapped his head, and pressed his boot to Ishii’s face in the corner.
YOSHI-HASHI slapped Ishii some more, but Ishii had had enough, stood up and absorbed multiple elbows to the head before hitting YOSHI-HASHI with a big elbow. We then got a huge number of dueling stiff elbows. Ishii got the upper hand but YOSHI-HASHI came back before being knocked down with a big elbow. Ishii was completely in control here, kicking YOSHI-HASHI a few times on the ground, including his head. He hit multiple strikes in the corner then a headbutt before ripping the tape off YOSHI-HASHI’s injured shoulder, and kicking him in the face. A frustrated YOSHI-HASHI spit in Ishii’s face and the men started trading slaps. This time YOSHI-HASHI got the upper hand and put Ishii down with a mid-kick. Ishii absorbed more offence from YOSHI-HASHI, but eventually went down after a running lariat, YOSHI-HASHI then hit a powerbomb for 2. He then hooked in in the butterfly lock, transitioned to a standing sleeper and hit a back-cracker before going right back to butterfly lock. Ishii eventually got to the ropes for the break after a long hold. YOSHI-HASHI hit a powerslam and climbed to the top, but Ishii rolled put of the way of the Swanton bomb. YOSHI-HASHI went for a bunker buster, Ishii reversed into a big backdrop. The men then went into a series of dueling chops ending with YOSHI-HASHI down on the mat. Ishii hit a powerbomb for 2, then a suplex. YOSHI-HASHI got back up, but is taken down again with a big lariat then a sliding lariat for 2. Ishii went for a brainbuster but it’s reversed into a small package for 2. Ishii picked YOSHI-HASHI up again, but YOSHI-HASHI gets him in an inside cradle for 2, YOSHI-HASHI then came back with a lariat, leaving both men down. YOSHI-HASHI picked Ishii up, but Ishii hit him with elbows and a headbutt, YOSHI-HASHI came back with double knees for 2. YOSHI-HASHI picked Ishii up and hit a fisherman buster for another 2. He went for karma, but Ishii reversed it, YOSHI-HASHI reversed again into a German suplex to Ishii. YOSHI-HASHI went for karma again, but it was reversed again, this time into a DDT. YOSHI-HASHI got back up, but a headbutt by Ishii put him back down. YOSHI-HASHI made a final attempt to come back with kicks to Ishii, but he was met with an enziguri and a big lariat for 2. Ishii finally hit the vertical drop brainbuster for the win.
I’ve grown to not expect much out of a YOSHI-HASHI match, but this was great! It felt like Ishii was trying to draw out a more aggressive YOSHI-HASHI throughout the match when he didn’t appear to be taking him seriously. He definitely succeeded, this was a YOSHI-HASHI I haven’t seen before, he looked like he belonged in the New Japan Cup and there were even points where I thought he might pick up the win. Ishii put on a great performance too, showing his toughness but also making sure both men shone for the duration.
Winner by pinfall – Tomohiro Ishii
Match 2 – Kazuchika Okada v Will Ospreay
This was the second of the CHAOS v CHAOS matches, and one of the most anticipated of the tournament.
The match started with a series of wristlock and hammerlock reversals. Ospreay managed to get a side headlock, but Okada pushed him to the ropes for a break with a chest pat. Okada hit a kick to Ospreay, then knocked him down with shoulder tackle. Ospreay jumped straight back up and they went into dueling forearms followed by a series of reversals until Okada rolled out of the ring. Ospreay did his handspring jump into a pose. Ospreay then missed with a splash to the outside, this allowed Okada to take the advatage and throw Ospreay at barrier. Ospreay jumped over it and jumped back at Okada, but Okada caught him with an uppercut. Back in the ring, Okada slammed Ospreay and hit him with a slingshot senton. Okada continued to control the match, ramming Ospreay’s head into turnbuckle pad, and hitting him with back elbows in the corner. Ospreay came back with strikes, but was taken down with a neckbreaker for a quick 2. Okada then kept Ospreay grounded with a chinlock but Ospreay elbowed his way out. Okada then threw him back to the corner and drove him to the top turnbuckle before hitting him with a high dropkick, knocking him to the outside. Okada taunted an increasingly frustrated Ospreay by striking him several times as he tried to get back in the ring. Ospreay had enough and jumped up, using the legscissors to take Okada outside then hit Okada with a handspring dive to the outside. Ospreay was firmly back on the offensive, hitting combination strikes to Okada, then a handspring screw high-kick. Ospreay charged at Okada but missed, Okada got in a back elbow to Ospreay in the corner, then hit him with a flapjack. There’s another series of reversals, an air-raid crash to the knee, then an elbow drop and Okada’s gained momentum so strikes a Rainmaker pose, but Ospreay was back with a big roundhouse kick to Okada and followed up witth Pip pip cheerio for 2. Ospreay lifted Okada, looking for Stormbreaker, but Okada fought out. Ospreay was still on the offence with kicks to Okada’s chest and shoulder, he went for Stormbreaker again, but Okada countered and hit him with a shotgun dropkick. Eventually, the two men got back to their feet and began hitting each other with stiff elbows. Okada then hit an uppercut to Ospreay, and a second, then went to work with kicks to Ospreay’s head. Okada went for another uppercut, but Ospreay reversed it and hit a huge lariat. Ospreay, taking a page out of Okada’s book, maintained wrist control, pulled Okada up, and hit another big clothesline, stiill kept hold of the wrist, went for another clothesline, but this time Okada countered with a dropkick to the back of the head, he tried for a second but missed. Ospreay came back with kicks, but missed the Hidden Blade, with Okada picking him up, but Ospreay reversed into a stunner. Ospreay hit Okada with a hook kick, lifted him on his shoulders up to the top turnbuckle, and hit an avalanche for 2.
Ospreay was still on Okada, hitting a Robinson Special, and calling for the Os-cutter, but Okada caught him and hit a deadlift German suplex, Okada then went for the Rainmaker but Ospreay reversed it into a Spanish fly for 2.9! Ospreay went up to the top, hit Okada with shooting star press to the back, and then went back up and hit a second shooting star press for 2.9 again! Ospreay pulled Okada up, tried for the Os-cutter but Okada countered with a dropkick and then a tombstone. Okada picked Ospreay up, and went for the Rainmaker but Ospreay reversed, looked for Stormbreaker but Okada reversed it again into a spinning tombstone, then pulled Ospreay up and hit the Rainmaker for the win!
That was brilliant! Ospreay and Okada are two of the top wrestlers in NJPW right now. Judging by this performance, Ospreay is coming to the main event scene sooner rather than later, just not through winning the New Japan Cup. Okada, however, continued on towards the final, but first he needs to get past another teammate in Ishii.
Winner by pinfall – Kazuchika Okada