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NJPW Strong results: KENTA vs. Jeff Cobb


TJP and ACH defeated Adrian Quest and Logan Riegel

Veterans vs. young guns here. Riegel and ACH were in first and exploded into action from the bell, Riegel storming at ACH, who leapfrogged out of the way.

Quest landed a twisting springboard cross-body block on TJP next. Lots of fast and technical action between these two.

After the veteran team handled business for a few minutes, Riegel tagged out to Quest, who landed a big cross body from the top onto both TJP and ACH, shifting the momentum for a bit until ACH spiked Quest with a brainbuster, then pinned him after a diving splash off the top for the win.

Rocky Romero defeated Danny Limelight via submission

Natural chemistry between these two. Limelight got huge air when he landed a dive to the floor onto Romero early in the match.

Romero used Strong Zero for two. Limelight later went for a diving tornado ddt but Romero blocked it, then snapped a Limelight down with an armbreaker. He later put Limelight away with an arm lock submission for the win. Good match.

Between matches, they announced that the next volume in NJPW Strong starts next week with Lion’s Break Crown.

Guerillas of Destiny defeated PJ Black and Dave Finlay

Black and Finlay were stablemates for a brief time last year as a part of the Lifeblood faction. Black and Tonga were first in for their teams. Tonga rolled to the floor early on and jaw jacked with Black and later Finlay for most of the first part of this.

Finlay countered next with a high dropkick. Later, when Tonga slid to the floor again, Loa jumped in and took out Finlay while he wasn’t paying attention. He then body slammed him onto the floor as the ref started the count out call.

Loa and Black were in together late in the match. Black landed a top rope springboard moonsault for two. When he went for the Placebo Effect, Tonga crotched him on the turnbuckle. Loa went on to pin Black after using Apes**t (fire-thunder driver). Fine match.

KENTA defeated Jeff Cobb

Announcer Kevin Kelley mentioned their recent US title tournament match where Cobb scored a “visual pinfall” despite KENTA winning the actual match after a low blow behind the ref’s back.

KENTA rolled to the floor immediately and for the first few minutes stalled. When he finally got back into the ring, he laced Cobb with hard leg kicks. Cobb sold them really well, even to a point where KENTA taunted him, asking “do you give up?” While they circled each other.

Cobb launched KENTA with a front suplex and KENTA slid to the floor to gather himself. He snuck back in the ring and went after Cobb’s legs with kicks again. KENTA then took Cobb to the mat and continued working over Cobb's leg, mixing submission holds and hard low kicks as part of his attack.

Cobb used a short lariat to put KENTA out for a bit. When he tried landing his running elbow from corner to corner, he sold his leg like it was too painful to even run across the ring. When he couldn’t make it to the corner, KENTA capitalized and took control from there, first planting Cobb with a draping DDT.

Cobb rallied back with a big Samoan drop, then went for the Tour of the Islands, but KENTA used the ref for leverage to pull himself out of the hold. Cobb almost clocked the ref, like in their previous match, but he stopped himself first. It was pointless, though, because once again, KENTA grabbed the ref, pulling in the way. Cobb accidentally punched him out as a result. KENTA then laid Cobb out with a regular DDT, then rolled to the floor to get a chair. 

When he went to smash Cobb with said chair, Cobb blocked it, then used a spin cycle suplex on KENTA for another "visual pinfall," as the ref was still out at this point. After a few more moments, KENTA used a low blow on Cobb, but Cobb powered through the pain and planted KENTA with Tour of the Islands, though Cobb couldn’t pin KENTA because of his injured leg.

When the ref was finally back up, he started counting but only made it to two--Chase Owens dragged him out of the ring, then went after Cobb and beat on him in the ring. Cobb again powered through the ambush, taking Owens out, but KENTA found time to grab his red IWGP US title contract briefcase and hit Cobb with it before landing Go-2-Sleep to score the win.

KENTA cut a promo afterwards saying he'd win the US title soon, but didn't mention Jon Moxley, the current champion, by name.

Final thoughts:

This was one of the weaker episodes of NJPW Strong. To be fair, they've set a high bar from the start, so it's not to say tonight's episode was bad by any means. But it definitely felt stale at times. 

The main event was the best match on the card, but the finish was weak. It was basically a rehash of their recent US tournament, and while both were good, it has me asking, "What was the point of that?" Also, NJPW's dependence on ref bumps to protect booking plans has gone too far. We’re moving towards go-away heat at this point. These are macro-nitpicks, though, as tonight's show was still good.

The show will host a series called Lion's Break Crown starting next week. Stay tuned to the front page for more details.