Blake Christian looks for a big scalp as he took on El Desperado and Hiromu Takahashi in a three-way on the latest episode of Strong.

Quick Results
JR Kratos pinned Drew Adler in 4:43 (**¾)
Dax Harwood submitted Rocky Romero in 10:26 (***½)
El Desperado pinned Blake Christian & Hiromu Takahashi in 19:19 (***¾)

We’re back at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, NC for an episode that’s just creeping over the hour-mark. Ian Riccaboni and Alex Kozlov are back on commentary.

Drew Adler vs. JR Kratos
Adler’s a regular in this building for PWX – and he’s brought his pre-workout with him. I have a feeling the “Top Tier Talent” will need more than that today against a luminous JR Kratos.

Originally it was meant to be Kratos vs. Alex Coughlin, but injury struck. Adler shrugged off a clothesline early, returning with a back elbow and a chop, only for Kratos to give him a death stare. Adler tries a sporting handshake, but gets pulled into an elbow as Kratos returned that chop ahead of a dropkick to take Adler outside. Adler snuck in a hotshot before a slingshot corkscrew splash earned him a one-count. He takes Kratos into the corner, but couldn’t lift him up top… and earned himself a front kick for his troubles. Kratos deadlifts Drew up for a suplex, before Adler tried his luck with a Corning hold.

Kratos punched his way out of the hold as Adler went back to the corner… then to the other, courtesy of a release snap suplex. Adler goes back to the Corning hold, then with a leg lariat that sent Kratos staggering into a powerslam for a near-fall. Heading up top, Adler tries a crossbody, but Kratos side stepped it and returned with swinging sidewalk slam for the straight-forward win. **¾

Backstage, we’ve got the Workhorsemen! JD Drake and Anthony Henry are coming to New Japan Strong, taking on KUSHIDA and “Shibata Junior” Ren Narita on a future episode. A good introductory promo in case you didn’t know who Drake or Henry were…

Rocky Romero vs. Dax Harwood
This one started at Forbidden Door, with Rocky Romero upset that he didn’t get the win in the triple-threat IWGP tag title match.

The early skirmishes were fairly even, before Rocky grabbed a side headlock by the ropes… the pair trade headlocks as the referee kept calling for breaks, before Harwood shot Rocky off, only to get charged down… Dax returns with hiptosses and armdrags as he grounded Rocky with an armbar. Rocky breaks by going for the ear lobe of Harwood, before the pair traded chops in the corner. Dax gets the louder ones off before Rocky poked his eye, only for Harwood to do the same before a Rocky ‘rana took Harwood to the outside. We’re back to the chops, before Harwood’s charge to the corner missed, allowing Rocky to come back with a Divorce Court as he began to target Dax’s left arm.

Harwood’s taken to the corner as Rocky climbed the ropes and hit a knee drop to the arm off the middle rope. Staying on the left arm, Rocky yanks Dax before Harwood chopped free… only to get sent to the apron as Harwood tried to fight back, only to get caught with a springboard Strong Zero dropkick for a near-fall. Some right hands from Harwood get him back in it, before Dax countered a telegraphed back body drop into an inside cradle. Rocky turns up the pace from the kickout, hitting a rewind kick for a near-fall, before Dax tripped him down into a Sharpshooter. Rocky quickly got to the ropes for the break, then hit the ropes for a swinging DDT out of the corner for another two-count.

A superplex from Dax gets him back in it, as the pair began to look for the finish… an O’Connor roll nearly does it for Rocky, whose Shiranui added a near-fall, before Dax fought out of a Diablo armbar, powerbombing his way free before going back to the Sharpshooter for the submission. A good match for the time they had, with little downtime or anything like that in what was an incredibly even outing. ***½

Blake Christian vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado
Christian was an injury substitute for Clark Connors in this one… while Hiromu brought back Daryl for his US trip for a somewhat rare three-way in New Japan.

The crowd’s lapping it up at the bell, with an “all these guys” chant even getting the referee some shine. Kevin Kelly would be furious. The crowd wanted to add the referee to the match, so we get a tease of Blake Christian vs. Jeremy Marcus with Desperado and Hiromu on the apron ready to “tag” in…

When we get going, it’s Hiromu and Christian who start us off, swinging with clotheslines before Desperado came in as the trio caught each other’s superkicks. Desperado and Hiromu team up to charge down Christian, who snuck back in with a springboard forearm, before he caught a stomp from Desperado, taking him down with a spinning heel kick. Desperado’s taken outside as Blake faked out a dive… but Hiromu’s there to catch him from behind, only for Christian to take Hiromu onto the ropes for a knee to the back. Blake tries a dive again, but he’s tripped by Desperado, who then knocked him down as Desperado then took Hiromu into the railings.

Back inside, Desperado raked Christian’s eyes ahead of a slam, then rolled Christian into a half crab. Hiromu dives in to break it up as he then took Christian to the corner for some chops, building up to a clothesline and a low dropkick for a two-count. Christian’s rolled into a Boston crab from there, but Desperado comes in to break it up with an eye rake as those two resume chopping each other. Christian interrupts with forearms, so Hiromu and Desperado go to work over him, only for Christian to find his way free with suplexes and a Quebrada to Hiromu for a near-fall. A back suplex from Christian lays out Hiromu, but Desperado pulls down Blake’s springboard before he headed up top for a frog splash. It’s good for a near-fall as Christian breaks up the cover, then traded elbows with Desperado.

They continue to throw elbow strikes before Christian blocked a spinebuster… as Hiromu came in and got ‘rana’d by Blake. Desperado throws a forearm to take Blake outside, where Christian kicks away Desperado’s dive attempt. Hiromu heads up top and hits a back senton to Desperado on the floor, while a Fosbury Flop into a Reverse DDT from Christian took them both down in the aisle. Twice. Returning inside, Hiromu avoids a 450 splash, then got his knees up to block a wheelbarrow frog splash as we crossed the 15-minute mark. A handspring from Christian’s turned into a German suplex before Desperado hit the ring to start a Parade of Moves. Desperado’s spinebuster left Hiromu down, while Christian hit a standing Spanish Fly to counter out of a clothesline… only to get shotgun into the corner with a Hiromu dropkick.

Hiromu picks up with a death valley driver into the corner on Christian, before a Dynamite Plunger was escaped. A leaping knee from Christian earned him a big lariat, which was returned seconds later. Christian’s death valley driver followed, ahead of a push-down stomp for a near-fall… which Desperado broke in the nick of time. A right hand from Desperado catches out Blake, who fought out of Pinche Loco… only to get backslid into a Pinche Loco seconds later for the win. ***¾

Pardon the pun, but this was a strong episode of Strong – albeit one that, mostly due to injuries, was lacking any kind of overarching storylines. Something that Strong needs to get back to now they’ve wrapped up the tag title tournament.