By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed October 9, 2020 on New Japan World
The show started with a look back at the earlier rounds of the Lion’s Break Crown tournament and ten a look towards the final tonight… The broadcast team was Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov…
1. Misterioso, Blake Christian, and Logan Riegel vs. Fred Rosser, Adrian Quest and Barrett Brown. Brown and Riegel started the match and locked up. Each man tried for sweeps before Brown tried to take Riegel’s back. Riegel shot off and tagged in Christian. Brown and Christian traded running strikes, with Brown coming off better and tagging in Quest.
Quest entered and whipped Christian across the ring, a move which allowed Christian to get into a better position and hit Riegel with a Springboard clothesline and tag in Misterioso. Rosser also tagged in, prompting a striking exchange between himself and Misterioso. The luchador came out on top, hitting Rosser with a couple of corner clothesline followed by a seated one for a one count.
Misterioso then tagged in Riegel who went straight for a cross body but got caught by Rosser and hit with a pair of backbreakers and tossed to the side. Rosser pushed Riegel to the apron and hit him with a back suplex on the hardest part of the ring. Rosser then rolled him back in to hit a standing leg drop for a pair of two counts.
Rosser then tagged in Brown who smacked Riegel and kicked his chest before trying to whip him across the ring. Riegel reversed and hit a snap German Suplex to build some space. Riegel then rolled to tag Misterioso, while Brown tagged in Quest. Misterioso got caught with a huracanrana and a corkscrew splash followed by Christian distracting quest, allowing Misterioso to hit him with a Popup Powerbomb for a two count.
Misterioso then stomped on Quest and took him to his corner, allowing his team to tag in and out and wail on Quest. Eventually Quest was back in the ring with Misterioso on whom he hit a Tilt-a-Whirl DDT to tag in Brown. Blake Christian also tagged in and took advantage of the chaos by hitting Rosser off the apron. He tried to then hit Brown with an elbow, but Brown caught him with a wheelbarrow facebuster to prompt an all-out brawl.
Misterioso hit Rosser with a big moonsault to the outside, followed by Quest hitting Misterioso with a Suicide Dive. Riegel attempted to follow up, but Brown caught him with a running kick and found himself back with Christian. The two slugged it out in the ring, and while Quest tried to interfere, Brown kicked him out of the ring. He then tried to rush Christian but got caught coming in with a Spanish Fly, followed by a top rope splash for the three count.
Blake Christian, Misterioso and Logan Riegel defeated Fred Rosser, Adrian Quest and Barrett Brown.
Anish’s Thoughts: This was a fun opening match in which all six guys got just enough to be present, however I don’t think anyone did anything to really stand out above the rest. I think if anyone, Misterioso looked the best, hitting a couple of really strong moves and a cool moonsault to the outside to make some waves in the match. I think the match might have dragged a little as there was definitely a spot in the match where I though the match would have ended by, however it continued unexpectedly. Not a bad match by any means, but the pacing was slightly odd.
2. Clark Connors vs. Danny Limelight in the Lion’s Break Crown tournament finale. The match started with leg kicks by Limelight, which Connors just ate. The two grappled on the ground for a second, but neither got the advantage so they got back up and continued to circle each other. Connors went for a takedown but got caught by a kick. Limelight tried to grapple, but Connors clearly had the advantage on the ground, reversing the position and getting himself on top of Limelight.
Limelight got to the ropes, leading to the two re-engaging on their feet. Limelight caught Connors with a head kick and hit a corner clothesline before tossing him out of the ring and following up with a plancha. Limelight taunted Connors on the outside and hit a forearm before rolling him back into the ring. Limelight attempted a cross body but Connors reversed and hit a big powerslam for a two count.
Connors now went on the offensive, stomping Limelight into the corner and racking him with a back chop before locking in a chin lock to wear him out. Connors took his time, slowly stomping on Limelight’s back before hitting a scoop slam. Connors then attempted his Boston Crab, but Limelight rolled out and pushed Connors to the ropes and hit a kick to the arm before following up with chest kicks on Connors.
Limelight dragged Connors around the ring and hit more chest kicks before trying for a running attack, but Connors changed direction and knocked him off course with a running shoulder block. Connors now tried to follow up by running at Limelight, but he got out of dodge with a ropewalk and hit a springboard maneuver followed by a leg kick and a swinging neckbreaker to get a two count.
Limelight went to the top rope and tried for a spinning leg drop, Connors dodged and made it to the ropes, he then caught Connors with his package suplex combo and went for the pin but couldn’t hook the leg properly, allowing Connors to kick out.
