By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped July 24, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina at Grady Cole Center
Streamed August 27, 2022 on New Japan World
Ian Riccaboni checked in with Alex Koslov to run down the card. We are on the High Alert Tour and this is the third week of it…
1. The DKC and Kevin Knight vs. “The Heat Seekers” Matt Sigmon and Elliott Russell. Sigmon and Knight began. The two went back and forth with some solid mat work. Knight eventually began work on Sigmon’s arm, but Sigmon backed Knight into a corner and worked a head-lock. Knight came back with an arm-drag takeover and went back to Sigmon’s arm. Knight landed a body-slam and standing frog splash for a two count.
The DKC tagged in and hit a chop on Sigmon’s arm. The two landed a double hip-toss on Sigmon for a two count. Sigmon fought back and tagged in Russell, who accidentally hit Sigmon after The DKC moved. Knight tagged in and the Heat Seekers were both on the outside of the ring when Knight hit a splash from the inside out. Back in the ring, Knight went to the top, but Sigmon shook the ropes and crotched Knight.
Russell landed a shoulder tackle for a two count. Sigmon tagged in and the two worked over Knight in their corner. Sigmon hit a dropkick for a two count. Russell tagged in and hit a big boot to take Knight down. Russell landed a series of forearms and tagged in Sigmon, who hit a German Suplex for a two count. Sigmon went to the second rope and jumped, but was met with a boot from Knight. Knight then hit the best looking dropkick in all of wrestling on Russell and tagged in The DKC.
The DKC worked over both Heat Seekers. The DKC went to the top and landed a jumping karate kick for a one count on Russell. The DKC started the DK Fire, but Sigmon broke it up. Russell followed that up with a gut-wrench back-breaker. Sigmon tagged in and hit a diving headbutt from the top rope, but Knight put The DKC’s foot on the rope for a break when Sigmon went for the pin. After reversed roll-ups, The DKC actually got the pin over Sigmon.
The DKC and Kevin Knight defeated “The Heat Seekers” Matt Sigmon and Elliott Russell via pinfall in 9:53.
McGuire’s Musings: This probably went two or three minutes too long, but this was a pretty good NJPW Strong opening match. The LA Dojo guys going over was a surprise to me (because, well, it’s always a surprise when one of them win, which, of course, is the point), but I’m not complaining because of all the LA Dojo guys to get an occasional win, I don’t think we’ve seen The DKC get the 1-2-3 in any of them. If anything, he’s usually the guy who takes the loss. So, good for them and good for The DKC. The match itself did a fine job of keeping things moving and even though they could have shaved some time off it, nothing felt like it dragged. Knight getting the meat of the match was good, as he’s shown a fantastic ability to sell and feed the heels before ramping up for the comeback. I wonder if we’ll ever see the Heat Seekers in New Japan again. I know they’re somewhat decorated and as Riccaboni pointed out, they’ve spent time in Japan before (even if it wasn’t in New Japan), so perhaps they’ll play into this new tag division that is more defined now that Strong has its own tag champs. Only time will tell.
QT Marshall’s music hit and Marshall made his way to the ring. Marshall went to speak, but the mic wasn’t on, which drew a cheer from the crowd. Marshall said he personally opened the forbidden door between NJPW and AEW. The fans gave Marshall the “What?” treatment. He told the fans they don’t have a lot of money. Marshall said he showed up for competition and he found competition. He introduced Parker Lee as his opponent.
2. QT Marshall vs. Parker Lee. The crowd chanted Lee’s name as he made his way to the ring. “Let’s go Parker/QT sucks!” chants began as Marshall worked a head-lock. Lee came back with a dropkick, but Marshall returned that favor with a strong lariat. Marshall hit some elbows and stepped on Lee’s face. Marshall lifted Lee, but Lee rolled Marshall up for a near fall. Lee hit some chops and another dropkick. Lee tried a springboard move, but Marshall caught him with a forearm. Marshall landed a Diamond Cutter that looked more like an RKO for the win.
QT Marshall defeated Parker Lee via pinfall in 2:56.
After the match, Marshall got the mic back. He said Parker Lee sucked and he realizes that there’s nobody who’s on QT Marshall’s level on NJPW Strong. He then asked for another opponent. Shota Umino’s music then hit and the crowd ate it up. Marshall told the back to cut his music. The crowd chanted “You f— up,” at Marshall. Marshall questioned if Umino really wanted to fight him right now. Marshall called for another referee. Umino got in the ring and Marshall walked to the back and that was the end of the segment.
McGuire’s Musings: Well, that was sort of odd. A quick Internet search tells me Parker Lee has 208 Twitter followers, he’s tweeted 20 times and he’s followed by Cody Rhodes. Connect those dots a bit and you can probably make some fairly accurate assumptions about him being tied to Marshall’s school. But good for him for getting on New Japan television, even if it is just Strong. He showed good fire and has an impressive amount of athleticism that was showcased here, even if it was for less than three minutes. Marshall, meanwhile, is the thorn that seems to be stuck in Strong’s side. At this point, I’m beginning to like it. Showing up for an impromptu match on New Japan Strong is a long ways away from wrestling the former Big Show at All Out. Now, with the Umino angle, it appears he’ll be sticking around even longer, and that’s not all bad. In fact, the inevitable match with Umino will probably turn out to be pretty good. But you didn’t hear that from me.
