By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Taped in Los Angeles, California
Streamed August 28, 2020 on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly kicked off the show, introducing the ‘Road to Fighting Spirit Unleashed’ as well as his guest for an interview, Jay White. Kelly asked White if he was wary of his match with Flip Gordon that will take place next week. White gave a fun answer, saying he would make light work of Flip Gordon. Jay White was noticeably wearing a Bullet Club style ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirt.
1. Jordan Clearwater vs. Danny Limelight. The two men circled each other with Limelight rattling off a couple leg kicks to start the match. Clearwater caught the third and tossed Limelight across the ring. The two reengaged with Limelight hitting Clearwater with a Hurricanrana, although Clearwater responded with two arm drags. They continued their running exchange with Clearwater getting a two count after a neckbreaker.
Limelight and Clearwater went back and forth, with Limelight hitting his opponent with a foot DDT to take advantage and started stomping on his leg. Limelight kicked Clearwater to the ground before picking him up and sending him back down with an uppercut to get a two count of his own. Limelight continued to target Clearwater’s left leg, but at one point tried for a running attack and got hit by three clotheslines.
Because Clearwater was feeling his leg a little, he couldn’t take advantage and Limelight hit him with a headkick. Limelight himself took too long trying to take advantage, trying for a top rope maneuver but getting caught in a powerslam, which gave Clearwater a two count. Soon after, Clearwater hit Limelight with a spinebuster for another two count. Clearwater tried to follow up with a corner boot but Limelight dodged and hit him with a Tornado DDT to get the pinfall victory…
Danny Limelight defeated Jordan Clearwater.
Anish’s Thoughts: This was a short match, but nonetheless a good win for Limelight. The match gave off NXT vibes rather than New Japan vibes, as it did feel like Limelight and Clearwater had to get to grips with each other in the ring a little bit, it wasn’t a completely smooth match rhythm wise. After the match, Limelight cut a quick promo targeting Rocky Romero who defeated him in a tag match last week.
2. TJP, ACH, Karl Fredericks and Clack Connors vs. Misterioso, Barrett Brown, Blake Christian and Adrian Quest. More multi-man tag action after the great match last week is very welcome. Misterioso started in the ring with Fredericks. Misterioso was pushed o the ropes where Fredericks feigned a chest slap but let go. They reengaged, trading shoulder blocks, with neither man going down until they exchanged arm drags and leg trips. After the stalemate, Fredericks tagged in ACH and Misterioso tagged in Christian.
ACH took control initially, hitting Christian with a hip toss, but Christian reversed a whip attempt into a standing dropkick. Christian followed up to try hit a springboard maneuver but ACH caught him with a backbreaker and tagged in TJP.
TJP calmly chopped Christian in the corner but was whipped to the ropes where Christian hit him with a Stunner followed by a rolling foot stomp. Quest then tagged in and hit TJP with an arm drag before Clark Connors and Barrett Brown each tagged in and engaged in a striking exchange that ended with Brown suplexing Connors into the corner.
Connors was able to avoid being pinned thanks to an assist from Fredericks and he went on the offensive. Connors hip tossed Brown into the corner and tagged in Fredericks with whom he hit a double shoulder block. Fredericks then kicked Brown’s back and tagged in ACH who continued the onslaught with a backbreaker to earn a two count.
ACH then tagged in TJP who attempted to continue the offense, but Brown caught him with a face-crusher and tagged in Quest who rushed TJP and even caught Fredericks with a DDT coming in. He then hit TJP with a neckbreaker and Shooting Star press combo to get a two count. Quest then tried for a head kick, but TJP caught it and hit Quest with a back suplex. ACH and Christian then tagged in and had a running exchange, with Christian hitting ACH with a Powerslam and a Lionsault for a two count.
Chaos then ruled as wrestlers poured in and out of the ring each hitting signature moves until eventually TJP and Quest were back in the ring. TJP tried for a Detonation Kick, but Quest reversed, forcing TJP to athletically transition to a Tombstone Piledriver and then the Mamba Splash. Misterioso broke up the pin attempt and tagged in, rushing TJP and trying to hit a running kick, but got caught with one by TJP.
Connors then tagged in and with TJP hit an Over-Castle, Spinebuster into a bridge pin combo, but Misterioso kicked out at two. Connors attempted a Boston Crab, but Misterioso was able to struggle to the ropes. Misterioso recovered and hit Connors with a superkick and a Backstabber to get the pinfall victory.
Misterioso, Barrett Brown, Blake Christian and Adrian Quest defeated TJP, ACH, Karl Fredericks and Clark Connors.
Anish’s Thoughts: Another really great multi-man on NJPW Strong and I can’t think of much wrong with that. All eight men did what they needed to do to stand out and show off their personality all while telling a cool story. I really liked that half this match was backbreakers, but it didn’t seem facetious, just seemed like these guys were trying their hardest to break each other’s backs, and what more does anyone really want from a wrestling show?
After the match Fredericks got into a brawl with Misterioso, but it was quickly broken
3. PJ Black vs. Chase OwensBefore the two were able to lock up Chase Owens backed off into the ropes to taunt Black a couple of times, taking his time before getting into it. Owens and Black traded back takes, with Black hitting a snapmare into a roll up to get a two count. Owens slowly approached Black and got a hold of his arm, using an arm drag to take him to the ground. Black used an athletic rope rebound to escape the arm lock and hit an arm drag of his own to force Owens into the corner again. Owens took his time once more and although he was able to push Black to the corner, Black was able to whip him out of the ring and hit a plancha to retake control. Black went to the top rope to try for a 450, but Owens rolled out of the ring and feigned leaving the arena.
Black called for him to come back and gave chase to him, only for Owens to hit him with a shoulder block. Black then caught Owens with a pair of leg sweeps before stomping his back, before he could follow up, Owens hit him with a chop but was just met with a chop of his own. Owens then pushed Black into the ref and used the distraction to toss Black out of the ring. Black however quickly got back and battled with Owens to the apron where Owens hair whipped his hair to the mat.
Owens then hit Black with a hammer throw into the corner before stepping over his chest. Owens followed up with a big Backdrop for a two count, with Black looking increasingly fatigued. Black and Owens exchanged more chops before Black was able to catch Owens running in with another stomp. Black went to the top rope, but Owens rolled away again. Black then chased Owens but got caught with a Russian Leg Sweep into the corner.
Owens attempted a package piledriver, but Black hit him with a Backdrop and followed up with some strikes and chops. Black then hit two rapid spin kicks in succession before using a body attack to set Owens up for a pair of springboard moves which got him a two count. He went for a third, but Owens got the knees up and retaliated with a clothesline which got him a two count. Owens hit Black with a knee and finally hit Black with the package piledriver to get the pinfall victory…
Chase Owens defeated PJ Black
Anish’s Thoughts: Owens and Black really had a battle of fundamentals here, making this a very interesting match to watch. Black taking a clean loss like that was surprising but because he had a good showing, I don’t think it took anything away from him at all, and it gave Owens a much-needed win. Owens cut a promo after the match hyping up his win today and KENTA’s recent victories.
This was another fun show, the only thing I may have changed was the match order, with the eight man tag feeling like it could have been in the main event as opposed to the Black vs. Owens match. Nothing against the main event, which was certainly solid, however the pace befitted a second match as opposed to the closer. Overall, a solid show and, while not much progressed story-wise, it was a good hour or so of wrestling that set up the next week, which is what matters. My audio weekly audio review of NJPW Strong are available for Dot Net Members on Saturday.