This week's show was the third from the Autumn Attack tapings from Texas.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Ren Narita, Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight & The DKC defeated David Finlay, Fred Yehi, Wheeler Yuta, Will Allday & Brogan Finlay
This featured wild action from beginning to end. Brogan Finlay (David's brother) and Allday made their Strong debuts.
Yuta and Knight were in first, were great together and could tear it up in a singles match. Allday and Coughlin were in together next. On commentary, Alex Koslov called Coughlin “The Wall.” The kid is truly a brick shIthouse. “Mustache and muscle," said Matt Rehwoldt.
Coughlin barked at Allday “You! Here! Now!” to come out of the corner and to the center of the ring, channeling his inner-Shibata. He hit a double gutwrench suplex on Allday and Yuta. Yes, two guys up and over at the same time. Coughlin is unreal.
The DKC and Yehi were in next. Yehi is pure technique mashed with raw power. Later, we got a glimpse of the 18-year-old Brogan, who resembles his father Fit a lot more than David. He has a similar singlet and similar dark long hair, too.
Taguchi later tagged in and cleaned house with a series of flying hip attacks. (I guess the “Funky Weapon” is his ass, right? It’s finally coming together.) He sounded like the most popular wrestler in the match. David Finlay neutralized the Weapon with a number of atomic drops.
Brogan came close to pinning Narita with a fisherman’s suplex and a couple of near falls. Narita answered with a brainbuster and tapped young Brogan out with—what else?—a Boston crab.
Chris Dickinson and Robbie Eagles defeated Bullet Club (El Phantasmo and Chris Bey)
This was the first time Phantasmo and Bey were in tag action together under Bullet Club.
Dickinson ragdolled Bey around the ring early on. Eagles, the current IWGP Junior heavyweight champion, and ELP had a nice exchange next. I could see them having a match for the title soon. Eagles did a crazy Dickinson-assisted tope onto the floor, taking out the the two latest Bullet Club members. Dickinson taunted ELP by doing his “too sweet” pose.
Later, El Phantasmo did four handsprings, a couple forward rolls, a backward-walking handstand and a spin before raking Eagles’ back. ELP is truly the Tiger Mask of backrakes.
Dickinson eventually made the save and cleaned house. He hit a double vertical suplex to Bey and ELP and then spiked Phantasmo with a brainbuster before Bey broke up the pin.
The finish saw Eagles and Bey go at it before the junior champion took Bey out with a 450 splash to the knee. He then proceeded to lock in the Ron Miller Special which got Bey to tap. Dickinson made sure ELP didn’t break things up and laid him out with a death valley bomb. This was really good.
United Empire (Will Ospreay & TJP) defeated Karl Fredericks and Clark Connors
They promoted this as Ospreay teaming with a mystery partner, but that was because the people at the venue weren’t privy to TJP joining United Empire at the prior Autumn Attack show in Texas.
Fredericks and Connors went after TJP and Ospreay before the bell rang. This was bedlam from the get-go with lots of brawling around the ring.
TJP, who was Connors’ mentor before last week’s heel turn, worked him over in the beginning. He gave him a series of hard face-wash kicks in the corner and later locked him in a reverse Indian deathlock. Ospreay tagged in laid in a few punches before Connors exploded, bowling Ospreay over with a running pounce before he tagged out to Fredericks.
Fredericks got another chance to be in the ring with Ospreay after last week’s singles match. He planted Ospreay with a spinebuster off the ropes and tagged out to Connors. Ospreay tagged out to TJP, but Connors was able to launch TJP with a big German suplex. He would later blast a seated TJP in the face with a diving back elbow from off the top ropes for two. Ten minutes had passed at this point.
The finish saw Connors run at TJP head-first in the corner, but TJP slipped out of the way, and Ospreay, who was on the floor, quickly removed the turnbuckle padding, so Connors crashed into an exposed ring post. TJP used a roll up and pulled on Connors’ tights for extra leverage to score the win for his team to end this good brawl.
Afterward, Ospreay attempted to lay out Connors again with a Hidden Blade elbow, but the rest of the LA Dojo trainees (Kevin Knight, Alex Coughlin, Ren Narita, the DKC, Yuya Uemura) came out ot the ring to make the save.
Juice Robinson defeated Hikuleo in a Texas bullrope match
Robinson was dressed in appropriate pro wrestling street fight attire: jeans with kneepads worn over them and a white tank top.
The rules: both wrestlers are bound at the wrist by the bullrope, roughly ten feet apart meaning both wrestlers would be forced to make contact. This was no DQ, no countout with the finish by ref stoppage, pin or submission.
Hikuleo attacked Robinson before the bell and removed his wrist from the rope, whipping Robinson with the bullrope. The referee ordered him to reattach the rope but Hikuleo refused and knocked him over. He powerslammed Robinson and strangled him with the bullrope. He hung Robinson with the bullrope from over the top rope.
Referee Jeremy Marcus finally made his way back into the match and Hikuleo and Robinson eventually reattached to each other at the wrists with the rope. Robinson pulled the rope forward while Hikuleo was across the ring on the adjacent side, pulling him face-first into the ringpost a few times. He tied Hikuleo against the ringpost on the floor with the rope and hit him a few times with a cooking pan that was under the ring. Hikuleo later got a hold of the pan and decked Robinson with it. The Dallas crowd started chanting “This is awesome.”
Hikuleo started dragging Robinson into the guardrail with the bullrope. When Hikuleo tried taking the fight backstage, like he did in his brawl with Fred Rosser earlier this year, Robinson fired back, blasting the very large Tongan with a garbage can lid to the head.
Robinson began throwing foreign objects into the ring: pans, a garbage can, and a number of steel chairs. He placed two chairs in the corner horizontally and went to whip Hikuleo into them, but Hikuleo reversed the whip, so Robinson had to baseball slide under the ropes to avoid slamming into the chairs. When he landed on the floor, he yanked on the bullrope which launched Hikuleo into the chairs. This spot could have been a disaster, but it was perfect in execution. These two are not small either, so respect to both for pulling it off.
Robinson went to the top rope in an attempt to finish off the match, but Hikuleo pulled the rope which pulled Robinson off the top. Hikuleo then chokeslammed him. He climbed atop Robinson in the corner and went to punch him in the head, but Juice slipped out from under him, then crotched him with the bullrope. Hikuleo crumbled to the mat and Robinson crotched him with the rope. I counted six yoinks. He landed one or two more before the end of the match.
Toward the end, Robinson put a garbage can over Hikuleo’s head and came off the middle rope to smash him with the cowbell part of the bullrope. He would then wrap the rope around Hikuleo’s neck and lock in what was basically a camel clutch with the bullrope until Hikuleo passed out. The ref called the match so Robinson won via TKO. Remember, Hikuleo didn’t tap—he passed out.
This might have been the most eclectic episode of NJPW Strong in its short existence. The latter half featured tons of brawling and the main event between Robinson and Hikuleo was undoubtedly their best of the handful they have had together this year. Both wrestlers have lots of fun in crazy gritty, dirty no-DQ brawls.
The first two matches showcased some of the best young talent the company has at the moment, including a handful of debuts. It was all action overall on another special 90-minute edition of the show.