The first set NJPW Strong’s High Alert tapings from North Carolina aired tonight, which featured the finals of the STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship tournament in the main event, with Christopher Daniels & Yuya Uemura taking on Aussie Open.
Jorel Nelson defeated Shane Haste
Good match with a nice last couple of minutes.
Haste caught Nelson with a nice basement dropkick before Nelson rolled out onto the floor. They brawled around ringside a bit before Nelson launched Haste with a back body drop onto the ring apron. Haste crashed onto the bottom rope on the way down.
Back in the ring, Nelson spun Haste with a reverse dragon screw leg whip before posing for the crowd. Nelson worked over Haste’s legs for the next few minutes. Nelson locked Haste in a Texas Cloverleaf.
Haste countered later with a DDT and later a short dive onto Nelson out to the floor. He threw Nelson back into the ring and and put him down with a big Liger Bomb for two. He dumped Nelson on his head with a backdrop suplex. Nelson came back suddenly with a Claymore Kick that spun Haste inside out.
When Nelson went to the top rope, Haste caught Nelson and perplexed him onto the Lion Mark in the middle of the ring. Shortly after this, Nelson, seemingly out of desperation, caught Haste in the back of the knee with a chop block, then school-boy’d him for the pin. Nelson clearly had a handful of Haste’s tights, too, which is illegal, but the referee missed it and counted to three.
A backstage vignette featuring Rocky Romero aired next. He talked about his three-way tag team match from AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door in June this year, when IWGP tag team champions Roppongi Vice took on FTR and United Empire. Romero explained he couldn’t stop thinking about when he had Dax Harwood pinned in the match. Romero promised he’d get the three-count at High Alert in his singles match with Dax Harwood, which is scheduled to air in a few weeks.
Hikuleo defeated Big Damo
This was a decent but short big man brawl. It was as if Hikuleo was the de facto babyface in this match based on how the North Carolina crowd reacted to him.
The two giants traded shoulder tackles early on. Hikuleo was able to knock Damo off his feet first, but the big man from Belfast was up quickly. While Hikuleo was hyping up the audience, Damo dashed at him, taking him out of the ring with a running lariat.
They brawled on the floor for a bit. Chops flew. Back in the ring, Big Damo would flatten Hikuleo with a big running cross body block, and later a cannonball into the corner. Damo would connect with a running senton later, but he missed on the Vader Bomb follow-up when Hikuleo rolled out of the way.
Hikuleo caught Damo coming off the ropes with a powerslam, but there must have been some miscommunication because it didn’t look like Hikuleo had a proper grip on Damo. He followed that up with a high chokeslam for the win in just over six minutes. The crowd was happy that Hikuleo won, but overall the finish felt a bit flat. I imagine when they have their rematch down the road, it’ll be better, especially if they’re in a different setting and given more time.
STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship finals: Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) defeated Christopher Daniels & Yuya Uemura to become the first STRONG Openweight Tag Team champions
This was really good. Daniels and Fletcher were in first for their teams. Daniels and Uemura would keep Fletcher close to their red corner and work him over with a constant double-team assault.
After a few minutes, Daniels would throw Fletcher to the floor and go for a pescado dive onto both him and Davis, but he missed after they moved. Uemura came running off the apron and dove onto Davis, who caught Uemura mid-air. He and Fletcher would then slam Daniels & Uemura into each other, back-first, before dropping them.
The bout moved back into the ring, with Aussie Open now in control of offense. They isolated Daniels near their blue corner and went on the attack with a series of double-team sequences. They held Daniels in a delayed suplex, with Davis passing Daniels off to Fletcher while hanging in the air before dropping him.
At the five-minute mark, Daniels was able to surprise Davis with an inside cradle pin, but Fletcher distracted the referee and couldn’t make the count in time. Daniels later came off the second rope with a frankensteiner from out of nowhere to Fletcher before finally tagging back out to Uemura, who came in as a proverbial house of fire. He planted Mark Davis with a back suplex for a count of two. The crowd got behind Uemura. He low-bridged Davis out of the ring before launching Fletcher with a double-overhook suplex.
Uemura and Daniels would pull off the double-team elevator bulldog on Kyle Fletcher, the same move that the Steiner Brothers used as a finish. It wasn’t enough to put Aussie Open away, though.
Fletcher and Davis would soon take Uemura out with The Dental Plan and a combination spinning Emerald Flowsion + second-rope diving DDT for a close two. The crowd started chanting “This is awesome!”
When Aussie Open went for Coriolis, their finisher, Daniels made the save for Uemura, who escaped the hold and rolled Davis up for a sudden nearfall. Daniels took Fletcher out with an STO before attempting another diving frankensteiner, but Davis blocked it and power bombed the 51-year-old Daniels coming off the top rope.
Aussie Open went for another Dental Plan, but Uemura blocked it, dropkicked Fletcher out of the ring, then caught Davis with a jumping frankensteiner into a cradle pin—the same one he used on TMDK to advance from the semi-finals—but Fletcher made it back into the ring to break up the pin attempt. More than ten minutes had passed by this point.
Mark Davis was finally able to neutralize Uemura, who was on fire, with a jumping enzuigiri kick. Kyle Fletcher followed up with a jumping lariat in the corner, dizzying Uemura. They’d then spike Uemura with Coriolis to put him away; Davis pinned Uemura for three as Fletcher held Daniels from getting back into the ring. Aussie Open are your first-ever STRONG Openweight Tag Team Champions.
Retired NJPW referee Tiger Hattori presented the team with the brand new title belts, which looked to have platinum plates with cerulean blue leather straps.
Backstage after the match, the team spoke about how they’d won the titles despite only being with NJPW Strong for a couple of months. They loudly claimed to be the best in the world and said they’d take on any team at any time, in any place. West Coast Wrecking Crew’s Jorel Nelson apparently heard this and appeared on screen moments later. He told Aussie Open that it was his team, the West Coast Wrecking Crew, that built NJPW Strong’s tag team division, and according to Nelson, that meant that WCWC deserved the first shot at Aussie Open’s new tag championship. Nelson mentioned NJPW Strong’s upcoming Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2022 event in Hollywood, California this month and said that’d be a good place for both teams to square off. After some light jaw-jacking back and forth, Aussie Open agreed to the match, but said they’d still be champions afterwards.
While the openers were solid, the main event is the highlight of this week’s show. It was a very good match that highlighted how much of a wrestling wizard Christopher Daniels is while also showcasing both Uemura and Aussie Open as three of the best younger wrestlers in the game at the moment.