A frustrated Limelight took his time before trying for another springboard maneuver and goading Connors in for a kick to the head. He propped Connors on the top rope to try for a superplex, but Connors struggled and pushed him off before following up with a Strong Middle rope Spear and then the Boston Crab. Limelight struggled and almost made it to the ropes, but Connors had the Boston Crab in completely, forcing Limelight to tap out.
Clark Connors defeated Danny Limelight to win the Lion’s Break Crown tournament.
Anish’s Thoughts: That was a really fun match and a great way to cap off the Lion’s Break Crown Tournament. Connors going all the way and winning it in such dominating fashion may be seen as predictable, but I enjoyed all his matches, and each of his opponents look good in my opinion. Limelight especially looked strong being that he didn’t tap out immediately to the Boston Crab like we were accustomed to. That’s how you build a finisher and a wrestler in Clark Connors, considering he’s still donning the ‘Young boy’ gear and is billed as the LA Dojo guy, I think it makes sense that he of all people won. For anyone who has seen his work in the ads on New Japan World, Connors clearly has a good personality, so I think this was a good way for him to prove himself as a contender on Strong as well.
3. “Bullet Club” KENTA, Chase Owens, Jay White, Hikuleo, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa vs. TJP, Karl Fredericks, David Finlay, Jeff Cobb, ACH, and Rocky Romero in an elimination match. Owens and Fredericks started off the match, with Owens pummeling Fredericks down to start and pushing him towards the apron where Hikuleo grabbed him and the rest of Bullet Club piled on, prompting a twelve man brawl, where the faces pushed everyone out of the ring except Owens.
They all rushed Owens who humorously straddled the ropes until the rest of Bullet Club broke it up, leaving Owens and Fredericks in the ring again. Fredericks hit a jumping Elbow drop for a one count and tagged in Romero who continued the offense. Romero stomped on Owens while White tried to distract the ref from the apron, he instead caught Romero running at the ropes with a back kick and allowed Tama Tonga to tag in and take control.
Hikuleo then tagged in and wailed on Romero before leaving him to KENTA in the corner for some chops. Bullet Club roared at each chop to Romero and continued to tag in and out. Eventually, Romero was able to build some space by catching White coming in with an elbow to the face and building some momentum. White almost halted him but Romero was able to toss him out of the ring, causing an elimination.
Romero tagged in ACH who went at it with Tanga Loa, ACH attempted a Springboard maneuver but Loa pushed him off and got an elimination. Fredericks and Tama Tonga now went at it with Fredericks almost getting eliminated by getting tossed out but then rolled back in, only to be met by a Gun Stun and get pinned.
Cobb then strolled into the ring, with Loa trying for another Gun Stun, but Cobb caught him impressively and tossed him straight out for another elimination. Cobb and Hikuleo then tangled, with Hikuleo able to goad Cobb towards the ropes and pushed him over the ropes for an elimination. Bullet Club tried to cause chaos in the ring, but Romero and TJP forced them out and tried to double up on Hikuleo.
Romero and TJP got caught by a double suplex, allowing Hikuleo to toss him over the ropes for an elimination. Hikuleo picked TJP up and tried to toss him out of the ring, but TJP avoided the floor and caught Hikuleo with a head scissors to whip him out as well. Hikuelo responded by dragging him out and causing another elimination.
KENTA and Owens now teamed up on Finlay who was the only one of the faces left. They hit him with double team Irish whip maneuvers allowing KENTA to stomp on him and get him to the corner where Owens attempted to tag in. Finlay was able to build some space and hit the two remaining Bullet Club members with some strikes before goading Owens into hitting KENTA with a clothesline.
Finlay then goaded Owens into running at him and tossed him over the top rope before quickly following up on KENTA as well to toss him over the top rope and get two quick eliminations for the pinfall victory.
JP, Karl Fredericks, David Finlay, Jeff Cobb, ACH & Rocky Romero defeated “Bullet Club” KENTA, Chase Owens, Jay White, Hikuleo, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa in an elimination match.
Anish’s Thoughts: I don’t know if I missed something at the beginning, but I did not realize that tossing someone over the top rope was an elimination until White was eliminated in that fashion. Usually these big NJPW tag matches are if nothing crazy fun, but I think the constraints that the competitors had in this match, and having the strange elimination rules made it really hard to follow.
I really question not having the Lion’s Break Crown tournament finale main event the show considering not only how good the match was, and also because of how NJPW had been focusing on this tournament for weeks. The 12-man tag didn’t really serve anyone as Bullet Club kind of looked like bungling heels, and while Finlay came out strong at the end, he didn’t pin anyone which might have served the match better.
Overall, the first two matches on this show were good, and the show as a whole might have been better had the match order been switched to put the Lion’s Break Crown Finale in the main event, or if the twelve man had some higher stakes or lower complexity rules. My weekly audio reviews of New Japan Strong are available for Dot Net Members by Saturday.