The final week of Lion’s Break Collision was a monster, as Karl Fredericks and Jeff Cobb locked horns.
Tom Lawlor pinned Alex Coughlin in 8:05 (***¼)
Misterioso pinned Danny Limelight in 4:40 (**½)
TJP & Clark Connors pinned Rust Taylor & Rocky Romero in 9:45 (***½)
Jeff Cobb pinned Karl Fredericks in 11:45 (***¼)
We open with recaps from last week, as Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Gino Gambino join us live on tape.
Alex Coughlin vs. Tom Lawlor
We get going with Coughlin trying to take down Lawlor, but the scramble on the mat ended with Lawlor grabbing Coughlin’s wrist on the way to a drop toe hold.
Lawlor keeps on the arm, working into a hammerlock as he slowly tied up the Young Lion, but Coughlin gets a hand free and forces a rope break. From the restart, they go for waistlocks again, before a trip from Coughlin had Lawlor scooting away into the corner, before he came back with a front facelock that the former UFC star used to tie-up Coughlin as he rolled into another pinning attempt. A cross armbreaker from Coughlin’s blocked as Lawlor kept hold of his arm, then wriggled free to try the hold himself. That doesn’t come off, so Lawlor just kicks Coughlin in the leg before coming in with a forearm to the face and a PK to the back, as he changed tactics. More kicks keep Coughlin on the deck, before he took him back down there with a head and arm choke.
Rolling back up to their feet, Lawlor quickly takes Coughlin down with an Exploder for a near-fall, before Coughlin blocked a bodyslam attempt. Chops from Lawlor earn him some uppercuts, before a discus lariat takes down Coughlin… but Coughlin’s back with a bodyslam as he forces his way back into the contest. Another bodyslam is blocked, so Coughlin throws in a spear as he set up Lawlor for a Boston crab, but Lawlor blocks that and pulls Coughlin into a triangle choke. Coughlin powers up and switches into a bridging fallaway slam for a near-fall, only for Lawlor to come right back with a grounded Octopus, which rolled into a pinning attempt for the win. Way more competitive than you’d expect, and a real good outing for both men. ***¼
Post-match, Lawlor says that Coughlin has a bright future, but condemns him as a “piece of trash.”
Danny Limelight vs. Misterioso
This one gets going with the usual lock-up, with Misterioso taking Limelight into the corner for a clean break.
Limelight comes in with a waistlock, but a side headlock from Misterioso offers a counter as he clings onto that hold. That’s eventually pushed off, but Misterioso comes back with a shoulder tackle… then got taken down with one from Limelight, who began to cartwheel around as they upped the pace with some lucha-stale takedowns ahead of a double dropkick. An overhead chop from Misterioso blisters Limelight, but Danny is able to come back with a flying ‘rana off the top rope. That takes Misterioso outside as a wild approximation on the Sasuke Special met the masked man. Back inside, Limelight’s attempt at a springboard ‘rana gets countered into a powerbomb for some two-counts, before a superkick kept Misterioso on top.
Limelight fought back in with a flying swinging DDT that would have won – but Misterioso grabbed the ropes to save his skin – before more superkicks and a back cracker from Misterioso dumped Limelight for the win. A perfectly fine TV match – fought at a pretty good pace, but ultimately there’s only so much you can do in five minutes. **½
The wacky ads are back! Grime was removed!
TJP & Clark Connors vs. Rocky Romero & Rust Taylor
Clark’s taken time off of selling soap bars to join us in the penultimate match of the night, and it’s a welcome return for Rust Taylor.
Taylor and TJP start, with Rust grabbing a side headlock before he was pushed off… he counters an armdrag with a lucha roll-up for a two-count, as Taylor followed up with a crucifix and an abdominal stretch as the pair went tit-for-tat. TJP grabs an Octopus hold, but Taylor throws it off and went for a Stretch Muffler that’s countered into a roll-up, before they hit a stalemate and tagged out. In comes Rocky and Connors, who charge in with shoulder tackles like bulls. Clark’s misdirection edges him ahead, as he corners Rocky with chops before some stomps left Rocky down and out. A hiptoss out of the corner and an elbow drop gets a two-count, but Rocky clings onto the ropes to avoid a dropkick as the tide looked to turn.
