By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped October 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont
Streamed November 12, 2022 on New Japan World
Ian Riccaboni checked in on commentary with Alex Koslov to run down the card. This is the second week of the Showdown tour. In what has become tradition, a wrestler showed up as the opening segment wound down and this week, Filthy Tom Lawlor entered the shot and took Koslov’s microphone to say that Kratos and Limelight are two of the best fighters on the planet. Lawlor said that next week, he’s going to take on Homicide. Lawlor said Homicide is at best an untrained street thug.
1. Che Cabrera vs. Kenny King. The two locked up in the middle of the ring to begin and Cabrera posed afterward. King returned the favor. Cabrera went to pose again, but King attacked him. King ran at Cabrera, but Cabrera moved and took control with a clothesline over the top rope. Back in the ring, King took Cabrera down and landed a clothesline. King kicked Cabrera a couple times and got a one-count out of it.
Back on their feet, King hit some strikes on Cabrera. King landed a spinebuster for a two-count. From there, King worked a camel clutch. Cabrera fought back and gained the edge with a kick and a powerslam. Cabrera hit a clothesline and a tilt-a-whirl back-breaker before landing a belly-to-belly that forced King out of the ring. Cabrera hit a splash onto King before rolling him back inside the ring.
Inside the ring, King hit a Tiger Driver suplex for a two-count. King tried to lift Cabrera, but Cabrera countered into an Anarchist Suplex for a two-count. Cabrera went for a Fisherman’s Suplex, but King rolled Cabrera up instead. After that, King went to the top, but Cabrera moved and landed an Alabama Slam for a good near-fall. Cabrera went to the top rope, but King cut him off and went for a super-plex, but Cabrera pushed King off. As a result, King came back with an enziguri and the Royal Flush for the win.
Kenny King defeated Che Cabrera via pinfall in 8:07.
McGuire’s Musings: I continue to enjoy watching Cabrera grow each week he steps into a New Japan ring. For a debut, I was surprised to see this go more than eight minutes, but if the point was to introduce King to the Strong audience while elevating Cabrera in a loss, mission accomplished. And while the outcome never felt like it would be in doubt, those two had me questioning that supposed inevitability at least once or twice here. If King is going to work as a heel, I wonder who his first big program on Strong will be. Perhaps an NJPW Strong Openweight Title shot against Fred Rosser?
2. Adrian Quest and Jordan Cruz vs. Danny Limelight and JR Kratos. Quest and Limelight started the match. Limelight shoulder-blocked Quest to the mat and then danced. Quest worked Limelight over with a series of quick moves. Cruz tagged in and landed an impressive series of gut-wrench suplexes on Limelight. Cruz chopped Limelight in a corner. Limelight raked the eyes of Cruz and tagged in Kratos, who came in and dominated before Team Filthy did their signature pose.
Kratos hit a pair of forearms on Cruz before taking Cruz to the ground, where Kratos kicked Cruz in the head. Kratos suplexed Cruz and released him halfway over. Limelight ran in and Team Filthy double-teamed their opponents. Limelight tagged in and kicked Cruz in the back. Limelight eventually hit a dropkick and posed again before landing a splash on Cruz. Kratos tagged in and Cruz fired up enough to go for a suplex, but Kratos blocked it and slapped Cruz. Still, Cruz lifted Kratos for a quick hope spot before Cruz landed a clothesline to Kratos’s back. Quest and Limelight then tagged in.
Quest fired up and hit a series of kicks on Limelight. Quest landed a version of a Code Red, but then Limelight tagged in Kratos and Kratos hit a super-plex on Cruz. Limelight tagged in and Limelight hit a Destroyer on Cruz for the win.
Danny Limelight and JR Kratos defeated Adrian Quest and Jordan Cruz via pinfall in 8:22.
After the match, we got a promo from ELP, Chris Bey and Juice Robinson. They announced their match next week before saying in two weeks, Robinson will have “something for something,” meaning he’s going to wrestle Jake Something. They wrapped up with a “Too sweet.”
