By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed May 7, 2021 on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov checked in on commentary to note how we are on the Collision 2021 Tour. They ran down the card. Oddly, we didn’t see visuals of either Kelly or Koslov…
1. The DKC and Kevin Knight vs. Adrian Quest and Barrett Brown. The DKC and Brown started out with some mat work. Brown took control with a chin-lock, but The DKC worked his way out and the two re-centered in the middle of the ring. Quest and Knight then tagged in.
Knight worked a headlock on Quest. Quest eventually took control with an arm-lock. Quest hit a springboard splash for a two-count. Quest then hit some forearms, but Brown tagged in and Brown hit a dropkick to Knight’s face. Knight hit a hell of a good-looking dropkick for a two-count. The DKC then tagged in and worked a rear chin-lock.
Quest eventually tagged in and landed a tilt-a-whirl back-breaker. Quest was then kicked in the face by a jumping boot from The DKC. Knight then tagged in and hit a knee-drop for a two-count. The DKC tagged in and worked a chin-lock on Quest. The DKC went for a kick and Quest caught him for a German Suplex.
Brown got the hot tag and hit a dropkick and a spinning DDT for a two-count. Things then broke down, leading to Brown and Knight trading blows before Quest got the sneak-tag, ran in and hit a running shooting-star press for the pinfall win.
Adrian Quest and Barrett Brown defeated The DKC and Kevin Knight via pinfall in 8:32.
After the match, Brown and Quest argued in the ring. Brown attacked Quest as they made their way up the ramp. Brown then rolled Quest into the ring and hit a series of punches before landing a back elbow.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a fine opening match. The post-match angle suggests Quest and Brown now have a program, and I think that helps both wrestlers. My only gripe would be the predictability of anyone who’s a Young Lion, I guess, is just going to lose forever. It’d be nice to mix it up once in a while, if only for posterity’s sake. But, hell, what do I know? All four guys worked hard and this was a good match.
2. Jordan Clearwater and Misterioso vs. Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson. Isaacs and Clearwater begin, with Isaacs getting the better of the situation. Isaacs went for a splash, but Clearwater hit a bulldog. Misterioso tagged in and hit a series of elbows for an unsuccessful pinfall. Misterioso then landed a loud chop, but Nelson tagged in and took control with a splash in the corner.
Misterioso hit the ropes for a flip and a back elbow to take control. Misterioso then landed a dropkick for a one-count. Clearwater tagged in and stomped a mud-hole in Nelson. Nelson worked his way out of the corner, but Clearwater was hit by a knee from Isaacs while Clearwater was on the apron. That led to a two-count.
Isaacs tagged in and worked over Clearwater with boots. Nelson then tagged in and hit an uppercut. Nelson tagged back in, but Isaacs tagged in almost immediately and hit a series of elbows on Clearwater. The two threw fists in the middle of the ring, but eventually, Clearwater hit a jumping neck-breaker and landed the hot tag to Misterioso.
Before long, Misterioso hit a moonsault on his opponents outside the ring. Back in the ring, Misterioso hit a double-knees on Isaacs before hitting a Senton for a two-count. Misterioso lifted Isaaces, and hit a slam before landing a moonsault for a two-count. Clearwater then tagged in and the two hit a double elbow.
Misterioso held Isaacs, but Isaacs moved and Clearwater hit Misterioso. Isaacs threw Misterioso outside, but back in the ring, Isaacs and Nelson hit a combined Death Valley Driver on Clearwater and got the 1-2-3.
Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson defeated Jordan Clearwater and Misterioso via pinfall in 10:21.
After the match, the winners cut a promo reminding everyone they are the West Coast Wrecking Crew.
McGuire’s Musings: I guess this means Isaacs and Nelson are due for a push. That said, this is the second time tonight that the broadcast crew mentioned the importance of tag team wrestling after the match, so perhaps we are getting a NJPW Strong tag team title sooner than later. Again, everyone worked hard, but with the wrecking crew being new and the Misterioso and Clearwater pairing feeling random, this felt thrown together in a rush. Maybe this means the wrecking crew will be important. Maybe this means tag titles are on the way. Whatever it is, this could have been a better presentation.
3. Ren Narita and Yuji Nagata vs. Jon Moxley and Chris Dickinson. Narita made his entrance first and his chest was scarred. Kelly and Koslov sounded like they weren’t in the same room while calling what they saw. Nagata made his entrance next, and honestly, looked great. Also, if I may, Chris Dickinson and Jon Moxley might be the coolest tag team in the world.
Mix and Nagata started the match and traded forearms. Nagata hit a pair of boots, and eventually worked an arm-bar before tagging in Narita. Moxley rolled away to get Dickinson in the ring. Dickinson threw a chop, but Narita came back and the two traded elbows. Moxley tagged in and hit a back-breaker on Narita. Moxley then sunk in a neck submission.
Moxley landed a kick to Narita’s chest. Dickinson tagged in and hit a nasty kick to Narita’s back for a two-count. Dickinson worked an STF, but Narita made it to the ropes for a break. Moxley then tagged in and hit a series of chops and forearms. Off the ropes, Narita hit a belly-to-belly and both wrestlers tagged out. Nagata worked over Dickinson with kicks and then a Butterfly Suplex.
The two traded elbows and Dickinson took control with a Dragon-Screw Leg-Whip. Moxley then tagged in and Nagata and Moxley traded blows. Nagata then hit an enziguri, but Moxley came back with a lariat for a two-count. Moxley worked a choke hold. Nagata eventually hit an Exploder. Narita and Nagata worked over Moxley. Narita hit a scary belly-to-belly for a two-count in the ring while outside, Dickinson and Nagata fought. Moxley eventually hit a German Suplex on Narita and followed with the Death Rider for the win.
Jon Moxley and Chris Dickinson defeated Ren Narita and Tuji Nagata via pinfall in 9:18.
After the match, Mox and Nagata traded slaps before Nagata took a Nagata Lock grip on Moxley. Nagata had to be pulled off Moxley. Nagata then posed before leaving the ring. While Moxley sold pain in the ring, the broadcast team closed it up.
McGuire’s Musings: Wow, Nagata looks great. This was a good tease for the AEW showdown on Wednesday, and while I know the traditional thinking might be that Moxley and Nagata shouldn’t have much time together, I actually think this was some pretty great booking. They had the first minute or so together and it came back around, with the two exchanging moments throughout the match for short spurts, and in all honesty, I don’t think this could have been booked better.
In all, this was an OK episode of Strong. They did a great job making me more interested in Nagata and Moxley doing whatever they’re going to do on Dynamite this week (not that it took too much convincing, because I already had high expectations). The first two matches, though? You could miss them and not really skip a beat. I love Misterioso as much as the next guy, but he was underutilized here. Plus, hey, can we give a Young Lion a win? Once? Maybe?