NJPW Strong hits the first half of their Detonation special, featuring Jay White and Karl Fredericks in the main event.
The DKC & Clark Connors pinned Logan Riegel & Sterling Riegel in 5:11 (**)
Tanga Loa, Chase Owens & Hikuleo pinned Misterioso, Juice Robinson & David Finlay in 6:25 (**)
Tama Tonga pinned ACH in 11:12 (**½)
Jay White pinned Karl Fredericks in 11:06 (***)
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov are back on the call for this – they tell us that next week KENTA defends his briefcase against Brody King, but this week we’ll see Jay White vs. Karl Fredericks in the main event.
Riegel Twins (Logan Riegel & Sterling Riegel) vs. Clark Connors & The DKC
These four have been in matches against each other for weeks now – in the spirit of friendly rivalry.
Clark and Sterling start out hot, trading chops, but a back elbow from Sterling put Connors down. Logan tags in as the twins double-team Connors with uppercuts and splashes, with Sterling returning for a two-count. Suplexes follow before DKC tried to make the save, but the Riegels clothesline them down before an attempted powerbomb onto Connors came up short, with a pounce from Clark clearing the ring.
DKC tags in to charge at Logan with knees, before karate chops and bulldogs kept the Riegel twin down. A grounded cobra clutch looks to force a stoppage as Connors tied up Sterling with a Boston crab, but the hold ends in the ropes. A Hart Attack leg lariat’s next out of the corner for a near-fall, but the Riegels avoid a Doomsday device as DKC was knocked off the ropes. Logan tags back in for a double-team uranage that gets a near-fall, before they countered a Connors spear into a suplex. We get tongue twisters on commentary as DKC tries to fight back, but dropkicks cut him off, before he put the blocks on the elevated DDT and snatched a win over Logan with an inside cradle. Short, but it did what it needed to do for the story. **
Bullet Club (Tanga Loa, Chase Owens & Hikuleo) vs. Fin-Juice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) & Misterioso
“(Juice Robinson) is like a mix of Shawn Michaels and Duke the Dumpster Droese.” Not the commentary line I was expecting to hear today.
Tanga Loa and Misterioso start us off, with Misterioso trying a handspring off the ropes before he took down Tanga with a tijeras. Juice tags in as he and Finlay do the double sledges to Tanga’s arm and the double-team bulldog. Hikuleo blind tags in and surprises Finlay from behind, taking him into the corner for some choking – with Tanga Loa helping out too. Rolling back inside, Finlay’s stomped on before a suplex from Hikuleo gets a two-count. Finlay’s thrown into the corner as Owens tags in, then sneaks in a punch as he wore down Finlay. Chase tries to tag in Tanga, but loses Finlay as Juice returned for some Dusty punches… eventually faking out Owens for a DDT.
He clears off the apron then took Chase to the corner for a cannonball, which gets a two-count. Misterioso wants in, but only gets tagged after Juice was hotshotted into the corner. Tanga Loa’s also in, taking a superkick before he sweeps away Misterioso’s leg. A handspring back elbow finds Tanga, before a moonsault into a reverse DDT almost gets the upset. Misterioso heads up for another moonsault, but he bounces off of Tanga’s feet before he was caught with Apeshit for the pin. Short, but at least they reminded ups that Apeshit was a one-hit kill. **
Tama Tonga vs. ACH
I guess this came out of that Elimination match last week, as Tama Tonga returned to the singles ranks here.
We’ve a tentative start as we eventually lock-up, with Tama moving in for a wristlock after a kick to the gut. ACH gets free as he hits the ropes, countering a dropkick into an atomic drop, following up with a ‘rana to take Tama outside… but the apron PK is countered as ACH hits the edge of the ring. Back inside, Tama rakes the eyes of ACH, keeping him in the ropes before a back elbow bounces ACH down. It’s a deliberate pace, and one that Tama was controlling as he grounded ACH. A suplex from Tama eventually lands, with a floatover for a two-count, with ACH being kept in the corner as a Stinger splash awaited for him.
Tama followed up with a face-washing boot, before a chinlock keeps ACH on the mat. Eventually ACH gets up, but he’s knocked right back down… except this time he ducks a clothesline and manages to fight back, rolling in for the Three Amigos, only for the third suplex to be blocked. Instead, ACH slips out and elbows Tama, then baited him in for a kick in the corner before a scoop slam drew a two-count. ACH looks for a German suplex, but Tama elbows free… an enziguiri knocks him to the ropes for a Fisherman suplex that gets a near-fall before a brainbuster was countered into a Tongan Twist as Tama gets back on top. From there, Tama goes for a Gun Stun, but it’s pushed away as ACH manages to bridge that German suplex for a near-fall… he drags Tama into the corner for a move off the top, but he takes way too long and has to abort the dive. ACH tries to roll-up Tama, then counters a Gun Stun into a roll-up for a near-fall… but it’s second time lucky as Tama wins out this clash of styles that saw him not allow ACH to get into his kind of match. **½
Karl Fredericks vs. Jay White
It’s a big ask for Karl Fredericks, taking on a former IWGP champion in the main event here.
Of course, White rolls outside at the bell, then came in to take down Fredericks with a headlock takedown. They stand up, but Fredericks can’t push away this time… and needs the ropes to force a break from the takedown. Another side headlock’s pushed off as Fredericks tries shoulder tackles, but he’s pulled down by the hair before a huge leapfrog allowed him to come back in with a big boot. Fredericks then bulls White outside with a shoulder tackle, before he dragged White back outside so he could pop him onto the edge of the ring. They head back inside, where Fredericks misses a boot into the corner and ends up taking a hanging neckbreaker instead as White then grounds him with a chinlock.
A knee to the upper back from White keeps Fredericks down for a two-count, before a half crab ended in the ropes. He keeps going with a back elbow after taking Fredericks into the ropes as another side chinlock wears down the “Alpha Wolf” some more. Fredericks fights free, but gets pulled down by the hair again as chops looked to keep him in the corner. White tries to pull Fredericks by the hair again, but this time it’s escaped as a Pele kick gave Karl some distance… which he quickly closes with a leaping splash in the corner before a snap backbreaker gave him a two-count. Fredericks’ Boston crab ends in the ropes before he could roll over White, before White’s attempt to insight the referee backfires.
He recovers with an atomic drop and a DDT though, before Fredericks took White into the corner for a hesitation dropkick. Rather than go for a pin, he rolls White into a half crab, but the hold’s escaped as White finds his way into a snap Saito suplex. An attempt at the Bladebuster’s countered into a roll-up, as was a Blade Runner, before White ran into a spinebuster that nearly got Fredericks the win. A sleeper suplex sees White strike back, before a Blade Runner shuts the door on a decent main event – one that could easily be run back plenty of times in the future, especially once both these guys are back in front of crowds in Japan. ***
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the big failing from these mini-arcs is that so much of them feel like they are in a bubble of their own. The fact that most of the matches on the card today had barely any sizzle in them isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but with three matches coming out of last week’s rushed elimination match, this week’s episode felt rather flat.