The next episode of NJPW STRONG will feature a showcase of the Los Angeles Dojo for New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
The three matches set will feature some of the talent in the New Japan of America system and included in the bunch is former WWE SummerSlam main eventer, Fred Rosser, formerly known as Darren Young.
NJPW STRONG preview: LA Dojo Showcase special 【NJoA】
STRONG’s bright future showcased this Friday
After last week’s NJPW STRONG saw the shape of Friday nights change when Tom Lawlor defeated Brody King to become the first ever STRONG Openweight Champion, there’s no doubting that Lawlor has a target on his back. Already stepping up is Chris Dickinson to challenge, but there will be no end of contenders, including from the LA Dojo.
After the modern LA Dojo’s inception four years ago, and under the supervision of Katsuyori Shibata, the Dojo has quickly garnered a reputation as being one of the best places to develop new wrestling talent in the world. To prove that point, this Friday night, watch the LA Dojo take over with a STRONG special as the best young stars are showcased.
Watch NJPW STRONG Fridays at 10/9c on NJPW World!
Main event: Clark Connors vs Karl Fredericks
Headlining this Friday, two of Katsuyori Shibata’s first students collide in a single match that will be possibly the hardest fought in NJPW STRONG’s history.
Karl Fredericks and Clark Connors were already progressing in their training in fine form when a tour in Japan during G1 Climax 29 got eyes on them the world over. The brash and confident Fredericks was earmarked for stardom, but the quietly intense Connors was just as impressive, already having been labelled by Shibata as the ‘captain’ of the LA Dojo team. Immediately after that year’s G1 the 2019 Young Lion Cup took place, with Connors and Fredericks representing LA throughout. Connors put in a strong showing, but it was Fredericks that won the tournament, and, when Lion’s Break: Collision and NJPW STRONG was created in the summer of 2020, the Alpha Wolf would officially graduate from his Young Lion status.
Connors continued to put in the work, his offense growing more and more effective by the week until he took the first ever Lion’s break: Crown in commanding fashion in September. This effectively led to Connors’ graduation as he moved out of the LA Dojo, but ever since, eyes have been on Clark to get a career defining result that will complete his transition out of Young Lion status. Defeating mentor TJP to gain entry into the 2021 New Japan Cup USA was one step; another may be gained tonight if he can defeat Karl Fredericks.
Yet Fredericks has his own pride to answer to in this match. Pre-LA experience and preternatural athletic ability has meant that the charismatic Fredericks has demanded the spotlight, but Connors’ ‘captain’ label, and accomplishments in the latter part of 2020 while Fredericks dealt with injury have bothered the Alpha Wolf. Tonight, a chance for one to show who the better man truly is.
2nd Match: Fred Rosser & Ren Narita vs Alex Coughlin & Kevin Knight
While the original LA Dojo captain Clark Connors battles in the main event, the man Shibata has named the Dojo’s second captain, Alex Coughlin steps up in the second match of the evening, teaming with new recruit Kevin Knight against Ren Narita and Fred Rosser.
Narita is currently in the midst of his excursion from the Noge Dojo, after himself appealing to learn at the hand of Shibata after that fateful 2019 Young Lion Cup. Already highly skilled, Narita has gained a new aggression and confidence in the ring, securing big time victories this year alone against Chris Dickinson and Misterioso, the latter garnering him a spot in New Japan Cup USA 2021.
Narita certainly has the heart to match his skill, and one man who knows all about heart is Fred Rosser. The Suntan Superman will be leading Narita into action tonight, and it’ll be interesting indeed to see him grant all three other combatants in the ring the benefit of his years of his experience.
1st Match: The DKC vs TJP
Opening up the night’s action, the newest member of the LA Dojo, the DKC goes head to head with a graduate of the original LA Dojo in TJP. TJP emerged from a star studded group that came through the original Antonio Inoki established Dojo in the early 2000s, and is now showing the technical expertise learned way back when and honed through decades of experience to Dylan Kyle Cox.
After seeing that he needed added impetus to get results on NJPW STRONG, The DKC directly appealed to Shibata to be allowed into the Dojo this January. He faces an uphill battle against the Fil-Am Flash, but can he surprise the veteran in our opener?
This Friday night, the LA Dojo is showcased in an #njpwSTRONG special!— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 27, 2021
The future of professional wrestling is bright, competitive and STRONG with the hottest young prospects in the world getting the spotlight!https://t.co/vrJhcnzDze#LADojo pic.twitter.com/PCApgEYZ9W
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