By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont
Streamed December 10, 2022 on New Japan World
Ian Riccaboni checked in on commentary with Alex Koslov to run down the card. We are on the Detonation Tour and this is the second week of it. Christopher Daniels came into the frame and he called everyone out for being upset. Daniels said he handled Rocky Romero with “minimal effort.” Daniels said DKC is finally in the ring with someone who can teach him. Daniels said DKC knows nothing about professional wrestling. We went to the ring from there…
1. Gregory Sharpe vs. Kenny King. The crowd chanted “Kenny!” to begin the match. After a quick attempt at takedowns, King posed for the crowd and the crowd ate it up. Before long, King was working Sharpe’s arm and the crowd loved it. King hit a back elbow to slow things down and King worked over Sharpe until Sharpe came back with a double chop. Still, Sharpe went to the top and hit a cross-body for a two-count.
Sharpe fired up and hit a series of forearms until Sharpe went to the top, but King dropkicked the ropes to cut Sharpe off. King then choked Sharpe on the bottom rope. King hit a suplex into a series of pummeling punches. King ran at Sharpe, but Sharpe got an elbow up. King came right back with a spinning back kick for a two-count. King worked a chin-lock. King sank in a camel clutch. King pulled on Sharpe’s upper teeth. Sharpe fired up and hit a bunch of forearms, backing King into the corner.
Sharpe came off the ropes to hit a leaping kick and that turned into a German Suplex for a two-count. Sharpe went for a suplex, but King countered with a Dragon Suplex. King landed a spine-buster for a good near-fall. King went for the royal flush, but Sharpe got out of it. Still, King went to the top, but Sharpe cut him off and went for a super-plex, but King punched him off. Still, Sharpe came right back and got it in. Sharpe landed a dropkick for a good near-fall. Before long, King hit the Royal Flush for the win.
Kenny King defeated Gregory Sharpe via pinfall in 9:45.
McGuire’s Musings: King did a very good job making Sharpe look like a bigger deal than he is in New Japan and King should receive some kudos for that. All told, it was really hard to buy into Sharpe getting the win here, if only because this is King’s second match on Strong and New Japan is obviously trying to build King as a real contender. All that said, Sharpe continues to impress as an enhancement talent (and I don’t use the term “enhancement talent” lightly because on Strong, there almost is no such thing). Sharpe is working his way into the DKC role in that he takes loss after loss, but as I say that … oh, look. It’s a DKC match.
2. Christopher Daniels vs. The DKC. Daniels took control early and slapped DKC’s head. Daniels worked a head-lock, but DKC rolled out of it and the two reset. Daniels teased a test of strength, but then Daniels kicked DKC to take control. DKC hit some kicks and gained control. Daniels backed DKC into a corner. Daniels then pulled DKC down by his hair. Daniels hit a clothesline and played the crowd before getting a two-count. Daniels landed a uranage for a two-count. Daniels whipped DKC into the corner and DKC hit the mat hard.
Daniels went for a weird inverse neck-breaker and then granted a chin-lock. DKC tried to come back and went for a drop-kick, but Daniels stopped running and DKC hit nothing. From there, Daniels threw DKC to the outside. DKC got to the apron but Daniels hit an elbow to drop him to the floor. DKC got back to the apron, went to the top and took Daniels over before hitting a hip attack and a somersault dive. DKC then hit the DK Fire. DKC went to the second rope and hit a leaping kick for a two-count.
DKC ran the ropes and rolled Daniels up for a two-count. DKC hit a chop, but Daniels came back with an elbow. DKC countered with a super-kick for a two-count. DKC pounded on Daniels, who was in a corner. DKC ran at Daniels, but Daniels lifted DKC and Daniels crotched DKC. Daniels hit another urinage. Daniels went to the top to hit the Best Moonsault Ever for the win.
Christopher Daniels defeated The DKC via pinfall in 9:15.
After the match, Daniels landed a pile-driver on DKC. Daniels then got in DKC’s face and talked shit. The crowd, meanwhile, was behind Daniels.
