8/20 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Hiromu Takahashi vs. Blake Christian vs. El Desperado in a three-way, Dax Harwood vs. Rocky Romero, and JR Kratos vs. Drew Adler

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

NJPW Strong
Taped July 24, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina at Grady Cole Center
Streamed August 20, 2022 on New Japan World

Ian Riccaboni checked in with Alex Koslov on commentary to run down the card. We are on the High Alert Tour and this is the second week of it…

1. JR Kratos vs. Drew Adler. Adler fired up the crowd and Kratos tried a clothesline, but Adler didn’t move. Adler came back with a chop, but it didn’t phase Kratos. Adler shook Kratos’s hand to try and make up for it, but Kratos elbowed and chopped Adler. Kratos hit a dropkick and Adler rolled outside. Inside the ring, Adler went to lift Kratos, but Kratos was too heavy and kicked Adler in the head.

Kratos hit a dead-lift suplex for a two-count. Kratos grabbed Adler, but Adler came back and worked an arm-bar. Kratos worked out of it with an elbow and then hit a throwing snap-suplex. Kratos ran at Adler, but Adler got the boot up and went back to working Kratos’s arm. Kratos lifted Adler, but Adler came back with a kick and a power-slam for a two-count. Adler went for a cross-body from the top, but missed and Kratos hit his finisher for the win…

JR Kratos defeated Drew Adler via pinfall in 4:43.

“The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake cut a promo backstage. They talked about the logo, saying it’s a symbol of excellence. They called our Ren Narita for reasons unknown to mankind. The Workhorsemen said they were the best in the world. We then went back to the ring for the next match…

McGuire’s Musings: A squash for Kratos, but it was a lot of fun because of Adler, who had a lot of moxie and spunk, for lack of a better word. That said, I’d kind of like to see him pop up again in NJPW for that reason alone. Nobody thought he was going to win, but he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to be entertaining on his way out. Meanwhile, I’m intrigued by the Workhorsemen showing up because if they can get a nice run in New Japan, that could take them a long way elsewhere. We’ll have to see where this all leads, but for now, I’m optimistic.

2. Dax Harwood vs. Rocky Romero. Dax got a hell of a pop as he came out. The two were even to start out. They traded headlocks. Harwood hit a couple hip-tosses and worked Romero’s arm. The two then traded chops. The exchange ended when Romero poked Harwood’s eyes, but Harwood returned the favor. Harwood’s chest was bleeding from the chops. As a result, the two traded chops again. Harwood ran at Romero, but Romero moved and worked over Harwood’s shoulder.

Harwood fought back with periodic chops, but Romero kept control by striking Harwood’s arm. Romero then hit a dropkick from the top rope for a two-count. Romero kept working Harwood’s arm. Harwood gained control, but Romero came right back with an attempted suplex. From there, Dax sank in a sharpshooter. Romero got out of it and landed a springboard DDT for a two-count. The two went to the top rope, and Harwood landed a super-plex from the top rope. The two traded pin attempts. Romero worked an arm-bar. Harwood worked out of it with a slam and went right back to the Sharpshooter. Romero tapped out.

Dax Harwood defeated Rocky Romero via submission in 10:30.

After the match, the two teased tension, but they shook hands. After that, Harwood posed on the ropes.

McGuire’s Musings: A very good match and you wouldn’t expect anything less. Koslov said he’d like to see them run it back and I’m with him. Throw in five more minutes, even. Harwood is on the roll of his life between FTR and these random singles matches and Romero is one of the best workers in Strong’s short history. To make things better, it just so happens these two very good workers work very well together. Would would have thunk? While Romero is a mainstay, more of Dax in New Japan, please.

3. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Blake Christian vs. El Desperado in a three-way. The first three minutes were dedicated to crowd chants and posing. Christian and Takahashi kicked Desperado, but Takahashi turned on Christian quickly and before long, the three were holding each other’s legs. Takahashi and Desperado then kicked Christian and took Christian down with a double shoulder-tackle. Desperado worked over Christian before Christian fought back and took Desperado to the outside.

With Desperado outside, Christian flipped a bunch before Takahashi caught Christian. It didn’t matter, though, because Christian came back and ran the ropes. Desperado cut Christian off and pulled him outside. The three wrestlers fought on the outside. Back in the ring, Desperado worked over Christian. Desperado worked a single-leg crab on Christian until Takahashi broke it up. Takahashi and Christian exchanged blows. Takahashi hit a basement dropkick for a two-count. Takahashi sank in a Boston Crab on Christian. Desperado broke it up with an eye-rake.

Desperado and Takahashi traded chops. Christian came back into the fold and came out on top with both guys before landing a springboard moonsault on Takahashi for a two-count. Christian went for a springboard move, but Desperado cut him off and landed a drop splash onto Takahashi for a two-count. After that, Christian and Desperado traded elbows in the center of the ring. Desperado cut it off with an eye-rake. With Takahashi and Christian on the outside, Desperado went for a dive, but Christian cut him off. As a result, Takahashi landed a suicide senton onto Desperado. Christian then tried for a double reverse leaping DDT, but it was a bit clunky before he got it in.

Back in the ring, Christian went to the top and tried a 450, but Takahshi moved, eventually rolled Christian up for a two-count. Takahashi landed a German Suplex on Christian, but Desperado came in and the three super-kicked each other. Desperado landed a spine-buster on Takahashi. Christian hit a Spanish Fly on Desperado and then Takahashi hit a shotgun dropkick on Christian. All three guys were down. Takahashi hit a Spicoli Driver on Christian and went for the Time Bomb, but Christian wiggled out.

Christian landed a spinning clothesline on Takahashi. Christian then landed a curb stomp on Takahashi for a two-count that was broken up by Desperado. Christian and Desperado exchanged blows. Christian hit a kick, but Desperado came back with a back-slide for a two-count. Desperado then hit his finisher on Christian and got the win.

El Desperado defeated Blake Christian and Hiromu Takahashi in a three-way via pinfall in 19:17.

After the match, Desperado got a microphone and spoke. The crowd cheered after he said he was happy to come to the USA. Desperado stood in the ring to close the show…

McGuire’s Musings: I had high expectations for this and I’m not quite sure if they were lived up to. With that said, this was still very good, even if I was hoping for just a little bit more. Desperado going over surprised me at least a tiny bit because Christian is on a warpath reinventing himself on the indies and Takahashi is Takahashi. Some of the sports were very good; some of the spots were just a little too cute for this viewer. The three guys worked hard and going nearly 20 minutes isn’t easy while working that pace. Would I have shaved off three or four minutes? Maybe. But, again, that’s just me. I’ll have more to say, as we say here every week, in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).


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