Skip to main content

NJPW Strong results: Jay White vs. Chris Sabin

Jay White faced Impact's Chris Sabin on this week's NJPW Strong.
20220320_SSEVOLVED_01

Tonight saw the second installment of the NJPW Strong: Strong Style Evolved 2022 tapings from Tampa, Fla., a giant-sized 90-minute edition.

Hikuleo defeated Andy Brown

Ian Riccaboni and Matt Rehwoldt were joined by retired New Japan referee Tiger Hattori on commentary for this match.

This was “Thicc Daddy” Andy Brown’s NJPW debut. He’s made a name for himself at Championship Wrestling from Atlanta and Championship Wrestling from Hollywood primarily.

Last month in Japan, Bullet Club turned on Hikuleo’s older brothers, Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa. Hikuleo is still technically a member of Bullet Club, and on commentary, the team discussed how Hikuleo is in a tough spot at the moment. Does he go with his brothers? Or does he stick with Bullet Club?

Hikuleo launched Brown into the corner ring pads before blasting him with chops and boots to the face while on the floor. Brown returned the attack, connecting with a running facewash dropkick and a senton. He connected with a flying elbow, but only earned a count of one for his troubles.

Hikuleo caught Brown with a pop-up punch and followed up with a snap powerslam that’d have made Buzz Sawyer proud. He then put Brown away with an emphatic chokeslam for the win.

Josh Alexander defeated Karl Fredericks

This was excellent. Ian Riccaboni was right when he described this as a kind of dream match. These two are roughly the same size, which is above average compared with the majority of wrestlers these days. Both have garnered positive buzz and acclaim among hardcore fans over the past year or so.

They tied up at first, though Alexander outwrestled Fredericks to the mat and took the early advantage. After a few minutes of back-and-forth on the mat, Fredericks was able to land a running kitchen sink knee to force Alexander out onto the floor. Fredericks then caught him with a running tope con giro that looked just like the one Great Sasuke does, the big difference being Fredericks is about a foot and a half taller than Sasuke.

Back in the ring, Fredericks laid in a few chops. Alexander rescinded with a hard running boot. Whenever Alexander took control on offense, he slowed the pace and kept Fredericks grounded. He trapped Fredericks in the corner and worked him over with chops and stomps.

Alexander laid in even more chops to Fredericks, who wouldn’t stay down. The more Alexander chopped, the more Fredericks would recover. He powered up and forced Alexander into the blue corner and began stomping away at Alexander’s face. He connected with a Shibata-style running dropkick to Alexander while he was seated in the same corner. He connected with a scissor elbow for two. Fredericks later put Alexander down with a big spinebuster, locking him in an STF before Alexander grabbed the ropes for a break.

As they stood on the apron, Alexander scooped Fredericks into a slam, then dropped him back-first onto the apron’s edge. Alexander then came off the ropes and took Fredericks to the floor with a low running cross body block.

After earning a two count after landing a diving headbutt from the top, Alexander tried locking in the ankle lock to put Fredericks away. Fredericks himself leveled up once again, and the two went into a heavy exchange of blows that ended with Fredericks going for a Pele kick. Alexander blocked it and attempted the ankle lock once more. Fredericks blocked that and later caught him with a high kick in the corner.

Fredericks did a wild-looking springboard double-stomp to Alexander who was draped across the other rope. After a few moments of respite, both were back to their feet. Fredericks went for quick pinning attempts but Alexander kept kicking out. Fredericks connected with a backbreaker and went for Manifest Destiny but Alexander blocked that, too. Alexander caught Fredericks with an elbow while he was coming off the ropes, then launched him with a release German suplex that he followed up with the C4 Spike (aka Jaydriller) for the win. Again, this was an excellent match, and it’s a great representation of the show’s current product.

After the match, QT Marshall came out with The Factory and tried recruiting Fredericks to become a member. They gave him a t-shirt, but Fredericks threw it back at Marshall, then attacked all three. He had some momentum until Nick Comoroto caught Fredericks with a slam and laid him out. The Factory put the boots to Fredericks until his LA Dojo comrades Clark Connors and Yuya Uemura came out and cleared the ring. Fredericks took the mic and said he wasn’t interested in joining the Factory, but he’d be interested in fighting them. He challenged The Factory to a match at Windy City Riot pay-per-view in Chicago next week, an LA Dojo vs. Factory six-man tag team match.

Eddie Kingston and Fred Rosser defeated Fred Yehi and Daniel Garcia

Kingston got the loudest reaction I’ve heard so far on these Strong Style Evolved ‘22 tapings. There was an “EDD-IE!” chant before he even hit the ring. On commentary, they pushed Kingston’s current AEW program with Chris Jericho and tied the story to this match, explaining why Kingston stormed the ring and went after Daniel Garcia, a member of the Jericho Appreciation Society in AEW.

The match hadn’t officially started yet, and it wasn’t until the fisticuffs ceased that the bell rang. Yehi and Rosser were first for their teams. Yehi rained stomps down on Rosser. Rosser came back with a swinging neckbreaker. He and Kingston double-teamed Yehi before Kingston again ran after Garcia, taking him to the floor.

