6/4 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Tomohiro Ishii vs. Big Damo, Chris Bey and El Phantasmo vs. Alex Zayne and Christopher Daniels, Yuya Uemura and Keita vs. Lucas Riley and Kevin Blackwood

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

NJPW Strong
Taped April 10, 2022 in Hollywood, California at the Vermont Hollywood
Streamed June 4, 2022 on New Japan World

The opening video aired and we got a check in from the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Alex Koslov. We are on the Mutiny tour and this is the final week of the tour. So, let’s go…

1. Keita and Yuya Uemura vs. Lucas Riley and Kevin Blackwood. Uemura and Blackwood started with Uemura taking control early with a side head-lock and a shoulder-block that took Blackwood down. After some exchanges, strikes and attempted pins, Blackwood kicked Uemura in the back. Riley tagged in, but Keita tagged in as well and worked over Riley with kicks. Keita broke Riley with a backbreaker onto his knee. Ultimately, Blackwood ran in and helped Riley regain control.

Blackwood officially tagged in and landed a chop before tagging in Riley. Riley hit a dropkick to the back of Keita’s head for a two-count. Blackwood tagged in and worked Keita over, eventually landing a German Suplex for a two-count. Keita, before long got a double-legs into Rile and then got the hot tag to Uemura, who ran in and traded blows with Blackwood. Uemura fired up and took everyone out.

Uemura lifted Blackwood for a back suplex and got a two-count out of it. Riley distracted Uemura and Blackwood came back with a kick to Uemura’s head. Riley and Blackwood hit a pair of double-team moves after Riley tagged in and then things broke down and all four men were in the ring.

Uemura and Keita double-teamed Riley and the sequence ended with a suplex from Uemura and a pin that was broken up via Blackwood. Keita and Blackwood traded shots, but Riles hit a pump kick onto Riley. Riley landed an enziguri on Uemura, but Uemura came back with a Frankensteiner, which led to the win.

Keita and Yuya Uemura defeated Lucas Riley and Kevin Blackwood via pinfall in 8:34.

After the match, the winners posed in the ring. Backstage, Riley and Blackwood cut a promo. Riley said they lost today but they’re going to come back stronger. Riley said the second time is going to be better. Blackwood said no because Riley lost the match for them and then Blackwood walked away.

McGuire’s Musings: This was a scrappy little match that had its moments and was actually kind of fun. It’s also always great to see Uemura be on the winning end of things because that doesn’t happen all that often on Strong. Poor Blackwood, though. I feel the need to root for him because he’s a Buffalo Kid, but, even though he pointed out he’s 1-0 in singles in New Japan during the post-match promo, he can’t seem to get any momentum. I’d love to see more of him as a regular on the show, but only time will be able to answer that. In all, this was a fine opener for a show like Strong. It wasn’t the Bucks vs. the Lucha Bros from Rampage Friday night, but what is?

2. Christopher Daniels and Alex Zayne vs. “The Bullet Club” Chris Bey and El Phantasmo. Zayne and Bey began the match by circling each other. The two posed a little and Zayne did a cartwheel. Then, after each wrestler missed some strikes, Zayne landed a double-stomp and a corkscrew splash before tagging in Daniels, who hit a one-legged dropkick. Bey came back and tagged in Phantasmo, but Daniels flipped both Bullet Club members before sinking in an arm-bar on Phantasmo.

Zayne tagged in and the two worked together for a lifted neck-breaker. Daniels then tagged in and the two hit a double-suplex on Phantasmo for a two-count. Daniels ran the ropes and Bey hit Daniels with a knee, but it didn’t deter him much. Daniels ran the ropes again and Bey tripped him, allowing the Bullet Club to take control. Daniels was in a Tree Of Whoa position and Phantasmo stomped on Daniels’s junk. Phantasmo came off the top for a back-rake onto Daniels. Bey then flipped and posed and did all the nonsense before hitting his back-rake.

