NJPW STRONG #2 – New Japan Cup USA 2020 Part 2

Port Hueneme, CA – 8.14.2020

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Clark Connors & Jordan Clearwater vs. Barrett Brown & Logan Riegel

Riegel usually teams with his twin brother Sterling, but at this time Sterling was overseas. This is Clearwater’s NJPW debut. He is a trainee of former NJPW star Karl Anderson. Barrett takes down Connors with a running big boot. Connors chops Riegel to his corner and tags in Clearwater, who assists Connors with a double Beele toss. Riegel headscissors Clearwater to the corner and Brown wipes him out with a dropkick off the top turnbuckle. Clearwater elbows his way out of enemy territory and powerslams Riegel before tagging in Connors. Connors ends a chop exchange with Brown by taking him down with a spear. Clearwater tags in after Brown evades Connors’ Boston Crab. Although Clearwater clobbers Brown with a big boot, Brown catches Clearwater off guard with a schoolboy for the pin at 7:03. This was a totally solid tag match that gave Clearwater and Brown some time to shine. Logan without his brother just ain’t the same. **½

ACH, Alex Zayne & TJP vs. Blake Christian, Misterioso & PJ Black

This is Christian’s NJPW debut, and Black’s too if you don’t count the ROH joint shows. As expected, this match goes at a very quick pace. Christian is able to halt TJP after a dragonscrew leg whip and standing moonsault. TJP escapes his opponents grasp fairly quickly with a tornado DDT to Black. ACH cleans the apron, wipes out Christian with a pescado, then suicide dives onto Black. Zayne hits the CrunchWrap Supreme on Black and Misterioso breaks up his pin with a superkick. More action leads to Zayne going for the CrunchWrap Supreme on Christian. Christian avoids it and slams Zayne onto his face. Christian wipes out ACH with a Fosbury Flop, as Black hits Zayne with the Placebo Effect (springboard 450 Splash) to pick up the win for his team at 7:55. This was super fun to watch, as expected. ***¼

New Japan Cup USA 2020 Semi-Final Round Match
David Finlay vs. Tama Tonga

Finlay controls Tonga in a side headlock and gets two with a vertical suplex. Tonga takes down Finlay with a dropkick and chokes him in the corner after a kneeDT. Tonga gives Finlay his own vertical suplex, aggravating his back which Owens wore down in the opening round. Out of stubbornness, Finlay lands a senton after knocking down Tonga with a back elbow. Finlay follows that up with a slingshot German suplex. Tonga elbows out of a uranage back breaker and drops Finlay with the Tongan Twist for two. Finlay then counters the Gun Stun with the Trash Panda for two. Tonga escapes Prima Nocta, but Finlay gives him a stunner, then hits Prima Nocta on the second try for the pin at 7:10. I like that Finlay’s hurt back came into play in this match, and that Tonga attempted his stick and move tactic which got him the win in the opening round once more. Finlay, however, is quicker than Brody King, and he outpaced Tonga when it mattered the most. **½

New Japan Cup USA 2020 Semi-Final Round Match
Jeff Cobb vs. KENTA

KENTA has trouble with Cobb’s size advantage in the early going until he gets his knees up to block a standing moonsault. He then kicks Cobb in the chest and drops him with a neckbreaker for two. He takes down Cobb twice with a couple knees to the stomach, then uses his legs for a choke until Cobb reaches the ropes to break. KENTA’s slingshot head kick pisses Cobb off enough to get his adrenaline pumping, He has himself a violence party before suplexing KENTA out of a cradle. KENTA ducks a clothesline and powerslams Cobb, leaving both men laying. KENTA does some damage to Cobb’s neck, punctuating the damage with Jado’s Green Killer DDT. After a corner dropkick, KENTA double stomps Cobb. Cobb avoids the Go 2 Sleep with a Hawaiian Stampede and a standing moonsault for two. KENTA pill down the referee when Cobb tries Tour of the Islands. He then pushes Cobb into the referee, nullifying Cobb’s pin attempt with a bridging pump-handle suplex. Cobb blocks KENTA’s low blow and sends him into the ropes. KENTA escapes the Tour of the Islands and low blows Cobb. He then small packages Cobb for the pin at 14:38. This was going along great until the lame-o finish, which unfortunately feels like something I should expect with the BULLET CLUB going forward. Run this back in front of a crowd with a clean finish and I’d be a happy boi. ***

The New Japan Cup USA finals happens next week, pitting David Finlay against KENTA.

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