The Bullet Club headline the second week of Fighting Spirit Unleashed, as we’ve an eight-man tag on top.

Quick Results
Peter Avalon pinned Adrian Quest in 8:52 (**¼)
JR Kratos & Tom Lawlor pinned Cody Chhun & Jordan Cruz in 9:54 (***)
Jay White, Juice Robinson, Hikuleo & Chase Owens pinned Taylor Rust, KUSHIDA, Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta in 14:46 (***¼)

Once again we’re at the Vermont Hollywood in Los Angeles… Ian Riccaboni and Alex Koslov are on the call, with Alex having ditched those shades this week.

Peter Avalon vs. Adrian Quest
Avalon’s sax theme is truly wacky in the confines of New Japan. It’s the rightful successor to Yujiro’s old theme, I feel…

Some shoving starts us off as Quest was taken down in a hammerlock… he scrambles out though as we reset. Avalon’s back in with a side headlock, then a shoulder block after the shove-off, before Quest scored with a ‘rana and a corkscrew body press off the middle rope. Quest’s side chinlock has Avalon down, as did an armdrag and armbar, while a seatbelt pin nearly put the Wingman down. A snap suplex gets Quest a one-count, but Avalon’s able to hang up Quest’s leg in the ropes before scoring with a Drive By-ish running dropkick from the floor to the knee.

Avalon chucks Quest to the outside so he could pose in the middle of the ring. Joining Quest outside, Avalon throws a chop, then took it back into the ring as Avalon had to shut down a comeback, dropping Quest with a shin breaker, then a back suplex for a two-count. More chops took Quest into the corner for a palm thrust, but a superplex was fought out of as Quest came back with a springboard ‘rana. Quest can’t immediately follow-up though, as the pair trade right hands from there, only for Avalon to kick out the knee. A dropkick from Quest gets him another shot, leading to a running shooting star press for a two-count, then a springboard senton to lay out Avalon on the outside. Back inside, Avalon rolls out of a Fireman’s carry, then caught Quest in a Golden Arch half crab, but Quest makes it to the ropes for the break.

From there, Avalon looks to go back to the half crab, but Quest kicks his way free, then took Avalon to the corner for a tornado DDT… but he’s pushed away as Avalon scored the win seconds later with the Marti-Knees. This was fine, but reeked of the Strong match that’ll be forgotten by the end of the hour. **¼

Cody Chhun & Jordan Cruz vs. Team Filthy (JR Kratos & Tom Lawlor)
This was Lawlor’s triumphant return to Strong after his G1 Climax exploits…

Lawlor rolled Chhun down in a wristlock early on, before Cody escaped and hit a spinaroonie after his own wristlock takedown. Going in for an ankle lock, Lawlor pulled Chhun away from the ropes, then tied him up in a cross-legged surfboard that ended in the ropes. A tag brings in Kratos, who measured Chuun with some right hands, before some captured stomps left a helpless Chhun laying. Kratos effortlessly slammed Chhun and Cruz after some help from Lawlor, who then tagged back in pepper Cody with kicks to the back. Chhun tries to fight back, but got knocked down, before a chop from Cruz on the apron helped Cody get free… before an O’Connor roll nearly got the upset. Cruz tagged in from the kick-out, launching in for a sunset flip for a two-count, while a Chhun superkick set up Cruz for a jack-knife pin that nearly won it.

Lawlor’s uranage out of the corner cuts off Cruz, while kicks took Cruz into the corner… Cruz tries to fight out, with a little help from Chhun as dualling rolling elbows and an errant charge from Lawlor led to a 3D neckbreaker that almost won it. Cruz’s German suplex keeps the threat of an upset high, while a roll-through suplex was countered by a mounted Kimura from Lawlor. Cruz tries to power out, but Lawlor dragged him down… leading to a Tenzan Tombstone Driver from Lawlor. Tags bring us to Chhun and Kratos, but it’s Kratros steaming ahead until Chhun went up top… he’s met with a Pele kick, then was press slammed out of the corner, before getting POUNCE’d into the corner.

