NJPW STRONG #8 – Lion’s Break: Crown 2020 Part 1

Port Hueneme, CA – 9.25.2020

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Lion’s Break Crown Tournament Quarter-Final Round Match
Logan Riegel vs. The DKC

Riegel won the tournament preview eight man tag match last week. DKC focused his attack on Riegel’s left arm, looking for a submission victory. Riegel uses his good arm to shut down DKC with multiple clotheslines and a corner uppercut. Riegel rolls under a chop attempt and drops DKC with a jump-up neckbreaker for two. DKC leg sweeps him down into a half straightjacket choke, but Riegel gets the ropes to escape. DKC attempts an overhead throw, and Riegel counters with a small package to get the win at 6:37. Given these two were probably the lowest “seeds” in the tournament my expectations weren’t high, and they ended up producing something very unique. This told a really good story, with DKC having his strongest showing to date yet STILL losing, while Riegel’s momentum from the previous week kept rolling. I dig it! **½

Lion’s Break Crown Tournament Quarter-Final Round Match
Clark Connors vs. Jordan Clearwater

Connors is able to manhandle Clearwater until Clearwater goes up and over in the corner and takes Connors over with a backdrop. Clearwater drops Connors with a running neckbreaker for two, and also gets two after a spinebuster, a nod to his trainer Karl Anderson. Connors avoids a powerslam and snaps off a slam of his own. Clearwater small packages Connors to avoid a Boston Crab attempt. Connors spears Clearwater moments later, then locks on the Boston Crab successfully to get the submission victory at 6:11. Feels appropriate for a Young Lion to win the Lion’s Break tournament match with a Dojo staple. Clearwater continues to impress. **½

Lion’s Break Crown Tournament Quarter-Final Round Match
Barrett Brown vs. Danny Limelight

This was a really engaging match. Brown was the more aggressive on offense while also consistently going for pins. Limelight on the other hand would use kicks and his agility to neutralize Brown whenever possible. For example, Limelight impressively jumped to the second rope when Brown came charging in the corner, then jumped to the top rope and clobbered Brown with a springboard clothesline. Brown almost had Limelight pinned after a high speed prawn hold. Limelight landed an enzuigiri from the apron and then spiked Brown with the Symbiote DDT for the pin at 9:31. I enjoyed the hell out of this. I admit I’ve overlooked Brown in many of his matches, but this really opened my eyes to him. Limelight has become one of my overall favorites and I’m very glad to see him advance. ***½

Lion’s Break Crown Tournament Quarter-Final Round Match
Adrian Quest vs. Blake Christian

Based on the preview match last week, this was the pairing I was most looking forward to seeing. These two moved incredibly fast to start, and Quest’s strategy was to attack Christian’s ribs to slow him down. He even dropkicked Chrisitan in the ribs out of mid-air to block a springboard crossbody. Christian explodes out of the corner with a desperation clothesline after being whipped to the corner. After a snap slam Christian landed a lionsault, but was too hurt to pin within a reasonable time frame. Quest mises a Phoenix Splash. Christian uses Quest’s momentum to land a German suplex and manages to hit Elia at 6:49 for the pin. I thought Quest’s strategy was perfect, and while some may see Christian using a splash variation to win as somewhat bastardizing that strategy, I think the way it was done was more about Christian toughing out the pain to pick up the victory. It also proved a point that these two are certainly capable of telling an engaging story amidst their exciting offense. This was a very good way to cap off the show and end the opening round of the tournament. ***¼

The Semi-Finals next week will see Logan Riegel face Clark Connors and Danny Limelight face Blake Christian. That second match especially should rule.

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