By Griffith Jennings
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) successfully continued its American expansion on March 25 in Long Beach. Its second U.S. event, Strong Style Evolved, took place at the Walter Pyramid, and sold out in under 20 minutes.
NJPW is a Japanese professional wrestling promotion based out of Tokyo. The company was founded in January 1972 by Antonio Inoki.
Strong Style Evolved was broadcast on AXS TV in the U.S. and on the NJPW streaming site internationally.
In the first match of the night, Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, Sho and Yoh) took on SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky). This was an electric match to start off the night. Both teams had control at different times. Ultimately, Yoh and Sho hit the 3K to finish off Scorpio Sky for the win.
In another marquee match, Bullet Club (Cody and Marty Scurll) defeated the Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa). This was a physical match. Both teams wanted the win to prove their superiority over the other. Ultimately, Cody hit his finisher, Cross Rhodes, for the win.
Another exciting match was Will Ospreay’s face-off against Jyushin Thunder Liger. Ospreay is the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and Liger, who is 53 years old, is a NJPW legend. This was a very fun match to watch. Both men highlighted their athletic abilities and wrestling talent. The match was a sprint from start to finish. It culminated with ospreay pinning the legend Liger.
After the match Marty Scurll, the man Ospreay defeated to win his championship, came out and attacked both men.
The penultimate match saw Jay White taking on Hangman Page in a singles match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. This was a proving ground for both young men, and was Page’s first real opportunity to show off his skills in NJPW. Meanwhile, White needed to prove that he was a credible champion.
Both men measured up to the lofty expectations set for them when the company put them in the co-main event. Big move after big move, Page and White masterfully put together a classic of a match. Both of these two men are the future of NJPW.
The main event of the night was Golden☆Lovers (Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi) versus The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson). This match had a very interesting history behind it. Omega and The Young Bucks have been friends for years and are part of the The Elite. However, Omega and Ibushi were longtime tag partners but split in 2014 after 6 years together. They recently reunited in January 2018.
This match started off slow with Omega not wanting to fight against his friends. Ibushi on the other hand, had no problem taking it to The Young Bucks. This was the best match of the night by far. All four of these men put on great performances for the Long Beach crowd. The Golden☆Lovers picked up the win in this astonishing match.
Strong Style Evolved was an incredible night for wrestling fans around the globe. As New Japan Pro Wrestling continues their expansion, lets hope they can continue to tear the house down with their shows.