Taiji Ishimori makes an appearance on this week’s show as he headlines against Alan Angels.
QT Marshall pinned Keita in 5:12 (**¼)
Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito pinned Christopher Daniels & Yuya Uemura in 9:10 (***¼)
Ren Narita pinned Jakob Austin Young in 4:48 (***)
Taiji Ishimori pinned Alan Angels in 9:14 (***)
It’s week three of the Fighting Spirit Unleashed “tour”, as we’re back at the Vermont Hollywood in Los Angeles. Ian Riccaboni and Alex Koslov open up the show, then jump onto commentary…
QT Marshall vs. Keita
This was Keita’s first singles match on Strong, having gone 2-1 in prior tags…
QT headed outside to have a go at someone in the crowd early on, then hit the ring to land an armdrag as he looked to take Keita a little lightly. A waistlock takedown keeps Keita down, then offered himself up for a side headlock. Keita just knees him in the head, then boxed QT into the ropes, before Marshall tried to fight back… only to get taken down with a forearm. Keita’s charge sees him get lifted onto the apron, landing on the buckles on the way down before a leap back in misses… with QT swatting him with a lariat seconds later. We’re back outside with QT again flipping off the crowd, as a knee drop back inside earns a two-count.
A slam and an elbow drop keeps QT ahead, before Keita fought back… landing a jawbreaker, an up kick and a running knee to the side of the head. Keita rolls his way out of a back suplex for a near-fall, then elbowed Marshall away… only to run into a pop-up forearm. From there, QT calls for a Diamond Cutter, lands it, and that’s the win in your typical opener. **¼
Post-match, QT grabs the mic and waits for the crowd to tire themselves out… he’s all disingenuous as he proceeded to call out Shota Umino. Except Shota’s not here… but there is a video message from him promising to kick his ass in Las Vegas. Just not tonight, it seems…
TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & Shane Haste) vs.Christopher Daniels & Yuya Uemura
Daniels and Uemura came close to winning the Strong tag team titles last out, and look to get back on the saddle against a resurging TMDK.
Daniels and Haste start us off with wristlocks and reversals, leading to a shove off and a shoulder tackle as Haste caught out Daniels with an uppercut… only to run into a single-leg dropkick. Bad Dude Tito tags in next to charge down Daniels, while a bodyslam threw the veteran into the corner for Uemura to tag in. Uemura’s in and bounces off Tito with shoulder tackles… then had more luck with a bodyslam, before Haste ran in and got slammed too. Daniels throws one too as Haste was getting tossed around, leading to elbow drops and a flapjack as Uemura threw Daniels onto the Aussie for a two-count.
Uemura tags back in to hit a side Russian legsweep for another two-count, before Haste slipped out of a slam and tagged in Tito, who charged Uemura down and cleared Daniels off the apron. Tito corners Uemura with chops and forearms, then pulled him into a short-arm clothesline for a near-fall, before Tito drove Uemura back into the TMDK corner. Haste tags back in for a snapmare and a kick to the back, while more kicks left Uemura in a heap ahead of a senton atomico from Tito. Uemura’s able to kick out at two though, before Haste threw Uemura to Tito for a Blue Thunder bomb, with a resulting roll-up almost putting Yuya away.
Haste’s caught on the top rope with a Kanuki suplex as Uemura pulled him down… then tagged Daniels back in to try and make a dent on proceedings. Clotheslines and forearms have TMDK at bay, before Haste was thrown into Tito ahead of a clothesline off the middle rope. Haste’s the legal man though, but can’t avoid a death valley driver as Daniels nearly won it. Tito trips Daniels in the ropes, but Uemura hits a low dropkick to break it as Haste picks up the pace on Daniels… hitting an Exploder into the corner as Uemura then pulled Daniels out of the corner to avoid a cannonball. A Steiners-like Doomsday Bulldog’s thwarted when Tito shoved Uemura of the top onto Daniels, before a make good was stopped as Tito pulls Uemura to the outside, allowing Haste to hit a Bomb Valley Death – a death valley driver into a uranage – for the win. ***¼
Uemura’s all apologetic to Daniels after the match, and the two end up hugging it out… except Daniels turned around and punted Yuya right in the Uemuras. Hey, this Vegas crowd can make a noise! A uranage lays out Uemura, before Daniels hit the ropes for a BME… and that makeshift tag team is no more! A second BME leaves Uemura laying as a ringside attendant came to tend to Yuya, with Daniels claiming he’s had it with rookies.
