Alex Coughlin, Adrian Quest and Rocky Romero beat Danny Limelight, Black Tiger and JR Kratos in 8:33 (***)
Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson pinned Fred Rosser in 7:28 (***)
Jay White pinned Hikuleo in 18:33 (***¾)
We have a wacky Friday night installment from New Japan Strong, with Ian Riccaboni and an Alex Koslov returning to call from Vermont Hollywood to LA…
Team Filthy (Black Tiger, Danny Limelight and JR Kratos) vs. Alex Coughlin, Rocky Romero and Adrian Quest
We have some dangling threads here, with Rocky Romero/Black Tiger and Alex Coughlin/JR Kratos far from being resolved in Strong.
Quest and Limelight got us started with a hockey fight, before a shot into the ropes led Quest to block a roll from O’Connor past an uppercut to Limelight, who attempted a back kick. A Limelight flutter leads him to land that kick, before a crucifix and back body drop had Limelight on the back foot.
Quest charges into the corner with an uppercut as Romero came in for Forever Clotheslines. Rocky gets caught in the ropes by Black Tiger’s kick, allowing Limelight to take advantage as Black Tiger came in for a nice back suplex/reverse DDT combo on the middle rope – something out of the history of Rocky with former tag partners. Like Ricky Reyes.
Black Tiger takes Rocky around the corner for some Forever-ish clotheslines, before the ring is flooded as things break down. A back elbow from Black Tiger keeps Team Filthy ahead after Coughlin and Quest are posted and thrown into the barriers, before a bodyslam from Kratos leads to Team Filthy’s pose. Limelight comes back for a neck breaker on Rocky for a two count, before a palm kick from Rocky draws in Black Tiger… who ate a rewind kick and a Shiranui before Rocky finally made the tag .
Enter Coughlin and Kratos, who go head-to-head with right hands and searing chops that had Ian Riccaboni shaking during commentary. Look for. Kratos leaps over Coughlin in front of a big boot, while a deadlift suplex lands for a near fall. Kratos misses a leaping frog splash, then escapes a descending slam… rolling outside as Adrian Quest joins a senton flip into Kratos and Limelight.
Kratos is brought back inside as Coughlin hits the transition slam…but Black Tiger breaks the pin. The limelight enters as Kratos rolls out…but Coughlin got rid of Black Tiger, then shook Limelight’s attacks for a lariat discus, then put it away with a nice German deadlift suplex. An enjoyable trios match that kept those storylines going – and once again showed you (if you needed reminding) just how incredibly strong Coughlin is. ***
After the match, Kratos slipped out and laid Coughlin down with a chair. There’s also some for Quest, before Coughlin was thrown into a chair with a swinging side slam… which led to a stretcher job for Coughlin.
Chris Dickinson gets a promo, telling us he’ll face Ren Narita next week.
West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs) vs. Fred Rosser
If Rosser “passes” WCWC, he’ll get a STRONG title shot from Tom Lawlor…and there’s no need for tags for Nelson and Isaacs. Kind of a stacked deck, right? Meanwhile, Tom Lawlor is at ringside to watch, in all denim.
Rosser jumped as he rolled into the ring as the handicap match began in earnest, but he managed to free himself and began to have WCWC on the back foot. There’s a nice back drop for Nelson, who’s strapped on the outside, allowing Rosser to target Isaacs for a spell, throwing him into the railings.
Nelson is targeted with a back suplex at ringside, before a Death Valley driver leads Nelson to roll outside. Rosser goes for Isaacs and makes Tom Lawlor watch as a series of downward elbows hits him past a chicken wing that ended with Royce thrown into the corner.
Rosser’s chops keep him there, as do clotheslines fore and aft, before a seated splash had Rosser in front of him… while a trip up top was neutralized with Nelson pushing Rosser from the high. We’re back to two-on-one from here, with Rosser stuck with boots and uppercuts. Nelson throws Rosser into the corner as WCWC took the time to pose with Lawlor on stage.
