By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed July 16, 2021 on New Japan World
The broadcast team of Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov checked in remotely to run down the card and remind everyone that we are in Tag Team Turbulence. A video package followed…
1. Clark Connors and TJP vs. “The Good Brothers” Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson in a Tag Team Turbulence first-round tournament match. The Good Brothers made their entrance first and Kelly called them one of the most iconic teams in NJPW history. Call me crazy, but this feels like it’s going to be a lot like the Young Lion vs. established star typical NJPW Strong opening.
Connors and Anderson began by feeling each other out. A collar-and-elbow tie-up ensued, but a rope break ended that. The two traded arm locks and side-headlocks. TJP tagged in and the two hit a pair of tandem moves for a two-count. TJP worked an arm-lock, but Anderson dragged him to the corner for the tag to Gallows. Gallows came in and dominated TJP until TJP tagged Connors in, who didn’t sell for Connors.
Eventually, Gallows hit a poorly timed big boot to take Connors down. Gallows hit Connors with punches before tagging Anderson in, who worked a bunch of boots in the corner. Gallows tagged back in and worked over Connors with kicks, a headbutt, a suplex and an elbow for a two-count. Gallows then sunk in a chin-lock. Gallows went for an elbow drop and missed, but Anderson tagged in before TJP got the hot tag.
TJP hit a springboard elbow on Anderson and a series of strikes. Anderson went for the Gun Stun, but TJP countered and eventually hit a spinning-heel kick to take control. TJP then hit a running knee. Connors came into the ring to hit another double-team move, but Gallows broke up the pin. The Good Brothers hit a spike Gun Stun for a two-count. TJP and Connors fought back and TJP tagged in, only to take a spine buster and the Magic Killer. As a result, The Good Brothers pinned him.
“The Good Brothers” Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated Clark Connors and TJP via pinfall in 8:01 to advance in the Tag Team Turbulence tournament.
After the match, Gallows said into the camera, “We’re back, bitch!”
McGuire’s Musings: The most predictable outcome of the night, so I’m happy they went with this first. It was good to see Gallows and Anderson back in NJPW and they gave a lot of shine to Connors here, which I enjoyed. TJP, meanwhile, seems to be in a weird purgatory on this show, and I can’t quite understand why. Either way, this was a good showcase for Connors and if you try to tell me The Good Brothers won’t make the final, I’ll try to tell you that you’re a liar.
2. Yuji Nagata and Ren Narita vs. Fred Yehi and Wheeler Yuta in a Tag Team Turbulence tournament first-round match. Yehi and Yuta made their entrance in kind-of matching gear. Narita’s chest was all types of cut up. Narita and Yuta began and they worked some chain wrestling before Yuta went for a surfboard, but Narita rolled out.
Back on their feet, Narita worked a wrist-lock on Yuta. Yuta then made it to the ropes for a break. Yehi then tagged in and the two worked some more chain wrestling. Nagata then tagged in to face off with Yehi. After going back and forth, the two sized each other up in the middle of the ring. Nagata worked a test of strength into a bridge, but Yehi fired up and worked a submission on Nagata. After a break, the two got back up and tagged out.
Narita and Yuta then locked up, but Narita kept on a head-lock until he hit a shoulder-block and punched Yehi off the apron. Narita hit a big hip-toss for a one-count before tagging in Nagata. The two then hit Yuta with a double shoulder-block. Nagata worked Yuta’s arm. Nagata tagged in Narita, who got aggressive with Yuta. Narita slammed Yuta for a one-count. Narita then hit kicks and forearms.
Nagata tagged in and hit some YES kicks, but Yuta fired up and hit a dropkick. Yuta made the hot tag to Yehi and Yehi worked over Nagata with chops and shoulder-blocks. Yehi landed a forearm and went for a suplex, but Nagata blocked it. The two then traded slaps and forearms and nobody sold anything. Yehi went for a submission but Narita broke it up. Nagata hit an exploder for a two-count and tagged Narita in.
Yuta tagged in and hit a German Suplex for a two-count. Narita worked a sleeper hold into an upper twist. Yuta looked like he tapped, but Yehi ran in to break it up. Yuta hit a small-package for a two-count. Narita landed a belly-to-belly for a two-count. Narita hit a running belly-to-belly and Yuta took a nasty landing for the pinfall victory.
Yuji Nagata and Ren Narita defeated Fred Yehi and Wheeler Yuta via pinfall in 10:59 to advance in the Tag Team Turbulence tournament.
