By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped May 15, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Streamed June 25, 2022 on New Japan World
For the third 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 third and last week of it.
1. David Finlay vs. Danny Limelight. Limelight cut off his music and grabbed a mic to cut a promo. He yelled at the crowd to shut their mouths after he said he picked up a big win in D.C. (which happened the night before). Limelight said he bets Finlay’s little brother Brogan has more fight than David. Limelight said he’d shove Finlay’s shillelagh down his throat. The crowd was sort of quiet. To begin, Finlay ran at Limelight, but Limelight avoided him by rolling out of the ring.
When things finally got underway in the ring Finlay got the best of Limelight and hit a suplex before working Limelight’s hand. Finlay eventually came after Limelight, but Limelight moved and began work on Finlay’s leg. Limelight landed a fisherman’s suplex and posed. Limelight landed a chop block after Finlay tried to lift him. Eventually, Finlay got back to his feet, but Limelight hit a kick and danced, but Finally came back with a high back-body-drop.
Finlay kept his momentum up with a pair of running uppercuts and a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count. Limelight rolled through an attempted pin and sank in an inverted ankle lock. Finlay then landed a back-breaker and clothesline. Finlay then hit the Trash Panda for the win.
David Finlay defeated Danny Limelight via pinfall in 6:30.
After the match, Finlay put his hand out, but Limelight spit in Finlay’s face. As a result, Finlay hit Limelight with the shillelagh and the crowd cheered. We got a United Empire promo from Great-O-Khan and Will Ospreay, who announced that next week will be the “United Empire: Rising” show.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a pretty basic match that had a couple clunky moments, which was unexpected because both those guys are good workers. The match was also oddly short, but if you factor in Limelight’s pre-match promo, it got about the amount of time a typical segment gets on Strong. Two nights before, when Limelight appeared for MLW, he had nuclear heat as he cut a vile promo on the Philly crowd. He tried for the same here with the New Japan crowd and it didn’t quite work. An A for effort nonetheless. The match here was good, but nothing memorable, especially considering we all know those are two guys who are capable of more. As for the United Empire stuff, I can tell you that the matches next week will be good. I can also tell you that if you’re going to center an entire episode of a program around a faction, and you’re wondering who’s coming out on top … I mean, I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.
2. Minoru Suzuki vs. Tony Deppen. Deppen went for the ankle at first, but Suzuki reversed it and went for an arm-breaker, but Deppen worked his way out of it. Suzuki came back and went for Deppen’s leg. Deppen Spit at Suzuki, which was wild, and then got up and pushed Suzuki. The two then traded kicks. Suzuki ultimately sank in a high triangle on Deppen in the ropes. The action spilled outside and Suzuki chopped Deppen all around the ring. Suzuki hit a running knee.
Back inside the ring, Suzuki worked over Deppen’s hand and arm. Suzuki then stomped on Deppen’s arm. Suzuki went for the Gotch piledriver, but Deppen got out of it and hit a series of knees and forearms. Deppen landed a running knee on Suzuki and managed a two-count out of it. Suzuki came back with a kick and a two-count of his own. Suzuki toyed with Deppen, so Deppen fired up and Suzuki asked for a forearm. He did it again. The two then traded forearms. Everything ended with Suzuki hitting a stiff forearm that knocked Deppen down.
Deppen got to his feet and fired up again. Deppen landed a Spicoli Driver for a good near-fall. Deppen launched a snot rocket at Suzuki and hit an elbow to the back of Suzuki’s head. Deppen went for a pin, but Suzuki kicked out before one. Deppen slapped Suzuki’s face and Suzuki came back with a sleeper and a forearm. That led to the Gotch piledriver and the win.
Minoru Suzuki defeated Tony Deppen via pinfall in 10:32.
After the match, Suzuki teased giving a Gotch piledriver to the referee and the crowd popped.
McGuire’s Musings: This was a lot of fun. I know Tony Deppen’s whole deal is to be unruly and disrespectful and so on and so forth, but man. Dude spit on Minoru Suzuki at least twice here. Either Suzuki is a great sport or Depend is a wild man. Or both. Anyway, this was a battle of two cult wrestlers, in a sense. Deppen has his following and Suzuki does, too, albeit a little larger than Deppen’s. But it was a neat match in that respect and even Deppen, who is usually teflon in Philadelphia, fell victim to the unapologetic fandom that everyone in the U.S. has for Suzuki (and rightfully so). If you like either of these wrestlers, this one is a must-see.