McGuire’s Musings: I can’t even remember when we last saw Adrian Quest on Strong. There was a time when it felt like he was in the opening match every other week; these days, I sometimes forget he exists. Still, his team with Cruz could have legs, even if that’s mostly because Cruz works a style that lends itself well to New Japan Strong and those two complement each other well. As for Team Filthy … well, this one was never really in doubt. What I don’t get, though, is why Team Filthy isn’t a stronger player in the Strong tag title scene. Maybe that’ll change soon. I hope so because this show already had established tag teams before New Japan announced the introduction of the Strong tag titles and now that the titles are here, those teams are … far away from them. It’s confusing.
3. Fred Yehi vs. Minoru Suzuki. The two traded wrist-locks to begin the match. Yehi rolled up Suzuki for a one-count. Suzuki worked a hammer-lock and a head-lock. Yehi got to his feet and forced Suzuki into the ropes for a break. Suzuki grabbed Yehi’s earlobes and punched them at one point. Yehi chopped Suzuki and Suzuki no-sold it. Suzuki chopped Yehi. Yehi teased chopping Suzuki, but Yehi instead threw everything for a loop and took Suzuki down via a single-leg takedown.
It wasn’t long, however, until Suzuki worked a triangle choke on Yehi over the top ropes. The action spilled to the outside, where Yehi bit Suzuki, who came right back and kicked Yehi in the head. Suzuki grabbed a chair. Yehi took the chair and was going to hit Suzuki, but the referee stopped him. Meanwhile, Suzuki grabbed another chair and hit Yehi in the back with it while the referee’s head was turned. Suzuki threw the chair on the ground, a la Eddie Guerrero, and tried to convince the ref Yehi hit him, which was funny.
The two fought all around the ring, and that included Suzuki chopping the hell out of Yehi. Back in the ring, Suzuki hit some knee strikes. Suzuki worked a chin-lock and a hammer-lock. Suzuki twisted Yehi’s wrist and hand until Yehi got his foot on the ropes for a break. Suzuki toyed with Yehi, who fired up and drove his hips and knees into Suzuki, who was on the mat in a corner. Yehi got in a neck-breaker for a two-count. Yehi went for his finisher, but Suzuki got the ropes for a break.
Yehi tried to whip Suzuki into a corner, but Suzuki countered it and threw Yehi. Suzuki landed a kick to the chest for a two-count. On their feet, Yehi chopped Suzuki, but Suzuki came back with an arm-bar. Yehi got to the ropes for a break. With the two again on their feet, they traded forearms. The sequence ended after Suzuki landed a tough-looking forearm that sent Yehi to the canvas. Suzuki went for one more forearm, but Yehi countered with his finisher, but Suzuki bit Yehi until Yehi twisted Suzuki’s ear lobe. Suzuki made it to the ropes for a break. On their feet, Yehi landed a forearm, but Suzuki sank in a rear-naked choke. Suzuki. Hit a forearm into the Gotch-style piledriver for a win.
Minoru Suzuki defeated Fred Yehi via pinfall in 16:29.
Suzuki celebrated to end the show.
McGuire’s Musings: Nobody is having as much fun being a professional wrestler as Minoru Suzuki is having being a professional wrestler these days. The teased ref attacks. The 15-20 minute matches. The smiles. Shoot. The Eddie Guerrero tribute. That guy gets it right each time he steps through the ropes. Anyway, this was a worthy main event and a pretty good match. Yehi continues to come into his own and really is emerging as a player in the New Japan Strong universe while Suzuki continues to be on one hell of a run in what we have to think are the latter years of his career. I had extra appreciation for this match, though, if only because we didn’t get the typical Suzuki fare and instead, we got more fire and less “Hey, here’s my chest chop me,” spots. This was a bunch of fun and I’ll have more to say about that fun during my weekly NJPW Strong audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
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