Bullet Club (Hikuleo & Chris Bey) Stray Dog Army (Bateman & Barrett Brown)
Brown and Bey were first for their teams. They locked up but neither could gain the upper hand. After a stalemate, Bey threw up the Too Sweet gesture and asked if Brown wanted in Bullet Club. Brown flipped him off instead. From here, they kicked their exchange into full gear, running the ropes, trading headscissors and chops.
Later, the two taller teammates, Bateman and Hikuleo, squared off. Bateman tried chopping Hikuleo down with elbows, but Hikuleo wouldn’t budge. He sent Bateman flying with a shoulder block. When the match spilled to the floor, Hikuleo hoisted Bateman up and dropped him throat-first into the guardrail with snake eyes.
Bey tagged himself in back in the ring. Hikuleo looked annoyed by that, continuing the storyline between Hikuleo and the Bullet Club.
Bey used a variety of submissions on Bateman, taking the taller Bateman off his feet and neutralizing him in the center of the ring. When the ten-minute call sounded, Bateman was able to slam Bey into the corner post, breaking a sleeper, and eventually tagged out to a fresh Barrett Brown, who cleaned house.
Hikuleo and Bateman got into it a few moments later. Chris Bey low bridged Bateman over the ropes onto the floor, then dived onto him with a tope con giro. In the ring, Brown tried coming off the top rope, but Hikuleo shut it down. He finished Brown off with a massive chokeslam to pick up the win for Bullet Club.
Bey tried celebrating with Hikuleo after the match, but the big man wasn’t having it as he was still sore over G.O.D.'s fresh removal from Bullet Club.
JONAH defeated Blake Christian
Speaking of JONAH, the “Top Dog” just recently left IMPACT Wrestling.
Christian went in for a double-leg early on, but JONAH peeled Christian off and placed him on the apron. Back in the ring, Christian tried flipping and weaving out of JONAH’s way in an attempt to find an opening or at least tire JONAH out, but to no avail. JONAH press slammed Christian, then dropped him onto the guardrail before throwing him back in the ring for more punishment.
Chrisitian came back and connected with a tornado DDT before diving onto JONAH with a Fosbury Flop to the floor. No luck on the Flop, though, since JONAH caught him mid-air. Christian did, however, get himself out of the pickle by using yet another swinging DDT on JONAH, this time onto the floor. Christian then scored a nearfall with a springboard 450. Christian flew off the ropes again, but this time JONAH caught him flush with a cross body-block. He then power bombed Christian onto the Lion Mark logo, then squashed him with the Bam Bam Bigelow-style diving splash for an emphatic finish, which woke up the crowd.
Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Royce Isaacs & JR Kratos) defeated Fred Rosser, Alex Coughlin and The DKC
“Why are they so small?!” Kevin Kelly exclaimed. He was referring to Team Filthy, who decided to wear tiny sombreros to the ring for this match. The Three Filthy Amigos.
Coughlin and Kratos got into each other’s faces during the ring announcements before the match. When things got underway, it looked as though Rosser and Isaacs would start the match off for their teams, but before they could lock up, JR Kratos dashed to the opposite corner and ambushed Coughlin. Rosser saw what happened, so instead of locking up with Isaacs, he enacted some tit for tat action and bashed “Filthy” Tom off the apron. The match immediately turned into a scene of bedlam, with bodies flying everywhere, both in and out of the ring.
When the match settled back into the ring, Coughlin laid Isaacs out with a gutwrench suplex. Coughlin tagged out to Rosser, who tenderized Isaacs with a series of forearms, but Isaacs returned fire with a capture suplex. He tagged Lawlor into the match next. Lawlor did the Filthy Strut before working Rosser over in the corner. Team Filthy would take turns beating on Rosser, each tagging in and out. Rosser was able to muscle out of the blue corner, lay Lawlor and Isaacs out with a double lariat, and finally tag out to the DKC.
DKC was fired up when he got back into the ring, but Kratos steamrolled him within seconds, total kibosh. He flattened the DKC with a lariat, and later launched him with a vertical suplex. Lawlor and Isaacs would come into the ring and Team Filthy posed over a dazed DKC.
Kratos tagged Lawlor in. His plan to take advantage of a helpless DKC backfired when Rosser decided to drag Lawlor out of the ring by his ankles. Rosser planted him with a falling backdrop on the apron after whipping him into the barricade outside the ring.
Back in the ring, Kratos and Coughlin finally had their chance to go at it one-on-one. Coughlin tried lifting Kratos in a fireman’s carry, but no dice. Their fight went onto the floor next, while the DKC chopped up a storm back in the ring. He likes to do a spot where he takes a prone opponent, lies them back-first across his knee, then proceeds to shout “DKC FIRE!” before furiously chopping the opponent in the throat with knife-edged karate chops. He did DKC Fire to both Lawlor and Isaacs, but earned only a two when he pinned Lawlor.
Lawlor came back and slammed the DKC into his team’s corner, but when he and Isaacs went for a double-team gutbuster type move, the DKC slipped out of Isaac’s clutch and Isaacs’ ended up coming face-down onto Lawlor’s knees. The DKC then took Lawlor out with a Liu Kang-style jump kick.
When the DKC went to the top rope, Lawlor climbed up from behind him and slapped on a sleeper. This gave Isaacs a chance to grab the DKC and take him out with a spinning avalanche powerslam for the win.
Right after the match, Fred Rosser got on the mic and said when he challenged Tom Lawlor in Florida for his STRONG Openweight championship, Lawlor just walked away “like a little bitch.” On this night in Texas, he demanded a shot at Lawlor’s title. Lawlor said that his answer again was “no.”
But then Lawlor said he was feeling generous. He asked if Rosser was “feeling ready for primetime,” a subtle dig at Rosser’s time in WWE as part of the Primetime Players tag team. He asked if Rosser would show up, or would he prove to Lawlor that he’s the same guy he was ten years ago. He then offered Rosser a shot at the STRONG Openweight title, with the caveat being he must beat both Royce Isaacs and Isaacs’ tag team partner, Jorel Nelson, in a handicap match at NJPW Strong: Mutiny in Hollywood. Lawlor said he wasn’t worried, though, because he believed that still, even after a handicap match, his answer to Rosser would be “no.”
Tonight’s NJPW Strong was solid fare, as usual. It was more focused on storytelling and prolonged angles, like the story between Hikuleo and Bullet Club and the continuation of the Fred Rosser vs. Team Filthy feud.
Next week sees the first episode from NJPW Strong’s Mutiny tapings from Hollywood.