By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped in Long Beach, California at Thunder Studios
Streamed September 25, 2021 on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov checked in to remind us that we are on the Fighting Spirit Unleashed Tour. The two ran down the card. A highlight video then aired with new music (which was fun)…
1. The DKC and Kevin Knight vs. Yuya Uemura and Yuji Nagata. Uemura and Knight began the match with Uemura taking Knight down. After trading moves, the two stood to stare at each other. Uemura took control with a wrist-lock, which turned into an arm-bar. Knight gained control with some tough strikes and an uppercut. Uemura got him back with a shoulder-block.
The DKC tagged in and so did Nagata. Nagata and The DKC felt each other out before The DKC sunk in a head-lock. The DKC stomped on Nagata’s foot to ultimately take Nagata down with a shoulder-block. The DKC hit a chop that is still echoing. Nagata took back control, however, by working The DKC’s arm. Nagata then hit Knight off the apron.
The DKC threw some chops at Nagata, but Nagata kicked The DKC and tagged in Uemura. Uemura and Nagata hit a double shoulder-block on The DKC. Uemura hit a double-chop on The DKC, but The DKC landed a dropkick off the second-rope to try and fire up. Knight tagged in and traded blows with Uemura. Knight ultimately hit what I still think is the best dropkick in wrestling. Knight then hit a series of moves for a good near-fall.
Knight went for a frog-splash, but missed and Uemura tagged in Nagata. Nagata went for an Exploder, but had to settle for a half-and-half, but The DKC broke up a pin and started to hit some chops. Knight ultimately hit his standing frog-splash for a two-count and then tried for a Boston Crab and got it. Uemura broke it up. With all four men in the ring, Nagata hit his Exploder for a close near-fall on Knight. Nagata sunk in a cross-face on Knight and Knight tapped out.
Yuya Uemura and Yuji Nagata defeated The DKC and Kevin Knight via submission in 9:27.
McGuire’s Musings: The outcome was never in doubt, but that doesn’t matter. I actually liked how Nagata looked here more than I have in his last few appearances in NJPW and AEW. I’ll say it for the second week in a row, but the crowds for this show have completely transformed the presentation. The DKC continues to impress with his growth and Knight has the best dropkick in the business (sorry, have I said that before?). This was a very good opening match. Shoot. It was just a very good set-the-palate match. Shoot. It was just a good match.
2. Wheeler Yuta vs. Jay White. White jawed at Yuta and fired up the crowd. The two traded takedowns and control. Yuta sunk in a head-scissors that kept White all types of tied up until White made it to the ropes for a break. Yuta kept control with a wrist-lock. In a corner. White landed a tough chop to take control before Yuta hit a dropkick. Yuta then went for a Bow-and-Arrow, which was ultimately broken up via what might have been an eye-gouge. White then hit an elbow to take control.
White hit a hard chop in one corner, took Yuta to another corner and did the same. White then threw Yuta to the opposite corner and went for his own Bow-and-Arrow, but Yuta rolled him up for an unexpectedly close near-fall. White covered Yuta about 5,000 times, but Yuta kicked out after the one-count most every time. Yuta hit chest chops before going into more chops. Yuta hit a springboard cross-body, which took both guys to the canvass.
Yuta went to the top for a high cross-body and got a two-count. Yuta tried to pick White up, but White blocked with an eye-gouge. Yuta eventually hit a suplex for a two-count. Yuta then fired up. Yuta went for a German Suplex, but White blocked it and White landed some crazy chops. The two then traded close near-falls. Yuta hit a German Suplex for yet another close two-count. Yuta sunk in a version of a cross-face, but White worked his way out and hit a Sleeper Suplex. White then hit the Blade Runner and that was it.
Jay White defeated Wheeler Yuta via pinfall in 10:29.
