Christopher Daniels answers the US-of-Jay Open Challenge on the final week of the Nemesis series of shows.
Alex Zayne pinned Ariya Daivari in 10:07 (**¾)
Alex Coughlin pinned JR Kratos in 9:22 (***)
Jay White defeats pinned Christopher Daniels in 19:07 (***½)
For one last time, we’re back at the Riverside in Hollywood, with Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov on the call. Koslov’s being very insincere over the “up and comer” Christopher Daniels in the main event…
Ariya Daivari vs. Alex Zayne
These two met back on the Showdown tour, with Zayne taking the win… like he did back in May in another company.
We open up with shoulder blocks between the pair, but it’s Zayne who pulled ahead with an armbar then a springboard headscissors and a spinning heel kick as Daivari rolled to the floor. Zayne followed up with an inside-out springboard moonsault, before he went back to the armbar… which Daivari powered out of ahead of a knee to the gut.
A chop from Daivari’s followed up by a knee to the midsection ahead of some body scissors, which wore down Zayne on the mat. That morphs up to a side headlock, which Zayne fights free of ahead of a discus clothesline that took us to the five-minute mark.
Forearms from Zayne lead to a trip on Daivari, then the leaping flipping leg drop to the back of Daivari. A Taco Driver’s blocked, but instead a Baha Blast planted Daivari for a near-fall, before a hammerlock DDT from Daivari forced his way back into the match.
A leaping enziguiri from Zayne lands, but Daivari leaps over a charge before he found a way through with a superkick. The trapped-arm lariat followed for a near-fall, then a trip up top with the Magic Carpet, as the big splash lands on Zayne for another two-count. From the kick-out, Zayne cradles Daivari for a near-fall, before Daivari rolled outside and snatched the ring bell. Daivari thinks twice and dropped the bell, only to get caught with a Taco Driver… and that’s all folks. Indecision from Daivari costs him here in a decent opener in spite of the silent crowd. **¾
Alex Coughlin vs. JR Kratos
This was Coughlin’s last match as a Young Lion, and boy, he’s been given a big boy for his graduation present…
The crowd was staunchly behind Coughlin from the off, as we start with Coughlin looking to take out Kratos’ leg, only to have to fight for a side headlock as Kratos smothered him. We reset with the pair going nose-to-nose, before Coughlin’s chop just angered the big man, who swings in return, only for Coughlin to duck and fire off some strikes… only to get thwarted on a suplex.
Kratos manages to hit back with a forearm as Coughlin came off the ropes, before the pair fought outside, with Kratos looking comfortable. Overhand chops wear down Coughlin, as Kratos keeps on breaking the count, but that gave Coughlin time to recover and throw some chops of his own before he got whipped into the rails.
Coughlin’s left on the floor as Kratos rolled in to take the count-out… but of course, Coughlin makes it back in with the crowd on his side, but was quickly thrown into the corner as he bounces off the pads. Kratos sends him into the opposite corner, but a Stinger splash is caught… only for the belly-to-belly from Coughlin to get fought out of.
A suplex throw YEETS Coughlin across the ring, before he escaped a second one… fighting back with elbows before a gutwrench suplex was blocked. Kratos elbows free, but ends up getting hauled up and gutwrenched to the mat for a near-fall, before a missed shoulder tackle was turned into an armbar.
Coughlin manages to roll free, then ducked a clothesline as he hauled up Kratos for a bridging German suplex for the win. Coughlin is freaking impressive with his deadlift, and it was apt that it was one of those feats won his final match as a Young Lion – and having seen some of him live already, the future’s bright for the moustachio’d strongman! ***
Christopher Daniels vs. Jay White
Ooh, the old-school TNA Christopher Daniels theme here!
We’ve a tentative start as that one guy in the crowd really loved Daniels’ apple-tini phase. Armdrags from Daniels get him ahead, before he cartwheeled over White and slapped him. A suplex has White down, but Daniels’ attempt to charge into the corner sees hin floated over the top rope to the floor.
White follows by charging Daniels into the side of the ring, before he maintained control back inside, setting up for a Muta lock. That ends in the ropes, so White chop blocks Daniels’ knee, then took Daniels out of the corner with a Saito suplex. We’re back outside with Daniels getting taken back into the side of the ring, before a death valley driver back inside forced an opening for Daniels. It gets him a two-count, before he rolled into a Koji clutch, but White makes it to the ropes… then the apron, as Daniels got hung in the ropes as he pulled White up by the hair.
Jay sneaks back in to hit a DDT from there, only to get caught with a Blue Thunder Bomb as Daniels looked to buy himself some time. A back body drop followed from Daniels, then an enziguiri and a STO before he took White up… then down with an Iconoclasm. Angels Wings looked to follow, but White drops down and rolls outside… and into the path of a dive as the veteran wouldn’t be stifled.
On the floor, Daniels pulls up the padding on the floor, but he’s back body dropped onto the floor as he went for Angels Wings. Back inside, a Blade Buster nearly wins it for White as one fan in the crowd tried to play Gedo, calling for a Kiwi Krusher. Instead, White goes for a uranage, which Daniels rolled out of before he hit his own… then sat down on White’s attempted roll-up as we got some pinning attempts.
Angels Wings finally land for a near-fall, but White’s able to respond with the Kiwi Krusher for a near-fall, before Daniels fought out of a Blade Runner. A Complete Shot buys Daniels some more time, as did another uranage as Daniels headed up for a Best Moonsault Ever… but White gets the knees up to block just in time. All that’s left is for a Blade Runner, and that’s enough for White to get the win. A pretty good main event, which played up to the mocking “giving this young gun Daniels a chance” line on commentary, but it’s White who leaves with the win as he continues his stay in the States. ***½
After the match, White mocked AEW for sending “the rookie” Daniels today, claiming that others within the company sent Daniels because they were running scared. He calls for AEW to send someone “truly elite,” throwing in a reference at the end as to who he wants. Bay-Bay.
All in all, this was a fine episode of Strong, with the White/Daniels main being the tentpole for the whole tour – and with Alex Coughlin seemingly away from Strong for a few months following his graduation, there’s a spot on that undercard ready to be filled as we head into the 2022 shows.