It’s the start of a new tour, and the show debut of Satoshi Kojima as he and Karl Fredericks took on Team Filthy in the main event.
TJP submitted Kevin Knight in 6:27 (**½)
Barrett Brown pinned Adrian Quest in 10:36 (**¾)
Karl Fredericks & Satoshi Kojima submitted Danny Limelight & JR Kratos in 10:43 (***)
This week’s running short, barely 45 minutes long, in fact, as we crash in with the opening titles before Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov voice over the opening clip reel.
Kevin Knight vs. TJP
It’s a tough test for Knight, against one of the LA Dojo originals, but he started off strong, taking TJP down… only for TJP to spin his way free with headscissors.
TJP misses on a dropkick, but has more luck with a leg sweep, taking down Knight… who countered with headscissors of his own. Headstanding free, TJP takes Knight into the corner for some face-washing boots, only for Knight to return with a bodyslam for a two-count. Knight whiffs on a dropkick as TJP came right back in with grounded headscissors, rolling up for some extra torque. A slingshot senton gets TJP a two-count, but Knight returned fire with a backbreaker for a two-count before he went for a Boston crab that TJP tried to break in the ropes.
Instead, TJP rolled free as he looked for a senton off the top… he has to roll through as Knight returned with a diving shoulder tackle for a two-count. A leaping frog splash from Knight’s blocked, and that spells the end for him as TJP quickly puts him away with a Cobra Twist. This felt a little off – like the match never really got into any kind of gear and felt more like a traditional TV squash than anything else. **½
Barrett Brown vs. Adrian Quest
Brown came out with Bateman as he looks to have made a new alliance…
Mockingly offering a handshake to start, Brown’s taken into the corner by Quest, before he returned the favour, albeit by grabbing Quest by the ear. Quest responds by elbowing Brown off the ropes, sending his former tag partner to the outside, before Brown’s attempt to sneak in with a cheapshot was cut off by Quest. Back inside, Quest hits a tornillo and some punches as Brown again retreated, but this time Brown finds a way in, trapping Quest between the ropes before swivelling him to the outside. A brief fight on the outside ends with Brown getting on top, kicking Quest in the ribs before a big clothesline gets Brown a two-count.
Brown stays on Quest with kicks to the back and elbows, before a flash ‘rana almost snuck the win for Quest. They head outside, with Brown suplexing Quest on the floor, before Brown looked for a superplex in the ring… but Quest fought free and took Brown down with a ‘rana off the top. A spinning rear kick from Quest looks to have him ahead, but Brown slips outside and got caught with a shooting star press off the apron as Quest refused to let him run away again… but Brown turned it around back inside with a dropkick for a two-count. Quest ducks a kick and turned it into a German suplex, then ran in with a Code Red for a near-fall as Brown again was on the defensive…
Except Brown snapped right back in, suplexing Quest into the corner ahead of a Shining Wizard for a near-fall. More kicks from Brown take us past the ten minute mark, with Quest returning fire with a powerbomb before he went up top… but that’s the cue for a distraction from Bateman. Quest misses a Phoenix splash from there, and quickly gets rolled up by Brown, who had a big handful of tights for the win. A distraction finish helps Brown get a precious win, but you get the feeling this isn’t over between Brown and Quest… **¾
After the match, backstage, Fred Rosser came to Quest’s aid, and it looks like we’ll be getting the natural tag match now Quest has a new partner.
Team Filthy (JR Kratos & Danny Limelight) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Karl Fredericks
Kojima’s trip to America wouldn’t be complete without an appearance on NJPW Strong.
Karl Fredericks has an eye on Tom Lawlor’s Strong Openweight title, but it’s Kojima and Kratos who start us off, as a cheapshot from Kratos looked to be returned with an early Koji cutter. Things break into shoulder tackles early on, which Kratos won out on as Kojima staggered into the corner and made a tag out to Fredericks. Fredericks’ right hands looked to work, but Kratos jabbed back and just walked away from Fredericks’ leapfrog crossbody as if it were nothing. Limelight tags in to throw some shots, before bringing Kratos back in quickly as they keep Fredericks trapped in the corner for a spell. Knees on the mat keep Fredericks down for a two-count, before a distraction led to Fredericks getting choked in the ropes as the Team Filthy duo were having their way.
Another tag brings in Kratos, who dumps Fredericks with a suplex before Limelight returned for a pop-up knee drop. He knocks Kojima off the apron en route to getting a two-count on Fredericks, before Fredericks shrugged off a backfist to hit a suplex on Limelight. That opened things up for him to make the tag out to Kojima… but Kratos is back too, and gets cornered for the Machine Gun chops. The corner forearm followed, as Kojima then went up top for the elbow drop that landed for just a one-count on Kratos. A powerslam from Kratos sees him get back in as he proceeded to deadlift Kojima up for another suplex.
Eventually Kojima fought back with an exchange of forearms, blocking a clothesline before hitting a Koji cutter on Kratos. A delayed cover gets a two-count, with Limelight diving in to break up the cover, before he tagged in and got spun down with a Cozy lariat. Fredericks tags in to capitalise, lighting up Limelight with a flurry of strikes and a backbreaker, before Kojima helped out. Kojima chucks Limelight into a Fredericks spinebuster for a two-count, with Kratos breaking that up before going after Kojima on the floor. A springboard stomp from Limelight looked to turn it back around, before Limelight blocked a Manifest Destiny DDT… only to get slapped as Fredericks eventually rolled him into a half crab for the submission. A hard-fought win as Fredericks inches closer to that eventual title shot. ***
Post-match, Kratos and Kojima have another scrap… Fredericks doesn’t look too fussed as ringside attendants tried to split the pair up.
A solid, not spectacular, episode of Strong as the new tour put a lot of focus on matches involving Team Filthy – with Kojima vs. Kratos and Lawlor vs. Fredericks likely to be the destination bouts.