The first half of the New Beginning USA double header sees a rematch from last year’s Super-J Cup final, as ELP takes on Lio Rush.
Rocky Romero, Adrian Quest & Misterioso submitted Barrett Brown, Rey Horus & The DKC in 10:13 (**¾)
Fred Rosser pinned Hikuleo in 10:40 (**½)
El Phantasmo pinned Lio Rush in 14:05 (***¼)
Yeah, for some reason whoever’s putting these up on NJPW World isn’t getting the memo that’s telling them that the Road tos are over… Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov are on the call as usual, running down tonight’s main event before going to the ring.
Rey Horus, Barrett Brown & The DKC vs. Rocky Romero, Misterioso & Adrian Quest
For some reason, the DKC didn’t make the NJPW website results… who’d he upset?! Kevin Kelly notes that Brown needs to pick up some wins otherwise his spot on the roster may be in question.
Quest and Brown start us off, with a wristlock that ends in the ropes as Brown breaks free… but can’t get a slam off as Quest came back with headscissors. A big lariat from Brown takes Adrian down for a two-count, before DKC came in to keep putting the boots to Quest in the corner. Elbows follow, but Quest spins out and makes the tag out to Misterioso, who trades chops with DKC ahead of a brief fightback that saw DKC land a hiptoss. A falling DKC chop gets a one-count, before chops take Misterioso into the corner ahead of a missed splash, allowing Misterioso to roll up DKC into a powerbomb for a two-count. Rocky comes in with a low dropkick on DKC, before Quest returned with a slam and an elbow drop as the trio looked to isolate the new Young Lion.
Shoulder charges from Misterioso keep DKC at bay, as did a Finlay roll and a springboard moonsault, which gets a two-count as Romero and Quest came in as guard dogs. Rocky’s back with a slam before draping Barrett’s arm across his shoulder to neutralise a run-in. DKC remains in trouble as he takes some Forever clotheslines, but DKC comes back with a dropkick before making the tag out to Rey Horus. Horus takes down Quest with kicks and a leg drop for a two-count, before he shrugged off a double-team hiptoss from Quest and Misterioso. A dropkick from Quest accidentally takes out Misterioso, with Horus following outside with a springboard ‘rana to the outside. Back inside, Horus flies with a crossbody to Quest for a two-count, only for Quest to reply with a back suplex.
Romero tags back in to spin Horus down with a clothesline for a near-fall, before he took a spinning enziguiri. Horus tags out to Brown, who goes right for Rocky with an uppercut and a low dropkick for a two-count, before a slam drew another two-count… Brown swings and misses with a clothesline, but manages to land a German suplex moments later. DKC and Horus rush the ring to help triple-team Romero, but Misterioso makes the save with a handspring back elbow to help clear the ring, leaving us with Rocky and Brown. Rocky hits some uppercuts before a suplex was countered with a roll-up… Romero kicks out, but eats a leaping knee before a second suplex was countered into the Diablo armbar for the submission. A definitive tap out for Brown, whose time here may well be up if commentary is anything to go by. **¾
After the match, Brown flipped out about not being part of the Super-J Cup, and how he’s fighting for a job… before storming off.
Hikuleo vs. Fred Rosser
We’ve a staredown at the bell, as we open with Hikuleo chucking Rosser into the corner. Both men swing with strikes, but it’s a clothesline from Hikuleo that had Rosser down.
Hikuleo picks his shots, then chokes Rosser in the ropes before Rosser mounted him for a sleeperhold… and it kinda works as Hikuleo’s taken to a knee. Rosser’s charged back into the corner, but he hits some crossface blows from the top turnbuckle before Hikuleo just booted him down onto the floor. Following him outside, Hikuleo clubs away on Rosser, but an attempted lawndart is blocked as Hikuleo eventually hits a scoop slam on the floor. That stops the count as the ref goes to check on Rosser, but Hikuleo stops the checks so he could stretch Rosser around the ring post, eventually stopping as he returned to the ring to pick apart Rosser.
