If there is evidence of how great the training by Shibata and company have done in the New Japan LA Dojo look no further than Clark Connors and Danny Limelight. It’s only fitting that arguably the two best competitors to come from the dojo in recent years are battling for the Lion’s Break Crown for New Japan of America next week.
The excitement of NJPW Strong every Friday seems to be leveling up each week since the debut August 7, 2020. Friday’s episode, obviously, was no different. It was a super stacked card. The addition of the Lion’s Break Crown tournament has made 9:00 PM the prime hour of professional wrestling and the best anywhere.
Tonight’s card was as follows:
Clark Connors vs. Logan Riegel (Semifinal Match)
Karl Fredricks/TJP vs. Flip Gordon/Brody King
Blake Christian vs. Danny Limelight (Semifinal Match)
David Finlay/Jeff Cobb/Rocky Romero/Misterioso
Jay White/KENTA/Chase Owens/Hikule’o
The opening match set the tone for how intense and important tonight has been in the NJPW Lion’s Break Crown Tournament. The odds on favorite Clark Connors took on one half of the Riegel Twins tag team Jordan Riegel.
From the get go this was strike heavy and grinding for both athletes. Riegel did well playing defense to Connors ground game from the opening bell but a vicious pounce by Connors at around the 5 minute mark was the turning point of this match. Riegel attempted a second rope sunset flip but landed awkwardly and Connors was there to catch the mistake and synch in a painful Boston Crab for the victory
Connors def. Riegel
Connors victory was followed up by the second Semifinal match. Danny Limelight took on “All Heart” Blake Christian. Limelight has put on matches each week one performance better than the next. Christian, on the other hand, has been fighting his own body to power through to get to this spot in the tournament. Completely living up to his nickname in the process.
From the opening bell Limelight jumps on Christian and proceeds to ground and pound the exposed right side ribs. Nearly every time Christian attempted to go high flyer, Limelight was there to counter. Though I have to say, the most intriguing spot was when Christian had Limelight draped over the top rope and proceeded to hit a 450 splash. After trying to capitalize on the move Christian returns to the top rope only for Limelight to catch him and reverse the top rope dive with a cradled DDT and the pin to advance.
Limelight def. Christian
I will say this much about these episodes of NJPW Strong. It intensifies when Brody King is on the card. He is a monster and things around him change when he’s present. Flip Gordon is King’s tag team partner and they have some incredible in-ring chemistry. They take on future superstar and former Young Lion Karl Fredricks teams with the veteran TJP (TJ Perkins).
There is zero doubt that Karl Fredricks’ ceiling is pretty much unlimited. He’s a future NJPW superstar but he and TJP didn’t have that element of chemistry that King/Gordon seem to have together. This match was fantastic and there are too many highlights to put in this article without making it a novel. I suggest watching it because it was great. The match finishes with King taking care of Fredricks and Gordon cutting off TJP making the save and hoisting him up for a diamond cutter and the 1-2-3.
King/Gordon def. Fredricks/TJP
The main event of the evening is an 8 man tag match putting Bullet Club up against some of NJPW’s very best. “Switchblade” Jay White led his group of Bullet Club members up against Rocky Romero, Jeff Cobb, Misterioso, and David Finlay.
It would appear that 2020 is turning out to be another banner year for the Bullet Club. That is if recent events are any inidcation. (KENTA’s US Title briefcase, the return of Jay White, EVIL’s title reign, etc.) But, that story is for another time. Friday’s main event was the ultimate finale for a fantastic hour of wrestling. Every wrestler was able to shine and Bullet Club was in top heel form.
The action was nearly at a torrid pace. The Bullet Club came away with a victory tonight thanks to a lariat from hell from Hikule’o that turned Misterioso inside out followed by a chokeslam and a Chase Owens cover for the 3 count and the Bullet Club victory. This capped off a tremendous Friday of wrestling and further established NJPW as having the best hour of wrestling anywhere!
Bullet Club def. Jeff Cobb/Rocky Romero/Misterioso/David Finlay
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