We’re going back to WrestleMania weekend for this week’s New Japan Strong, as Team Filthy headline in a six-man tag main event.
Hikuleo & Chris Bey pinned Barrett Brown & Bateman in 12:16 (**¼)
JONAH pinned Blake Christian in 6:56 (**½)
Royce Isaacs, Tom Lawlor & JR Kratos pinned The DKC, Fred Rosser & Alex Coughlin in 11:12 (**¾)
Remember WrestleMania weekend? Feels like ages ago… this week’s New Japan Strong comes from that weekend in Dallas, with the Fairmont Hotel playing host to some matches that were taped after Lonestar Shootout. The iPPV, that is. Kevin Kelly and Matt Rehwoldt are on the call for this one…
Stray Dog Army (Barrett Brown & Bateman) vs. Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo)
Hikuleo’s tuning up for a match with Jay White…
We start with Bey and Brown locking up into the corner, before they broke. A snapmare from Bey leaves Brown sat unimpressed… so he returned the favour. Bey tries to appease Brown with a spot in Bullet Club, but Brown just flips him off before he got caught with some headscissors and a low dropkick.
A chop stings Brown in the ropes, as he then returned with half-and-half suplex as Bateman tagged in and dumped Bey with a slam. Bey’s bounced into the ropes with a chop, before Hikuleo tagged in to boot Bateman unawares, following with a throw into the corner as the big man took control.
The pair trade chops and forearms until Hikuleo charged down Bateman, before things headed outside with Bateman getting dropped across the guard rails. Back inside, a stomp from Bey gets him a two-count, while Hikuleo returned for more slams and a legdrop for a two-count. Bey’s back to keep up the momentum, landing an enziguiri as Bateman tried to chop back into things, before a head kick knocked Bateman to the outside. Hikuleo adds some extras, throwing Bateman into the barriers, then back into the ring, where a sleeperhold from Bey nearly ended things.
Bateman backs into the corner to break the hold, then escaped a back suplex as he made the tag out to Brown, who ran wild and took a near-fall on Bey. A brainbuster gets another two-count with Hikuleo again not breaking up the covers. Brown tags Bateman back in as some double-teaming ends with Bey tagging out… he gets involved again to low bridge Bateman to the outside for a tope.
Brown finds a way through to Hikuleo with a superkick, but ends up eating a lariat and a deadlift chokeslam as the Young Gun takes away the W. (**¼)
Blake Christian vs. JONAH
I feel like this may be a tough ask for Blake…
Blake’s cornered early on, then lifted onto the apron from a gutwrench position as JONAH asserted his dominance early on. Back inside, a waistlock takes down Blake, as did a shoulder tackle, before Christian avoided a charge in the corner… and found his way back in with a 619.
Sticking and moving leads to another 619, and a springboard dropkick that took JONAH outside, before his plancha was caught, with Christian getting posted for good measure. JONAH drops Christian over the guard rails from there, before whips bounced Blake back into the corners. Christian’s attempt at a fightback ends with him getting charged down, before Blake tried his luck with forearms off the ropes.
A Quebrada from Blake’s caught… but he counters back out with a DDT… then again with a Fosbury flop into a DDT on the floor. Christian looks to capitalise with a springboard 450, but JONAH kicks out at two from that, before he speared Blake out of another springboard, leading to a powerbomb and a Tsunami for the win. Goliath squashes. Nearly literally. **½
Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, JR Kratos & Royce Isaacs) vs. Fred Rosser, Alex Coughlin & The DKC
Holy peaking audio for Team Filthy… that’s some bass. Meanwhile, Team Filthy are wearing cute mini sombreros as well, because Texas.
Fred Rosser’s been angling for another shot at Lawlor’s title, and we start with JR Kratos charging on the floor at Alex Coughlin as those two renewed their rivalry from just before Coughlin’s sojourn in the UK. Things settle down in the ring as Coughlin’s fallaway slam to Lawlor, and a Rosser death valley driver to Isaacs had Team Filthy on the back foot.
Coughlin’s back in to hit a gutwrench suplex on Isaacs for a two-count, before Rosser tagged back in and battered Isaacs with short-range clotheslines. Isaacs returns with an Exploder after Rosser distracted himself with Lawlor, and that’s the turnaround as Lawlor was able to come in and stretch Rosser on the mat. Rosser’s trapped in the wrong corner as Kratos leaps in for a forearm, before a double clothesline helped Rosser get free… only for a tag out to DKC to see Kratros just bulldoze through the Young Lion.
A Kratos clothesline has DKC down, as did a suplex throw that left Team Filthy enough time to pose for the cameras. Lawlor charges down DKC, then went after Rosser on the apron… who dragged him outside for a trip to the guard rails, before a suplex left Lawlor laying. Rosser keeps going with a back suplex onto the apron, before we reset with Coughlin and Kratos.
Coughlin ducks a clothesline as the pair lay into each other… a slap from Kratos stings Coughlin… who roars back into life with a deadlift Fireman’s carry, which Kratos escaped via the ropes. Coughlin stays on him, pulling the big man to the floor as DKC and Lawlor went at it… only for Lawlor to go for a rear naked choke.
DKC rolls out and hits the DK-Fire chops to Lawlor… then to Isaacs after Coughlin and Kratos had fought to the back. Lawlor charges DKC into Rosser, knocking him off the apron as the champion pulled ahead, before DKC used Team Filthy against each other, tripping Isaacs onto Lawlor’s knees.
Forearms and kicks follow from DKC, who nailed a belly-to-belly for a near-fall, before Lawlor caught DKC on the top rope in a rear naked choke. Rosser saves DKC, pulling Lawlor down, before Isaacs’ powerslam off the middle rope was enough to get the win. **¾
After the match, Rosser challenged Lawlor for the Strong Openweight title again… only for Lawlor to refuse, saying he’d beaten him twice. Lawlor then poked the proverbial bear, saying he’d give Rosser a match if he beat Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson in a handicap match on the upcoming Mutiny tour.
You know what the deal is with WrestleMania weekends – a lot of guys having a lot of matches, and while that wasn’t the case for everyone on the card, you definitely felt like this was a crowd that was perhaps tiring.