12th Young Lions Cup League Match
Alex Coughlin vs. Yota Tsuji - 7/10
This was really good. Coughlin has an amazing look, his mannerisms, physic, and wrestling style remind me a lot of Benoit. He also seems to have found his 'thing' with those Knife-edge Chops. He lands those chops like Thunder. No story here, just a quick exchange of technical wrestling, chops, and a Boston Crab battle that ended with Tsuji tapping out. How can rookies be this good?
I have soo much hype and expectations for this YLC. The talent involved is super solid and with little to no necessity to protect people, this should be a straight up solid tournament.
12th Young Lions Cup League Match
Clark Connors vs. Shota Umino - 7/10
Arguably the captains of each of the New Japan Dojos going at it. They were super heated. This was more of a bigger spot exchange, they started with some strikes, but they quickly followed up with bigger moves. There was a specific shoulder tackle by Umino and the finishing Spear by Connors that were top of the line, better than many superstars's. Connors submitted Umino with the Crab.
That's 2 wins for the LA Dojo.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ren Narita & Yuya Uemura vs. Karl Fredericks, Michael Richards & Satoshi Kojima - 6/10
Tenzan and Kojima will be pretty much fighting throughout the tour as the Young Lion's preview matches. It'll get them something to do, and it's a match up that we don't get that much anyway.
Narita paired up with Fredericks, who is soo fucking cocky, but he's soo fucking good. A while back I wanted Kitamura to have the 'The Lion' gimmick, that Young Lion that became the Lion, no fancy gimmicks or anything, just a straight up Inoki style wrestler, and now I think Frederick's could pull it off. His demeanor is perfect. Narita was a great underdog here if that could even apply here.
Uemura and Richards were the other pair. Richards reminds me of Oka when he barely started, but unless he starts putting up the work, I can't see him even surpassing Chase Owens. Uemura is small, but he looked better here. Kojima did end up pinning Uemura after a Koji Cutter and Lariat.
Birds Of Prey, Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi) - 7/10
This was up and down, the build for BoP vs BC is fucking awesome, but you eventually need to tag in Honma to hit Kokeshis. The action was non-stop, and even with Honma, it was fun, just considerably slower than Robbie and Ospreay double combos. Chase pinned Henare with Jewel Heist and a Package Piledriver.
For all the jokes about Block C, I find it hilarious that this year, the Juniors got their tournament, the heavyweights got theirs, and now the Young Lions, meanwhile the geeks like Henare and YOSHI-HASHI got nothing.
BULLET CLUB (Jado, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. CHAOS (Rocky Romero, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) - 6.5/10
This was one of the weaker matches, only really beating old man Tenzan vs Kojima. If anything else, it helped YOSHI-HASHI get out of the jobber spotlight and show him as a credible partner with Ishii in order to challenge for the titles.
The match was ok, Jado looked really exposed out there, his movement is getting stiffer. Romero looked good, but it was the GoD vs Ishii/YH tornado action that really saved this match. YH won with the Geekyfly Lock on Jado.
Post-match - GoD went to hit Magic Killer on YH, but Ishii saved him and hit the Sliding Lariat on Tama. Ishii and YH grabbed the belts and made their intentions clear. They want a shot at the titles in their upcoming match.
Roppongi 3K, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.) - 7/10
Douki is back with Suzuki-Gun, so I guess he'll be officially joining now. And we're unfortunately, not done with this Sabre vs Tanahashi feud. I do however, really enjoy every time that Suzuki and Taguchi fight, they're the perfect anti-thesis of each other and complement each other like that.
Match saw SZKG work over SHO for a while. Tanahashi and YOH did a lot of work together. Suzuki and Taguchi did some comedy, and at the end, Taguchi pinned Douki after a roll up where it was CLEAR AS FUCK that Douki's foot was on the rope. Ref didn't see it, but DOUKI did argue with Red Shoes afterwards.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Gedo & Jay White) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito) - 8/10
This was so great, the action was great and everyone played their part nicely. I like how EVIL and Fale can play that force that just comes in for a quick strike and add explosiveness to whatever Naito and White were doing. As for them that are building the IC title match, tonight, they played a lot with the idea of White constantly cancelling Naito's attack by moving out of the way, and really putting Naito's 'Tranquilo' lifestyle to the test.
EVIL submitted Gedo with a Scorpion Deathlock.
Post-match - White attacked Tsuji with a chair and Naito told him to be Tranquilo.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi) - 8.5/10
This was another great match. We got a chance to see a little bit of Shingo vs Okada, we got Strong Style between Goto and Shingo, and we got some good action between SANADA and Okada. All those pair ups with just a lot of spots and great wrestling. Finish saw SANADA pin Goto after blocking an Ushigoroshi, using an O'Connor Roll for the win.
This match didn't really build any specifics to each of their future matches, but it did give SANADA a bit win over Okada's team member.
Post-match - SANADA was leaving, but the crowd demanded a promo. He said his usual "This is my favorite place, see you tomorrow' stuff and left.
This had to be one of the most solid Road To tours that New Japan has set up, today's show was solid. The upper card will be really repetitive, but the Young Lion's Cup will keep things fresh and interesting.