We’ve a green screen promo from TJP, whose United Empire shirt was keying out. It’s an “apology” to Fred Rosser, noting the pair had been champions “in a different locker room,” but it was TJP who’d gotten mocked for not having side plates when he was a champion there. TJP claimed that New Japan Strong wouldn’t have existed without the LA Dojo… and by that logic, it’s an offshoot of the work he put in at the turn of the millennium, which means he ought to be the Strong Openweight champion around here.
Jakob Austin Young vs. Ren Narita
I’ve genuinely never heard of Young before this show. He’s something of a regular in Vegas, but has worked in China for OWE before that whole thing went up in flames.
Young went for a takedown early, but Narita stuffs it and looked for the mount, eventually scoring with a side headlock takedown as the pair scuffled. An arm whip from Young gets him free, with a double wristlock getting broken as Narita clubbed away, following with a punt kick to the back for a one-count. Another kick gets a two-count as the pair proceeded to trade forearms. Young’s rear spin kick took Narita into the corner, where he’s met with more forearms and chops ahead of a tornado DDT that spiked Ren for a near-fall. From the kick-out, Young goes for a double wristlock, but Narita slipped out, leading to a half-hatch suplex that bridged for a near-fall seconds later.
Narita tries for a Narita Special #4, but Young fights out and goes back to the arm whip… then rolled Narita into a wacky version of the Euro clutch. From the kick-out, Narita’s rear naked choke is countered out of into a backslide, before Ren kicked out and hit the Northern Lights for another near-fall. Kicks lead to a Narita Special #4… and that’s your lot. Young put up more of a fight than expected, but in the end it was Narita who left with the win in a solid TV match. ***
Alan Angels vs. Taiji Ishimori
Angels has been putting himself a lot on the indies after leaving AEW earlier this summer. Seriously, take a look at his Cagematch profile…
We go from hammerlock to headlocks as the pair go to ground, before Ishimori took things into the corner as he clubbed away on Angels. Angels fights back with left hands and a back elbow for a two-count, before Ishimori sprung back in with a handspring enziguiri. An arm whip out of the corner has Angels on the back foot, allowing Ishimori to stay on him with chops as the Vegas crowd remained pretty quiet. A poke to the eye stopped Angels’ threatened comeback, but he’s thrown onto the apron and returned quickly with a springboard dropkick. Angels builds up a head of steam with a clothesline and an enziguiri, then some mounted punches in the corner ahead of a Northern Lights suplex out of it for a near-fall.
Standing switches led to Ishimori getting sent to the corner, where he baits in Angels with a Flatliner into the buckles for a two-count. Ishimori’s front kick earns him a forearm, then a Spanish Fly as he took too long looking to do something off the ropes. Elbows from Angels earn replies as Ishimori came back with a leaping knee… but his Bloody Cross was countered into a rear spin kick, as a discus lariat nearly got Angels the upset. Rolling outside, Ishimori can’t avoid a springboard moonsault to the floor, which drew uncharitable chants as Angels seemed to hit the guard rail as well. Back inside, Ishimori caught Angels with a Codebreaker as he came off the top, before a Bloody Cross ended up firmly shutting the door on things. This was going well, but went off the rails towards the end – not helped by a crowd that I can only describe as inert at times. ***
Next week: TJP takes on Fred Rosser for the Strong Openweight title – on a show I’ll be reviewing a little later than usual since I’ll be in Germany next week! By the standards of recent episodes of Strong, this was right in line with what you’d expect as we’re heading into the final part of this particular series.