NJPW Strong : Usual Excellence


That’s the thing with NJPW Strong, it often feels a bit of a cheat if matches aren’t phenomenally good. Their standard position is excellence, they never dip below really good. This was a ‘really good’ episode of NJPW Strong. And occasionally brilliant. When you have Lio Rush and El Phantasmo in the same ring, how can it now be?

The Atmosphere

The crowd is not as pumped as they have been and there’s not such a feeling of a special event here, but the look is still a bit muted for a club feel. And the wrestlers are starting to interact with the crowd, a really sweet development.

And The Matches?

2 very good, one pretty good. But’s only my view, do let me know whatcha think…

FinJuice v Knight & Eumura

I’ll be honest. FinJuice doesn’t float my boat. They fill the sails a little, but I just think they seem too pushy, almost as if they’re shouting ‘We have loads of character!’ and if you have character, you won’t have to do that. It’s mainly the Juice part of the team which does that, but he has impressed me recently.

Credit; Cageside seats

Here FinJuice had the modesty and love of their compatriots, NJPW Strong, and the business to give Knight and Eumura loads.

What sort of loads? A Knight dropkick on both of them, a nasty looking Eumura backdrop and chicken wing type, for which his partner joined him for 2 submissions in the squared circle, a big Knight low clothesline, and he was even allowed to kick out of the FinnJuice kick and Russsian leg sweep combo. The more experienced team won with another combo, a good-looking clothesline one, but Knight and Eurmura were shown as the team that could hang with former champs.

Very sweet.

El Phantasmo & Chris Bey v Lio Rush & Ariya Daivari

What a tasty foursome. And we don’t even have to put our keys in a fishbowl. Rush and Bey worked together first, Rush showing superior speed but falling foul of a Bey spine-buster.

Lio Rush
Credit; fansided

Bey then took Daivari’s carpet and more shenanigans took place. Well, the Bullet Club likes to have their fun, don’t they?

That starts with ElP’s feet into twig & berries move but continued on Backrake Boulevard:

1. ElP jumping from the top in a frog splash move before back raking

2. Bey flipping then back raking

3. ElP coast to coast before back raking

4. A back rake to….the carpet

No wonder the crowd chanted ‘you sick f*ck’. Then a lovely springboard moonsault from El Phan, answered by a falcon arrow on him by Rush. And then? A knee to Daivari (I think, it did happen quickly) from the top whilst he was on ElP’s shoulders in a torture rack, then an airplane spin and drop. What a move.

Rush’s speed undid him when he bounced off the ropes straight into a Bey elbow, but he had enough about him to hit a moonsault to the outside. And a Daivari magic carpet leap, yes, the carpet under him, yes, the leap from the top to the outside.

Then 3 splashes, one from Rush, one from Daivari, and one from ElP to break it up. This was getting frenetic. So frenetic that Rush hit his low cutter on his teammate who was then super-kicked and tasted a spinning knee for the pin. Sound good? It looked even better.

Clark Connors v TJP

There’s previous here. TJP took the chance with United Empire to enhance his career, Alex Kozlov helpfully explains and Connors doesn’t seem happy.

After all, they were tag partners, maybe even friends.

Credit; Newsweek

And Clarke was so riled, he took a drink in the outside and spat it into TJP’s face, then threw him with authority into the guardrail. Connors had tape on his shoulder and leg, so no surprise that TJP targeted it. What was surprising was TJP bending the leg over the ring post. Right. Over. The. Ring Post.

Amazing then that the White Rhino had the energy to pick TJP up from a headlock and drop him in a shoulder breaker. Even more amazing that TJP could execute a superb tornado DDT, but he didn’t get his boots cleaned with the patented boot wash, Connors shoulder tackled him then got his own boots cleaned.

Kickouts; Connors from the splash, TJP from the spear. And the newly nefarious TJP got the pin whilst hanging onto the ropes. What a main event. Not as fun-packed as what went before, but not more knockdown and, indeed, drag out.

So Is NJPW Strong Getting Better?

No, it was always stupendous. Great roster, booked well, wrestlers allowed to work. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Written by Steve Swift

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