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Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2018)
Fighting Spirit Unleashed
Promotional poster for the event, featuring Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito
Information
Promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)[1]
Sponsor(s) LEC[2]
Date September 30, 2018[1]
Attendance 3,007[3]
Venue The Walter Pyramid[1]
City Long Beach, California, U.S.[1]
Event chronology

Destruction in Kobe Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2018) New Japan Road
Fighting Spirit Unleashed chronology

First Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2018) Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2019)

Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2018)[4] was a professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The show took place on September 30, 2018, in Long Beach, California, United States at Walter Pyramid.[1] This was the fourth NJPW show that the promotion produced independently in the U.S. and the second NJPW show to be held in the Walter Pyramid. The event was broadcast on AXS TV in the United States on delay, airing October 5, 2018.[5] This was the first event under the Fighting Spirit Unleashed name.

ProductionEdit

BackgroundEdit

Fightinh spirit unleashed logo

The official logo of the event

On July 5, Wrestling Observer Newsletter journalist, Dave Meltzer reported that New Japan Pro Wrestling would run another show on September 30 in Long Beach, California.[6] It was rumored that AXS TV was triyng to convince NJPW to make another show in the United States following the G1 Special in San Francisco.[6] The following day, during the press conference of the G1 Special in San Francisco, NJPW President Harold Meij announced NJPW would return another time to the Walter Pyramid on September 30 at Fighting Spirit Unleashed.[4] The event was later advertised during the G1 Special in San Francisco.[7][8][9] On July 26, NJPW announced that tickets would go on sale August 1, costing from $50 to $300 with Premium Gold and Silver tickets will include a limited-edition premium gift.[1][10] NJPW also confirmed that Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito would take part of the event.[11]

NJPW had previously run a event on the Walter Pyramid the Strong Style Evolved on March 25, which tickets sold out in less than twenty minutes.[12] NJPW also previously partnered with Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) for the NJPW Invasion Tour 2011 and since 2014 they have been partnered with Ring of Honor (ROH), co-producing shows annually in North America.[13][14] The show marked the fourth time NJPW presented shows in the United States independently, as opposed to partnering up with an American promotion.[15]

On August 20, it was announced a partial match card for the event containing two title matches for the IWGP Tag Team and United States Heavyweight Championships.[16][17] On August 23, NJPW announced meet-and-greets for the event on September 28 with NJPW President Harold Meij, Katsuyori Shibata, Ryusuke Taguchi, Shota Umino and Ren Narita.[18] The following day, it was announced that AXS TV network would broadcast the event on delay in the United States on October 5.[19][20] Additionally on August 24, it was announced that AXS TV commentator Josh Barnett wouldn't be commentary for the event due to commitments in Japan. Instead, Barnett was replaced by NJPW World English commentator Kevin Kelly with who would reunite with AXS TV commentator Jim Ross for the first time in 20 years to broadcast the event.[21] On August 28, NJPW announced a second group of wrestlers taking part in the event; EVIL, Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii and SANADA.[22] On Spetember 14, it was announced that two young lions of NJPW LA dojo would be appearing in the event in a dark match.[23] Additionally on September 14, LEC was announced as the sponsor for the event.[2]

StorylinesEdit

Fighting Spirit Unleashed (2018) featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portray villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in the scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches.[24]

Cody

Cody, who challenged for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship in the main event

In the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Juice Robinson defended hid title against Cody.[16] On August 12, the final day of the 2018 G1 Climax, Cody returned to NJPW, teaming with his Bullet Club Elite stablemate Hangman Page and Robinson with his Taguchi Japan stablemate David Finlay.[25] Following the match, Cody put the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship belt on his shoulder and challenged Robinson to a title match.[25][26] Cody had previously defeated Robinson in his debut match at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome.[27] On August 20, NJPW announced a title rematch between Robinson and Cody for the event.[16] On Spetember 1, Cody won the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, turning the match into a rare battle of champions from two major promotions. The last champion versus champion match of this type took place in 2018, between Cody who was the ROH World Champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.[28]

Youngbucks32

The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson), who lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship at the event

