We’ve another brace of Young Lion Cup matches, as the Road to Destruction rolled into Aichi!
These matches mean everyone’ll have had three matches. As ever, we’re commentary free for these from the Nagoya Congress Center Event Hall in Aichi.
Young Lion Cup: Clark Connors vs. Yota Tsuji
Tsuji was taking a slightly more measured approach here, not charging to the ring for a change.
From the opening lock-up, Connors is able to take down Tsuji before they reached a bit of a stalemate. Tsuji tries to push ahead with a wristlock, rolling down with Connors to the mat, but to no avail as the pair ended up in another stand-off.
Connors grabs the rope to break a cravat, but instead he’s snapmared to the mat. He quickly rolled back through to trap Tsuji in a hammerlock, but Tsuji fights up and responded with a shoulder tackle after getting shot into the ropes. I have to rewind as Tsuji goes and does a bloody lucha roll through during a nice exchange, ending with an armdrag for a near-fall from Connors. International.
Shoulder charges from Connors trap Tsuji in the corner, before a chinlock was used to try and keep things on the mat. Again, Tsuji got to the ropes, as an exchange of elbows led to him blocking a slam, eventually dumping the American instead. Tsuji whips Connors into the corner and followed back in with a big dropkick for a near-fall, before an attempt at a Boston crabsaw Connors roll a little too close to the ropes, as he hand-walks his way to freedom.
Connors retaliates with a dropkick of his own, before a chop battle broke out, leaving Connors on his knees. A second wind from Connors led to him running into a back body drop as Tsuji surged on, only for Connors to sidestep a spear and land one of his own before turning him into a Boston crab for the win. This was phenomenal stuff – amid a sea of matches that have just been “alright”, this was a nice little scrap between two Young Lions who aren’t necessarily getting the spotlight. ***½
Young Lion Cup: Alex Coughlin vs. Ren Narita
Coughlin tries to block a takedown early on, as the pair scramble in the opening moments.
Coughlin managed to trap Narita’s leg, but there’s a counter out as Ren moved into a cross armbar, allowing Coughlin to roll back on him for a pinning attempt. A side headlock subdues Narita, who’s shot into the ropes before he bounced off of Coughlin’s shoulder tackle, before a hiptoss dropped him for a near-fall.
Briefly back on his feet, a chop from Coughlin drops Narita before a single leg crab was used… but it’s too early as Narita’s easily able to get to the ropes for a break. Some clubbing forearms keep Narita down, but an overhead belly-to-belly throw helps him get back in it. A suplex puts Coughlin down for a two-count, as Narita looked to go back to the overhead belly-to-belly, before he instead opted for a Boston crab. Likewise, it was too soon as Coughlin was too strong and got to the ropes pretty easily. Another slam from Couglin looked to turn the tide as he followed up with another crack at the Boston crab, pulling Uemura away from the ropes as Ren was made to work for his rope break.
From the break, Coughlin ragdolls Narita with a gutwrench suplex for a near-fall. Narita tries to strike back with forearms, but Coughlin’s uppercuts had a bit more behind them, so it was time to go to chops. Ow. Narita responds with a dropkick before he caught Coughlin off the ropes with a bridging overhead belly-to-belly – tagged the Narita Special #4 – and that’s enough for the win! A strong showing from Narita, fighting from behind to get the win as Alex Coughlin surrendered his chance to regain the sole lead at the top of the board. ***
Young Lion Cup Standings
Clark Connors, Alex Coughlin, Karl Fredericks, Ren Narita, Shota Umino (2-1; 4pts)
Michael Richards, Yota Tsuji (1-2; 2pts)
Yuya Uemura (0-3; 0pts)
Two really good outings today in the Young Lions Cup then, and by the time you read this, they’ll have had two more matches. The matches from Osaka in Thursday will drop on-demand on Friday – and we’ll cover them before the weekend!