Karl Fredericks and Will Ospreay lock horns in the main event of the latest offerings from Autumn Attack.
Chris Dickinson submitted Alex Coughlin in 13:03 (***¼)
Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi pinned Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs in 13:41
Juice Robinson, Clark Connors, Lio Rush & TJP defeat Hikuleo, Chris Bey, El Phantasmo, & Taiji Ishimori via disqualification in 11:07 (**¾)
Will Ospreay pinned Karl Fredericks in 18:08 (***¾)
We’re back at the Curtis Culwell Center in not Dallas, Texas, with Matt Rehwoldt and Alex Koslov opening things in the ring.
Alex Coughlin vs. Chris Dickinson
The continuation of Coughlin’s challenge series sees him take on the Dirty Daddy…
Dickinson stifles Coughlin early on as the pair grapple on the mat, leading to Coughlin looking to grab a hold, but Dickinson takes the ropes to force a break. Grabbing an arm on the mat looks to give Dickinson an opening, but Coughlin rolls free of a wristlock to hit a slam… only for Dickinson to go right back in with an armbar as Coughlin again ended in the ropes.
Coughlin has his arm swatted at as Dickinson controlled the pace, rolling him to the mat from a cross armbar position, before Coughlin got knocked down with a series of forearms. A judo-style arm throw seemed to make Coughlin snap, as he invited Dickinson to chop him… which he did with glee. Forearms knocked Dickinson back, but he returns the favour, then lit up Coughlin with a chop before he got caught with a leaping shoulder tackle.
A cross armbar from Dickinson’s rolled up out of for a near-fall, before a headlock takedown kept Coughlin on the mat, with Dickinson going back to the arm in a Kimura attempt. Slamming free doesn’t work, but a German suplex does before Coughlin ran in with a lariat for a near-fall. Dickinson goes back to the arm yet again, eventually breaking the grip as Coughlin was left with no choice but to tap. A match-long struggle for Dickinson on the arm, but the game plan paid off in the end. ***¼
Mega Coaches (Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs)
We open with Taguchi and Isaacs, trading shoulder tackles before Isaacs caught a leapfrog… then dumped Taguchi with a suplex.
Taguchi’s back with a leaping hip attack before Jorel Nelson came in to mock. Rocky Romero’s in too, but he’s clubbed away on before he poked Nelson in the eye. Headscissors have Nelson in the corner for some Forever clotheslines… but Nelson kicks it away, only to get thrown between the ropes for a missile dropkick to the shoulder.
Taguchi’s back to try and call a play, which ends up being… reversals upon reversals as Rocky finally started his Forever clotheslines. Nelson and Rocky trade chops, but Isaacs trips up Rocky in the ropes before dragging him outside and popping him onto the apron. Back inside, a diving elbow gets Nelson a two-count, while Isaacs took over with some rough-housing. I don’t know if the crowd booed because they’ve been keeping the commentary volume high and the house audio low, which is a fantastic mix. Yes. I’m being sarcastic.
Nelson stomps a Dallas jersey into Rocky in the corner, before Isaacs’ pumphandle slam was countered into a DDT. Taguchi adds some hip attacks in the ropes for good measure, then a springboard hip attack to Isaacs for a near-fall, before another leaping hip attack’s turned into a back suplex.
Nelson’s back to trigger a German suplex with a leaping knee, before Rocky saved Taguchi from a double-team. It counted as a tag as he cleared house, knocking the WCWC into each other ahead of a double ‘rana. A standing Sliced Bread’s blocked as the WCWC finally land the Dominator/cutter combo for a near-fall, as all four men stay in the ring, while the concept of the legal man went out of the window.
Nelson’s thrown into Taguchi’s arse, then met with a tornado DDT… before a Bummer-Ye almost put him away. Another hip attack’s countered into a German suplex by Isaacs, but Rocky’s back with a running Sliced Bread before Nelson’s back elbow out of the corner’s countered into a backslide for the win. A little scrappy in places, this was a decent enough tag that looked like any mid-card house show outing. ***
Bullet Club (Chris Bey, El Phantasmo, Hikuleo & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Clark Connors, Juice Robinson, Lio Rush & TJP
If you’ve not been keeping up with Impact, you’ll probably be surprised that Chris Bey’s joined the Bullet Club. Meanwhile, Juice Robinson is out with a bull rope because we’ve got that “in a few weeks” or “tomorrow”, depending on whether you were there live or watching on tape.
