Lion’s Gate is basically New Japan’s version of NXT. This isn’t a full time running promotion but this show will highlight the rookies/young lions in NJPW and NOAH. It’s more or less a NOAH vs. NJPW show. What I find weird is that Nagata and Kitamiya are in the main event which is cool but this is meant to be a show spotlighting the younger wrestlers. On the AJ Phoenix and D-Rize shows that BJW and AJPW present the younger wrestlers are in the main event there. Teruaki Kanemitsu came down with some sort of illness and is now off the show making this a 9 match card! Nakajima just one evening before knocked off Minoru Suzuki in the main event of Korakuen Hall for NOAH and he is facing the former CJ Parker. Ishimori vs. Finlay could be awesome as well as White vs. Ogawa. There are some matches on this card that could really damage the overall show. Nakanishi is wrestling QUIET STORM! This is the much anticipated third match between these men. Tenkoji vs. Genba and Captain NOAH looks so bad on paper, I don’t think Kojima can save that one. I don’t know man we are just blessed that we get to watch this live. It is always 10x more enjoyable when you watch wrestling live in my opinion. Lets hope this show delivers!
Takumi got a nice reaction for his first ever professional wrestling match. He is facing the former Maybach Taniguchi. Shuhei is much better than Maybach because he doesn’t look like such a geek, he looks like a slightly lesser jacked Takashi Sugiura. Takumi’s forearms has no effect but Shuhei’s forearms are killing this young man. The crowd is so respectful if they announced that this was someones first match in the US the crowd would be so critical but no they chanted along to ‘Hon-Jo’. He actually knocked Taniguchi down with a shoulder tackle but shortly after he ate a lariat and submitted to the dreaded Boston-crab.
This was a battle of 2 rookies, Kumano has been wrestling longer than Kawato who is only 18 but in the puroresu mind set he is still a rookie. This was better than the last match, Kawato got a little bit more offence in and looked solid. Tons of forearms like there were at least 30 thrown in this short match. Kawato has a very impressive dropkick not quite a ‘too awesome’ dropkick yet though. Kawato likes to use kicks and his look good but he doesn’t wear kick pads so they really hurt for his opponent. Kumano won with a Perfect-plex! That was a neat finish that I didn’t expect.
Holy balls is Taguchi over! He honestly always is but in a smaller arena it is really evident. NJPW should really push Taguchi because he is so popular and sells a ton of merchandise, some people won’t like it but I would be fine with it I love Taguchi. We actually got serious Taguchi in this match which is great because he does more of his cool moves. Taguchi controlled early on but Kiyomiya made a comeback hitting a Tanahashi middle rope cross-body and a missile dropkick. Kaito Kiyomiya has only been on NOAH shows since 2015 so he is very basic but moves well for a taller man. Taguchi eventually reverted back to his ass-based offence to gain the advantage which lead to him pinning Kiyomiya with the Dodon’s Throne.
This was a great match. This was not like the 3 previous matches were the younger wrestlers barely got anything in. This was a back and forth Jr. battle that left me wanting a rematch between the 2 performers. The night before Ishimori lost his NOAH Jr. title to Kanemaru but he didn’t seem pissed off. I never realized how large Finlay was! The dude is huge in stature and doesn’t belong in the Jr. division. Ishimori is one of the most consistent performers in Japan and never takes a night off. Finlay looks very comfortable in singles action against a more experienced performer, I wish Jay and Finlay weren’t young lions NJPW could make money from the 2 as mid-card Jr’s. To prove Ishimori isn’t phoning it in he does a goddamn plancha! Finlay did a sweet deadlift German suplex for a close near-fall. Ishimori overcame Finlay’s European style offence and pinned him with a perfect 450 splash. Best thing on the show so far and I recommend you watch this.
Another solid match between one of the best Japan has to offer and Ogawa haha I’m obviously joking. This is a match between one of the BEST young wrestlers in the business and a man that has been great for close to 30 years In Yoshinari Ogawa. The grapples were definitely there early on, Jay is such a proficient mat technician for only being in the biz for 4 years. Jay has his shoulder bandaged up so I hope he is doing okay. Ogawa took control with a low-blow and worked over White’s leg the entirety of the bout. When Jay gets to shine he is always fantastic. He has had very solid singles matches with Dorada, Elgin, Finlay, Yoshi-Hashi, Tanaka and Komatsu so NJPW please give Mr. White more singles opportunities. Jay landed on his feet from the top which jarred his leg that has been worked the whole match so he collapsed which allowed Ogawa to apply the Figure-Four leg lock for the submission victory.
