Tonight saw the next set of matches from NJPW Strong's "Showdown" tour in Hollywood, California.
During the show introduction with announcers Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov, "Filthy" Tom Lawlor appeared to share some thoughts with the audience at home. He first explained how his Team Filthy teammates JR Kratos & Danny Limelight had come "within a kangaroo hair" of beating NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team champions, Aussie Open, and that'd after they put away "two soup cans" Jordan Cruz & Adrian Quest, they would come back to Aussie Open to bring home the titles for Team Filthy.
Lawlor also talked about his match against Homicide, which will air next week, saying he's not afraid of an "untrained street thug" and that he'd take him out in their upcoming match.
Kenny King defeated Che Cabrera
This was Kenny King's NJPW Strong debut. To NJPW fans, he's known as the man who eliminated both Jushin Liger & The Great Muta in the Rumble at NJPWxROH's G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden.
King put Cabrera down with a spinebuster for a count of two. Later, Cabrera took King out on the floor with a nice pescado dive over the ropes.
When Cabrera went to the top rope for a final attack, King caught him with an enzuigiri to the back of his head. King then put Cabrera away with the Royal Flush for the win.
Team Filthy (JR Kratos & Danny Limelight) defeated Jordan Cruz & Adrian Quest
Cruz has been on NJPW Strong in the past, but here he had more time to show off his in-ring skill. He ragdolled Limelight early on, throwing him back and forth between gutwrench suplexes & forward gutbusters. The Hollywood crowd sounded very into it.
When JR Kratos tagged in, he mowed Cruz down with a falling lariat. Him and Danny Limelight later showed off some nice tag teamwork, with Kratos popping Limelight up for a double stomp onto Cruz.
Cruz was able to power up and almost pick Kratos up with a fireman's carry. He was able to take him out with a sliding lariat, though, and from there he was able to finally tag out to Adrien Quest. Crowd was hot by this point.
Kratos put Quest down with a big superplex for two. Limelight then put Quest away with a tornado destroyer for the win.
Bullet Club members Chris Bey, Juice Robinson & El Phantasmo appeared in a vignette next. They talked about Bey & ELP's upcoming tag match against Blake Christian (who Bey described as looking like a Dorito) & Mascara Dorada. Robinson also talked about his match that'd be airing two weeks from today with Jake Something. Robinson said he "had something for Something."
Minoru Suzuki defeated Fred Yehi
This was great. Suzuki & Yehi went hold for hold at the beginning, exchanging positional control without many attempts at submitting one another. When Suzuki held Yehi in a side headlock, Yehi sold his ear, as though the hold made his cauliflower ear worse. Seeing that, Suzuki immediately grabbed on to both of Yehi's ears and yanked on them.
The two began trading hard strikes next. During their chop contest, Yehi tricked Suzuki and went for an ankle pick takedown instead of giving Suzuki another chop. The crowd booed Yehi for that.
Suzuki trapped Yehi in a triangle choke over the ropes. The fight spilled out onto the floor from here. Yehi started biting Suzuki. Suzuki grabbed a chair and brought it into the ring. Yehi stole it from Suzuki, but the referee tried grabbing it out of Yehi's hands. While the two fought over the chair in the ring, Suzuki rolled out to the floor and grabbed another steel folding chair, brought it into the ring. While the referee was passing the first chair out of the ring to the ring announcer, Suzuki whacked Yehi from behind with the second chair, all behind the ref's back. Suzuki then dropped to the mat and feigned injury, holding his head like he'd also just been hit by a chair. He was back up after a few moments, though, with a smirk on his face. The crowd chanted "You sick f*ck!" at Suzuki.
The match spilled back onto the floor. Suzuki teased doing a Gotch-style Piledriver on the ring announcer's table but Yehi escaped. Suzuki Chopped Yehi up against the guardrail, practically on top of fans in the front row.
Back in the ring, Suzuki bent & twisted Yehi's wrist and finger joints around in circles. Yehi was able to slip away and lock Suzuki in the Koji Clutch until Suzuki put his foot on the bottom rope for the break.
The two traded forearms in the middle of the ring. Suzuki caught him with a heavy shot and knocked Yehi to the mat. When Suzuki tried doing it one more time, Yehi was able to catch Suzuki again, like earlier, when Suzuki telegraphed the forearm and Yehi countered with a drop toehold. The crowd booed this, too. I thought it was really clever but I guess people just love Suzuki that much.
The finish saw Suzuki catch Yehi in a sleeperhold before cracking him once more and putting Yehi away with a Gotch-style piledriver. Suzuki terrorized the referee afterwards and teased a piledriver for him as well.
The main event on this week's episode was great. Fred Yehi deserves a lot more credit than he gets right now, so if you've slept on him in the past, introduce yourself with this match he had against Minoru Suzuki. Great stuff.
Next week's main event sees "Filthy" Tom Lawlor taking on Homicide.