By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed September 25, 2020 on New Japan World
The show was kicked off by Kevin Kelly interviewing TJP, asking him about Clark Connors and whether he is the favorite to win the Lions Break Crown Cup, which is kicking off tonight. TJP said that while he may have an advantage being a recent NJPW LA Dojo graduate, that this tournament is extremely competitive. A reel played highlighting all eight competitors in the tournament and then we went straight into the first match… Kelly and Alex Koslov were on commentary…
1. Logan Riegel vs. The DKC in a first-round tournament match. The two each tried for a takedown before the DKC was able to take control initially and try for a chin lock but Riegel worked out of it and the two exchanged scissors holds and The DKC tried for an arm lock, but Riegel was able to escape.
The DKC once again muscled Riegel to the ground and worked Riegel’s arm again, this went on until eventually he hit Riegel with a Back Suplex and transitioned to a chin lock and then back to an arm lock. Riegel put up some resistance and goaded The DKC into a striking exchange, allowing Riegel to finally get some momentum and rock The DKC with a series of clotheslines and a neckbreaker for a two count, all the while gripping his arm.
Riegel tried to follow up but The DKC kicked Riegel right on the arm and went back to a reverse Anaconda Vice on Riegel. While Riegel seemed in a lot of pain, he was able to make it to the bottom rope. DKC then stomped on Riegel’s arm and tried for a Backdrop but Riegel rolled through and used one arm to roll him up for a three count.
Logan Riegel defeated The DKC to advance to the semifinals.
Anish’s Thoughts: That was a very short match, obviously it had to be to make the surprise finish work there. The DKC looked completely in control and so he looks better coming out of this, but Riegel too got a scrappy underdog win and got to show his resilience and toughness to fight through the arm onslaught and somehow pull off the roll up. Great work by both men to tell that clear story. Even if it was an unorthodox finish, I think it worked great for the first round of a minor tournament.
2. Jordan Clearwater vs. Clark Connors in a first-round tournament match. The match started off quick with Connors getting a takedown and taking the back of Clearwater. Connors went for a lateral press and got a one count before the two re-engaged with Connors hitting Clearwater with a headlock takeover to try and knock the wind out of him.
Connors held on to the headlock and was shot off the ropes, while he initially hit Clearwater with a shoulder block, Clearwater retaliated with a hip toss and a leg drop for a two count. Clearwater picked Connors up and chopped him, but Connors ate it and responded tenfold and followed up with stomps in the corner. Connors then hit Clearwater with a snapmare and a chop to the back for a two count before transitioning to an abdominal stretch.
Clearwater managed to pick himself up and tried for a running attack, but Connors reversed with a running tackle. Connors couldn’t take advantage and when he tried to, was caught with a Backdrop by Clearwater followed by a neckbreaker for a two count. Clearwater followed up with forearms and a spinebuster to get another close two count. Clearwater tried to get Connors up for a scoop Slam, but Connors pushed him off and hit a powerslam.
Connors tried for a Boston Crab, but Clearwater rolled into a pinfall attempt allowing Clearwater to escape. Clearwater then tried for his running knee, the ‘Midas Touch,’ but Connors dodged and hit a Spear before using his Boston Crab to get the immediate submission victory.
Clark Connors defeated Jordan Clearwater to advance to the semifinals.
Anish’s Thoughts: This was a very well done match to make Clark Connors look great and compound the story of him being the favorite in this tournament. Clearwater had a very standard comeback spot which he definitely utilized well, but this match was all about Connors and he looked strong, especially with the immediate submission from his Boston Crab.
3. Barrett Brown vs. Danny Limelight in a first-round tournament match. The match started with the two tentatively engaging in a test of strength. Limelight was taken to ground but flipped out and hit Brown with an arm drag, prompting an arm drag exchange between the two.
Limelight and Brown engaged once more, with Brown getting caught with some chest kicks in the corner. Limelight took too long taunting before throwing a third chest kick, allowing Brown to catch him and whip him into the corner to start a running exchange. Limelight ended the exchange on top by hitting Brown with a running Chest kick. Limelight then followed up by tossing Brown out of the ring and hitting a dive to the outside.
