By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped November 15, 2021 in Long Beach, California at Riverside Municipal Auditorium
Streamed December 11, 2021 on New Japan World
The broadcast team of Alex Koslov and Kevin Kelly checked in to begin the show and ran down the card. This is the second night of New Japan Detonation 2021…
1. Gabriel Kidd vs. Jonathan Gresham. The two shook hands to begin the match. Both guys rolled through a handful of wrist-locks. Kidd tried a head-scissors, but Gresham kicked out. Gresham tried to work over Kidd with mat wrestling, but Kidd came back by working the wrist. Gresham fought back by working Kidd’s leg. Kidd took control with an arm-bar, but Gresham kept working his way out of it. Kidd gained control with a hip-toss. Kidd kept working Gresham’s arm.
Kidd took Gresham down and went for a single-leg crab, but Gresham got to the ropes for a break. Kidd went for a handshake, but Gresham denied him. The two tied up. After breaking up, the two tied up again. Gresham “accidentally” poked Kidd in the eye. Gresham asked for a handshake as a result and the two shook hands. Gresham went after the legs of Kidd and sunk in a submission.
Gresham worked a submission, but Kidd made it to the ropes for a break. Kidd came out of it and pushed Gresham to the ground. Kidd went for Gresham’s legs, but Gresham came back and the two tried to roll each other up. Back on their feet, Kidd tackled Gresham, but Gresham fought back with elbows and Kidd did the same. Kidd slammed Gresham and hit some chops. All of this changed when Gresham dropkicked Kidd off the apron.
Gresham worked over Kidd’s arm back in the ring, but the two traded blows before long. Kidd hit a dropkick. Kidd landed some chops. Kidd went for a suplex but it didn’t work because of his arm. The two traded a thousand pin attempts. Gresham eventually hit a leg-scissors pin and that was enough for the win.
Jonathan Gresham defeated Gabriel Kidd via pinfall in 13:45.
After the match, the two shook hands. Kidd went to the center of the ring and broke down for a second before rolling out.
McGuire’s Musings: This was pretty much what anyone would think it would be. The two worked Gresham’s style, which is essentially just fantastic pro wrestling. Kidd looked good for his first bout back and he hung with one of the best in the world to prove as much. As we move into 2022, I hope both these guys get some important breaks in their career. If you were in Philly and heard the entirety of Kidd’s promo, you’d have to be heartless to not root for him. Gresham, meanwhile, seems to have the wrestling world at his fingertips and I hope he makes the most of it. These two worked slow, chippy and authentic. The best wrestling can be.
2. Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, and Ren Narita vs. “The United Empire” Will Ospreay, TJP, and Jeff Cobb. The two brawled to open the match. Connors and TJP ended up fighting inside the ring before Fredericks hit a splash to the heels on the outside. Back in the ring, Connors worked over TJP. Fredricks tagged in, but before long, Narita tagged in and worked over TJP with forearms.
Fredericks tagged back in and went for a clothesline, but TJP stopped that before sinking in his own submission. Fredericks ultimately tagged Narita, who worked over TJP. Ospreay then tagged in and Narita landed a splash and a suplex for a two-count. Ospreay threw Narita into the ropes and Cobb grabbed Narita to throw him into the guardrail outside the ring. Back in the ring, TJP worked over Narita before tagging in Cobb.
Cobb headbutted Narita. Cobb whipped Narita into a corner and then stood on Narita. Cobb did the suplex-squat spot on Narita. Ospreay then tagged in and hit wildly vicious chops on Narita. Ospreay then landed a spinning back-breaker on Narita. Ospreay hit another insane chop, but Narita hit a belly-to-belly suplex before tagging in Connors. Connors hit his spear on Ospreay. Ospreay and Connors traded blows.
TJP tagged in and went for his face-cleanser, but Connors caught him for a powerslam. Eventually, everyone was outside the ring and Connors threw TJP back into the ring. While Ospreay was holding Connors’s knee, TJP hit a splash on it. The legal men in the ring tagged out and we wound up with Fredericks and Cobb. Fredericks hit a spine-buster on Cobb. Fredericks landed an elbow and got a two-count on Cobb.
Fredericks went for the Manifest Destiny, but Cobb worked his way out and then everything broke down. Connors’s knee gave out as he tried to attack TJP. The United Empire hit a series of kicks on Fredericks before Cobb hit the Spin Cycle for a two-count. Cobb hit the Tour of the Islands on Fredericks and that was it.
“The United Empire” Will Ospreay, TJP and Jeff Cobb defeated Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks and Ren Narita via pinfall in 13:22.
After the match, Narita fought his way back into the ring to try and attack the United Empire, but the Empire got the best of him…
McGuire’s Musings: Again, this was good, but pretty much exactly what you would think it would be. Cobb, Ospreay, and TJP should have won this match and, in fact, they did. The biggest takeaway here was the fire that Narita showed, which leads me to believe that the program between Ospreay and Narita isn’t over. I have absolutely no complaints about that. In fact, if you’re going to give shine to some of the Young Lions, Ren Narita is an awfully good pick to be the guy that gets the most of it. This was expected, but good.
3. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Brody King. The two began by trading blows. Ishii hit some elbows, but King landed a shoulder block that took Ishii to the ground. King hit a loud chop. And then another one. King landed a Senton for a two-count. Before long, the two were in the middle of the ring trading elbows and forearms. Ishii went for a pair of suplexes, but King hit some forearms to keep control.
King landed an echoing chop. And then another. And then another. The list goes on. But Ishii kept asking for it. Before long, Ishii was on the mat. King hit another chop, but Ishii fired up. It didn’t matter, though, because King hit a forearm and then got him over for a proper suplex. Ishii’s chest was bleeding, but Ishii hit so many wildly heavy chops on King that I don’t even know if King still has feeling in his chest.
Ishii hit a headbutt, but King knocked Ishii down. Back on their feet, Ishii and King traded chops, with King getting the best of it. King went for the Gonzo Bomb, but Ishii blocked it. As a result, King clubbed Ishii to the ground. King landed a few forearms. King then hit a cannonball in a corner. King then landed a piledriver for a two-count. King went for a strike, but Ishii fought back, but then King landed a loud forearm.
King went for a slam, but Ishii countered into a German Suplex. Ishii went for a series of clotheslines. King wouldn’t go down. Eventually, Ishii got in a strike on the chin and that knocked King down. Ishii went for the sliding lariat, but King blocked it. Even so, Ishii hit a very strong lariat to get a two-count. King eventually hit a Black Hole Slam into a Death Valley Driver (in honor of Chris Dickinson), but all King got was a two-count. King hit a strong lariat, but that only got him a two-count. King went for the Gonzo Bomb, but Ishii slipped out and hit the sliding lariat for a two-count. Ishii then hit a brain-buster and that was enough for the win.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Brody King via pinfall in 13:37.
Ishii walked out with his belt to close the show…
McGuire’s Musings: Boy, oh boy, did Ishii give King a lot. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing. I’m not complaining at all. But anyone watching this match based on pure current stuff would probably think King was going to win, no questions asked. Instead, Ishii turned out to be the hero while King has to wait for another day to claim his throne. King looked great. Ishii looked great, too. This was exactly what anyone would want from a match like this. King looks dominant. Ishii goes over. Well done.
As for the episode, it’s one you can miss. Gresham and Kidd was good – maybe even very good – but not great. The main event had its moments, but it was hard to think a newly crowned NJPW champion would take a loss this early into his reign. Even so, this episode had some pretty great wrestling, so if you like some pretty great wrestling, as always, this is for you. If not … well, you can afford to miss it.