Aussie Open debut on New Japan Strong, as they team up with Jeff Cobb to take on JONAH, Shane Haste and Bad Dude Tito in this week’s main event.
Barrett Brown, Misterioso & Bateman pinned The DKC, Kevin Knight & Fred Yehi in 10:06 (**¾)
David Finlay pinned Blake Christian in 10:07 (***¼)
Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis & Jeff Cobb pinned Bad Dude Tito, JONAH & Shane Haste in 14:39 (***½)
We’re live on tape from the Vermont Hollywood in Los Angeles… Ian Riccaboni and Alex Koslov are on the call.
Stray Dog Army (Barrett Brown, Bateman & Misterioso) vs. Fred Yehi, Kevin Knight & The DKC
The Stray Dog Army have been faltering a little as of late, and we’ve got some aggravation before the bell…
Misterioso and Knight start us off, with Knight grabbing a side headlock early before we broke into shoulder tackles. Eventually Misterioso bounced off the ropes to charge down Knight, before leapfrogs and roll-throughs led to a leaping armdrag from Knight. Tags bring in DKC and Brown, who used to tag together back in the day. Things break down quickly with chops as Fred Yehi tagged in to help charge Brown down… before he went after Bateman on the outside. Back inside, a back elbow and a slam dropped Brown, with Knight tagging in to hit a slam and a standing frog splash for a two-count.
On the outside, Yehi again went to go after Bateman, but the distraction allows Brown to get Knight from behind, taking him down for some ground and pound before some triple-teaming ended with a facebuster from Bateman for a near-fall. A back suplex keeps Knight down, before Brown got a two-count out of a regular suplex. Misterioso’s back to throw a chop, then avoid a Knight dropkick, before a Quebrada to Knight’s back almost won it. Misterioso hits a Finlay roll, but misses a springboard moonsault… as Knight returned with a dropkick, then made the tag out to Yehi. Brown’s back to get knocked down, while Bateman had Brown thrown into him. Yehi stays on Bateman, who wasn’t legal… then Misterioso… before tagging out to DKC, whose flying ‘rana was caught. This sparks a Parade of Moves, which ended with Bateman charging Yehi into the barriers, before Knight flattened him with a plancha.
Misterioso joins in the fun with a plancha of his own, before DKC leapt off the middle rope with a flying kick to Brown for a near-fall. Some DKC chops are stopped as Misterioso returned to hit a gamengiri to the back of the head, before Brown’s PK set up for an Alabama Jam from Misterioso… allowing Brown to snatch the pin to get the win. **¾
Backstage, Big Damo talks about how he beat Tomohiro Ishii when Ishii debuted for Rev Pro several years ago. It leads to a challenge for next week…
Blake Christian vs. David Finlay
Finlay’s a little left out these days after his long-time tag partner Juice Robinson joined Bullet Club.
We open with a lock-up into the ropes as Finlay swiped at Christian on the break. Christian returns with a roll-up that took Finlay outside to break the cover, before he returned with a side headlock, but it’s escaped as Christian rolled him through for a low dropkick. Some more flips lead to Christian hitting a gamengiri from the apron, a springboard dropkick and a tope con giro to the outside. A springboard froggy crossbody gets Christian a two-count back inside, but Finlay fights back with an uppercut off the middle rope for a two-count. He charges Christian into the corner ahead of some mudhole stomps, before a chinlock was fought out of by Blake. We’ve a back elbow from Finlay to take him down for a two-count, before an exchange of strikes ended with Christian countering a back suplex.
Christian went for a wheelbarrow into a standing frog splash, but Finlay got the knees up as he followed up with a camel clutch. Old country way. That’s snapped into a cobra clutch from Finlay, before Christian got free and hit a lariat. A second one’s ducked, but he’s able to add a butterfly suplex instead, before he rolled through for that wheelbarrow/standing frog splash combo for a near-fall. Finlay knocks Christian off the apron as he was about to head up top, following up with a back suplex onto the side of the ring. Back inside, a spinning back suplex hits for a near-fall, before Finlay went for the shillelagh. A word I’d never know how to spell without wrestling. He thinks twice though, then went for a suplex, but instead Christian lifts him to the apron, then hit a gamengiri to cut off the springboard as a 450 splash caught Finlay across the ropes for a near-fall.
