By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped May 15, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Streamed June 18, 2022 on New Japan World
For the second week in a row, a new opening video, this time featuring wrestlers’ names, aired and we got a check in from Ian Riccaboni and Matthew Rehwoldt. We are on the Collision in Philadelphia tour (or the Collision tour, for short). This is the second week of it.
1. Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight and The DKC vs. JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson. Coughlin debuted new Terminator gear that looked just as impressive in person as it did here. The teams got a little chippy before the bell rang. Knight and Nelson began the match, but Kratos ran around the ring and pulled Coughlin off the apron. Meanwhile, Nelson and Knight traded blows. Knight went for a leap-frog, but kind of missed and Nelson took control. Knight got it back with a few kicks and forearms and then tagged in the DKC. Knight and the DKC worked some double-team moves on both Nelson and Isaacs.
Knight tagged back in, but before long, all the babyfaces were in the ring and they worked over the heels before posing inside the ring. Team Filthy rushed the ring and everything fell apart, with the action spilling outside. The heels dominated the babyface and posed inside the ring. Kratos tagged in and threw Knight across the ring. Nelson tagged in, but Knight fought back with forearms. Nelson took back control with an elbow, which got him a two count. Isaacs tagged in and stomped on Knight.
Knight wiggled out of Isaacs’ grasp and got the hot tag to Coughlin, who worked over the West Coast Wrecking Crew. Coughlin slammed both members of the WCWC and pinned Isaacs for a two count. Coughlin put Isaacs on shoulders and Knight landed his greatest dropkick in all the land, which was impressive as hell. Things broke down again, this time with the hells beating up the DKC. Kratos slammed the DKC for a two count. That left Coughlin and Kratos in the ring. The two traded forearms. Coughlin fired up, but Kratos flipped him off and clotheslined him.
Kratos tried to hit a splash on Coughlin, but Coughlin caught him mid-air and landed a belly-to-belly on Kratos, in the most impressive move of the night. Coughlin then hit a splash on Kratos, who was on the outside. Inside the ring, the DKC, Knight and the WCWC fought. Before long, the WCWC hit their finisher on the DKC and that was enough for the win.
JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson defeated Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight and The DKC via pinfall in 9:20.
After the match, Coughlin and Kratos continued to brawl both inside and outside the ring. Eventually, officials pulled the two apart and Team Filthy walked up the ramp … until Kratos teased running back into the ring. The heels then ultimately left.
McGuire’s Musings: This match marked a new chapter in the NJPW career of Alex Coughlin, and while the new gear might not be for everyone, I applaud him for trying something fresh. Besides, it doesn’t not remind some of us of the old Big Van Vader entrance gear that helped make him such a legend in Japan decades ago. As for the match itself, it was pretty good, especially considering how clustered six-man tags can be on Strong. This was cluttered, make no mistake, but the action was compelling enough to keep things interesting, especially with the new-look Coughlin. Speaking of Coughlin, it appears as though Coughlin vs. Kratos is next up for the young man, and that should be a hell of a heavyweight battle. Coughlin has some of the most impressive pure strength in all of pro wrestling and Kratos is a badass. And, well, speaking of badass, Knight’s dropkick was wildly badass here, as was Coughlin’s crazy Kratos slam. You can’t criticize the match for not having memorable spots, at least, and there’s something to be said for that in today’s spot-heavy pro wrestling environment.
2. Delirious vs. Ariya Daivari. The two began with a series of ground-work on each other before Daivari rolled to the outside. Daivari eventually got back in the ring and the two wrestlers shouted at each other. Daivari kicked Delirious, but Delirious came back with an inverted atomic drop and a chop. Delirious landed a cross-body and went for Daivari’s leg. Daivari ultimately came back with a running neck-breaker for a two-count. Daivari hit a chop and landed a neck-breaker between the ropes.
Daivari kept working over Delirious’s neck, but Delirious bit Daivari and went for a back-slide, but Daivari blocked it and hit a DDT for a two-count. Daivari sank in a chin-lock. Daivari jawed at Delirious and Delirious fired up with chops. Delirious kept changing angles as he ran the ropes and eventually hit a clothesline and body-slam. Delirious landed a series of leg-drops. Daivari rolled to the outside and tried to walk to the back, but Delirious came after him, chopped him and brought him back to the ring.
Back in the ring, Delirious went for a suplex, but Daivari stepped on Delirious’s feet. Still, Delirious came back to ultimately land his slam and he got a two count out of it. Delirious tried to grip Daivari, but Daivari countered and took Delirious down. Daivari went for the hammerlock lariat, but Delirious ducked it and sank in his Cobra Clutch, but Daivari rolled out of it and pinned Delirious for a two count. Daivari hit a super-kick and then landed his finishing hammerlock lariat.
Ariya Daivari defeated Delirious via pinfall in 10:13.
After the match, Daivari posed on the second rope. Daivari then flipped off the crowd.
