Aussie Open take on Christopher Daniels and Yuya Uemura in the finals of the New Japan Strong tag title tournament.

Quick Results
Jorel Nelson pinned Shane Haste in 8:16 (***)
Hikuleo pinned Big Damo in 6:18 (**½)
NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship Tournament Final: Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher pinned Yuya Uemura & Christopher Daniels in 11:57 to win the NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship (***¾)

After last week’s clip show, we’ve got new material as Ian Riccaboni and Alex Koslov host from the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jorel Nelson vs. Shane Haste
Haste came wearing seemingly the entire back catalogue of TMDK shirts…

A side headlock from Haste starts things off, but Nelson rolled his way down as a headlock takedown of his own was quickly escaped before a dropkick took Nelson to the outside. Haste’s plancha misses Nelson, but he’s able to knock Nelson into the railings as they trade chops and uppercuts, before Haste got thrown into the railings. What the hell?! A wild back body drop from Nelson popped Haste into the ropes and onto the apron from the floor, getting a two-count after returning to the ring. Nelson adds a Dragon screw for good measure, before he worked over Haste’s leg by the ropes. Another back body drop followed from Nelson, before double knees squashed Haste in the corner.

Nelson pulls Haste out of the corner with a Cloverleaf but Haste powers out of the hold before a third back body drop was countered into a DDT. A low bridge takes Nelson outside ahead of a slingshot spear to the floor… Haste quickly takes it back inside as a cannonball kept Nelson on the defensive, while a powerbomb nearly won it. Haste follows with kicks to the leg, then a Saito suplex, but Nelson countered back with a superkick and a diving kick for a near-fall. Nelson’s caught on the top rope with a dropkick as Haste then superplexed him to the mat… while a chop block and a roll-up – and a big handful of tights – proved to be enough for Nelson to snatch a win. A nice pacey opener with Nelson snatching the win in a match that he largely controlled… ***

Rocky Romero’s outside, talking about how Roppongi Vice came up short against the United Empire and FTR for the IWGP tag titles at Forbidden Door. Rocky’s getting flashbacks to a near-fall on Dax Harwood, and he’s got a chance to get a singles win over him later in this tour.

Hikuleo vs. Big Damo
A battle of the big lads next – airing on a weekend that saw Damo lift the PROGRESS title…

We open with a staredown before our opening lock-up was thrown aside. Damo charges out of the corner with shoulder tackles, which staggered Hikuleo… who then charged down Damo with one of his own. A clothesline sends Hikuleo over the top rope to the outside, where the pair fought with right hands and chops, before Damo got thrown into the ring post. They tease a double count-out as Hikuleo chopped Damo by the rails, but Damo heads back inside and took a clothesline for a near-fall. Damo held onto the ropes to avoid a powerslam, then came back with a crossbody, before a pair of splashes in the corner and a shotgun dropkick left Hikuleo laying.

Damo adds a cannonball to that for a near-fall, before he hoisted up Hikuleo for a Fireman’s carry slam and a back senton. A Vader bomb misses, but Damo kicks away a chokeslam before the powerslam took Damo down… while a chokeslam followed seconds later for the win. A big win for Hikuleo, who’s getting quite the push around here… **½

After the usual ad spots, we get a video package summarising the latter stages of the Strong Openweight tag title tournament…

NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship Tournament Final: Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. Christopher Daniels & Yuya Uemura
New referee Taito Nakabayashi and legendary ref Tiger Hattori’s have the titles to present to the winners… Aussie Open high-tailed it to North Carolina, having worked for Rev Pro in Manchester the night before. Transatlantic.

Fletcher and Daniels start us off, as Kyle’s headlock takedown took things to the mat, where Daniels looked to get an early upset with a roll-up. Uemura tags in and hits a two-handed chop to knock Fletcher down, before Daniels tagged in to hit a slingshot elbow drop after a Uemura slam. Double back elbows knock Kyle down as double-teams drew in Mark Davis… only for Uemura to barge him out of the ring. A flapjack from Uemura dropped Daniels onto Fletcher for a two-count, with a single leg lariat from the veteran Daniels following for another two-count. Davis again tries to interfere, but Daniels shrugs it off, lifting Fletcher to the outside before he missed a plancha, which allowed the Aussies to drive Daniels and Uemura into each other on the floor.

Back inside, Davis tagged in as the Aussies focused on Daniels, combining a PK and a back senton before Davis kneeled on Daniels for just a one-count. Aussie Open play pass the parcel with Christopher Daniels in a stalling suplex, before Fletcher chopped Daniels in the ropes. Davis tagged in, but got cradled… but Kyle Fletcher’s distracted the ref for long enough for Davis to kick out at two. Daniels manages to make a comeback with a ‘rana to Fletcher, before he made the tag out to Uemura, who cleared house on Kyle, then took Davis to the corner. A leaping forearm into the corner and a bulldog out of it gets Uemura a two-count, as did a back suplex moments later. A headbutt from Davis gets him free as Fletcher returned… but Uemura avoids a double-team, low bridging Davis to the outside ahead of a capture suplex.

Uemura heads up top, but Fletcher stops him in the corner… Daniels makes the save as instead Kyle took a Doomsday bulldog a la the Steiners for a near-fall. Davis hiptosses Daniels to the outside, before Uemura ate the assisted Go 2 Sleep, which apparently (finally) has a name now… the Dental Plan. Lisa needs braces. An assisted Aussie Arrow out of the corner’s good for a near-fall, before Daniels broke up a Coriolos, with Uemura almost snatching a win with a roll-up. A Parade of Moves broke out from there, before a flying ‘rana from Daniels was violently turned into a powerbomb by Davis. Uemura’s still legal, but his second roll-up’s blocked as another Dental Plan’s blocked… leading to a Frankensteiner by Uemura, who was getting agonisingly close to a marquee win. Uemura’s fighting off Davis and Fletcher though, ducking another Coriolis, before he got cornered with a leaping clothesline and a sliding punch.

From there, Uemura’s hauled up for the Coriolis at the third attempt… and that’s enough for the win as Daniels was held off from making the save. This was a good tag match which the Charlotte crowd got into by the end – as Aussie Open made their mark on New Japan by winning the inaugural Strong tag team titles. ***¾

Fletcher and Davis celebrate with the titles to end the show… next week, we’ve got Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado vs. Blake Christian in the main event. After the show, Fletcher and Davis crowed about how they’d only been in New Japan for a few months and had already won some titles… Jorel Nelson interrupts them and asked for a title shot at Fighting Spirit Unleashed alongside Royce Isaacs.

A solid episode of Strong, with a fantastic tag title tournament final bringing the first part of the High Alert to a close.