The High Alert tour comes to a close with Fred Yehi looking to upset his namesake, and claim Fred Rosser’s NJPW Strong Openweight title.
John Skyler pinned Lucky Ali in 10:56 (**¾)
Eddie Kingston pinned Jake Something in 8:35 (***¼)
Fred Rosser pinned Fred Yehi to retain the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship in 8:20 (***½)
We’re back at the Grady Cole Center for the last episode of the High Alert tour, with Ian Riccaboni and Alex Koslov back on commentary.
John Skyler vs. Lucky Ali
Skyler lost to Big Damo last time out…
Commentary notes that Ali’s the PWX Innovative Television champion – in a promotion that’s gone weirdly dark lately. We open with lock-ups, as Ali grabbed a hammerlock, only for Skyler to get out and go for one of his own, ending with Ali scoring an armdrag out of the corner.
Ali works the wrist, as he moved around Skyler, who broke the hold by rolling into the corner and sending Ali into the buckles. Chops follow, before Ali scored with a monkey flip, then a couple of neckbreakers for a near-fall. Skyler throws Ali into the ropes, then sent him flying outside with a knee to the back. Skyler followed Ali outside and threw him into the side of the ring, then rolled him back in for a back senton. Ali tries to chop his way back in, but gets sandwiched between the ropes with a shoulder charge, then met with a Fisherman suplex as Skyler nearly took the win. Another leaping knee out of the corner rocks Ali, as Skyler then folded Ali with a powerbomb for a near-fall… and transitioned into a STF that forces Ali to crawl into the ropes.
Right hands from Ali looked to get him back in it, as did a Manhattan drop and a slingshot into the middle rope. There’s a leaping elbow to the back from Ali as he dove between the ropes, then a slingshot guillotine legdrop back in for another near-fall. Ali heads onto the apron and teases a piledriver… but Skyler gets free and speared him instead. Returning to the ring, Skyler’s slingshot spear connects for another two-count… a back superplex attempt is countered by Ali, but Skyler still rolled him up for a two-count, only to get caught with a stomp as he went for the slingshot spear. Ali tries to capitalise, landing a clothesline into the corner before a top rope ‘rana was stopped with an eye rake, with Skyler instead bringing him down with an avalanche Finlay Roll for the win. **¾
Jake Something vs. Eddie Kingston
What the hell is that Jake Something theme? It’s delightfully cheesy…
Opening with a lock-up, Something takes Kingston into the ropes and shoved him on the break. Kingston looked to return the favour, but gets thrown into the corner… and came right back up with some chops. A clothesline from Something dropped Eddie, as did two more, sending him into the ropes all shook up. Something stays on Kingston, throwing him into the corner before a chop took him down. Kingston returned with chops, but another clothesline has him down for a one-count, while another short clothesline took Kingston back to the mat. Kingston breaks a wristlock and throws some more chops, but a snap slam from Something earned him a two-count as Kingston struggled to get into first gear here.
Running knees into the ropes subdue Something, but again Jake just throws him down ahead of a chokeslam for a two-count. A poke to the eye buys Eddie time, but Something looked to go back to the short-arm clotheslines, which get ducked as an enziguiri and a lariat took Jake down. Kobashi chops in the corner follow from Kingston, who’s knocked down for a Falcon arrow that almost did the deal… Kingston misses a dropkick, while Something missed a knee drop… it allowed Eddie back in to hit a DDT for a near-fall, before Something ducked a clothesline and hit a death valley driver. It’s still not enough though, as Kingston headed outside into the path of a plancha. Something rolls him back inside, but Eddie escaped a powerbomb and returned with a T-Bone suplex… then a Saito suplex… before the Backfist to the Future completed the come from behind win. ***¼
We’ve a video package ahead of the main event highlighting Rosser and Yehi’s recent wins… and Yehi’s challenge for the title.
NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: Fred Yehi vs. Fred Rosser (c)
This was technically Rosser’s first defence, but this aired after his match with Big Damo at Music City Mayhem so… which is it?
Yehi shoots for a takedown early on, and scored with a stomp as the challenger looked to control the early pace. Rosser trades chops, knocking Yehi down, before a headlock takedown and a snap legdrop, then a seated splash earned the champion a one-count. Knees into the corner, then a slam sets up for a second seated splash from Rosser, who then got chopped in the ropes as Yehi looked to go back to the stomps.
Rosser’s on the apron, but Yehi pulls him through the ropes and went for some armbreakers, following with some slingshot knees into the corner as he wore down Rosser. Headscissors end in the ropes, so Yehi clubs and kicks away on Rosser who just couldn’t get out of that corner. Yehi’s abdominal stretch has Rosser in trouble, as did a backfist, before a rear naked choke forced Rosser to reach for the ropes. A chop from Yehi on the break keeps Rosser down, before Rosser’s attempted fight back eventually bore fruit in the way of a clothesline. Chops and clotheslines take Yehi into the corner for some hip attacks, before Yehi shrugged off a knee into the corner… only to get decked with a rolling elbow.
Rosser trips Yehi and clubs him into a STF chickenwing, but Yehi bites his way out and went back to the abdominal stretch. A hiptoss frees Rosser, who quickly built up to the Sidewinder sit-out slam… and that’s enough for the win. They went at quite the clip here, with Yehi having Rosser in trouble throughout, but in the end it’s a decent “first defence” for Rosser. ***½
After the match, Rosser dubbed himself the “people’s champion” then asked for another challenger… which was answered by TJP? I guess that’ll be headlining the Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2022 “tour” then…
A so-so episode of Strong as we’re in a bit of a weird spell with shows that continue to have solid in-ring work, but little in the way of sizzle on the steak.