3. Filthy Tom Lawlor vs. Fred Rosser for the Strong Openweight Championship. It looked like Rosser might cry as he made his entrance. Lawlor was out alone, without anyone from Team Filthy. The two traded blows to begin the match. Lawlor went for a front face-lock, but Rosser fought him off. Rosser rolled to the outside after Lawlor kicked him and Lawlor came off the top rope onto Rosser, who was on the outside. Lawlor jawed at the crowd. Rosser came back with a back-drop on the apron, but Lawlor’s leg got hooked on a rope in a scary spot.
Back in the ring, Rosser hit a clothesline and threw Lawlor back outside. Rosser landed a clothesline. Rosser went for another back-drop on the apron, but Lawlor blocked it and went for a power-bomb, but Rosser sat down and Lawlor rolled to the floor. Rosser then hit a leg-drop from the apron. The two rolled into the ring and Rosser hit a series of strikes. Rosser then wound up on the outside again and Lawlor hopped on Rosser’s back, sinking in a sleeper hold. Lawlor dragged Rosser by his neck to the back.
Some noises happened and Lawlor came back to the ring with referee Jeremy Marcus. Lawlor wanted Marcus to count Rosser out, but Rosser appeared, gushing blood and crawling to the ring while Team Filthy blocked Rosser’s path to the ring. David Finlay, among others, ran out and cleared the path and at 19, Rosser barely made it in time to break the count. The match took somewhat of a break as the ref checked on Rosser, who was still gushing blood. Lawlor rubbed Rosser’s blood over his chest. Lawlor went for a kick, but Rosser blocked it and hit a dragon-screw leg-whip.
Rosser fired up and worked Lawlor’s arm, but Lawlor got to the ropes for a break. The two then traded strikes. Lawlor worked a choke, but Rosser came back with forearms. Lawlor maintained the choke, and Rosser got Lawlor up in a fireman’s carry and hit a Death Valley Driver for a two-count. Lawlor hit a series of suplexes but Rosser kept popping up. Lawlor went to the top, but Rosser clotheslined Lawlor when Lawlor jumped off the top. Rosser lifted Lawlor for a slam and then landed a basement kick for a two-count.
The two fought on the apron and Rosser slammed Lawlor on the apron, but Lawlor immediately worked a rear naked choke. Ultimately, Rosser lifted Lawlor for a tombstone pildriver on the concrete, away from the mats on the outside of the ring. Rosser hit a lariat and a slam inside the ring for an exhausted near-fall. Rosser looked to the crowd, who responded with chants of “Fred.” The two hit forearms on each other and Lawlor sank in a front face-lock. Lawlor lifted Rosser for a slam and flipped everyone off, but Rosser kicked out at two.
Lawlor choked Rosser and hit a suplex for a two-count. Lawlor drove a knee into the back of Rosser’s head, but Rosser kicked out. Lawlor kissed Rosser’s gash and went for another rear naked choke. Rosser climbed to the bottom rope with Lawlor on his back and jumped backwards to break it up. Lawlor wouldn’t let go, but then Rosser reversed the choke into one of his own. Rosser sank in a chicken wing. Lawlor was going to make it to the ropes, but Rosser pulled him back and hit a series of elbows and sank in an STF. Lawlor tapped and that was it.
Fred Rosser defeated “Filthy” Tom Lawlor via submission in 24:16 to win the Strong Openweight Championship.
After the match, Tiger Hattori presented Rosser with the title. Rosser took the title and got emotional while falling to his knees. Rosser went into the crowd to hug his family. Rosser then grabbed a microphone and said wrestling is still so much fun for him. He cited Nexus and Primetime Player and Bob Backlund and said there’s no better place in the world than New Japan Strong. Rosser thanked his mom and his dad, who’s his biggest hater. Rosser said AEW told him no twice and WWE told him no more than 40 times. Rosser mentioned his grandfather and the show ended soon thereafter.
McGuire’s Musings: Absolutely fantastic. I loved the match. I loved the result. I loved the emotion. I loved Lawlor’s work. I loved Rosser’s work. This is an A-plus all around from everyone involved. You don’t see world title programs last for more than a year these days, but that’s what these two did and the payoff was well worth it. Rosser got himself good because that thing gushed in a prolonged manner. Actually, all told, if there’s one criticism of the match, that would be it — live, it was worse, but even here, it wasn’t great: I don’t know why they had to go to the back to bust Rosser open, but whatever it may be, the color worked in the long-term when it came to drama here. It was just an odd way to go about it. Anyway, this one, you gotta see. If you read these reviews each week, or even if you only read them every so often, you know the story of Rosser and Lawlor and if you don’t see the pay off, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s everything one could ask for and more. Great stuff all around. That said, this was a tremendous episode of Strong, mostly because it was a one-match episode and that one match was, well, tremendous. I’ll have more – a lot more – to say in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).