We’ve shenanigans to start as Lio Rush waited to see who he’s open against, as the Bullet Club swapped tags until Chris Bey came in. The pace is quick initially as Rush pulled ahead, leaving Bey down as TJP and Connors came in to double-team Bey for an early two-count. Ishimori finally tagged in and took Rush into the corner, before ELP came in to start the cavalcade of back rakes.
Even Hikuleo gets in on the act!
Phantasmo tries to twist off Rush’s nipples after that, before Lio got hung in a Tree of Woe for the double-team Gas Pedal. That Bullet Club corner really could have done with some better lighting…
Backbreakers follow on Rush, who snapped back with a DDT before Juice Robinson came in for some Dusty punches on Hikuleo. A DDT and a back senton crushes the big man, before the ring filled up for a quick Parade of Moves as the ring filled and cleared. Dives follow, until Ishimori and Rush traded a flurry of strikes… which bled Juice Robinson press slamming Ishimori into the Bullet Club pile.
Juice dives onto them for the hell of it, before Bey eats a cannonball… Hikuleo lays out Juice to stop Pulp Friction, then whacked him with the cowbell for the obvious DQ. A match that was more to build to the later bullrope match, but never really hit its stride. **¾
They replay the Will Ospreay promo from Resurgence in August, where he refused to compete in the G1… which led to Karl Fredericks calling him out. That main event is next.
Karl Fredericks vs. Will Ospreay
This was Ospreay’s first match under the New Japan banner in almost five months…
Fredericks pulls down Ospreay as he was messing around at the bell, with a waistlock quickly ending in the ropes as Fredericks… then got booted away. A leaping crossbody and a Kitchen sink knee has Ospreay down, as did a series of chops as Fredericks eased ahead. Ospreay crotches Fredericks in the ropes, then chopped him to the floor where a brief trip into the guard rails and a leaping kneedrop to Fredericks on the apron followed.
Back inside, chops keep Fredericks on the back foot, but that stops with a punch to the mouth, then some running boots in the corner as Fredericks returned the hesitation dropkick that Ospreay had delivered moments earlier. We’re back outside as Ospreay’s sent into the guard rails, where another hesitation dropkick awaited.
Ospreay regains the upper hand with a handspring enziguiri back inside, following up with a springboard forearm for a near-fall. A Cheeky Nando’s kick followed, before Fredericks slipped out of an Electric Chair attempt… hitting a Pele kick to block a Chelsea Grin from Ospreay. Fredericks and Ospreay trade German suplexes as Ospreay then returned with a rear spin kick to leave both men laying.
Kawada-ish kicks from Ospreay leave Fredericks in a heap, but Fredericks recovered to land an uppercut, only for his superplex follow-up to get blocked as Ospreay’s leaping forearm to the back of the head and a folding powerbomb almost got the win. The pair tease their finishers, with an OsCutter getting swatted away in mid air with a dropkick, before he cradled his way out of a Manifest Destiny DDT.
Another hook kick from Ospreay leads to him eating a backbreaker, then the Manifest Destiny… before he rolled to the outside to avoid a pin. Fredericks rolls Ospreay back in, then levelled him with a forearm. Another elbow to the back looked to rile up Ospreay, who charges back with a running Spanish Fly, before an OsCutter almost got the win. All that’s left is a Chelsea Grin to the back of the neck, then the Hidden Blade… but Fredericks ducks, only to eat a pop-up not-so-Hidden Blade out of a Manifest Destiny… as a regular Hidden Blade then got the win. A good first-night back for Ospreay, who had a few troubles against Fredericks, but in the end it was pretty straightforward once Ospreay was able to hit his big finishes. ***¾
Post-match, Ospreay mockingly commiserates Fredericks, then laid into him some more until Clark Connors saved Karl Fredericks. TJP was out to restrain Connors too as Ospreay then took the mic and called for someone from the back to help “even the odds.” Except the new member of the United Empire was already in the ring as TJP’s initials flashed up on the screen, as he’s the latest member of Ospreay’s group.
This may be controversial, but the slight tweak in format for Strong isn’t sitting well with me. The benefit to the “old” Strong was that it was an hour show that breezed by, even if there wasn’t a crowd… these stretching to 90 minutes or so, feeling like “chunks of a live event” have taken away a fair amount of the charm that Strong had from its studio days.