Fred Rosser defeated Clark Connors
Connors tried taking Rosser down early, but Rosser wasn’t having that and exited the ring to collect himself. Once back in the ring, Rosser took control on offense and muscled Connors to the mat. After a legdrop, Rosser locked on a modified STF lock until Connors caught the ropes for a break.
Connors shifted the momentum and returned Rosser’s offense with intensity. There were lots of hard stomps and forearms. He then locked on a Boston crab until Rosser made it to the ropes for a break of his own.
The finish saw Rosser catch Connors with a kneelift when Connors went for a spear, then put him away with a gutbuster for the win. Solid stuff from both.
Karl Fredericks defeated ACH
Fredericks’ athleticism is pretty unreal. He landed a picture-perfect crossbody early on in this, as graceful as ever for someone his size. It sort of had me doing a spit-take.
ACH countered an early offensive flurry from Fredericks with a smooth sliding sweep, then a basement dropkick to lay Fredericks out. He slowed the pace down, locking in a side headlock to ground the taller Fredericks.
Fredericks came back at ACH with a Stinger splash and a big jumping elbow drop. After the five-minute call, things began heating up. The two traded moves up until Fredericks was able to whip ACH into a sleeper hold, no doubt a nod to his trainer, Shibata. Fredericks then put ACH away with Manifest Destiny for the upset win.
This was really good, and both looked top-notch.
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa) defeated Brody King and Flip Gordon
King and Loa were in first for their teams and they hoss’d it up to start, big-man elbows and big-man chops. King hit a crossbody, then tagged out to Flip Gordon. When Gordon went to springboard into the ring, Tama Tonga dragged him to the floor by the ankle. G.O.D. bullied Flip outside the ring for a while until Loa threw Gordon back inside. Tama Tonga tagged in and worked over Flip from here. He was great in this.
Gordon used a high dropkick and was able to tag out to a fired up King on the apron. He and Tonga Loa had good chemistry together throughout this, especially in their second major exchange towards the finish. The two crashed to the floor after King landed a big clothesline over the ropes.
Flip fired up towards the end, but Tama Tonga caught him in mid-air and put him down with a sweet-looking Gun Stun for the win.
The NJPW Showdown tour was announced for next week’s episode of NJPW Strong.
Jay White defeated Rocky Romero
Romero pinned Jay White in a 12-man elimination match on an episode a few weeks back, so that was the story going into this.
White trash-talked Romero at the start, antagonizing him until Rocky slapped White hard across the face. He then cradled White for a two count, all only seconds after the bell sounded.
They kept the pace at a high tempo for the first few minutes. White slowed the match after shutting down Romero’s ‘Forever Clotheslines’ in the corner.
Jay White eventually started bullying Romero, disrespecting him, and constantly talking trash. Romero would periodically try mounting a comeback, but White would shut it down.
Romero eventually turned the match in his favor after landing a swinging tornado DDT and Strong Zero for a close near-fall.
White was in control of things as the ring announcer made the ten-minute call. He placed Romero on the top rope, but Rocky broke Jay’s grip and locked on a kimura until White backed off.
Romero had White locked in an armbar only moments later and looked to have White in a bad spot; his selling was convincing.
Following that submission, Romero landed two really close 2.99 near-falls, first with a backslide and later after hitting Sliced Bread. Rocky went for another, but White countered it into a nasty-looking backbreaker, then followed up with the Bladerunner to put Romero away.
White talked on the mic in the ring afterwards. “I am in control of everything.” He kept jawing at Rocky and in the direction of CHAOS, then hit of couple of his current catchphrases (“I single-handedly sold out Madison Square Garden,” “I’m the real rock’n’rolla”) before taking off.
This was yet another solid episode of NJPW Strong, with all matches honestly being worth a look. The main event was on par with most of what we saw over the G1 Climax last month. The tag match was very good, as were the two openers, particularly in Fredericks vs. ACH. Next week's episode will start the NJPW Showdown tour.