The Road to Destruction wrapped up in Kyoto, as the Young Lion Cup began to head to a close.

The Kyoto City Gymnasium has a pair of matches that won’t decide the winner of the cup, but let’s take a look…

Young Lion Cup: Alex Coughlin vs. Yuya Uemura
With some scuffling at the start, this one opened with Uemura grabbing Coughlin in a waistlock takedown, before Uemura clung on with a wristlock.

Coughlin gets free and uses one of his own, only for Uemura to spin out and hammerlock the arm, before the grappling switched up to Coughlin crossing the legs and pulling back on them. He turns it into a STF, really wrenching back on Uemura’s head, before moving it back to a side headlock, which allowed Uemura to roll free… and into a side headlock of his own. Uemura’s shot into the ropes, where Coughlin greets him with a chop, before a stiff slam drew a two-count. Chops in the corner from Coughlin led to a hiptoss for a near-fall, before a palm strike to the back left Uemura wincing. More palm strikes to the face have the desired effect also… as long as Coughlin was actually looking for Uemura to hit back with a dropkick.

Running elbows in the corner put Coughlin on the defensive, as did a running dropkick, before he got suplexed out of the corner for a near-fall. Uemura looks for a Boston crab, but has to settle for a half crab, but Coughlin gets to the rope anyway. Stomps from Uemura are next, before he sparked a chop battle that he was doing his best to stay in… He again goes for a single leg crab, but Coughlin neatly blocks it, rolling Uemura down to a pin before landing a Boston crab of his own for the win. I loved that finishing sequence, with Uemura being shown up as perhaps too “one move”… and it cost him! ***

After the match, Uemura got in Coughlin’s face… so Coughlin tries to slam him, before putting some forearms and stomps to him. Sounds familiar.

Young Lion Cup: Michael Richards vs. Yota Tsuji
Winner avoids sharing bottom of the table with Yuya Uemura here…

The opening lock-up sees Tsuji taken into the ropes, before he returned the favours, throwing in a cheapshot for good measure. Richard shoves out of a headlock, before the two bulls clatter into each other with a series of shoulder tackles, until Tsuji caught out the Kiwi with a dropkick. Chops follow as Richards is taken into the corner, ahead of a hiptoss out of it and a standing splash that got Tsuji a two-count. A cravat helps snapmare Richards to the mat as Tsuji cinched in a sleeperhold, but he gets free and clobbers Tsuji with a clothesline. Another clothesline follows in the corner, ahead of a suplex that gets Richards a near-fall, as does a back suplex.

From there, Richards looks for a Boston crab, but it’s blocked as he worked up into forearms instead. Tsuji returns the favours, following up with a spear in the process, before Richards struggled to block a Boston crab… so Tsuji turns it into a Giant Swing of sorts before he rolled him over for the submission. Good effort from Tsuji, but man, there’s a lot of people reckoning this cup’s shown why that Fale Dojo’s not getting the talk the LA Dojo is. **¾

Young Lion Cup Standings
Karl Fredericks, Ren Narita, Shota Umino (5-1; 10pts)
Alex Coughlin (4-3; 8pts)
Clark Connors, (3-3; 6pts)
Yota Tsuji (2-5; 4pts)
Michael Richards, Yuya Uemura (1-6; 2pts)

So a win for Yota Tsuji means that Michael Richards and Yuya Uemura share bottom spot. Destruction in Kobe on Sunday will decide the winners, as Karl Fredericks and Shota Umino face each other in a winner-take-all finale… unless they draw, and then Ren Narita will have stolen it if he gets a win over Clark Connors!