The unrivaled action, the overwhelming expectation, it could only be New Japan Pro Wrestling. Fresh from their excellent New Japan Cup which crowned Zack Sabre Jr. as the no.1 contender to Kazuchika Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship, the promotion made a pit-stop in Long Beach, California on their way to Sakura Genesis on April 1, for Strong Style Evolved.
Impressively, the American event sold out its 5,000 seats in less than twenty minutes, signaling the intended roll-out into international waters is fast becoming a success. The profile rise in other countries is largely due to the stellar reputation the company has for in-ring action, as well as a willingness to make foreign stars the focal point of major storylines.
This has been evident with Zack Sabre Jr’s. recent rise to stardom making the promotion a talking point in the United Kingdom – if the Brit dethrones Okada then a UK tour is surely a given – where the new international DVD distribution deal has been struck. Not to mention the overwhelming popularity of the Bullet Club in the whose members do not predominantly hail from the land of the rising sun, and were the epicenter of this card.
Littering the show from top to bottom, the faction was directly involved in or responsible for three of the biggest bouts of the evening. With a story that the stable is slowly beginning to implode from the inside, the principle yarn revolved around Kenny Omega’s expulsion from the black and white bloc and his attempts to pull Matt and Nick Jackson from the clutches of the deliciously evil Cody. It has been an excellent tale thus far, with brilliantly structured episodes of ‘Being the Elite’ furthering the distancing of the Young Bucks from their group.
In results from New Japan Pro Wrestling Strong Style Evolved on March 25: