NJPW STRONG Preview: Fighting Spirit Unleashed Night 2
Fighting Spirit Unleashed ends in spectacular form with Cobb/KENTA grudge match
Friday night on NJPW STRONG, night two of Fighting Spirit Unleashed sees huge matches and unmissable action. After night one saw Hikuleo and Jay White on top, will BULLET CLUB momentum remain unimpeded?
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Main event: Jeff Cobb vs KENTA
Singles record: 1-0 KENTA
Already announced for the main event, KENTA will face Jeff Cobb with the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Right to Challenge Contract on the line.
This bout is a rematch from New Japan Cup in the USA, and a semifinal bout that was one of the most anticipated of the tournament. Cobb and KENTA certainly seemed to deliver on expectations, at least until the closing minutes of the match. As Cobb was showing a clear edge over KENTA having struck with a massive dropkick and Gachimuchi Moonsault, the Olympian was looking to hit Tour of the Islands to seal the deal and book a place in the tournament finals. Then, a panicked KENTA pulled the referee into harm’s way.
Cobb would have a clear visual pinfall on KENTA, but with the referee incapacitated, it was the BULLET CLUB member landing a low blow and scoring a three count of an inside cradle to secure the win. When KENTA went on to win the New Japan Cup overall, a rightly aggrieved Cobb sought revenge, bringing us to our Fighting Spirit Unleashed main event. Ever since the G1 winner has held a right to challenge contract for the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, those rights have never once changed hands. Can Cobb set a different precedent with the US title case, or will it be KENTA continuing BULLET CLUB’s domination of Friday nights?
3rd Match: PJ Black & David Finlay vs Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
David Finlay and PJ Black will take on Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga in the third match of the evening. Finlay and the Guerrillas of Destiny have been embroiled in a feud since the World Tag League, a tournament that he and Juice Robinson not only won, but converted into an IWGP Tag Team Championship victory in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom. A month later however, and Jado’s interference and a shot with a title belt meant the championships went to GoD for a record tying sixth time.
GoD would are doubtless still in FinJuice’s sights, but with Juice Robinson laid low due to injury, Finlay has had to find a new tag team partner. Enter the Darewolf PJ Black. Black and Finlay have never teamed before, but the it was the South African superstar that opened the door of opportunity for Finlay in Black’s homeland as his career was getting underway. Now they come together in what should be an effective team on paper, but one with a tall order ahead of it. GoD know all there is to know about tag team wrestling, and will push every single advantage. Can Black and Finlay produce an upset?
2nd Match: Rocky Romero vs Danny Limelight
Ever since his match with Ryusuke Taguchi in Best of the Super Juniors last year, Rocky Romero has been established as the co-head coach of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. But what good is a coach without his team? An ocean separates Romero from his charges in Roppongi 3K, and, indeed, that team is on ice as YOH recovers from knee injury and SHO gets involved in other projects.
As a result, Romero is on the hunt for new talent to coach. The impressive Limelight has caught Rocky’s eye, but Limelight is intent on showing he can take care of his own business. How will he match up with Mr. Azucar?
1st Match: TJP & ACH vs Adrian Quest & Logan Riegel
Night two of Fighting Spirit Unleashed kicks off with TJP and ACH teaming against Adrian Quest and Logan Riegel. Quest and Riegel are young, innovative prospects with a ton of potential and energy in the ring. Their opponents tonight had the same label as they rose through independent ranks, but now carry the experience edge into what should be a compelling tag team clinic to kick off STRONG.