Tokyo’s Shinjuku Face was home to another edition of the Lion’s Gate Project, the seventh show featuring New Japan young lions, veterans, and a mix of wrestlers from other promotions. Here are the results from today’s card:
Shota Umino and Ren Narita went to a time limit draw
Narita is the newest graduate of the New Japan dojo. With a birthdate of November 29th, 1997, he is officially the youngest member of the New Japan roster at 19 years old, surpassing Hirai Kawato who was born in March of that year.
He looked good here in his debut. After escaping the Boston crab once, Umino managed to drag him in the middle for another one, but Narita wouldn’t submit as the time limit expired. The two shoved and slapped one another after the match, a sign of their strong style determination.
Taka Michinoku defeated Tetsuhiro Yagi
Yagi is the second-newest young lion, having made his debut last month at Lion’s Gate Project 6. I wouldn’t say he’s a standout yet, but he's perfectly able and is doing really well for someone who has wrestled for a month. He looked good here before eventually submitting to a crossface.
Dinosaur Takuma & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Katsuya Kitamura & Manabu Nakanishi
Kitamura’s been talked about on here as someone with probably the most potential just based on his look -- he’s an overly tan giant of a man who has shown some really good charisma during his matches. Dinosaur Takuma, who is a regular for Kaientai Dojo, has none of that save the charisma and a tail.
Nakanishi has been mentoring Kitamura on these shows, so they did some tandem work with one another during the match, including a double torture rack spot. Takuma managed to keep Nakanishi on the outside, allowing Tenzan to sink in the Anaconda Vise for the win.
Dick Togo defeated Hirai Kawato
Kawato is one of the more advanced young lions, debuting last year. He’s grown into a great babyface-type wrestler who always shows a great amount of tenacity and intensity in his matches.
Dick Togo has been wrestling for decades, competing regularly in Michinoku Pro and even wrestled in WWE briefly in 1998-99. This is his first appearance at a Lion’s Gate Project show.
This was a good back-and-forth match. Kawato showed the intensity he’s known for, and Togo was great at being the general of the match. He took out Kawato and pinned him with a giant senton off the top rope.
Satoshi Kojima defeated Tomoyuki Oka
Oka is another top heavyweight prospect. With Yuji Nagata as his mentor, he’s a high-class amateur wrestler who has continually shown improvement and star quality. This too was a good back-and-forth match. Oka kicked out of a brainbuster, but Kojima responded with a lariat and picked up the win.
YOSHI-HASHI defeated Koji Iwamoto
Iwamoto is a regular with All Japan and has wrestled since 2012. This was a nice, easy back-and-forth match that people got into towards the end. Iwamoto had a submission locked in for a long time until YH finally made it to the ropes. YH made his comeback, hit a lariat, then locked in the butterfly lock for the submission.
Yuji Nagata defeated Go Asakawa
Asakawa is a Kaientai Dojo regular, wrestling since 2015. He’s replacing Ayato Yoshida, who suffered a jaw injury recently and will be out of action for a while.
This was a fun main event. I liked the story of Asakawa giving it everything he has, while Nagata brought it back and continued to absorb whatever Asakawa would give him. Asakawa did manage to escape from Nagata’s armbar submission, but he eventually fell to the backdrop suplex.
Nagata cut a promo to end the show, possibly teasing a future Young Lion’s Cup for the next event (though it wasn’t outright confirmed).