McGuire’s Musings: Good for Daivari. He’s needed a win – actually a string of wins – on New Japan Strong, and this is a start. The match felt more lopsided in his favor in person (or at least that’s how I remember it), but here, it felt more even. It kind of felt like a one-off for Delirious, but we’ll see what the future holds for the former Ring of Honor mainstay. In all, Daivari looked better than he has in preview New Japan outings and Riccaboni suggested after the match that this might mean a bright New Japan future is in store for Daivari, and that would be nice to see. Also, I guess this means we’ve seen the last of the Magic Carpet Ride as a finisher? Daivari has gone back and forth between that and the hammerlock lariat, but he didn’t bring out a carpet this time around. Either way, here’s hoping the guy can get some momentum behind him as a result of this win.
3. Brody King vs. Jake Something. The two locked up, with neither getting the edge. They tried again, and the same thing happened. Something went for a head-lock, but it ended with King shoulder-blocking him to the ground. Something came back and landed a body splash, which took King down. King came back with a chop and Something did the same. The two traded a bunch of chops. King landed a cannonball in the corner and went for the Gonzo Bomb, but Something worked out of it and staggered King with a forearm.
Something went for a piledriver, but King countered into one of his own for a two count. King lifted Something, but Something worked out of it and the two clotheslined each other. That kept happening before King landed a vicious elbow. Something came back with a clothesline that took King down. King hit a German Suplex but then both guys went for a cross-body and took each other down. The two traded forearms on their knees. They eventually got to their feet. King got the advantage with a bunch of chops.
King tried to throw Something into a corner, but Something reversed it and landed a spear. Something went for the power-bomb again and this time got it (with authority). That got Something a two count, which doubled as a good near-fall. Something clotheslined King to the outside. Something jumped over the top rope and hit a splash onto King, who was on the outside. Something rolled King back into the ring and went for a Black Hole Slam, but King countered with an elbow. King then landed a lariat and a Gonzo Bomb for the win.
Brody King defeated Jake Something via pinfall in 8:29.
After the match, King showed Something a sign of respect before walking to the back.
McGuire’s Musings: I thought Jake Something was impressive when I saw this match live and I thought Jake Something was impressive when I saw this match on a screen. King doesn’t often take that much offense from people (including the legend Minoru Suzuki, whom King almost completely dominated in Washington D.C., in May), but Something was given a bunch of opportunities to look good here and he ran with them (including the wild power-bomb that Something made look easy). In all, this was a really good big-man match and didn’t waste a second of its eight-and-a-half minutes. Here’s hoping Something shows up in New Japan more, moving forward. He’s such a promising talent, it’d be a shame if it all goes to waste.
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Dickinson. The two started by going back and forth with a series of lock-ups and counters. Tanahashi eventually worked a side head-lock and wouldn’t let go. After working clean, Dickinson hit a kick, but Tanahashi came back with an elbow and a crossbody before playing air guitar and then sinking in another side head-lock. Tanahashi hit a pair of hip-tosses and went for a boot, but Dickinson caught him and hit a dragon-screw leg-whip and mocked Tanahashi by playing air guitar of his own.
Dickinson went hard after Tanahashi’s knee. Dickinson whipped Tanahashi’s leg around the ring post. Dickinson kept working Tanahashi’s knee/leg, sinking in a half-crab. Dickinson then worked a Muta Lock. Tanahashi made it to the ropes for a break. Dickinson kept targeting Tanahashi’s leg, at one point draping it over the middle rope and kicking it. Tanahashi eventually fired up and hit a series of forearms along with a Senton from the middle rope for a two count. Dickinson tried to kick Tanahashi, but Tanahashi caught him and landed a dragon-screw leg whip of his own.
After running the ropes, Tanahashi hit a sling blade clothesline. Tanahashi went to the top and hit a cross-body, but Dickinson rolled through and sank in a figure-four leg-lock. Tanahashi rolled over and reversed it, but Dickinson got to the ropes for a break. On their feet, the two traded forearms. Dickinson hit a deadlift German suplex before locking in an STF. Tanahashi made it to the ropes for a break. Dickinson fired up and went for a suplex, but Tanahashi blocked it and hit a suplex of his own. Tanahashi landed another sling blade for a two count. Tanahashi then went to the top and hit a frog-splash for the win.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Chris Dickinson via pinfall in 13:18.
After the match, Tanahashi pulled Dickinson up and raised his hand. The two hugged and Dickinson bowed down to him. Tanahashi then spoke briefly and posed and played to the crowd for what seemed like forever as the show came to an end.
McGuire’s Musings: I’ll be interested to see how the AEW crowd responds to the pace of match that Tanahashi seems to work these days, including the match here. It’s slow and it’s simple and it’s not spot-heavy. Dickinson can work that kind of match well (and he did here), and Moxley can work that kind of match well (and he presumably will at Forbidden Door), but I’m curious to see how that goes over in that setting. As for this match, it was fairly standard. The outcome was never in doubt, but that’s OK. Tanahashi is a legend and he deserved to be treated as such here. Dickinson got some shine and was allowed the ability to be dominant at times (even if Tanahashi didn’t quite bother to sell the story of the leg all that much). It’s not something you have to go out of your way to see, but it was a fine match, nonetheless.
And this was a fine episode of Strong. We have the Strong Openweight title match as the main event next week and I’ll tell you right now it’s not something you’ll want to miss if you’ve been following the story of Rosser and Lawlor for the last couple years. Meanwhile, this week featured a quartet of very good, very different matches and in my mind, that kind of variety makes for an awfully good pro wrestling television show. I’ll have more to say, of course, in my audio review, which are available weekly for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).