1/22 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Tom Lawlor, Black Tiger, and Jorel Nelson vs. Fred Rosser, Rocky Romero, and Taylor Rust, Juice Robinson vs. Bad Dude Tito, Lucas Riley vs. Royce Isaacs

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

NJPW Strong
Taped December 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont Hollywood
Streamed January 22, 2022 on New Japan World

The opening video aired before Kevin Kelly and Alex Kozlov checked in to run down the card. We are on the Nemesis tour for the third week. The tour will end with Jay White vs. Christopher Daniels next week.

1. Lucas Riley vs. Royce Isaacs. The two locked up before Isaacs took Riley down. Isaacs worked a headlock, but Riley countered by working Isaacs’s arm. Isaacs got out of it and took back control with a shoulder block. Riley fired up and hit a series of high-flying moves, capping it off with a standing shooting-star press for a once count. Ultimately, Isaacs took back the advantage with a knee.

Isaacs lifted Riley from the mat and hit a vertical suplex after holding Riley up for what felt like a minute. Jorel Nelson rolled into the ring and posed with Isaacs. Riley took advantage of that with a roll-up, but Isaacs kicked out and threw Riley into a turnbuckle. Isaacs sank in a rear chin-lock. Riley got out of it with a chin-breaker.

The two traded blows with Isaacs getting the best of it. Before long, Riley fired up and hit a series of kicks. Riley hit a Superman Punch and tried to whip Isaacs into a corner, but Isaacs reversed it. Riley spun around a few times for a slam and a two-count. Riley jumped at Isaacs, but Isaacs caught him and landed a powerslam for a two-count. Isaacs hit his finisher and that was it.

Royce Isaacs defeated Lucas Riley via pinfall in 7:26.

After the match, the West Coast Wrecking Crew celebrated in the ring.

McGuire’s Musings: This was fairly basic, with the outcome never in doubt. Riley’s young and green, but he showed promise here and Isaacs gave him more offense than I expected Riley to get. I’m probably in the minority, but I’d actually like to see the WCWC drift away from Team Filthy and break out into a force of their own. Nelson and Isaacs are very talented and as Isaacs showed here, he’s got a sneaky-power move set that could be utilized more in their tag matches. Anyway, this was a fine opener – no real suspense and no real memorable highlight notwithstanding.

2. Juice Robinson vs. Bad Dude Tito. Robinson was still in his Macho Man cosplay mode. The two began with a collar-and-elbow tie-up, which morphed into a wrist-lock from Robinson. Tito responded with a wrist-lock of his own. Robinson worked a side-head-lock. Tito countered with a leg scissors, but Robinson slapped Tito. The two traded chops. Tito went for a single-leg and then lifted Robinson for a slam. Robinson rolled to the outside and Tito followed him. The two traded chops outside the ring. Robinson hit a suplex and rolled back into the ring.

Robinson rolled back outside the ring and ran Tito into the ring post before posing. Robinson threw Tito back into the ring and landed a spine-buster/Senton combination for a one-count. Robinson hit some punches and chops on Tito. Tito eventually returned the favor. Robinson did the same. Tito did the same. Again. Both guys went for clotheslines, which took both wrestlers to the mat.

Back on their feet, the guys traded blows again. Robinson went for a leg lariat, but Tito moved and landed an enzuigiri. Tito hit a suplex for a good near fall. Tito lifted Robinson, but Robinson fought his way out. Tito hit a Death Valley Driver for a hell of a near-fall. Tito went to the top rope, but Robinson popped up and cut Tito off with an axe-handle. Robinson hit a Left Hand From God and the Pulp Friction from the top. Robinson then landed a Northern Lights Suplex for the win.

Juice Robinson defeated Bad Dude Tito via pinfall in 9:37.

After the match, Robinson asked for a microphone. Robinson screamed “Hollywood!” and then called out Jonah. Jonah appeared. Robinson asked someone to “ring the damn bell.” Jonah stepped into the ring. Tito held onto Robinson’s leg while Jonah attacked Robinson. Jonah and Tito climbed to the top rope on opposite ends of the ring. David Finlay ran out for the save.

