We’ve got all four matches in the first round of the Tag Team Turbulence tournament as New Japan welcomed back the Good Brothers.
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows pinned TJP & Clark Connors in 10:01 (**¾)
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Ren Narita & Yuji Nagata pinned Wheeler Yuta & Fred Yehi in 10:59 (***¼)
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson pinned Kevin Knight & The DKC in 7:22 (***)
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Chris Dickinson & Brody King pinned Danny Limelight & JR Kratos in 8:22 (***¼)
We’re live on tape once again for another short outing ahead of next week’s Tag Team Turbulence tournament. Kevin Kelly and Alex Kozlov are voicing over some B-roll as is the norm these days, as some of the clips make me wonder… where’s FinJuice in this field?
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) vs. Clark Connors & TJP
It’s a Strong debut for the Good Brothers, who of course have held the IWGP tag titles in the past.
Anderson and Connors start us off, locking up into the ropes before a push-off led to a shoulder block from Connors. A tag brings in TJP, who helps with double back elbows and low dropkicks for a two-count on Anderson, before Doc Gallows game in and found himself shrugging off chops from Connors. Mounted punches trap Gallows in the corner, but he just boots away the “Wild Rhino” before knocking him into the corner. Anderson’s back, but he’s quickly smothering Connors ahead of an eye rake in the corner. Gallows’ snap suplex leads to an elbow drop on Connors for a delayed two-count, with a second elbow drop missing as TJP gets the tag back in.
TJP dropkicks Gallows off the apron after Anderson came in… a thrust kick stops TJP, but he’s able to return with a face-washing boot before Gallows’ attempt to run in saw him low bridged to the floor. Some double-teaming takes care of Anderson, but Gallows breaks up the pin, and turned the tables with a back suplex/neckbreaker leading to a two-count on Connors. Connors gets thrown into the corner, as did TJP, but a spear and a dropkick caught out the Good Brothers as TJP tagged in. A miscommunication sees TJP abort a dive, as he’s then caught with a spinebuster and a Magic Killer that booked the Good Brothers’ spot in the semis. A bit of a weird/truncated finish, but I feel like that’ll lead to something with TJP and Connors down the line. **¾
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Fred Yehi & Wheeler Yuta vs. Ren Narita & Yuji Nagata
It’s a curious piece of bracketing this, given Yehi and Yuta have had some momentum behind them…
Yuta and Narita start us off, trading wristlocks before a quick bow and arrow hold led to a one-count. Narita grabs an armbar on Yuta, but it ends in the ropes with Yuta tagging out to Yehi, while Nagata tagged in not long after. They trade wristlocks too, with Yehi pulling down Nagata for a one-count before Nagata came back with some kicks. A knuckle lock from Nagata forces Yehi to bridge, before tags got us to Yuta and Narita again, with Yuta getting booted into the corner. A hiptoss takes Yuta out for a one-count, before Nagata came in to hit a double-team shoulder tackle and an armbreaker on Yuta. An armbar follows, before Narita tagged in with a double sledge off the top.
Narita’s slam gets a two-count on Yuta, who’s stomped back into the corner before Nagata returned to elbow Yuta’s neck. Mid kicks follow, with Yuta landing a dropkick to cut them off as a tag brings Yehi back in, as Yehi then cornered Nagata with shoulder charges. Chops and forearms follow as Yehi ends up running into Nagata’s boot, before a swift Flatliner led to a two-count. From the kickout, Yehi rolled Nagata into a Koji clutch, which Narita quickly broke up, as Nagata returned with a stuttering dropkick and an Exploder for good measure. Yehi’s up at two, with Narita and Yuta tagging in as the travelling Young Lion found himself double-teamed. A rear naked choke from Narita stops Yuta in his tracks, before he turned it into a Cobra twist… and back to the rear naked choke as Yehi came in to make a save.