In the IWGP Tag Team Championship match, The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) will make their second title defense of the titles against Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa).[16] Following the G1 Special in San Francisco, Bullet Club was divided in two sides the Bullet Club Elite led by Kenny Omega and Bullet Club OG consisting of Tonga, Loa and Haku, which Bad Luck Fale later joined them.[29] On August 12, the final day of the 2018 G1 Climax, Taiji Ishimori joined the Bullet Club OG's side and afterwards Loa on behalf of Tonga and Ishimori challenged The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll to a title match, which was made official by NJPW President Harold Meij who was at ringside, leading to Guerrillas of Destiny and Ishimori defeating Scurll and The Young Bucks to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. Following the match, Guerrillas of Destiny and Ishimori threw away the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship belts and the Guerrillas of Destiny attacked The Young Bucks and Tonga also threw away the IWGP Tag Team Championship belts [25] Afterwards in a post-match interview the Guerrillas of Destiny challenged The Young Bucks to a title match.[30] On August 20, NJPW announced a title rematch between Robinson and Cody for the event.[16]

The event also included a singles match between Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay.[25] On August 20, Hiromu Takahashi was forced to relinquish the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship due to a neck injury.[31][32] NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi announced a four-man single elimination tournament to crown a new champion which Ospreay and Scurll were announced as two of the participants.[31]

ReceptionEdit

Larry Csonka in his review of the event for 411Mania, said that "due to the card being announced late and the perceived oversaturation of the market leading to lower ticket sales, NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2018 ended up being a great show [...], with three must-see matches".[33] John Pollock of POST Wrestling stated that was an amazing show with an "outstanding" main event.[34]

Aftermath Edit

On July 6, 2019, NJPW announced a second under the Fighting Spirit Unleashed name with three nights being held in Massachusetts at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, New York City at the Hammerstein Ballroom and the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

ResultsEdit

# Matches[3][35][36] Stipulations Times
1P Alex Coflin defeated Clark Connors by referee stoppage Singles match 7:33
2 Jushin Thunder Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, and ACH defeated Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, Sho, and Yoh Six-man tag team match 8:55
3 The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) defeated Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Chase Owens) Tag team match 8:14
4 Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin and Flip Gordon defeated CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Beretta and Chuckie T.) Six-man tag team match 12:04
5 Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Lance Archer, and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, and SANADA) Six-man tag team match 9:27
6 CHAOS (Jay White and Gedo) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and KUSHIDA Tag team match 8:52
7 Marty Scurll defeated Will Ospreay Singles match at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament semifinal match 16:08
8 Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (with King Haku) defeated The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) (c) Tag team match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship 19:21
9 Cody (with Brandi Rhodes) defeated Juice Robinson (c) Singles match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship 16:45
10 Golden☆Lovers (Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi) defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii) Tag team match 23:06
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
  • Videoicon – refers to the video of that match
  • P – indicates the match will take place on the pre-show

