Jay White’s got another open challenge as the New Beginning series of shows on Strong concluded…
Ricky Gibson & Eddie Pearl pinned Kevin Knight & The DKC in 9:18 (**½)
Fred Rosser pinned Gabriel Kidd in 14:52 (***½)
Jay White pinned Jay Lethal in 20:07 (***½)
We’re back with a run-time of over an hour… Ian Riccaboni’s back with Alex Koslov, running through the card before we head inside Washington Hall in Seattle.
Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. Midnight Heat (Eddie Pearl & Ricky Gibson)
It’s a New Japan debut for Midnight Heat, who until recently were the tag team champions in DEFY.
We open up with DKC and Pearl briefly trading chops, before a front chancery from DKC ended up with him having to defend a leg pick from Pearl as we end in the ropes. Chops from DKC have Pearl in the corner, with Knight coming in for some double shoulder tackles, then a double hiptoss to Gibson as a snap suplex drew a one-count on Pearl. DKC’s back to stomp and snapmare Pearl for a two-count, but a series of chops ends with a miss as DKC’s charged into the opposite corner. Ricky Gibson tags in for a sunset flip on DKC that turned into an assisted back cracker – tagged the Back Sabbath. Cool name.
Pearl’s back in as DKC grabbed a leg lock, but it ends in the ropes as Gibson tagged back in and worked Gibson’s arm. A drop toe hold keeps DKC down as Pearl returned for an elbow drop, before Gibson whipped DKC into the corner. It’s back to the armbar, before Pearl tagged in and accidentally took out his own man with a double sledge.
Pearl charges Knight off the apron and stayed on DKC, who eventually hit back with a leg lariat. Kevin Knight got the hot tag in on Gibson, squishing him with a Stinger splash before a slam and a standing frog splash nearly got the win for the locally-trained Knight. A dropkick from the Buddy Wayne trainee clears things as DKC returned for an assisted sunset flip for a near-fall, before Knight came back… only for his sunset flip out of the corner to be sat down on by Gibson, who grabbed the ropes to steal the pin. An awkward finish that caught the crowd off guard, as the Young Lion pair outshone them here. **½
Gabriel Kidd vs. Fred Rosser
Kidd’s had a pair of crackers on Strong so far – and he’s shown his versatility thus far…
We open with a struggle of a lock-up, as Rosser backed Kidd into the ropes, before a switcheroo saw Kidd cheapshot Rosser with a kick. Kidd tries to cravat his way out of a side headlock before they tried shoulder blocks instead. A Saito suplex looked to put Kidd ahead, but Rosser responds quickly with a clothesline as the pair rolled to the floor.
Back in the ring, Kidd and Rosser trade elbows, before Kidd slapped Rosser across the back and demanded a response. A palm strike from Kidd followed, then a headbutt, before another right hand took Rosser down to a knee. We pick up again with chops, which had both men on jelly legs momentarily, before they resumed with more of them as a double chop had Kidd down in the corner. Chops and clotheslines from Rosser earned him some punches and chops from Kidd, who eventually regained the upper hand before he sat down a la Shibata. Rosser scoots over as the pair exchanged strikes while sitting, but it’s Kidd who looked to pull ahead as the plumes of sweat flew into the air with each palm strike.
Rosser chops Kidd in the ropes, but those are almost laughed off as the strikes continued to fly, before a Gut Check from Rosser left both men laying. Clotheslines to the front and back batter Kidd from there, before a snap brainbuster nearly wins it for Gabe. A trip up top for Kidd is fruitless as he misses a moonsault, allowing Rosser in with a dropkick and a lariat, but it’s not enough to get the win as Kidd kicked out. A running death valley driver keeps Rosser ahead, as Kidd looked spent on the mat, before Rosser finished him off with an Emerald Flowsion for the win. This was a good outing, but the Seattle crowd didn’t seem to connect with it as well as you’d have expected – very hard hitting, which seems to be Kidd’s MO in this stage of his in-ring career. ***½
Jay White vs. Jay Lethal
The open challenge gimmick produced AEW’s Jay Lethal here…
We open with a collar and elbow tie-up as White switches Lethal into the corner. A side headlock from White’s held on through takedowns, before headscissors on the mat punctuated ironic “lets go Jay” chants. Lethal pulls ahead with a hiptoss and a low dropkick, before Hikuleo stopped Lethal from going for a dive. Lethal slides outside for a dropkick, but White hits a stun gun on the ropes before returning inside for a DDT. Chops keep Lethal in the corner, but he comes back with some of his own before White pulled him into a back suplex. A back body drop from Lethal sees him avoid a DDT, as he then followed up with a clothesline to take White outside ahead of a tope.
Back inside, White blocks a top rope elbow drop but couldn’t avoid a backbreaker and a torture rack from Lethal, who ended it with a Finlay roll as he finally hit that elbow off the top. A suplex attempt doesn’t come off as Lethal ends up running into a Flatliner, before a Blade Buster nearly won it for White. An enziguiri from Lethal took White outside in response, before a Blade Runner attempt was escaped… with Lethal getting thrown into the buckles. Stomps from White led to him shoving aside the referee in the corner, before Lethal snuck back in with a superkick from nowhere. Lethal keeps going with a Figure Four, pulling White back into the middle of the ring, before White managed to drag his way to the ropes for a break.
Back on his feet, White exchanges chops with Lethal, but Lethal kicks out White’s knee as the match reduces to strikes. A cutter from Lethal drops White, who rolled away from a Lethal Injection and tried to snatch it with a Blade Runner. Lethal escapes it again and again, going for a roll-up before White chop blocked the knee out of the Lethal Injection. From there, a sleeper suplex from White sets him up for a Blade Runner, and that’s enough to get the win. Perhaps an unpopular main event given the names involved, but this was a pretty good outing with White having a big scare as he ended up taking a lot of damage to his knee, before getting some revenge for a loss to Lethal in 2017. ***½
A solid show as we head towards the end of the New Beginning strand of shows, with Tom Lawlor vs. Taylor Rust next week rounding out the series…