1/28 NJPW Strong results: McGuire’s review of Fred Rosser vs. Peter Avalon for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship, Mistico vs. Misterioso, and Blake Christian vs. Keita

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

NJPW Strong
Taped December 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at The Vermont
Streamed January 28, 2023 on New Japan World

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. Even so, this is the fourth week of it. There wasn’t a lot of talking and we went straight to the ring.

1. Blake Christian vs. Keita. To begin the match, Christian backed Keita into a corner and the two went back and forth for the first minute or so. Keita kicked Christian to the mat, but Christian came back with a nip-up and then kicked Keita a few times, which took Keita to the outside. From there, Christian landed a pair of topes onto Keita, who was on the outside. Christian threw Keita into a guardrail.

Back in the ring, Christian hit a forearm for a two-count. Christian went for a springboard splash, but Keita countered and then landed a tope of his own onto Christian, who was on the outside. The two returned to the ring, and Keita hit a series of kicks that were wild. Keita landed a suplex for a two-count. Keita went for another suplex, but Christian countered into a suplex of his own, which took Keita into the corner pad.

Christian hit a brainbuster for a very close near-fall. Christian kicked the hell out of Keita a few times. Christian then ran at Keita to hit a curb stomp for the win.

Blake Christian defeated Keita via pinfall in 7:13.

McGuire’s Musings: Bless Christian for giving Keita as much as he did. It was hard to think there would be a different outcome from the one we got, but this was a fine-enough opening match. There’s no real reason to go out of your way to see it, but both guys worked hard enough. I guess “enough” is the key phrase here, when it comes to the end assessment. Nothing was bad. Nothing was great. Most importantly, none of this mattered. So it goes.

2. Mistico vs. Misterioso. The two took a little bit to get into it and shook hands before really starting anything. Once they did, it was a lot of back and forth without either getting the edge. The action spilled outside, where Misterioso had control and chopped Mistico a bunch. Misterioso rolled Mistico back into the ring and played to the crowd. Mistico hit a springboard splash for a one-count. Mistico landed a back elbow and then a kick to Misterioso’s head.

The action went back to the outside, where Misterioso landed a splash that slowed things down. Back in the ring, Misterioso landed a dropkick for a two-count. Misterioso hit a superkick for a series of two-counts. Misterioso put his boot on Mistico’s neck, but Mistico came back with a roll-up for a two-count. Things went back outside and Misterioso hit a flip onto Mistico, which took both guys down on the outside.

Back in the ring, Misterioso hit a pretty moonsault for a good near-fall. Mistico sold knee pain, but then popped up and kicked Misterioso in the head. A chant broke out. Mistico landed a Spanish Fly from the top for a two-count. Mistico flipped Misterioso for another two-count. Mistico then grabbed his arm-bar and Misterioso tapped out for the win.

Mistico defeated Misterioso via submission in 12:08.

McGuire’s Musings: It sure did look like Misterioso was going to get the best of this bout, but wouldn’t you know it, Mistico came out with the win. That said, kudos to both guys for working as hard as they did. There wasn’t a lot of story coming into this, much like that initial match, so there isn’t a lot to say about it. It feels like Strong is on auto-pilot for now because the future is going to be different in some way. As a result, they decided to put two really good luchadores in the ring to see what would happen and what happened was a good-enough match. But here we go again with the word “enough.” There was no emotional investment here and it hurt the match. The blame should not be put on the wrestlers, though, because they did all they could.

3. Fred Rosser vs. Peter Avalon for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship
. This was before the haircut for Avalon. As Rosser made his entrance, Avalon cut the music off with a promo. Avalon mocked Rosser, but Rosser threw Avalon out of the ring and they started Rosser’s music again, so let’s take a second to wonder how this thing will end up. Anyway, the two pushed each other a little. Avalon worked a headlock for a while. Avalon then worked Rosser’s arm. Rosser fought back and hit Avalon with a hip attack and a leg drop.

Avalon went for a pin, but Rosser kicked out and the two fought on the apron. Avalon ran Rosser into the ring post and pulled Rosser to the outside, where Avalon threw Rosser into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Avalon worked a single-leg crab. With both guys on their feet, the two traded chops. Avalon landed an elbow for a one-count and then went back to the arm. Avalon hit a tornado DDT for a two-count. Avalon taunted Rosser.

The two fought on the apron and it ended with Rosser hitting a suplex on Avalon on the apron. Inside the ring, Rosser chopped and threw Avalon. This happened multiple times. Rosser went for a strike, but Avalon cut him off. Still, Rosser came right back for a clothesline that turned Avalon inside out. Avalon came back with a kick to the ribs and then worked a single-leg crab. Rosser got to the ropes for a break. Rosser fired up and lifted Avalon for a double-knee gut-buster. Rosser then landed a slam and sank in the crossface for the win.

Fred Rosser defeated Peter Avalon via submission in 12:00 to retain the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship.

After the match, Rosser got the microphone and called out Kenta, who came to the ring. Rosser said he’s going to put his foot up Kenta’s ass at Battle in the Valley. The two had a stare-down. Kenta left the ring. The show ended from there.

McGuire’s Musings: The only thing Kevin Kelly was pushing at the end of the show was Battle in the Valley and there was no announcement for anything next week or the lack thereof anything next week, so if this is the last you hear of me, remember I love you all. Anyway, the match was what it was. It wasn’t going to be a mat classic and it wasn’t going to shock anyone with a wild upset. Wrestling companies continue to try with Peter Avalon, and I don’t have any issue with that, but if anyone thought you could bring him in for a title match with little build and then expect viewers to invest in him being a threat to the champion … I don’t know what to tell you. Still, both guys worked hard and Rosser continues to be a good Strong Openweight Champion. What that means from heretofore, I have no idea because nobody has offered any clarification as of this writing. That said, I’ll have more to say during my audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).


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