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NJPW Strong results: Six-man tag team action

Misterioso defeated Barrett Brown 

Early on, when Barrett Brown went for a moonsault to the floor, Misterioso caught Brown mid-air then launched him into the ring post. Brown was back in the ring at the 14 count but Misterioso stayed in control for another few minutes. 

Brown kept trying to escape, but Misterioso kept him on the mat, shutting almost all of Brown’s offense down. Brown was able to change the pace when he hip tossed Misterioso into the corner. He mounted a comeback from here after a sunset flip, then a busaiku knee. Brown went for a senton from the top, but Misteriso put his knees up. Brown pulled off a big reverse frankensteiner before Misterioso used a Guerrero Special to put Brown away.

After the match, Misterioso said 2021 was his year.

Kevin Kelly interviewed Fred Rosser via video call in the next segment. Kelly asked him about Bullet Club. Rosser didn’t really answer anything about that and cut a few catchphrases instead. He’s the “Sun-Tanned Superman” apparently. He finished by saying New Japan is number one.

TJP defeated Adrian Quest

It seems like this is another iteration of the Rocky Romero & Danny Limelight program, where we get the OG vs. Young Gun sort of angle. TJP trained at NJPW’s first dojo in LA with Romero, Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, etc.

The match itself was OK. The two had good, quick exchanges on the mat early on. Quest reminds me of a younger, more raw version of TJP, and Kevin Kelly even mentioned the same a few minutes into this match. These two are stylistically very similar.

Quest did a short tornillo from the second rope onto TJP for a near fall. TJP came back on offense moments later, hanging Quest in a Tree of Woe. After five minutes or so, TJP went after Quest’s back with a variety of attacks, including a Gory special submission attempt. Quest was able to break free, knock TJP to the floor and land a nice Asai moonsault before taking the match back into the ring. 

Quest connected with a running shooting star press for two. He went for a Phoenix splash, but TJP rolled out of the way, then crash-landed onto Quest with his own frog splash to pick up the win. 

TJP said Quest was good, maybe even better than him, but he’s just not quite ready to make it to TJP’s level yet.

Bullet Club (KENTA, El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) defeated Fred Rosser, ACH & Blake Christian

KENTA has a brand new red “right-to-challenge” briefcase, one that is significantly less damaged than what we’ve seen in recent weeks.

El Phantasmo tried getting ACH to shake his hand before the match. ACH kicked ELP’s hand away, so then Phantasmo tried wiping the same hand off onto one of the cameramen outside the ring. Kelly described him as a “piggish human being,” on-brand with ELP’s super-heel persona in Bullet Club.

ACH turned the tide for a moment, but when El Phantasmo tagged out to the giant Hikuleo, ACH’s short comeback was over. The Big Little Brother of the Tongan Dynasty blasted ACH with a big boot upon entry.

The fight went to the floor as the Bullet Club took advantage of the chaos at the moment. They kept ACH in their corner and tortured him with chops and endless backrakes. El Phantasmo has done more than any wrestler in the past three decades to reinvigorate the backrake, it should be noted.

ACH, who had actually been the legal man the entire time up until this point, was finally able to tag out to Fred Rosser, who proceeded to clean house. He went after Hikuleo’s legs, even tried locking him into an STF. When Hikuleo powered out and went for a chokeslam on Rosser, the Sun-Tanned Superman tagged out to Blake Christian, who spiked Hikuleo with a swinging DDT with the assist from Rosser. Hikuleo was up soon after, though, and ended up chokeslamming Christian out of the match. Hikuleo then threw Rosser to the floor, but ACH knocked Hikuleo out next.

Moments later, everyone was pretty much on the floor. ACH launched himself onto KENTA with a pescado for good measure; everyone was now, indeed, on the floor. This allowed El Phantasmo to land a lengthy frog splash. He cleared more than half the ring with it, but Christian (who was still the legal man) kicked out at two. Christian reversed the CR2 with a frankensteiner for two. ELP then pulled the referee in front of him, like a shield, distracting Christian. ELP then leveled him with a superkick while Christian wasn’t paying attention to win the match. 

The reason ELP used the superkick was because that’s what Phantasmo used to KO Yoshinobu Kanemaru at New Year’s Dash a few weeks ago, and there’s a storyline happening where both Taichi’s Iron Claw is missing, but also Phantasmo has been knocking people out with possible “loaded” superkicks.

El Phantasmo talked about facing Lio Rush after the match. Each member of BC said they weren’t scared of Lio Rush at all ahead of Rush’s coming NJPW Strong debut.

Final thoughts:

Tonight’s episode of Strong was, well, strong. It wasn’t as exciting as last week’s “season opener,” but it didn’t have to be. The main event was good while featuring a lot of new and possibly unfamiliar faces.

Next week features the return of Young Lion Ren Narita, who will take on ROH’s Bateman in the main event.