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Csonka’s NJPW Lion’s Gate Project8 Review 10.12.17

October 12, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s NJPW Lion’s Gate Project8 Review 10.12.17  

Csonka’s NJPW Lion’s Gate Project8 Review 10.12.17

YLC Tournament Match: Hirai Kawato defeated Ren Narita @ 7:44 via pin [**¾]
YLC Tournament Match: Katsuya Kitamura defeated Tetsuhiro Yagi @ 8:45 via pin [***]
YLC Tournament Match: Tomoyuki Oka defeated Shota Umino @ 10:52 via submission [***½]
– Manabu Nakanishi defeated Kotaro Yoshino @ 7:35 via submission [**]
– Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Go Asakawa & Yuma Aoyagi @ 12:33 via pin [**½]
– Yuji Nagata defeated Daisuke Kanehira @ 12:20 via pin [***]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

– Check out my full Young Lion’s Cup breakdown here.

YLC Tournament Match: Hirai Kawato vs. Ren Narita: They work some back and forth, into a grappling exchange early. Narita shoots a double leg and they take turns laying in the ground and pound. Kawato takes early control, working kicks and going for repeated covers before locking in a camel clutch. Narita makes the ropes and connects with a dropkick, taking over as he lays the boots to Kawato. Narita heels it up a bit, choking out Kawato in the ropes and hitting a second rope leg drop for 2. Narita grounds the action; he’s a salty little prick today. Kawato battles back to his feet, hits the dropkick and covers for 2. The slam follows and Kawato locks in the crab. Narita fights but fades but lunges and makes the ropes. Kawato hits the springboard missile dropkick, getting a good near fall. He fires up and hits a trouble in paradise for the win. Hirai Kawato defeated Ren Narita @ 7:44 via pin [**¾] This was a pretty good little opener, with both guys opening up a bit more than usual, and Kawato picking up the win and Narita showing some solid heel work.

YLC Tournament Match: Katsuya Kitamura vs. Tetsuhiro Yagi: Yagi looks like a stick compared to Kitamura. Kitamura overpowers him to begin, hitting shoulder blocks. Yagi keeps fighting back, but gets taken down. They work the international into a Yagi dropkick, and he follows with strikes in the corner. Yagi then lays the boots to Kitamura, follows with a running elbow and Hennig neck snap before locking in an arm bar. He transitions into a triangle, but Kitamura powers out for a moment, but Yagi keeps the arm bar. Kitamura powers out and takes Yagi to the corner, but Yagi keeps control, attacking the arm in the ropes. Yagi hits the big slam, covering for 2. He then locks in the crab as the crowd is pro Yagi here. Kitamura powers up but Yagi keeps the hold on. Yagi then transitions to a Muta lock, Kitamura struggles and makes the ropes. Yagi now lays in the strikes, Kitamura fires up and they trade center ring. Kitamura lays him out with big chops, picking up a near fall. More chops follow, and then the big shoulder block. Kitamura hits the spear, turning Yagi inside out. The jackhammer follows and Kitamura picks up the win. Katsuya Kitamura defeated Tetsuhiro Yagi @ 8:45 via pin [***] This was a good match, they played the size dynamic well, and this was Yagi’s best overall performance to date in my opinion. I dig the spear and jackhammer finish for Kitamura, it fits him.

YLC Tournament Match: Tomoyuki Oka vs. Shota Umino: Umino is all fired up and attacks at the bell. Oka fires back, but Umino grounds the action, condoling the bigger man as he works the leg. Umino locks on a knee bar, but Oka makes the ropes. Umino now lays ion kicks to the leg of Oka, and follows with forearm strikes. Oka quickly grounds the action, laying in strikes and working a chinlock. He transitions to a body scissors and rear naked choke, but Umino makes the ropes. Oka follows with a suplex, covering for 2. The powerslam follows, and then the camel clutch. Umino struggles for the ropes and gets the break. Oka then covers repeatedly, but Umino keeps kicking out. Umino fires back with a missile dropkick, hits a running forearm and that gets 2.The single leg crab follows, but Oka makes the ropes. Umino cuts him off with a dropkick, slam shim down and the elbow off the top follows and again gets 2. Umino hits a rough looking slam for 2,and locks in the crab. Oka manages to make the ropes. He picks up Oka, lays in forearms, uppercuts but Oka hits the belly to belly to stop that bullshit. Oka follows with the slam and crab, Umino fights, works for the ropes and makes it. Oka is pissed, hits another slam and overhead belly to belly for a great near fall. The crab follows, and Umino has to tap. Tomoyuki Oka defeated Shota Umino @ 10:52 via submission [***½] This was a very good back and forth match, with really clean work, an invested crowd and some great near finishes down the stretch.