Connors is right back in with a Boston crab, while TJP came in to neutralise Taylor… but Rust overpowers him before he went to kick apart Connors’ crab. Clark holds firm until Rust caught him in the head, breaking the hold as Rust dragged him into the corner so he could tag in and go for the pin. Smart move. Taylor stays in clark with an armbar, with some extra focus on the wrist, before he put the boots to Connors. An uppercut takes Clark into the corner as Rocky returned, waiting for Rust to roll Clark into a pendulum swing that Rocky broke up with a knee drop. Chops from Rocky keep Clark down, before he ran into a scoop slam off the ropes, as tags bring us back to Rust and TJP. A springboard forearm takes Taylor down, as does a tornado DDT out of the corner, before Taylor blocked a Detonation kick.
TJP instead keeps going with a gutbuster for a near-fall, before Connors returned with a Blockbuster-assisted jack-knife pin for a two-count. A quick tag brings TJP back as Rust had to deal with the numbers game… which he did so by directing Connors’ spear into TJP. Rocky’s back to take care of Clark, sparking up some Forever clotheslines before another spear from Connors took him outside. Taylor tries to trap TJP with a trapped arm armbar, torquing the shoulder something rotten, before TJP freed himself and promptly put Rust down with a Dragon screw, as a Detonation kick got the win. A fun sprint of a tag match, with some nice exchanges. Bring Rust back! ***½
Post match, Rust chews out Rocky backstage for having to do the heavy lifting… and we’ve a ready made storyline for if/when this comes back!
Karl Fredericks vs. Jeff Cobb
This all started back on week one when Fredericks picked a fight, and he doesn’t hold back at the bell as the pair laid into each other with forearms from the off.
Kicks from Karl look to be effective, but so do Cobb’s chops before he dropped Fredericks with a clothesline. The pair trade their shots in the corner, only for Fredericks to get charged down again by Cobb, as the aggression remained high. Fredericks tries to fight back, but he’s chopped right back down as a chinlock keeps the former Young Lion on the deck. After getting free, Fredericks fought back with chops of his own, but yet again, Karl’s knocked back as the referee contemplated the stoppage. Karl’s back up to take more elbows, before he ducked one and brought down Cobb with an Orton-ish backbreaker. He followed that up with a kick to the back after trapping Cobb in the ropes, before a stomp to the back had Cobb on his knees.
This time it’s Jeff fighting from the bottom, as Fredericks charged in with knee strikes that earned him a two-count, before Cobb came back with a Spin Cycle and a standing gachimuchi-sault for a near-fall of his own. A headbutt from Cobb stops Fredericks’ latest barrage of offence, which had left Jeff bleeding… but Fredericks comes right back with more forearms and a Shibata-ish dropkick into the corner for a near-fall. A back suplex from Fredericks and a leaping elbow drop keeps the pressure up, but some kicks from Fredericks get caught, as Cobb took him into the corner for an uppercut. Fredericks is back with a spinebuster, which he chains into a half crab, but Cobb gets to the rope as the blood continued to trickle from his nose.
More shots from Fredericks leave Cobb on the jelly legs, before enough of the flip dropkick hit to take Cobb back down. It’s still only enough for a near-fall, as the pair teed off on each other again, leading to an awkward moment as Cobb wrestled his way into Tour of the Islands for the win. This was really solid until that final exchange, which was just one of those things. Fredericks more than held his own, but in the end fell short to the enraged Cobb. ***¼
Post-match, Cobb put over Fredericks – but warned him he wasn’t there yet as Kevin Kelly wrapped up the end-of-season finale, before we got a promo for NJPW Strong – which looks to be the follow-on show from this. It’ll debut on NJPW World in two weeks’ time, taking over the Friday night timeslot. A cracking finale to the series, which paid-off the shows-long storyline with Cobb and Fredericks. These Lion’s Break Collision shows have done well to expose a new line-up of wrestlers in a bite-size format – and it’ll be interesting to see how/if NJPW Strong picks up the baton in the coming weeks…