3. Mascara Dorada vs. TJP. TJP came to the ring with Dorada’s mask. Dorada took TJP down to begin and the two then circled each other. In a creative spot, TJP lifted Dorada, who landed on the second rope and used it as a springboard to land an arm-drag. TJP came back and tried to rip Dorada’s mask off, but Dorada threw TJP into the ropes, where TJP did his pose between ropes, but Dorada kicked him through the ropes to the outside. TJP took control as they fought outside.
Back inside the ring, TJP landed a knee to the head for a two count. TJP worked his face-wash spot before capping it off with a running kick to the head. TJP went back to trying to pull off Dorada’s mask. TJP unlaced a lot of it and sunk in a chin lock. TJP went for a cross arm-bar. Dorada got to the ropes for a break. TJP kept working Dorada’s arm and then went for a Muta Lock, but Dorada got to the ropes for another break. TJP went for a splash, but Dorada moved. Dorada then hit a bulldog.
With TJP on the outside, Dorada dove through the ropes onto TJP. Dorada went to the top, walked the ropes and landed a Senton for a two count. After both guys went for powerbombs, TJP brought things to a halt with a DDT. Dorada landed a kick and then jumped from the second rope into a kick from TJP. Dorada hit one of his own. TJP then draped Dorada over the top rope and went to the top to land a Mamba Splash on Dorada, who was hanging on the top rope.
Back in the ring, TJP got a two count out of it. TJP went back to the top and went for a Mamba Splash again, but Dorada moved and slammed TJP for a two count. Dorada went for a moonsault, but TJP got his feet up. Dorada turned that into an Electric Trap and TJP tore off Dorada’s mask. As a result, TJP went to the top and hit the Mamba Splash for the win.
TJP defeated Mascara Dorada via pinfall in 11:55.
TJP posed on the ropes after the match.
McGuire’s Musings: A good match that never seemed to get to the next gear, even though it felt close a few times. I don’t know how much more mileage these two can get out of the mask spot, but my guess is this isn’t the last time we see them together, considering how the series is 1-1 now. Watching TJP anymore feels like going to see a radio rock band play a radio festival – as in, he’s got the hits and he doesn’t want to do much else. There’s the facewash and the Mute Lock. The spider in the ropes. The Mamba Splash. And the rest is just filler. Something about it feels stale. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen it too much and I’m grumpy, or maybe that’s because it’s just … well … stale. Either way, it was good enough here to help get him to the end of a 12-minute match, so there’s something to be said for that. As for Dorada, I understand his thing is the ropes, but at least once here, I thought to myself, “Is that necessary?” Still, the guys worked a nice pace and it furthered their story. It would have even been worthy of a Strong main event some weeks. And there’s something to be said for that.
3. Kushida and Ren Narita vs. “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake. Narita and Henry started the match and the two worked a technical style back and forth. Kushida tagged in and worked Henry’s arm. After trading pin attempts, Henry tagged in Drake. Kushida tried to pick up Drake, but that wasn’t going to happen. Drake chopped Kushida and went for another one, but Kushida ducked and tried for another slam, but again, it didn’t happen. Drake took Kushida down with a clothesline and tagged in Henry.
Henry worked over Kushida’s back. Henry sunk in a chin-lock. Kushida fought back, but Henry cut him off with a suplex for a two count. Drake tagged in, but Kushida hit a springboard back elbow on both guys before tagging in Narita, who suplexed Henry for a two count. Drake tagged in and the two hit a series of double-team moves on Narita. Drake exchanged headbutts with Narita. Drake landed an echoing chop. Drake followed it up with another one. Drake went for another one, but Narita ducked and hit some chops of his own. Drake came back with a clothesline and a splash.
Henry tagged in and landed a kick to Narita’s back. It fired Narita up and Narita came right back with kicks of his own, but Drake ran in to cut Narita off. Drake tagged in and the two heels hit a bunch of kicks on Narita’s back. Henry tagged in and went for a suplex, but Narita countered into a suplex of his own. Kushida then received the hot tag and worked over Henry. Narita tagged in and landed an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Henry. Narita tried to do it on Drake, but Drake stopped him and the heels hit a series of double-team moves on Narita. Drake landed a moonsault on Narita, but Kushida broke up the pin attempt.
Kushida went to slam Drake and it kind of/sort of worked. Kushida kicked Henry and then hit a chop from the top rope. Kushida landed a dropkick on Henry and then hit a bride hammerlock suplex for the win.
Kushida and Ren Narita defeated “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake via pinfall in 10:58.
Kushida closed the show by himself in the ring, bowing to the crowd.
McGuire’s Musings: The Workhorsemen are good. That’s not the first time you’ve heard that and it’s not the first time I’ve said that, but I thought they looked really good here. Narita has this weird vibe to him sometimes that kind of says, “I don’t really want to be here,” and that vibe came through tonight. Kushida, meanwhile, was a little rusty in some ways and while the story of him lifting Drake was a fun one to watch, the juice turned out not to be worth the squeeze because once the slam spot came, neither Drake or Kushida held up their end. So it goes. A good tag match that was a fun main event, nonetheless. As for the episode, this was one of the better ones in recent weeks. We had an impromptu segment and it wasn’t all bad, which says something considering who was in it. The featured match had stakes and continued the narrative between TJP and Mascara Dorada. And The DKC got a win. So, hell, man. Let’s find some champagne. I’ll have more to say, as always, in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
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