We’ve some new content from New Japan, featuring American-based wrestlers for the Lion’s Break Collision.
Yeah, it’s more empty arena stuff, as New Japan taped a load of content in Los Angeles a while back. Still, if it’s a chance to hear Kevin Kelly on new content I’m all for it…
Alex Coughlin and Clark Connors went to a 10:00 draw (***)
Karl Fredericks & TJP pinned Rocky Romero & Jeff Cobb in 10:10 (***½)
We open with Kevin Kelly on a Zoom interview with Karl Fredericks. We’re told that Karl’s no longer considered a Young Lion, having won the Young Lion’s Cup last year, and Karl will be in tag team action tonight against Jeff Cobb and Rocky Romero. Kevin Kelly’s on commentary duty with Chris Charlton and Gino Gambino.
Alex Coughlin vs. Clark Connors
We’ve got a ten-minute time limit on this one as the pair scrambled for a waistlock, ending with Coughlin getting a break in the corner.
Connors responds by tripping Coughlin as he went to work on the left leg… only for Coughlin to roll out and counter with a half crab that instantly ends in the ropes. Yup, this looks like a pretty small ring folks! A wristlock from Coughlin gets escaped, and he’s quickly on the mat as Connors tied up the legs for a modified chinlock, which he lets go of before a bow and arrow hold turned the tables… because Coughlin floated over into a pin.
Coughlin rolls Connors to the mat from a wristlock that he tried to turn into a cross armbreaker, ending in the ropes, as he then went back to work on Connors’ arm, rolling him down into almost an Anaconda Vise… but it’s right by the ropes. Connors returns with a side headlock on the mat, but Coughlin escapes with headscissors as we crossed the halfway mark. Coughlin escapes and swipes Connors with a forearm to the front… then to the back as a chinlock wore down Connors in the middle of the ring. The escape allows Connors to come back with a knee lift and a shoulder tackle for a two-count, before he took Coughlin into the corner for some shoulder charges.
Chops from Connors earn him some in response from Coughlin, only to return out with a hiptoss and an elbow drop for a two-count. Coughlin blocks a slam, dead weighting his foe before hitting one of his own. A second slam from Coughlin’s turned into a neat bridging fallaway slam for a near-fall, before he rolled into a half crab/abdominal stretch combo on the mat. Connors gets to the rope pretty easily, but he can’t avoid chops from Coughlin before catching Coughlin off the ropes with a scoop slam a la Randy Orton.
Connors rolls Coughlin into the traditional Young Lion Boston crab, but he can’t hold both legs, so it turns into a half crab, as a rope break takes us into the final minute. Stomps from Connors lead to chops that go back-and-forth, before a spear from Connors misses, allowing Coughlin to deadlift him up into a gutwrench suplex for a near-fall. A side Russian legsweep gets another near-fall, before Coughlin applied a cross armbreaker right as time ran out. At least Coughlin upped the urgency towards the end, but this was your common or garden Young Lion’s’ match that builds the rivalry between these two. ***
We get backstage comments as Clark Connors said he was ready to move to the next level as both he and Alex Coughlin look to avoid being the last man to graduate from that first class.
They add cleaning breaks in this taped show. I’m sure it’s only so Clark can shill soap… it’s a suitably wacky, and I love it!
Karl Fredericks & TJP vs. Jeff Cobb & Rocky Romero
Karl’s got his own entrance music and video now he’s no longer a Young Lion. He loves the fringe, by the look of it…
We get going with TJP and a shorn Rocky Romero, as TJP took Romero down with a wristlock, maintaining the hold in the early going. Rocky escapes with a hiptoss as he too worked the wrist, before their pair went for dropkicks that get swatted away. A lock-up sees Rocky trip TJP to the mat as he went to work on the left knee, before chops take TJP into the corner. Rocky keeps going with a headscissors takedown, before an early attempt at Forever clotheslines were blocked, with TJP coming right back with a Pentagon-like arm snapper. In comes Fredericks, who charges down Rocky with TJP’s help on the way to a quick two-count. A slam keeps Rocky down, as Fredericks rushes into the corner to knock Jeff Cobb off the apron – which means Karl’s punt to the back is for nought as the ref was tied up with Cobb trying to get into the ring.
Again, Fredericks goes for Cobb, but he’s met with a knee from Romero who then tagged in Cobb. Chops and forearms from Cobb take Fredericks into the corner, before an elbow off the ropes took Karl down for a two-count. Rocky’s back as the more experienced pair seemed to be targeting Frederick’s left arm, but it was a low dropkick from Rocky that took Karl off his feet. Shoulder charges keep Fredericks in the corner as Cobb taggs back in to help with a double suplex that almost puts Fredericks away. They keep focusing on Karl, exchanging frequent tags too, but a spinebuster from Fredericks finally buys him some time as he’s able to tag in TJP again. TJP goes straight for Rocky with an atomic drop and a springboard forearm too, before he hit the ropes for a dual springboard armdrag/headscissors takedown. That gets TJP a two-count over Rocky, who responds with a rewind kick to take TJP into the corner.
Forever clotheslines follow, before a big lariat decks TJP… Cobb’s back in, and counters out of a tornado DDT. TJP blocks a suplex and dropkicks Cobb away as Fredericks returns, cracking into Cobb with a nice standing dropkick. Uppercuts and a backbreaker stun Cobb for another near-fall, as forearms keep Cobb in the corner. Fredericks looked to keep going, but the pace quickens as Cobb came out with an eventual dropkick, before he brought Rocky back into the fray. They double-team Fredericks as a running Shiranui nearly gets Rocky the win, before TJP took care of Cobb, throwing him outside ahead of a slingshot dropkick. Rocky knocks down TJP too, then looked for a Shiranui on Fredericks, before landing a leaping knee strike… only for Fredericks to snatch the win out of nothing with a backslide! A fun tag match, and they actually built a storyline out of it as well – which I heartily approve of! ***½
Cobb gets into a shoving match with Fredericks after the match as those two clearly had some unsettled issues. Their tag partners manage to calm things down.
We close out with Karl Fredericks saying he’s fed up of Rocky Romero proclaiming to be from the LA Dojo because that was Rocky’s past… before we see Kevin Kelly signing off in his home studio as we have three debuts on next week’s show, with former MLW champion Filthy Tom Lawlor appearing later in the season!
A weekly wrestling show from a multi-national company that isn’t several hours long? I know, right?! All jokes aside, while the Lion’s Break Collision shows are “yet more empty-arena wrestling,” this at least flew by with two pacey matches that didn’t outstay their welcome. While four episodes to the series may seem a little light right now, it’s welcome additional TV time for folks who would have been part of the New Japan Cup – and extra exposure for some new names, starting next week.