June 13, 2021

NJPW New Japan Cup Semi Finals (March 20) Preview, Statistics & Research

Watch: NJPWWorld (With Live English Commentary)

 International Start Times

The final four of the New Japan Cup 2021 is set after 26 tournament matches at 12 events in just over two weeks. The tournament will come to a close this weekend with two straight nights from Xebio Arena in Sendai as professional wrestling’s March Madness crowns its champion. Bettor’s favorites Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi both entered this year’s tournament with just one previous New Japan Cup appearance under their belts but they seem to be on a trajectory for another classic tournament final, this time as heavyweights.

Takagi vs. Ospreay may be the most likely tournament final on paper, but perennial underdog David Finlay hasn’t cared that he isn’t supposed to win singles matches so far in this year’s tournament. Finlay will look to leverage the momentum he gained by defeating Jay White in the quarter-finals as he faces Will Ospreay in the semi-finals.

Last year’s tournament champion, EVIL stands in the way of Shingo Takagi. EVIL ended last year’s New Japan Cup by betraying Los Ingobernables De Japon, including his semi-final opponent, Shingo Takagi. EVIL has crossed paths with the rest of LIJ since his betrayal. He had a series of memorable matches against Tetsuya Naito, he defended the IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships against Hiromu Takahashi, and he most recently faced SANADA at Wrestle Kingdom. Shingo Takagi is EVIL’s last LIJ challenge as he looks to put his old unit in his rearview. Shingo enters with momentum, having defeated Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, and KENTA on his way to the semi-finals. Unless EVIL can pull what would be his second straight tournament upset victory, a new star will be made via this year’s New Japan Cup.

 New Japan Cup 2021 Bracket Update

(Check your standings in the Sport of Pro Wrestling Bracket Challenge Here)

UNDERCARD MATCHES

First Match: Juice Robinson & Yuya Uemura vs. Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb

Second Match: SHO, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Jado

Third Match: BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito vs. DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.

Fourth Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White, KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi

Fifth Match
New Japan Cup 2021 Semi-Final
David Finlay vs. Will Ospreay

Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge

  • 0.95% of brackets entered into the Sport of Pro Wrestling new Japan Cup Bracket Challenge selected David Finlay to reach the semi-finals, and not a single person bet on David Finlay to advance to the finals.
  • 69.5% of brackets entered into the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge selected Will Ospreay to reach the semi-finals and 49.8% of brackets have Will Ospreay advancing to the finals.
  • Will Ospreay was, by far, the most common pick to win this year’s New Japan Cup. 31.2% of entrants to the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge have picked Will Ospreay to win the whole tournament.

2021 New Japan Cup Tournament Path

David Finlay

  • Defeated Chase Owens in the First Round
  • Defeated YOSHI-HASHI in the Second Round
  • Defeated Jay White in the Quarter Finals.

Will Ospreay

  • Defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the First Round.
  • Defeated Zack Sabre Jr. in the Second Round.
  • Defeated SANADA in the Quarter Finals.

New Japan Cup History

Will Ospreay

  • Second New Japan Cup appearance
  • 2019: Eliminated by Kazuchika Okada in the quarter-finals.

David Finlay

  • First New Japan Cup appearance

  • David Finlay will enter his match with Will Ospreay as the freshest competitor left in the field. Finlay’s New Japan Cup tournament match average of 14 minute and 39 seconds is the lowest among the final four.

Recent History – Singles (Last 365 Days)

  • David Finlay’s victory over Chase Owens in the first round of this year’s New Japan Cup was his first singles victory in Japan since November of 2017 when he defeated Katsuya Kitamura at NJPW Power Struggle 2017.
  • David Finlay’s three matches to begin the New Japan Cup are his first three-match singles winning streak in Japan since November of 2016. Finlay only has one four-match singles winning streak on record in his career.
  • So far in 2021, Will Ospreay has been one of the most difficult wrestlers to defeat in a singles match. His one loss, a 35-minute and 41-second loss to Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom is the second-longest match in NJPW this year.
  • Will Ospreay’s 21-minute and 30-second average losing match length over the last 365 days is the fourth highest in NJPW. Only Tetsuya Naito, Jay White, and Hiromu Takahashi have been more challenging to put away over that period of time.

Head To Head History

  • Will Ospreay and David Finlay have wrestled once in a singles match. Ospreay defeated Finlay in 10 minutes and 22 seconds at Korakuen Hall on the Road To Power Struggle in 2016.

