The penultimate round of Dojo Pro sees some of the real big hitters joining the party, as Shane Strickland looked to spoil things!

Matt Lott’s waiting in the studio again, recapping how Aaron Solow beat MJF, before quickly pitching to some B-roll of Shane Strickland and the usual sit-down promo from the champion. Solow reckons the tournament’s been a little more demanding than he thought, which we’d be able to relate to if we ever had any kind of time frame attached to this…

Aaron Solow vs. Shane Strickland
Both men shoot out of the proverbial gates as they looked to end this one early – and it was Strickland who was on top early as he sent Solow scurrying into the corner.

The aggressive style of Strickland’s quickly toned down as he grounds Solow with headscissors, then a trapped-arm armbar, a hold that the King of Swerve made look extraordinarily easy. So much so that the crowd were starting to chant for him as he busted out a Gory special… but Solow escapes and hits a barrage of armdrags and dropkicks as he stemmed the flow.

Solow takes Strickland from corner-to-corner, as his offence seemed rather pedestrian compared to what Strickland opened the match with… so they decide to trade palm strikes as those slaps take Shane back down to a knee. From there, they exchange kicks as duelling boots left both men down again, with Strickland this time bounding ahead from the restart as he scored a 619-like kick and a slingshot Flatliner.

A reverse thrust kick out of nowhere from Solow nearly ends it as the match gained a rather staccato feel, with bursts of offence before both men crashed to the mat. Strickland returns with some more kicks before he chopped through the chest of Solow, only to get wheelbarrowed down to the mat for a double stomp, followed by a Twister suplex as Solow was right back in it.

Solow looks to go for the cradle DDT, but Strickland slips out and catches him in the corner for a hanging DDT of his own, following up with a knee and a double stomp off the top… but Solow kicks out! Strickland tries for a half-nelson suplex, only for Solow to escape and end up on the apron… where he’s met with a reverse DDT as Strickland decides to turn things up a notch and grab a chair.

All he does it put Solow in a chair on the floor for an attempted stomp off the apron… but Solow escapes and trips Strickland with a superkick, before returning to the ring for a cradle DDT and a crossface… and just like that, that’s the win! Aaron Solow heads to the final to face Jeff Cobb, and that is going to be a big match. As for this one… it was fine, but in the context of “here’s two guys” and little background on them or their moves for the audience, this was about as good as you’d be able to get without having any kind of investment. ***¼

Post-match, Rob Johnston reminds Solow he’s got one more match: against the Olympian Jeff Cobb. Solow reckons he was taken to the limit here, which isn’t a good sign, before vowing to leave the next match with the black belt. We’re down to the finals… and we’ll have those tomorrow, with our season-long thoughts!