NJPW STRONG #24 – Lion’s Break: Contender Part 2

Port Hueneme, CA – 1.22.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

The Riegel Twins (Logan & Sterling Riegel) vs. Jordan Clearwater & Kevin Knight

The new theme music for Clearwater bangs hard. The Riegel Twins double team Clearwater in their corner after Knight is unable to get an advantage over Sterling. Clearwater sends the Riegel’s into one another to escape a double neckbreaker attempt. Knight nails Logan with a flurry of uppercuts and a dropsault for two. Clearwater misses a corner attack and Logan tags in Sterling. Sterling drops Knight with an axe kick and gives Clearwater a Slingblade on the ring apron. Sterling wipes him out with a suicide dive, and in the ring Knight rolls up Logan for two. Logan holds the ropes to thwart a dropkick from Knight. Sterling joins Logan back in the ring to hit their tandem DDT combo for the pin at 6:12. Makes sense the more experienced team would pick up the win here, and perhaps teaming with Brody King has given them a bit more confidence. It’s customary for young lions like Knight to take some time finding their footing, but I think it’s about time for Clearwater to get some direction. **¼

Brody King vs. JR Kratos

Kratos scores big with a Hot Shot. King is able to reverse a whip, but misses a corner splash and turns into a flying boot from Kratos. The second time King whips Kratos to the corner, he scores with a clothesline. A second corner clothesline leads to a Boss Man Slam for two. Kratos lands a clothesline, leaving both men laying. Kratos fakes out King in order to land a gut punch and land a leaping forearm strike in the corner. King is able to intercept the follow up strike and suplex him into the corner! King follows up with a cannonball splash, and Kratos grabs the bottom rope to stop the pin. Kratos reverses a whip and bodyslams King. King kicks out after a subsequent vertical suplex. King German suplexes Kratos and blasts him with a lariat for two. King delivers three short-arm lariats to Kratos to pick up the pin at 10:09. It’s hard for me to not have a good time watching two big dudes throw one another around and beat each other up. ***

Ren Narita vs. Bateman

This is the STRONG debut for both competitors. Narita rounds the taller Bateman with a chinlock and then a figure four submission around his neck. Bateman pulls narita to his feet, delivering a snap knee strike to his neck, and then a diving rolling elbow to the neck. Narita strikes Bateman back down. Bateman goes to the ropes for refuge, double thrusting Narita in the throat when the referee looks to separate them. Narita forearms Bateman down again when Bateman fires him up with a chop to the chest. Bateman snaps Narita’s neck onto the top rope. Bateman overhead suplexes Bateman, then floats over into a pin after another belly to belly suplex for two. Bateman cuts off a charging Narita with a big boot and knocks him down with a rolling back elbow, getting a two count after a sliding boot to the side of the head. Narita remains steadfast during a strike exchange and locks Bateman into a Cobra Twist. Bateman grabs the ropes, so Narita kicks him in the chest and German suplexes him for two. Narita rolls Bateman away from the ropes before putting him in a sharpshooter. Bateman taps out at 14:53. This got some love when it first aired and I can see why as it was quite captivating. Narita looked impressive against a bigger opponent in Bateman, wrestling a very smart match against someone who can strike just as hard and just as precisely. Bateman is someone I haven’t been overly impressed with in ROH, but it was nice to see what he can do on his own away from the Righteous. Both men left a positive first impression with this one. ***½

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