Jon Moxley returns to NJPW Strong as he teams up with Lance Archer to take on Suzuki-gun in a Philly Street Fight.
Jonathan Gresham pinned Alex Coughlin in 9:51 (***½)
Rocky Romero, Fred Rosser, Karl Fredericks, Ren Narita & The DKC defeated Danny Limelight, Tom Lawlor, JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson via disqualification in 10:52 (***)
Brody King, Chris Dickinson & Daniel Garcia pinned Misterioso, Bateman & Barrett Brown in 8:10 (***¼)
Philadelphia Street Fight: Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki pinned Eddie Kingston & Jon Moxley in 14:23 (***¼)
It’s the show that’s being treated with such importance that neither of New Japan’s websites had the results up for this… so let’s buckle in for ninety minutes of Strong from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Alex Koslov and Matt Rehwoldt are on the call…
Alex Coughlin vs. Jonathan Gresham
It’s another entry in Coughlin’s ongoing challenge series as Jonathan Gresham appears in New Japan for the first time in over two years – last time beating Clark Connors via stoppage in late 2019.
Philadelphia can’t pick a side, as we have a tentative opening spell. Gresham looked to pull ahead with a wristlock into a headlock takedown, before a neckbreaker gets an early two-count. Gresham stays with a side headlock to get some two-counts, then caught Coughlin with another set of side headlock takedowns as he looked to keep it simple. Coughlin eventually headscissors his way free, before Gresham’s attempt to float free ended up with Coughlin just stuffing him ahead of a deadlift gutwrench suplex. A bear hug from Coughlin just fires up Gresham, who went back to the side headlock, before a leapfrog from Gresham just earned him one more bear hug.
A reverse bear hug has Gresham down as he tried to break the hold, eventually doing so as he got to the rope, then rolled through a knuckle lock as Coughlin muscled in with a backslide and some inside cradles, trolling the ref as they rolled around the ring like a ball. More pinning exchanges add two-counts as they up the pace, which led to the flash pin as Gresham rolled up Coughlin while he’d applied headscissors… and that’s the win! A lovely sprint of a match that’s well worth your ten minutes. This was a breath of fresh air from pretty much anything else on these shows. ***½
Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Danny Limelight, JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson) vs. Fred Rosser, Karl Fredericks, Ren Narita, Rocky Romero & The DKC
We’re building up to Rosser vs. Lawlor for the STRONG title at some point in the future… Lawlor’s still wearing scissors around his neck, with a necklace made out of Fred Rosser’s hair. Harsh.
All hell breaks loose as Team Rosser charges the ring to start, and we open with Rosser and Lawlor trading shots as Lawlor’s taken to the corner. Kratos leaps into Rosser with clothesline, as Team Filthy pose around Rosser… only to stop and clear the ring as things finally settle down. Kratos’ gutwrench suplex leaves Rosser down for a two-count, while the rest of Team Filthy cleared the apron ahead of an assisted German suplex on Rosser as Limelight’s thrown up for a stomp to Rosser. Things spill outside as Kratos targeted Rosser with a deadlift suplex, but Rosser escapes and posts Kratos before back body dropping Limelight into the big man.
Rosser manages to hit a Gut Check to Lawlor for good measure on the outside, before tags get us to Isaacs and Narita. A half-hatch suplex gets Narita a two-count, before DKC ran in with a dropkick to Jorel Nelson as chops wore down Isaacs… leading to an overhead belly-to-belly from Narita for a two-count as Isaacs was taking some of Team Filthy’s own tricks. Fredericks is in for a leaping elbow drop, but the pin’s easily broken up before Danny Limelight came in to take some shots. His kick has Fredericks down, but a spinebuster turned it back around as Rocky Romero came in to light up Danny with chops. The DKC returns with a crucifix driver to spark a Parade of Moves, featuring Nelson dumping Narita with a Saito suplex, before Lawlor blocked a Manifest Destiny and hit an Angle Slam.
Rosser dives in to put a beating on Lawlor, clubbing him with clothesline to the front and back before Kratos’ attempt to break it up saw him get clotheslined to the floor. Lawlor capitalises with a rear naked choke which sparks another Parade of Moves until Rocky Romero hit a Diablo armbar on Danny Limelight… except a masked man comes out from the back and hits Rocky with a Kendo stick for the DQ. ***
The masked man takes off his hoodie to reveal himself as a Black Tiger. He looked to be a real Havana pitbull, tombstoning Rocky as the Philly crowd didn’t seem to know what to make of it. They eventually patch in Lawlor’s mic into the TV feed as he tells us he’s fed up of Rocky Romero and “Darren,” before telling Rocky that Black Tiger was his past “coming to end him.” It’ll be the eighth Black Tiger, following after the likes of Rocky Romero and Tomohiro Ishii…
Tom Lawlor continues to berate “Darren Young,” in the post-match backstage promos…
After the break, we then get the return of Gabriel Kidd – his first appearance on a New Japan show since May. They edited away the long speech of Gabe pouring his heart out (which I strongly suggest you watch above,) and instead goes straight to the chase – him calling out Jonathan Gresham for the Detonation tapings. Gresham’s told to watch some more Steve Grey tapes, as Gresham then accepted the challenge before he warned Kidd he’d not fought as long as he had to lose the opportunity he’s now got.
