Tom Lawlor looks to take out Homicide in this week’s episode of Strong.

Quick Results
Peter Avalon submitted Keita in 8:58 (**¾)
Chris Bey & El Phantasmo pinned Blake Christian & Mascara Dorada in 10:44 (***¼)
Homicide pinned Tom Lawlor in 13:44 (***½)

We’re back at the Vermont Hollywood, in Los Angeles… and yes, I’m running late on Strong once more. There’s no interrupting promo this week…

Peter Avalon vs. Keita
Avalon took the mic for a pre-match promo, which had a blue pants reference for those of us with memories. He offered Keita the mix, but it was a ruse as an enziguiri took Keita down, as a death valley driver at the bell looked to end this one early.

Keita kicks away a Golden Arch half crab, then clotheslines Avalon to the unlit outside for a tope. Back inside, a back suplex plants Avalon for a two-count as the vocal parts of the LA crowd were all for Avalon. Even more so as the pair traded chops, before an atomic drop from Keita had Avalon rocked.

Avalon’s hung up in the ropes with a Stun Gun as Keita looked to push ahead, only to get pulled down off the top rope. A back elbow from Avalon got him back in it, while a chinlock was forced out of by Keita… only to get caught with a side suplex seconds later. Heading into the corner, Keita’s able to find a way in with a roll-up and some thrust kicks, before a uranage backbreaker from Keita almost got the win.

A springboard dropkick a la Jericho gets Avalon back into the match, following up with a tope to the outside and a slingshot knee drop back in for a two-count. Keita’s again caught up top, but he fought off Avalon and hit the Keita The City tornado suplex… the Money Clip up-kick and a gutwrench facebuster keeps Keita ahead… only for kicks from Avalon to wear down Keita ahead of the Golden Arch.

Keita makes it to the ropes to force a break, as a Tiger Driver and an elevated Boston crab saw him go for a win… but Avalon cradled out of it for a two-count. Another enziguiri drops Keita, and from there the Golden Arch is back on as Avalon gets the submission in a decent opener. **¾

Bullet Club (Chris Bey & El Phantasmo) vs. Blake Christian & Mascara Dorada
Juice Robinson joined commentary for this one…

The opening side headlock from Bey’s pushed off by Christian, who popped up from a shoulder block as the pace quickly ratcheted up… with Christian missing a standing moonsault before scoring a gamengiri in the corner. A roll-through enziguiri gets Blake a one-count, as Mascara Dorada came in to get a two-count out of a dropkick.

El Phantasmo tags in after that, taking a springboard crossbody and a slingblade bulldog before a rope-walk dropkick had ELP bouncing across the ring. The pair trade chops from there, which led to Bey and Christian coming in to help out… Dorada and ELP take to the ropes to continue their chopping, but the Bullet Club end up on the outside ahead of an assisted senton from Dorada to the outside.

Blake joins in with an Arabian press to the outside, landing on Bey and ELP for a pair of reverse DDTs too. Back inside, ELP escapes Dorada and took him into the corner as the Bullet Club took over with a pair of Gas Pedals to Dorada in the corner. Bey and ELP continue with a slam and a senton atomico… that turned into a KENTA like back heel to the head.

ELP keeps it going with a cartwheel splash into the corner, only for Dorada to hit back with a wacky DDT into the turnbuckle pad. Christian tags in to hit a handspring enziguiri to Bey, then a dropkick to ELP through the ropes before he pulled himself back into the ring for a one-man Spanish Fly for a near-fall.

Dorada’s back, but can’t avoid a springboarded Complete Shot that nearly ended it. Bey misses a splash into the corner as Dorada came back with a springboard elbow drop for a two-count… Christian’s back in to hit a rolling death valley driver to Bey, before his trip up top led to Juice Robinson throwing his drink at Christian.

Bey tries to capitalise on the distraction but got pushed off the top rope before Juice left commentary and shoved Christian off the top… into a cutter from Bey for the win. The distractions towards the end aside, this was a pretty good TV tag match, and I look forward to Bey and ELP reuniting on the Showdown tour next year to keep that gimmick alive. ***¼

Backstage we’ve got a new interviewer – Emily Mae. She’s alongside Fred Rosser, who’s taking on Jay White in a non-title main event… Rosser says he’s doing it to get out of his comfort zone, and wants to beat the best in a champion vs. champion outing. I was starting to get Johnny Ace/WXO flashbacks with this…

Homicide vs. Tom Lawlor
This one’s been sparked from the last tapings, where Lawlor got into a scrap with Homicide…

Homicide avoids an early kick from Lawlor early on as the pair proceeded to lock-up, heading to the mat before Homicide grabbed the ropes as Lawlor went for the legs. Riling up Homicide perhaps wasn’t a smart move, as Homicide slapped back, then stuffed a takedown attempt, before Lawlor tied him up for a side surfboard stretch, snapping back on the arm.

Homicide’s right back up though and went after Lawlor’s ankle, but they’re taken into the corner as Lawlor caught Homicide with shoulder charges. Some biting to the ear from Homicide breaks up whatever Lawlor was doing, only for Lawlor to pull him down into another armbar, before he snapped on a hammerlock.

Lawlor’s latest armbar ends in the ropes, as Homicide threw a right hand… only for a Dragon screw from Lawlor to take things back to the mat. A Figure Four follows, but again Homicide’s able to block the hold, as Lawlor instead tries for a Kimura as the pair were tied up on the mat. Homicide switches in for a STF, but Lawlor resists and takes the back with a rear naked choke as he rolled Homicide into the middle of the ring… only for them to keep on rolling through to the outside.

Picking up on the floor, Homicide spikes Lawlor with a piledriver on the outside. A second one’s blocked as Lawlor caught Homicide with a kick instead, leading to a double count-out tease that both men fortunately beat in the nick of time. The pair resume slapping the taste out of each other’s mouths back in the ring… before Homicide went to the eyes as he upped the ante.

Homicide headed to the corner as the referee checked on Lawlor… and returned with a fork?! He stabs it into the corner pad before he tried to ram Lawlor eyes-first into the fork handle, but Lawlor blocks as he instead pulled Homicide into a takedown for a two-count. A Rings of Saturn-like submission follows, tying up Homicide before the pair again rolled into the ropes for a break.

Elbows from Lawlor ended up with Homicide ducking an enziguiri to land a cutter in return for a near-fall. The fork’s still in the corner pad, but Lawlor propelled off of the corner pad for a mounted guillotine, only for Homicide to back them up into the fork. An avalanche cutter off the top’s caught and turned into a rear naked choke by Lawlor, but Homicide bites his way free before he caught Lawlor with a knee strike.

A Cop Killa’s floated out of as Lawlor went back to the rear naked choke, only for Homicide to push free and catch Lawlor with a lariat for the win. This one felt like a scrappy fight as the story seemed to be that Lawlor’s Kryptonite is the lariat… first from Ishii and now from Homicide. A much different outing to most else on this show, with Homicide showing he was more than just a fighter – which seemed to catch Lawlor out from the start. ***½

Danny Limelight came out for the save as Homicide went to use the fork on Lawlor, as his Team Filthy/LAX loyalties were brought into question.

Next week: Juice Robinson vs. Jake Something and Jay White vs. Fred Rosser.

An improvement on last week’s episode, thanks in part to the main event, as the rut that Tom Lawlor’s seemed to have fallen into since losing the Strong title worsened…