Hiroshi Tanahashi main events the latest episode of New Japan Strong, as we also have a hoss fight between Brody King and Jake Something.
Royce Isaacs, Jorel Nelson & JR Kratos pinned The DKC, Kevin Knight & Alex Coughlin in 9:21 (**¾)
Ariya Daivari pinned Delirious in 10:15 (***)
Brody King pinned Jake Something in 8:27 (***)
Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Chris Dickinson in 13:15 (***¼)
We’re back at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia for this, with Ian Riccaboni and Matt Rehwoldt on the call.
Team Filthy (Jorel Nelson, JR Kratos & Royce Isaacs) vs. Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight & The DKC
This was the debut of Coughlin’s new get-up, as he’s out in one of those Terminator costumes they used at WrestleMania the other year. He’s now going by the nickname of “the Android.”
Knight and Nelson start us off, but JR Kratos sprinted around ringside and chucked Coughlin into the guard rails. The action in the ring sees Nelson flatten Knight on a dropdown, before hiptosses and slams from the Young Lion led to a twisting standing frog splash for a two-count. The DKC and Kevin Knight trade quick tags before they knocked Kratos off the apron… Coughlin’s in to propel DKC into headscissors on Nelson, then went after Royce Isaacs, using Kevin Knight as the Terry Funk ladder in the process. Team Filthy rush the ring to turn things around, leading to a trio of simultaneous suplexes, before Kratos Biel’d Knight out of the corner.
Knight tries to fight back, but Nelson dumps him with a back elbow for a two-count, then dragged him into the corner as Royce Isaacs put the boot in. Coughlin gets the hot tag in and chucks the West Coast Wrecking Crew with gutwrench suplexes as Kratos backed away… leading to a double teardrop suplex for a near-fall. Royce Isaacs gets triple-teamed as he’s put in an Electric Chair by Coughlin for a BIG Knight dropkick… Kratos breaks up the pin as another turnaround isolated the DKC, leading to a wheelbarrow German suplex from Kratos for another near-fall. Kratos and Coughlin have a staredown as they trade shots, leading to a clothesline from Kratos.
The big man tries for a Stinger splash in the corner, but Coughlin caught it and turned it into an overhead belly-to-belly as Kratos then rolled outside. He’s met with a plancha for good measure, as we settled down to the WCWC and the Young Lions. Knight looked to pull ahead, but gets thrown into a German suplex, before a kick-assisted brainbuster gets Isaacs the win. The Coughlin/Kratos feud simmers on here in what was an otherwise straightforward outing for Team Filthy. **¾
We had a pull-apart after the match…
Ariya Daivari vs. Delirious
Daivari’s been struggling on Strong, but more with his conscience than anything else. Would he find consistency against the “International Superstar” Delirious?
Delirious dove for Daivari’s feet at the bell, then scored with waistlock takedowns before Daivari scrambled to the outside. Returning, Daivari got in Delirious’ face before he ran the masked man’s face into the buckles. Delirious shrugs it off for a Manhattan drop, then some chops and a crossbody, before a single-leg dropkick had Daivari down again. Daivari hangs up Delirious across the ropes, but couldn’t avoid another Manhattan drop before he pulled Delirious down by the hair. A running neckbreaker follows for a near-fall, before another in between the ropes kept the focus going. Delirious bites his way out of a neck crank, but couldn’t avoid a DDT as Daviari kept the pressure up.
Delirious fights out of a sleeperhold, only to get clubbed in the back… Daivari fights back with some chops and a misdirection clothesline, then a series of short legdrops that forced Daivari to roll outside for respite. Daivari tries to abandon the match, but gets thrown back the ring by Delirious, then taken down with a Fireman’s carry. Delirious’ Northern Lights driver nearly wins it, before Daivari turned it around with a uranage for a near-fall. A hammerlock clothesline’s ducked as Delirious goes for Daivari’s back, leading to a cobra camel clutch… but Daivari rolled it into a pin for a near-fall to break the hold. A superkick stops Delirious from there, before the hammerlock clothesline gets the win. ***
Jake Something vs. Brody King
This was Something’s New Japan debut, as we have ourselves something of a hoss fight on our hands.
Opening with a tie-up that’s thrown away, a second tie-up sees the pair head into the ropes before they break it up. Shoulder tackles up the ante as King pulls ahead, only to get caught with a Vader-ish body attack from Something. Brody chops back, sparking a battle between the two, ending with Brody splashing and clotheslining Something in the corner. An attempted Ganso bomb’s blocked as Something fought out, only to get caught with a piledriver for a near-fall as the pair were throwing bombs. Lariats follow as we’ve got some clubbering going on, with a rolling elbow from King earning him a clothesline as we built to the pair of them hitting a crossbody on each other.
We’re back with a lock-up as the pair trade forearms once more, then chops, before Something speared Brody into the corner. Something tries for a powerbomb, and manages to plant King with a sitout powerbomb for a near-fall, before things headed outside as Something hits a pescado to the outside. Back inside, King shoves away a Black Hole Slam attempt, then crushed Something with a lariat for a near-fall, following with a Ganso bomb for the win. The crowd were weirdly quiet for this one, but the pair knocked lumps out of each other here. ***
Next week: Tony Deppen debuts, with Willie Mack and Homicide debuting the week after.
Chris Dickinson vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Well, if you thought the crowd was muted, Tanahashi’s entrance kinda showed you that wasn’t quite the case…
We’ve a tentative start as they lock up into the corner, with Dickinson breaking cleanly before he threw a cheapshot in the second time around. Tanahashi’s springboard crossbody out of the corner gets him free, while hiptosses and armbars had Dickinson down. A Dragon screw gets Dickinson free, following up with a DDT to the leg, as he then wrapped Tanahashi’s legs around the ring post. A grounded Dragon screw keeps Tanahashi down, as a half crab followed when Tanahashi tried to block another one. Tying up the legs allows Dickinson to morph into a Muta lock, but it ends in the ropes. Another Dragon screw followed on the mat, while chops took Tanahashi into the corner as Dickinson kept the offence going.
Tanahashi boots his way free, then added a leaping forearm, before a slam and a flip senton off the middle rope drew a near-fall. A Slingblade keeps things going Tanahashi’s way, before Tanahashi went up for a High Fly Flow… which Dickinson rolled through as he countered back with a Figure Four. The hold’s rolled over by Tanahashi as Dickinson needed the ropes to break his own move. The pair trade right hands from there, before Dickinson tripped Tanahashi ahead of a deadlift German suplex for a near-fall. A STF followed as Tanahashi broke in the ropes, with Dickinson then picking up for a brainbuster… but Tanahashi countered into a Twist and Shout, following with a Magic Screw for good measure. Another Slingblade gets Tanahashi a near-fall, before a High Fly Flow off the top gets the job done. Decent enough, but I got the sense Philadelphia just didn’t want to see this match. ***¼
We end with a Tanahashi show-closing promo, then some air guitar. Next week: Tom Lawlor defends the NJPW Strong Openweight title against Fred Rosser – who must leave Strong if he doesn’t win.
I’m guessing this batch of matches from Strong came from the end part of the tapings (I know Dickinson/Tanahashi was the main event of the night), as we had a tired crowd that really didn’t react much this week.