Back in the ring, Kingston flattened Yehi with an STO. Rosser continued working over Yehi in the ring while Kingston again went after Garia on the outside. Rosser got distracted for a second, which allowed Yehi to take advantage and go on the offensive, taking Rosser down before tagging out to Garcia, who began working over Rosser’s knee. He tripped him up with a dragon screw leg whip. Yehi came in and stomped the same knee. They two tried double-suplexing Rosser, who blocked it before finally tagging out to Kingston.

Yehi and Garcia were able to neutralize Kingston quickly with the double-team barrage. Kingston later powered back and did machine gun chops to Garcia in the corner. Whenever Kingston would gain the upper hand, Yehi and Garcia would return to the double-team approach.

Kingston was able to land a release butterfly suplex on Garcia and crawl his way back to the red corner to tag Rosser in. Rosser connected with a big powerslam and later a running powerslam on Yehi for two. Again, Garcia and Yehi would resort to double-teaming when they began losing momentum.

Later on, Yehi caught Rosser with a hard spinning backfist. He then went for a vertical suplex, but Rosser reversed it into an inside cradle. The finish came soon after, when Kingston took Yehi with a spinning backfist of his own before Rosser laid him out with a fireman’s carry gutbuster for the three-count. This was really good. Kingston and Rosser really complement each other and make a somewhat perfect brawler tag team.

U S of Jay Open Challenge: Jay White defeated Chris Sabin

This was an awesome main event.

So, Sabin was one of Jay White’s mentors while White lived in the US on an excursion from NJPW. He looks to be in the best physical shape of his career right now. He’s 40 but could pass for 30.

It was only a few minutes into the match when Sabin’s chest started bleeding from White’s chops. We’re talking not even two minutes. The two traded holds and Sabin eventually got the better of the exchange when he used an arm drag that knocked White off balance. As per usual, White then slid out to the floor for a breather; the “Keiji Muto” spot. He popped his head in between the ropes repeatedly to break the ring-out count, playing cutesy mind-games with his mentor.

White then walked around the corner of the ring and talked trash into the camera. While he wasn’t looking, Sabin darted out of the ring and took White out with a suicide dive through the ropes. He threw more chops before landing on White with a running cannonball off the apron. He used a side Russian leg sweep to slam White into the guardrail before earning a two-count for a beautiful cross body block off the ropes back in the ring.

Sabin took control for a bit until he went back to the top rope for an attack. White caught him with another hard chop, and Sabin fell to the floor. Sabin’s chest was purple by now.

White took control of the match from here. After dropping Sabin on the apron with a backdrop suplex and gourdbuster, he slowed Sabin’s momentum and held him firmly in the center of the mat, squeezing on a headlock for a while. Sabin kept fighting back but White would shut him down each time until Sabin was able to connect with a jumping enzuigiri kick to White’s face. Sabin then unloaded more strikes on White before catching him with a big missile dropkick.

The two traded DDTs. Sabin answered White’s DDT with a tornado DDT of his own and earned a two-count. The crowd started chanting “this is awesome.” Just over ten minutes had passed when White caught Sabin with a backdrop driver and followed it up with a Bladebuster for two. White began shouting at referee Jeremy Marcus, insinuating that Marcus was slow on the count.

White caught Sabin with a flatliner before folding him with a deadlift release German suplex. The fifteen-minute call sounded after White planted Sabin with a big uranage.

By this point, the crowd had gotten really into the match and were split between White and Sabin, with one side chanting “let’s go, Sabin!” and one chanting “let’s go, Switchblade!”

Sabin later removed his elbow pad, then decked White with a lariat, but when he went for the Cradle Shock, White reversed it into the Bladerunner for the three-count. This was high-level stuff.

Afterwards, White grabbed a microphone and explained that Bullet Club is cutting dead weight, and that the fans would soon learn who is really with Bullet Club and who is really against them. Before he could finish, Hikuleo’s music hit.

As mentioned earlier, Hikuleo is still technically a part of Bullet Club, but his older brothers seem to be the “dead weight” that was cut from the crew. according to Jay White.

White said he knew he was going to have to have this conversation at some point. He told Hikuleo that his brothers’ time with Bullet Club had expired, but his hasn’t. White also told him that he was the future of Bullet Club. He insisted Hikuleo just trust him and listen to him. White threw up the “too sweet” gesture.

Hikuleo agreed that he was the future of Bullet Club, and that Bullet Club was, indeed, “for life,” but before he reciprocated the “too sweet,” he asked White why the future couldn’t start “right here, right now.”

White grabbed the mic and said that if he had what it takes to lead Bullet Club and dominate the wrestling world, then he’d have to teach Hikuleo a lesson.

“I’ll open up those lungs for you and teach you how to breathe.” Before finishing, he told Hikuleo that it was still “his era.” He then exited to the back, leaving Hikuleo alone in the ring.

Final thoughts:

This was another great episode of Strong, and more substantial than usual due to the 90-minute format. White vs. Sabin and Alexander vs. Fredericks are excellent singles matches that are absolutely worth making time for. The tag match between Kingston and Rosser & Garcia and Yehi was a fun brawl, too, a somewhat old-school style one. Kingston and Rosser complement each other extremely well and come off as believable powerhouses together, and it’s clearly because of their ring style. No fanciness, no gloss, just fighting.

New Japan of America’s next event will be next week in Chicago for the Windy City Riot pay-per-view, which can be purchased on either FITE.tv or the NJPW World streaming app.