NJPW STRONG #12 – NEVER 2020 Part 2

Port Hueneme, CA – 10.23.2020

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Fred Rosser vs. Clark Connors

Rosser targets Connors’ neck with strikes and submissions. Connors sweeps Rosser’s legs as Rosser is pulling him up by his hair, and Connors takes him down with a spear. Rosser overhand chops Connors from the ground to stop his stomps, but Connors reverses a whip and takes Rosser down with a dropkick. Rosser grabs Connors’ hair for leverage and strikes him in the face with knees from the mat. He follows that with a belly-to-belly suplex and a seated splash. Connors catches Rosser coming off the ropes with a snap slam and attempts a Boston Crab. He’s able to turn over Rosser successfully, but Rosser gets the ropes. Connors looks for a spear off the second rope. Rosser stops him with a knee to the face and hits the Gut Check for the pin at 6:00. This was all action and really enjoyable to watch, one of the best bell-to-bell outings I’ve seen from Rosser. **¾

ACH vs. Karl Fredericks

Fredericks dominates ACH to start. ACH stops a corner attack with a back elbow and dropkicks Fredericks in the side of the head to turn things in his favor. Fredericks gives ACH a neckbreaker across his back, following with a backdrop and jumping elbow drop for two. ACH blocks Manifest Destiny and delivers a DDT for two. ACH tries a brainbuster, and Fredericks blocks a Shibata-esque sleeper hold. He transitions that into Manifest Destiny for the pin at 6:22. Fredericks continues to stand out as the top LA Dojo student with consistently good performances and a handful of big wins. I didn’t know how well he and ACH would work together, and it turns out they worked great together. **¾

Brody King & Flip Gordon vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)

Loa pokes King in the eyes to end their strike exchange. King lays out Loa with a running crossbody before tagging in Gordon. As Gordon goes for a springboard maneuver, Tonga pulls him down face first onto the ring apron. Loa gives Gordon a few more shots as Tonga sends Gordon into a wooden stage. The Guerrillas wear down Gordon in their corner until he appropriately fips out of a back suplex attempt from Loa and dives to King for a tag. King Black Hole Slams Loa and gives Tonga a huge backdrop. Loa takes out King with a spear. Gordon connects with a springback Slingblade on Tonga and gets a two count on him with a one-armed powerbomb. King Cactus clotheslines Loa to the floor. Gordon looks for the Flip-5 on Tonga. Tonga escapes and when Gordon tries a springboard spear, Tonga cuts him off with a Gun Stun for the pin at 7:39. This was one of the more spirited G.O.D. matches from STRONG so far. There were great dynamics between Gordon and Tonga and Loa and King, and sticking to those pairings worked out really well for the bout at large. ***

Rocky Romero vs. Jay White

This match was made due to Romero eliminating White first two weeks ago in a 12 man elimination tag team match. An embarrassed White attacked Romero after the elimination. Romero shows White no fear right away with a slap to the face and a schoolboy for two. White however cuts off Romero’s forever clotheslines with an atomic drop and DDT. He focuses his attack on Romero’s back and midsection going forward. Romero fights back with a series of forearm shots and chops, nursing his back in the process. He is even able to send White to the floor with a tornado DDT. Romero dropkicks White in the side of the head as White lays on the middle rope, and then attacks White’s left shoulder. White pushes Romero away when Romero goes for another tornado DDT and shuts down Romero with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Romero attacks the arm again and connects with the tornado DDT on his next try. Romero’s back is too worn down for a brainbuster, so he rolls White into a cross armbreaker. White blocks a running Shiranui at first. Romero attacks the hand and goes for it again. White counters and goes for Blade Runner, which Romero counters with a backslide for two. A knee strike and slap lead to Romero successfully hitting a running Shiranui for two. Romero goes for Sliced Bread and mid-move is stopped with a backbreaker. White then hits the Blade Runner for the pin at 14:12. He and White told a great story with each of them focusing their offense on a different body part, and convincing us Romero was capable of beating the former IWGP Champion. The commentary, the way the match started, and just how smartly Romero worked the match aided in getting me excited for Romero to prove him eliminating White was no fluke. This was a great match, and the best STRONG match as of this point. ***¾

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