By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed August 20, 2021 on New Japan World
The broadcast team of Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov checked in remotely to run down the card. We are on the Summer Struggle USA Tour…
1. Alex Coughlin vs. Matt Morris. Coughlin made his entrance first, sprinting to the ring and kind of looking like Dexter Lumis’s little brother. The old Aiden English then slowly emerged down the ramp. Koslov called Morris “creamy, like a lemon meringue pie.” The two locked up before Morris worked a side head-lock. Coughlin hit a shoulder-block and the two reset.
Morris went back to the side head-lock. Coughlin hit a catch-and-release suplex and Morris barely got over for a two-count. Coughlin landed a nasty chop. Coughlin worked a head-scissors. Coughlin hit a long-standing suplex for a two-count. Coughlin sunk in his own chin-lock. Coughlin ran at Morris, but Morris used a drop toe-hold to take control.
Morris hit a clothesline over the top rope as the action spilled outside. Morris then hit a front-flip off the apron. Back in the ring, Morris landed a Swanton for a two-count. Morris’s chest was all types of ripped up from that one previous chop. Coughlin ran into an elbow and a knee before Morris climbed to the top and hit a splash, but Coughlin rolled through and picked him up for a slam/pin combination that warranted a good near-fall.
Coughlin went for a gut-wrench suplex, but Morris countered and hit a running knee for another good near fall. Morris then hit his face-plant finisher for the pinfall win…
Matt Morris defeated Alex Coughlin via pinfall in 8:32.
McGuire’s Musings: Boy, I can’t recall a time in wrestling when someone who issued an open challenge loses so much of his open challenges. But, so it goes for those Young Lions. Poor Coughlin. He’s getting better every week and I actually think of all the Young Lions that Strong showcases, he’s one of the best two or three. His future could be tremendous. As for Morris, he looked better here than he did in any single WWE match. His chest, though? My condolences for that. Coughlin sure knows how to throw a mean chop. This was a very good match, and one of the better opening matches Strong has had in a while.
2. Ren Narita, Clark Connors, and TJP vs. Fred Rosser, Fred Yehi, and Daniel Garcia. It’s so odd to see Garia work as the dastardly heel against Jon Moxley on AEW’s Rampage and then pose alongside a smiling Fred Rosser only a half-hour later. Anyway, Rosser and Narita kept staring each other down. TJP and Garcia started the match with a test of strength. The two then grappled back and forth. Narita and Rosser kept jawing and staring through all of this.
Connors tagged in and they hit a double suplex plus a bulldog on Garcia. Garcia landed a hell of a chop, backing Connors into the corner and tagging in Yehi. Yehi hit a chop of his own. Rosser then tagged in and hit Connors with knees. Connors tried to fight his way out, but Rosser hit a forearm to take back control. Connors hit some chops, a forearm and a shoulder-tackle for a one-count. Narita then tagged in.
Narita went for a German Suplex, but Rosser held the ropes to block it. Narita hit a boot to take Rosser to the apron. Narita then stomped a mud-hole in Rosser. TJP tagged in and worked a head-lock on Rosser. Rosser tried to fight his way out, but TJP caught him with a drop-toe-hold and a dropkick. Connors and Narita ran in to hit their opponents off the apron. TJP, meanwhile, hit a knee on Rosser.
Connors tagged in and went for a body-slam, but Rosser countered and hit his leg-drop. Rosser got the hot tag to Yehi, who stomped on Connors’s feet and took him down. TJP ran in, but Yehi knocked him out of the ring. Yehi hit a series of chops. Connors landed a snap powerslam to even things out. TJP tagged in, but Connors hit a spear on Yehi before leaving the ring. As a result, Rosser came in to hit a knee and madness ensued.
Yehi hit a back-fist on TJP with everyone else outside the ring. TJP landed a tornado DDT. TJP tagged in Narita. Garcia tagged in and hit a big boot. Garcia landed an elbow for a two-count. Narita then caught Garcia for a belly-to-belly and got a two-count out of it. Garcia eventually hit a dropkick to the back of Narita’s head. Narita sunk in a Cobra Twist. Narita then hit a bridging belly-to-belly suplex for the win.