This match has been laughed at since it was announced. Twitter was up in arms that they booked this for the 3rd time. Everyone expected it to suck including myself. I was ready, willing and Gable to bury this match. I was wrong. THIS WAS A GODDAMN HOOT! I apologize to Mr. Nakanishi and Mr. Storm for ever doubting their abilities as in ring workers. I was shocked when this was ended because I honestly expected this to suck. Storm isn’t nearly as bad as people think he is, I don’t personally think he is great but he is solid and would work much better in America. This match was just 2 guys running at each other really really hard. They just used strikes and stronk offence (shoulders, forearms, lariats, chops). Crowd was behind Nakanishi which is so weird to hear. Nakanishi got Storm up in the Argentine back breaker for the win! Super enjoyable live.
Well this could be terrible but it was below average and quite bad actually. There was some decent comedy to begin with and the crowd loved it so I can’t say anything wrong. The highlight of Genba’s career was his tope suicida on Tenzan. OH I should also mention Genba now wrestles in a Captain NOAH mask. Kojima called Captain NOAH “Jado” which was amazing. Poor Kojima, he should be in the main event of NJPW shows but he’s working Genba Hirayanagai and doing Genba comedy. Kojima killed Genba with the Western Lariat for the win which made me smile. NOTHING match not even Kojima could save it.
Very good match, Twitter loved it more than me but it was equal with the Ishimori/Finlay match from earlier on. Juice Robinson I know you’re reading this and I commend you, this was amazing. Keep doing this please! You didn’t do the ‘shuck and jive’ punches which is the right decision! You looked like you belonged in Japan. You were more over than you have ever been and that’s because one your a NJPW wrestler and for two because your work was tremendous. This was Puroresu. Juice took a crazy beating from Nakajima who destroys everyone he is in the ring with, he pinned Minoru Suzuki clean the night before in Korakuen. Nakajima was selling his arm/shoulder from the night before where Suzuki dissected his arm with Suzuki things. Juice took advantage of that and worked over Nakajima’s arm. Juice hit the best Lariatooooooooooooo of the night that turned Nakajima inside out. Juice pulled out all the stops and attempted a moonsault but was unsuccessful which allowed Nakajima to hit a sheer drop brain-buster for the win. If this had 5 more minutes it could have reached the next level.
Good match and would of been fine on an under card of any NOAH or NJPW show but in the main event it probably wasn’t the best fit. Kitamiya looks like a champion and has great in-ring presence but personally his in ring work doesn’t connect with me. He should just stick to being a stronk wrestler. Yuji Nagata is one of my favorites of all-time and is still a top 50 worker in the world but in this match he just seemed sluggish. There was no mess ups or anything like that but just more of a slower pace I guess. Nagata controlled most of the match using his kicks to gain the upper hand. Kitamiya would always fight back and find a way to knock down the legend Nagata. The highlights of this match was the slap fest the 2 men had and the 2 back drop suplexes that Nagata gave to Kitamiya. Both were right on his shoulder and neck area which looks really cool but isn’t cool for Kitamiya’s health. Nagata won the match with the back drop suplex hold.
After the match Nagata offered a handshake to Kitamiya but Kitamiya slapped Nagata. Nagata did a promo thanking everyone. Nagata trains the young lions of NJPW so this show meant a lot to him.
Meh show. I would only recommend you go watch Finlay/Ishimori. I like the concept of highlighting the younger wrestlers but having them all lose probably isn’t the best idea. D-Rize and AJ Phoenix let the younger wrestlers win matches and gave them more time and more freedom. I would also let 2 young lions main event. Solid show live though It would be death going back and watching this. They announced a show in May at Shinkiba so I hope they put on a better card and give the younger dudes more chances to shine. I was just very lucky to be able to watch something like this live in Australia. Thank you Bushiroad!