Back inside, Christian misses another 450 splash, but scored with a 619 in the corner before he springboarded into a Prima Nocta. From there, Finlay followed up with a Trash Panda (over-the-knee brainbuster), and that’s enough for the win as a more aggressive Finlay picked up the win. ***¼
Post-match, Finlay teased using the shillelagh on Christian, but opted for a less-violent handshake instead. Backstage, Finlay said he was the better man in that match, then said that he needed to win a singles title in New Japan.
TMDK (JONAH & Shane Haste) & Bad Dude Tito vs. United Empire (Jeff Cobb, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Wait, if Kyle was here, then who was in my face on Saturday night? (I know these are taped… humour me!)
Speaking of Fletcher, he starts against JONAH, getting backed into the corner by his compatriot, before sneaking around for a side headlock. It’s pushed off, before JONAH shoved Kyle’s leapfrog out of midair. Tags bring in Cobb and Haste, with the latter robbing us of a big lad’s clash. Haste’s side headlock is pushed off as he bounced off of Cobb, then went for a crossbody… but Cobb easily caught him. It’s turned into a suplex, but Haste escapes, only too get bounced down, then met with some standing backbreakers ahead of a slam and some mocking of JONAH as he stood on Haste’s back. Mark Davis tags in as Aussie Open knocked down Haste, while Kyle’s PK and Davis’ back senton nearly ended things there.
Cobb returns for a stalling suplex as he walked Haste around the ring… Davis tagged in to play pass-the-parcel, then Kyle, as this will never not be impressive. Fletcher finishes off the suplex for a two-count, before JONAH tripped Kyle in the ropes, allowing Haste to nearly decapitates Fletcher with a dropkick. A cannonball keeps Kyle cornered as Bad Dude Tito came in, as did JONAH, as Fletcher was literally on the ropes. A big splash bounced Kyle out of the corner, while Haste punted Fletcher in the spine ahead of a diving back splash from JONAH. It’s good for a two-count, as Bad Dude Tito tagged in to hit a senton atomico, adding to Haste’s suplex. A spinebuster from Tito led to a back suplex from JONAH that ended with him sitting on Kyle for fun, but still Fletcher’s able to kick out at two.
Haste kicks Fletcher again and again and again, before Fletcher fought back, clearing the TMDK apron before he dumped Haste with a brainbuster. Mark Davis comes in to hit chops and clotheslines on Haste and Tito, before a cartwheel got him away for a double clothesline. An Alphamare Waterslide’s escaped as Tito hits a spinning enziguiri, then got whipped into the corner before he scored a Blockbuster to Davis for a near-fall. Fletcher tags back in as a double-team GTS and the assisted Aussie Arrow left Tito down for a near-fall. Cobb charges in as Tito’s left isolated, eating a Davis forearm, a Kyle kick then a pancake before Cobb’s standing moonsault forced JONAH and Haste to break the pin. A diving kick from Kyle knocks JONAH off the apron as the Parade of Moves led to Haste getting booted before clotheslines left everyone laying.
Finally we get the big lads against each other, with Cobb and JONAH trading forearms and shoulder charges before they bounced off each other with duelling crossbody blocks. The big lads slide outside and brawl to the back, as we’re left with Aussie Open against Haste/Tito… Tito’s dropped in the corner for Davis’ sliding punch, before Tito’s pulled up for the Corealis for the win. A LOT of spotlight on Aussie Open here, with Davis and Fletcher taking a lot of the match as another United Empire trios match closed a show… ***½
Just like last week, Great-O-Khan closes out the show with a promo, putting over Aussie Open as the United Empire stood stall. Next week: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Big Damo, Alex Zayne & Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Bey & El Phantasmo, and Keita & Yuya Uemura vs. Lucas Riley & Kevin Blackwood.
New Japan Strong continues to be solid, and with the influx of new blood – some of which from Japan – on these line-ups, Strong has been kick-started. If, like me, you’re a little put off with how regular the “main” New Japan shows run at the moment but want to keep touch in some form… Strong’s absolutely the hour-a-week for you.