Summer is Ending, Fighting Spirit Unleashed

One Tour Ends, another begins. 

As we come to the end of the Summer Struggle 2020 Tour one thing has become abundantly clear in the world of New Japan Pro Wrestling along with their streaming show NJPW Strong. It continues to be the best hour of professional wrestling anywhere.  

This week’s episode of Strong only featured 3 matches. It was not the 5 stars that this hour normally brings every week, but it did move some storylines forward and the in-ring action was extremely good. Next week’s episode of Strong is going to be definitely appointment viewing. If you haven’t subscribed to New Japan World you definitely need to get moving. 

This is how the strongest hour unfolded: 

  • Opening match: Jordan Clearwater vs. Danny “Limelight” Rivera 

So far, the best thing about Jordan Clearwater is the fact that he was trained by “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson. It might be early to really gauge how he’s going to turn out as an athlete and NJPW fighter, but in my opinion, I’m just not feeling him as a performer. On the other hand, Danny “Limelight” Rivera there’s a definite path to stardom being laid out not to mention a story forming around the senpai angle with Rocky Romero.  

It was a decent opening match but the emphasis seems to be with Limelight. He seems poised to transition to the NJPW Jr. Heavyweight division. Limelight took care of Clearwater in nearly 6 minutes (5:56 officially) with a top rope hurricanrana DDT. 

  • 8-Man Tag Match: Mysterioso/Brown/Christian/Quest vs. ACH/TJP/Connors/Fredricks 

The first week of Strong I may have been a little too hasty in my assessment of Mysterioso. I had mentioned he didn’t quite connect with me in that first match on that episode. He definitely looked the ring veteran that he truly is since coming to NJPW. As the team leader he performed the best of his group. He would get the clean pin on Clark Connors with the backstabber at the 15-minute mark. 

On a side note, Young Lion trainee Clark Connors is the real deal. As soon as he graduates from the Young Lions program at the LA Dojo, I’m predicting some huge things coming from him in the future. I may have gone out on a huge limb when I tweeted that he’s “future IWGP champion”. Truth, though, is he’s got all the tools to be what NJPW likes in a professional wrestler.  

  • Main Event: PJ Black vs. Chase Owens 

Well, Bullet Club vs. ROH in the main event of this week’s episode. Where in the pecking order Owens resides in the Bullet Club is something I’m trying to figure out. He’s great in the ring, but BC is loaded from top to bottom with some of the best in ALL of New Japan. It is apparent that they control NJPW USA at the moment. Owens wins, Tama Tonga wins, KENTA wins the briefcase. The numbers are there. It remains to be seen what happens when traveling restrictions due to COVID are finally lifted and NJPW can have their factions together again. 

This match was probably the 2nd best of the night. (The 8-man tag clearly the best match). PJ Black (ROH) should be a permanent member of NJPW. He is way too good and a legit “ring general”. Owens is great at what he does as well thus, made this a really good match to end the night. Owens secured the win for Bullet Club with a package pile driver on Black. The win came at the 11-minute mark and signaled yet another win for the Bullet Club.  

Next week was teased with a return of Jay White to action. The tension between Karl Fredricks and Mysterioso is coming to a boiling point and the monster Brody King is returning.

Overall, it was a decent night of professional wrestling put on by NJPW. It is the best hour of wrestling one can find anywhere. With the end of Summer Struggle 2020 and the Fighting Spirit Unleashed Tour beginning in earnest following King of Pro Wrestling PPV at Jingu Stadium Saturday. It will begin a push toward one of the biggest PPV on New Japan’s calendar and that’s the G1 Climax Tournament. Other than Wrestle Kingdom this is the event that is not to be missed for any reason at all. 

If you don’t have New Japan World NOW is the time to subscribe and never miss an episode of NJPW Strong and all the wonderful streaming events with New Japan. Go to http://www.njpwworld.com/ . It will be the best $9.95 you’ll ever spend. You’re a wrestling fan, you deserve better wrestling. The better is New Japan. 

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