After the match, White took the mic and called someone in the crowd a dip-shit. White said Yuta put up a fight and asked the crowd to cheer for him. When a “Wheeler Yuta” chant started, White asked how anyone could want anyone else. White then called out Ishii. Lo and behold, Ishii came out, and man, every time you see Ishii walk, you have to think he’s going to kill somebody. The two went face to face, White said they could “do it right here,” but then White left. White returned, however, and Ishii hit an elbow and went for a brain-buster, but White wiggled out and hit a low-blow. White then hit the Blade Runner on Ishii as the crowd chanted something I’m not allowed to type.
McGuire’s Musings: My hope is that Jay White gets the credit he deserves. My fear is that because he follows so many big figures as leaders of the Bullet Club, he won’t get the credit he deserves. He’s a great promo. He’s great in the ring. And every time I see him, I want to see more. All of that translated fabulously here because while Wheeler Yuta has been showing up everywhere, I don’t quite know that he’s looked better than he did in this match. Is that Yuta rising to the occasion or is that Jay White that good? The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but no matter what, this was a very good match and will probably be the match of the night. If you have 11 minutes, watch it. If you have 14, watch the segment. I promise you’ll be happy.
3. Fred Rosser vs. Ren Narita. For being a blood-feud, it was odd that the two felt each other out to start the match. But I digress. Narita fired up with kicks and elbows. The two traded boots and the best of that went to Rosser. Rosser threw Narita onto the apron, and that led to a Plancha onto Rosser on the outside. Rosser fought back with a body-slam and a leg drop before hitting another leg drop from the apron to Narita, who was still on the outside.
Rosser rolled Narita back into the ring and landed a Kitchen Sink to put Narita down. Narita rolled to the outside and Rosser kept kicking Narita on the outside. Rosser rolled Narita back into the ring again and landed an elbow drop. Rosser then stretched Narita. Rosser hit a chop that echoed but Narita landed a belly-to-belly to even things out. Narita then nailed an elbow and a Russian-Leg-Sweep before sinking in a submission onto Rosser’s leg. Rosser made his way to the ropes for a break.
Narita continued to work Rosser’s legs. Narita hit a pretty half-bridge that got him a two-count. Narita then locked in a figure-four on Rosser. As he had it locked in, the two traded slaps, but Rosser ultimately made it to the ropes for a break. Narita kept stomping on Rosser’s leg. Narita threw Rosser to the corner, but Rosser sold the leg pain by limping to the corner. Rosser took back control with a bunch of elbows and chips to Narita’s back.
Rosser hit a Razor’s Edge from the top rope but only got a two out of it. Rosser went to pick up Narita, but Narita countered with a rear-naked choke, which went into a Cobra Twist. Rosser made it to the rope, though, for a break. Rosser went for a suplex, but Narita countered and sunk in a cross-leg version of the Boston Crab. Rosser made it to the rope, though, for a break.
Narita landed a suplex for a two-count. Narita went for the belly-to-belly, but Rosser countered with headbutts. Rosser hit a series of strikes and a sliding drop-kick for a two-count. Rosser hit a series of strikes before Narita got a fluke-type of roll-up for the win.
Ren Narita defeated Fred Rosser via pinfall in 15:11.
After the match, Rosser asked for the handshake again and this time, Narita accepted it while talking about running it back. The two bowed at each other.
McGuire’s Musings: Fred Rosser is the MVP of NJPW Strong and you cannot tell me otherwise. Just went I was about to say the middle match was the one of the night, I’m going to come out and tell you I was not correct in that assumption and I will tell that these two guys put on 15 minutes of a hell of a wrestling match. Narita hasn’t looked better. Rosser, I guess, is the gatekeeper, and he’s better at it than most anybody in the entire industry. And in the end, these two produced a very great match.
So, all of that said, if you’re a wrestling fan (and the delineation between a “wrestling fan” and … “I don’t know” has never been more pronounced), go watch this episode of NJPW Strong. It’s great. Every match is so much worth your time, and if you don’t believe me, I’ll buy you a year’s subscription to Dot Net. OK. Maybe. Don’t hold me to that. Not sure if I can afford it. But there is so much good here that you really shouldn’t miss.