Ren Narita, Clark Connors, and TJP defeated Fred Rosser, Fred Yehi, and Daniel Garcia via pinfall in 12:09.
After the match, Narita and Rosser stared each other down some more…
McGuire’s Musings: Tough night for Garcia. Every company wants him – they just don’t want him to win. He tapped out out to Jon Moxley on AEW Rampage and then was pinned by Ren Narita. Welcome to the show, baby. Anyway, is it me or does Rosser find himself in these intensely passionate blood feuds every three to four weeks? It either means he’s the designated feud guy, or his work is just on another level than his colleagues. Could be both. Either way, this was better than the typical NJPW Strong six-man because it didn’t break down nearly as much as others do. I like the story with Rosser and Narita and I think it will ultimately elevate Narita, which is great. Clark Connors is sneaky good, too. Since he graduated from the dojo, he’s really picked up his game.
3. Brody King and Chris Dickinson vs. Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs. Dickinson and Isaacs began with Dickinson getting the slight advantage to start. Nelson ran in to attack Dickinson, so King ran in, but the West Coast Wrecking Crew knocked King outside. Nelson tagged in and hit Dickinson with some punches. Isaacs tagged in and kept control with some boots.
Nelson tagged back in and went for a pin, getting a two-count. Nelson taunted King, but Dickinson eventually hit a tough chop; still, Nelson grabbed Dickinson’s knee and worked over Dickinson’s knee. Isaacs tagged in and kept working Dickinson’s knee some more. Nelson tagged back in, doing much of the same. Isaacs tagged in, but Dickinson fired up and hit some elbows. Isaacs returned the favor. Dickinson hit a step-up enziguri, and a German Suplex. Dickinson landed the hot tag to King.
King came in and cleaned house, hitting clotheslines on Isaacs and Nelson. King eventually picked up Nelson and landed a running Death Valley Driver in the corner, onto Isaacs. Ouch. Dickinson came back in and King and Dickinson hit some double-team moves before King sunk in a Boston Crab. Isaacs broke it up, though, and Dickinson ran in. Dickinson got the tag and hit a dropkick and brain-buster. Isaacs ran in to make the save and hit a punch on Dickinson.
Isaacs then tagged in and the two were attacked by King. Isaacs and Nelson were then clotheslined over the top rope. Dickinson picked up Isaacs back in the ring, but the ref was distracted while King was attacked by JR Kratos, who was in the West Coast Wrecking Crew’s corner. Isaacs hit an elbow off the top rope and that was enough for the win.
Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs defeated Brody King and Chris Dickinson via pinfall in 9:51.
After the match, Team Filthy cut a promo backstage, with JR Kratos saying Filthy Tom likes what he saw. Isaacs said they are 1-1 against King and Dickinson and that The Good Brothers better watch their back to close the show.
McGuire’s Musings: That was sort of a surprise. King and Dickinson really are a couple of the top guys on Strong, but I understand the story, and it looks like we’ll be getting a rubber match between the two teams. The story here was that Dickinson essentially worked the entire match. OK, so not exactly the entire, entire match. But a whole hell of a lot of it. And he carried the load well (though I could have done with more leg selling, considering the time the WCWC put into working on the leg, but what do I know). The formula to beat Dickinson and King, in theory, would be to make sure King doesn’t get a chance to get in the ring much and that’s what happened here. Logic in pro wrestling is such a gift.
In all, this was a good episode of Strong. I know I say that a lot, but this really could be the most solid one hour of wrestling you can find. A mild surprise in the main event, Narita and Rosser heating up and then the debut of Matt Morris (not to mention the growth of Alex Coughlin). What more could you want? My weekly NJPW Strong audio reviews are available exclusively to Dot Net Members every Saturday.