11/05 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Gabriel Kidd, Rocky Romero vs. Christopher Daniels, and Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs vs. The DKC and Kevin Knight vs. Barrett Brown and Misterioso vs. Bad Dude Tito and Shane Haste in a four-way to become No. 1 contenders to the NJPW Openweight Tag Team Titles

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

NJPW Strong
Taped October 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont
Streamed November 5, 2022 on New Japan World

Ian Riccaboni checked in on commentary with Alex Koslov to run down the card. This is the first night of the Showdown tour and Riccaboni announced that the main event of the whole tour will feature Jay White vs. Fred Rosser in a non-title match. So that’s something. It will come in four weeks. From there, Koslov welcomed the WCWC into the segment. Royce Isaacs said WCWC are the only No. 1 contenders. He said all they are focused on is the tag-team titles. Jorel Nelson hopped on the mic and said they will face Aussie Open again and they will win those titles. We then went to the ring.

1. Christopher Daniels vs. Rocky Romero. Bateman sat in on commentary for no real good reason. Daniels jawed at the crowd to start the match while everyone chanted “Rocky!” Daniels worked a headlock and ultimately kicked Romero while he was down. Daniels landed some vicious chops. Romero ran the ropes and caught himself in the ropes, a la TJP, so Daniels ran at Romero and Rocky moved, so Daniels went to the outside and as a result, Romero hit three straight splashes through the ropes.

On the outside, Romero hit back and front rakes. Back in the ring, Daniels begged Romero to stop, but Romero hit a series of kicks. Romero landed a suplex for a one-count. Romero stretched Daniels until Daniels made it to the ropes for a break. The two traded forearms before Romero just hit an eye-poke. Things turned around, however, when Daniels hit a Stun Gun to take control. Daniels managed to pull off an impressive springboard moonsault for a two-count. Daniels worked Romero’s neck.

Romero, after a bit, hit an enzuigiri rewind to even things out. Bateman called Koslov “Cosgrove” on commentary and it was kind of weird. Romero went to the top and went for a cross-body, but Daniels moved. With Daniels draped on the second rope, Romero landed a dropkick to Daniels’s side for a two-count. Romero hit a Tornado DDT for a two-count. Romero went for some kicks and then got in the Forever Clotheslines until Daniels caught him with an STO. Daniels lifted Romero, but Romero fought his way out and went for his finisher, but Daniels caught him, rolled him up with his feet on the ropes and got the pinfall.

Christopher Daniels defeated Rocky Romero via pinfall in 9:25.

McGuire’s Musings: The whole thing had an aura of “Rocky’s going to look like he’s going to win, but he’s not going to win, and it will be a fluke and then Rocky will walk around ringside and slap hands with the fans.” And wouldn’t you know it – that’s precisely what happened. The match was still pretty good while it lasted. I was surprised to see it go nearly 10 minutes, but the two wrestlers used that allotment to the absolute best of their abilities. At the end of the day, this was two pros’ pros meeting in a ring and being two pros’ pros, which is great, really, if you consider how many Young Lion matches we’ve seen to open Strong throughout its history. Nothing against the Young Lions, of course, but this was just two professionals being professional and providing a very fine match. Where either goes from here, I’m intrigued to see. For now, though, this was a good wrestling match. Bateman, meanwhile … well, I don’t know if commentary is his next career.

2. “Stray Dog Army” Misterioso & Barrett Brown) vs. “TMDK” Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito vs. “LA Dojo” Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. “West Coast Wrecking Crew” Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs to become No. 1 contenders to the the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Titles. Bateman was back to do commentary on this match. DKC and Nelson started the match and DKC had control until Nelson worked DKC’s wrist. Nelson had the DKC on his shoulders, but DKC punched his way out and he and Knight landed a double hip-toss on Nelson. Knight hit a double hang-time on Nelson and got a two-count.

Isaacs tagged in and worked over Knight’s legs. The WCWC hit a double back-body-drop on Knight. Knight pushed Isaacs into the Street Dog corner and Misterioso tagged in. From there, the Stray Dogs worked over Knight, including a hip-toss from Brown onto Knight. Brown kept control over Knight and tagged in Misterioso. But eventually Brown accidentally chopped Misterioso. The sequence ended with Misterioso and Knight going at it, but Knight missed a splash and Haste tagged in to continuously suplex Knight.

Tito tagged in and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count on Knight. Knight and Tito exchanged chops. Haste tagged in and landed a suplex before tagging Tito back in. Haste tagged in almost immediately and hit a splash on Knight and posed. Haste worked a bunch of kicks to every inch of Knight’s body. The two exchanged forearms. Knight landed his Best Dropkick Ever and things slowed down. Knight tagged in Isaacs because DKC was pulled to the ground. Isaacs dominated Haste. Tito tried to stop it, but Isaacs just pounded on both of them. Isaacs landed a Falcon Arrow on Haste and Nelson followed it up with a splash for a two-count.