Stray Dog Army (Barrett Brown, Bateman & Misterioso) vs. Violence Unlimited (Brody King & Chris Dickinson) & Daniel Garcia
Well, this is quite the cut. The Stray Dog Army don’t have their own entrance video yet as they’ve got a pretty stern test opposite them today.
Dickinson and Brown start us off, but Garcia’s quickly in to trip Brown ahead of a pair of low dropkicks, before a straitjacket choke kept Brown down ahead of a trip into the corner. Brody King’s in to slam Barrett, before Bateman caught Brody in the ropes. Misterioso’s in with a ‘rana before some kicks leave the big man down ahead of a Quebrada and a standing moonsault for a two-count. Bateman’s in for a slam, but King pushes free as Brown hit his own man, while Dickinson came in to clear house. A clothesline traps Bateman in the corner, while a missile dropkick puts him down for a near-fall. Brown and Misterioso try to intervene, but Garcia’s in to fire away with uppercuts, before a Saito suplex dropped Bateman for a two-count.
Dickinson’s back for a Hart Attack dropkick on Bateman, who takes a knee drop too as Misterioso and Brown failed to make the save. A trio of submissions have the Stray Dog Army down, but Bateman got to the ropes for a break, before a Snow Plow planted Brody for a near-fall as Bateman struck back hard. Brown’s back, but gets charged through by Brody King after Dickinson and Garcia evened things up, before a Splash Mountain threw Brown into his partners on the outside. Brown’s thrown back in, as were Bateman and Misterioso as piledrivers and a Ganso bomb get the win. They kept it short as the Stray Down Army were sent to the shelter without much in the way of resistance. ***¼
We get footage of Minoru Suzuki in AEW from not too long ago, and the stuff that set up Moxley & Kingston vs. Suzuki and Archer on Rampage. Clips of that give way to the challenge for a rematch… and that’s next! Yes, it’s weird hearing Lance Archer talk about “our ring” given that he works for AEW…
Philadelphia Street Fight: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer) vs. Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
Tiger Hattori’s back on commentary for this, and we’ve got plenty of plunder around ringside. Oh boy. Imagine being told a few years ago this match was going to happen, for New Japan, in Philadelphia, by the way. You’d be mocked.
This one ignites almost instantly as Moxley and Suzuki went at each other, while Kingston and Archer spill outside. Archer’s back with a Kendo stick to the back of Moxley, which he then drove into Mox’s throat, before Eddie Kingston broke it up and used the Kendo stick himself. Suzuki’s in as he and Kingston went at it, trading chops before Suzuki clonked Eddie with an elbow. Suzuki grabs a Kendo stick as Kingston pled for mercy… Suzuki ignores him and lands a shot anyway as Moxley returned to bite Minoru and throw him outside, only to get hit with a traffic cone. I’m feeling very Alan Partridge here. They fight backstage, where they’re picked up brawling around a scissor lift and into the loading area, where there’s a random shopping trolley before you see two New Japan staffers running to try and clear some fans away from the area.
Archer lawndarts Moxley into the side of a truck, while Suzuki choked him with a chair as Eddie Kingston reappears with a breeze block. Archer sidesteps Kingston throwing the block at him, before they brawled back to ringside – with the crowd having booed missing the breeze block shot. Suzuki’s got the cone as he proceeds to wallop Kingston with the Kendo stick, while Archer uses a shovel to shove Kingston with. Back in the ring, Kingston blocks a Gotch piledriver, so he’s met with more Kendo stick shots, before an ankle lock and an armbar led to Moxley coming back to ringside… with a Forbidden Door! A dive from Moxley took Archer out into the aisle… and Moxley into the commentary table too. Someone in the crowd smuggled a stop sign into a sign for Moxley, which he finds and pulls out, before the Kendo stick wore out Archer some more.
Moxley throws Suzuki into the rails, then slides the door into the ring. It’s propped up into the corner as Moxley teases a death valley driver, only for Suzuki and Kingston to intervene as everyone gets a Kendo stick shot, before Moxley dropkicked Archer through the door. Archer’s back as he teases a double chokeslam, but instead gets sandwiched with clotheslines from Moxley and Kingston, before Suzuki dragged Moxley outside. Kingston eats a chokeslam instead, then returned with backfists and a DDT for a near-fall. That sparks a brief Parade of Moves as we clear out to Kingston getting charged into the corner ahead of a Blackout… but Suzuki delays it so he can put Kingston through a bin and a traffic cone… doing so for the win. A wild brawl that actually translated fairly well to TV, but man that finishing bump could have gone so much worse with that cone! ***¼
Post-match, they leave in Archer’s promo for his match with Eddie Kingston in AEW – a match that didn’t end well for Lance thanks to an injury – before Suzuki wagged his finger at Kingston to close out the show.
With Strong, you know what you’re getting these days – a solid, consistent show… but sadly one that seems to lack focus and one that really is just a portion of a house show. The Strong of old is long gone, and it’ll be interesting to see if they stick with this going into 2022 and beyond. If you don’t usually swing by Strong these days, make sure you drop in for the opener – particularly if you’re a fan of the mat-based style.