The Road to Lion’s Break: Contender continues from the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo in Los Angeles, Califonia. Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov give us a run-down of what’s to come, promoting the NJPW STRONG debut of Bullet Club’s El Phantasmo.
MATCH ONE: Misterioso Vs Barrett Brown
Misterioso displays his power advantage early on, grabbing hold of Brown with a headlock. Brown sends Misterioso outside with a Tijeras. Brown attempts a moonsault on the outside, but Misterioso catches him and throws him face-first into the ring post. Misterioso gets a near fall after a kneeling springboard senton. Brown fights back but is cut off with a big boot. Brown meets a running Misterioso with a hip toss into the corner for a two count. Brown gets another near fall after a running single leg dropkick. Misterioso gets the knees up on a Swanton attempt from Barrett for a two count. Misterioso pops Brown out of a powerbomb into a superkick. Brown holds the ropes to block a back cracker and hits a high knee. Brown hits a poisonrana and a wheelbarrow facebuster for a near fall. Misterioso stops Brown on the top rope and hits a reverse superplex for the pinfall.
Match Time: 7m 55s
WINNER: Misterioso via reverse superplex.
MATCH TWO: TJP Vs Adrian Quest
After an early feeling out process, Quest hits an arm drag. Countering TJP in the corner, Quest pulls out a turntable hurricanrana. Quest gets the first two count with a torneo. TJP ties Quest in the tree of woe and gets a near fall from a sliding dropkick. TJP counters a hurricanrana attempt into a bridging Indian Death Lock. TJP gets a near fall with a slingshot senton. TJP transitions from the Gory Special into a pin. Quest escapes out, and nails a spinning hook kick sending TJP to the floor. Quest follows with an Asai Moonsault. Quest hits a springboard hurricanrana, uppercut, and a running shooting star press for a two count. Quest misses a Phoenix Splash, and TJP hits the FilAm Splash for the victory.
Match Time: 8m 21s
WINNER: TJP via FilAm Splash.
MATCH THREE: Fred Rosser, ACH & Blake Christian Vs Bullet Club (Hikuleo, Kenta & El Phantasmo)
El Phantasmo and ACH start. ELP offers a handshake but it’s refused. They start trading standing holds. ACH runs the ropes, handsprings away from a backdrop, and dropkicks ELP. Kenta comes in and eats a dropkick. ACH throws a dropkick at Hikuleo, who stays on his feet. ACH hits the ropes but gets booted in the face from Hikuleo. Bullet Club work over ACH. Hikuleo hits a wide-open chop and throws ACH face-first into the turnbuckle pad for a two count. BC all rake their nails down ACH’s back. ACH slips out of a delayed vertical suplex from Hikuleo, kicking free to make the tag to Rosser. Rosser evades Hikuleo and attacks his legs, slamming one into the ring post. Rosser hits a chop block and locks in an STF, but Hikuleo elbows his way free. Hikuleo decks Rosser with a strong forearm. Rosser blocks a chokeslam and tags out. Christian with a springboard dropkick to Hikuleo. ELP shoves Christian off the top rope straight into a chokeslam from Hikuleo. ACH hits a plancha on Kenta. ELP lands a splash on Christian from ¾ of the across the ring, but only for a two count. Christian counters the CR2 with a backdrop for a near fall. ELP pulls the referee in front of him to distract Christian and nails a superkick for the three count.
Match Time: 10m 29s
WINNER: Bullet Club (El Phantasmo) via superkick.
Post-match, Rosser tries to get at Hikuleo but is held back. Backstage, El Phantasmo says the victory was too easy. BC is not afraid of Lio Rush, who is due to make his NJPW Strong soon. Bullet Club run this TV show in a “bum hick town” by the ocean, saying it is “Bullet Club Country”.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling STRONG returns For Episode 24. LION’S BREAK: CONTENDER on 22nd January at 10 pm ET, 9 pm CT, 7 pm PT / 23rd January 3 am GMT, and 12 pm JST, available on New Japan World.