NJPW Young Lion Cup (12/9/19) Review

No love between peers. Credit: NJPW

Fuck me I have nothing to say up here. It’s the Young Lion Cup, em, enjoy?

Ren Narita (3-1) defeated Yota Tsuji (1-3)

Ren sells that beating. Credit: NJPW

Ren Narita started this match surprisingly dominant. Tsuji has a lot of size on him, so seeing Narita take control on the ground and even win a couple of strike exchanges was impressive. However, he couldn’t keep that power at arm’s length all match, and as the action went on, Tsuji began to gain a foothold. It became clear that while Narita might be hitting more moves, Tsuji’s did more damage, and a simple Hip Toss followed by a Splash was enough to take the wind out of Narita’s sail.

What Tsuji lacks is experience, and while Narita is no grizzled vet, those extra months in the ring showed as they entered the final stretch. Having slapped the taste out of Narita’s mouth, Tsuji’s took off at a run, failing to take into account that charging at Ren is the perfect way to set him up for that Belly to Belly. It connected clean and straight into the bridge, leaving Tsuji trailing behind and Narita sail catching the win to pull him onward.

These two told a strong, compact story that got over with the crowd and gave them someone to cheer in Narita. These Young Lions don’t get much time, so they need to nail these simple match structures, and that’s exactly what Ren and Tsuji did.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Karl Fredericks (3-1) defeated Alex Coughlin (2-2)

It’s kind of like yoga. Credit: NJPW

Before I watched Fredericks in this tournament, I’d heard a lot of people rave about his potential to be a star, and now that I’ve seen him a few times, I’m beginning to see it too. It’s not just his look (which is great), but the small touches of charisma he’s already introducing to his wrestling. The height he gets on his Stinger Splash or the flourishes as he hits a Standing Elbow Drop. He has something, and it’s up to New Japan to harness that.

In contrast, Coughlin reminds me more of his trainer. He doesn’t yet have Shibata’s intensity and fire, but there’s a simplicity to his wrestling that apes him. He does the simple things well and makes them look like they hurt, which is 90% of the battle. It’s a small touch, but I love that his chops don’t let out those loud, theatrical slaps. Instead, there’s a thud to them, a thud that tells you they must fucking hurt.

It was a combination that worked well together in what I think goes down as a very solid match. There was nothing out of the ordinary here, but just two talented rookies showing what they can do.

Verdict: Three Stars

Overall Show

Much like with the intro, I’m running out of ways to phrase these round-ups. The Young Lion Cup continues to be an easy watch filled with strong matches. If you’re nae watching by this point, I can’t imagine anything I say is going to change your mind.

Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/

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