By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
Taped December 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont
Streamed January 14, 2023 on New Japan World
Another new video aired. It was fun, and it included AEW footage. Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov ran things down and we went to the ring. We are on the Nemesis tour, and perhaps, if Hiroshi Tanahashi is to be believed, this is the final Strong tour, but even so, this is the second week of it. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor interrupted them and challenged Homicide to a Filthy Rules match, which means no ropes. That match is set to happen at the February 18 Battle in the Valley event in San Jose…
1. Che Cabrera vs. Mascara Dorada. The two started with a bunch of action and taunting. Cabrera hit a powerslam before too long for a two-count. Cabrera kept control with some elbow and a one-count. Cabrera hit a leaping lariat to slow things down and get a two-count. Cabrera worked a headlock and a series of shoulder blocks. Cabrera ran at Dorada, but Dorada moved and from there, Dorada had control. Cabrera rolled to the outside and Dorada walked the ropes to hit a somersault onto Cabrera.
Back inside the ring, Dorada landed a Senton for a two-count. Dorada hit a hard chop to come back from it, but he only got a two-count. From there, Dorada hit a Tornado DDT for a two-count. Cabrera hit a neck-screw for a two-count. Cabrera went to the top, but Dorada moved and hit a super-kick. Dorada walked the ropes for a second and hit an elbow drop to get the win.
Mascara Dorada defeated Che Cabrera via pinfall in 7:24.
McGuire’s Musings: Dorada gave Cabrera everything and some more here, and I’m not mad at that. I’ve written multiple times for these reviews that Che is a good wrestler and has been looking very good on these Strong shows and this was no exception. Maybe it’s me (probably is), but Dorada just doesn’t seem to connect here with the NJPW Strong crowd. It’s been that way for as long as he’s shown up, but in a match like this, which is clearly designed to get Dorada a win, Cabrera was so dominant for 80 percent of the time that he looked better. Even so, a fine opening match.
2. Bobby Fish, Filthy Tom Lawlor, and Danny Limelight vs. Eddie Kingston, Homicide, and David Finlay. Kingston grabbed a chair from the crowd before the match began and it was great. Finlay and Fish started the match and Finlay worked a wrist-lock until Fish took him over and worked a chin-lock. Homicide tagged in and tried to work over Fish, but the heels trapped Homicide and Fish took back control. Team Filthy threw Finlay outside and posed.
Back in the ring Fish worked a head-lock into a wild senton. Team Filthy then cheated to beat the hell out of Homicide. Kingston fired up and tired to attack Limelight on the outside, but Lawlor broke that up. Lawlor tagged in and beat Homicide down until Limelight tagged in and the heels kept control. Homicide fought back and super-flexed Limelight to then land the hot tag to Kingston, who chopped the hell out of Lawlor. Kingston landed an Exploder on both Lawlor and Limelight. He then did the same on Fish.
Kingston worked Lawlor, but Limelight broke it up. Lawlor ran at Kingston, but Finlay ran in and broke it all up to take control of the match, suplexing Lawlor. Finlay went for a cutter, but Lawlor cut him off for a uranage for a two-count. Fish tagged in and all three heels dominated Finlay. Homicide tagged in and ultimately things broke down. Finlay, kind of out of nowhere, hit his finisher on Limelight to get the win.
Eddie Kingston, Homicide, and David Finlay defeated Bobby Fish, Tom Lawlor, and Danny Limelight via pinfall in 9:44.
After the match, Jay White ran to the ring and Kingston had a chair that he threw at White. And my God, those two traded barbs so well that I just stopped typing. At the end of it, we’re going to get Kingston vs. White at Battle in the Valley.
McGuire’s Musings: The six-man was fine, but the story here was that post-match angle. Holy shit, that was incredible. And I might be biased because I think I’ve accidentally fallen in love with Jay White’s work over the last several months, but I’m not quite sure people remember how good of a promo he can be, if only because if you don’t watch Strong, you don’t know how well he uses words. That aside, Team Filthy looked great, too, and, if we have to go back to the actual match (sigh, kidding), good for Homicide, who took a lot of it. The finish kind of came out of nowhere, but I was happy to see Finlay go over because New Japan has done a good job building him to be the next Thing, and it’s working now, after a few tries and semi-failures. All told, my guess is this will be the segment of the night.
3. Bad Dude Tito vs. Jeff Cobb. After a few exchanges, Cobb took Tito down, but Tito popped up and slapped Cobb. Tito kept control with a Senton and some slaps. Tito slammed Cobb for a two-count. Cobb came back with some elbows and a dropkick to take Tito down. Cobb then worked a springboard and some shoulder-blocks. Cobb landed a back elbow and lifted Tito, but Tito fought back with kicks and an Exploder from the second rope for a two-count.
Back on their feet, the two traded elbows. Cobb eventually hit a spin-cycle for a two-count. Cobb then landed a moonsault for a two-count. Tito rolled Cobb up for a two-count. Tito landed a Thunder Bomb for a two-count. Cobb hit a superkick, but Tito did the same. The two screamed and traded blows. But then, in a wild turn of events, Cobb hit the Tour Of The Islands on Tito for the win.
Jeff Cobb defeated Bad Dude Tito via pinfall in 7:31.
McGuire’s Musings: I have absolutely no idea why they wouldn’t throw that six-man on here as the main event because for as much as I love Cobb and Tito, that was one of the most nothing-happening big-man matches I’ve ever seen. And, to boot, New Japan is usually very good at big-man matches! Notice the exclamation point. That was overtly underwhelming and that would have been if that previous segment happened or if they had to follow Doink The Clown vs. Honky Tonk Man. Love them both, but … .
In all, a fine episode of Strong, but the best part came in the middle, which was actually very much better than some of the other stories they’ve been telling here. Kingston vs. White at Battle in the Valley should be interesting because … well … we have no idea where Jay White is going to end up (unless if you do, and if you do, feel free to email me at … ahh, never mind). I’m still under my “Strong Is Going Away Soon” spell, so I’m going to suggest you watch the show, but maybe I’m just romantic. Still. Good wrestling here. I’ll have more to say during my weekly NJPW Strong audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
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