4/23 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Buddy Matthews vs. Yuya Uemura, Blake Christian vs. Swerve Strickland, and John Skyler vs. Big Damo

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

NJPW Strong
Taped March 20, 2022 in Tampa, Florida at St. Petersburg Coliseum
Streamed April 23, 2022 on New Japan World

A new opening video aired before Ian Riccaboni and Matt Rehwoldt checked in to run down the card. This is the third week of the Strong Style Evolved tour.

1. John Skyler vs. Big Damo
. Skyler jawed at Damo and Damo grabbed Skyler by the face and threw him across the ring. The action spilled to the apron and Skyler speared Damo to take control. Damo eventually tried to push Skyler away, but Skyler came back with a shoulder block. Skyler went for a chop, but Damo came back by staring him down. It didn’t matter because Skyler kept up with his strikes.

Skyler hit a neck-breaker and worked a chin-lock. Damo backed Skyler into a corner, but Skyler came off the second rope with a dropkick. Skyler jawed at the crowd. Skyler went for something with a butterfly formation (Pedigree?), but Damo fired up and hit a series of splashes in the corners. Damo hit a slam and an elbow for a two-count. Damo ran at Skyler, who was on the apron, but Skyler leapt through the ropes to hit a spear for a one-count.

Skyler went to the top, but Damo cut him off and hit a superplex from the second rope, which got Damo a two-count. Skyler hit a spinning lariat, but Damo came back with a splash and a two-count. Skyler landed a knee, but Damo picked Skyler up and landed a Senton before hitting a Vader Bomb for the win.

Big Damo defeated John Skyler via pinfall in 7:15.

McGuire’s Musings: Good for Killian Dain. I’m not so sure he got a real shot in WWE, but here, he looked like he was getting his legs underneath him and Skyler played the dancing partner part very, very well. In fact, Skyler took a lot of the match, which surprised me because on some level, I thought this might be a squash. Instead, Skyler held his end very well and Damo is a good worker, no matter where he is. This was clunky at times, but perhaps this was meant for Damo to work off some ring rust. If so, Skyler was the perfect foil. Can’t be mad at this.

2. Blake Christian vs. Swerve. The two felt each other out before Christian rolled Swerve up for a one-count. Christian grabbed a side head-lock to take control. The two went for and missed a series of moves to one-up each other. Eventually, both flipped their way to the outside and it popped the crowd. Back in the ring, Christian landed a shotgun dropkick to stun Swerve. Christian hit an inverted atomic drop and that turned into a basement dropkick.

Christian worked a body-scissors. Christian tired to pin Swerve with his legs, but Swerve kicked out. Christian hit a chop and Swerve came back with one of his own. Swerve pulled Christian by his man bun and ultimately landed a pump kick on Christian, who was on the outside. Back in the ring, Swerve pinned Christian for a two-count. Swerve whipped Christian to each corner and then hit an elbow to Christian’s back.

Swerve stretched Christian, but Christian backed Swerve into a corner and hit a standing frog-splash for a two-count. Christian landed a standing moonsault for a two-count. Swerve hit a clothesline to Christian’s back and then hit a slap. Christian came back with some kicks of his own and then a snap German Suplex, but then Swerve hit a lariat. Christian came right back with a Spanish Fly for a very good near-fall.

“This is awesome” chants began. Swerve was on the outside and Christian hit a reverse DDT on Swerve onto the floor. Christian then landed a 450 inside the ring for another good near-fall. Christian went to the top, but Swerve rolled away and Christian followed him, but Swerve came back and hit a series of suplexes that ended in a brain-buster. Swerve then landed a running kick and won the match.

Swerve defeated Blake Christian via pinfall in 11:26.

McGuire’s Musings: While it kind of felt like the outcome wasn’t ever really in doubt, Christian looked great here. In fact, I don’t even know why the hell Blake Christian would have tried to go to WWE and change himself, because if this was indicative of who he is as a worker, there’s nothing to change. He’s very good as he is. Swerve gave him a lot, he took it, looked very good, and I don’t think anyone could say Christian didn’t hold his own. I would think this might be the match of the night, but perhaps the main event will give us more than we expect. Let’s see.

3. Yuya Uemura vs. Buddy Matthews. The two locked up and went around the ring to begin the match. Both wrestlers traded wrist locks. Matthews took control by working Uemura’s fingers and wrist. Uemura worked a head-scissors, but Matthews stood up and went for a knee, but that led to Matthews hitting a bunch of chops and elbows. Uemura landed a step-up enzuigiri.

On the apron, Uemura went to lift Matthews, but Matthews blocked it and tried to snap Uemura’s fingers and arm. Matthews then rammed Uemura’s arm into the apron. Back in the ring, Matthews went for a pin, but Uemura kicked out. Matthews sunk in an arm bar. Uemura ultimately ran into a boot before hitting a pretty dropkick to take control.

On their feet, the two traded blows. Uemura took control with some elbows and a splash. Matthews eventually hit a series of elbows on Uemura and knocked the referee down. Uemura landed a German Suplex for a two-count. Uemura went to the top and tried for a splash, but Matthews moved and hit a stomp for the pin, but Matthews pulled Uemura up. Matthews then hit Murphy’s law for the win.

Buddy Matthews defeated Yuya Uemura via pinfall in 9:50.

McGuire’s Musings: I’m not so sure this was main event worthy. In fact, given my devices, I would have thrown Swerve vs. Christian on at the end, if these were my choices. Uemura looks good sometimes and Matthews is obviously a star beyond NJPW Strong, but this didn’t really click. I’m wondering why they loaded the first two weeks of this tour with the most important/best matches and then left Strong to exist through what might be a couple lackluster weeks. I can’t speak for next week, but I can say that this felt like a throwaway episode. Good for Killian Dain. And Swerve vs. Blake was very good as a stand alone match. This main event, though? Not so sure that was the right way to go. I’ll have much more to say in my Strong audio review, which is available weekly for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Surely the move is now called Matthews’ Law?

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