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NJPW Strong results: LA Dojo Showcase 2

NJPW Strong hosted its second LA Dojo Showcase card tonight. The first was held in April.

Kevin Knight defeated The DKC

This was good. The DKC has a distinct style and flavor in the ring, showing off tons of karate-style chop variations tonight. While DKC controlled the first half of the match, Knight eventually tapped him out with a Boston crab in the end. Knight has one of the best, or at least highest dropkicks in the business right now.

Clark Connors defeated Alex Coughlin

These two are awesome, if you haven't gotten the memo yet. Coughlin took the lead on offense early on. On commentary, Kevin Kelly explained how far he has come in his training with Katsuyori Shibata at the LA Dojo. They presented this as the first possible time that Coughlin might really have a chance against his senior, the recently graduated Connors.

Connors caught Coughlin off the ropes with a pounce just after the five-minute call sounded. He unloaded a flurry of chops and stomps on Coughlin in the corner. Coughlin answered with two deadlift suplexes that earned him a two-count. He scored a beautiful bridging fall-away slam for another nearfall. They made it seem like Connors was really on the ropes.

Connors caught Coughlin with a desperation spear, then dropped a Tenryu-style reverse elbow drop from the top rope for a two-count. Coughlin responded with a leaping shoulder tackle, then a ripping chop. Connors answered with his signature snap powerslam, then finished Coughlin with a back suplex into a falling powerbomb for the win in just over ten minutes. Connors picked Coughlin up off the mat afterwards, then the two hugged. This was excellent.

An emotional Alex Coughlin put both Connors and Karl Fredericks over huge in his post-match promo. He talked about how he had his first match in NJPW against Connors and his rematch at Lion's Break Collision last year. He thought he'd be able to take the win tonight and was upset about it. He said that no matter what happens to Connors, no matter where he goes, that Coughlin loves him, and that Connors had better not make a big career move, like to head to Japan, before he graduated from the LA Dojo.

Ren Narita defeated Karl Fredericks

This was pretty even for the first five minutes. The two blasted each other with chops. In the 2019 Young Lions cup, which Karl Fredericks won, Kevin Kelly explained how Ren Narita was the only one to defeat Fredericks over the course of the whole tournament.

Narita caught Fredericks with a rolling wheel kick and a single-arm suplex for two. He targeted the taller Fredericks' legs next, applying an Indian Deathlock and later a Narita Special submission, or a modified clover-hold. Fredericks was able to escape via rope breaks both times.

Fredericks exploded back moments later with a big Pelé kick that put Narita down. He nailed Narita with a Shibata-style basement dropkick in the corner for two. Narita's chest was pink and red by this point.

Fredericks went for his finisher Manifest Destiny twice, but Narita blocked both attempts. He put Fredericks on the mat with a knuckle-lock suplex, but was too tired to make the cover in quick enough time, so Fredericks was able to kick out. He'd later finish Fredericks off with a bridging front suplex for the decisive win. Narita has finally avenged his loss to Fredericks in the 2019 Young Lions Cup.

"Mr. No-Days-Off" Fred Rosser appeared in the ring afterwards. He wanted to congratulate Narita on his win, he said, but for those following along, Rosser and Narita actually got into it with each other after the six-man tag match they were in at NJPW Resurgence in Los Angeles last month. Rosser insisted Narita shake his hand, but Narita refused. Rosser said Narita was young and dumb, and that he'd be leaving Fighting Spirit Unleashed with three boots: two on his feet and one in his ass.

Narita answered in Japanese, telling Rosser that he wasn't impressed with a "former" star like him, and that Rosser had better not underestimate the LA Dojo. The two will square off next week on the Saturday episode of NJPW Strong.

Final thoughts:

Tonight's episode was a really good one. It's amazing how much progress some of NJPW's Young Lions have made in such a short period of time, especially when it comes to Katsuyori Shibata's trainees. Everything on this is worth checking out, the fan in me eagerly awaits NJPW in three to five years from now.