Jay White and Rocky Romero clashed in the main event as New Japan’s US show continued.
Fred Rosser pinned Clark Connors in 6:00 (*¾)
Karl Fredericks pinned ACH in 6:22 (**¾)
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa pinned Flip Gordon & Brody King in 7:39 (**½)
Jay White pinned Rocky Romero in 14:12 (***¼)
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov are back on commentary for more “matches you thought you’d never see.” Ooh, does that make this a Coliseum Video/Silver Vision release?
Clark Connors vs. Fred Rosser
Kevin Kelly tries to draw comparisons between the LA Dojo and FCW, while Koslov just flat out brings up the Nexus. So much for everyone dancing around it! While this was going on, I took a look at Cagematch – Connors’ career is almost as long as Rosser’s time since he left WWE… after the “Make Darren Young Great Again” run. Time flies.
Connors takes Rosser out through the ropes at the bell, as the Lion’s Break: Crown winner was hot to start with. Back in the ring, Rosser grabs a side headlock, then took Connors down for a legdrop that gets a two-count. A crossface-like hold from Rosser ends in the ropes, but Connors comes back with a leg sweep and a spear that didn’t even get a one-count. Stomps from Connors are quickly cut-off, but Clark’s back with a dropkick that caught Rosser off guard. A headbutt takes Clark backwards, but the Young Lion’s back with more stomps before he rolled him in for a Dragon sleeper that’s quickly kicked away. An overhead belly-to-belly from Rosser turns it back around, as a slam lets him build up momentum ahead of a sit-down splash for a near-fall.
Rosser misses a clothesline and ends up running into a scoop slam before he got rolled into a Boston crab. Unlike others though, Rosser doesn’t tap and manages to make it to the ropes – he ain’t a Young Lion then! A European uppercut keeps Rosser down, but he counters a spear off the middle rope with a knee before a Fireman’s carry gutbuster puts Connors away. Your usual short TV match with Clark showing something, but it’s back to the L’s for this Young Lion. *¾
Karl Fredericks vs. ACH
It’s a rematch from the first Lion’s Break Project show in 2018 – with Fredericks looking to get a win back from that show.
ACH starters out with a side headlock on Fredericks, but Karl’s up and pushes ACH into the ropes for a leapfrog/crossbody combo. A stomp keeps ACH down for a one-count, before ACH came in to sweep the leg and land a low dropkick for a one-count of his own. A short knee drop gets a two-count, with a slam following as ACH continued to control the match. A side headlock keeps ACH ahead, before a dropkick put Fredericks back down as he fought free. Fredericks gets chopped into the ropes, where ACH chokes him some ahead of a snapmare and another chinlock as he slowed the pace down some more.
Fredericks manages to burst free with some shots and a neckbreaker, following up with a Stinger splash, a backdrop and an elbow for a near-fall. ACH counters the Manifest Destiny, and hits a snap DDT instead for a two-count, before a thrust kick cut off Fredericks… who then slipped out of a suplex and locked in a sleeperhold. From there, Fredericks spins ACH into the Manifest Destiny DDT… and that’s enough for the win. A match of two halves, with ACH frustrating Fredericks, but when he lost track it couldn’t pull the recently-graduated Young Lion back. **¾
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Brody King & Flip Gordon
King and Loa start with a lock-up that went nowhere, giving Kevin Kelly time to nitpick pronunciations before the two big lads went in with shoulder tackles.
Elbows go back-and-forth between the pair, until Tanga poked Brody in the eye… only to get squished with a crossbody as Flip Gordon tagged in. Flip’s lifted onto the apron, where he catches Tama with an elbow… only to get pulled down as he went for a springboard back in. Tanga throws Brody into the apron for the hell of it, then went back inside to stalk Flip ahead of a back suplex that drew a two-count. A slam from Tanga Loa sets up Flip for a senton atomico from Tama, before back rakes left Flip in pain. Tama keeps going as he took Flip into the corner for some elbows, before tagging Tanga Loa back in… but a back suplex is flipped out of by Gordon, who brings Brody back in.
Elbows from Brody help turn it around, with Tanga eating a clothesline in the corner, before a Black Hole Slam drew in Tama Tonga… who’s sent skyward with a back body drop. Clubbing forearms have Tanga in trouble, but he’s able to catch Brody with a spear as tags take us back to Flip and Tama. A springboard from Flip sees him go over Tama, with a superkick taking Tama down ahead of a springboard Slingblade. Tama swings for a clothesline but gets caught with a spinout Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall. Brody and Tanga come in for a scrap, but send each other to the outside with a Cactus Clothesline, before a springboard from Flip was countered into a Gun Stun for the win. A perfectly serviceable tag match, with the Guerrillas showing their dominance once more. **½
Next week is the New Japan Showdown “tour”. Yup – it’s a new four-week block of shows.
Rocky Romero vs. Jay White
Shockingly, this is a first-time meeting…
Jay White mouths off at Rocky after being eliminated last week… and gets slapped at the start as Rocky almost made this a short main event. Back inside, Rocky comes close on a crucifix, before White just knees him into the corner… but Rocky’s quickly back with some Forever clotheslines, until White ducks and hits back with a Manhattan drop and a DDT. Chops and a forearm to the back keep White ahead, before he lifted up Rocky in a hanging neckbreaker, then a swinging neckbreaker for a two-count. A grounded bear hug keeps White ahead, but Rocky gets up and elbowed his way free… only for White to kick out the knee ahead of a backbreaker for another two-count.
White pulls up Rocky for a chop, taking him into the corner, before some endless taunting led to White just dropping Rocky with an elbow. Wash, rinse and repeat, except this time Rocky fires back with elbows, before a satellite DDT send White sailing outside. Rocky holds back and dropkicks White between the ropes as he came back in, ahead of a springboard dropkick to the draping Kiwi for a near-fall. Kicks from Rocky and elbows wear down White some more, before he wrapped White’s arm around the rope. A springboard kneedrop to the arm out of the corner’s next, before some stomps keep White in the corner.
Rocky looks for a tornado DDT, but White pushes away and comes back with a tiltawhirl backbreaker instead, before a Blade Buster dropped Rocky for a two-count. Chops are next, but White lifts Rocky up top, only to get caught in an armbar, which White freed himself with via an eye rake. Back on the mat, White eats an uppercut in the corner, then a back elbow as Rocky nails a spinning DDT instead. Rocky tries to go for a suplex, but it’s blocked as White looked to counter with a Dragon screw, and got pulled into a cross armbar instead. White eventually forces a rope break, before Rocky’s attempt at a Shiranui was blocked. He comes back with a kick and a slap, before the Shiranui was caught… a Blade Runner’s teased, but Rocky backslides White for a near-fall.
A running Shiranui surprises White for a near-fall, before a regular Shiranui was caught and turned into a nasty backbreaker. From there, White picks up Rocky for a Blade Runner, and that’s your lot. In front of, say, a Korakuen crowd this match would have been white hot, just like the Rocky/ELP match last year, as the ever-dependable Romero almost pulled out the upset. ***¼
Post-match, White gets the microphone to proclaim himself the “best in the world”, then mocked Rocky for ever thinking he’d win this as we close out with catchphrase city.
With three quick matches on the undercard, this episode didn’t feel as dry as in the past, but it’s still “just matches with little long-term direction” – even if some of those matches were pretty damn good. Maybe now the Japanese side of things have a better idea of who’s going to be where for longer, things may progress, but until then it’s a product that’s spinning its wheels.