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Results and Review of Strong Style Evolved

Tonight was the return of New Japan Pro Wrestling to the United States of America. Last July they had a stellar showing Independence Day weekend. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fully know everyone in New Japan and it’s hard to know what’s going on, but what I do see I really enjoy. Before I get into my brief thoughts on the show tonight here are the results of Strong Style Evolved:

-Roppongi 3K defeated SoCal Uncensored
-Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto and Gedo)
– Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) defeated Chaos (Toru Yano and Chuckie T.)
-Bullet Club (Cody and Marty Scurll) defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa)
– Los Ingobernables de Japon(Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, Bushi and Hiromu Takahashi) defeated Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida and Ryusuke Taguchi) and Dragon Lee
-Will Ospreay defeated Jyushin Thunder Liger
-Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.) defeated Chaos (Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii)
-“Switchblade” Jay White defeated “Hangman” Adam Page to retain the IWGP United States Championship
-The Golden Lovers defeated The Young Bucks 

One of the things I really enjoy about New Japan is the partnership they have with Ring of Honor. I think the two promotions work well together with styles and personalities. It’s always fun to see New Japan stars show up in ROH and vice versa. I remember back in the 80’s and 90’s when WWE and WCW had strong partnerships with either New Japan or All Japan. I think those partnerships showed the true ability of the stars in WWE and WCW. Japan has produced some of the best talent around or has helped talent evolve their abilities. I think in recent years WWE has taken notice in that by signing talent like Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Asuka, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Shinsuke Nakamura. They either started in Japan and evolved into something better while they were there. 

The amount of factions and tag teams champion is so incredible. You groups like Chaos, Taguchi Japan, Bullet Club, The Elite, and Los Ingobernables de Japon. They all have their own unique groups but all of them can compete individually on a high level. It’s almost like New Japan is land of the clans. There are very few talents in New Japan who aren’t apart of a faction or tag team. There are also no weak links in Japan which makes the product so much better than the American product. You rarely see a squash match and you don’t have “jobbers” who lose within five minutes or less. I believe if WWE had the same concept that product would so much better and so much stronger. The reason Japan gets away with having matches lasting longer then 5 minutes is because everyone has a different move set and they get very creative with what they do in the ring.

Lastly, I love that second and third generation wrestlers are getting the proper recognition and spotlight they deserve. Japan has many multi-generational talents like David Finley, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Cody Rhodes. All of them did not have the success they should have gotten in the states, but they continued pursuing what they love and have become very successful performing in Japan. The performer that Cody Rhodes has become is nothing short of extraordinary. His story with the Bullet Club, his chemistry with Marty Scurll and the matches he’s had in Japan have been incredible to watch.

You’re probably reading this and are thinking that not much has been said about the show itself, but when it comes down to it the New Japan shows speak for themselves. My favorite match on the show from a nostalgic point of view was Liger vs. Ospreay, because Liger is a legend and Ospreay continues to see his stock rise. Based on tonight’s events I would love to see a Fatal Four Way between Liger, Mysterio, Scurll and Ospreay for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. It would be great to see a little bit of old school versus a little bit of new school. I also enjoy seeing the preview of Okada and Sabre Jr. which will take place next week for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. I always enjoy seeing the Brits throw down in the ring because their style is so rugged and technical. Their style is an art form all on it’s own. There was one title match on the card tonight and it was a classic between Jay White and Adam Page. New Japan is doing a wonderful job of making the new belt as prestigious as possible. The Main Event is what everyone was looking forward to the most. The reunited Golden Lovers taking on The Young Bucks in a match where Kenny Omega seemed conflicted at times. His inner conflict made for an absolutely fun story. I was highly entertained and got even more excited when they announced that next show would be in July.

If you have never checked out a New Japan show I would suggest doing so. There are so many casual WWE fans out there who have no clue that there is something more out there. If New Japan can continue to establish themselves in the United States than I could see there finally being some competition for WWE. There are a lot of factors for New Japan to be successful in the United States. I think a continued partnership with ROH will go a long way in expose Japanese talent to the American crowd. I also think the New Japan and ROH need to correct their TV problems. ROH is always a month behind due to tapings so it’s very hard to follow along and New Japan is sometimes months behind when they air on AXS TV. I would love to see both companies go live or at least have tape delay shows that air within a week of them being recorded. I think it would draw more interest and more viewers. All of this is hypothetical, but tonight was a very real good showing for New Japan in the states once again. I cannot wait until July 7th when they throw-down at the Cow Place in San Francisco. Until then, this has been Strong Style Evolved.

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