By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped June 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont Hollywood
Streamed July 30, 2022 on New Japan World
Ian Riccaboni checked in on commentary with Alex Koslov to run down the card. As part of that, Riccaboni recapped the tag-team tournament bracket. We are on the Ignition tour and this, friends, is the fourth week of it…
1. Jeff Cobb vs. Jordan Clearwater. Clearwater jumpstarted the match with some punches and then landed an enzuigiri to send Cobb to the outside. Clearwater ran Cobb into the post and rolled him into the ring. Cobb came back and slammed Clearwater. Cobb hit a forearm to take Clearwater down. Cobb lifted Clearwater for a vertical suplex and threw him. Cobb got a two-count out of it.
Clearwater tried to fight back, but Cobb came back with a standing moonsault that missed. Clearwater tried a couple clotheslines, but it didn’t work. Still, Clearwater went for a splash, but Cobb caught him and went for a slam, but Clearwater got out and hit a neck-breaker for a two-count. Clearwater went for a pump kick, but Cobb caught him and suplexed him for a two-count. Cobb then hit a standing moonsault for another two-count. Clearwater hit an elbow and rolled Cobb up for a two-count. Cobb came back with a German Suplex and then the Tour Of The Islands for the win.
Jeff Cobb defeated Jordan Clearwater via pinfall in 4:27.
McGuire’s Musings: It actually surprised me that this was a squash. Don’t get me wrong. Cobb deserves the shine and the squash, but I thought Clearwater meant more than that to those who book these things. Still, good on both of them, and good on Clearwater for having a new entrance/presentation. Kind of, at least. Not much else to say for something like this.
2. Fred Yehi vs. Tyler Bateman. Bateman came out to new music and got his first name back. So, Stray Dog Army or not, this might mean something. The two felt each other out and Yehi worked a headlock. Bateman came back with some strikes and chops. Bateman lifted Yehi and slammed him before landing a knee and working Yehi’s arm. Yehi came right back and sank in a Cobra Twist. Bateman slammed his way out of it.
Yehi got the best of Bateman and worked Bateman’s arm. Bateman came back with an arm-lock and stomped on Yehi’s arm. Yehi countered by laying a ton of knees into Bateman’s head. Yehi tried to stretch Bateman, but it didn’t quite work and it resulted in a few unsuccessful pins. Yehi then worked a head-lock. Bateman worked his way out and hit some chops to take Yehi down. Yehi came back with a forearm that brought Bateman to the mat.
Back on their feet, Yehi worked over Bateman’s arm and chopped him to the ground. Yehi went for a slam, but Bateman blocked it and the two ended up on the ground holding their arms. Yehi came correct with a spinning back-fist that was nuts and then sank in a submission, but the referee called it off.
Fred Yehi defeated Tyler Bateman via ref stoppage in 7:30.
McGuire’s Musings: Oh, man. That spinning back-fist was nuts. It was perfect for the way the match ended because Yehi established himself as someone who can knock the f— out of you right here, right now. This was my favorite Yehi moment in all his history in New Japan and on Strong. This established him as a real-deal wrestler and someone who shouldn’t be taken lightly, which I love because until this, no one who watches Strong would think Yehi is a credible wrestler. This match should have remedied that. Bless Bateman, too, who I thought was getting a reboot, but maybe not. Actually, speaking of Bateman …
3. Stray Dog Army vs. Aussie Open. Brown and Fletcher began the match and Brown chopped Fletcher a bunch. Brown hit a dropkick to the head and tagged in Misterioso, who took everything over and landed a springboard moonsault for a one-count. Misterioso lifted Fletcher and slammed him before going for a moonsault, but Fletcher kicked him in the head. After some double-team moves, Fletcher went for a cover and got a two-count.
Davis tagged in and ultimately slammed Misterioso. Fletcher then tagged in and Fletcher slammed Misterioso. Fletcher sank in a headlock. Fletcher kept working over Misterioso in the heel corner and tagged in Davis. Davis choked Misterioso with his boot. Fletcher then tagged in and tried to work out Misterioso, but Misterioso worked his way out of it with a back elbow. Misterioso got the hot tag to Brown, who came in and took on both Aussie Open guys.
Brown hit a tope onto both heels on the outside. Misterioso followed that up with a flip onto both guys on the outside. Back in the ring, Fletcher picked up Brown, but that resulted in both guys working him over for a two-count. Davis came into the ring, but Davis dropkicked Misterioso. From there, Aussie Open hit a series of moves on Brown before taking out Misterioso’s knee. Aussie Open then hit their finisher for the win.
