NJPW STRONG #28 – The New Beginning USA 2021 Part 1

Port Hueneme, CA – 2.19.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Rocky Romero, Adrian Quest & Misterioso vs. Rey Horus, Barrett Brown & The DKC

Romero’s team wisely traps DKC in their corner. When Brown tries to save him, Romero cuts off Brown with a shoulder breaker. This momentary respite enables DKC to interrupt Romero’s forever clotheslines with a one-legged dropkick, and he tags in the fresh Horus. Horus is able to keep up with Quest’s pace. He even gets Quest to accidentally shoulder block Misterioso to the floor, and Horus follows that up with a slingshot Frankensteiner to Misterioso. He gamengiri’s Quest from the floor and lands a high crossbody back in the ring for two. Horus enzuigiri’s Romero after avoiding a Shiranui. All of his team unload on Romero, with Brown scoring a nearfall with his .50 Caliber kick. Misterioso helps Quest take Horus and DKC outside and they lay them out with double pescado’s. In the ring, Brown goes for a brainbuster. Romero reverses into a Falcon Arrow and taps out Brown with a cross armbreaker at 10:13. Totally solid trios match, with Brown eating another loss. Despite the randomness of the teams, everyone worked together quite well. **¾

Brown voices his frustrations to Horus and DKC, worried about his position with the company. He lost in the opening round of the Lion’s Break: Crown tournament, wasn’t in the Super J-Cup, and hasn’t had a win yet in 2021. He says something’s got to change before storming off.

Fred Rosser vs. Hikuleo

Rosser’s plan was to try a sleeper hold to get Hikuleo off his feet. Once Hikuleo kicked him off the top turnbuckle and body slammed him on the floor, the match turned into Hikuleo attacking Rosser’s back. Hikuleo’s leg gets stuck on the top rope when he misses a boot, and Rosser clobbers Hikuleo in the back of the neck. Rosser’s back is too hurt to execute the Gut Check. Hikuleo chokeslams Rosser and Hikuleo is shocked when he kicks out. Rosser also escapes the Tongan Driller and goes for a backslide. He pulls Hikuleo’s hair to get him over and pins Hikuleo at 10:40. Good story, but there was nothing exciting when Hikuleo was wearing Rosser down. Hikuleo beats up a ringside attendant out of anger after the bell. This feud ain’t over. *½

Lio Rush vs. El Phantasmo

This is a rematch from the opening round of the 2020 Super J-Cup. Rush also pinned Phantasmo in the main event of STRONG 25 in a Trios match. Phantasmo grabs Rush’s nipple before applying a headlock. They reach a second stalemate throwing stereo dropkicks. Rush back handspring kicks Phantasmo to the floor, and Phantasmo takes his time to catch his breath. When Phantasmo decides to come in, Rush is able to take him down with a chest kick. Phantasmo gets ahold of Rush’s leg, flipping him over onto his face and picking him up right into a DDT for two. He chokes Rush on the bottom rope before whipping him chest first into the turnbuckles. Rush is able to catch Phantasmo with a spike DDT to turn things around. He also halts Phantasmo with a springback Ace Crusher for two. Phantasmo puts his feet up to block the Rush Hour. Rush notices him getting his knees up and is able to roll away. He also blocks a low blow attempt from Phantasmo with his legs and Magistral cradles him for a two count. Phantasmo pushes Rush into the referee. When Rush turns around, Phantasmo drills him with a superkick for the pin at 14:05. No doubt that ending is worthy of an eye roll, but I do appreciate it at least plays off the finish of their J-Cup match. Rush was able to subvert some other tactics Phantasmo used in that match, only to be done in one more by a little referee play. More good wrestling from these two, but will we ever get our cathartic moment with Rush coming out victorious in a one-on-one match? ***

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