No offence to those involved, but these matches meant fuck all. Uemura, Coughlin, Tsuji and Richards were playing for pride alone on their final night of Young Lion Cup action, and the main intrigue was whether that would see them drop the intensity.
Alex Coughlin (4-3) defeated Yuya Uemura (1-6)
Coughlin and Uemura weren’t going to finish up by taking things easy as they went forehead to forehead before the bell and had a fiery encounter. Outside of Shota and Ren (who are a fresh lick of paint away from not being Young Lions), these two are my favourites. They have so much raw potential backed up by a clear passion for what they do. It’s a heady mix.
And they put on a great match. I complained in yesterday’s review about Richards and Fredericks acting like they hated each other only to transition into dull grappling and this was the exact opposite of that. Even when Uemura and Coughlin were on the mat, there was an intensity to it that helped you buy into the idea that these two do not like each other, something confirmed by the stiff chops they were throwing at the end.
The finish was well worked too, Coughlin pushing out of Uemura’s attempt at a Crab into a pin and then using the momentum of the kick-out to go into his own version of that signature Young Lion move. It was all smoothly executed and while it picked up the win for Alex, the post-match scuffle suggests these two still have business ahead of them.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Yota Tsuji (2-5) defeated Michael Richards (1-6)
Tsuji and Richards had a match that could be used to define the word fine. It had some alright moments and some boring moments which added up to make it something that definitely happened.
The biggest surprise was how much of the action Richards took considering he’s been somewhat of a whipping boy. He hit a Suplex and a Backdrop, controlling the middle section before Tsuji turned things in his favour with a Spear.
We got a rather lacklustre Big Swing to set-up the finish and that rather nicely summed things up. I know I’ve been on harsh on Richards, and he’s not an awful wrestler, but he’s also not at the level you expect from someone competing in New Japan. That’s not to say he can’t ever make that jump, but he’s not ready right now.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
One good match and one mediocre match as the bottom half of the Young Lion Cup sees itself out the door. There’s not much more to say as all we’ve got left to do is find out who wins.
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