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[2019-03-23-NJPW-New Japan Cup: Day Eleven] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs SANADA

paul sosnowski

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  • GSR changed the title to [2019-03-23-NJPW-New Japan Cup: Day Eleven] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs SANADA

A bit of a slow start but still a really good match. Tanahashi continued the trend of trying to finish off opponents without the High Fly Flow by focusing his attack on the leg even moreso than usual. SANADA's comebacks were good but his selling of the leg continues to be almost non-existent. Thankfully it wasn't too much of a detraction considering Tanahashi didn't hit him with like 30 dragon screws or wallop his leg with a chair or anything. But I just think SANADA could make more of an effort with some of his more athletic maneuvers. With that being said, the structure and pacing of the match was very good once we got past the 5-7 minute mark. In particular, there was a lot of urgency near the end with SANADA desperately trying to put Tanahashi away with the Skull End (similar to the Suzuki match from the second round). There were also some insane near-falls with the pinning combinations. What seemed like a clear-cut win for Tanahashi all of a sudden became a toss-up.

Even if his selling needs work, SANADA continues to prove he can compete with the top stars at their level. And Tanahashi continues to be one of the best big match wrestlers in the world.


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Mutoh student vs Mutoh student. A different paced match compared to the previous hard hitting match, and I would say just as good. This was more about getting SANADA over as the hometown boy, which led Tana to work in rare "heel-ish" fashion. Both of these guys have had some pretty great matches before together, and this didn't feel any different. Lots of chemistry in the sequences and storytelling, and I love the finish with Tana going for the move that won him his previous match but being countered into the Skull End for SANADA's win. I hope they finally pull the trigger on SANADA, well at least I can dream, ****1/2.

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