Preview: NJPW New Beginning in Los Angeles (1/30/19)

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New Japan Pro Wrestling will be kicking off their next American tour in Los Angeles. This will be the first night of the New Beginning USA set of shows. It goes down at the Globe Theater in LA with the bell time set for 8:30 PM Pacific Time. Due to issues incurred with the United States Government shut down, Japanese talent was unable to obtain work visas for these shows. Making the best of the situation though, we get to see a showcase of NJPW Dojo talent mixed with talent from NJPW’s US affiliate, Ring of Honor. NJPW LA Dojo trainer Katsuyori Shibata will be on hand to do a meet and greet prior to the show.

Alex Coughlin vs. Clark Connors

Alex Coughlin and Clark Connors were students of the very first class in the new NJPW LA Dojo. They have gone on to be two of the few Young Lions, who live in the dojo house and train with Shibata almost every day. Coughlin, formally known as Leo Blackstone, trained out of New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC) before moving onto the LA Dojo. Connors trained with Lance Storm in Calgary before moving on to the Buddy Wayne Academy in Washington. He also worked on the Northwest independent circuit prior to coming to the LA Dojo. The two would make their NJPW debuts on September 30, 2018, at Fighting Spirit Unleashed. They’ve also participated in the Ring of Honor Road to the G1 Supercard shows.

After months of training under Shibata and beginning to ply their craft in ROH, we will see how far these two Young Lions have come. Connors won their first encounter, so Coughlin is sure to be looking to even the score here.

Jonathan Gresham vs. Tyler Bateman

The Octopus of Ring of Honor will be taking on the master of the Occult. Jonathan Gresham, a 13-year pro, has worked all over the world. Tyler Bateman has 18 years of experience and was also part of the initial NJPW LA Dojo class. His road to stardom was maybe slower than others, however, after relocating to the West Coast, it has been jumpstarted. This will be Bateman’s first appearance on an NJPW card. Jonathan Gresham has worked several ROH and NJPW co-promoted cards in the past. Many may view this match as a sleeper. However, with the level of technical prowess between these two wrestlers, they have the ability to steal the show.

Colt Cabana vs. Shane Taylor

Perhaps one of the world’s most famous independent wrestler, Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana will also be on hand at the New Beginning. He will be taking on a fellow ROH wrestler in “Notorious” Shane Taylor. Taylor has worked his way up from the streets of Cleveland all the way to his first New Japan card. Like Gresham, he’s also appeared on co-promoted cards in the past. Taylor is a power wrestler a la his former partner, Keith Lee. Shane has also worked abroad for companies like RevPro, Southside Wrestling Entertainment, and IPW:UK.

Cabana is an old hand around ROH and has been in the wrestling business for almost 20 years. He’s worked all over the world, from Japan to the UK, to Mexico, Canada and everywhere in between. Cabana has a hybrid style of power and submissions mixed with his trademark comedy. Don’t let his light-hearted antics fool you though, Colt’s wrestling arsenal is legit.

Villain Enterprises (Brody King & Marty Scurll) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer)

In this tag team contest, we will have two-thirds of Villain Enterprises, leader Marty Scurll and his new partner Brody King. Scurll has developed a good following in NJPW after being part of Bullet Club and the Elite. He’s also well-traveled in his home country of the United Kingdom. Brody King is a West Coast native who has taken the independent scene by storm in the last couple of years. Now the two have joined forces to wreak havoc. Their opponents are no strangers to havoc either.

Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Lance Archer are an established team in NJPW, known as the Killer Elite Squad. The KES are three-time former IWGP Tag Team Champions. They also are multi-time GHC and NWA Tag Team Champions. So clearly, their reputation as a team is solid. Just like their opponents, Smith and Archer are both accomplished wrestlers. Archer has been everywhere, including WWE and IMPACT Wrestling. So, has Davey Boy Smith, Jr., has also done a stint in WWE and now MLW.

Jeff Cobb vs. Karl Fredericks

Photo: NJPW

Jeff Cobb is another wrestler who is has been hot on the independent scene in the last couple of years. Cobb who has competed for both NJPW and ROH, as well as just about everywhere else. He’s perhaps best known for his work as Matanza Cueto in Lucha Underground. Cobb was also tag team partners with Matt Riddle as The Chosen Bros. and teamed with Michael Elgin in the 2018 World Tag League. Jeff Cobb is also the current ROH World Television, PWG World Heavyweight, and Ring Warriors Grand Champion.

Karl “The Big F’n Deal” Fredericks is another student and standout from the first class of the NJPW LA Dojo. The Reno native has been a mainstay on the Southern California and Nevada circuits both before and after the LA Dojo. Now he’s getting his chance to branch out with the help of the NJPW and Ring of Honor partnership. Fredericks will face a huge test at the New Beginning in Jeff Cobb.

David Finlay vs. Chuck Taylor

Photo: NJPW

David Finlay is a fourth-generation wrestler and a member of the new stable Lifeblood. Just six years into his career, David is emerging as a solid singles star. The mission of the stable is to bring honor back to wrestling and specifically ROH. David has already held gold, winning the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships with Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima as a Young Lion. He also went on his first excursion to Mexico in 2018. Prior to working in Japan, he worked in the United Kingdom and Europe as David Finlay, Jr. As he continues his wrestling journey, he will continue to search for a way to make his own mark on the industry.

Chuck Taylor is getting a singles opportunity to shine here at the New Beginning. He’s generally associated with CHAOS and his tag team partner, Beretta. He is a 2x former PWG World Champion and held a slew of singles titles in IWA Mid-South. While tag team action may be his strength, the Kentucky Gentleman can hold his own. Back in May of 2018 at ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds night one, Taylor defeated Jay Lethal and Jay White. Chuck Taylor also helped train another future star by the name of Ricochet.

Lifeblood (Juice Robinson & Tracy Williams) vs. Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta)

Photo: NJPW

We get to see more of this new stable Lifeblood at the New Beginning. Former IndependentWrestling.TV Independent Champion Tracy Williams will be teaming with current IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson. Based on outward appearances, it would seem that these two would be an odd pairing. However, both are highly skilled technicians in the ring.

For one night only, we will also be treated to a reunion of Roppongi Vice. Beretta and Romero went their separate ways officially in September of 2017. Together they had been IWGP Junior Tag Team champions four times and won the Super Junior Tag Team tournament. However, after at the G1 Special in July, Romero brought up the pact that he and Beretta had made. They had two specific goals they wanted to reach within five years before Beretta would move onto the heavyweight division. The goals were to win the IWGP Junior Tag Team titles and the Super Junior Tag tournament, both of which they accomplished.

This was no Rockers break-up, no one was betrayed or thrown through a plate glass window. They simply decided to move on to other goals in their careers. Beretta re-focused on his team with Chuck Taylor, and Rocky Romero would go onto manage SHO and YOH as Roppongi 3K. Now to kick off the first show in the New Beginning tour in the US, we will get this special reunion.