NJPW STRONG #13 – Road to Showdown 2020

Port Hueneme, CA – 10.30.2020

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Clark Connors & The DKC vs. The Riegel Twins (Logan & Sterling Riegel)

Sterling is back from his UK excursion and once again teaming with his identical twin brother. Given they have significantly more experience as a tandem, they are able to implement double team offense with ease. Connors pounces Sterling as he comes off the ropes, however, and tags in DKC to assist in keeping him isolated. Sterling is able to escape after sending DKC to the floor and hopping over a corner dive from Connors. Logan takes down Connors on the floor with a pescado and a Sling Blade in the ring. Connors powerslams Logan coming off the ropes to buy some time. DKC gives Sterling a modified Falcon Arrow for two. Connors spears Logan, but Sterling leapfrogs over it and drops Connors with a neckbreaker. DKC ‘s karate chops serve him well until again assists Sterling with a high-angle spike DDT for the pin at 10:00. STRONG does not have many permanent teams, so from that perspective the Riegel Twins freshen things up. Sterling looked solid in his re-debut and DKC’s losing streak rolls on. **¼

Karl Fredericks vs. Blake Christian

Christian is able to roll under Fredericks’ standing crossbody and delivers a kick. A back handspring elbow, dropkick, and headscissors send Fredericks outside, with Christian suicide diving after him. Fredericks manages to halt Christian in the corner, kicking him in the back twice. After attacking Christian’s back and neck, Fredericks tries for Manifest Destiny. Christian escapes and hits a tiger feint kick between the middle and bottom rope. Chrisitian enzuigiri’s Fredericks in the back of the head from the apron and comes in with a double stomp to the back of the head for two. Christian attempts several pinning combinations before being shut down by Fredericks with a spine buster. Fredericks locks in a half crab right after, stomping on Christian’s head and kneeling down until Christian taps out 5:56. Christian’s explosive offense and a simple but very effective story made for a really good match. What started off as a defensive play for Fredericks in the beginning with attacking Christian’s back led to his victory, and I love that for him. **¾

David Finlay, PJ Black, Alex Zayne & Misterioso vs. BULLET CLUB (KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Hikuleo)

PJ Black is facing Tama Tonga in a singles match in two weeks, and Finlay has a shot at KENTA’s IWGP U.S. Title Challenger briefcase in a few weeks, so this is a preview of sorts for both matches. Black manhandles Loa in the early going, despite Tonga’s cheap shot from the apron. Misterioso even subverts the Guerrillas of Destiny’s double team attempts and gets a two on Tonga after a superkick to the chin. Zayne is able to fight off Loa and Tonga, but a chokeslam from Hikuleo behind the referee’s back takes him down. The BULLET CLUB beat down Zayne until he Pele kicks KENTA. Finlay gets the tag and trades blows with his future opponent, almost pinning him after an uranage backbreaker. Black high crossbody’s onto KENTA and Loa when Loa runs in. KENTA DDT’s Finlay and Hikuleo throws him into the corners shoulder first aggressively. Zayne saves Finlay from an ankle lock with a springboard dropkick to Tonga. Hikuleo rolls through a crossbody from Misterioso and drops him with the GunSlinger for the pin at 9:33. That was actually much more fun than I expected, but very little action from Zayne and ending with the two worst people on either side are two decisions I don’t quite understand. This match was also building up two specific matches, KENTA vs. Finlay and Tonga vs. Black, and none of them being involved in the finish comes off a bit odd to me as well. Strange choices aside this was a fun watch. ***

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