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NJPW Strong (Episode 38: LA Dojo Showcase) Recap & Review

NJPW Strong
Episode 38
LA Dojo Showcase

Original Air Date: April 30, 2021
Event Date: ?
(uploaded to NJPW World)

City: Port Hueneme, CA
Venue: Oceanview Pavilion (empty arena)

Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly, Alex Koslov
Ring Announcer: Adnan Kureishy (ringside)


Katsuyori Shibata welcomes us to tonight’s showcase of the LA Dojo with some clips of young lions in training. Clark Connors, Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight, The DKC, and Karl Fredericks talk about the LA Dojo and Shibata’s training.

Ring Area
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov welcome us to this special episode of New Japan Strong. Koslov briefly talks about his time training in the LA Dojo, and Kevin Kelly goes over tonight’s matches.


Match 1
The DKC vs TJP
(referee: Nick Bonanno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: TJP wins via submission with an STF
Time: 7:40

Match Thoughts
Good match. The DKC started strong with his usual aggression and strikes, but he also tried to incorporate a fair amount of technical holds into his arsenal. That worked for The DKC at times, but more often than not, TJP simply outclassed The DKC. TJP made it look easy tonight, though he also showed respect to The DKC throughout and after the match.


After the match, The DKC says it was an honor to compete against TJP, an “LA Dojo OG.” The DKC is working hard, and he’s coming up.


Match 2
Kevin Knight & Alex Coughlin vs Ren Narita & Fred Rosser
(referee: Jeremy Marcus)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Fred Rosser pins Kevin Knight after a double-knee gut buster and a basement dropkick to the head
Time: 12:36

Match Thoughts
Very good match. This was hard-fought by all four men, and it really allowed everyone in the match to shine. Rosser definitely felt like the person in charge for most of the match, whether he was inside the ring or out. Rosser was aggressive in his attacks and methodical in his approach. Ren Narita supported Rosser well, adding some speed to the team. Kevin Knight and Alex Coughlin made a great team tonight, with Knight doing a lot of the wear-down work and Coughlin coming in to save his partner or to try to finish their opponents off with his impressive strength. This was a very fun match.


Kevin Knight appears to be getting frustrated with his repeated losses. Alex Coughlin sympathizes, and he offers some inspirational words for Knight.

We are treated to some NJPW commercials during a brief intermission.


Match 3
Clark Connors vs “The Alpha Wolf” Karl Fredericks
(referee: Justin Borden)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Karl Fredericks wins via pinfall after Manifest Destiny
Time: 18:19

Match Thoughts
Great match. Connors too a more deliberate approach to this match than he often does, and I think that made for a more interesting match overall. Connors and Fredericks were cautious in their approaches towards one another, and they began with a sequence of grappling to try to gain an early advantage. From there they began to incorporate bigger moves and strikes building up to some very fun back-and-forth exchanges. Neither man really held an advantage for a very long time throughout the match, and both were able to find counters and reversals thanks, in part, to training with each other for so long. This was a great showcase for both men.


Clark Connors talks about his growth over the past year, and he says it’s time for a change. No longer is Connors considering himself a young lion. From now on, he is a wild rhino (as Kevin Kelly has been referring to him).


Show Impressions
This was a very good show. I think they should do these LA Dojo Showcase episodes every few moths or so. I enjoyed seeing how the current crop of young lions is progressing. And sure, there were no surprises with the winners of tonight’s matches, but that wasn’t the point. All of the young lions looked good, and seeing them all compete on the same show really highlighted where each on of them stands. Connors is probably ready to move one, Coughlin will be there soon, Knight is somewhere in the middle, and The DKC still has some work to do.

Match of the Night
Clark Connors vs Karl Fredericks
It will be pretty cool to look back on this match in a few years if/when these two get into a rivalry over an NJPW championship.


Official Results: https://www.njpw1972.com/tornament/96062?showResult=1



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