NJPW Ignition II Tournament Review
July began for NJPW not only with the G1 Climax 32 tournament in Japan, but also with the Ignition II weekly series, which kicked off its tournament for the crowning of the American promotion’s first ever open weight team champions. The first qualifying matches have already taken place, but that was the first part of Round 1. Today, the last matches of the 1st round before the semifinals + another special 1 on 1 match for the participant of G1 Climax 32 of the STRONG brand will take place on the 2nd day of the series.
Stray Dog Army (Barrett Brown and Mysterioso) vs. Midnight Heat (Ricky Gibson and Eddie Pearl)
I didn’t really understand NJPW’s choice of this particular team, especially considering the last time they were on the American brand was as long as 5 months ago, on Day 3 of the New Beginning USA Series. Back then, they beat Kevin Knight and The DKC. After that, they didn’t last very long as UWN team champions, and they lost the DEFY team championships to former WWE wrestlers The Bollywood Boyz, Samir and Sunil Singham.
As for SDA, they were last seen on Day 3 of the Mutiny Series on May 28, defeating the same Kevin Knight and The DKC, but along with Fred Yechie. Curiously enough, BATHMAN disappeared from sight after that, and here no longer accompanied his teammates and bandmates (of course he’s busy on the indie scene now).
Tom Lawlor vs. Bad Dude Tito – singles match
As was the case with JONAH a week ago, this bout is purely a test and preparation for Lawlor before his big run in Japan, in the G1 Climax 32 tournament. Plus he hasn’t had a chance to start working out his solo tournament matches yet, limiting himself to a win over young lion Kosei Fujita on Day 1 of the tournament and a team loss to David Finley with YOSHI HASHI on Day 2.
As for Mr. Tito, for him to have such a match against the now former main event champion of the American brand NJPW is a kind of promotion, considering he was already part of the once popular TMDK group in Australia and even in Japan (Pro Wrestling NOAH in particular) before that. Six months ago, though, he made his debut in a rather unremarkable match against Juice Robinson.
We already know that Lawlor and Tito crossed paths with each other again on Day 3 of the G1 Climax 32, with Royce Isaacs and JONES respectively. Tom and JONES’ own solo matches at Ignition and this team match is a preview of the meeting between the former NXT WWE North American Champion and former NJPW STRONG Openweight 1 on 1 champion on Day 8 of the tournament for July 30.
The United Empire (Aussie Open team – Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis) vs Dark Order (Evil Uno and Alan Angels)
As for the AEW guests, the curious thing is that Alan Angels is no longer an employee of Elite Promotions at the moment, since his contract simply came to an end recently and he didn’t renew it. However, it is already known that he will continue to visit AEW occasionally as a freelancer and will not lose his basic membership in the Dark Order. By the way, Alan has already proven himself outside of AEW by getting the X-Division IMPACT title match as part of Mike Bayley’s Open Challenge. And that match was aired on an episode of IMPACT Zone before Against All Odds.
As for the representatives of The United Empire – the team champions of the Irish promotion OTT, also former PWG team championship contenders (who lost against Malachi Black and Brody King at the PWG Nineteen) and one of the favorites to win the RevPro Great British League tournament (a round robin tournament as NJPW usually holds their main event titles)… Fletcher and Davis are also favorites to win this tournament. Especially after winning the minifight against TMDK, although Shane Heist and Mikey Nicholls already made themselves known a week ago by defeating the West Coast Wrecking Crew.
And given that TMDK, after their fiasco 2 weeks ago, promised revenge in this very tournament – Kyle and Mark will have to try to prevent that and prove the legitimacy of the Empire’s victory over all of TMDK.