It’s almost all about Team Filthy on the second part of Detonation this week, while KENTA defends his US title shot once more.
Rocky Romero submitted Danny Limelight in 9:18 (***)
Jeff Cobb pinned Rust Taylor in 8:07 (**½)
PJ Black & Fred Rosser pinned JR Kratos & Tom Lawlor in 8:09 (**¾)
KENTA pinned Brody King in 14:16 to retain the Right to Challenge for the IWGP United States Championship (***)
For the last time before Christmas, we’re back in the unnamed venue with Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov on commentary. Alex is already shaking his head at Kevin’s opening line, “it’s the culmination of Detonation”. It wasn’t even a pun!
Danny Limelight vs. Rocky Romero
It’s the first of three matches between Team Filthy and Rocky Romero’s crew today…
Rocky jumps Limelight before the bell, throwing Limelight into the corner only for Fanny to come back with an attempted half nelson suplex into the corner. That came to nought as Rocky hits a rear spin kick to free himself, following up with Forever clotheslines, before they headed outside as Limelight posted Rocky. Back inside, Limelight pulls Rocky into the bottom rope as he controlled the match, kicking Rocky by the ropes before he elbowed away on that left arm and shoulder. A Judo-style takedown keeps Limelight ahead as he went back to the arm, but a roll-up by Rocky gets a two-count… and Limelight just kicks the arm again.
More stretching on the arm eventually prompts Rocky into a comeback, but he’s stopped with a dropkick as Danny then mocked Rocky with some Forever clotheslines of his own. Rocky stopped those, spinning Limelight with a lariat, before throwing him into the ropes for a springboard dropkick. Limelight tries his luck with more kicks, but a throat thrust stops him as Rocky looked for a Shiranui… but he’s pushed away as a German suplex reset things. Rocky catches a kick, but gets caught with a Northern Lights suplex as Limelight went back to the arm, but it ends in the ropes once more.
Another kick from Limelight drops Rocky for a two-count, before a double-jump something or other off the top was countered with a dropkick. Rocky tries to pick up from there, landing a Shiranui out of the corner for a near-fall, before Limelight nearly nicked the win with a roll-up. A leaping knee from Rocky gets him back in it, before he suplexed Limelight into a cross armbar for the submission. A decent opener with Rocky outlasting the upstart to get the submission. ***
Rust Taylor vs. Jeff Cobb
The curse of taping so far ahead – Rust’s now his surname in another place, while Jeff Cobb’s part of an Empire that’s not mentioned here. Still, this should be a pretty good outing.
Taylor starts by taking Cobb into the ropes from a tie-up, before a scramble on the mat ended with Taylor rolling away. Taylor’s able to lift Cobb up by the arm, but Cobb comes back with a slam before his standing moonsault took him into a triangle armbar. A punch to the shoulder followed before Taylor let go of the arm… but he stays on it, kicking the arm in the corner as Cobb tried to fight back with some right hands. Uppercuts from Rust stop that as the arm remained the focal point here, with Taylor hitting some uppercuts to the limb ahead of some kicks to the chest.
Cobb catches a kick as he tried to chop and forearm Taylor into the corner, before a ripcorded uppercut knocked Taylor down. A Tour of the Islands is avoided as Taylor hung onto the ropes, but he’s pulled into a Spin Cycle instead for a two-count. The standing moonsault’s next for a near-fall, before a head kick from Taylor looked to close the door. From the kick-out, Taylor goes back to a cross armbar, with Cobb rolling out of the hold… only for Taylor to counter back with an ankle lock. Cobb pushes his way free, then stung Taylor with a chop. A flurry of strikes from Taylor find their way through, but he misses a right hand and gets dumped with a German suplex, before Cobb pulled him in for a Tour of the Islands for the win. This felt weird – almost like an exhibition of sorts, with the intensity not really feeling there. **½
Clark Connors’ wide eyes haunt my dreams.
Tom Lawlor & JR Kratos vs. Fred Rosser & PJ Black
Rosser and Kratos start us off, as an early shoulder tackle from Kratos knocks Rosser to the outside.