Daniels tried to come back, but the Bullet Club cut him off, ending with Phantasmo hitting a Senton for a two-count. The two heels stomped on Daniels and Bey sank in a head-lock. Daniels fought his way out and put Bey down, but Phantasmo cut Daniels off before Daniels ultimately got the hot tag to Zayne, who clotheslined Phantasmo. Zayne landed a flipping guillotine for a two-count. Things broke down and Daniels and Bey traded strikes. Daniels and Bey eventually fought to the outside after Daniels hit a clothesline. Zayne went to the top, but Bey grabbed him. That was enough for Zayne to miss a shooting-star and Phantasmo took control, landing a vicious super-kick for the win.

“The Bullet Club” Chris Bey and El Phantasmo defeated Christopher Daniels and Alex Zayne via pinfall in 9:59.

McGuire’s Musings: The match was OK. I was mildly surprised at the outcome, just because it seems like Zayne has some juice behind him as a performer in New Japan. Then again, the Bullet Club is kind of on a roll anymore and the team of ELP and Bey is awfully entertaining (yes, count me among those who get a kick out of Phantasmo’s back-rake gimmick and I’m not sorry about it). I continue to wonder why Daniels pops up so much only to lose on Strong, but I guess that’s what a statesman does in this business. In all, the match was just kind of there and it kind of came out of nowhere. Not much more to say about it.

3. Big Damo vs. Tomohiro Ishii. The two locked up and Damo pushed Ishii down. Damo backed Ishii into a corner and punched him in the ribs. Ishii came back and hit a series of forearms before trying for a shoulder-block, but Damo didn’t move. Ultimately Damo shoulder-blocked Ishii down. Damo hit a back-elbow, which took Ishii down again. Ishii got up, but the two traded chops. With Ishii on the mat, Damo stepped on him and posed.

Damo kept control and hit Ishii with an elbow to the head. Damo stood on Ishii and then landed a splash onto Ishii for a two-count. The crowd chanted Ishii’s name. Damo stepped on Ishii’s fingers and toyed with him. Damo went to whip Ishii into a corner, but Ishii reversed it and worked over Damo with chops. Ishii went to forearms and cut Damo down. Damo came back and took Ishii down for a two-count and then threw Ishii into the corner.

Ishii came back, though, and the two traded forearms. Damo lifted Ishii and placed him on the top before chopping him a bunch of times. Damo landed a Fisherman’s Suplex from the top, but Ishii no-sold it and came back with a suplex of his own. Both guys were out on the mat. Back on their feet, Ishii hit a running clothesline. He did it again, but Damo caught him, slammed him and hit an elbow for a two-count. Ishii landed some headbutts, but Damo cut him off with a pump dropkick.

Damo went to the apron and eventually hit a Senton for a two-count. Ishii ran at Damo, and Damo caught him with a scissor kick. Damo then landed another Senton. He went for a Damo-Bomb, but missed. Damo ran at Ishii, but Ishii moved and then lifted Damo for a belly-to-back suplex. Ishii hit a clothesline and got a two-count. Ishii landed an enziguri and a basement lariat for a two-count. Ishii lifted Damo for the brain-buster and got it for the win.

Tonohiro Ishii defeated Big Damo via pinfall in 13:02.

Ishii walked to the back, looking kind of pissed, and that was the end of the show.

McGuire’s Musings: Goodness, gracious. The match went 13 minutes and at least 11-and-a-half of them were dedicated to Damo completely annihilating Ishii. In a lot of ways, it got repetitive, because we didn’t even get a true chop-fest spot that makes these big encounters fun to watch. Instead, we just got Damo lording over Ishii for 85 percent of the match, which felt odd in a lot of ways, considering how it felt inevitable that Ishii would get the win. We got a lot of Sentons, a lot of punches, a lot of elbow and forearms. And that was about it. Riccaboni hyped this one up as a match that was seven years in the making, so perhaps my expectations were unfairly high, but still, I just feel like this could have been better.

That said, this marks the end of the Mutiny tour. On to Philadelphia, we go, and because I was there, I’m curious to see how those matches ended up on tape. As for this week, it was a pretty missable episode of Strong. The tag matches didn’t move forward any stories and that main event, worked at a snail’s pace, was a little too one-note for me. I wonder what’s next for Big Damo, if anything, in the wrestling business. I feel like he could find a place on the Strong roster if he wants it. But those decisions aren’t mine to make. Anyway, as always, I’ll have more to say in my audio review.

 

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