NJPW: Results and Grades from the first Lion’s Break Collision

NJPW, Jeff Cobb (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
NJPW, Jeff Cobb (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

How was the first episode of NJPW’s new weekly program?

NJPW debuted their newest foray into the American wrestling consciousness with their new weekly program Lion’s Break Collision on Friday night exclusively on NJPWWorld.com. The show will follow traditional Young Lion rules as all singles matches will have a 10-minute time limit with a 20-minute time limit for all tag matches.

NJPW has long looked to establish a foothold in the American Wrestling scene first with the establishment of the LA Dojo and having night one of their biggest event the G1 Climax tournament on US soil in Dallas, Texas in 2019 as well as expanding to host self-promoted shows across the US. Including Indy Wrestling legend Amazing Red’s return to a wrestling ring when he faced Will Ospreay in the first round of the revived Super J Cup tournament.

The company hopes to establish itself as the primary focus of wrestling fans on Friday nights going forward and promises New Japan’s brand of professional wrestling with an American flair. Most of the cast is and will be made up of LA Dojo students as well as newly debuting Western members of the main roster.

It won’t all be new faces however, as Kevin Kelley, Chris Charlton, and Gino Gambino will be lending their vocal talents to the product going forward. As well as in-ring performers such as US-based main roster talents like TJP, Jeff Cobb, and Rocky Romero.

While I wouldn’t expect wrestlers like Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito to turn up on a Friday night. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few main roster talents will make their presence felt on the program. With lots of young gaijin who are hungry to prove that they are just as talented if not more than their dojo brothers from across the ocean The LA Dojo seems to be the perfect recruiting ground for Jay White and his Bullet Club brethren.

The show opened with the newest member of the NJPW Main Roster Karl Fredericks sitting down for an interview with Kevin Kelley ahead of his tag team match with TJP against Jeff Cobb and Rocky Romero.

Fredericks sports a new earing and colorful choker as well as some blonde highlights in his hair, Fredericks spoke briefly about how the original plan pre-COVID was for him to debut as a member of the main roster in the New Japan Cup but that he was happy to be able to debut with his LA Dojo brothers and usher in a new era of NJPW with Lions Break Collision.

Clark Conners v. Alex Coughlin

Result: Time Limit Draw

The methodical style of head trainer Katsuyori Shibata was on display early as both Conners and Coughlin spent most of the early minutes of the match trading traditional wrestling holds and attempting to stretch and submit one another with Conners focusing in on the right knee and back of Alex Coughlin.

While Coughlin focused mostly on the shoulders of Conners as well as his previous injury in his right knee. After trading several high-impact blows, Conners hoisted Coughlin up for a gut wrench suplex before pulling him into a pinning predicament before he kicked out at two as time expired.

Grade: C. A fantastic first showing that leaves the viewer hungry for more. The perfect way to debut their new product.

Jeff Cobb & Rocky Romero vs TJP & Karl Fredericks

Result: Karl Fredericks pins Rocky Romero with a backslide after 10 minutes and 15 seconds.

TJP and Rocky Romero started off the match. These two have worked one another numerous times which was evident during the opening minutes of the match as they continually countered one another jockeying for the upper hand even if only momentarily. TJP & Fredericks took control of the match when TJP was able to put Rocky in an armbar position before snapping the limb back and tagging in Karl Fredericks.

Fredericks took opportunities to cheap shot Jeff Cobb on the apron several times before focusing back in on Rocky Romero covering him for a two count before Romero was able to kick out and tag in Cobb.

Momentum shifted then as Cobb began to manhandle Fredericks backing him into the neutral corner with several knife-edge chops and taking him down at the knees before tagging Romero back into the match. The rapid changes in the ring continued as each man would work over Fredericks for several moments before tagging in his partner.

Momentum shifted once again after Fredericks delivered a spine buster to Rocky Romero before tagging in TJP. After several high intensity moves from TJP to Rocky, Jeff Cobb entered the ring as an illegal man attempting to double team TJP while Fredericks was down resting on the outside but TJP was able to use his high-intensity high flying style to break out of it and force the official to push Cobb back to the outside.

Fredericks was tagged in then to face off one on one with Jeff Cobb. The pair traded several high intensity blows as Fredericks took control of the significantly larger Cobb backing him into the neutral corner and hammering him in the face and chest with his elbow and forearm before falling prey to a huge dropkick from Cobb allowing him time to tag in Rocky Romero. Romero was able to capitalize and roll Fredericks up for a near fall that was broken up by TJP.

Grade: B. A huge debut on the main roster for Karl Fredericks by pinning one of the most well know western members of the NJPW roster.

Following the match, Fredericks continued to get in the face of Jeff Cobb before being broken up by TJP and Rocky Romero.

Next. NJPW reuniting with the Good Brothers. dark

In his post-match comments, Fredericks called out Rocky Romero for continuing to claim that he was a member of the LA Dojo. Claiming that he was CHAOS now and could not claim two factions. Also stating that he will never be a submissive person looking to someone else for instructions be it Jay White, Kazuchika Okada, or Tetsuya Naito. It seems at least for now that Fredericks will remain one of the rare independent wrestlers in the New Japan system allying with no particular faction.