This week saw the third installment of the NJPW Strong: Nemesis tapings from Hollywood, CA.
Royce Isaacs (with Jorel Nelson) defeated Lucas Riley
Nelson accompanied his West Coast Wrecking Crew partner to the ring for the match. He jaw-jacked from the floor before things got started.
Isaacs out-wrestled Riley on the mat early on. Riley did a headscissors and a springboard swanton. Isaacs came back and hoisted Riley into the air with a delayed hanging suplex. Nelson then hopped in the ring and the Team Filthy members ended up posing for the crowd.
The crowd eventually got behind Riley. Nelson told announcer Kevin Kelly, who was at ringside with Alex Koslov, to clean his glasses. Riley hit the Orb of Confusion late in the match, but Isaacs responded with a mid-air powerslam for two. He put Riley away after a big deadlift German suplex. Isscs and Nelson did a chest bump afterwards.
Juice Robinson defeated Bad Dude Tito
This was a very good, hard-hitting match. It was Tito’s NJPW debut. Viewers may recognize him as a regular on Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport events. We saw a different style from Tito here, a more traditional pro wrestling approach. His ring gear had him looking like a modern-day Hercules Hernandez.
The crowd wouldn’t stop chanting “JUICE!” throughout the bout. The two were on the floor brawling early in the match, chopping each other up before Robinson suplexed Tito on the floor.
Back in the ring, Tito landed a huge spinebuster. Robinson later connected with a big senton. They did a double-KO spot after they crashed into each other with lariats.
Robinson connected with more of his Terry Funk-style jabs. Tito came back with a blue thunder bomb for a two-count. Later, Tito connected with a Death Valley Bomb, again for two. By this point the Hollywood crowd was audibly split between Robinson and Tito.
When Tito went to the top turnbuckle for a dive, Robinson connected with the Left Hand of God punch, then planted him with a draping Pulp Friction from off the top. Robinson then put Tito away with a sitout fisherman’s buster, which seems to be Robinson’s new finisher. Again, this was really damn good.
Robinson grabbed a microphone and called out JONAH next. JONAH walked to the ring, albeit slowly. When he finally made his way into the ring, Bad Dude Tito snuck over to Robinson and held his ankle so JONAH could attack him. Tito and JONAH then climbed to opposite corners and teased a double-splash until David Finlay came out to make the save for Robinson. So, JONAH and Bad Dude Tito are aligned now, and I’m sure we’ll see those two versus FinJuice soon.
Rocky Romero, Rust Taylor & Fred Rosser defeated Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Black Tiger & Jorel Nelson with Royce Isaacs)
There were loud “ROC-KY!” chants before things got started. Romero and Black Tiger kicked things off for their teams, continuing their recent feud between each other. The announcers have established Black Tiger as an imposter, as he isn’t a part of the small club of wrestlers who’ve been under the Black Tiger hood, which includes Romero and the late Eddie Guerreo.
Without delay, Romero ran across the ring and blasted Tiger in the face with a flying knee. Fred Rosser, who has become NJPW Strong’s resident brawler, was in soon after Romero. He took the fight to the floor, causing bedlam not even five minutes into the match.
Team Filthy triple teamed Romero once the match settled back into the ring. At one point, Royce Isaacs, who was at ringside with Team Filthy, hopped into the ring for a four-man pose over Romero. Lawlor held up a sign from the crowd that said “YA FILTHY ANIMALS.” The crowd enjoyed that.
Rust Taylor finally had a chance to tag into the match and went to town on Filthy Tom. Lawlor made a comeback after ambushing Taylor when he had his back turned. Lawlor would deck Rust with a few closed fists and would later slam him.
Rosser eventually came in and made the save for Taylor. He went at it with recent rival Lawlor, as Team Filthy are responsible for Rosser’s new bald-headed look, when they shaved his head at the Philadelphia NJPW Strong tapings in November. Nelson and Lawlor landed a Hart Attack and then a Boston Crab-flying knee drop combo for a near fall.
Taylor connected with his finisher, a snapping front-neckbreaker, dropping Nelson for the win.
Afterwards, Romero and the imposter Black Tiger got into it on the floor despite the match being over. Romero locked an armbar on Tiger and had to be dragged to the back. This match did a good job of advancing whatever they have planned for Romero and Tiger while also shining up the returning Rust Taylor with a decisive win.
Juice Robinson vs. Bad Dude Tito was the show-stealer tonight. Should it have main-evented the episode? I think so. The final six-man tag team match was good, but Robinson vs. Tito really stuck out. All in all, it was a solid, very watchable episode of NJPW Strong that clocked in at just under an hour.