Rosser kicks out at two after a pin attempt, but couldn’t escape some punches from above, before a knee from Hikuleo choked him in the ropes. A slam keeps Rosser down as a leaping legdrop gives Hikuleo a two-count, keeping the one-way traffic going, with a Cobra twist restraining Rosser in the middle of the ring ahead of a back suplex for another near-fall. Finally, Rosser finds a way through, sidestepping a boot as Hikuleo ties himself up in the ropes, before a leaping clothesline bought the former Nexus man more time. Rosser tries to hoist up Hikuleo for a gutbuster, but Hikuleo slips out and lands a chokeslam for a two-count. Hikuleo goes for a Tongan Driller, but Rosser slips out and strains for a backslide, eventually getting it after tugging on Hikuleo’s hair… and that’s the win! How dastardly! Rosser cheats to a win after taking a pasting… and there’s almost surely a rematch in the works already. **½
Post-match, Hikuleo goes after one of the crew at ringside and splats him with a chokeslam in the ring. Understandably, Hikuleo’s hot at that backstage, and demands a rematch with a new ref before we go to Clark Connors getting excited over cleaning cloths again.
Lio Rush vs. El Phantasmo
A rematch from last December’s Super-J Cup final, which Phantasmo won via dubious means…
Rush starts off being annoyed at how many layers ELP’s got on, as we start with your regular lock-up as ELP gets taken into the ropes. That gives Phantasmo a chance to plug his merch, but Rush returns with headlock takedowns before we reached a stand-off. ELP works Rush’s wrist, but Lio flips free and comes back with a front facelock, only for ELP top escape and counter with a bow-and-arrow hold. Rush escapes as we get some quick pinning attempts, but ELP only gets a one-count on his attempt before he restrained Rush by the nipple. Never thought I’d be typing that on this show. Or any, for that matter. Lucha stuff breaks out with leapfrogs and roll throughs, culminating with another staredown.
ELP starts an exchange of elbows, but gets taken into the ropes as Rush’s misdirection caught out the Canadian ahead of an elbow drop for a two-count. More Matador stuff sees Rush take ELP onto the apron ahead of a handspring kick, knocking Phantasmo to the floor as he then called for a time-out. Of course, there’s no such thing, and ELP ends up coming back into the ring as Rush chops and kicks him back to the mat for a two-count. Phantasmo backflips Rush to the mat, then charges in with a DDT for a two-count, before some elbows and chops keep Lio in the corner. Some rope choking needs the referee to separate the pair, as ELP throws in some backrakes as well. Chops in the corner follow, before Rush baseball slides into the corner and begins a retaliation, bouncing off the bottom rope for a Stunner, before he instead landed a tiltawhirl DDT.
Rush only gets a two count out of that, with chops helping him build anew as ELP was kept in the corner. A floatover from Phantasmo gets him free ahead of a springboard crossbody for a near-fall, before a Quebrada is aborted… allowing Rush to reply with a springboard stunner for a two-count of his own. Dragging ELP into the corner doesn’t help Rush, as Phantasmo clings on to stop him from going up top… but Rush gets there anyway before he almost leapt into ELP’s feet. Phantasmo rolls him through and tries for a dick punch, but Rush leaps over it and rolls him up for a near-fall! Phantasmo tries to kick back, but Rush beats him to the proverbial punch, before ELP pushed him into the ref. From there, ELP loads up the boot and nails the Sudden Death… and that’s enough for the win! Not quite as one-sided as Rosser/Hikuleo, but Rush had the bulk of this match before that superkick ended it all. ***¼
Alex Koslov was stewing throughout that ELP match… could we see a comeback? Next week: Moxley vs. KENTA for the IWGP United States title – and more to be announced!
Effectively the undercard for next week’s “really big show,” the first half of the New Beginning USA card was solid, but not spectacular fare to get us ready for KENTA/Moxley next week – a match that hopefully will deliver with all the extra eyes that’ll be on it.