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On December 21, New Japan says goodbye to 2017 and waves in the future by crowning a winner of the Young Lions Cup. In the main event, though, Yuji Nagata keeps up his perfect streak of Lion’s Gate main events as he takes on All Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Yuma Aoyagi.
After the main event of November 17’s Lion’s Gate, Aoyagi charged at Nagata, sparking a wild brawl. Nagata responded to Aoyagi’s fury, saying ‘It’s obvious you want to go, so go home, get changed, cool off and come at me again!’. Aoyagi gestured he wanted a one on one encounter and that’s what we’ll get. A loyal New Japan veteran clashes with a hot headed and stubborn young All Japan charge in an unmissable match.
Teaming with Aoyagi in that combustible tag main event in 11/17 was HEAT-UP’s Daisuke Kanehira. Feeling a need for vengeance after losing to Satoshi Kojima’s lariat, Kanehira requested a match with Kojima. Kanehira has proven proficient with the cross arm breaker; could he use that to neutralize Kojima’s lariat in a one on one rematch?
11/17 also saw tag team action as Nakanishi and Tenzan faced Kotaro Yoshino and Dinosaur Takuma. Tenzan would submit Dinosaur with an Anaconda Vice, but respect was shown by the veterans to the younger charges as Nakanishi left with Yoshino, and Tenzan shook hands with his giant reptilian opponent. Nakanishi would comment that Yoshino was ‘a funny guy, but you’ve got some backbone! Let’s team up next time!’. Tenzan would also invite Dinosaur to tag with him. So on December 21, it’s a unique tag encounter. A wild bull and a dinosaur team up to face an old country boy and a caveman! These two teams are set to go prehistoric on one another!
Then there’s the matter of the Young Lion Cup. A hotly anticipated encounter will see senpai versus kohai as Hirai Kawato faces Shota Umino. Kawato is certainly in the conversation when it comes to rookie of the year 2017 in any wrestling promotion on the planet. Yet Umino has made remarkable progress himself, becoming bigger, stronger and more composed in ring since his debut in the spring. A win for the less experienced Umino could radically change the composure of the cup rankings on the last day of action.
Then the so-called Muscle Rage pairing of Oka and Kitamura are set to explode as they face one another. They’ve had parallel paths in New Japan, debuting opposite one another and with strong amateur backgrounds. Both will have immovable will and unstoppable drive as these two young forces collide.
Then, Ren Narita faces Tetsuhiro Yagi. Neither got off to a good start in the Cup, with two losses, and it may be that these two are out of the running by the time 12/21 rolls around. But tough times are a true test of character, and the burning desire to win will compel these two to great lengths at Shinjuku FACE.