The Young Lion Cup continues in Osaka as the Road to Destruction continued!
The Osaka Prefectural Gym #2 at the Edion Arena in Osaka’s the host for today’s on-demand offerings.
Young Lion Cup: Yota Tsuji vs. Ren Narita
Still stinging from his loss to Clark Connors 24 hours earlier, Tsuji’s got another tough test on his hands.
We open with some scrambling as Narita takes down Tsuji, but standing switches on waistlocks just lead to Tsuji landing a takedown. From the restart, they lock up, with Narita getting taken into the ropes, where he responds to Tsuji’s chop with a kick and a quick takedown as he looked to twist off his leg.
A toe-hold forces Tsuji to spin free as he grabs a headlock, but Narita’s back in with a leg grapevine as Tsuji had to scramble to the ropes. Stomps from Narita put Tsuji in the corner, where he gets his chops back, ahead of a running elbow and a suplex for a near-fall. Narita tries to follow up with the overhead belly to belly, before he opted to pull Tsuji down for a Boston crab… which ended right in the ropes. The pair resume with forearms, with Tsuji throwing in a slam to help buy him some time, before a hiptoss and a standing splash led to a solid two-count for Tsuji.
A Boston crab from Tsuji looked to force a submission, but Narita manages to drag his way to the ropes as we went back to the forearms. Then chops, as the pair looked to up the ante, before resorting to elbows until Narita’s dropkick… did little for Tsuji. So he gets slapped. Tsuji responds to the slap as there’s more than points at stake here, clearly, only for Tsuji to get caught out as he ran into the Narita Special #4 (bridging overhead belly-to-belly suplex). This started slow, but kicked into gear real quick – and that closing sequence will whet the appetite for matches years down the line, after they’ve ben down the regulation excursion route. ***
Young Lion Cup: Alex Coughlin vs. Karl Fredericks
It’s an all-LA Dojo affair now, as Karl Fredericks continued to sport YOSHI-HASHI levels of tape on his shoulder.
The opening lock-up is rather terse, as Coughlin briefly tripped Fredericks to the mat, before the pair headed into the ropes as referee Kenta Sato needed to force a break. Fredericks takes control from there, working a wristlock only for Coughlin to come back with headscissors, wrenching up before switching into an attempt at a cross armbreaker. Fredericks counters out with one of his own, but Coughlin neatly bridges up and flips back to try and pin Fredericks while he was in the hold. I see Shibata’s teaching those LA Dojo lads how to bridge…
Things escalate up into shoulder tackles, with Coughlin trapping Fredericks in the corner with shoulder charges, before some stomps led to a simple bodyslam for a two-count. Another stomp was aimed at Fredericks’ arm, which Coughlin began to target, as that shoulder tape was really becoming a bullseye. In response, Fredericks looked to fight back with uppercuts, but using his bad arm perhaps wasn’t the best idea, as Coughlin just responded with some more chops. A dropkick from Fredericks stops that momentum, as Karl took his foe into the corner for a Stinger splash, a hiptoss and a leaping elbow drop for a near-fall.
Fredericks runs into a chop, spinning like Rikishi with a clothesline, as Coughlin came in with a Boston crab in a bid to force a submission, but once again the hold’s too close to the ropes as Fredericks got free. A small package from Fredericks looked to get the win as he looked to push on with a spinebuster, before rolling Coughlin into a single-leg crab, pulling it up into a Lion Tamer-like position for the submission. Some good stuff here, and I do like how Fredericks is having to work through the shoulder injury – given how he’d been threatening to steamroll through the field. ***
So, a decent pair of matches that you should go out of your way to check – especially as the pair weigh in at 20 minutes with entrances and the like.
Young Lion Cup Standings
Karl Fredericks; Ren Narita (3-1; 6pts)
Clark Connors, Shota Umino (2-1; 4pts)
Alex Coughlin (2-2; 4pts)
Michael Richards (1-2; 2pts)
Yota Tsuji (1-3; 2pts)
Yuya Uemura (0-3; 0pts)
There was no Road to Destruction show on Friday – the tour picks up on Saturday, so we’ll look to catch up with the cup matches sometime around or after Sunday and Monday’s Destruction shows…