By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed August 27, 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. The DKC, Adrian Quest, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Barrett Brown, Misterioso, and Bateman. The Bateman crew made its way out first with Brown doing the Bateman sway. Misterioso was in his Scott Steiner cosplay outfit again. Brown and Quest began the match and Kelly explained how the two used to be tag-team partners. Brown attacked Quest, but Quest fought back with elbows and an arm-drag.
Brown tried to tag out, but Quest stopped him and Yuta tagged in. Brown wiggled out to tag in Bateman. Bateman hit a shoulder-block and he went for the tombstone, but Yuta rolled out. Bateman landed a back elbow, but Yuta followed that by landing a good dropkick. Bateman tagged in Misterioso. The DKC tagged in and hit some chops, but Misterioso fought back with hard chops and elbows.
Misterioso landed a body-slam and a clothesline before posing. “That was a beautiful gun show,” Koslov said and it was funny. Bateman tagged in and when The DKC went for a slam, Bateman countered with an ugly-looking slam/throw. Brown then tagged in and took his boot to The DKC’s throat. Misterioso tagged in and worked over The DKC, eventually hitting a pair of running knees and a Senton for a two-count.
The DKC hit a dropkick and got the hot tag to Quest. Brown tagged in and Quest hit a spinning cross-body on Brown. Eventually, and unsurprisingly, all hell broke lose. But this time, the three babyfaces ganged up on Brown after the other two heels were sent outside. Quest hit a shooting-star press on Brown and got a two-count.
Misterioso hit a splash on the outside. Bateman then tagged in and The DKC really laid it in with some chops. Bateman gave him a receipt and boy, did it look tough. The DKC fired up, but Bateman quickly caught him for his Tombstone for the win.
Barrett Brown, Misterioso, and Bateman defeated The DKC, Adrian Quest, and Wheeler Yuta via pinfall in 9:26.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a fun opening six-man. The wrinkle of having all three babyfaces team up on one heel for a minute was a nice disruption to the formula. You knew The DKC would take the loss, but what you didn’t know was that he’d take as much of the match as he did. That guy is really coming along in NJPW. He has so much fire and his intensity bleeds through the screen. Also, I like the Bateman, Brown and Misterioso alliance. Kevin Kelly said something about new factions forming in response to their win and I wouldn’t mind seeing them grow into something bigger. If nothing else, the personalities are definitely there.
2. Karl Fredericks vs. Alexander James. The two began by feeling each other out. The two went for shoulder-blocks, but nobody budged. They traded chops, then, and Fredericks has one of the most vicious chops in all the land. Fredericks hit a cross-body to take control and James’s chest almost immediately turned into the color of a red Starburst. James hit a boot and got a one-count. James then worked an elbow-head-lock.
James worked another submission, but Fredericks got to the rope for a break. James came back with another leg lock. Fredericks got the rope break again. The two traded elbows, and Fredericks took control with a running boot and more elbows. Fredericks landed a back-body-drop and an elbow for a two-count. James came back with a pump-handle slam for a two-count.
James went for a gut-wrench power-bomb, but Fredericks worked his way out. James then hit a hard lariat. James worked a cross-face while hitting Fredericks in the back of the head. Fredericks made it to the ropes for a break. James hit some kicks to the head, but Fredericks landed a slap. Fredericks hit a spinebuster for a two count. Fredericks then hit the Manifest Destiny out of nowhere and won.
Karl Fredericks defeated Alexander James via pinfall in 9:37.
McGuire’s Musings: Fredericks is really becoming a star on Strong. He’s getting meaningful wins and he’s in the mix with the champion. His chops are some of the most lethal on a show that’s filled to the brim with lethal chops. As for James, he looked good here. The vibe was that he was being fed to Fredericks, who seems to be getting a push, but James had a lot of offense and some weird-ass hybrid submissions. He kind of reminds me of where Fredericks was about six months ago in NJPW. If he’s patient, he’ll get his turn. Now, though? Now is Fredericks’ time, and man, he’s taking the ball and running with it.
3. Chris Dickinson, Brody King, Lio Rush, and Juice Robinson vs. Royce Isaacs, Jorel Nelson, JR Kratos, and Tom Lawlor. Rush and Lawlor began the match and pushed each other. Rush went for a rear-naked-choke, but Lawlor got out. Rush still hit a series of moves and had Lawlor chase him before tagging in King. Lawlor tagged in Kratos. King took out all of Team Filthy and then hit a bulldog on Kratos.
Rush tagged in and hit a standing frog splash. Rush tagged in Robinson and Robinson hit a double axe-handle. Dickinson tagged in and Dickinson came off the top rope with another double axe-handle. Dickinson worked Kratos’s arm. King tagged in and landed a body-slam and back splash on Kratos. All the babyfaces tagged in, but Kratos countered everyone’s moves. Kratos stood alone in the ring.
Robinson took some punches and slaps from Kratos. Lawlor then tagged in and wrapped Robinson’s leg around the ropes. Lawlor then used a chop block. Lawlor hit a neck-breaker for a two-count. Lawlor sunk in a shoulder submission that turned into a neck-lock. Kratos tagged in and Kratos went back to Robinson’s knee. Kratos hit a suplex for a two-count. Isaacs tagged in and kept working on Robinson’s knee.
Nelson tagged in and continued working Robinson’s knee on the ropes. The heels pulled Robinson outside and the four quadruple-teamed him. Back in the ring, Nelson covered Robinson for a two-count. Kratos tagged in and picked up Robinson while the rest of the heels took 15 seconds to pose around him. That warranted a two-count. The babyfaces were all on the outside due to the heels attacking them.
The babyfaces ran in and attacked all of the heels. Robinson found his way outside and Kratos pulled up the mat to go for a power-bomb, but Robinson punched his way out. As a result, Robinson pushed Kratos into the pole. Robinson made the hot tag to King, who cleaned house with loud chops. King hit a Black Hole Slam on Kratos and tagged in Dickinson. Rush, King and Robinson hit cannonballs on Nelson and Dickinson covered him for a close near-fall.
Dickinson went for the kick on Nelson, but it was broken up by Isaacs. Eventually, Kratos hit a suplex on King. Rush came in, however, and cleared Kratos. Rush hit the Rush Hour and Dickinson sank in the STF on Nelson for the tap out.
Chris Dickinson, Brody King, Lio Rush, and Juice Robinson defeated Royce Isaacs, Jorel Nelson, JR Kratos, and Tom Lawlor via submission in 14:24.
All told, this was a good episode of Strong. The multi-man matches are tough to digest sometimes and even Koslov asked Kelly a time or two who was legal in that main event. The action is good, but the traditional rule-keeping isn’t necessarily there. The episode-ending attack on Robinson was great and made Hikuleo out to be the star he is (you know I had to say it). I can’t wait for whenever those two get to their blowoff, but my sense is it’s coming soon. My only question then becomes … what’s next for Hikuleo? My audio reviews of NJPW Strong are available for Dot Net Members every Saturday.