7/23 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Tom Lawlor vs. Satoshi Kojima for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship, and The Good Brothers vs. Yuji Nagata and Ren Narita, and Brody King and Chris Dickinson vs. Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson in Tag Team Turbulence tournament semifinal matches 

By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)

NJPW Strong
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed July 23, 2021 on New Japan World

The broadcast team of Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov checked in to run down the card…

1. Brody King and Chris Dickinson vs. Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson in a Tag Team Turbulence tournament semifinal match. “They will take liberties with the rules,” Kelly said about Isaacs and Nelson, which was weird because don’t you think Dickinson and King would do the same? Anyway, Dickinson and Isaacs began in the middle of the ring and worked some chain wrestling. Dickinson worked Isaacs’s arm. Isaacs eventually hit an elbow, charging Dickinson into the corner before Nelson tagged in and hit a standing double-stomp for a two-count.

Nelson worked over Dickinson. Dickinson eventually rolled through and tagged in King, who hit some kicks and chops and a senton for two-count. King kept control and worked over Nelson and then tagged in Dickinson. Dickinson stomped Nelson and hit the Dragon-Screw Leg-Whip before sinking in a single-leg crab. Nelson worked his way out, but King tagged in and King landed an uppercut before tagging Dickinson back in. The two then hit a double-elbow on Nelson for an unsuccessful pin.

Dickinson hit a chop and tagged in King and the two hit a double-team move that ended up with King sinking in a Boston Crab. Isaacs ran in and broke it up. King responded by hitting a chop on Nelson and placing him on the top rope. King went for a superplex, but Nelson pushed him off and hit a shoulder-block, getting the hot tag to Isaacs. Dickinson also tagged in and the two traded blows.

Isaacs landed a clothesline to take control. Isaacs then hit a deadlift jackhammer for a two-count. Nelson went to the top and hit a lame Doomsday Device for a two-count. King made the save and cleared house. King and Dickinson hit a double-team move for a near-fall. King tagged in and the two traded standing-switches. King hit a black-hole slam and a lariat for a pin.

Brody King and Chris Dickinson defeated Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson via pinfall in 10:13 to advance to the tournament finals.

McGuire’s Musings: This was very good. Unexpectedly good, actually. Not that I didn’t think it would be good, but this exceeded expectations. Dickinson and King were the right team to go over, especially considering how much of a monster King is made out to be in ROH. And yeah, tell me how things should be different between brands, but we learned this week how much damage can be done if you take a star (Karion Kross on NXT) and compromise his stardom somewhere else (Karion Kross on WWE Raw). Anyway, they kept me guessing throughout all of it and I can’t say enough good things about this match.

2. “The Good Brothers” Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Yuji Nagata and Ren Narita in a Tag Team Turbulence tournament semifinal match. Anderson and Narita began the match. While working Anderson’s arm, Narita tagged in Nagata, who came in and kept working Anderson’s arm. Nagata then kicked Gallows off the apron. Narita tagged in and kept working the fundamental approach on Anderson’s arm.

Anderson tagged out to Gallows, who worked over both Narita and Nagata. Narita tried to work his way out of the heel corner, but Gallows stopped him with a boot. Anderson tagged back in, and Anderson landed some stomps and punches. Gallows then tagged in and hit a tough clothesline for a two-count on Narita. Gallows then hit a leg-drop. Gallows hit a kick to Narita’s head and a following uppercut.

Gallows tagged in Anderson, who worked a chin-lock on Narita. Narita got to the ropes for a break. Gallows tagged back in and hit a knee. Gallows hit an elbow for a two-count. Gallows sunk in a tough chin-lock. After a body-slam, Gallows missed an elbow and tagged out. Nagata went after Gallows, but Gallows hit a big boot and tagged in Anderson. Nagata ultimately hit an Exploder on Gallows and tagged in Narita.

Nagata and Narita hit a series of clotheslines on Anderson, but before Narita could take control, Anderson countered and hit a kick before Gallows hit a splash. Anderson and Gallows hit a version of the Magic Killer that confused everyone including the ring announcer. Anderson hit the Gun Stun for a close near-fall. Gallows and Anderson then hit a real Magic Killer for the win.

“The Good Brothers” Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated Yuji Nagata and Ren Narita via pinfall in 10:40 to advance to the tournament finals.

McGuire’s Musings: I’m not sure what happened there with the weird non-finish/close-finish/ultimate-finish. Either way, there wasn’t much doubt in who would come out of this. You aren’t going to bring back The Good Brothers unless you’re going to do something with them, and NJPW rightfully are doing something with them. I was hoping for a little more out of Nagata and Narita, but that’s OK. There seemed to be some confusion here, and everyone worked hard and God bless.

3. Tom Lawlor vs. Satoshi Kojima for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship. A video packaged aired beforehand, reminding everyone exactly how Filthy, Filthy Tom Lawlor can be. Lawlor came out like a million bucks. The bell rang and Kojima came at Lawlor, but he ducked and the two locked up. Lawlor took control by working Kojima’s leg before Kojima made it to the ropes for a break. The two did some mat work before making their way to their feet and re-gathered themselves.

Kojima worked a head-lock. Lawlor eventually took control by working Kojima’s shoulder. Kojima tried to fight back, but Lawlor stopped him with some chops. Lawlor went for a choke, but Kojima fired up. Lawlor countered with a body-slam. Lawlor went for an elbow, but Kojima moved. Kojima went for a slingshot, but Lawlor moved and the action spilled outside.

Lawlor wrapped Kojima’s arm around the ring post. Kojima barely beat the count. Back in the ring, Lawlor sunk in a figure-four leg-lock. Back on their feet, Kojima fired up with a series of chops on Lawlor in the corner. Kojima went to the top, but Lawlor stopped him and hit knees to Kojima’s mid-section. On the apron, the two traded blows before Kojima hit a DDT.

Kojima threw Lawlor back into the ring and hit another DDT before going to the top rope. Kojima landed an elbow-drop for a two-count. On their feet, Lawlor hit an elbow to send Kojima to the ground. Kojima got to his feet, but Lawlor hit chops and elbows before going for a boot and Kojima caught him, hitting some Mongolian chops for a two-count. Kojima went for the submission, but Lawlor worked his way out. Kojima hit a cutter and went for a lariat, but Lawlor countered into a rear-naked choke.

Kojima worked out, but Lawlor caught him and hit a slam for a two-count. Lawlor worked a choke, but Kojima hit a brain-buster for a two-count. Kojima went to the ropes, but was tripped by Kratos. Lawlor then hit a knee, into the choke and got the submission win.

Filthy Tom Lawlor defeated Satoshi Kojima via submission to retain the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship in 16:05.

After the match, Lawlor cut a promo, but Lio Rush showed up and challenged Lawlor. The show ended without an answer from Lawlor…

McGuire’s Musings
: The outcome, again, wasn’t in much doubt, but that doesn’t mean these two didn’t work hard. Lawlor is a great promo, great worker, great champion. I don’t see any reason to take that title off him before a crowd can get in front of that show. But the Rush stuff at the end of the show made it intriguing. Even so, we know Rush is done, which, on a lot of levels, takes away from the drama that could be. Unless if he’s not actually done?

Either way, a very good episode of Strong. The tag matches were solid, if not predictable, and the title match was very well worked. Strong seems to be getting into a nice groove these days, with stories and stars and meaning behind a lot of what it does. Now, who else is rooting for Hikuleo on AEW Dynamite this Wednesday?


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