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NJPW Strong: KUSHIDA & Ren Narita vs. The Workhorsemen

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NJPW Strong's High Alert tapings from Charlotte, North Carolina continued tonight with KUSHIDA making his debut for the show in the main event.

LA Dojo (The DKC & Kevin Knight) defeated The Heatseekers (Matt Sigmon & Elliot Russell)

The Heatseekers are four-time NWA Tag Team champions and have wrestled on Japanese indies like Jimmy Suzuki's Tokyo Championship Wrestling, but not on a New Japan card until tonight.

Sigmon and Knight started things off for their teams. This was one of Knight's first non-West Coast appearances with NJPW Strong. Ian Riccaboni did a good job putting over Knight's vertical leap on commentary. If you weren't already aware: Kevin Knight can jump. He connected with a standing frog splash on Sigmon for two.

Knight launched himself over the ropes onto the Heatseakers with a pescado before throwing Russell back into the ring. Russell would take control shortly after, knocking Knight off his feet with a big shoulderblock.

The Heatseekers maintained control of Knight as the five-minute call sounded. They generally kept Knight in the red corner, too far away from the DKC for Knight to make a tag. Russell knocked Knight over with a big boot before throwing a flurry of forearms to Knight while he was on the ground. Sigmon tagged in and earned a two-count on Knight with a German suplex.

Knight was able to evade Sigmon in the corner, then connected with a high dropkick on Russell, which gave Knight enough time to roll to the blue corner and finally tag out to a fresh DKC.

The DKC did a cool flying Liu Kang kick from the top rope, then went into his series of knife-edged chops called DK FIRE. Heatseekers came back, with Russell laying the DKC out with an Oklahoma Stampede. When Sigmon pinned DKC, Knight took the DKC's foot and placed it on the bottom rope so that the ref would break the count.

The finish saw Sigmon roll the DKC up with a cradle, but while the ref was distracted arguing with Eliot Russell, Knight jumped into the ring and rolled Sigmon's cradle hold over. When the ref made it back for the count, the DKC was able to hold Sigmon down for three. The LA Dojo team are your winners. Russell complained to NJPW's ringside commentary team afterwards.

QT Marshall defeated Parker Li

QT Marshall came out next. Fans gave him the "What?!" treatment. Marshall said he was the person responsible for "opening the Forbidden Door" between AEW and NJPW. I think he expected more heat from that, but people were more excited to just drown him out and not listen. He'd then challenge a new wrestler named Parker Li, a smiley guy with a headband and the state of Oregon tattooed on his chest.

The crowd broke out into a "Let's go Parker!/Q-T sucks!" chant. Li connected with a nice dropkick, but missed on the second when Marshall parried. Marshall then turned Li inside out with a lariat before dropping a few elbows onto him. The crowd bit more and more on Marshall's baiting, and it did help get the crowd behind Li, especially on the nearfalls.

Li caught Marshall with a pop-up missile dropkick. When he went for a springboard attack, Marshall caught him mid-air with a right hand, then pinned Li after spiking him with a Diamond Cutter for the win. Parker Li was impressive here.

Marshall got on the mic again and said Li sucked. He said he was warmed up now. I think Marshall now holds the record for most speaking time ever on NJPW Strong next to the announcers.

So, who answered QT Marshall's challenge? It was Shota Umino, who was not scheduled for the show. Marshall taunted Umino, then called for a referee and said he'd wrestle him now. A referee arrived, and Umino took off his jacket and told Marshall he was ready to go. Marshall called him a bitch and teased a match happening right then and there, but as soon as Umino stepped into the ring, Marshall stepped out of it and exited to the back. It's safe to say we can expect some sort of showdown between Marshall and Umino by the end of the year.

TJP defeated Mascara Dorada

This was good. The two got into it early with fast back-and-forth action from the beginning. This angle has been going on for a while now, between TJP and Dorada, and on commentary they mentioned how TJP had stolen Dorada's mask at a NJPW Strong taping and brought it to Japan with him for the recent Best of the Super Juniors tournament.

TJP started face-washing Dorada in the corner. The crowd booed TJP when he'd try ripping Dorada's mask off. He'd later catch Dorada springboarding off the ropes and put him in a cross-armbreaker. Dorada got his foot on the ropes for a break.

Dorada later spiked TJP with a bulldog before a suicide dive through the ropes to the floor. Back in the ring, he did a rope-walk swanton, crashing onto TJP but only earning a two-count.

When TJP caught Dorada with a DDT, both were out for about a minute or so. The crowd heated up a little. They traded superkicks. Dorada lifted TJP into a fireman's carry but TJP wisely grabbed the ropes to block any attempt at offense. TJP would then take Dorada and suplex him gut-first onto the ropes as TJP dropped to the floor. TJP would then go to the top and take the draped Dorada out with a Mamba Splash near the side of the ring.

Back in the ring, TJP missed on another Mamba Splash, but he landed on his feet. Dorada then hoisted TJP back into a fireman's carry and drilled for two. Dorada then went to the top rope for a moonsault, and he missed, but also landed on his feet. TJP blocked and onto Dorada's foot, but Dorada reversed that and locked TJP into a cool looking single-leg figure-four submission.

The crowd started chanting "Tap!" at TJP, who'd writhe in pain for a bit before snatching Dorada's mask off. This forced referee Jeremy Marcus to help protect Dorada's face and break the submission hold, by default. The crowd erupted in boos. TJP pretended like it was an accident, then smirked, climbed to the top rope and came back down onto Dorada with a Mamba Splash to pick up the win.

KUSHIDA & Ren Narita defeated The Workhorsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry)

This was a solid main event. Henry looked good in the ring early on with both Narita & KUSHIDA. Drake tagged in next and he KUSHIDA had a good exchange, with Drake getting the better of it in the end, taking KUSHIDA down to the mat with a hard lariat.

Narita tagged in and later earned a two-count on Henry after a bridging single-arm suplex. The Workhorsemen later took the lead and spent a good amount of time isolating Narita and working him over near their corner. They each blasted him with PKs to the back.

Narita was able to power up and put Henry down with a brainbuster before tagging out to KUSHIDA. He and Narita would work together, with KUSHIDA setting up Narita for an overhead front suplex to Henry. Narita tried the same on the larger Drake, who shut that down. Henry did an airplane spin TKO and Drake followed up with a shining wizard. Henry came off the top with a diving double foot stomp next, and Drake followed that up with a moonsault off the second rope onto Narita.

KUSHIDA was almost able to bodyslam Drake but he couldn't pull it all the way off. It was enough to neutralize Drake, though, and KUSHIDA then was able to put Henry away with a bridging hammerlock suplex for the win.

Final thoughts:

The junior heavyweight & tag team matches are what's worth checking out on this week's episode of NJPW Strong.

Next week sees the final week of High Alert tapings that will feature Eddie Kingston vs. Jake Something and NJPW Strong Openweight Champion Fred Rosser taking on Fred Yehi.