McGuire’s Musings: It was hard to think Nagata would go out in the first round, if only because of how much of a legend he is. That final belly-to-belly looked rough, but Yuta took a lot of punishment in this match. Actually, Yuta is the biggest takeaway from this bout. He sold a ton here and he made Narita look better than he has before on Strong. It’s a mild surprise to see Yuta take a loss if only because he seems to be the bee’s knees to every company trying to court him.
3. Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson vs. Kevin Knight and The DKC in a Tag Team Turbulence first-round tournament match. Knight and The DKC ran to the ring and fired each other up. The West Coast Wrecking Crew then made their entrance as a heavy favorite, according to the commentary team. Knight and Nelson began the match as Kelly noted how the first live Strong broadcast in front of fans is coming and that’s exciting.
Knight hit a shoulder-block for a one-count. Knight tagged in The DKC, who hit a chop and the two landed a double-arm-drag. The DKC worked a rear-chin-lock. Isaacs tagged in, but The DKC hit a series of chops on him. The DKC landed a crucifix for a two-count. The DKC then worked a submission until Isaacs picked The DKC up and draped The DKC over the top rope. Nelson hit a boot to take The DKC down.
Nelson tagged in and put the boots to The DKC in the corner. Isaacs eventually tagged in and hit a leg-drop, but Knight ran in to save the pin attempt. The DKC fought back with chops. The DKC hit a kick from the second rope. The two made hot tags and Knight and Nelson traded blows in the middle of the ring. Knight then hit a very pretty dropkick before landing a tilt-a-whirl slam for a two-count.
Knight hit a frog-splash, but Isaacs broke it up. Isaacs then tagged in and hit a twisted power-slam for a two-count. Knight rolled up Isaacs, but Nelson broke it up. Nelson then planted The DKC while the other two traded blows. Nelson hit an elbow and Knight a slam for the win.
Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson defeated Kevin Knight and The DKC via pinfall in 7:42 to advance in the Tag Team Turbulence tournament.
McGuire’s Musings: Come to think of it, this result was probably never in doubt, either. I suppose I understand why they saved the main event for the main event. The Young Lions, Knight and The DKC, looked good here, but why would we think they could advance in a tournament if they can’t even win an opening match on a random episode of Strong? Either way, I’m intrigued to see where the West Coast Wrecking Crew go from here. Maybe the finals?
4. Brody King and Chris Dickinson vs JR Kratos and Danny Limelight in a Tag Team Turbulence first-round tournament match. King and Kratos started the match trading powerful forearms and clotheslines. King hit a back-drop and Limelight and Dickinson tagged in. Limelight took control, but tagged in Kratos, who worked over Dickinson.
Limelight tagged back in and stretched Dickinson until Dickinson made it to the ropes. Kratos then tagged back in and the two beat up Dickinson some more. Limelight eventually tagged in and worked over Dickinson with a head-lock. Limelight backed Dickinson into his team’s corner and Kratos tagged in. Kratos slapped Dickinson, but Dickinson fought his way out of the corner with chops and an eventual enzuirgiri. Kratos exchanged the favor, but Dickinson hit a DDT from the second rope.
Dickinson rolled over for the hot tag while Limelight tagged in as well. King hit a tough clothesline and chop on Limelight. King went for a slam, but Limelight walked the ropes, but King caught him and slammed him for a two-count. Dickinson then tagged in and whipped King into Limelight. Dickinson hit a series of chops and forearms. Dickinson then hit a splash in the corner.
Kratos, meanwhile, stopped Dickinson from continuing and hit a German Suplex. King ran in and hit a clothesline and a dive to the outside on Kratos. Limelight went for a low blow, but Dickinson caught him and hit a hard clothesline into a German Suplex. Dickinson then hit his finisher for the win.
Brody King and Chris Dickinson defeated JR Kratos and Danny Limelight via pinfall in 8:22 to advance in the Tag Team Turbulence tournament.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, make that four for four. In hindsight, I guess that makes sense, considering the recent news on Limelight. This was the best match of the night, and I really liked that Dickinson took a lot of it before ultimately coming back for the win. I’d like to see a Lawlor vs. Dickinson rematch someday, but I digress. Either way, this was a solid episode of Strong and it obviously moved forward the tag-team tournament. The favorites still have to be The Good Brothers, but the West Coast Wrecking Crew were made to look good tonight. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes from here. My NJPW Strong audio reviews are available for Dot Net Members every Saturday.