New Japan Pro Wrestling will make their presence felt during WrestleMania weekend with Friday's New Japan Strong Lonestar Shootout pay-per-view from Dallas, Texas.
One of the show's featured matches is Jay White and his U.S. of Jay challenge series being answered by "Speedball" Mike Bailey. Bailey has an incredibly active schedule this week and is coming off two well-received matches at Bloodsport and the WrestleCon Supershow Thursday.
Killer Kross will make his Strong debut against another busy wrestler this week in Minoru Suzuki in a first time ever clash.
In another hard-hitting affair, Tomohiro Ishii will take on the returning Chris Dickinson. This will be his first NJPW match since injuring his hip in November 2021.
The rest of the card features Rocky Romero vs. Ren Narita, and FinJuice, Daniel Garcia & Kevin Knight vs. Mascara Dorada, Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors & Yuya Uemura in an eight-man match.
The card will also feature a Strong TV taping after the PPV concludes.
Ren Narita defeated Rocky Romero
I enjoyed this match, especially the finishing stretch. This looks to be the beginning of Narita’s post-excursion rise.
The match opened with Rocky testing Narita with some grappling. Narita tried to gain a footing, but Rocky answered with blustering strikes. As Rock solidified his lead, his offence increased in intensity.
Narita landed a quick leg lariat that launched a comeback. Rocky held on, enduring multiple suplexes before reversing momentum with a lariat and a skywalker; Narita kicked out. Rocky tried for a second Skywalker, but Narita reversed into a bridging suplex/pin combination. Narita pinned Rocky clean in the middle to bring this match to a sudden end.
Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, Mascara Dorada & Yuya Uemura defeated David Finlay, Juice Robinson, Daniel Garcia & Kevin Knight
This was a fun little match. There were tons of neat moments and exciting sequences—definitely worth a watch.
Dorada and Knight opened the match with a lucha-esque sequence—complete with arm drags and a simultaneous dropkick. Uemura and Garcia then entered the fray, having an excellent little encounter. Before Uemura could cement anything resembling a lead, FinJuice hit the ring and took the advantage back for their team.
Uemura grew desperate as FinJuice and co worked to isolate him from his team. Uemura finally scored a hot tag, marking the start of an impressive rally from Conners. After Conners took out FinJuice, he tagged Fredricks, who continued making advances for his team.
As Knight began to slow down Fredricks’s offence, the match broke down into an all hands on deck sequence. Once the fog cleared, it was still Fredricks and Knight alone in the ring. Fredricks got the better of Knight in this exchange, connecting with manifest destiny to bring this match to an end.
Minoru Suzuki defeated Killer Kross
This wasn’t my favourite Suzuki outing of the weekend, but it was still enjoyable.
Suzuki and Kross went back and forth early with some light wrestling. Things picked up as Kross landed a shoulder tackle, sending Suzuki to the ground. From the mat, Suzuki lured Kross into an armbar before taking the match to the outside, where he continued to focus the arm.
Back in the ring, Suzuki’s arm-based assault persisted. Once Kross found the ropes, Suzuki invited him to trade slaps. After Suzuki called Kross a ‘young boy’, slaps turned to forearms. Suzuki caught an impassioned Kross in a brief choke before Kross tried for one of his own. Suzuki escaped the choke, snuck in another young boy insult, and dropped Kross with a Gotch piledriver. Suzuki pinned Kross to close out this one.
Jon Moxley Promo
Before the Jay White open challenge could begin, Jon Moxley’s theme hit. In a surprise appearance, Moxley walked to the ring and cut a promo. After implying he would kick in Will Osperay’s teeth, Moxley said he would teach him a lesson come April 16th.
Jay White defeated Mike Bailey
This was remarkable.
Bailey gained an early advantage with a series of kicks punctuated with a tope con hilo. White wasn’t on the back foot for long, though, as he took the lead with a stunning hotshot across the top rope. White then slowed things down as he began to pick apart Bailey, occasionally integrating impactful manoeuvres.
A quick kick from Bailey let him back into the match. Bailey landed a corkscrew shooting star press, but White answered with a blade buster. Bailey escaped a throw but missed the ultimate weapon. Bailey avoided a throw, blade runner, and move into the ropes before landing a beautiful dive to the floor.
Looking to close, Bailey climbed to the top rope, but White rolled away. White pulled Bailey to his shoulders, initiating a struggle on the apron. Bailey missed a double knee strike, letting White retake the lead. Bailey’s now damaged legs were locked into the TTO, forcing him into the ropes.
Bailey tried fighting back into the match by landing some heavy kicks; White responded with a dragonscrew. Bailey avoided White’s attempt to close, slipping free from a sleeper suplex and a blade runner. Bailey scored a double knee and buzzsaw kick for a near fall. Bailey then climbed to the top but missed his dive, instead, landing on his previously damaged knees. White picked Bailey up, dropped him with the blade runner, and pinned him.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Chris Dickinson
This was an Ishii match; if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
An amusing wrestling exchange opened this match. The pace briefly increased as both men tried for shoulder takedowns but returned to Earth as the pair began to trade strikes. Dickinson threw Ishii to the floor, where the brawling aspect was upped a notch.
Back in the ring, Dickinson levelled Ishii with heavy kicks and chops but answered with some strikes of his own. Dickinson withstood the strikes, landing a sharp German to stay in control. Ishii landed a German of his own, but Dickinson popped right back up. Likewise, Dickinson dropped Ishii with a brainbuster, and Ishii immediately returned to his feet. A DVD left Dickinson with a near fall.
After another strike exchange, Ishii connected a lariat for a near fall of his own. Ishii failed to land his brainbuster; instead, Dickinson hit another brainbuster of his own. Ishii landed an enziguri and sliding lariat to retake control before finally connecting with the brainbuster. Ishii pinned Dickinson to bring the match to an end.
After the match, Minoru Suzuki walked to the ring and challenged Ishii to a singles match.