Cruz tries for a save, but a cut-throat back suplex from Lawlor cuts him off before a pop-up sidewalk slam gets the win for Kratos. Some good stuff here with Cruz and Chhun threatening an upset, but in the end it’s Kratos who spares a G1-affected Lawlor’s possible blushes. ***

Bullet Club (Jay White, Juice Robinson, Chase Owens & Hikuleo) vs. KUSHIDA, Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) & Taylor Rust
Taiji Ishimori’s at ringside as a “licensed second,” as we’ve got a whole lotta Bullet Club out here. It’s weird that Chase Owens doesn’t have a “new” Bullet Club jacket…

Rust and Owens start us off, with Rust’s swift hiptoss cover and dropkick having Chase on the back foot early on. A plea to tag out was eventually answered by Jay White, who squared off against Trent Beretta, before the pair headed to the corner with White stomping some mudholes. Chops follow, before Beretta’s fightback led him to a half-and-half suplex on the champion. Juice Robinson kicks Beretta in the ropes, as the distraction allowed White back in… only for Rocky to hit some double knees as we broke out into a Parade of Moves that cleared the ring. Dives follow, as White ends up taking a tornado DDT back inside from Trent for a near-fall as the Bullet Club then cleared the decks.

Juice tagged in and charges Beretta into the corner as the Bullet Club slowed the pace of things down to a crawl. Owens is back to get a two-count out of a backbreaker, while Juice tagged back and measured up Trent for a left hand. A deadlift back suplex and a back senton from Juice keeps him ahead, as did a grounded sleeperhold, but Trent’s able to get free… only to get launched into the corner with Snake Eyes. Beretta’s able to hit a diving knee to stop a cannonball, as KUSHIDA then got the tag in… KUSHIDA’s flying Khali chop off the top finds Juice, as did some kicks and a crossbody. A Pele kick knocks Juice down, with Chase Owens coming in and getting kicked down too as Juice was still the legal man. Arm breakers followed on Juice, who avoids a punt to the arm before Rocky came in to help with a duo of cartwheel dropkicks on Juice.

A Strong Zero and Shining Wizard out of Roppongi Vice force the Bullet Club in to break up the cover… Rocky’s ‘rana takes down Juice, then White and Owens, before Hikuleo was suckered into the corner. Forever clotheslines follow to all four members of the Bullet Club, only for Hikuleo to throw Rocky into the corner as the tables were turned. Owens’ Shining Wizard and Juice’s big splash off the top draws a near-fall there, leading to KUSHIDA’s handspring double back elbow amid another Parade of Moves. KUSHIDA punches away Juice as Dudebuster from Trent and a senton bomb from Rust led to a Rocky being thrown on top of Juice for a near-fall. Robinson rolls over and tagged in Hikuleo who took him down with ease, only for leaping knees from Roppongi Vice to earn them a clothesline in return. Rust is back with chops as this one’s kinda broken down in terms of tags, leading to yet another Parade of Moves, with a backslide into a package piledriver from Chase spiking Trent.

Rust’s back up to land a Perfect Circle on Chase, but Hikuleo’s still legal… and almost chopped White. That’s all shrugged off as Hikuleo snapped Rust down with a powerslam, as White added a sleeper suplex… then demanded to be tagged in so he could finish the job with a Blade Runner. ***¼

The fight continues after the match as the Bullet Club focused on KUSHIDA, allowing Ishimori to hit a Bloody Cross on his future title challenger before White closed out the show with his customary promo.

These last two weeks of Strong speak a lot to the issues I’m starting to have with the show – since Strong started being taped in front of crowds, the format of the tapings just haven’t lended themselves to any kind of consistency on the show. Sure, the high points are there, but then you get the “down” weeks chock full of matches that’ll barely be remembered… Strong’s now a show for completists, a far cry from when it was almost appointment viewing when it first launched.