Yuta almost nicks the win with an inside cradle, but Narita kicks out and found a way back with a spinning heel kick, before a bridging suplex was chained into an overhead belly-to-belly for another near-fall. Yehi breaks up the pin, but got thrown outside by Nagata, before a Narita Special #3 bridging suplex caught Yuta off guard and led to the pin. A good showing in defeat from the Yehi/Yuta team, as Ren Narita picks up the big win here. ***¼
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs)
I feel this may be a short night for the LA Dojo lads…
Knight and Nelson start us off, with Knight grabbing a wristlock early, before an armdrag and a shoulder block had Nelson backing into the corner. In comes DKC, whose forearms keep him there ahead of a double-team hiptoss and a fist drop… but DKC can’t get a cover and instead followed in with a chinlock. In comes Isaacs, who ate some rapid-fire chops from DKC for a two-count, before he was pulled into a submission. A roll-up breaks it up, before he threw away DKC and hotshotted him into the ropes. Nelson threw in a boot from the apron too, while Isaacs’ release suplex got him a two-count.
Nelson’s back in to throw some forearms from above, but DKC countered with a roll-up before he got pulled into a double-team sidewalk slam/legdrop combo. Knight breaks up the pin before a count’s even made, as DKC hits a back fist en route to an attempt to tag out. He’s pulled into the corner by Isaacs, before a leaping kick finally bought DKC enough time to make that tag. Knight and Nelson come in to trade strikes, with a big dropkick from Knight and a tiltawhirl slam putting him ahead… with a diving shoulder tackle almost getting the unlikely win. DKC’s back to help out as a standing frog splash drew in Isaacs to break up the pin. A pumphandle powerslam from Isaacs turns the match on its head, but Knight kicks out at two, before a double-team suplex/slam led to another near-fall.
DKC broke it up but he gets turfed to the outside again before Isaacs almost lost to an inside cradle. A chokeslam from Nelson dumps DKC, before Nelson leapt off of Knight (who was in a fireman’s carry) for an elbow drop to DKC… while Isaacs hit a death valley driver onto Nelson’s knees for the win. A perfectly fine tag match with the Young Lion pair having some good moments, but in the end they were always going to fall at the first hurdle. ***
Tag Team Turbulence – First Round: Team Filthy (Danny Limelight & JR Kratos) vs. VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King & Chris Dickinson)
We’ve some history here of course, as Dickinson was briefly a member of Team Filthy…
King and Kratos start off charging into each other like bulls, trading clotheslines and right hands before lariats led to both men hitting the deck. A back body drop from King pops me, as tags bring in Dickinson and Limelight… and Danny’s running like the proverbial scalded dog. Limelight manages to get some shots in, and draws Dickinson into the ropes as a kick from Kratos led to a two-count. A side headlock on the mat keeps Limelight ahead, as he then tagged in Kratos to chuck Dickinson into the corner. Limelight tries to capitalise with a side headlock, but Dickinson breaks in the ropes, before Kratos hit the ring and taunted King – distracting the ref in the process – to mask some double-teaming.
Kratos throws Dickinson into the corner ahead of a suplex across the ring, which gets a two-count. A boot choke from Limelight keeps Dickinson in trouble, while Kratos returned to throw some more chops in the corner. An enziguiri from Dickinson is returned in kind, before a tornado DDT out of the corner finally opened the door for Dickinson to tag out to King. Limelight’s in too, and he gets charged down by King’s clotheslines and chops. A slam’s escaped by Limelight, who hit the turnbuckles for some rope-walking… but the Meteora’s caught and turned into a slam for a near-fall. Kratos broke it up, but got taken down with a roundhouse from Dickinson, who then tagged back in to throw King into Limelight.
Dickinson splashes Limelight in the corner ahead of some chops and kicks… Kratos trips Dickinson in the corner to stop that, before King distracted the ref again. A wheelbarrow German suplex dumps the Dirty Daddy as King took Kratos outside for a big meaty tope. Limelight tries for a low blow, but Dickinson blocked it and ended up waffling Limelight with a lariat… then a German suplex… before a running death valley driver got the win. A lovely sprint of a match with some big lads, with the ROH tandem booking their spot in the semis. ***¼
Next week: Tom Lawlor vs. Satoshi Kojima for the NJPW Strong Openweight title… plus the two semi-finals – King & Dickinson vs. Nelson & Isaacs, plus Anderson & Gallows vs. Nagata & Narita – as we hit 50 episodes of Strong. It feels like it’s been a while since NJPW Strong’s had a tournament, but this was a pretty solid first round of Tag Team Turbulence – nothing that overly popped off the page, but also nothing that dragged the show down either as the show continues to hold steady as we prepare for the arrival of fans later in the year.