Lion's Break is the developmental branch of professional wrestling promotion New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), which holds events under the banner of Lion's Break Project. The branch was officially announced on July 6, 2018, and held its first show on November 10 and 11, 2018. In addition to NJPW wrestlers, the Lion's Break Project shows also feature wrestlers from other promotions, resulting in unique cards.
The first events were held in the United States in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. Wrestlers from promotions such as Ring of Honor (ROH) and other independent promotions have also taken part in the project. NJPW rookies Alex Coughlin, Karl Fredericks and Clark Connors have made their official debuts at Lion's Break Project shows.
In April 2017, NJPW went public with their plan of an American expansion, which included establishing a subsidiary and running extended tours in the United States with California as the base, while also establishing a dojo for training Americans in Los Angeles, run by Rocky Romero. The full-scale running of the American market was set to launch in 2018. According to NJPW owner Takaaki Kidani, the plan was a direct response to WWE taking four wrestlers, including AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, from NJPW in January 2016. In July 2, Takaaki Kidani stated that NJPW was going to open an office in Los Angeles before the end of 2017, with a dojo to be opened at the start of 2018.
On March 24, 2018 NJPW held "Strong Style Saturday" at the newly-opened NJPW LA Dojo, where they announced that Katsuyori Shibata serving as head trainer and ROH wrestler Scorpio Sky serving as an assistant trainer for the newly established dojo. In addition of the opening of the NJPW Dojo in USA, on July 6, NJPW announced a developmental branch similar to the Lion's Gate in Japan which is called Lion's Break would be holding its first show on November 10 and 11, 2018, in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. NJPW had earlier attempted a developmental branch with a project named NEVER in Japan, which held shows between 2010 and 2012.
On March 17, NJPW decided to cancel the third edition of the Lion's Break Project, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On June 19, 2020, NJPW announced a new weekly series called Lion's Break Collision that would air throughout the month of July, featuring the L.A Dojo young lions and the debuts of Rust Taylor, Danny Limelight, The DKC, and MLW wrestler Tom Lawlor.
Lion's Break Project 1Edit
|Lion's Break Project 1|
|Promotion||New Japan Pro-Wrestling|
November 10, 2018|
November 11, 2018
|Venue||Anaheim Convention Center|
|City||Anaheim, California, U.S.|
|Lion's Break Project chronology|
The first Lion's Break Project event was held on November 10 and 11, 2018, in Anaheim, California at Anaheim Convention Center. The event featured eight matches, with 4 matches in each night, in which including one match featuring the official debuts of Karl Fredericks and Alex Coughlin two new young lions from the US Dojo also debuting was Clark Connors losing against NJPW veteran Jushin Thunder Liger.
- Night 1
|1||Karl Fredericks and Alex Coughlin wrestled to a time limit draw||Singles match||10:00|
|2||Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Rocky Romero||Singles match||09:24|
|3||David Finlay defeated Jushin Thunder Liger||Singles match||08:40|
|4||Hirooki Goto defeated ACH||Singles match||12:54|
- Night 2
|1||ACH defeated Karl Fredericks||Singles match||05:08|
|2||Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Clark Connors||Singles match||05:09|
|3||Jeff Cobb and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated CHAOS (Hirooki Goto and Rocky Romero)||Tag team match||17:15|
|4||Kenny Omega defeated David Finlay||Singles match||12:41|
Lion's Break Project 2EditThe second Lion's Break Project event will be held on December 7 and 8, 2019, in Anaheim, California at Anaheim Convention Center.
- Night 1
|1||Alex Coughlin defeated Barret Brown||Singles match||6:47|
|2||Aaron Solow and Misterioso defeated Riegel Twins (Logan Riegel and Sterling Riegel)||Tag Team match||10:11|
|3||Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Clark Connors||Singles match||7:42|
|4||El Desperado defeated Ren Narita||Singles match||11:29|
|5||Bullet Club (El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori) defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero||Tag Team match||15:41|
- Night 2
|1||Aaron Solow defated Alex Coughlin||Singles match||6:38|
|2||Riegel Twins (Logan Riegel and Sterling Riegel) defeated Barret Brown and Misterioso||Tag Team match||8:03|
|3||El Phantasmo defeated Clark Connors||Singles match||7:05|
|4||Taiji Ishimori defeated Ren Narita||Singles match||10:59|
|5||Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero||Tag Team match||10:59|
Lion's Break Project 3 EditThe third Lion's Break Project event was supposed to be held on April 2, 2020, in Tampa, Florida at the Ritz Ybor.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 en:Full Card for Lion’s Break: Project 1 Released! (in English). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-10-30). Retrieved on 2018-10-30.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 en:NJPW REVEALS CARDS FOR LION'S BREAK PROJECT 1 (in English). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2018-10-30). Retrieved on 2018-10-30.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 en:NJPW and Lion’s Break returns to CharaExpo USA on December 7th and 8th!! (in English). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2019-05-17). Retrieved on 2019-05-17.
- ↑ en:NJPW LION'S BREAK PROJECT 2 SET FOR ANAHEIM (in English). Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2019-05-17). Retrieved on 2019-05-17.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 en:NJPW Lion's Gate Project 3 added to WrestleCon (in English). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2019-01-14). Retrieved on 2019-01-16.