Taking a look at NJPW Showdown Los Angeles from November 11th at the Globe Theatre. Featuring Tetsuya Naito, Jay White, Kota Ibushi, Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, El Phantasmo, Tomohiro Ishii, and more!
Much to the surprise of everyone, NJPW has uploaded their previous LA event for FREE on YouTube! I was told the show wasn’t going to be filmed, so I was shocked when this past weekend. You can check out the matches in my review or watch the entire show here on one playlist.
Amazing Red & TJP vs. Alex Zayne & Aaron Solow
With the way they run their shows, NJPW’s opening matches usually aren’t usually the highlights of shows. I’m not saying the openers are bad when it comes to match quality. They’re usually just standard matches. This match was different though. It felt more spot-heavy than other NJPW openers, which made it stand out. Amazing Red had a really solid performance in this. I feel like he’s going to be at the top of a lot of people’s “Comeback of the Year” lists at the end of the year. Alex Zayne shined in this match. He hit some cool moves and stood out the most here. Red pinned Aaron Solow with a Code Red to get the win for his team. This was a really fun match and a great showcase for Alex Zayne. If you have 10 minutes to kill, this is worth checking out.
Toru Yano & Colt Cabana vs. Karl Fredericks & Alex Coughlin
If you’re familiar with Toru Yano and Colt Cabana, you’d probably expect this match to be full of shenanigans. Well, there were shenanigans. Most of the match saw Yano and Cabana being goofballs while the LA Dojo Young Lions had contrasting attitudes and took the match seriously. Yano was mostly unsuccessful with his antics, whereas Cabana used his antics to get the better of the opposing team. The finish saw Yano remove one of the turnbuckle pads and hit Karl Fredericks and Alex Coughlin with it before Cabana did the Superman Pin on Coughlin for the win. The match quality itself wasn’t bad, and the comedy was funny, which made for an entertaining match.
FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) & Clark Connors vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, El Desperado)
The match started when Suzuki-Gun attacked their opponents before the bell rang. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer brawled with FinJuice outside the ring for a bit while Clark Connors and El Desperado went at it inside the ring. After that, it was mostly Suzuki-Gun beating up on Connors midway into the match. Connors eventually made the hot tag to Juice Robison who built up momentum for his team. FinJuice hit some double team moves in the finishing stretch of the match, but Suzuki-Gun eventually won after Minou Suzuki hit Connors with a Gotch-Style Piledriver. I enjoyed this match. It wasn’t full of wild spots, but it had fun action. Connors and Minoru Suzuki had some fun exchanges in this as well.
After the match, Minoru Suzuki got on the mic and cut a short promo. Then the members of Suzuki-Gun beat up a bunch of staff members at ringside.
Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Rocky Romero) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil & Sanada)
Of all the matches on this show, this was the most appealing on paper. Tomohiro Ishii and Evil had some fun exchanges early on in this, which was the highlight of the match. Then it shifted to Los Ingobernables de Japon working over Rocky Romero for several minutes. Ishii and Evil had another fun exchange after that. The finishing stretch saw some close near falls. At one point, LIJ hit the Magic Killer on Ishii. Sanada got the win for his team after making Romero tap to the Skull End. This was a really enjoyable match. It only went 11 minutes, so it’s a good, quick watch if you have time to kill.
Ren Narita vs. Kota Ibushi
This was my favorite match on the card. It started off with Ren Narita trying to hang with Kota Ibushi during some chain wrestling sequences. Narita landed a few forearm strikes on Ibushi, only to receive some brutal kicks moments later. As the match went on, Ibushi kept toying with Narita and landed stiff strikes while Narita kept trying to fight back. The coolest spot of the match came when Narita tried to do a Sunset Flip on Ibushi but got slapped in the face really hard. Narita got some offense in towards the later stages of the match, but Ibushi eventually put him away with a nasty single-leg crab. As I said, this was my favorite match on the show. It was full of stiff strikes and had some exciting moments in it. I highly recommend checking this match out.
Rating: *** (Had it went longer, I would’ve rated it higher)
Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Sho, & Yoh) vs. Bullet Club (KENTA, Taiji Ishimori, & El Phantasmo)
El Phantasmo continues to be one of my new favorite wrestlers in NJPW right now. His in-ring performance in this match was really good. He was also a pretty funny heel in this. There was one moment where he did his rope walk spot with Sho but started to walk back when was near Hirooki Goto. Most of the match saw Bullet Club trying to generate heat while Chaos mounted comebacks. Goto got the win for his team after hitting Taiji Ishimori with a GTR. I thought this match was solid but underwhelming. It had good ring work, but I wasn’t really into this match. There were some fun moments, but for the most part, this is pretty skippable.
After the match, Goto and KENTA kept eyeing each other. Ishimori was selling the GTR, and Phantasmo tossed a fan’s hat into the balcony.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, & BUSHI) vs Bullet Club (Jay White, Chase Owens, & Gedo)
Before the match, referee Red Shoes Unno received a huge ovation from the crowd. Tetsuya Naito also got a great reaction from the crowd. Jay White, on the other hand, got tons of heat.
There were a lot of shenanigans in this match from the Bullet Club, who were trying to get heat during the match. Most of the heat ended up being directed at White. That guy is the best heel in wrestling right now. LIJ got some offense early on before Bullet Club worked over BUSHI for heat midway into the match. After that, Natio and White went at it for a while in a preview of their upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 14 match in January at the Tokyo Dome. The finish saw LIJ get the upper hand on Bullet Club before Shingo got the win for LIJ by pinning Gedo after hitting him with Last Of The Dragon. I thought this was a solid match that did a good job at building up to White vs. Naito in January. The action was good as well, but this was a total “house show” match that wasn’t anything special.
After the match, Naito and White had a staredown while White held up the IWGP Intercontinental Championship that he beat Naito for on September 22, 2019 at Destruction in Kobe. Once Bullet Club was gone, Shingo spoke for a bit before he gave Naito the microphone, who closed the show with his usual promo.
NJPW Showdown Los Angeles was an okay show. The matches weren’t bad, but it wasn’t the type of show where you’d see anything great. The opening match was the best match on the show. It was exciting and had some cool spots in it. Ibushi/Narita was my favorite match of the show though. It wasn’t a blow-away match or anything, but it was very enjoyable to watch.
Overall, NJPW Showdown Los Angeles was a solid show. While I wouldn’t recommend watching the entire NJPW Showdown Los Angeles card, I wouldn’t advise against it.