NJPW STRONG #32 – Strong Style Evolved 2021 Part 1

Port Hueneme, CA – 3.19.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Jeff Cobb vs. Alex Coughlin

Since his last appearance, Cobb joined a new heel faction called “The United Empire” which consists of himself, Will Ospreay, and the Great O-Khan in New Japan proper. This was like Coughlin wrestled a brick wall, which is impressive because he was able to pull off a bodyslam. Cobb almost gets three with the Spin Cycle, but ultimately the Tour of the Islands did the trick at 5:58. It’s nice that Coughlin got to wrestle someone of a level of stature above his normal competition, but there wasn’t much to the match at all. This would be Cobb’s final STRONG appearance for now, and given his disappointing track record in STRONG that’s fine by me. *¼

New Japan Cup USA 2021 Qualifying Match
Ren Narita vs. Misterioso

Things remain even until Narita gets tired of Misterios’s shit and wears him down in several ways. Misterioso sends Narita out with a rope-assisted armdrag and almost eats it on the subsequent moonsault from inside the ring to the outside. He almost misses a double jump lionsault back in the ring too, hurting his ribs in the process. Misterioso however pulls off a super Gourd Buster for a two count. Narita ducks a clothesline and pulls Misterioso into a rear-naked choke which he turns into a German suplex for two. When the Boston Crab doesn’t go according to plan, he puts Misterioso into the Narita Special. Misterioso taps out at 11:12. To no surprise, this was Narita’s weakest match yet, and I put the blame solely on a sloppy Misterioso. There wasn’t much of a structure to this in general, but at least Narita not only won, but further established his submission in the process. I’ll take it. **

New Japan Cup USA 2021 Qualifying Match
Brody King vs. Bateman

The original Violence Unlimited explodes! The Riegel Twins are in King’s corner. Bateman ends a strike exchange by poking King in the eyes and giving him double throat thrust. Bateman attacks King’s left knee. King pops up Bateman when Bateman comes off the ropes and follows that with a senton splash. King knocks Bateman loopy with multiple strikes to the head. Bateman axe handle strikes King’s knee to avoid a gutwrench suplex and forearm strikes him in the side of the head. He slide kicks King in the side of the head and stomps King’s into the mat. King manages to give Bateman an exploder suplex into the corner. Another strike exchange occurs, this time with King taking down Bateman with a modified STO for two. Bateman uses the ropes to put himself in position for a German suplex on King, following that up with a running knee to the side of the head for two. Bateman kicks King from the floor. He impressively scops King up for a fisherman’s buster but only gets a two count. King takes down Bateman with a lariat after absorbing a boot. He muscles up Bateman into the Ganso Bomb for the pin at 13:25. Nothing wrong with this match aside from it moving very slowly. We knew King was tough, and seeing him gut out all the knee work to pull off the Ganso Bomb re-affirmed that. Bateman has some creative offense, but I think King is a better partner for him than he is an opponent. ***

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