They return to the ring, but Rosser punches through with a double clothesline, then with chops, only to get bridged by Isaacs to the outside. A slingshot in a slam followed on the floor, who picks up a count inside, while a pop-up spinebuster, German suplex and kick-assisted brainbuster take the win. A brave display from Rosser, but this game was way too stacked from the start. ***
After the match, Tom Lawlor berated Rosser for wanting gifts, then pulled out the lock of hair he had saved when he shaved Rosser bald last year. Lawlor then offered a title shot…but only de Rosser shaved on the spot, so far. They had a cordless razor handy, with them shaving Road Warrior-like lines in Rosser’s hair before he got on with the job. Lawlor, of course, wanted to upset Fred a bit more, and…chewed some of his hair.
Of course, there’s part of the crowd singing for him to swallow (get real, guys), before Lawlor turns down Rosser again. At least leave him the razor to finish off guys! There’s another change of heart… Lawlor suggests he has a match with Rosser at Capital Collision – title vs. solid career. Lawlor noted that Rosser “could go to the impact zone” or “get a visa and go to Japan”, and I tell you what, Rosser in the G1 is far from the worst idea I’ve heard.
We get a video package for the Hikuleo vs. Jay White match, which is steeped in all the Bullet Club drama that I didn’t really pay attention to.
Hikuleo vs. Jay White
Of course, White rolls out at the bell as the comments wondered what Hikuleo’s future was regardless of the outcome.
White continues to frustrate Hikuleo by sitting into the ropes to force a break as the big man looms. Another trip to the outside has Hikuleo in pursuit, before catching a baseball slide attempt as White finally found a way through, jumping on Hikuleo as he ran inside. A shoulder tackle knocked White down, as did a couple of batons, before another trip outside led to White being thrown through the railings.
Back inside, Hikuleo continued to control the pace, Biel’ing White across the ring as another baton blow led White to powder again. This time, White tricks Hikuleo into cutting the ring post, then shoves him into it before an inside attempt is blocked. Hikuleo misses a running boot in the corner as White leaps with a chopping block…and there’s the vulnerability!
White focuses on the knee, repeatedly wrapping Hikuleo’s leg around the ring post…but as Hikuleo was able to push White into the barriers, Jay ripped off the ring apron and tried to choke him with it, as a draped daredevil brought things upstairs. Hikuleo gets back in the ring, but White stays on the leg with a Dragon Screw and some knee kicks, past a half-crab attempt… which White turned back into a Dragon Screw on the ground.
Hikuleo gets back at it with a few chops, only to knock his knee down before throwing White into the corner. A clinching suplex followed from Hikuleo, then a bodyslam and a standing splash for a two count, before White nudged out of a fire carry, then scored with a DDT after kicking again. foot to knee.
White continues with uppercuts in the corner, before a slippery Flatliner plants Hikuleo in the middle of the ring. Pulling the big man leads to a Saito suplex as everyone thought White was going for a Blade Runner, before a Blade Buster lands for a near pinfall. A sleeperhold followed as White moved up Hikuleo…but the sleeper suplex is pushed back as White bounces back with a chop block.
Another dormant suplex crack is escaped as White instead meets Hikuleo in the ropes with a clothesline, before targeting the leg with a Dragon screw. Hikuleo’s leg wraps around the ropes as White sets up with mounted punches…only for the big man to counter with a powerbomb! White rolls to the outside to avoid a pinning attempt, then runs back into the ring to catch Hikuleo with another screw from Dragon in the ropes.
A draped DDT brings the big man back for a near fall, before a Blade Runner is countered as Hikuleo goozles the former champion. Chops follow, as Hikuleo came back with a short arm clothesline. More chops have White collapsing in the corner before a Powerslam for a near fall, before White came back to the knee…to come up against another Powerslam!
The finish comes out of nowhere like Hikuleo pulls White for a chokeslam, but ends up deftly transforming into Blade Runner as I leap out of my chair for it. An excellent finish that caught everyone off guard as Blanc was in his first real peril. ***¾
After the match, White grabbed a chair and teased Hikuleo with it…then told him to be “smarter than your brothers” and offered to stay at Bullet Club. Hikuleo “too sweet” White, and it looks like his spot is secure…for now.