Rosser rolls back in to keep trying shoulder tackles, eventually staggering the big man as PJ Black came in… and got taken down with a suplex. Lawlor tags in and suplexes Black as he tried to keep the momentum going. Black looks to escape, but gets pulled back in before Lawlor landed a spinning heel kick. A slam drops Black, ahead of an elbow drop, as Lawlor looked to keep him on the back foot. A snapmare and a kick to the back helps to do that, as does a legdrop, before an ankle lock was kicked away by Black. That knocks Lawlor into the corner as Kratos tagged back in, instantly knocking Black into the ropes before he popped up Black into a pancake.
Kratos keeps going with a deadlift suplex for a two-count, before he bounced Black into the corner with an Irish whip. Lawlor’s back to stomp on Black, which aggravated Rosser… but that only distracts the referee. Black’s able to escape a German suplex and hit a spinning leg lariat to buy him some time as Rosser finally tags in… Rosser clears the apron as he wears down Lawlor with headbutts. A Cactus clothesline sent both men outside as Rosser followed up with a seated splash off the apron to Lawlor on the floor… but Kratos quickly dumps Rosser before he got posted. Back inside, Lawlor tries to trap Rosser with an ankle lock, but it’s escaped as a rolling elbow from Rosser looked to buy him time… only for Rosser to get caught with an Exploder.
Both men tag out from there, with Black lighting up Kratos with chops and forearms, before a high/low with Rosser takes Kratos down. Lawlor broke up that pin quickly, but he gets thrown outside by Rosser… only to get knocked down accidentally by Kratos, who then ate a fireman’s carry gutbuster. Black’s the legal man though, and quickly finishes off Kratos with the springboard 450 as the Placebo Effect got the win. A bit of a rushed finish, but a decent enough tag that could well put a nail in Team Filthy’s coffin after they went 0-3 tonight. **¾
Right to Challenge for the IWGP United States Championship: Brody King vs. KENTA (h)
King got this shot as a result of the elimination match a few weeks ago – but with the current state of affairs, this may as well be for the interim US title.
King shoves KENTA down from the opening lock-up, before KENTA went into the ropes and rolled outside so he could look for an equaliser. There’s nothing under the ring it seems, as KENTA heads back inside and began to kick away at King’s legs, but Brody just shrugs it off to hit a slam and a back senton on KENTA for an early two-count. A neck crank keeps KENTA down, ahead of some crossface punches for a two-count, as King was just dominating KENTA in the ropes. So KENTA tries to powder, but Brody gives chase as we had ourselves a game of cat and mouse. King pulls KENTA by the hair, but he gets hot shotted as KENTA dives in to take out the knee… and there’s your game plan.
KENTA kicks away on King in the corner, before a knee bar forces King to reach for the rope. More kicks focus on the knee, as does a Dragon screw, as KENTA was keeping his offence deliberate. King gets back to his feet, as he began to trade elbows with KENTA, but a series of backfists from KENTA looked to force an opening before he’s caught with clotheslines off the ropes for a two-count. KENTA gets his feet up to catch King in the corner ahead of a tornado hotshot, before a Dragon screw took the big man down. The legs remain the target with a Figure Four, but King gets to the ropes… and KENTA milks every second he can keep the hold on for. There’s an attempt at a draping DDT, but King fought out and lifted KENTA onto the apron as the pair traded right hands, before a chokeslam attempt was blocked, with KENTA going low with a dropkick instead.
That sets King up for the Green Killer draping DDT as KENTA turned it back around for a near-fall, before we went back to strikes. KENTA runs into a short Black Hole Slam as King nearly nicks the win, then again with a short piledriver, but KENTA kicks out in time. A Ganso bomb looks to follow, but KENTA rakes the eyes… then shoved Brody into the referee. A DDT lays out Brody, allowing KENTA to head outside for the briefcase. King blocks a shot, he gets kicked in the balls before a pair of briefcase shots knocked him down, as KENTA then underscored the win with a Go 2 Sleep. KENTA took the shortcuts, but King did prove something of a threat – only for the usual tactics to ensure KENTA retain his briefcase as commentary mentioned something about KENTA retaining that shot for WrestleKingdom. We’ll see. ***
Post-match, KENTA gets the mic and calls out Jon Moxley for a match, “any time, anywhere”…
This looks to be the end of first-run NJPW Strong for the year – with the next two weeks looking to be clip shows. In a bubble, these shows have been fine, but missing something special – and I guess we’ll be waiting to see what happens (or maybe, doesn’t happen) at WrestleKingdom before we get a new batch of Strong.