Ospreay’s shock appearance leaves Fredericks floored on STRONG season premiere
*Ringside both nights sold out*
On a night full of hot action and with a hot crowd in Long Beach’s Thunder Studios, Will Ospreay delivered the biggest shock of night one of Fighting Spirit Unleashed this week, striking Karl Fredericks with a Hidden Blade after the Alpha Wolf’s six man tag team victory.
Fredericks, Clark Connors and Hiroshi Tanahashi were taking on the Stray Dog Army of Barrett Brown, Misterioso and Bateman on the NJPW STRONG card, a match that saw the IWGP US Heavyweight Champion Tanahashi light up the crowd before pa\ving the path for a Connors spear and an MD from Fredericks to Brown to claim victory.
After the match, Fredericks got on the microphone to address Ospreay’s acerbic comments toward him at Resurgence in advance of their meeting on September 25 at Autumn Attack in DFW Texas. taking offense at Ospreay’s assertion that the LA Dojo ‘doesn’t create killers’, Fredericks said that Ospreay will find out that isn’t the case next weekend, and said that he would take Ospreay’s ‘real’ World Heavyweight Championship and ‘beat the breaks off (Ospreay’s) ass’.
That led Ospreay to make a shocking unadvertised appearance, and with no hesitation the two traded strikes in center ring. Ultimately though, and with fredericks having just wrestled a grueling match, Ospreay took control and connected with Hidden Blade as the fans showered him with boos. Will the same scenario greet Fredericks in Texas next weekend?
The main event on night one of Fighting Spirit Unleashed saw Hikuleo and Juice Robinson’s feud continue. After Hikuleo assaulted Juice backstage and drove him through a table some weeks ago on STRONG, the two collided in a tables match, a first in not just STRONG, but NJPW’s history. Both doled out some painful punishment, with Hikuleo in particular landing a devastating chokeslam onto the reverse of a table, before a charge into the corner saw Robinson evade contact, the Young Gun breaking the wood, but not losing the match which needed to be decided by an offensive move.
Minutes later, it was Juice’s turn to inadvertently make table contact, as a top rope senton saw him bounce hard off a table, before Hikuleo used a Tongan Driver to secure victory. This violent feud still isn’t settled though, and with one win apiece for each combatant, it will all come to a head at Autumn Attack with a Texas Bullrope match.
The night started with Alex Coughlin’s open challenge series continuing against Tomohiro Ishii. Coughlin braved the toughest of Ishii’s offense to land some impressive signature feat of strength suplees, but ultimately fell to the Vertical Drop Brainbuster. Refusing to give up, Coughlin will continue his journey in the weeks and months to come.