JR Kratos pinned Drew Adler in 4:43 (**¾)
Dax Harwood submitted Rocky Romero in 10:26 (***½)
El Desperado pinned Blake Christian and Hiromu Takahashi in 19:19 (***¾)
— If you are on Twitter, follow me on @IanWrestling — and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.
We’re back at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, NC for an episode that’s barely over an hour. Ian Riccaboni and Alex Kozlov are back in the comments.
Drew Adler vs. JR Kratos
Adler is a regular at this building for PWX – and he brought his pre-workout with him. I have a feeling the “Top Tier Talent” will need more than that today against a bright JR Kratos.
Originally it was supposed to be Kratos vs. Alex Coughlin, but injury struck. Adler ignored an early clothesline, coming back with a back elbow and a chop, only for Kratos to give him a death glare. Adler goes for a sports handshake, but gets shot in an elbow as Kratos flips that chop before a dropkick to take Adler outside.
Adler snuck in a hotshot before a slingshot corkscrew splash earned him a count. He takes Kratos into the corner, but couldn’t lift him up high…and earned himself a front kick for his troubles. Kratos deadlifts Drew for a suplex, before Adler tried his luck with a Corning hold.
Kratos shoved his way out of the hold as Adler swung back into the corner…and then the other, courtesy of a release suplex snap. Adler returns to the Corning hold, then with a leg lariat that sent Kratos staggering into a Powerslam for a near fall. Up top, Adler tries on a shoulder strap, but Kratos’ team took a step forward and came back with a sidewalk slam for the outright victory. **¾
Behind the scenes, we have the Workhorsemen! JD Drake and Anthony Henry arrive at New Japan Strong, taking on KUSHIDA and “Shibata Junior” Ren Narita in an upcoming episode. A good intro promo in case you didn’t know who Drake or Henry were…
Rocky Romero vs. Dax Harwood
This one started at Forbidden Door, with Rocky Romero upset that he didn’t get the win in the IWGP Triple Threat Title match.
The early skirmishes were fairly even, before Rocky grabbed a sideways headlock by the ropes… the pair traded headlocks as the ref continued to call breaks, before Harwood fired a shot at Rocky, to getting charged… Dax comes back with hips and arm punches as he beached Rocky with an armbar.
Rocky snaps going for Harwood’s earlobe, before the pair trade chops in the corner. Dax removes the stronger ones before Rocky peeks at him, only for Harwood to do the same before a Rocky ‘rana takes Harwood outside. We’re back to the chops, before Harwood’s charge in the corner was missed, allowing Rocky to come back with divorce court as he started aiming for Dax’s left arm.
Harwood is taken to the corner as Rocky climbs the ropes and hits a knee to the middle rope arm. Staying on the left arm, Rocky pulls Dax before Harwood breaks free…only to be sent to the apron as Harwood tries to fight back, only to get caught with a Strong Zero dropkick for a near fall.
A few right hands from Harwood bring him back in, before Dax counters a telegraphed fall from the back body into an inside cradle. Rocky picks up the pace from the kick, hitting a rewind kick for a near fall, before Dax trips him into a sniper. Rocky quickly reached the ropes for the break, then hit the ropes for a swinging DDT out of the corner for another two count.
A superplex from Dax brings him back in, as the pair began to look for the finish… an O’Connor roll nearly does it for Rocky, whose Shiranui added a near fall, before Dax fought on a Diablo armbar, fighting his way free before returning to the Sharpshooter for submission. A good game for the time they had, with little downtime or something in what was an incredibly even outing. ***½
Blake Christian vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado
Christian was an injured replacement for Clark Connors in this one… while Hiromu brought Daryl back for his trip to the States for a fairly rare trio in New Japan.
The crowd amused at the bell, with an “all those guys” chant making even the referee shine. Kevin Kelly would be furious. The crowd wanted to add the referee to the match, so we’ve got a teaser of Blake Christian vs. Jeremy Marcus with Desperado and Hiromu on the apron ready to “tag” in…
When we start, it’s Hiromu and Christian who kick us off, swinging with clotheslines before Desperado arrives as the trio take superkicks. Desperado and Hiromu team up to charge Christian, who snuck in with a springboard forearm, before he catches a stomp from Desperado, knocking him down with a spinning heel kick.
Desperado is taken outside as Blake has faked a dive…but Hiromu is there to catch him from behind, only for Christian to take Hiromu to the ropes for a back knee. Blake tries to dive again, but is tripped by Desperado, who then knocks him down as Desperado then takes Hiromu into the railings.
Back inside, Desperado raked Christian’s eyes before a slam, then rolled Christian into a half-crab. Hiromu dives to break it as he takes Christian into the corner for some chops, building a clothesline and low dropkick for a two count. Christian fell into a Boston Crab from there, but Desperado arrives to smash him with an eye rake as these two start cutting each other again.
Christian interrupts with forearms, so Hiromu and Desperado go to work on him, only for Christian to find his way clear with suplexes and a Quebrada to Hiromu for a near fall. A back suplex from Christian exposes Hiromu, but Desperado lowers Blake’s springboard before heading up for a frog splash. It’s good for a near fall as Christian breaks cover, then trades elbows with Desperado.
They continue to throw elbow strikes before Christian blocks a spinebuster…as Hiromu walks in and gets ‘rana’d by Blake. Desperado throws a forearm to take Blake outside, where Christian fends off Desperado’s attempted dive. Hiromu gets in the lead and hits a back senton to Desperado on the ground, while a Fosbury Flop into a Reverse DDT from Christian takes them both down the aisle. Twice.
Back inside, Hiromu dodges a 450 splash, then drops to his knees to block a wheelbarrow frog splash as we cross the 15 minute mark. A Christian handspring turned into a German suplex before Desperado hit the ring to start a Parade of Moves. Desperado’s spinebuster left Hiromu down, while Christian hit a standing Spanish fly to counter a clothesline… only to get a shotgun in the corner with a dropkick from Hiromu.
Hiromu picks up with a Death Valley Driver in Christian’s corner, before a Dynamite Plunger escapes. A leaping knee from Christian earned him a big lariat, which was returned seconds later. Christian’s Death Valley driver followed, ahead of a stomp for a near fall…which Desperado snapped in no time. A right hand from Desperado catches Blake, who battled Pinche Loco… only to ride back in a Pinche Loco seconds later for the win. ***¾