This week's NJPW Strong opened with a good tag team match. In all, this was one excellent hour of pro wrestling. Each match was high quality, but the two singles bouts on tonight's episode were really good.
West Coast Wrecking Crew (Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson) defeated Jakob Austin Young & Gregory Sharpe
This marked Young & Sharpe's debut on Strong, but they have teamed together in China in the past. West Coast Wrecking Crew picked up the win with a finishing sequence that went like this: Nelson caught Sharpe with a pop-up power bomb, slingshotted him to Isaacs who hoisted Sharpe into a death valley bomb, dropping Sharpe onto Nelson's knees, adding a backcracker effect. West Coast Wrecking Crew looked strong here.
- Alex Zayne talked about his upcoming match in New York against Blake Christian & Mascara Dorada and announced that Misitico would be his tag team partner in their match at next week's Rumble on 42nd St.
Yuya Uemura defeated Christopher Daniels
A package aired explaining the backstory in this grudge match, looking back at how those two had partnered together over the summer in the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Tournament but lost in the finals to Aussie Open. It was when Daniels & Uemura lost to TMDK at Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2022 that Daniels turned his back on the former LA Dojo Young Lion as after their bout, Daniels attacked Uemura and left him flattened in the ring after two double-jump moonsaults.
Before the match, Daniels got on the mic and said he would speak slowly "for all the morons & meth heads in Las Vegas." He said he was the king of Southern California and that he is the most important professional wrestler to ever come out of Southern California.
"Los Angeles is the City of Angels—my city!" Daniels complained that the LA Dojo wasn't putting out great talent like him. He said he's at a point in his career where he should not have to "put up with failure," and that no one was a bigger failure than Uemura. He said that even though he didn't want anything to do with Uemura, he would gladly fight him in a singles match.
Uemura's music sounded and he appeared at the entrance ramp. He then dashed to the ring and went right at Daniels, taking him down with a double leg before raining fists down on him. Uemura came off like a real bad ass. He continued running roughshod over Daniels, blasting him with a high dropkick in the corner.
Uemura then slipped off his trunks, the ones that Daniels had given him that were said to be a gift. I appreciated Ian Riccaboni's quick explanation because otherwise I would have thought Uemura was about to go full-on Danshoku Dieno. (Uemura had another pair of regular trunks on under his black striped ones for the record.) Uemura began choking Daniels with the gifted trunks.
Uemura continued to punish Daniels, battering him on the floor at ringside. When Uemura went to suplex him back into the ring off the apron, Daniels blocked and raked Uemura's eyes. This shifted the momentum in Daniels' favor.
Later, when Daniels had Uemura facing the corner, he climbed atop Uemura and did the ten punches spot, but the brilliant part of this spot was that Uemura was facing away from Daniels so that Uemura had no way to block his punches. Why doesn't anyone else do this? It's the logical fix to a historically silly spot, plus the crowd can still chant numbers if they want to.
Uemura came back with a missile dropkick off the second rope, then a flying bulldog off the opposite second rope. When Uemura whipped Daniels into the ropes, he went up for a leapfrog, but Daniels caught Uemura mid-air and spiked him with a death valley bomb.
Uemura would attempt a sudden frankensteiner, but Daniels had that scouted and dropped him mid-air with a power bomb. Daniels didn't go for a pin and was slow to get up. After a few moments, he was back on his feet and called for Angel's Wings, but Uemura, too, had Daniels scouted and was prepared to block Daniels' finisher. Uemura pulled his back to the mat, and then scooped and stacked Daniels into a pin for a three count. Uemura earned a huge surprise win over Daniels.
Daniels attacked Uemura after the match, clobbering him with an forearm before dropping him with a tombstone piledriver and then an Angel's Wings onto a chair. The crowd booed as Daniels celebrated his attack while he exited to the back. Uemura was helped to the back by NJPW Strong staff.
Shingo Takagi defeated Rocky Romero
Takagi is the current King of Pro Wrestling champion, but he didn't bring the trophy to the ring with him tonight. The two opponents elicited dueling chants from the crowd.
Romero caught Takagi with two suicide dives just a couple minutes in. Back in the ring, Romero unloaded a variety of hard kicks onto Takagi, who ate all of them before asking for more. Takagi walked over to the corner and slammed his head into the turnbuckle pads repeatedly, essentially telling Romero that it's going to take more than low and middle kicks to break him down. Takagi would lay Romero out with a standing lariat and then a lariat that took Romero over the top rope out onto the floor. The crowd chanted, "This is awesome!"
Later, Takagi put Romero down with a big vertical suplex. Takagi began peppering Romero with haughty kicks; short, disrespectful ones. This fired Romero up and led to him slapping Takagi in the face. They traded slaps and chops before Romero was able to knock Takagi off his feet with an enzuigiri to the back of the head.
Romero caught Takagi with his Strong Zero missile dropkick for two. Romero shouted something at Takagi, something along the lines of "Come on, Takagi!" with a few stronger words included, but it was bleeped on NJPW World. Whatever it was he said had the crowd going "Oooooh!"
Romero hit a modified falcon arrow before locking in an armbar submission until he was forced to break. Takagi came back later with a sliding basement lariat, then Made in Japan for a count of two. The crowd was hot by this point.
Takagi went for Last of the Dragon, but Romero slipped out and caught Takagi with a sunset cradle for two. He connected with a Rewind Kick. Romero avoided a Pumping Bomber before catching Takagi with Shiranui. Takagi answered with a death valley bomb as the crowd got hotter. He caught Romero with a few lariats before a big Pumping Bomber.
He didn't want to pin Romero, though, and got the crowd more into the match, enticing them to keep the chants going. When he finally lifted Romero into Last of the Dragon, Romero countered with a frankensteiner for two. Romero caught Takagi with a rolling armbar and transitioned into a triangle for a few moments. Takagi powered out and then finally drilled Romero with Last of the Dragon for an emphatic win in just over 15 minutes.
- Next week: Tomohiro Ishii vs. F4W's very own "Filthy" Tom Lawlor.