Limelight tried to follow up with a running attack in the ring but got caught with a running dropkick by Brown. Limelight was subject to a few more strikes before Brown hit him with a running back elbow for a two count. Brown tried to hit Limelight with another running attack, but Limelight reversed with a standing dropkick. Limelight ran at Brown who was in the corner now, but Brown caught him with a corner suplex to build some space.
Brown picked Limelight up and chopped him into the corner before whipping him across the ring. Limelight got his feet back under him and dodged Brown’s incoming clothesline into an impressive rope walk dropkick. Limelight continued the onslaught and hit Brown square in the head with a spinning kick. Limelight went for the cover but only got a two. To try and finish the match, Limelight tried for a fisherman’s suplex and while Brown blocked it initially, he eventually hit it and held on for the pin, once again getting a close two count.
Limelight tried to follow up with a Springboard kick, but Brown caught him with a wheelbarrow facebuster to get another close two count. Brown now tried for an apron suplex, but Limelight caught him with a kick and hit a Springboard Tornado DDT to get the pinfall victory.
Danny Limelight defeated Barrett Brown to advance to the semifinals.
Anish’s Thoughts: This was a fun match, if a little slow. Brown and Limelight worked really well together, and Limelight got to showcase his personality which was the most important part of the match in my opinion. He looked good as well, controlling most of the match and hitting some very impressive Springboard maneuvers to show off his athleticism. For a first round match this was a good way to make Limelight look good without sacrificing Brown in any way.
4. Blake Christian vs. Adrian Quest in a first-round tournament match. This match started off with a fast pace with both men exchanging very athletic roll up attempts to kick the match off. Quest hit a quick headbutt at one point before going for a head scissors takedown, but Christian immediately retaliated with a running forearm and dropkick combo to get a two count.
Quest got his wits back about him quickly however, hitting Christian with some shoulder strikes and a back suplex before stomping Christian into the corner. Quest hit a snap suplex for a two count before kicking Christian and ramming his spine with some forearms. Christian traded some chops back at Quest but got caught with a Kitchen Sink knee.
Quest couldn’t take advantage however as Christian tripped him into the ropes and hit a bottom rope 619 before trying for a Springboard clothesline. Quest caught him with a dropkick for a two count before getting the same again after another scoop Slam. Quest tried for a bow and arrow stretch for a second, but quickly gave up on it in favor of another back suplex for a two count.
Quest then picked Christian up for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for another two count. Quest tried to hammer throw Christian into the corner, but Christian rebounded off the turnbuckle pad and slotted Quest with a strong clothesline. Christian continued the offense and hit a springboard moonsault for a very close two count, seemingly expending all of his energy.
Christian tried for a one-armed back suplex, but Quest was able to reverse and hit a running Sunset Flip Bomb pin for a two count. Quest tried to end it with a Phoenix Splash but Christian got out of the way and grounded Quest, allowing himself to hit an inverted Corkscrew Splash to get the pinfall victory.
Blake Christian defeated Adrian Quest to advance to the semifinals.
After the match, Christian cut a promo hyping up his match against Danny Limelight next week and Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov closed the show looking forward to the second round matches featuring Christian vs. Limelight and Connors vs. Reigel.
Anish’s Thoughts: The main event definitely lived up to the billing tonight, this was undoubtedly the best match on the card. The fast pace of this match made it a really great way to end the show, with Kelly and Koslov doing a great job on commentary to make Christian seem like a real underdog after Quest gained control of the match for a bit. Christian and Quest hit each other hard and made it very hard to tell who was going to come out on top. Christian’s comeback being so sudden and hard hitting allowed both men to walk away looking like they just competed in a tough match that made them better, even if Christian did take the win.
Overall, this was a very good show with four completely different first round matches that were able to differentiate themselves and the wrestlers in the match, allowing each of them to get over in a different way. Awesome job by everyone on the card tonight, that was a very good start to a tournament show.