By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed February 5, 2021 on New Japan World
Alex Koslov and Kevin Kelly checked in on commentary to run down the card and remind everyone that we are on the road to New Beginning…
1. Kevin Knight vs. The DKC. Kelly noted how this was the battle of Young Lions. Both wrestlers quickly made their way to the ring. Both guys felt each other out before The DKC landed a leg submission. Knight countered out of it, however, and worked an arm submission before sinking in a side headlock. That headlock led to head-scissors from Knight onto The DKC.
Knight kept control after the two shared some moves and Knight went back to working the arm-lock. After a while, the two traded blows on their feet in the corner. Knight eventually landed a high hip-toss for a two-count. After that, The DKC started working Knight’s leg, but Knight got to the bottom rope for a break.
The DKC hit a series of uppercuts and chops before getting in a hip-toss of his own for a one-count. The DKC then sunk in a neck submission, but Knight rolled through and worked his way to his feet. Knight then hit a bodyslam for a two-count. The DKC hit a series of uppercuts and elbows and hit the ropes, but Knight landed a drop-kick.
Knight sank in a Boston Crab, but The DKC got to the bottom rope for the break. Knight put the boots to The DKC. Eventually, both returned to their feet and The DKC landed a dropkick and a couple chops to the head for a two-count. The DKC then took control with a triangle choke and Knight tapped out.
The DKC defeated Kevin Knight via submission in 7:23.
After the match, the show quickly went to Kelly and Jon Moxley for a split-screen interview. Kelly said the wrestling world is buzzing right now. Kelly said that on February 26, Moxley will face Kenta for the U.S. Heavyweight Title. Kelly asked Mox if he heard Kenta calling him out and Mox said he heard every word of it.
Mox said to get the title, Kenta has to take him out, and that means a long night at the office for Kenta. “This whole Bullet Club thing? I’m not into that,” Moxley said. “The Kenta I know, the Kenta that inspired generations, everybody stole their shit from Kenta. Kenta is the man.” Within a handful of seconds, the interview ended.
McGuire’s Musings: The match between the two Young Lions was pretty good. It was nice to see The DKC get a win, while Kevin Knight continues to shine as he works his way up the ladder. In all, the match was short and painless, and it featured some solid mat work from both guys. The interview with Moxley was the best interview Strong has had since setting time aside for these split-screen segments (though if you’ve read my previous four reviews, you know that’s not saying much). They were smart to keep it relatively short, as well. It wasn’t Moxley’s best interview work, but he did a nice job of building up Kenta while reminding everyone that it’ll take a village to bring him down. February 26 should be a lot of fun.
2. Jordan Clearwater, Aiden Quest, Misterioso, and Bateman vs. Logan Riegel, Sterling Riegel, Barrett Brown, and Brody King. At this point, Bateman looks like he should be the third member of The Vaudevillains. Anyway, Quest and Brown started the match with Quest getting the early advantage. The two traded quick one-count pins. Eventually, they stared each other down.
Clearwater tagged in, but Brown rolled through to tag in Sterling Riegel. Logan then tagged in and hit a kick and a standing moonsault. King tagged in as Clearwater was in the corner and King hit a vicious chop to Clearwater’s chest. Clearwater tagged out to Misterioso, who hit a kick for a one-count. Misterioso then went to the top for a dropkick and landed it. Misterioso landed a double moonsault but King hit a chop to take control. King then hit a splash for a two-count.
Logan tagged in, so King body-slammed everyone on his team on top of Misterioso. King, in a funny spot, tried to slam the ref onto Misterioso, but the ref shut that down. Misterioso took control and tagged in Bateman, who went to work on Logan with strikes and headbutts. Bateman then slammed Logan and tagged in Clearwater, who got a one-count. Logan then punched his way out, but Clearwater stopped the comeback with a spine-buster.
Clearwater tagged in Quest, who landed elbows on Logan before hitting a suplex for a two-count. Misterioso tagged in and landed a kick. Misterioso began to work over Logan’s leg. Bateman tagged in and hit a very hard-looking elbow that knocked Logan to the ground. Bateman went for a slam, but Logan countered for a DDT and crawled to the corner for the hot tag to King.
