Tonight saw the second installment of Collision tapings from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which were hosted by Ian Riccaboni and Matt Rehwoldt.
Team Filthy (JR Kratos & West Coast Wrecking Crew) defeated Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight & The DKC
Coughlin debuted his new post-Young Lion look before the match. He's now "The Android" Alex Coughlin, walking to the ring wearing a Terminator-meets-Big Van Vader exoskeleton body armor type of thing. With that mustache of his, if you were to put him in a helmet, he'd look just like Man-at-Arms from Masters of the Universe.
Coughlin and Kratos went back and forth before the match got started. Before he got into the ring, Kratos threw a cardboard sign at Coughlin. Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs of West Coast Wrecking Crew went at the Young Lions, Knight and DKC, shoving and jaw-jacking. The crowd started chanting "F*CK YOU, KRA-TOS!" All this action and the bell hadn't even rung yet.
Nelson and Knight were to start the match off, but once the bell sounded, Kratos went right after Coughlin, ambushing him and whipping him into the barricade at ringside.
Nelson and Knight traded moves. Knight did a high standing frog splash for two. Coughlin came in later and launched Knight onto Isaacs. Team Filthy reconvened on the floor while the babyfaces posed in the ring. While they weren't paying attention, Team Filthy came back into the ring and took out the three LA Dojo trainees. Moments later, Kratos held Knight up in a hanging vertical suplex while Nelson and Isaacs used hanging vertical suplexes of their own on Coughlin and DKC, while they were on the floor and on opposite sides of the ring. So, we got triple hanging vertical suplexes from different areas in and around the ring.
Team Filthy worked over Kevin Knight for a few more minutes until he was able to tag out to Coughlin, who went suplex-crazy. He deadlifted both Isaacs and Nelson with gutwrench suplexes before slamming them again with a double backdrop suplex. Wow.
When Coughlin lifted Isaacs up on his shoulders, Knight was able to get enough air to dropkick Isaacs off of Coughlin's shoulders. I don't know who has the highest vertical leap in pro wrestling right now, but if I had to put money on it, I'd say with confidence that it's Kevin Knight. This young man "has hops," as the kids say.
Towards the end of the match, Coughlin and Kratos were finally in the ring together, one on one. The crowd heated up before they'd even touched. This slow-burning program between Kratos and Coughlin is one of the tightest and most effective rivalries going right now. I've said this in the past, but these two are building to a massive blow-off match down the road some day, and it's going to be special.
They traded stiff shots. The crowd was 100% behind Coughlin. Kratos eventually laid "The Android" out with a falling lariat. When Kratos went for an avalanche in the corner, Coughlin caught him in mid-air. The crowd gasped. Coughlin launched the larger Kratos over his head with a front suplex. Kratos rolled to the floor, so Coughlin followed up with a pescado dive, taking Kratos out.
In the ring, the DKC lit Isaacs up with DK Fire chops until Nelson broke it up. The finish saw WCWC first take out Knight with a cool-looking fireman's carry toss-to-German suplex, then the DKC with a Claymore Kick-brainbuster combo.
Well after the bell sounded, Coughlin and Kratos continued fighting on the floor, and in the ring. Security had to break them up. Kratos teased jumping back into the ring for more, but flipped Coughlin off and walked to the back.
Ariya Daivari defeated Delirious
Delirious bounced off all four ropes to avoid contact with Daivari, evading him, then used a lariat to lay Daivari out. He did nine leg drops before Daivari rolled to the floor.
Daivari used a big uranage slam on Delirious for two. He superkicked Delirious then pinned him after a hammerlock lariat.
Brody King defeated Jake Something
Once he stepped into the ring, King received a star's ovation from the Philadelphia crowd.
Something, most known for his time spent with IMPACT, is roughly the same size as King, which is somewhat rare in the context of NJPW Strong. He took King out with a jumping avalanche. They traded chops. King later spiked Something with a piledriver and earned a nearfall for it. They clobbered each other with lariats; neither would fall down. King caught Something with a rolling elbow that brought Something to a knee. King bounced off the ropes, but Something decked him with a lariat, sending King to the mat. King answered with a release German suplex. Five minutes in, they collided mid-air when both went for a cross body-block at the same time.
After a few moments on the mat, they were back on their feet trading shots. King bullied Something into the corner with a flurry of Tenryu-styled chops & punches. Something responded with a spear into the corner.
