Satoshi Kojima takes on JR Kratos in the main event on this week’s Strong.
Josh Alexander pinned Alex Coughlin in 11:25 (***½)
Bateman & Barrett Brown pinned Adrian Quest & Fred Rosser in 9:41 (***)
Satoshi Kojima pinned JR Kratos in 11:26 (***¼)
Apparently the Road to Ignition is done, and this is just Ignition… we open with the usual voiceover from Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov before heading to the ring.
Alex Coughlin vs. Josh Alexander
After last week’s show, Alex Coughlin issued an open challenge – and as a result, he’s getting a series of matches against whomever puts their name on the dotted line. First up? The reigning Impact X-Division champion Josh Alexander.
Starting on the mat, Alexander worked a wristlock before he took Coughlin down into some headscissors. Coughlin extricates himself and pushed down on Alexander’s knees, then came back side a side headlock of his own as he restrained the Canadian. We get a rope break, before Coughlin ran through some chops and charged Alexander to the outside. Back inside, Alexander sidesteps a shoulder charge, then went back outside through Coughlin with a diving crossbody through the ropes. That leads to an eventual two-count, with Alexander following up with some stomps and another back elbow. In the corner, Coughlin shrugs off chops to reply with some of his own as they go back-and-forth at quite a pace.
Just like that though, Alexander took down Coughlin for an ankle lock, which was rolled out of as Coughlin just ragdolled Alexander with a German suplex. There’s more back-and-forth as Coughlin and Alexander trade right hands, which led to a leaping shoulder tackle from Coughlin before some gutwrench suplexes from Coughlin were countered as Alexander rolled back into the ankle lock. Coughlin countered by rolling into a half crab, but Alexander escaped and returned fire with a Chaos Theory rolling German suplex for a near-fall. A double chop from Coughlin opened the door again, as did a bridging fallaway slam, but Alexander’s up at two and took things back into the ropes for an elbow.
Alexander trips Coughlin through the ropes, then pulled him down into the ankle lock again, scissoring the legs for extra oomph… but Coughlin stands up and tries to hit a German suplex… only for Alexander to go back to the ankle lock. Another escape from Coughlin worked, but he gets kicked in the head… and shrugs it off with a bridging suplex as Alexander showed off immense neck strength to bridge out ahead of a double underhook piledriver for the win. Fantastic stuff this, with Alexander being a step ahead of Coughlin throughout, before he dug deep to put the Young Lion away. Get this one watched folks! ***½
Bateman & Barrett Brown vs. Fred Rosser & Adrian Quest
Brown’s taken on some of Bateman’s mannerisms as commentary suggested that Bateman was perhaps forming some sort of cult-like group.
We start with Quest and Brown… but Brown instantly tags out as we get Bateman chopping Quest to the mat in the early going. Quest comes back with headscissors, but gets lifted onto the apron as he ended up hitting a springboard missile dropkick to take Bateman off his feet. Rosser tags in with a double sledge, but Bateman instantly throttles Rosser and took him into the corner. Brown tags in to keep Rosser in there, but shoulder blocks from Rosser and a scoop slam turn it around. A Beele throw takes Brown across the ring, before Rosser chucked him onto the apron for a teased back suplex… but Bateman grabs the leg and provided a distraction for Brown to capitalise on.
Bateman tags back in and knocks Rosser down for a knee drop to the back of the neck. Another neck crank has Rosser powdering to the outside, where he’s met by Brown by the stage, before an attempted dive back in for a tag was thwarted. A tag brings Bateman back in as he continued to focus on the neck, while keeping Rosser in the wrong corner. Rosser eventually hits a back suplex that bought him enough time to make a tag out. Brown’s in too as he and Quest unload on each other, but it’s Quest who pulled ahead with some ground and pound, before Brown’s attempt to turn it around led to him wandering into a back suplex from Rosser on the apron.
Quest’s running shooting star press back inside nearly gets the win, but Bateman makes the save and chucked Rosser outside. A facebuster from Bateman drops Quest, with Rosser returning as the match broke down a little. Bateman gets a blind tag in as Quest hits a tornado DDT on Brown… then walked in to crotch Quest on the top rope, pulling him into the tombstone piledriver for the win. A decent little tag match, with Bateman and Brown working well – and Brown’s happy, despite not taking the fall. ***
Post-match, Rosser looks to hit his gutbuster on Bateman, but Bateman slips out and leaves…
We’ve a new advert… including one with Takaaki Kidani and Tetsuya Naito for the Strong Spirits mobile game that’s still meant to be coming out this year. After the break, we’re told about the Tag Team Turbulence tournament, with eight teams involved:
TJP & Clark Connors
Chris Dickinson & Brody King
The DKC & Kevin Knight
JR Kratos & Danny Limelight
Yuji Nagata & Ren Narita
Wheeler Yuta & Fred Yehi
Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs
Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows
This’ll be the Good Brothers’ Strong debut, and their first involvement with New Japan in over five years…
JR Kratos vs. Satoshi Kojima
Our main event comes as a result of the interactions in Kojima’s Strong debut a few weeks back.
Kratos shoves down Kojima to start as he made sure that the veteran couldn’t get into gear. A side headlock from Kojima’s pushed off, with Kratos shrugging off the resulting shoulder blocks before he charged Kojima to the outside. Taking some shots on the outside, Kratos rolls Kojima back in and picked up a solid two-count. A right hand knocks Kojima into the corner, ahead of a leaping forearm as Kratos maintained control, following up with a ragdoll-like gutwrench suplex for another two-count. Kojima’s chucked across the ring with a suplex next, but Kojima recovers to light up Kratos with some Machine Gun chops.
They’re quickly shrugged off as Kratos opened up a violence party of chops and forearms in the corner, but Kratos misses a charge as Kojima returned the favour. A trip to the corner allows Kojima to roll down Kratos, but he takes way too long to go up top for the elbow drop and is stopped, with Kratos meeting Kojima on the apron to tease a German suplex to the floor. Instead, Kojima counters with a DDT onto the edge of the ring, before he rolled Kratos back in for that elbow drop. That gets a two-count as a chokebomb from Kratos turned the tables, leading to a suplex for a near-fall. A DDT from Kojima has no effect, nor does a second one (quick, is Kratos part Samoan?)… and after three DDTs, Kojima ends up taking a clothesline from the barely-dazed Kratos.
Out of nowhere, a Koji Cutter dropped the big man, but an attempted suplex is stopped as Kratos powered free. Elbows have Kratos dazed enough to take the suplex, before Kojima hit the ropes for a Cozy lariat… but ran into a leaping knee instead. Kratos tries his luck, but ends up taking a Cozy lariat moments later, and that’s your lot. A good back-and-forth outing with Kojima having issues early on, but was able to outwit Kratos with the lariat at the end. ***¼
Next week: Karl Fredericks challenging Tom Lawlor for the NJPW Strong Openweight title…
After last week’s so-so show, this was much better from Strong, a show that’s got a real shout to be the best regular hour’s worth of wrestling in 2021… although that Tag Team Turbulence tournament might raise some eyebrows, especially given the inclusion of the Good Brothers.