10/23 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Juice Robinson vs. Hikuleo in a Texas Bullrope match, Clark Connors and Karl Fredericks vs. Will Ospreay and a mystery partner, Chris Dickinson and Robbie Eagles vs. El Phantasmo and Chris Bey, ten-man tag match


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

NJPW Strong
Taped September 25-26 in Garland, Texas at Curtis Culwell Center
Streamed October 23, 2021 on New Japan World

The broadcast team of Alex Koslov and Matt Rehwoldt checked in to begin the show and ran down the card. This is Night 3 of Autumn Attack. The second introductory video package then aired…

1. David Finlay, Brogan Finlay, Will AllDay, Wheeler Yuta, and Fred Yehi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Ren Narita, Alex Coughlin, The DKC, and Kevin Knight in a 10-man tag match. Before the bell rang, the teams teased each other. Yuta and Knight began the match and went back and forth with some grappling work. Yuta landed a flying headbutt off the second rope to take control, but Knight came back with a powerslam. The two kept at it and it all ended with both wrestlers on their feet.

Coughlin and AllDay tagged in for their respective teams. The guys locked up, but Coughlin essentially threw AllDay across the ring. AllDay hit a kick to the back of Coughlin and taunted Taguchi. “You. Here. Now,” Coughlin yelled and I’ll be damned if he wasn’t the most dangerous man in the world if for a second. Coughlin hit one chop and it echoed from Texas to Alaska. Coughlin landed a clothesline, but then Yuta ran in. After that, Coughlin picked up AllDay and Yuta at the same time for a gut-wrench suplex at the same time on both guys. Outrageous.

The DKC tagged in and worked over AllDay. The two traded chops. AllDay ran to the second rope and hit a kick on the DKC. Yehi then tagged in and worked over The DKC. Yehi face-palmed The DKC and hit an Exploder. Yehi landed a tough chop before tagging in David Finlay. Finlay hit a pair of forearms. David tagged in his brother Brogan and the brothers hit a double elbow to take The DKC down. Brogan hit a suplex and got a two-count.

Yuta tagged in and Yuta worked over The DKC’s arm. Yuta ran the ropes, but The DKC caught Yuta with a kick and The DKC got the hot tag to Taguchi, who hit a hip attack on everyone. Taguchi whipped all his teammates into David Finlay, who was stunned in a corner. The spot ended with Taguchi hitting a hip attack for a two-count. Taguchi went for another hip attack, but Finlay caught him. Eventually, Taguchi hit an enziguri and both wrestlers were down.

Narita tagged in and traded blows with Brogan. Brogan landed a European Uppercut before getting in a Finlay Roll and that got Brogan a two-count. Narita got in a figure-four, but AllDay broke it up before hitting Knight with an elbow. Knight hit the best dropkick in all of wrestling. Finlay ran in to throw Knight to the outside. The Finlay brothers double-teamed Taguchi. Brogan landed a Fisherman’s Suplex on Narita for a two-count.

Narita fired up and hit an overhead suplex on Brogan. Narita landed a bridge suplex for a two-count. Brogan rolled Narita up a couple times for two-counts. Narita ultimately hit a brain-buster for a two-count. Narita sunk in a Boston Crab on Brogan and there was very good drama with David trying to save his brother, but he was stopped by the opposite team. Brogan eventually tapped out.

Ryusuke Taguchi, Ren Narita, Alex Coughlin, The DKC, and Kevin Knight defeated David Finlay, Brogan Finlay, Will AllDay, Wheeler Yuta, and Fred Yehi via submission in 14:48.

After the match, the Young Lions, with Taguchi, posed…

McGuire’s Musings: This wasn’t nearly as chaotic as I feared it would be. Brogan got so, so, so much more time than I thought he would, but I’m not complaining because for an 18 year old, he looked awfully good. I know it’s in his blood, but he looked comfortable and not in any way intimidated by the moment. It was good to see the Young Lions be part of a winning equation, which is rare on Strong. In all, I had low expectations for this match, but it far exceeded them and there has to be a future for the Finlay brothers somewhere down the line together.