Manabu Nakanishi vs. Kotaro Yoshino: Yoshino is dressed like Fred Flintstone, and has a lovely fro. They tease a test of strength to begin. Yoshino does some goofy dancing, and the crowd likes him. Nakanishi has had enough of this already and lays in strikes and chops. He no sells Yoshino’s chops, and then chops Yoshino down and sends him to the floor. We get some floor brawling, and Nakanishi maintains control back in the ring. Nakanishi follows at a glacial pace, laying in strikes but Yoshino fires up and hits shoulder blocks and takes Nakanishi down. Yoshino heads to the ropes and hits a Vader splash for 2. Nakanishi cuts him off, countering a slam and laying in strikes. Nakanishi fires up with his little dance, hits the lariat and covers for 2. Yoshino hits a second rope missile dropkick, and follows with a slam. The running splash gets 2. Nakanishi comes back with another lariat, and the torture rack finishes it. Manabu Nakanishi defeated Kotaro Yoshino @ 7:35 via submission [**] This wasn’t bad, just bland, slow, and boring. Yoshino was ok, Nakanishi was his usual planetoid self.

– Nakanishi and Dinosaur Takuma have words post match, likely setting up a match for the next show.

Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Go Asakawa & Yuma Aoyagi: Asakawa looks like YOSHI-HASHI’s little brother. Kojima and Aoyagi start things off, Kojima looks for a handshake, but Aoyagi is a little dick and attacks. Asakawa and Tenzan tag in, and Asakawa works the Mongolian chops and hits a slam for 2. Tenzan cuts him off and shows him some proper Mongolian chops. Kojima tags in, they work double teams on Asakawa, Kojima follows with a neck breaker and sends Aoyagi to the floor. Kojima ground the action, and then tags in Tenzan as they isolate Asakawa. Tenzan now sends Aoyagi to the floor as the veterans play the bully role. Tenzan lands a big head butt, and tags in Kojima. Kojima now locks in an STF, Asakawa fights but Kojima cuts him off and tags in Tenzan. Asakawa cuts off Tenzan, Aoyagi gets the hot tag and strolls mildly. He hits a high cross for 2. But runs into a mountain bomb. Kojima tags in, chops in the corner follow on Aoyagi. The charging forearm and elbow drop connect, and Kojima covers for 2. Aoyagi battles back, hits a suplex and tags in Asakawa. He runs wild, finally showing some intensity, and picks up a near fall on Kojima. It breaks down, Aoyagi and Tenzan to the floor as Kojima fights off a dragon sleeper. Kojima cuts off Asakawa with a DDT, it breaks down again and Asakawa hits a cradle suplex on Kojima for 2. He pays for that by eating a TenKoji cutter, but Aoyagi makes the save. Kojima then hits the brainbuster for 2. The lariat ends Asakawa. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Go Asakawa & Yuma Aoyagi @ 12:33 via pin [**½] This was a simple and straight forward tag match, which is all well and good, but it never got out of second gear. The final two-minutes were strong, Kojima & Tenzan gave them a lot near the end, but this was an overall lethargic effort.

– Post match, Aoyagi refuses a handshake and shoves Kojima, likely setting up a match for the next show.

Yuji Nagata vs. Daisuke Kanehira: Nagata quickly grounds the action, we get some back and forth grappling with both looking for a possible arm bar. This leads into some back and forth, and stalemate. Kanehira slaps Nagata repeatedly, that’s a bad idea, because it just fires up Nagata. They pick up the pace, with Kanehira hitting a shoulder block. He grounds things, working the arm. Nagata slips out, looks to work the leg, but Kanehira makes the ropes. They trade strikes, with Nagata dropping Kanehira and following with kicks, and covering for 2. Nagata works for an arm bar, but Kanehira makes the ropes. Nagata keeps focusing on the arm, slowly breaking down Kanehira and now laying in kicks. Kanehira hits a desperation snap slam to cut Nagata off. He then connects with knee strikes, picking up a near fall. They trade strikes, but Kanehira catches Nagata in an arm bar. Nagata escapes but Kanehira grabs it right back, and transitions to a triangle. Nagata powers out, locks in the arm bar. Kanehira just barely made the ropes. They trade strikes, Nagata fires up and challenges Kanehira to throw more. Nagata then drops him with a kick to he chest, covering for 2. The corner knee and XPLODER follows for 2. Kanehira quickly rebounds with a Saito suplex and shining wizard, covering for 2. The sleeper follows, Nagata looks like he’s fading, but escapes, attacking the arm and hitting the backdrop driver for 2. Yuji Nagata defeated Daisuke Kanehira @ 12:20 via pin [***] This was a good main event, it had a smart overall layout, but despite Nagata’s best efforts, I just never bought into Kanehira. Good work overall though, no real complaints.

YLC Tournament Standings
* Katsuya Kitamura 1–0 (2) pts.
* Hirai Kawato 1–0 (2) pts.
* Tomoyuki Oka 1–0 (2) pts.
* Shota Umino 0–1 (0) pts.
* Ren Narita 0–1 (0) pts.
* Tetsuhiro Yagi 0–1 (0) pts.

-Thanks for reading.

– End scene.

 photo fe36ffd0-0da4-4e3b-a2d3-b026b341dd87_zps41ef5d61.jpg
“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Average
The 411
Today’s NJPW Lion’s Gate Project8 show was a solid and fun event. The first half of the card, the YLC matches, was easily the strongest part of the show, Part of that was the hard and clean work by the six young lions, and the other part of that is that they are showing signs of evolving, breaking away from the usual young lion move set, and expanding their games as they grow as performers. They are also all continuing to show more personality. The second half of the card was ok, but the outsiders disappointed me this time around, as none of them particularly stood out to me. This was an enjoyable show, with a stronger first half than second.