Tonight's episode of NJPW Strong kicked off Summer Struggle USA 2021.
Bateman, Misterioso & Barrett Brown defeated Wheeler Yuta, Adrian Quest, & the DKC
Brown ambushed Quest before the bell. Quest came back quickly and used La Mistica on Brown later on. Fast action from these two. Yuta and Bateman had a good exchange next. I’d consider both of these guys dark horses to watch out for, both on the show and in the States right now. Good stuff from both here.
Misterioso bullied Shibata-trainee the DKC and bowled him over hard with a shoulder block. The babyface trio later triple-teamed Brown and almost put him away. Action spilled to the floor again from here; Misterioso landed a springboard corkscrew moonsault to the floor.
The DKC started karate chopping the hell out of Bateman, who put the kibosh on that, then tombstoned him to pick up the win for his team.
Karl Fredericks defeated Alexander James
This was really good. James debuted on the show a few weeks ago when he beat Young Lion Kevin Knight.
The two locked up at the bell and James got in high under hooks before the ref had to break the two up when they were against the ropes. Rope break. When they were in the corner, James grabbed a handful of hair on the next break.
Fredericks made him pay later. After landing a picture-perfect crossbody block, he started putting the boots to James on the mat. James responded by going after Frederick’s arm, then attacking his left leg with an Achilles hold. I liked James’ mean-guy wrestling techniques, which were a nice complement to a “pure” NJPW product like Fredericks.
They exchanged hard elbows in the corner. Fredericks scored another nearfall, then went for Manifest Destiny. James escaped and used a pump-handle suplex on Fredericks to slow the pace. The announcers did a good job in putting over James’ experience in Germany.
James locked in a modified STF hold with an extra couple cranks on Frederick’s left leg and both arms. Fredericks broke the hold after crawling to the ropes, grabbing the bottom.
Fredericks fired back with his signature drop-down back cracker and spinebuster before putting James away with Manifest Destiny (Impaler DDT) for the win.
Juice Robinson, Lio Rush, Chris Dickinson & Brody King defeated Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, JR Kratos, Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs)
Rush and Strong Openweight champion Tom Lawlor talked smack to each other at the start of this. They’ll square off for Lawlor’s title soon in a singles bout.
Rush was impressive early on. When Rush tagged out to King, King plowed Lawlor to the mat with a shoulder block.
There was good action throughout this from everyone. One GIF-able highlight was when JR Kratos launched Lio Rush over his head with a fall-away slam into Brody King, who was stuck in the corner.
Lawlor was drilling Robinson with knees as he held him in a cravat. Five minutes had passed by this point. He next locked on Cattle Mutilation—Brian Danielson’s signature submission—for a few moments before transitioning to another hold.
Kratos and later the West Coast Wrecking Crew (Isaacs & Nelson) picked Robinson apart for the next few minutes and specifically targeted Robinsion’s leg that Lawlor was attacking earlier. When the ref was distracted, Team Filthy mugged Robinson on the floor while Lawlor held him in a figure-four leg lock on the floor.
Back in the ring, Team Filthy did their Weekly Pro Wrestling pose to the hard-cam before Kratos slammed Robinson forward into the mat. Team Filthy kept finding ways to distract the ref so they could gang up on Robinson at ringside.
Finally, Robinson escaped and tagged out to King. He and Kratos had a good showdown that would have been made much better if a crowd were in attendance. The babyface team served up their revenge on Jorel Nelson and went to town on him for a few minutes. Isaacs made the save eventually by hitting a German suplex on Dickinson.
Things began to heat up towards the end. Robinson escaped Lawlor’s sleeper hold by bridging forwards, and while Lawlor tried holding on, King splashed Lawlor.
Rush went wild and had a good but quick exchange with the larger Kratos. In the end, Dickinson landed a Death Valley Bomb on Nelson before submitting him in an STF to pick up the win for his team.
Afterwards, Juice Robinson started to call Hikuleo out before the big man himself appeared, attacking Robinson backstage. “Welcome back to NJPW Strong!” Hikuleo shouted at Robinson as he dragged him out to the merchandise area and put him through a table. It seems like these two will continue their program beyond their recent match at Resurgence in Los Angeles.
This was a solid show. Karl Fredericks vs. Alexander James was the stand-out, but the last few minutes of the main event featured some high-intensity tag team action that's also worth checking out.