By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed October 30, 2020 on New Japan World
The show began with the broadcast team of Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov introducing The Road To Showdown and the card for the night…
1. Clark Connors and The DKC vs. Sterling and Logan Riegel. Koslov noted how it was good to see the Riegel twins back as they made their entrance. Sterling and DKC started with DKC working a side headlock. Sterling countered into a head-scissors and then wrenched in a front face-lock. The two worked back to their feet before DKC got in a snap-mare.
Connors tagged in and worked the right leg after a trip. After both got to their feet, Logan tagged in. Connors and Logan got into a collar-and-elbow tie-up before Connors was worked into the Riegel corner. A series of quick tags took place before Connors kicked out of a two-count.
Connors took a snap-suplex for a two-count. Connors shoulder-blocked one of the twins into the ropes and tagged in The DKC, who landed a suplex for a two-count. The DKC sank in a front-face-lock before getting in a chin-lock. Connors tagged in and the two hit a double-shoulder-block.
Connors and one of the twins traded blows in the middle of the ring. Connors landed a body-slam for a two-count. Logan got the hot tag on Connors and fired up for some strikes. He then hit a cross-body on Connors, who was on the outside. Back inside the ring, Logan got in a Slingblade for a two-count.
Logan hit some chops and then put Connors down with a clothesline. The twins hit some fast-paced tag moves for a two-count. Connors eventually landed a snap power slam and tagged in DKC. Sterling and DCK exchanged strikes. DKC hit a power slam for a two-count. The DKC hit both twins with his karate chop, but eventually got caught while attempting a crucifix. The twins then hit a double-team spike DDT and got the pin.
Sterling Riegel and Logan Riegel defeated Clark Connors and The DKC via pinball in 10:06.
After the match, the twins cut a promo saying it’s been six months since they’ve been in the ring together.
McGuire’s Musings: A sometimes stiff tag match to open the show. Forgive me for not always being on point with the twins, as I’m still playing a little bit of catch up, diving into NJPW. The Riegels looked good and I don’t think Connors and DKC lost much in defeat. It will be interesting to see where the twins go from here. It’s always a good story to come back after being away, but the real work comes when you have to figure out what happens next.
2. Blake Christian vs. Karl Fredericks. The two locked up in the middle of the ring before Fredericks lifted Christian. Fredericks hit Christian with a kick to the leg and the two locked up again. Fredericks backed his opponent up to the corner and landed a chop. Christian then worked a front face-lock as action came to a stand-still in the middle of the ring.
Fredericks missed a cross-body. Christian landed a spring-board elbow and roundhouse kick. Christian hit at Tope Suicida on the outside of the ring before rolling Fredericks back in the ring. The two traded stiff chops. Christian got on the offensive for a second but Fredericks took control with some kicks.
Fredericks hit a bodyslam and boot to the face. Christian fought back but Fredericks hit some strikes. Christian hit a spinning Enziguri. Fredericks landed a head kick and a double-stomp to the back of Fredericks. He got a two-count. Christian eventually went for a victory roll and got a two-count. Fredericks got on the offensive with a spine-buster and went into a single-leg crab to get the tap-out.
Karl Fredericks defeated Blake Christian via submission in 6:02.
Fredericks cut a promo backstage saying NJPW Strong is his show. “Here, on Friday nights, I’m daddy,” he said.
McGuire’s Musings: A good win for the 2019 Lion’s Cup winner. Fredericks continues to shine as he moves up the card and getting the tap-out here only furthers his profile. Christian didn’t look bad, either, and I’d actually like to see these two work together again with more time somewhere down the line. It felt inevitable that Fredericks would win, but some of the spots here made things interesting while getting there.
3. David Finlay, PJ Black, Alex Zayne and Misterioso vs. KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hikuleo. The Bullet Club group made their entrance first as Koslov admitted he’d like to see the match go at least 25 minutes. With only about 12 minutes left in the program, smart money says he won’t get his wish.
Black and Loa began the match with Black putting his arm up for a test of strength. Loa hit Black with some strikes before the two worked the ropes. Black hit an elbow on Loa’s head. Tonga hit Black as Black tried to run the ropes. Misterioso tagged in and missed a hit in the corner before landing a dropkick. Eventually, Tonga tagged in and Misterioso almost immediately got on the offensive after hitting the ropes.
Zayne tagged in and worked over Tonga. Misterioso was thrown outside onto Loa while Zayne and Tonga traded strikes in the ring. Hikuleo, as the ref looked away, landed a choke-slam from the outside and then tagged in. He hit a boot on Zayne and followed that with a running power slam. He got a two-count before hitting a series of stiff chops.
KENTA tagged in to land a couple more chops and a back elbow for a two-count. After hitting a knee to the back, KENTA tagged in Tonga. Tonga then hit a cheap shot on Black in the corner and dragged Black to the Bullet Club corner. KENTA tagged in and worked Black over with kicks and chops.
Finlay tagged in to trade blows with KENTA. A back elbow put KENTA down. He then lifted him up for a single-leg back-breaker and got a two-count. Loa entered the ring to break up a move but Black ran in. Hikuleo took control and got a two-count; after long, he hit a power slam on Finlay. With some quick tags, Misterioso got in a sunset flip off the top, but Hikuleo countered.
Misterioso tried a springboard cross-body, but got caught. Hikuleo picked Misterioso up for a slam and got the 1-2-3.
KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Hikuleo defeated David Finlay, PJ Black, Alex Zayne and Misterioso via pinfall in 9:33.
The four heels stood in the ring and celebrated. PJ Black and Tama Tonga briefly got into it, but the heels left the ring.
McGuire’s Musings: Somewhat of a subdued eight-man tag to end the show, but Hikuleo looked great while getting the win for his team. It was even a little surprising to see Misterioso take the pin, but putting over Hikuleo will ultimately do a good service to everybody. Tama and Tonga are stars in the making, but you already knew that. It would have been nice to see a little more of Finlay and KENTA together, but it’s understandable why we didn’t.
Either way, a good show. If you’re going to watch one of these matches, my recommendation would be the Blake Christian vs. Karl Fredericks match, if only because the pace they worked was much more intriguing. The first match had its plodding moments and all things considered, the main event wasn’t given enough time to really get its groove. A solid show all around, though, as the road to NJPW Showdown continues.