Clark Connors looks to get some revenge on his former tag partner, as he takes on the United Empire’s TJP in Seattle.
Brody King pinned Yuya Uemura in 12:36 (***½)
Rocky Romero & Lio Rush submitted Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson in 10:52 (***)
Clark Connors pinned TJP in 17:57 (***¾)
We’re coming from Washington Hall in Seattle for the first time, and we’ve a new voice in the booth as Ian Riccaboni’s joining Alex Kozlov on the call for this set of tapings.
Yuya Uemura vs. Brody King
There’s a hot reaction for Uemura in Seattle, as we look to have a packed and vocal crowd for these tapings…
This one started with Uemura trying to stick and run, but Brody was smothering the on-excursion Young Lion with a side headlock in the opening stages. Brody shows mercy as he went to strike Uemura from above, before Brody resisted some shoulder tackle attempts.
A missed dropkick from Uemura, then a missed back senton from King opened things up for Uemura, who took Brody to the corner for some forearms and body blows. Brody charges Uemura down and lands that back senton next for a two-count, before some chops crushed Uemura.
On the outside, Brody whips Uemura into the rails, before returning to the ring for a bodyslam and a big splash that nearly wins it. Some clubbing blows while Uemura was in an abdominal stretch earn another two-count, before Uemura finally hit back with a dropkick. Elbows and forearms from Uemura knock Brody into the corner, where a dropkick awaited, as an enziguiri finally got Brody dazed enough for a back suplex for a near-fall.
Uemura goes for a Kanuki suplex after that, but Brody easily blocks and came right back with a snap piledriver for a two-count, forcing Uemura to try his luck with flash cradles, then with a rolled-through cross armbar… but Brody held firm and got free as things descended into a striking battle, leading to a wicked clothesline as a Ganso bomb ends up putting Uemura away. A really good outing for Uemura, but the size and power of Brody was just too much for him to overcome on this night. ***½
West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs) vs. Lio Rush & Rocky Romero
Commentary noted how this was a big test for the WCWC, given their opponents to date on Strong… and we’ve a jump start here as Nelson and Isaacs got things going.
Rocky’s kept in the ring with Isaacs, as he and Nelson hit dualling stalling suplexes – but with Nelson dumping Rush face-first on the floor as Team Filthy stood tall. Rocky absorbs some right hands and replies with chops to Isaacs, only for Royce to choke him into the corner.
Jorel Nelson came in for a teased double-team, but instead Rocky hits a double ‘rana before Isaacs knocked Rush off the apron to prevent a tag out. Nelson takes off a corner pad as Isaacs continued to dominate Rocky… an attempt to use the corner pad as a weapon just distracts the ref as Isaacs again knocks Rush off the apron, before Rocky fought free with a tornado DDT as he finally made the tag out.
Rush moonsaults into a newly tagged-in Nelson as he blew past Jorel ahead of a kick. Rush takes Isaacs off the apron for another moonsault off the apron, before a crossbody back in to Nelson nearly ended things. More kicks are eventually caught, but Nelson’s running double knees looked to get the WCWC back in it.
A handspring kick knocks Nelson off the apron as Rush’s enziguiri takes Isaacs to the corner, with Rocky tagging in for the Forever clotheslines. Lio gets some in too, before Jorel Nelson cut them off. Rocky recovered, but his Sliced Bread’s caught as he’s double-teamed with an elevated German suplex for a near-fall.
Rush clears Nelson on the floor with a plancha as Rocky tries his luck with a crucifix to Isaacs, then with a backslide, before he ate a pop-up knee. Isaacs runs into the exposed corner, then got rolled down into a Diablo armbar, only for his attempt to powerbomb free to get stopped by a springboard enziguiri from Rush, as Rocky finally forced the stoppage. A good TV tag match, with the WCWC falling short… ***
Post-match, Jorel Nelson cracks Rocky with a black Kendo stick… Isaacs joins in too as the “spirit of Black Tiger” was felt through the rest of Team Filthy.
Backstage, Ian Riccaboni’s interviewing David Finlay and Juice Robinson ahead of their tag match with JONAH and Bad Dude Tito next week.
We’ve a video package recapping the history between Clark Connors and TJP, dating back to the empty studio tapings, through to their run in last year’s Tag Team Turmoil tournament, through to TJP turning on Connors as he joined the United Empire.
TJP vs. Clark Connors
Our main event is a clash of former tag partners, in case that video didn’t tip you off…
Connors’ homecoming started with him getting taken to the mat as TJP was quickly on the defensive, which led to him taking Connors down in a Deathlock… but Connors grabbed a side headlock to escape before some misdirection jarred his own knee.
A whip into the ropes sees TJP hook himself in the ropes, before Connors charged him into the corner, having faked out a knee injury. Chops lit up TJP as he went all Machine Gun on him in the corner, while a lofty German suplex dumped TJP. Things head outside as TJP tried to calm things down, but he just ends up getting POUNCED over the ring barrier and into the timekeeper’s table!
Back in the ring, mounted punches keep TJP in the corner, before TJP fought back with a single-arm DDT onto the edge of the ring. Connors suddenly has to play defence as he’s lifted into a back suplex for a two-count. A senton atomico follows for a two-count, then a snapping hammerlock’d armbar, before Connors was taken into the corner for a face-washing boot… only to return with an exploding POUNCE.
Clark keeps pushing, bouncing TJP into the corners ahead of a back body drop, but another POUNCE misses as TJP returned with a springboard into a single arm DDT. TJP followed with a cross armbreaker, but Connors rolls through into a full nelson’d camel clutch, which ends in the ropes. Another spear from Connors knocks TJP off the apron, before TJP blocked a suplex back into the ring.
TJP counters with a hanging armbar in the ropes, before a flying knee caught the lower back of Connors. Back inside, a Mamba splash followed for a two-count, before he followed through with a Magistral Driver for just a one-count. A Detonation kick is instantly kicked out of as Connors blitzed back, only to get caught in a leg lace… before Connors cradled him for a near-fall.
A double clothesline leaves both men down, but TJP’s attempt to renew his offence with a tornado DDT’s pushed off as Connors tries to go up top. He’s caught as TJP tried his luck with a superplex, only to get shoved down as Connors lands his own version of a Mamba Splash, then a folding powerbomb for a near-fall… before the Trophy Kill finally got Connors the win. This was a hell of a blow-off to the feud, with Connors putting on an impressive showing as the LA Dojo grad looks to push on in 2022. ***¾
A really good outing on Strong this week, with Clark Connors excelling in the main event as this part of New Japan looks to grow in what’d be their first full year in front of crowds.