Long Beach, CA — Tonight, live from The Left Coast, New Japan Pro Wrestling puts on it’s grandest North American show to date – Strong Style Evolved.
The Bullet Club is Not Fine
Cody Rhodes, aka StarDust at the time of his departure, made headlines in May of 2016 when he revealed via his personal twitter account that after 10 years in WWE, he had requested and been granted, his release.
My one&only statement on the matter. No podcasts or tell-all nonsense.
Thank you friends. pic.twitter.com/c5MNKw6spH
— Hyrule Husky (@PrinceCGR) May 22, 2016
Since the explanation and look to the future, Cody has been determined to rise to the top of the the wrestling world, proving to the boys in Stamford that he is and always was a “top-guy”. Cody made a smart decision aligning himself with the forever over Bullet Club, however, in 2018 the currently bleached blonde Bond Villain wannabe, is in a power struggle with leader Kenny Omega. To Cody’s point, The Cleaner did spend 2017 using all of his extra lives to finally defeat Super Okada, however, Bullet Club lifers the Guerillas of Destiny, the Young Bucks and the majority of the foundation of the group continued to back Kenny.
Fast Forward to 2018
Kenny Omega has reconnected with bestie Kota Ibushi and have reformed the Golden Lovers. Again, the Canadian Cool Guy, has taken his eye off of his team. On the March 16th Episode of Ring of Honor TV, Cody Rhodes and disciples Hangman Page and The Villain Marty Scurll joined with fellow Clubers the Young Bucks in 6 man tag action, and with a match up on the horizon agains the Golden Lovers, the Young Bucks looked to be all but switching into Cody’s camp.
Which Brings us to Strong Style Evolved
The best way to get the most North American eyes onto the largest North American NJPW live show? Fill the card with the dysfunction of the Bullet Club of Course. Cody and Scurll team up to face G.O.D.. They have played the role of Switzerland, but the Guerillas of Destiny did not sign up for the infighting that is B.C.4Lyfe in 2018. Look for them to hit hard and fast out of the gate but in the end, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa will have no choice but to fall into line as Cody and the Villain are both red hot and speeding towards major final battles at Supercard of Honor in New Orleans.
The Bucks vs the Besties
The Elite, the the Elite…it always will remind me of happier times. The Golden Lovers and the Young Bucks are facing off in the main event of Strong Style Evolved. There, I said it. Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi, former best friends, bitter rivals, and now reunited tag partners, have been on a reunion tour during the first quarter of 2018. Following his defeat for the IWGP US Title, Kenny Omega was attacked by Cody; and despite everything that had occurred, who else can you count on but your best friend? Kota Ibushi made the save and kicked off the bringing together of two great forces for good.
The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega have always beat around the bush in the past when it came to the prospect of facing one another should Omega find Ibushi’s number in his old pants pocket, but the timing of the actual match could not be worse. Omega and Ibushi should be locks to win, but with the current landscape of NJPW/ROH and the infighting in the Bullet Club, you can be sure there will be shenanigans and maybe even hoot-in-anny.
Everyone’s favorite weirdo knife kid Jay White, looks to defend his IWGP US Title as he takes on a very game Hangman Page. White, shockingly defeated Omega via his “Switchblade” finisher, and seemingly lit the fuse for the Bullet Club’s impending implosion.
Enter the Hangman. Page has been on the rise throughout the past year and looks to step up to the challenge in his biggest match yet. Can Hangman exercise the Bullet Club’s original demon and bring that IWGP US Title home or will Switchblade Jay White carve up another unworthy piece of meat? Look for White to continue his run cementing another disgruntled Omega-led B.C. member on Cody’s team.
But this is still New Japan Pro Wrestling
As entertaining as the Bullet Club drama is, the four hour AXSTV special, is jammed packed with incredible talent and matches that will be sure to excite.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Rey Mysterio will be missing SSE due to injury (cover for a WWE return?) and instead, IWGP Intercontinental Champion and 2017 Match of the Year Candidate Will Ospreay will step in to take on the legend, Jushin Thunder Liger.
A plethora of tag and stable matches make up the meat of this Superkick Filled Sandwich. Everyone’s favorite DGAF stable, Los Ingobernables De Japon led by the perfect representation of Millenial Indifference, Tetsuya Naito go head to head with Legendary Pretty Boy Hiroshi Tanahashi and TAGUCHI JAPAN.
Coming off a New Japan Cup tag run with the Blonde God Okada, Chuckie T and Toru Yano of CHAOS face the Killer Elite Squad fan favorites Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.
During the final day of the New Japan Cup, Smith & Archer made it clear that their sites were set on the IWGP Tag Team Championships currently held by EVIL and SANADA. A win here would cement them as contenders, but Chuckie T has been riding high following a streak of victories.
Finally, the show kicks off with Juice Robinson and David Finlay teaming up to take up Goto and Loud Mouth Gedo and the Roppongi 3K trio of SHO, YOH and Rocky Romero facing ROH’s Addiction: Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian featuring Scorpio Sky – following a great showing in the NJCup, you should really only count on the Juice to be worth the Squeeze.
With just two weeks remaining until Kenny and Cody decide once and for all who the true leader of the Bullet Club is and with it, the club’s very future at Supercard of Honor April 7th, NJPW’s Strong Style; New Japan has undertaken it’s largest venture yet on this side of the Pacific. Combing recognizable names and faces with top notch young and future talent, NJPW is making it clear it looks to continue to compete on a global stage and has firmly planted a flag in North America.