As things broke down, Nelson tagged in and worked over Haste with forearms. Haste ultimately landed a Saito Suplex and tagged in Brown. The DKC also tagged in and the two went at it. The DKC chopped everyone in sight. The DKC hit the DK Fire on Brown. All of it ended with a two-count. Knight hit a high DDT, but before a three-count could happen, the entire rest of the match broke it up. Misterioso  hit a dropkick, but everything ultimately broke down and Tito threw Kevin Knight out of the ring, which was wild, because he almost lost him. Misterioso followed that up with a corkscrew onto everyone on the outside. Inside the ring, DKC took on Stray Dog Army, but the Army got the best of him and Brown actually pinned the DKC. Bateman ran to the ring to celebrate.

“Stray Dog Army” Misterioso & Barrett Brown) defeated “TMDK” Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito, “LA Dojo” Kevin Knight & The DKC and “West Coast Wrecking Crew” Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs via pinfall in 12:37.

McGuire’s Musings: I have two things to say. One, I’m sincerely surprised at the outcome there. Two, if DKC is in a multi-person or multi-team match, let’s just all assume that for the rest of time, he’s going to be the one taking the fall. My hat’s off to those four teams for not turning this into the no rules, cluster-f-word that a four-team tag match can be. That said, I still can’t figure out why the West Coast Wrecking Crew can’t get any love. I’m starting to feel the same about TMDK, who started off hot in New Japan with JONAH, but have since faded slightly toward the back. Even so, this was all right for what it was. Bateman’s commentary is so monotone, I want to write a letter to Google Maps, asking them to hire him to tell me how to get to McDonald’s because he’d fit in perfectly. But I digress. Good for Knight getting the bulk of the match and also landing that dropkick. If those two things go down, it’s a good bout all around.

We got a Gabriel Kidd video before the main event…

3. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Gabriel Kidd
. Tanahashi led the crowd in a chant as the match began. The two traded wrist-locks. Kidd worked a head-scissors. Tanahashi came back and went for a head-lock, but Kidd got out of it and the two got to their feet to reset. Tanahashi worked a head-lock and wouldn’t let go. Eventually, Kidd worked his way out and hit some chops before going for a splash, but Tanahashi countered with a cross-body and an air-guitar pose. The two locked up and Kidd chopped Tanahashi’s chest. Kidd then hit a dropkick and played air-guitar of his own. Tanahashi came right back to hit a dragon-screw leg whip before the action spilled outside.

On the outside, Tanahashi worked over Kidd and the crowd ate it up. Kidd fought back and rolled Tanahashi back inside. Kidd worked a leg-trap on Tanahashi, but Tanahashi got to the ropes for a break. Kidd played to the crowd. Kidd worked an abdominal stretch and played air guitar over Tanahashi, who eventually got to the ropes for a break. Kidd slapped Tanahashi across the face and Tanahashi fired up with forearms. Tanahashi slammed Kidd and went to the second rope to land a cannonball for a two-count.

Tanahashi ran the ropes, but Kidd hit a tough lariat for a good near-fall. Kidd then landed a springboard moonsault for a better near-fall. Kidd went for a piledriver, but Tanahashi worked his way out and the two traded forearms again. Kidd ended the exchange with a dropkick to Tanahashi’s knees. Tanahashi came back with some forearms, but Kidd hit the hell out of Tanahashi. Kidd slapped Tanahashi’s back and face. Tanahashi slapped Kidd. Tanahashi hit a slingblade. He did it again for a two-count. Tanahashi went to the top rope and hit a frog splash for the win.

Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Gabriel Kidd via pinfall in 11:29.

After the match, Kidd and Tanahashi hugged in the middle of the ring.

McGuire’s Musings: I very, very much liked this match. Kidd is in a weird spot, coming back after a bit, talking about his mental health, being thrown into a program with Will Ospreay and then ultimately saying he needed to take a step back. The mental health stuff is something you see a lot of mainstream wrestlers talk about, but to hear Kidd be so vulnerable and so honest when he’s talked about it … it’s really hard not to root for him, even if he’s working as a heel, which he was here. Tanahashi, at this point, doesn’t really have great matches.

I’m sorry to say this out loud, but you can message me @prowrestlingnet (sorry Jason) if you don’t agree. He’s getting by on his name. That’s not to say he can’t still go; it’s just to say that we know what we’re going to get from him at this point in his career. Kidd played fantastically into that and the result was one of my favorite matches of the weekend, no matter the promotion. I’ll have much more to say in my audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons) coming up sooner or later – or maybe later than sooner.


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