The first of three nights from The New Beginning USA tour takes place at the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The government shutdown that the U.S. was experiencing at the time this show took place prohibited Japanese talent to receive the proper paperwork needed in order to perform on the tour which resulted in a significant change of plans. A card hardly resembling one you’d see from New Japan was announced and here we are. Let’s get started!
Alex Coughlin vs Clark Connors – 10 Minute Draw – ***1/4
Kicking off the tour with Katsuyori Shibata at ringside, the young lions were determined to not let their dojo master down. Both Coughlin and Connors brought it big time. Connors shredded Coughlin’s chest with chops and the crowd were super supportive of the traditional young lion style. The lack of commentary gave the match a really cool vibe and the building is beautiful. The match is worth watching for the unique atmosphere alone.
Jonathan Gresham def. Tyler Bateman @ 11:36 via Bridging Jackknife – **3/4
Strong back and forth match, evenly paced and good attention to detail. Gresham outclassed Bateman on the mat early, resulting in Bateman taking damage to the arm. Bateman uses his power advantage to drop Gresham on his neck and kept his focus on attacking the neck. The finish came with a flurry of pin attempts from each man one after the other until Gresham managed to trap the injured arm and roll Bateman up for the win.
Colt Cabana def. Shane Taylor @ 10:22 via Clutch Hold – *1/2
Props to the audience giving this match as much life as possible. Cabana and Taylor had a match. It wasn’t offensive but there was hardly anything to sink your teeth into. Cabana goofed on Taylor and Taylor used his size to stage a comeback. As soon as the ten minute call was announced, Cabana rolled up Taylor for the win. Just a match.
Killer Elite Squad def. Marty Scurll & Brody King @ 13:09 via Killer Bomb on King – **3/4
Well balanced match and a good showcase for King. He was doubled by K.E.S. and had to resort to strikes in order to make his comeback. Scurll managed to slip out of the clutches of K.E.S. on multiple occasions and stomped the hands while King used his size to keep them down. What ultimately did King in was showing off his lucha abilities. The power of K.E.S. allowed them to cut off any attempt at King scoring offense off the top. Good dynamic, K.E.S. were a strong a base to play off of as always. Post-match Alex Coughlin comes out and stares down Smith.
Jeff Cobb def. Karl Fredericks @ 6:57 via Tour of the Islands – **
Fredericks is another one of Shibata’s young lions and he was given the opportunity to showcase against Jeff Cobb. Very much just a show of heart from Fredricks. There wasn’t much to the match other than asking for more from Cobb and a quick roll up nearfall. Cobb put the young lion away with little effort and that was that.
No Disqualification Match
David Finlay def. Chuckie T. @ 15:31 via Trash Panda – ***
When the cards were announced and fans were reasonably upset about the visa issue, Finlay and Chuck did what they could. They changed their match to no DQ as a way to give the fans something exciting. The majority of the match was spent outside with unprotected shots to the head with trash cans and baking sheets. The finish came when Chuck was superplexed onto a double decker set of unfolded chairs, followed by a brainbuster on Finlay’s knee. It was a nice hardcore match that helped provide good will to the underwhelmed fans.
Roppongi Vice One Night Only
Juice Robinson & Tracy Williams def. Roppongi Vice @ 32:20 via Juice Pulp Friction on Romero – ***1/4
Extremely long match and there were ebbs and flows in reaction from the crowd but the action never stopped and all four guys went all out. They were motivated to do their best in order to make the crowd feel like they were cheated out of a show. There wasn’t a weak link, both Juice and Beretta threw bombs, but what stood out most was the exchange between Romero and Williams. We saw a side of Romero rarely seen. He buckled down and grappled with Williams, largely staying away from the comedy. As someone who has a soft spot for all four of these guys it’s impossible for me to be down on the match. It’ll probably test the patience of anyone who doesn’t really care but I enjoyed watching Tracy Williams showcase and can’t help but be hopeful this means more New Japan involvement from him. After the match, Juice apologizes to the fans for the visa situation but promises Japanese talent will be featured on their next tour. He takes the time to greet every fan and that’s how we go off air.
All things considered, the show was fine. No, it didn’t feel like a New Japan show but the situation was out of their hands. The opening match with the young lions was the clear highlight and the main event was great too despite the length. You could tell they felt bad about how things played out and the audio issues killing the commentary only helped add to the feeling of sadness. Watch the opener, the main is long but good.
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