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NJPW ‘Lion’s Gate Project 11’ 4.10.18 Results & Review

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Two young lions made their debut today on Lion’s Gate Project 11. New Japan legend, Hiro Saito, also made an appearance. This is sure to be a fine show for the completionists who make time for these shows.

Yuya Uemura Debut Match
Ren Narita def. Yuya Uemura @ 8:16 via Boston Crab

We start off the show with the first of two debut matches. My initial thoughts on Uemura are that he looks physically impressive. He has a lot of definition both in his upper and lower body. He seemed to be very confident out there with Narita, even outclassing him on the mat to open up the match. Uemura showcased some good fire and all-around had a strong debut, never looking lesser than Narita. Post-match, Narita refused to shake the younger lion’s hand.

Yota Tsuji Debut Match
Tomoyuki Oka def. Yota Tsuji @ 7:18 via Boston Crab

Contrary to Uemura, Tsuji was severely outclassed by Oka. Although they’re both similarly sized, Tsuji couldn’t manage to sustain any sort of offense against Oka unless given to him. Near the end, Oka allowed him a few shots to get him fired up but other than that this was the Oka show. Big bully Oka wasn’t having any of Tsuji’s nonsense and even refused the handshake after the match.

Gedo & Hiro Saito def. Tiger Mask & Tetsuhiro Yagi @ 14:59 via Gedo Clutch on Yagi
There wasn’t too much to this match. Both Gedo and Saito bullied Yagi around and the comeback never really came. The crowd was happy to see Saito get in his spots even if it was at the expense of the young lion. For being 56 years old you can’t knock Saito’s performance much. People were happy to see him perform and created a nice atmosphere.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi def. Ken45 & Manjimaru @ 13:31 via Tenzan Anaconda Vice on Ken45
The New Japan legends held down their turf against the invading heels from Michinoku Pro. Not nearly as dreadful as you’d expect when reading the names involved. Again, a good atmosphere provided the match decent enough. The crowd rallied in support of their home team and were rewarded by seeing their guys come out victorious.

Ayato Yoshida & GO Asakawa def. Yuji Nagata & Shota Umino @ 11:58 via Yoshida Backdrop Suplex on Umino
The K-Dojo imports made a statement win over New Japan, in a New Japan produced show, to close out the night. Umino was all sorts of fired up but his lack of experience showed as he was unable to keep his opponets down. He suffered deat via Nagata’s signature finish by Yoshida and this ended up being significant. Post-match, Yoshida challenged Nagata to a future singles match and his request was accepted to close out the show.

All in all this was a fairly decent show. Everyone knows going in that these Lion’s Gate shows aren’t meant to be blow away by any means. Instead you get some solid wrestling from the New Japan veterans and young lions alike as they are tasked with vanquishing the outsiders looking to make a name for themselves at the expense of New Japan. That was the case tonight as Ayato Yoshida was able to defeat New Japan’s current top young lion prospect in Umino. Now it is up to Nagata to set Yoshida back in his place. The match with Gedo and Saito was painfully long and didn’t do much for anyone other than show off Saito, which is fine I guess.
Lion’s Gate shows are ones only completionists make the time for but overall I think the completionists were rewarded for their time with this show. The biggest takeaway is the future Nagata singles match and Uemura looking really good in his debut match.

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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