2. Chris Dickinson and Robbie Eagles vs. El Phantasmo and Chris Bey. Dickinson and Bey began the match with Dickinson going for Bey’s legs and dumping Bey on his head. Dickinson then mocked Bey and ELP. Bey eventually went for a spinning elbow, but Dickinson caught him and slammed Bey into the buckle before tagging in Eagles. ELP tagged in and worked a head-lock on Eagles. They exchanged a bunch of a bunch and then stared each other down on their feet.

Dickinson tagged in and asked ELP to hit him, so ELP hit him and it didn’t mean much to Dickinson. Ditto for Bey. Eagles tagged in and Dickinson and Eagles hit a series of double-team moves. Eagles jumped off the back of Dickinson onto ELP and Bey on the outside. Back in the ring, Bey took control with a series of stomps. ELP and Bey worked over Eagles with a bunch of spots, including a boot to the nuts.

ELP tagged in and ELP did a bunch of cartwheels, a handstand, a twirl, and it all led to … a back-rake. Bey did some more nonsense before hitting a back-rake. Eagles eventually hit a spinning back-kick and went for the hot tag to Dickinson, but ELP pulled Dickinson off the apron. In the ring, Eagles took out both members of the Bullet Club and the hot tag to Dickinson finally happened.

Dickinson ran through ELP multiple times. Bey and ELP tried to double-suplex Dickinson, but Dickinson countered by picking them up instead for a double-suplex. Dickinson hit a nasty brain-buster on ELP but Bey made the save. Bey and Dickinson traded forearms. Before long, ELP hit a springboard moonsault on Dickinson for a two-count. ELP hit a running knee on Dickinson, but Dickinson hit a belly-to-back suplex to slow things down. Eagles and Bey tagged in.

Bey and Eagles traded forearms. Eagles landed a dropkick to Bey’s leg, but Bey hit a loud spinning heel kick on Eagles. Bey went for a cutter, but Eagles went for a back-slide before the pin broke up. Eagles hit a splash onto Bey’s leg. Dickinson ran defense while Eagles’s leg-lock made Bey tap.

Chris Dickinson and Robbie Eagles defeated El Phantasmo and Chris Bey via submission in 12:33.

After the match, Eagles cut a promo backstage, but was interrupted by Will Ospreay, who essentially ended the promo.

McGuire’s Musings: Because ELP and Bey are a half-comedy act – and Eagles has actual gold around his waist – the finish made sense. Actually, throw all of that in with the idea that Dickinson seems to be high on the NJPW Strong list, and the outcome, as we say, should have never been in doubt. But none of that is to suggest it’s a bad thing. Logical booking is logical booking. Anyway, the match was fun and worth your time. The post-match angle makes me wonder if Eagles and Ospreay have some upcoming plans.

3. Clark Connors and Karl Fredericks vs. Will Ospreay and TJP. TJP was the mystery partner, but there really wasn’t much mystery about it. They jump-started the match with all four wrestlers fighting outside the ring. Ospreay and TJP returned to the ring, and that allowed them to take control. Ospreay went for a piledriver on Fredericks, but that was countered into a back-drop.

After everything settled down, TJP and Connors fought inside the ring, with Ospreay quickly tagging in to work over Connors. Ospreay hit some chops on Connors before tagging in TJP. Connors tried to fire up, but Ospreay grabbed his hair and pulled him down before TJP hit a boot on Connors in a corner. TJP worked over Connors’s leg and arm before Ospreay tagged in and worked over Connors’s arm. He then sunk in a chin-lock.

Connors hit a chop and a wild spear on Ospreay. That led to Fredericks tagging in and Fredericks hit an elbow and a back-cracker on Ospreay. Fredericks landed a belly-to-back suplex for a two-count. Fredericks went for the Manifest Destiny, but Ospreay worked his way out and hit his handspring twist to take control. After absorbing a chop, Fredericks landed a spine-buster on Ospreay.

Connors and TJP tagged in and Connors went after TJP hard. Connors hit a release German Suplex and a spear, but the pin was broken up by Ospreay. TJP and Ospreay worked a couple double-team moves for a two-count. Connors and Fredericks got in a bunch of double-team moves on both TJP and Ospreay. Connors landed a back-elbow from the top rope for a super close near-fall. Connors and Fredericks went for something, but Ospreay broke it up and untied the turnbuckle pad. Connors then ran into the steel and as a result, TJP pinned him.

