NJPW Strong Style Evolved UK
June 30/July 1, 2018
MK & Manchester, England
Watch: New Japan World / RPW on Demand
Meet Our Previewers:
- Robin Reid: Voices of Wrestling’s newly graduated EuroGraps ambassador Robin has recently decided previews for some European shows would be a good thing to do. He would like to know if you want more of them after reading this. You can let him know on twitter @BritWresRound
- Andrew Sinclair: Voices of Wrestling’s resident Impact Wrestling columnist, Andrew is overwhelmed that he gets to see Yuji Nagata-WALTER in the flesh. It’s like Christmas has come early to the Sinclair household. For lukewarm takes on most things, follow Andrew on Twitter at @AMSinclair97
CHAOS goes to war with Suzukigun
Andrew: I totally get the people who see the Milton Keynes show as a ‘Road to’ the second night in Manchester, especially with that tag team main event. Still, I think the interactions in that tag team match should be superb. I’d expect Suzuki to pin Ishii, before then falling the next night against the Stone Pitbull. Likewise I expect ZSJ to fall to Okada on Night Two, in a match I’m still surprised that Andy Q managed to wangle.
The biggest beneficiary appears to be Ospreay. He’ll definitely get past the cantankerous Kanemaru on N1, and whilst Taichi is now a heavyweight, Will has more than enough cache to get two big wins before he goes to Australia.
As for the six mans, I’ve not really got much of an idea. If I was forced into picking, I would say CHAOS win on N1, with White picking up the pin, before Gedo eats the pin on N2. Either way, it means more Despy and after his BOSJ showing, that’s what I want.
Robin: The top of both of these cards are centred around a battle of supremacy between Suzukigun and CHAOS, two units which both contain British representation in the form of Zack Sabre Jr. and Will Ospreay respectively.
Like Andrew I understand people who were a bit disappointed by the card for MK, but personally my most anticipated match of the entire weekend is the main event for the British Tag Team Championships pitting Okada and Ishii against the current champions Zack Sabre Jr. and Minoru Suzuki. It’s a match that is going to be put in a position to succeed with for of the most talented wrestlers on the planet involved, and as somebody with an undying love for tag main events this encounter in tailor made for myself.
We’re almost guaranteed further quality the following night when they split off into their respective singles matches. While I’m sure the rematch of Sakura Genesis’ main event between Sabre and Okada will prove their excellence once again, the one I’m particularly enticed by is the Undisputed British Championship encounter between Tomohiro Ishii and Minoru Suzuki. The simple build for this over in Japan has been excellent, and I can’t wait to see these two go at each other without any distractions. It’s a remarkably fresh match considering they’ve both spent a lot of time in the same sphere, and I’ll be shocked if it fails to deliver.
One slight disappointment for this set of shows is that Ospreay isn’t doing too much of importance. He’s up against Kanemaru and then Taichi, with neither match having me particularly excited. However, on the roll that he’s on, it’d be foolish to discount Ospreay going out there and surprising us with a match of the highest quality despite perhaps a lower calibre of opponent than we were perhaps hoping for.
Robin: Two of the tallest guys currently in the European scene are getting some big opportunities to go up against the New Japan talent on these shows. Firstly WALTER, a man many consider to be well in the considerations for best wrestling in the world status this year, is getting the chance to mix it up with Yujiro Takahashi and Yuji Nagata, the later of which is a match I never realised I wanted but am now so glad that I’m going to get. I just pray that he impresses (and let’s face it how could he not?) and this is just the beginning of the opportunities he gets to face the talents of Japan’s premier brand. Just the thought of the potential for the ring general to face off against the stone pitbull sets my heart a-race.
Fresh off his declaration of independence promo, Chris Brookes is getting the chance to compete against two CHAOS members in YOSHI-HASHI and Jay White. Jay is a guy who’s in-ring has left me a tad disappointed since his return from excursion, mostly due to just how great he was on said excursion, but I’m still very intrigued to see what these two can produce.
Andrew: Chris Brookes more or less telling the WWE to sod off has given me more love for him than I ever thought I would have. He’s thrived in matches recently where he’s been able to play the underdog and I think he’ll be able to do that against White on N2, who has been a lot more vicious since underwhelming at Wrestle Kingdom at the beginning of the year. Part of me thinks Brookes could beat Yoshi-Hashi, because they are telling the story he’s won very little in the run up to the G1 and doesn’t really deserve a spot, but I still suspect he goes 0-2 with a strong weekend’s worth of outings.
Then WALTER!!! WALTER taking on Blue Justice is a personal dream match and I cannot wait for it. It is worth my ticket price alone for Night 1. Nagata last year in the G1 was everything I love about wrestling and I am all about the visuals of him responding to WALTER’s chops.
WALTER knocking lumps out of Yujiro will also be very entertaining and I think Big Daddy goes 2-0. He might not be there this year, but a man can hope for a G1 appearance next year, can’t he?
Andrew: David Starr is another who I think will be a big star of this weekend. His booking in RevPro is so different to all the other UK promotions – here he feels like a star. If we get the Tiger Mask from Best of the Super Juniors, he should have a really fun match. It’s also a match David Starr will be very up for, given that he’s such a wrestling nerd.
That four way on N2 is also very bizarre. El Phantasmo has been excellent this year in RevPro, killing it in every spot he’s been given and this match will be no different. I think he eats the pin though, probably from Ishimori.
As for the tag match on Night 1, again I’m not sure. Aussie Open are obviously the home team and seem like the ones who’ll eventually dethrone Suzuki and Sabre and I’d have thought this is a match they get the win in. Yujiro loses nothing by getting pinned, so give the likeable Aussies the victory and a bit of momentum.
Robin: Aussie Open getting repeatedly put in there with New Japan talent has me wondering about the potential for a World Tag League run for them at the close of the year. It’d be something I’d be well up for; I’m all in on Mark Davis. They go up against the novel concept of an all Japanese Bullet Club team here, a match I expect them to win. Ishimori and Davis’ interactions should be a highlight.
David Starr could be set for a good weekend too. He’s so talented, and the four way in Manchester in particular looks like it could be a lot of fun. He’ll have two quality dance partners in Ishimori coming off an incredible BoSJ final and El Phantasmo who has been increasingly impressive recently.
Authentic Young Lion Action with a Mystery Twist
Robin: I think it’s real cool that we’re going to be getting some authentic Young Lion openers for these first official NJPW branded shows in the UK. Umino is very talented, and I look forward to getting to see Nagata teach class.
As for who ??? is, I’m somewhat clueless. I think it’d make the most sense to be somebody making their debut in RPW who they want to give two strong squash wins. I’d love to see somebody like Avalanche Robert Dreissker brought in for that kind of role. If we were going to be real wild though, there’s two Japanese talents in the UK this week in Naoki Tanizaki and Kenou that would be fun, but I don’t expect it for a multitude of reasons. It could just end up being a RPW regular not on the cards like Bodom or Brooks though.
Andrew: Who is ??? You’ve got to think it’s a RevPro talent that can get over with wins on both nights. My current pick for that spot is Adam Brooks. I say that Brooksy beats Umino, who is currently lapping the other Young Lions, and then Umino shows the same spirit he did against Sekimoto in a valiant defeat against Nagata. I’ve only seen two Duggan matches, and neither did a lot for me. Here’s hoping third time lucky as he also goes down to the dastardly Australian.