King came in and took on the entire team, beginning with a high back-drop. King was left with Misterioso and Clearwater, but King hit a cannonball on Clearwater before tagging in Brown. King hit a pile-driver, but the heels came in for the save. Before long, Misterioso and Brown were alone in the ring, but the twins ran in, picked up Misterioso and hit a modified doomsday device.
The legal men were Brown and Bateman, and after some confusion, Bateman hit his spinning Tombstone pile-driver on Brown for the pinfall victory.
Jordan Clearwater, Aiden Quest, Misterioso, and Bateman defeated Logan Riegel, Sterling Riegel, Barrett Brown, and Brody King via pinball in 11:19.
Backstage, Bateman cut a promo talking about the victory, saying it was a team effort but he did the most heavy lifting.
McGuire’s Musings: That was fine for what it was. I’m happy to see the Riegel Twins get more serious ring-time in higher profile spots, and even more so, I was low-key excited that Logan took a lot of the match. Strong needed to establish Bateman as a serious heel that can win, so the finish made sense. For a hot second, I actually thought one of the twins might get the victory, but alas, it was not to be on this night. Still, this was an entertaining match, albeit even if that means it felt like nobody knew what was going on at times.
3. Rey Horus vs. TJP. Kelly noted how Horus is part of the MexiSquad in Ring Of Honor. TJP took control early with a series of roll-ups. Both wrestlers hit nip-ups to start again. Horus got back on the offensive with a stiff chop and ultimately hit a spinning arm-drag from the second-rope. TJP rolled outside and hit a jumping spinning heel kick, but Horus caught him with a kick almost immediately.
TJP landed a dropkick as Horus attempted a top-rope move and TJP took control of the match with a head-lock. TJP hit his surfboard snap lock and Horus sold back pain. TJP went for a back-breaker and got a two-count. TJP slammed Horus and eventually landed a head-scissors takedown. Horus rolled outside after the two traded moves. TJP went for a dropkick, but Horus rolled back into the ring. Horus then landed a summersault over the top onto TJP, who was on the outside.
Back in the ring, Horus went to the top and hit a cross-body block for a two-count. Horus hit a chop and set TJP on the top rope. TJP pushed him off, but the two countered each other’s moves. TJP went for a shoulder-block, but Horus moved and before long, Horus hit a good-looking Spanish Fly for a very close two-count.
Horus taunted TJP, yelling at him to get up. Horus went for a German Suplex, but TJP got Horus into a submission, rolling him up for a two-count. TJP eventually got to the outside and hit a springboard DDT for another good near-fall. TJP went to the top rope, but Horus got up to grab TJP’s leg. TJP fought him off and went for a Swanton and missed. Across the ring, Horus climbed to the top and hit a roll-up from the top rope that included a very tough-looking landing for TJP, which got him the 1-2-3.
Rey Horus defeated TJP via pinfall in 10:41.
After the match, Horus cut a promo backstage saying he has a lot of respect for TJP. Kelly and Koslov checked back in to close the show, saying the Horus win was an upset.
McGuire’s Musings: I wonder how they pick the lineups for each show. I’ve seen reports that the Kenta vs. Moxley match was actually taped more than a month ago, so it makes me question how they come up with the show order, considering this felt like a lesser main event, with all due respect to both guys involved. There was some really fun action here and the outside-the-ring stuff made it that much more intriguing. Main event worthy? I’m not so sure, despite how much Kelly kept trying to convince us this was a big upset. I like both these guys, and they put on a good show, but the finish felt anti-climactic (even if it did look like TJP landed on his head in a nasty way).
In all, this was a middle-of-the-road episode of Strong, and that’s kind of disappointing considering how many more eyeballs have to be on the product now after last week. Shoot. Not just last week, but also this past Wednesday on Dynamite. Was I hoping for a little bit more? Yes. Were my expectations too high? Probably. But we still have three weeks until the ultimate showdown between Kenta and Mox, and with any luck, NJPW gained a few more New Japan World subscribers since all of this was kicked into motion. You can miss this episode and not worry about it. Unless if you have a soft spot for the Riegel Twins. In that case, give it a go.