McGuire’s Musings: This was good, but nothing special. It was odd to see Juice hit the Pulp Friction, draping Tito over the top rope, which you’d think would be enough for the win, and then following that up with a Northern Lights, kind of minimizing his usual finisher. But I digress. Tito looked good, even if his ring name sounds like a Grand Theft Auto villain. I have to wonder what Jonah and Tito would have done, coming off opposite top ropes like that, had Finlay not run in for the save. That could have been fun. But this obviously sets up a tag match, which, on paper, could deliver in a big way. Also of note: I’d like to see Juice lose just a smidge of his comedic tendencies because we all know he can go whenever he’s asked to go. For now, though, Macho Juice lives on.

3. Tom Lawlor, Black Tiger and Jorel Nelson vs. Fred Rosser, Taylor Rust and Rocky Romero. Romero and Tiger began with Tiger initially getting the best of Romero before Romero hit a knee strike. Romero tagged in Rosser, who went after Lawlor and all the action spilled to the outside. Back in the ring, Rosser hit a leg drop on Tiger. Romero tagged in and hit Tiger with a series of strikes. Romero went for his Forever Clotheslines. Tiger went to the outside of the ring to stop momentum and stepped back in to take control with a clothesline on Romero. Team Filthy posed over Romero and beat him down.

Nelson tagged in and hit knees, boots and chops on Nelson. Lawlor tagged in and continued to work over Romero with chops and strikes. Lawlor twisted Romero’s leg into a rope. Lawlor stretched Romero while Tiger put the boots to Romero. Romero tried to fire up, but Lawlor cut him off with forearms. Lawlor went for a single-leg crab, but Romero tried to fight out of it. Romero went to the second rope and landed a tornado DDT before tagging in Rust.

Rust ran into the ring and peppers Lawlor with kicks. The rest of Team Filthy came into the ring to help Lawlor, but Rust fought them off. Rust and Lawlor then traded blows. Lawlor slowed Rust down with a slam and tagged Nelson. Nelson hit a pop-up powerbomb for a two-count. Nelson went for a double-knees, but Rust moved and Rosser ran in to help Rust. Rosser and Rust double-teamed Lawlor. Lawlor ran Rosser and Rust into each other before landed a Heart Attack. Lawlor dropped a knee onto Rosser’s head while Rosser was in a Boston Crab.

Romero ran in and cleaned house, but Black Tiger cut Romero off. Black Tiger held Romero, but everyone spilled outside. Nelson tried for a dive, but Rust cut him off. Lawlor ran in and kicked Rust. Before long, Rush found himself alone with Nelson and Rust hit his finisher for the win.

Fred Rosser, Taylor Rust and Rocky Romero defeated Jorel Nelson, Tom Lawlor and Black Tiger via pinfall in 11:43.

After the match, Romero and Tiger brawled on the outside of the ring, with Romero sinking in an arm-bar while his teammates protested him. The show ended with Rust and Rosser giving each other a handshake while eyeing up the Strong Openweight Title.

McGuire’s Musings: The match was fine, but the true star was the collection of stories here. Black Tiger and Rocky Romero’s blood feud. Can the babyfaces trust Taylor Rust? Who, exactly, is Filthy Tom feuding with – Rosser or Rust? The end-of-show handshake between Rosser and Rust was intriguing, though I do have to admit I thought we were done with Rosser and Lawlor as a program. Integrating Rust now complicates things, but it does add a welcome wrinkle. The question of who takes the belt off Lawlor someday continues to fascinate me because the more weeks that pass, the more it feels like it’ll never happen. And I’m not really complaining about that.

In all, this isn’t an episode of NJPW Strong that you have to see. I hate to say it, but even when they produce missable episodes, there always seems to be a match or a spot or a promo that I’d recommend you go out of your way to see … but I can’t even say that this time around. So it goes. Next week ends the Nemesis tour and we get White vs. Daniels. That can’t not deliver, right? As always, I’ll have more to say in my Dot Net Members’ exclusive audio review.


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