We’ve a brief show in Dallas from New Japan, featuring Jay White, Mike Bailey, Minoru Suzuki, Chris Dickinson and Tomohiro Ishii.
Ren Narita pinned Rocky Romero in 7:42 (***¼)
Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors Mascara Dorada & Yuya Uemura pinned Kevin Knight, David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Daniel Garcia in 10:45 (***¼)
Minoru Suzuki pinned Killer Kross in 9:48 (***)
Jay White pinned Mike Bailey in 14:10 (****)
Tomohiro Ishii pinned Chris Dickinson in 16:11 (***¾)
With no episode of Strong this week, I guess this show is kind of like an extended edition? We’re coming from the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, with Kevin Kelly and Matt Rehwoldt on commentary.
Ren Narita vs. Rocky Romero
We’ve got a tentative start as the pair looked for kicks, before Narita began to work over Rocky’s arm.
Commentary brings up their past meeting nearly three years ago in the Best of the Super Junior – Rocky of course winning, as Narita was a Young Lion then… as we saw Rocky snapmare and kick Ren in the back. Narita returned the favour as the match descended into back-and-forth elbows, before a spinning heel kick from Ren was caught and turned into a half crab. After a rope break, Narita’s kept on the back foot, but returned fire with elbows before he took Rocky into the corner for a series of kicks. A tornado DDT out of the corner made sure Rocky didn’t fall behind, Rocky begins to play with his foe, slapping Narita in between the ropes, kicking him ahead of a springboard stomp to the back for a near-fall.
A leg lariat from Narita keeps things even, as he then pulled ahead with a half-hatch suplex out of the corner for a near-fall. Another suplex gets a similar result, before Rocky fought his way out of a Kanuki suplex attempt. An uppercut starts the fightback, as did a rewind enziguiri, before a running Shiranui nearly won it. Forever clotheslines follow, then a regular one, before Rocky ran into the Narita Special and just like that, Ren snatches the win! Enjoyable for the time it ran, with Ren showing he’d made great strides… and that’s a heck of a statement win to boot! That neck bridge and landing on that suplex though was really nasty… ***¼
Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, Mascara Dorada & Yuya Uemura vs. FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson), Daniel Garcia & Kevin Knight
The guy at the sound desk loved Narita’s theme, given how long he had it fading out for. This undercard tag is the only one we’re getting today, but there’s a lot of combinations that can fall out of this match.
Knight and Mascara Dorada start us off, tying up into the ropes ahead of a chop. Leapfrogs and roll throughs dictate the pace, as Knight then went for a springboard armdrag, getting big air as he took down the masked man, before Dorada returned with a bulldog and a springboard dropkick for a two-count. Armdrags back-and-forth keep it even until the duel dropkick and flip up stand-off, before tags got us to Garcia and Connors throwing chops. Uemura quickly tags in to help deck Garcia with a double back elbow for a quick two-count, but he misses a charge into the corner as things turned around, leading to chops and whips into the corners.
A dropkick takes down Garcia for just a one-count though, before FinJuice came in to help batter the on-excursion Young Lion. Finlay’s floatover suplex gets a two-count, while Kevin Knight returned to elbow away on Uemura, who fought back with elbows of his own only to get dumped with a Kitchen Sink and a diving shoulder tackle. Garcia’s back with a snap elbow drop to Uemura, then a Chris Jericho-early days pin attempt as we crossed the five-minute mark. Juice stomps a mudhole in Uemura in the corner too, before a back suplex from Finlay bounced Uemura down for a two-count. Uemura tries for a Saito suplex, and eventually gets it before tagging in Clark Connors to run wild.
A back body drop flings Finlay skyward, then Juice, before FinJuice countered back… only to get POUNCE’d into each other. Tags bring us to Fredericks and Knight, who light each other up with elbows before a spinebuster from Fredericks stopped things. Knight escapes Manifest Destiny, then returned with a leaping dropkick, but that stars a big ol’ Parade of Moves with Uemura going wild with the Kanuki suplexes. Juice shuts down Uemura with a spinebuster, only for Mascara Dorada to take him outside for a tope con giro, before we returned to Knight and Fredericks trading uppercuts. Another Manifest Destiny DDT’s blocked, with Knight trying his luck on an inside cradle, then a roll-up, before Fredericks IMPLANTED Knight with that DDT for the win. ***¼
Killer Kross vs. Minoru Suzuki
It’s always nice to hear “Kaze Ni Nare” with a crowd…
Kross backed off from Suzuki in the original lock-up, before a knuckle lock had Suzuki on his knees momentarily. He gets back up and tied up Kross in a hammerlock, then a side headlock, only for Kross to get free and grab an armbar. A kick to the thigh breaks it up as Suzuki slapped back… prompting elbows and shoulder tackles in return. Suzuki baited Kross into the path of a hanging armbar on the apron, before he posted Kross, then used the ring post to stretch the arm some more. Another armbar on the apron followed, before Suzuki ran Kross into the guard rails. Referee Brandon Tolle tried to admonish Suzuki, but learned not to as things returned to the ring, with Suzuki stretching Kross for fun.