Aussie Open defeated Stray Dog Army via pinfall in 7:30.
After the match, Fletcher grabbed a microphone and said the United Empire is going to run the world.
McGuire’s Musings: With the way a lot of this tournament has been booked, I wasn’t quite sure Aussie Open would get the win, but I am sure glad they did. This only makes me believe they’ll be the inaugural Strong tag-team champs, which I think is very deserving, but only time will tell. For now, this was a fine match. Misterioso took a lot of it, which was good because Misterioso doesn’t get enough screen time as it is. There wasn’t much drama here, and that’s not always a bad thing, but in this case, the match could have benefited form a little more back and forth. Even so, onward, we go.
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Fred Rosser and Kevin Knight vs. Jay White, Hikuleo and Chase Owens. White and Tanahashi began the match. They both played to the crowd. Before they could link up, White tagged in Owens, who mockingly played air guitar. Tanahashi grabbed a head-lock, but Owens came back by pulling hair. Tanahashi responded by hitting a cross-body from the second rope and playing air guitar of his own. Rosser tagged in, brought Owens down and played air guitar with Tanahashi.
Rosser threw Owens across the ring. Rosser hit his signature leg drop twice. Knight then tagged in and slammed Owens, who came right back and took Knight down, but Knight worked a Boston Crab. White came in, but Knight sank in another Boston Crab. Hikuleo then came in and broke everything up. That allowed the heels to take control and White landed a chop on Knight. White and Hikuleo worked over Knight with chops. Hikuleo tagged in and tried to cover Knight, but it was broken up.
Owens tagged in and hit his back-rake from the top rope. Owens slapped Knight. Knight fired up and tried to get his way out of it, but Owens cut him off with a neck-breaker. Knight fought back and elbowed Owens a bunch. Owens went for a pile-driver, but Knight fought back and put Owens down. Knight tried to leap at his partners, but Owens caught him. Still, Knight hit the Best Dropkick In Wrestling to even things out.
He then got the hot tag to Tanahashi, who came into the ring after White tagged in. Tanahashi worked over White with elbows. Tanahashi landed a splash for a two-count. White took Tanahashi down with a dragon-screw leg whip. White took Tanahashi down and pinned him for a two-count. White worked a chin-lock. White landed a chop, but Tanahashi came back with a leg whip of his own. White came back with a neck-breaker to even things out.
Hikuleo tagged in and beat the hell out of Tanahashi until Tanahashi landed a dropkick to the knees of Hikuleo. Rosser then tagged in and cleaned house. Hikuleo came right back and clotheslined everybody. Rosser took Hikuleo’s knee out and tagged in Knight, who landed a splash on Hikuleo. Knight rolled up Hikuleo and then went for a Boston Crab, but Hikuleo landed a chop. Tanahashi ran in and hit a sling blade before everyone hit their finisher on Hikuleo. Knight rolled Hikuleo into a Boston Crab and all the babyfaces had the heels in submissions, but nobody tapped out. Ultimately, that resulted in Hikuleo hitting his snap powerslam and chokeslam for the win.
Jay White, Hikuleo and Chase Owens defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Fred Rosser and Kevin Knight via pinfall in 15:42.
After the match, White grabbed the mic. White said he wanted to take the moment to enjoy it with all of everyone there. White said his belt meant it’s proof that Strong is a success. White said he made a decision to spend his time in the states to give credibility to Strong. White said people keep coming back there to see people like Rosser and Narita and Lawlor and Team Filthy. Owens tried to take the mic, but White held him off and said thank you, but his Bullet Club members told him to stop and then immediately White turned on the fans. He said he doesn’t need Strong and Strong needs him. He said he’s the only trust and first Grand Slam Champion. He said breathe with the Switchblade because it’s still his era. The show ended.
McGuire’s Musings: Welp, Jay White just cut the smartest promo I’ve heard all year and he knew exactly what he was doing and it is a goddamn shame it’ll be overshadowed on a weekend like this. Brilliant is a word that gets tossed around too much, but it’s actually deserving here. The match was what it was. I’m very happy Hikuleo got some shine (because, as we all know, he’s a star), but this match was never really in doubt.
My hope was that Rosser would get something better for his first time out as Strong Openweight Champion, but I’ll take this because Rosser looked very good here, too. Predictable isn’t bad, so I can’t complain, but with all that said, the Jay White promo was wildly memorable. Those five minutes alone are worth your time. I’ll have a lot more to say later today in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
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