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NJPW Strong results: Aussie Open vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew

Tonight saw the first of NJPW Strong’s Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2022 tapings from Hollywood, California.

Mascara Dorada defeated Misterioso

Dorada did a spinning rope-walk hurricanrana that took Misterioso to the floor. When Dorada went for a tope con giro to the floor, Misterioso caught him on the way down in mid-air, then slammed Dorada into the barricades at ringside.

Back in the ring, Misterioso connected with a running double-knee strike in the corner for two. Dorada would later catch Misterioso with a huge rope-walk somersault dive to the floor. “Death-defying” would be an appropriate way to describe the spot. Pretty amazing. The crowd lost it and broke out into a “LU-CHA!” chant afterwards.

Back in the ring, Dorada would connect with a flawless springboard swanton onto Misterioso. Dorada’s smoothness on the ropes is something else.

Misterioso later answered with a tope con giro of his own, though he clipped his legs on the ringside barricade on the way down. Thankfully Misterioso seemed all right, but the crowd went into a “HOLY SH*T!” chant after it happened. The impact the steel makes is so loud inside the venue, which inadvertently adds more of a dramatic effect.

Late in the match, Misterioso landed a beautiful springboard hurricanrana from the top rope. Again, the crowd went wild. Misterioso only got a two-count for his troubles, though. He then landed an electric chair-to-wheelbarrow German suplex for two. Misterioso can move like a smaller luchador, but he’s actually a muscular 230 lbs. with serious power. It wasn’t a perfect match, but this may have been his best showing on NJPW Strong since the inception of the show in 2020.

Mascara Dorada won the match with what commentator Alex Koslov called “The Guadalajara County Slam” to put Misterioso away for the win. Good opener.

Robbie Eagles defeated Kevin Blackwood

Midway into the match, Eagles lit Blackwood’s chest up with kicks. He then went for a basement dropkick into the corner, but Blackwood blocked it and returned with a flurry of strikes.

Eagles targeted Blackwood’s leg in order to soften Blackwood up for his Ron Miller Special submission. He used a springboard basement dropkick to take Blackwood out, though Blackwood wasn’t phased and immediately locked Eagles in a Texas Cloverhold until Eagles grabbed the ropes for a break.

Blackwood connected with a Buzzsaw Kick and followed up with a brainbuster—a nice little ode to TAJIRI—before Eagles answered with a Turtle Backpack driver before giving Blackwood a 450 splash from the top, one where Eagles crashed down onto Blackwood's legs. Eagles then locked in the Ron Miller Special for the win. Eagles picked up the victory in his return to NJPW Strong.

NJPW Openweight Tag Team Championship: Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) (c) defeated West Coast Wrecking Crew (Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)

This was excellent.

Nelson and Fletcher kicked things off for their teams, but after only a few minutes into the match, things had spilled out onto the floor between Isaacs and Davis. The other two brawled around ringside. Fletcher and Nelson followed. Aussie Open did a double backdrop suplex to WCWC, dropping them back-first onto the ring apron.

Davis locked in a back face lock on Nelson back in the ring. Davis tagged Fletcher into the match, and Fletcher tried taking Nelson to the top rope for some sort of maneuver. Nelson bit Fletcher’s bicep, which forced Fletcher to lose his balance and fall off the ropes. When Nelson went for a diving crossbody bodyblock, Fletcher blocked the press by pulling his knees up.

Nelson was eventually able to tag out to Isaacs, who’d immediately cleaned house. He did a flipping lariat, then stacked Aussie Open in the corner and proceeded to give them more lariats. It was a lariat parfait. Isaacs earned a two-count after putting Fletcher down with a jackhammer.

WCWC gained much of their momentum back towards the end of the match, at one point running roughshod on Aussie Open with power moves. Isaacs & Nelson tried doing stereo deadlift German suplexes on AO, but the Aussies countered and turned it into a stereo brainbusters instead.

Both teams traded superkicks. Nelson would land a big pop-up power bomb on Fletcher before slingshotting him to Isaacs, who’d catch Fletcher, spin him around, then drive him back onto Nelson’s knees with a Death Valley Bomb—but only for two.

Aussie Open mounted a final comeback and launched the rest of whatever artillery they had in their arsenal at WCWC. After a few more close nearfalls, they’d win the match after hitting Coriolus, putting Isaacs away for the pin. Aussie Open are now two for two.

Final thoughts:

The main event was great modern tag team wrestling, and with two of the hottest teams on the scene right now. The whole show was good, the main event turned out to be this week’s highlight.

Roppongi Vice, Taylor Rust & KUSHIDA vs. Bullet Club (Jay White, Hikuleo, Chase Owens & Juice Robinson) headlines next week’s episode of NJPW Strong: Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2022.