By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed May 21, 2021 on New Japan World
The voices of broadcast team members Kevin Kelly and Alex Kozlov checked in, again, for the third week in a row, without physically showing themselves. They ran down the card, including the no DQ main event. This is the Collision 2021 tour.
1. Alex Coughlin vs. Bateman. Coughlin made his entrance first representing the LA Dojo. Bateman then made his entrance, which was a little less weird than normal. The two locked up and Coughlin eventually took control with a wrist-lock, which turned into an arm-bar. Bateman then sank in a head-lock.
Coughlin took back control with an arm-lock. Coughlin’s arm-lock turned into a headlock. Eventually, the wrestlers made their way to the ropes and traded chops in the middle of the ring. Bateman got sick of it, and kicked Coughlin in the face, but Coughlin took back offense by working Bateman’s elbow. Bateman worked his way out and then hit Coughlin with a series of moves.
Bateman taunted Coughlin and worked elbows. Coughlin fought his way out, but Bateman ended that with a chop and a suplex for a two-count. Bateman then sunk in a chin-lock, but Coughlin made it to the ropes for a break. The two then traded blows in the middle of the ring. Coughlin hit a flying shoulder block and a chop to take control. He then worked over Bateman in a corner.
Coughlin lifted Bateman for a gut-wrench suplex and got a two-count. Coughlin went for elbows, but Bateman countered with a clothesline. Bateman then hit a modified brain-buster for a two-count. Coughlin eventually wiggled his way out and worked an arm-bar. Coughlin rolled Bateman up for a two-count and went for a slam, but Bateman caught him with an elbow to the back of the head. Bateman then hit a tombstone for the win.
Bateman defeated Alex Coughlin via pinfall in 9:43.
McGuire’s Musings: I know I keep saying it, but it’s for lack of understanding what goes on in NJPW: If a Young Lion comes out, he’s going to lose. And after a bit, it feels so boilerplate that you can’t even really get into the match at hand. Anyway, both guys looked good here. It’s good to see Bateman get a win because he needed it after coming in with at least a little bit of fanfare and then promptly being someone who loses a lot. Coughlin looked very good in defeat and of the two, I think he walked away gaining the most. Still. Come on, guys.
2. Brody King and Karl Fredericks vs. Danny Limelight and JR Kratos. Limelight and Kratos jump started by attacking King and Fredericks. In the ring, Limelight worked over Fredericks with knees and elbows. Kratos then tagged in and kept control with a shoulder-block. Kratos worked over Fredericks with elbows and chops.
Limelight tagged in and choked Fredericks over the second rope. Limelight taunted King and meanwhile kept control before tagging in Kratos, who hit Fredericks with a punch and boots. Fredericks ultimately fought back with chops and elbows, but Kratos caught him with a strong clothesline. Kratos then worked a head-lock.
Kratos tagged in Limelight, who worked Fredericks over with punches before bending his arm around the top rope. Limelight then hit a series of “Yes” kicks and danced over Fredericks, but Fredericks hit a spine-buster. Fredericks then got the tag to King and at the same time, Kratos tagged in and the two traded blows. Limelight came into the ring, but King took control of him, too.
King then threw Limelight outside the ring, onto Kratos. Back in the ring, King hit a strong clothesline on Kratos for a two-count. Fredericks then tagged in, but Kratos drove both wrestlers into the corner. Limelight then came in with a double stomp onto King, which took him to the outside. Kratos tagged in Limelight, who hit a dropkick on Fredericks before Kratos hit a kick for a two-count. Kratos and King then fought to the outside.
Limelight went for a splash, but Fredericks caught him and the two traded elbows. Fredericks then went for a sleeper hold before hitting the Manifest Destiny DDT for the pin.
Brody King and Karl Fredericks defeated JR Kratos and Danny Limelight via infall in 8:02.
After the match, King and Fredericks cut a promo backstage with King saying if they wanted to play dirty, it wouldn’t work. Fredericks got into the camera to say they don’t matter no more. King said Team Filthy is dead.
McGuire’s Musings: A very good tag-team match. I kind of like the pairing between king and Fredericks and while I know this is most likely a one-off thing, I could stand to see them become a real entity. Fredericks took the bulk of the match, but it worked, because when King charged in, it felt explosive. Limelight looked really good here, too, and though I know he spends time on AEW Dark, I hope he doesn’t leave NJPW for good because he brings a lot to the show whenever he’s in it. All around, this was very good.
3. Fred Rosser vs. Hikuleo. Rosser jump started the match by attacking Hikuleo from behind. Hikuleo ultimately hit a snap powerslam and worked a ground-and-pound before a choke. Hikuleo threw Rosser into the corner and hit some chops. Rosser fought back with punches, but Hikuleo took back control with elbows, throwing Rosser to the outside.
On the outside, the two brawled. Hikuleo went for some chair shots, but missed. Hikuleo then ran Rosser into the post a few times. Hikuleo went to grab a table, but Rosser hit Hikuleo with a bucket to the head. Hikuleo went for a choke-slam, but Rosser countered and worked over Hikuleo with punches on the outside before the two fought to the back.
In the back, Rosser started to choke Hikuleo with his wrist tape, but Hikuleo pushed him away through another series of doors. Hikuleo then threw Rosser through more doors, to the outside and near a truck. Both wrestlers got into the back of an 18-wheeler and Hikuleo slammed Rosser’s head into the side of it. Hikuleo kept control inside the truck.
Rosser eventually took control with elbows and stomps and a leg drop in the bed of the truck. Hikuleo fought back and pulled the back of the truck down on Rosser’s leg. Outside the truck, Rosser took control and choke Hikuleo with a hose. The two then traded blows outside, and returned into the building, punching their way toward the ring.
Hikuleo took control with a boot, running Rosser’s head into a pole. Hikuleo then lifted Rosser and threw him over a guard rail before setting up the table he didn’t use before. Hikuleo pulled Rosser up to the apron and hit some chops. Hikuleo then put Rosser on his shoulders, but Rosser slipped off and tried to hit a running bulldog onto the table, but they didn’t make the table and the table slipped away.
Rosser started punching Hikuleo. Rosser tried to pull Hikuleo into the ring and achieved it. In the ring, Rosser hit a suplex and a knee for the win.
Freder Rosser defeated Hikuleo via pinfall in 15:32.
After the match, Kelly and Koslov hyped next week’s card while Rosser sold leg pain.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a fun brawl and a nice departure from what we’ve come to know NJPW Strong to be. It wasn’t a garbage match with blood and dangerous spots; instead, it was very calculated and safe and told the story of two wrestlers who are supposed to hate each other. It was almost like the Disney version of an ECW main event. I’m not complaining. I will say it’s a bit of a surprise that Hikuleo lost because through all this, I thought Rosser would take the losing end of things, especially because he’s the veteran and Hikuleo is on his way up. Maybe this means the feud is extended? We’ll see. My audio reviews of NJPW Strong are available on Saturdays for Dot Net Members.