We’ve three singles matches on Strong this week, as Josh Alexander takes on Daniel Garcia.
Josh Alexander pinned Daniel Garcia in 10:38 (***½)
TJP pinned Rey Horus in 11:06 (***)
Hikuleo pinned Matt Morris in 9:44 (**)
Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov open once again by voicing over some B-roll, so we’re still in the empty arena shows…
Daniel Garcia vs. Josh Alexander
This one’s got the makings of a barn burner…
Alexander takes down Garcia to start, but there’s an escape as Garcia grabbed a hammerlock, only for Alexander to counter with headscissors on the mat. A lock-up from Alexander leads to him working the wrist and arm of Garcia, who rolled towards the Canadian’s leg looking for an escape, before eventually tripping Alexander to the mat. A side headlock from Garcia’s held onto despite Alexander’s attempt at a back suplex, but a push-off leads to Alexander hitting the ropes and catching a leapfrog from Garcia… only for Garcia to go back to the legs, using a dropkick to take Alexander down.
From there, Garcia grabs a leglock, then uppercuts the leg as Alexander got back to his feet. Elbows follow, but Garcia gets pulled into a German suplex that shook him up, before a backbreaker sees Garcia bounce to the mat. The pair trade elbows before Alexander charged Garcia into the ropes, but his follow-up Northern Lights suplex was countered into a guillotine by Garcia… even if it was quickly broken up. A stomp from Alexander leads to a stalling suplex for a two-count, before Garcia was taken into the corners. Chops have Garcia down, but he kicks out Alexander’s knee again to have him fall into another guillotine. Alexander powers up though and tries for a suplex, only for Garcia to counter with a rear naked choke. Garcia goes back to the legs with a Figure Four, but the ropes save Alexander, before he’s pulled into a crossface… Alexander countered with a roll-up, but eats a Saito suplex seconds later, before he finally found a way back with a backbreaker.
Garcia’s quickly on the defensive from there as he scrambles away from an ankle lock, only for Alexander to pull him up into an over-the-knee powerbomb, then a double underhook pedigree for the win. A shade over ten minutes, and I’d love to see them run this back with a little more time – and a crowd – because this was a goddamn delight for mat-based wrestling lovers. ***½
TJP vs. Rey Horus
A rematch from back in February, where Horus got the win… and did little on Strong afterwards.
They work over each other’s wrists to start, but TJP quickly drags Horus down with headscissors, spinning Horus back down as he stood up, getting a two-count out of it too. Going to the corner, TJP charges in with his shoulders before Horus headed up for a spinning wheelbarrow takedown, taking TJP outside. TJP’s quickly back inside for a slingshot dropkick on the apron, before a chinlock kept Horus down. After getting free, Horus trade chops, but gets met with a drop toe hold and a low dropkick for a two-count, before TJP pulled Horus down into a knee bar. Tying up the legs, TJP keeps Horus down, as did a suplex, as TJP looked to be dominating.
Back in the corner, Horus is met with some face-washing boots, but TJP gets tripped into the corner as Horus mounted a comeback, lifting him to the outside ahead of a misdirection tope con giro. Horus followed up back inside with a chop as TJP was put on the buckles, but TJP slips free and pulled Horus into the buckles. Facewashing boots return as Horus was met with a running boot in the corner, before a Detonation kick was countered into a crucifix by Horus. A Spanish Fly’s next as Horus nearly nicks a win, before he went back up top and missed on a crossbody attempt. TJP quickly comes back in with an Octopus stretch, but that ends in the ropes ahead of a slam…
Horus gets up to kick TJP in the corner to avoid a Mamba splash, but TJP gets out and pulls Horus into a Detonation kick, before the Mamba Splash lands for the win. ***
Post-match, Horus and TJP shook hands as they looked for a decisive third match. Probably in seven months time, if this rematch was anything to go by!
Hikuleo vs. Matt Morris
A main event in any arena, no doubt! Morris is better known these days as Matt Rehwoldt of course…
Hikuleo takes Morris to the corner early on, before Morris came in with a hammerlock and a side headlock. A floatover’s caught as Hikuleo looked for a slam, but then had to block a roll-up as Morris tried for a pin. Hikuleo elbows away a waistlock before throwing some body blows as Morris was left on his knees. Morris gets choked in the ropes, before he took Hikuleo outside… only for his plancha to get caught as Hikuleo ended up posting him. Back inside, Hikuleo stays on Morris, charging him with a clothesline to the back in the corners, following up with a back suplex for a two-count, before Morris got thrown into the buckles again.
Some punches on the mat keep Morris down, as did a chinlock, but Morris’ jawbreaker gets him free… only for Hikuleo to run back in with a clothesline for a two-count. Hikuleo again charges Morris into the corners, ahead of a bodyslam before Morris rolled away from a knee drop. Morris capitalises with a running elbow as Hikuleo was in the corner, before Morris low bridged the big man to the outside for a cannonball off the apron. Back inside, Morris lands a senton bomb but barely gets a two-count from it, before Hikuleo caught a back elbow in the corner. Morris elbows free of the waistlock, only to run into a big boot as Hikuleo gets a two-count, before a mounted sleeper from Morris ended in the corner. Another fightback’s quickly quelled with a snap powerslam from Hikuleo for a one-count, before a Tongan Driver put Morris away. **
Post-match, Hikuleo punches away on Morris some more before he pulled a table from under the ring. He looks to hit a Tongan Driver through it, but Juice Robinson’s here to make the save as Hikuleo powdered to the back as we closed the show.
Next week, we’ve an LA Dojo showcase to round up NJPW Strong’s run on Friday night – before the Fighting Spirit Unleashed series of shows – with crowds – begin streaming on Saturday September 18. This week’s show started out hot and petered out a little, but at least we’re seeing light at the end of this empty-arena tunnel.