By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed June 11, 2021 on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov checked in on commentary, faceless, to run down the card…
1. Alex Coughlin vs. Hikuleo. The two tied up, but Hikuleo pushed Coughlin to the corner. Hikuleo eventually took control with a submission, but Coughlin worked Hikuleo’s arm. Hikuleo then picked Coughlin up and hit a slam. Hikuleo worked a boot choke and hit a very impressive vertical suplex for a two-count. Hikuleo kept control with an elbow and a leg drop for a two-count.
Hikuleo worked a chin-lock. Hikuleo stomped on Coughlin by the ropes. Hikuleo went for a bodyslam but the two met in the middle and Coughlin in a slap and a shoulder-block. Hikuleo fired back, but the two traded blows. Coughlin then hit a spear and a gut-wrench suplex and man was that impressive. Coughlin got a two-count. Coughlin then worked a single-leg Boston Crab.
Hikuleo made it to the ropes for a break. Coughlin then hit a double chop to the chest, but Hikuleo landed a snap suplex for a two-count. Eventually, Coughlin hit a series of chops, but Hikuleo picked Coughlin up and hit a version of the STF for the win.
Hikuleo defeated Alex Coughlin via pinfall 7:06.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a good showcase for Hikuleo. I enjoyed Coughlin’s fire, but as I keep saying, Hikuleo is a star. This was a very good way of profiling that. Here’s to hoping Hikuleo moves up toward “Filthy” Tom Lawlor in one way or another.
2. Lio Rush and Rocky Romero vs. The DKC and Clark Connors. Rush and The DKC started with a strong tie-up. Kelly said something about Coughlin issuing an open challenge, but I don’t know why he said that. Rush hit an axe-kick for a two-count. Rush then hit a hard kick to The DKC’s chest and tagged in Romero. The DKC hit an uppercut and tagged in Connors, who landed a two-count.
Romero hit a series of kicks on Connors. Romero then tagged in Rush, who eventually hit a clothesline. Connors then hit a spear to take control over Rush. Connors worked over Rush, but Rush fought back with a spinning DDT. Romero got the hot tag and came in to run the Forever Clotheslines in the corners on both wrestlers.
Rush hit the ropes, but the DKC grabbed his legs to stop the offense. The DKC hit a dropkick for a near-fall. The DKC worked a submission, but Romero broke it up. Connors tossed Romero to the outside, but The DKC and Connors hit their version of the Doomsday Device for a two-count. Rush then hit a springboard cutter for the pinfall victory.
Lio Rush and Rocky Romero defeated The DKC and Clark Connors via pinfall in 10:56.
After the match, Connors and Romero fought on the outside. Rush and Romero eventually celebrated in the ring and then cut a promo backstage.
McGuire’s Musings: I’d absolutely love to see Rush and Romero be a tag-team forever, but obviously with the news this week, that won’t happen. What’s striking is that this could be a very good tag-team. This was good, and it showcased The DKC and Connors well, despite the loss. Both wrestlers will get there, and we know that. In the meantime, I am very much enjoying their work.
3. Jordan Clearwater and Misterioso vs. Wheeler Yuta and Fred Yehi. Yeah worked over Misterioso to begin the match. Yehi worked a side-head-lock, but Misterioso took control with a wrist-lock. Yuta then took control, but Misterioso kept landing trips before Yuta hit a dropkick to take Misterioso to the ropes. Yehi eventually tagged in and worked over Clearwater’s ankle and leg. Yuta then tagged in and continued to work over Clearwater’s leg and ankle.
Yehi hit a chop that could be heard in Brazil. Yehi then worked a chin lock before Clearwater hit a chop and a shoulder-block. The two traded hard chops. Yuta tagged in and hit a chop and went for a Boston Crab before tagging in Yehi, who then worked Clearwater’s wrist. Clearwater tried to fight back, and ultimately hit a suplex. Clearwater then hit the hot tag to Misterioso.
Misterioso fired up by hitting a slam and hit a series of clotheslines. Misterioso backed Yuta into a corner and hit a running clothesline and double-knees. Misterioso then hit a Senton for a two-count. Clearwater tagged in and the two hit a double flapjack for a two-count. Yuta then hit an inverted atomic drop. Clearwater hit a back-elbow on Yuta for a two-count.
Misterioso picked Wheeler and ultimately hit a powerslam and double-moonsault for a two-count. Misterioso then worked Yuta’s leg, but Clearwater tagged in. Yehi tagged in, but Misterioso hit a super kick. The two traded outside moves, but inside the ring, Yehi sunk in a submission that got his team the win.
Wheeler Yuta and Fred Yehi defeated Jordan Clearwater and Misterioso via submission in 11:56.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a good match, though it was clear this was a showcase for Yehi. And rightfully so. He was very good, and this established him as someone to be reckoned with in NJPW. In all, this wasn’t a special episode, nor was it one you really have to see. Not much story progression, not much intrigue. But there was a lot of good wrestling, nonetheless. I have little to no idea what this Coughlin open challenge is, but we’ll see. I have faith. My NJPW Strong audio reviews are available for Dot Net Members every Saturday.