Rocky Romero takes on Josh Alexander in the main event of the Road to Tag Team Turbulence special.
Barrett Brown pinned The DKC in 7:02 (**½)
PJ Black pinned Clark Connors in 9:33 (***)
Josh Alexander pinned Rocky Romero in 11:51 (***½)
We’re live on tape once again for another short outing ahead of next week’s Tag Team Turbulence tournament. Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov introduce us over a clip reel, running through tonight’s card.
The DKC vs. Barrett Brown
Brown’s out on his own, having teamed with Bateman last time he was on the show.
Brown’s taken into the ropes early on, before he tried to catch out DKC with a hammerlock… tripping the Young Lion to the mat as an elbow stomp followed. The DKC’s taken to the ropes as Brown worked on the arm, which instantly restricted the shots DKC could throw as the right chopping arm was limited to just one strike. DKC’s rolled to the mat as the arm’s stomped on again, but he kicks Brown away… only to get caught with a back elbow off the ropes after Kevin Kelly made a jockstrap joke. Back-and-forth pins get us some two-counts, but Brown pushes on with chops and a lariat for another two-count.
Brown clubs away on DKC, then went back to work on DKC’s fingers, restricting any strikes before DKC finally mounted a comeback. A schoolboy gets a two-count, while a trip led to a diving chop on Brown for another two-count as DKC followed up with a triangle choke… only for Brown to go back to the fingers to break the hold. From there, DKC’s rolled to the mat for an armbar, but he’s able to make the ropes for a break before he caught an onrushing Brown with elbows. A flying kick off the top rope from DKC misses… and Brown instantly puts him away with a roll-up, albeit with a big handful of tights too as Brown picked up a rare win. **½
Alex Coughlin vs. PJ Black
This was one of Black’s first matches back after injuring himself at the end of last year. It was his first to air on NJPW Strong since December…
Coughlin starts with a side headlock on Black, which eventually got broken in the ropes before Black surprised Coughlin with a roll-up for a two-count. The pair trade elbow strikes and chops, before a shot to the midsection left Coughlin on the mat. An abdominal stretch has Coughlin in trouble, as did a sidewalk slam, which Black followed up with a springboard moonsault for a near-fall. A series of flying Bionic elbows off the top stun Coughlin for a two-count, before the South African worked over Coughlin’s wrist. Coughlin manages to counter a surfboard stretch and roll Black into a backslide as the Young Lion looked to rack up some near-falls… only for Black to stop him with a clothesline.
Black’s caught with a flying shoulder tackle as Coughlin built up again. A gutwrench suplex throws Black for a two-count… in the end, Black returns with a Spanish Fly out of the corner, before he aborted another leap off the top. Instead, he goes for Coughlin in the corner, before a crossbody was rolled through, with Coughlin landing a bridging fallaway slam for a near-fall. From there, Black peppers Coughlin with kicks before getting the win with the Bad Habit – a sorta Gory Stretch slam. It’s another challenge series loss for Coughlin, but it’s the experience here that counts, I guess. ***
Josh Alexander vs. Rocky Romero
This was Alexander’s second match on Strong, having beaten Alex Coughlin last month.
We’ve a tentative start as Rocky took Alexander down to the mat, eventually grabbing a side headlock before Alexander looked to roll out of a wristlock. Instead, Alexander throws Rocky aside, then grabbed a wristlock of his own as a monkey flip took Rocky away again. Coming off the ropes, Rocky slides under Alexander ahead of a headlock takeover, before a shove off and shoulder blocks led to a stalemate. Alexander trips Rocky, then caught a leapfrog attempt before some headscissors took the Canadian to the outside, allowing Rocky to follow with a tope.
The pair continue to fight on the outside until Rocky threw Alexander back inside. An elbow stops the Forever clotheslines, with Alexander booting Rocky out of the corner for a two-count, before knees to the lower back looked to wear down the former junior tag champion. A chinlock stretches Rocky, who got to the ropes and started to work over Alexander’s arm. A roll-up into a DDT catches Alexander, taking him onto the apron ahead of some right hands. They trade shots through the ropes until Rocky flew for a dropkick to the side for a near-fall, before a Shiranui’s blocked, with Alexander tripping Rocky into an ankle lock. Rocky rolls out and takes Alexander into the corner, following with a satellite DDT for another two-count.
A knee drop to the arm out of the corner kept Rocky ahead, as Alexander tried to fight back on his knees. Rocky catches him with headscissors that rolled into a cross armbar, but Alexander countered with a roll-up to break the hold, before a double underhook piledriver was fought out of. Instead, we get a Chaos Theory-ish German suplex for a near-fall as Alex Koslov shouted out Doug Williams… then it’s an ankle lock from Alexander, which gets broken up with a rewind enziguiri. Rocky tries his luck with a roll-up, before finally hitting a running Shiranui. It gets a two-count, so it’s off to the cross armbar. Alexander counters with an ankle lock, but Rocky’s back with the cross armbar… only to have it broken up with a powerbomb onto the knee. Delayed reactions a-go-go… and then it’s a double underhook piledriver that gets the win. With a crowd, this would have been rocking, but we’ll take what we can get as Alexander gets a big win on Strong. ***½
Next week: the entire first round of Tag Team Turbulence, with Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Clark Connors & TJP among those ties.
Alexander/Romero was the highlight, and as you’d expect a match between those two to be, but thank heavens that NJPW Strong’s going to be running with fans in a few weeks – while the in-ring remains solid, the empty arena production is really wearing thin as it seems that the rest of America goes back to touring.