Jeff Cobb and Bad Dude Tito main event the latest episode of Strong as TMDK and the United Empire clash.
Mascara Dorada pinned Che Cabrera in 7:23 (***¼)
David Finlay, Eddie Kingston & Homicide pinned Danny Limelight, Tom Lawlor & Bobby Fish in 9:39 (***¼)
Jeff Cobb pinned Bad Dude Tito in 7:32 (***¼)
We’re running at 50-minutes this week as we’re back at the Vermont Hollywood in Los Angeles. Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov open up by hyping up Battle in the Valley. I swear I’m being trolled, they’re finally hyping up these PPVs coherently as Strong’s going away! Tom Lawlor interrupts and deals with a curveball from Kevin Kelly, before he challenged Homicide at Battle in the Valley in a no ropes, no rules match.
Che Cabrera vs. Mascara Dorada
Check out the entrance gear on Dorada!
After some toilet talk from Kevin to start, the match got going with leapfrogs and roll throughs between the two, as Dorada’s tijeras took Che to the outside. The pair trade places, allowing Dorada to hit a crossbody off the top, only for Cabrera to return with a backbreaker and a powerslam for an early two-count. Cabrera gets a one-count after he introduced Dorada to the corner pad, following up with chops and a leaping shoulder tackle, before a chinlock kept Dorada grounded. Escaping, Dorada trips Che into the corner with a drop toe hold, following with a Slingblade bulldog and a missile dropkick.
Dorada followed Che outside for a rope-walk flip senton, before another one back inside almost won the match. Cabrera tries to force a way back in with a shoulder tackle and a back suplex, before a flying DDT from Dorada put him back in control. A missed moonsault from Dorada allowed Cabrera back in with a Magic Screw off the ropes for a near-fall, before a superkick in return dropped Che ahead of a rope-walk elbowdrop as Dorada took home the win. This was a perfectly fine TV opener, but I’d love to see these Dorada outings spin into something bigger… surely there’s a spot for him in Best of the Super Juniors this year? ***¼
Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Danny Limelight) & Bobby Fish vs. Homicide, Eddie Kingston & David Finlay
We’re building up Homicide/Lawlor and Fish/Finlay out of this, but we’re also getting Eddie Kingston’s wild Christmas jumper, so we’re all winners here.
Kingston grabs a chair from the crowd and chases everyone away with it before the bell, as we got going with Finlay going after Fish’s wrist. Fish countered by taking Finlay down to the mat, before Finlay powered up and took Fish into the ropes for a dropkick. A tag brings in Homicide, but he’s quickly forced to fight out of the Team Filthy corner as Fish had his way with a series of kicks.
Homicide’s throat thrust offered some hope, but Lawlor snuck in behind the ref’s back and hit a wacky stunner. Limelight charges in to clear the apron as Homicide’s taken outside, but Eddie Kingston’s throwing more chair in as tempers frayed. Fish’s snapmare took Homicide down for a senton atomico, before Homicide went after Lawlor again on the apron and got himself double-teamed for his woes. Kingston’s had enough as he charges after Limelight at ringside, throwing him into the guard rail before Tom Lawlor made a save. Lawlor’s the legal man as he jabbed away on Homicide, only to get sucker punched…
Fish throws Homicide back in as Limelight followed in with a suplex… then a delayed superplex as Homicide finally made the tag out to Kingston, who ran wild with chops for all. There’s Machine Gun chops for Lawlor in the corner, as well as Limelight, before an Exploder chucked Lawlor across the ring. There’s one for Fish too as he tried to intervene, before a uranage countered Lawlor’s seeming attempt at a STO. Kingston’s Dragon sleeper brought in Limelight to break it up, but he just takes a clothesline for his troubles as Finlay tagged in and hit a T-Bone suplex. Lawlor’s still on the back foot as Finlay added a spin-out back suplex for a near-fall, before a Trash Panda attempt was blocked by Lawlor.
Finlay tries for a Prima Nocta stunner, but Lawlor countered… and I look away for a split second as Homicide’s now apparently legal. He tries for a roll-through, but Fish kicks him away as we had a mini Parade of Moves… and no, Finlay’s legal, just the referee wasn’t enforcing the whole legal man as the match was breaking down. Finlay ducks a leap out of the corner from Limelight, before he countered a tiltawhirl into the Trash Panda for the win… ending a hectic trios match that broke down as much as you’d expect here. ***¼
Bobby Fish attacks Finlay almost immediately after the three-count, before the pair brawled to the back, while Tom Lawlor was chased away by Eddie Kingston. Jay White’s out to try and talk sense as Kingston hit himself with a chair, before Jay took said chair and welcomed Kingston to “his home.”
White called himself better than all the names that Kingston looked up to, before he talked his way into a match against Kingston at Battle in the Valley. That’ll be after White’s “loser leaves Japan” match with Hikuleo, but the absence of the word “new” in that stipulation means that it’s kinda moot here.
Bad Dude Tito vs. Jeff Cobb
You’ve gotta love a hoss fight, especially one to close out a TV show…
A tentative start led to the pair jockeying for a side headlock, which quickly gave way to shoulder tackles… ending with the pair rebounding off the ropes until Cobb’s leaping shoulder block knocked down Tito. Briefly. Tito hits a right hand as he took Cobb to the corner in response, before a hair pull left Cobb down for a senton atomico from the apron in. A short-arm clothesline gets Tito a one-count, while an elbow drop got a little further on as Cobb struck back with a dropkick moments later.
Cobb stands on Tito’s back, then whipped him into the corner for a leaping elbow… as Tito found a way back in with a Blockbuster for a two-count. We cross the five-minute mark with the pair trading blows, leading to Tito missing an enziguiri as Cobb snuck back in with a Spin Cycle for a two-count. A standing moonsault’s next as Cobb piled on the pressure, before Tito held onto the ropes to avoid a Tour of the Islands. Instead, he wheelbarrowed Cobb down for a two-count, then scored with the enziguiri and a Blue Thunder bomb for another two-count. Cobb tries a ripcord clothesline, but it’s ducked by Tito, who couldn’t avoid a jab, nor a thrust kick, before a ripcord into a Tour of the Islands shut the door on Tito. A short main event, but a decent enough outing as Cobb blew past the TMDK man. ***¼
Next week: Motor City Machine Guns vs. Roppongi Vice for the Strong Openweight tag titles…
A much-improved episode compared to last week, with the middle segment in particular stuffing us full of hype for Battle in the Valley. It’s just a shame they’ve figured that bit out as Strong’s about to head off the air…