We’ve a debut of a familiar face in the opener, as Alexander James hits NJPW Strong on the road to Summer Struggle USA!

Quick Results
Alexander James X Kevin Knight in 8:03 (***)
Rocky Romero & Fred Rosser submitted Alex Coughlin & Ren Narita in 11:09 (***½)
Danny Limelight & JR Kratos pinned Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs in 13:19 (***¼)

Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov are back to voice-over B-roll as we’re a week away from Resurgence.

Kevin Knight vs. Alexander James
Hopefully a win for Alexander James means he gets his shoulders added to his next render!

James grapples Knight into the corner as commentary rattled off his accolades on both sides of the pond. Knight manages to grab an arm, but he’s taken into the ropes before he returned with a side headlock on the mat. The side headlock continues a James eventually headed into the corner for a break, throwing a cheapshot as well that Knight tried to shrug off. James runs into a Cornish Hipe as Knight proceeds to get a two count from a stomp, and that seemed to flick a switch in James’ head as he hit a wrist-clutch fallaway slam on Knight for a near-fall. The Young Lion tried his luck with a roll-up, then with a dropkick, but James countered it and went back to a grounded wristlock as Knight scooted into the ropes for a break.

An arm whip from James dumps Knight en route to an armbar, before a shoulder charge took things back down. Knight kicks his way free, firing back with some elbows too before he caught James with a dropkick. A tiltawhirl slam from Knight drops James next, with a diving shoulder leading to a near-fall, while a standing frog splash gets another two-count. Knight goes for a Boston crab next, but he can’t keep grip of both legs thanks to all the arm work done earlier, and James is able to pull free of the half crab. James comes right back with a shoulder tackle, then went back to the arm. A rare trip up top from James leads to a swandive headbutt for a near-fall, before a spinning back elbow and a gutwrench powerbomb led to the pin. This was a little more competitive than you’d expect, but a winning debut nonetheless for James, whom I hope manages to bed in as a regular here. ***

Alex Coughlin & Ren Narita vs. Fred Rosser & Rocky Romero
Another Young Lions match, as Fred Rosser and Rocky Romero look to give the LA Dojo lads a run-out.

Rosser and Narita start us off, trading wristlocks, headlock takedowns and escapes before they headed to the ropes. A side headlock’s pushed off as Kevin Kelly runs down next week’s highlights for Resurgence, before Rosser charges down Narita into the ropes. Tags take us to Rocky and Coughlin, with Coughlin looking to ground things in the search for a hold. A wristlock from Coughlin is countered out of in kind, only for Coughlin to score a big takedown to break free. Going back to the wrist leads to Coughlin getting caught with a ‘rana, before an overhead belly-to-belly suplex cut off some Forever clotheslines and threw Rocky down for a near-fall.

Narita’s in to try and get the pin, but Rocky kicks out at two as Rosser was snarling away on the apron. A Figure Four keeps Rocky in the middle of the ring, but Rosser stomps it apart and got thrown outside by Coughlin. A half crab from Narita’s blocked, as Rocky came in with a rewind kick before he made the tag out. Rosser charges Coughlin off the apron, then elbowed Narita ahead of some waistlock takedowns. A Fireman’s carry takedown’s next as Rosser pushed on, but a spinning heel kick from Narita bought him time to bring Coughlin back in. Coughlin deadlifts Rosser for a side Salto suplex that gets a near-fall, before an inside cradle nearly nicked it for Rosser.

Rosser looked on disgustingly after a chop from Coughlin as the match descended into strikes, before Coughlin’s crossbody was caught in mid-air with Rosser’s knee. Ew. Rocky’s in to capitalise, pulling Coughlin into the ropes for a springboard dropkick, but Coughlin’s back, countering a Shiranui into a fireman’s carry gutbuster for a near-fall. A bridging fallaway slam’s next, but Rosser breaks up the pin again, before Coughlin looked to put Rocky away with a German suplex…

…but Rocky wheelbarrows free for a near-fall, before he rolled Coughlin into a Diablo armbar. Coughlin counters with a powerbomb attempt, but Rosser clips Coughlin and allowed Rocky back in to hit the armbar, following in with a sit-down splash before Coughlin was forced to tap. A lovely, competitive match that was more than your usual Young Lion’s runout. ***½

Post-match, Fred Rosser and Ren Narita had an uneasy staredown – and if that’s a potential match for the future, I am stoked!

Team Filthy (Danny Limelight & JR Kratos) vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs)
A curious tag match to main event with coming out of the Tag Team Turbulence tournament.

Limelight and Isaacs start, heading to the mat as the pair stayed at close quarters early on. A powerslam gets Isaacs a one-count, before Nelson tagged in to hit a diving shoulder tackle following from Isaacs’ neckbreaker, but that also gets a one-count. A big dropkick cracks into Limelight as Nelson kept the pressure going, before a clothesline from Isaacs led to a two-count after he’d tagged back in. Elbows from Isaacs keep Limelight loopy, before headscissors from Limelight looked to buy him time. He rakes Isaacs’ eyes, then hit a Complete Shot before tagging in Kratos, who put the boots to Isaacs in the corner.

A suplex from Kratos chucks Isaacs into the corner for a two-count, before Limelight tagged in and was popped up for a HUGE double stomp on Isaacs. Nelson breaks the cover on that though, but Isaacs remained in the wrong corner as Team Filthy ganged up on him, leading to a big boot from Kratos for another two-count. Kratos’ clothesline dumps Isaacs as did a suplex, before Limelight tagged in to hit another double stomp. Limelight goes to knock Nelson off the apron, but that distraction looked to buy Isaacs time… only for Limelight to swarm him and bring Kratos back into play. More shots from Kratos looked to wear down Isaacs, who then blocked a suplex and hit one of his own to catch Kratos totally off guard!

Limelight can’t prevent the tag as Jorel Nelson came in with a slingshot spear, before he landed a series of shots on Kratos. A chop block and a running knee has Kratos down, while Limelight ran into a big spinebuster. Isaacs is back for a knee-assisted German suplex, before a suplex/powerbomb combo almost saw Kratos take the fall. From there, the Wrecking Crew look for a Doomsday Powerbomb, but Limelight makes the save as Kratos waffles Nelson with a knee ahead of a suplex. A tag brings Limelight back in for a double stomp for a near-fall, before Nelson ‘ranas out of powerbomb by Kratos. After Nelson’s tope wiped out Kratos, he returned to the ring for a big elbow drop on Limelight, but Kratos pulls him off the cover, before a pop-up flapjack dumped Nelson ahead of a double-jump springboard tornado DDT from Limelight for the win. A fun tag match, but this was a lot more even than you’d expect given how Team Filthy have been handled thus far – a positive for the WCWC? ***¼

Post-match, Tom Lawlor ran out to calm things down as the WCWC shoved Kratos and Limelight… because Lawlor wanted to offer Nelson and Isaacs spots in Team Filthy? There’s some good additions there, as Lawlor’s squad now as an established team in their ranks…

While the lack-of-crowd continues to make Strong stick out from the crowd, the in-ring this week was at least a bright point for the paper anniversary of the show – even if the pre-taped nature of the shows meant none of the in-ring was able to build to next week’s Resurgence.