Main Event
New Japan Cup 2021 Semi-Final
Shingo Takagi vs. EVIL

Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge

  • Of the predictors in the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge who correctly placed either EVIL or Shingo Takagi into this matchup, 83.5% have placed their bet on Shingo Takagi to advance to the finals.
  • 42.9% of predictors in the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge guessed that EVIL would make it to the semi-finals, but just 5.9% of predictors have EVIL going all the way to the final.
  • 32.8% of predictors in the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge guessed that Shingo Takagi would make it to the semi-finals and 30.03% of predictors have Shingo heading all the way to the final.
  • 18.18% of entrants to the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge have picked Shingo Takagi to win the whole tournament.
  • Just 1.9% of entrants to the Sport of Pro Wrestling New Japan Cup Bracket Challenge have picked EVIL to win the whole tournament.

2021 New Japan Cup Tournament Path

EVIL

  • First Round Bye (defending tournament champion)
  • Defeated Jeff Cobb in the Second Round
  • Defeated Toru Yano in the Quarter Finals.

Shingo Takagi

  • Defeated Kazuchika Okada in the First Round.
  • Defeated Hirooki Goto in the Second Round.
  • Defeated KENTA in the Quarter Finals.

New Japan Cup History

EVIL

  • Fifth New Japan Cup appearance, third consecutive
  • 2020: Defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the tournament, 2019: Eliminated by Zack Sabre Jr in the first round. 2017: Eliminated by Bad Luck Fale in the Semi-Final. 2016: Eliminated by Tomohiro Ishii in the first round.

Shingo Takagi

  • Second New Japan Cup appearance, second consecutive
  • 2020: Eliminated by SHO in the first round.

  • EVIL entered this year’s New Japan Cup on a 5 match losing streak in singles matches and he reached the semi-finals after winning just 2 matches as he was granted a first-round bye due to his status as the defending New Japan Cup champion.
  • One could make a case that Shingo Takagi had the most difficult path to the semi-finals in this year’s tournament. In the first round, he defeated two-time New Japan Cup winner, Kazuchika Okada who has the highest all-time New Japan Cup winning percentage (.813). Then, in the second round, Shingo eliminated three-time cup winner, Hirooki Goto, who has the most all=time New Japan Cup wins (24). In the quarter-finals, Shingo defeated defending New Japan Cup USA winner, KENTA. And now in the semi-finals, Takagi faces last year’s New Japan Cup winner, EVIL.
  • If Shingo Takagi defeats EVIL to reach the finals, he will have defeated the winners of 41% (7 of 17) New Japan Cup tournaments to do so.
  • Shingo Takagi has been challenged to get to this point in the tournament. His 23 minute and 52 second New Japan Cup match average is the highest among the final four.
  • Shingo is currently on pace for the second-longest New Japan Cup tournament of all time. Only Zack Sabre Jr’s 2018 tournament (26:05 average match length) was more strenuous than Shingo’s tournament to date.

Recent History – Singles (2021)

  • Shingo Takagi joins SANADA, Kota Ibushi, and Toru Yano as the only NJPW wrestlers with five singles wins to begin 2021.
  • EVIL’s two New Japan Cup wins were his first two victories in 2021.

Recent History – Singles (Last 180 Days)

  • Last year’s New Japan Cup began a 7 match winning streak for EVIL that included his IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship victory over Tetsuya Naito and his title defense against Hiromu Takahashi. It has been roughly 6 months since EVIL’s IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship reign ended on August 29th at Summer Struggle in Jingu. Since dropping the titles back to Tetsuya Naito, he is just 8-7 in singles matches.
  • Shingo Takagi lost the NEVER Openweight Championship on the same night EVIL lost the IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships (August 29th, Summer Struggle in Jingu). Since then, Shingo is 10-6 in singles matches, including his second NEVER Openweight Championship reign.

Recent History – Singles (Last 365 Days)

  • EVIL’s 15 victories in the last 365 days tie him for second-most in NJPW during that timeframe. Seven of those 15 victories occurred more than six months ago.
  • EVIL’s 7 hours, 52 minutes, and 21 seconds of Total Singles Match length over the last 365 days remains the longest in NJPW.

Head To Head History

  • This will be the first singles meeting between Shingo Takagi and EVIL.