David Finlay’s status for this year’s New Japan Cup has been touch and go since he was announced as being part of the field due to an injury suffered at Honor Rising: Japan 2019, one of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual interpromotional shows with Ring of Honor.
With his left shoulder out of commission for an indeterminate amount of time, Finlay has been forced to pull out of the tournament and NJPW have announced a replacement who is very familiar to him— his captain and coach as part of Taguchi Japan, Ryusuke Taguchi!
No shuffling to the first round matchups necessary, Annoying Butt Man will be slotted right into David’s position opposite Hiroyoshi Tenzan on March 10’s show, and with Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shota Umino, EVIL vs. Zack Sabre, Jr., and Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito as the night’s other matchups, what already seemed like the night to watch in the first round of the tournament has an added cachet to it now.
Of course it’s unfortunate that Finlay is out and his match against Tenzan surely would have been great, but having wily junior heavyweight veteran Taguchi in one of the big annual heavyweight tournaments is super exciting. He’s already good for a couple great matches a year against the juniors when he sets his butt schtick aside and knuckles down, but in against Hiroyoshi here I have to think there’s real possibility for some magic to be made.
You see, for the last couple years Tenzan’s been broken-down and leans increasingly hard on his crowd-pleasing Mongolian chops during tag team matches, but when he’s called upon for a big match, he digs deep and more often than not puts in great performances that belie his age and physical status, as can be seen in his epic run through the 2016 G1 Climax.
So, two men who can be counted on to deliver and deliver big in singles matches when the spotlight is on them, with a natural story of the junior heavyweight replacement trying to show he can hang with the big boys against the old man who wants to prove he’s got one more day in the sun left?
Sign me up!
There you have it, folks
Excited to wake up at butt o’clock to see Annoying Butt Man take on NJPW’s most bull-headed dad, Cagesiders?