Suzuki torqued Kross wrist as well, before Kross finally fought back, clotheslining and elbowing Suzuki into the corner. A T-bone suplex chucked Suzuki across the ring, before Suzuki countered a suplex by pulling him down into a Fujiwara armbar. The foot of Kross gets to the ropes for a break, before some trash talk from Suzuki woke up Kross. Kross tried his luck with chops, but of course Suzuki brushed it off as the pair went back-and-forth, upgrading to elbow strikes and boots before Suzuki slipped in for a rear naked choke. It’s blocked by Kross, who applied one of his own instead, before Suzuki broke free, CLONKED Kross with an elbow, then pulled him into the Gotch piledriver for the win. This was just there, but Kross didn’t appeal to me too much when he was in the WWE system… I remain unconvinced. ***
Jon Moxley made an appearance next, but unfortunately they still haven’t patched the WrestleCon mic through to the live mix. It led to Moxley talking up his match with Will Ospreay in two weeks’ time,
Mike Bailey vs. Jay White
It’s a New Japan debut for Speedball Mike Bailey, who until the start of the pandemic was somewhat of a regular in DDT…
White’s cowering away early on as Bailey went for him in the corner with a kick, forcing ref Brandon Tolle to shuffle Speedball away. A headlock takedown’s the reply from White, but Bailey escapes and returned with the Speedball kicks, taking White to the outside for a tope con giro. After high fiving a kid, Bailey rolled White back inside and looked for a Kimura, only for White to hit a TKO, using the ropes to hot shot Speedball down to the floor. Chops followed around ringside, before White rolled Speedball back inside for a one-count. More chops keep Speedball down, as White then went for the eyes, taking Bailey into the corner before he hurled him upside down into the opposite buckles.
Bailey’s up at two from that, but more chops kept him on the defensive before he hit back with a diving kick to White’s chest. More kicks have White down ahead of a corkscrew shooting star press for a near-fall, only for White to shut him down with a big back elbow. The Blade Buster’s next as White picks up a two-count… only for his follow-up uranage to be rolled out of. An attempt at Ultima Weapon’s aborted as White then cradled his way out of a Blade Runner, using the ropes for the assist… before he caught White with a springboard moonsault as things quickly headed outside. Another trip up top’s stopped by White, who teased an apron death valley driver, then a sleeper suplex, before Bailey swept the leg… and killed his knees as White avoided the moonsault kneedrop.
The uranage followed back inside as White pushed on, as grounded Dragon screws and I guess the BTO (Bailey Tap Out) looked to force the stoppage. Bailey gets to the ropes, but was immediately chopped down before he kicked White back to the outside. More kicks sink White like a stone, but a Dragon screw stops Speedball in his tracks… before a sleeper suplex was flipped out of. Bailey manages to score with a PK and moonsault knees, before a head kick led to a near-fall. Going up top, Bailey misses with an Ultima Weapon as those knees make us wince… and White adds in the sleeper suplex to make it worse before the Blade Runner shut the door. A fantastic debut outing for Speedball Mike Bailey, who’s having a stormer of a weekend by all accounts. Making up for lost time… and then some! ****
Chris Dickinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii
A bruising main event is on the cards next, as Dickinson made his return to a New Japan ring after that injury last year.
Dickinson starts by coming at Ishii, but ends up getting taken down before scoring with a wristlock on the mat. Ishii recovered by taking things to the corner, where he stung Dickinson with a chop. Shoulder tackles from Dickinson had little effect, but a back elbow as Ishii came off the ropes found its mark, before the pair began to exchange chops. The speed and intensity of those chops pick up though, as Dickinson pulled ahead with another back elbow off the ropes, before he threw Ishii to the outside. Dickinson hurls Ishii into the barriers, before the return came out of nowhere, with Ishii having had his cummerbund-like back strap taken off beforehand.
Back inside, Dickinson corners Ishii, then snapmared him for a kick to the back. It’s good for a two-count, as Ishii eventually stopped registering Dickinson’s chops, walking into them before elbowing Dickinson into the opposite corner. Chops and forearms keep him there, while a shoulder charge out of the corner left Ishii in control, before we got back to the pair trading shots ahead of a deadlift German suplex from Dickinson. Corner clotheslines follow as the pair remained level, with Dickinson shrugging off a German suplex before he returned with an Ishii-like brainbuster. Ishii popped up before a pin could even be made though, charging DIckinson down as both men hit the deck. Dickinson hits first with a death valley driver out of the corner for a near-fall, then with a PK after a missed enziguiri, before we went back to the elbow strikes.
A headbutt from Ishii proved effective as a desperation shot, before he spun Dickinson down with a clothesline. Dickinson returns with an enziguiri, then another Ishii-ish brainbuster, but Ishii kicked out in the nick of time… chops from Dickinson looked to keep him going, as did another lariat, but Ishii still pops up at two as we crossed the fifteen minute mark. Dickinson goes for a Pazuzu bomb from there, but Ishii slipped out and hit an enziguiri in return… then a sliding lariat for a near-fall, before Ishii finally hauled up Dickinson for a match-winning brainbuster. ***¾
Minoru Suzuki stared down Ishii in the aisle after the match, seemingly setting up a match between the two of them, then after the show, they recorded three dark matches for NJPW Strong, which I assume will air in the next few weeks.
If it weren’t for those top two matches, I’d have been extra critical of this show, particularly given how short it ran. Five matches and a little over 90 minutes long, this wasn’t a bad show, but if you’re running a limited number of matches, they’d better be all killer…