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NJPW Strong results: Eight-man tag action

The Riegel Twins (Sterling & Logan Riegel) defeated Clark Connors and The DKC

Great match. This was Sterling Riegel’s NJPW Strong debut. His twin brother, Logan, took part in NJPW’s recent Lion’s Break Crown tournament. On commentary, Kevin Kelly explained that Sterling Riegel was on excursion in the U.K. earlier this year, which was why we didn’t see him on NJPW Strong earlier.

The DKC and the clean-shaven Logan Riegel (it’s the only way to tell them apart) kicked off the match. DKC is really explosive and fluid in the ring. He and Logan had a good back-and-forth on the mat early on.

Connors continuously fought off the twins’ double-team offense midway through this. He rallied back and used a pounce to send one of the Rigel twins flying, one that’d surely make Monty Brown proud. He tagged back out to the DKC later on, who grounded Sterling with a side headlock in the middle of the ring.

Sterling tagged out to brother Logan who took it to Connors, laying him out on the floor after putting him down with a pescado. He landed a slingblade on Connors for a two. Back inside the ring. They knocked each other out moments later with double-clotheslines. Sterling did a diving double stomp after leapfrogging over his brother. The DKC shot back into the ring a few seconds later and the match quickly broke down into a festival of highspots. 

The DKC followed things up with a modified falcon arrow for two. Connors came in from out of nowhere and took Sterling Riegel out with a spear, but Logan was able to take Connors down with a neckbreaker drop out of the corner. DKC made the save for Connors and took both twins out with big “karate chops,” as they were called, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Riegels down for long. Moments later, with Connors still neutralized outside the ring, they put the DKC down for a three count after an assisted modified spike DDT. 

All action. The Riegel brothers are excellent and I imagine they can be big players going forward. Ideal and obvious junior heavyweight tag title contenders down the road.

Karl Fredericks defeated Blake Christian

Lots of action in this even though it was just six minutes long. Fredericks landed a nice low kick early on. Blake Christian landed a tope suicida within a minute or so into this. Fredericks shifted the momentum after blasting Christian in the back with two more stiff kicks. Christian answered later with a spinning gamengiri kick and a low-angle 619 while Fredericks hung on top of the bottom rope. He later put Fredericks down for a close two-count after he used a diving double-stomp to Fredericks, who was bent over.

By the time the five-minute call sounded, the two began trading bigger moves. Christian landed a big flying knee, but Fredericks put Christian down with a spinebuster. He transitioned to a single-leg crab from here, and when Christian wouldn’t tap, Fredericks readjusted, served up a few more stiff kicks, then torqued the hold back a few more inches until Christian tapped out.

After the match, Fredericks cut a promo backstage saying that NJPW Strong was his show and that Friday nights were his nights.

Bullet Club (KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa & Hikuleo) defeated David Finlay, PJ Black, Alex Zayne & Misterioso

Tonga Loa and PJ Black were in together first. Black challenged Loa to a knuckle-lock test of strength, so Loa played along for a second, then kicked him in the gut and gave Black a shoulder block. Black took Loa out with a sweep and a high roundhouse kick, but Tama Tonga threw a sneaky knee behind the ref’s back to slow Black’s pace down.

Black then tagged out to Misterioso, who got a few licks in before the Guerillas of Destiny started double-teaming the resident luchador. He tagged out to Zayne, who took an awesome-looking chokeslam from Hikuleo who was standing on the ring apron. Have I mentioned how huge Hikuleo is? He towers over everyone on the show weekly, aside from Brody King.

KENTA popped in for a minute and blasted Zayne with a penalty kick to Zayne’s back. He and Tama Tonga traded off working over Zayne until the rookie fired a corkscrew spin kick at KENTA, which gave him time enough to roll to the red corner and tag out to Dave Finlay. Finlay’s been booked on a hot streak on the past few episodes of Strong; His mini-feud with KENTA on recent episodes has been good stuff.

PJ Black flew in and took a few Bullet Club members out with a big flying cross body block, but once the giant Hikuleo got involved, he dictated the pace, slowing things down after planting Finlay with a big snap powerslam. Eyes on Hikuleo in 2021.

Tama Tonga had Finlay in an ankle lock when Zayne flew in and took Tonga out with a springboard dropkick. Misterioso tagged in and tried doing a Johnny B. Badd-style top rope sunset flip on Hikuleo, which didn’t work. When he went for a cross body block next, Hikuleo caught him mid-air, but Misterioso looked like a big sandbag out there which made it look like Hikuleo was unintentionally struggling. The big man made it work, though, and he, somehow, deadlifted Misterioso into the Gunslinger for the pin. It looked good in the end. Solid main event.

PJ Black and Tama Tonga jaw-jacked after the match, with Tonga shoving Black before exiting the ring. KENTA talked lots of trash at Finlay, who has been terrific at making himself unlikeable this year. The program between those two continues while Black and Tonga will have a singles match on next week’s show.

Finlay challenged KENTA after the match in a backstage interview with his friends. He urged KENTA to put his briefcase on the line in a match against him. The stipulation would be that if Finlay wins the match, he wins the briefcase.

Final thoughts:

Tonight was a really good, pretty high-energy episode of Strong. It clocked in at around 42 minutes long, and it was pretty much nonstop action from top to bottom. The first match was a barnburner of an opener, especially since most of the fellows in the match are still new faces to most of the NJPW audience. I imagine we’ll see more of the identical Riegel Twins down the line.

Karl Fredericks and Blake Christian had a heck of a six-minute match, which leads me to wonder how they’d do with double the time in their next bout. The main event was fun action, but also did a lot in the way of moving certain wrestlers to the forefront of fans’ minds’, particularly Dave Finlay, Hikuleo and Alex Zayne tonight. They’ve done a good job at establishing new faces of this experimental US brand. They’ve done it at a moderate pace, like with Finlay and KENTA, for example, where you don’t need much more context than a) Finlay’s on a roll while b) KENTA’s still in possession of the red “attaché case,” as it’s called.

On NJPW Strong: Road to New Japan Showdown next week, we’ll see Fred Rosser vs. Jordan Clearwater and Jeff Cobb and Rocky Romero vs. Rust Taylor and JR Kratos.