Will Ospreay and TJP defeated Clark Connors and Karl Fredericks via pinfall in 10:38.

After the match, Ospreay and TJP tried to keep attacking Connors, but everyone from the LA Dojo in the back came out for the save…

McGuire’s Musings: The mystery of Ospreay’s mystery partner was never quite a mystery, but that’s OK. Quick: Who will be the first Young Lion to join up with Ospreay and TJP? I can’t even begin to guess. This match was fine. I continue to be a growing fan of Clark Connors’s work and he didn’t disappoint here. The team of TJP and Ospreay feels a tiny bit random and/or thrown together, but by the time they got to the Philadelphia tapings, something seemed to have clicked. We’ll see how that translates on TV. Either way, the guys worked hard and this match had a lot of nice fire to it.

4. Juice Robinson vs. Hikuleo in a Texas Bullrope match. Hikuleo jump-started the match with a boot, but Robinson wasn’t tied into Hikuleo. The ref was taken out, though, so Hikuleo hit his signature powerslam before choking Robinson with the rope. The ref made it back to his feet as Hikuleo was choking Robinson over the top rope. Hikuleo said he needed more cowbell, and it didn’t get the laugh it deserved.

Robinson was finally tied to the rope and Robinson pulled Hikuleo into the ring post multiple times. Robinson tied Hikuleo to the ring post and hit Hikuleo with a baking sheet. Robinson went for a DDT, but Hikuleo slammed Juice into the barricade before hitting him with the baking sheet and my goodness, it was loud. Hikuleo jumped the barricade and ran Robinson into the barricade. Hikuleo did it again. When Hikuleo tried it again, Robinson jumped at him and hit him with a number of blows.

Hikuleo struck Robinson into the backstage area, but Robinson came back out of the curtain with a trash can, which he used to hit Hikuleo. The two ended up in the ring and Hikuleo took a rough unprotected head shot from Robinson’s trash can lid. Robinson grabbed some chairs and a bucket that had bottles of water in it. Robinson landed a sliding lariat inside the ring. Robinson put the baking sheet and a couple trash can lids on Hikuleo and hit a Senton.

Robinson pinned a chair into the corner. He then pinned another. Robinson used the cowbell to take Hikuleo down. Robinson slid to the outside and pulled the rope to force Hikuleo into the two chairs he pinned into the turnbuckle. Robinson went to the top, but Hikuleo pulled him down and landed a choke slam to give things a break.

Hikuleo hit a splash onto Robinson in the corner. Robinson used the rope to crotch Hikuleo multiple times. Robinson hit some jabs, but Hikuleo caught him for a chokeslam attempt. It didn’t work and Robinson put a garbage can on Hikuleo’s head. Robinson went to the middle rope and came down with the cowbell onto Hikuleo. Robinson followed that up with another cowbell shot. Robinson wrapped the rope around Hikuleo’s neck. Hikuleo made it to the ropes for a break, but there is no rope break in a bullrope match so Hikuleo essentially passed out.

Juice Robinson defeated Hikuleo via ref stoppage in 13:41.

McGuire’s Musings: This was fun and the finish protects Hikuleo, which continues to be important in the land of NJPW Strong. We don’t see blood a lot, if ever, on NJPW programming, so it was hard to think this would be one of those violent, gory matches that some bullrope matches tend to be. Even so, both guys worked hard to tell a compelling story, and they did just that. I guess this means Robinson walks away the winner of the feud (and I have questions about that, considering Hikuleo is the young up-and-coming talent), but maybe we’ll see more in the weeks to come.

This was a fine episode of NJPW Strong. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t not good. There really weren’t a lot of developments here because we knew TJP and Will Ospreay were going to be teaming together moving forward. The 10-man was a cluster, but all 10-man tags are (even if this was refreshingly calm. You don’t need to see this episode if you’re very worried about keeping up with stories, but there was some good wrestling and it’s an entertaining way to spend an hour-and-a-half. You could do worse, right? My weekly audio reviews of NJPW Strong are available exclusively for Dot Net Members.


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