McGuire’s Musings: This was pretty good and Chris Daniels is a good heel. Sometimes, it feels like people forget that, but the truth is, that guy can be one of the better heels NJPW Strong (or AEW, for that matter) can have. The DKC, meanwhile, showed good fire, but that’s also kind of The DKC’s gimmick. At what point do we move from “lots of fire who takes a lot of losses,” to “lots of fire whose fire can lead to a win?” Those choices, I know nothing about. Still, The DKC has been in this long enough. Too much, in fact, to where it’s gotten to the point where it’s tiring to see him on the card and immediately think, “He’s going to lose.” Something should change at some point. Maybe? Please? Anyway, this was a fine-enough match.
3. Tama Tonga, Hikuleo, Alan Angels and David Finlay vs. Jay White, El Phantasmo, Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs. Before the match began, the babyfaces flipped the heels off after teasing a Too Sweet moment. White and Tonga started the match … but not really because White tagged in ELP and Tonga tagged in Finlay. The two worked some chain wrestling until Finlay hit a dropkick and tagged in Angels, who worked ELP’s arm. ELP took control for a hot second until Angels hit a bulldog. Angels landed a Northern Lights for a two-count. Angels fought off the Bullet Club and turned into a kick from ELP.
White tagged in and stomped on Angels over and over again. Isaacs tagged in and hit a bunch of elbows on Angels. Nelson then tagged in and Team Filthy posed for pictures, as is their gimmick. Nelson pounded on Angels. Isaacs tagged in, but that almost immediately led to White tagging in. White landed a hard chop on Angels and tagged in ELP, who taunted the babyfaces. ELP did 10,000 flips and hit the back-rake for a two-count. Before long, Angels got the hot tag for Hikuleo and Hikuleo cleaned house.
West Coast Wrecking Crew came in to fight Hikuleo, but Hikuleo got the best of it and then slapped the hell out of ELP. White then tagged in after Hikuleo missed a boot. As a result, White hit a bunch of chops, but before long, Hikuleo stopped selling them. Hikuleo chopped White and tagged in Tonga, who beat the hell out of White. Tonga threw White to the outside and brawled with White on the outside of the ring. Tonga threw White into a ring post. Tonga then threw White back into the ring and ran at White, but White moved. It didn’t really matter because Tonga came back with a clothesline.
Tonga hit a splash and a snap powerslam. Tonga went for his finish, but White countered into an eventual DDT and both men were down. Royce Isaacs tagged in and caught Tonga for a German Suplex. Finlay jumped into the ring and landed a back-breaker. White came in and hit a wild Sleeper Suplex after Bobby Fish interfered. Hikuleo came in to dominate and choke-slammed ELP. White hit a chop block on Hikuleo, which allowed Hikuleo to be thrown outside. Tonga was then dominated by the WCWC. The WCWC hit what I thought was their finisher on Tonga, but Tonga kicked out. Angels ran in and took care of the WCWC.
Nelson ran into a boot from Angels, but then Angels got caught by the WCWC and Angels was on the bad end of a German Suplex. WCWC tried the same on Tonga, but Tonga countered and hit a series of cutters, Out of nowhere, Tonga hit one of his cutters (or a Gun Stun) on Nelson and pinned him for the win.
Tama Tonga, Hikuleo, Alan Angels and David Finlay defeated Jay White, El Phantasmo, Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs via pinfall in 13:20.
The babyfaces posed to end the show.
McGuire’s Musings: That was a mild surprise, but also a very welcome surprise. First, as I’ve been saying for two years, Hikuleo is a star, so to see him on the winning end of this brings a smile to my face. Second, Tama Tonga going over in a big way here makes him a legitimate threat to the Bullet Club in a very understated way, which I like. Finlay and Angels were there for the ride, but Angels, in particular, needed to be on the winning side of something like this if only to be taken seriously as someone who’s out there working the indies (and Strong) and he won’t always lose. The match was fun for what it was, even if it was just supposed to be your run-of-the-mill eight-man tag match on NJPW Strong.
All told, this was a fine episode of the series. You don’t really have to go out of your way to see it, but if you like New Japan and you like New Japan Strong, there are worse ways you can spend 55 minutes. I’ll have more to say in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).