Something was able put King down with a Liger Bomb for a close two-count. He clotheslined King over the top rope and onto the floor, then dove onto him with a tope and landed on his feet. Something is super athletic for a dude his size.
King finished Something off with a huge lariat and the Gonzo Bomb for the win. This was short but great, and these two had good chemistry together.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Chris Dickinson
Tanahashi got the type of response you'd expect from the Philly crowd in attendance. It looked like everyone was on their feet.
They went hold for hold in the center of the ring for the first few minutes. While no titles were on the line, it had the pace and feel of a championship bout.
They grappled into the corner and were forced to break and reposition themselves. Tanahashi audibly asked for a clean break, but Dickinson snuck in a kick as they were breaking from the tie-up. Dickinson whipped Tanahashi into the corner; Tana countered with a back elbow followed by a cross body-block from the middle rope. He then played some air guitar to celebrate before tossing the air guitar into the audience.
A bit later, the two found themselves locked against the ropes once again, and when the referee ordered a break, Tanahashi tried sneaking a kick of his own in while they were breaking, but Dickinson caught Tana's foot and brought him down hard with a dragon screw leg whip. The crowd booed. Dickinson then did some sick air guitar of his own, much to the dismay of the audience.
Dickinson began attacking Tanahashi's left leg. He slammed it into the mat, and later, while Dickinson stood on the floor, he rammed the leg across the ring post. A dueling chant broke out.
Dickinson continued working over Tanahashi's knee, using a combination of joint-locks and hard stomps and strikes to the leg. Dickinson busted out the dreaded air bass and patronized the hell out of Tana with it. This must have been what did it for Tanahashi, because a short moment later he was able to bounce off the ropes and catch Dickinson with a flying forearm smash. The crowd chanted "GO ACE!"
Tanahashi did a somersault senton off the second rope. When Dickinson went to kick him, Tana waved "bye-bye" and put Dickinson down with his own signature dragon screw leg whip, then followed with a slingblade. Tanahashi then charged up to the top turnbuckle for a High Fly Attack bodypress, but Dickinson used Tanahashi's momentum to roll through and come out on top of Tanahashi. From there, he immediately slapped on a figure-four leglock. Tanahashi was eventually able to reverse it, but Dickinson was able to grab the bottom rope for a break. Ten minutes had passed at this point.
They traded elbows in the center of the ring. Tanahashi's chest was pink from all of the chops throughout the match. Dickinson put Tanahashi in an STF, but Tana was able to grab the bottom rope for the break.
When Dickinson went for a brainbuster, Tanahashi countered with the Twist-and-Shout followed by an Anarchy Suplex. He put Dickinson down with another slingblade but could only keep Dickinson down for two. Tanahashi finally put Dickinson away in the end with the High Fly Flow.
Afterwards, Tanahashi offered his hand to Dickinson, who accepted, then bowed in respect before exiting the ring.
Tanahashi then grabbed the mic and cut an enthusiastic promo thanking the crowd. "You are amazing!!" He also apologized for his English, to which the crowd responded via chant: "IT'S O-K! IT'S O-K!"
Tanahashi then treated us to a final air guitar performance, which included the ceremonial Passing of the Air Guitar from crowd to ring. Tanahashi made a great catch before rocking the hell out as the show wrapped.
The opening six-man tag team match and the main event of this week's NJPW Strong were this week's highlights. The Alex Coughlin vs. JR Kratos rivalry isn't even close to stale and continues to impress. And this week's main event was arguably a perfect pro wrestling match; not the best, not the most exciting ever, but, functionally, it was perfect in a lot of ways, and a perfect main event for an hour-long wrestling show on a Saturday night.
I might be in the minority on this, but I actually preferred Dickinson's match with Tanahashi to his recent bouts with Minoru Suzuki. All were excellent, but I think Dickinson really shined with Tanahashi for some reason. He's the ideal opponent for Tanahashi in terms of size, style, skill, etc., and I hope they're able to do this one again in the future but for higher stakes—or at least for a longer time.
Next week sees STRONG Openweight Champion "Filthy" Tom Lawlor take on Fred Rosser in a match that stipulates that if Rosser wins, he becomes the new champion, though if Rosser loses, he must leave NJPW Strong.