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ticket Sale Date for FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED Announced!! (in English). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-07-26). Retrieved on 2018-07-26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 LEC inc. has been chosen as the sponsor for Fighting Spirits Unleashed . New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-09-14). Retrieved on 2018-09-14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 What a new US champion · Cody intervened in Kenny vs Iribe! The possibility of IWGP heavy "3 WAY" battle suddenly emerged!? 【9.30LA Tournament result】 . New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-10-01). Retrieved on 2018-10-01.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Rose, Bryan 2018-07-06. NJPW RETURNING TO LONG BEACH THIS FALL WITH FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-07-06.
  5. Joseph Currier 2018-08-24. AXS TV TO AIR NJPW FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED ON DELAY . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-08-27.
  6. 6.0 6.1 New Japan Reportedly Running Third US Show In Fall 2018 on YouTube
  7. Hiromu Takahashi may have a broken neck . Pro Wrestling Torch (2018-06-30). Retrieved on 2018-07-07.
  8. Jorda, Paul 2018-07-07. NEW JAPAN ANNOUNCES TWO NEW U.S. SHOWS . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2018-07-07.
  9. Keller, Wade 2018-07-06. New Japan announces several additional U.S. shows this fall, Boston Red Sox hosting a WWE night next week . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2018-07-06.
  10. Rose, Bryan 2018-07-27. NJPW FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED TICKETS TO GO ON SALE NEXT WEEK . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-07-27.
  11. Johnson, Mike 2018-07-26. NEW JAPAN RETURN TO CALIFORNIA ON SALE NEXT WEEK . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2018-07-26.
  12. Crockett, Paul 2018-01-29. NEW JAPAN SELLS OUT RETURN TO UNITED STATES IN 20 MINUTES . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2018-02-12.
  13. Meltzer, Dave 2010-10-03. New Japan Pro Wrestling comes to the U.S. . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on 2010-10-06. Retrieved on 2017-06-27.
  14. Meltzer, Dave 2017-01-15. ROH announces War of the Worlds tour dates with NJPW . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2017-06-27.
  15. Johnson, Mike 2017-01-04. New Japan to debut in United States this July . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2017-05-13.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Huge matches set for FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED at WALTER PYRAMID! Cody vs Juice, Young Bucks vs G.O.D., Ospreay vs Scurll . New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-08-20). Archived from the original on 2018-08-20. Retrieved on 2018-08-20.
  17. Currier, Joseph 2018-08-20. THREE MATCHES ANNOUNCED FOR NJPW FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-08-20.
  18. 【Participation by Katsumi Shibata is also urgently decided! 】 Takahiro Taguchi & Shota Unno & Narita lotus participate in the dinner party with the May President of the Ross Tournament Tour. 【Friday, September 28 (Fri) Departure - October 2 (Tue) Returning to Japan】 . New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-08-23). Retrieved on 2018-08-23.
  19. Currier, Joseph 2018-08-24. AXS TV TO AIR NJPW FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED ON DELAY . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-08-24.
  20. AXS TV PREMIERES NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING’S NEXT U.S. EVENT ‘FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED’ ON FRIDAY, OCT. 5 AT 8PE/5PP . AXS TV (2018-08-24). Retrieved on 2018-08-24.
  21. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Commentating
  22. More Wrestlers Announced for Fighting Spirit Unleashed in Long Beach, CA! . New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-08-28). Archived from the original on 2018-08-28. Retrieved on 2018-08-28.
  23. NJPW LA Dojo’s Young Lions Appearing in Fighting Spirit Unleashed Dark Match . New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-09-14). Archived from the original on 2018-09-14. Retrieved on 2018-09-14.
  24. Grabianowski, Ed. How Pro Wrestling Works . HowStuffWorks, Inc.. Discovery Communications. Archived from the original on 2013-11-18. Retrieved on 2017-06-12.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Renner, Ethan 2018-08-12. NJPW G1 CLIMAX 28 FINALS LIVE RESULTS: IBUSHI VS. TANAHASHI . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-08-12.
  26. G1 CLIMAX 28 Night19 (August 12) - Post-match Interview [4th match ].
  27. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 live results: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega . Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2017-01-03). Retrieved on 2017-01-04.
  28. Radican, Sean 2017-07-01. Radican's 7/1 NJPW G1 Special In USA (night 1) report – tournament begins to crown first IWGP U.S. Champion, Okada defends IWGP Hvt. Championship against Cody (Rhodes) . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2017-07-01.
  29. Renner, Ethan 2018-07-14. NJPW G1 CLIMAX 28 NIGHT ONE LIVE RESULTS: OKADA VS. JAY WHITE . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2018-07-14.
  30. G1 CLIMAX 28 Night19 (August 12) - Post-match Interview [5th match ].
  31. 31.0 31.1 en: The Junior IWGP throne is vacant. KUSHIDA, BUSHI, Ospreay, and Scurll have all entered the Junior Heavyweight championship tournament! (in English). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-08-20). Retrieved on 2018-08-20.
  32. 髙橋ヒロムがIWGPジュニア王座返上。第82代王座決定トーナメントを開催! .
  33. Csonka’s NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2018 Review . 411Mania (2018-09-30). Retrieved on 2018-09-30.
  34. NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed Report – Omega & Ibushi vs. Okada & Ishii . POSTWrestling (2018-09-30). Retrieved on 2018-09-30.
  35. en: OMEGA AND OKADA SQUARE OFF FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE STATES, NEW IWGP TAG, UNITED STATES CHAMPIONS CROWNED: COMPLETE NEW JAPAN FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED RESULTS FROM LONG BEACH, CA (in English). Pro Wrestling Insider (2018-10-01). Retrieved on 2018-10-01.
  36. en: NJPW FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED LIVE RESULTS: CODY VS. JUICE ROBINSON (in English). Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2018-10-01). Retrieved on 2018-10-01.
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