LA Dojo Showcase Special Set For NJPW Strong This Week

LA Dojo Showcase Special Set For NJPW Strong This Week

NJPW has announced that this week’s episode of Strong will showcase LA Dojo Young Lions during Friday’s special.

This coming Friday, a special episode of NJPW Strong will take place. NJPW have promised a glimpse into the company’s future, with LA Dojo talent set for action.

Headlined by Clark Connors vs Karl Fredericks, this event will showcase the skills of the next generation of NJPW stars. Members of the current NJPW Strong roster will compete with and against the Young Lions trained under the supervision of Katsuyori Shibata.

NJPW posted the following statement about this special event:

NJPW STRONG preview: LA Dojo Showcase special

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?

The LA Dojo was created around 4 years ago, with Shibata chosen to be the head coach. This US training school was preceded by the original Japanese NJPW Dojo, which created the likes of Kazuchika Okada and Jay White.

NJPW has recently had to cancel a number of shows in Tokyo due to new COVID-19 restrictions. As of writing, Will Ospreay is still set to defend his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestling Dontaku 2021 against Shingo Takagi.

After Kenny Omega’s big win at IMPACT Rebellion, Ospreay reacted to Omega’s title victory, calling out the AEW and IMPACT Champion.

What are your thoughts on the above story? Let us know in the comments on Twitter or Facebook.

3 years ago by Sanchez Taylor


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