NJPW STRONG #36 – New Japan Cup USA 2021 Part 2

Port Hueneme, CA – 4.16.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Karl Fredericks, Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. Adrian Quest, Barrett Brown, Jordan Clearwater & Misterioso

We have four LA Dojo teammates against two sets of teams that have tagged in the past. Those two teams have not done particularly well. Knight takes the opening exchange with Brown and tags in DKC. DKC finds himself at the mercy of his opponents fairly quickly, all four of them pounding and stomping him down in their half of the ring. The miscommunication between Brown and Quest reared its ugly head once again, giving DKC the chance to tag in Fredericks. Fredricks takes down Quest with a neckbreaker across his back and Clearwater with a spinebuster. After a suplex, Fredericks leaping elbow onto Clearwater gets a two count. When Brown whips Fredericks to the ropes, Knight blind tags himself in. Knight shuts down Brown with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, following up with a low shoulder tackle and a standing Mad Splash. Quest and Misterio send Coughlin and DKC outside and follow up with dives. Brown meanwhile takes down Knight the .50 Caliber kick for two. When he goes for it again, Knight blasts him with a dropsault. Misterioso tags himself in and pins Knight with the MSO at 10:37. Brown is mad Misterioso stole his pin and gets in a shoving match with all his partners. This was fun, though outside of continuing Brown’s continued frustrations it ultimately does not have much consequence. **½

New Japan Cup USA 2021 Semi-Final Round Match
Tom Lawlor vs. Hikuleo

They each attacked one another’s legs, they each threw strikes, and Hikuleo slammed and tossed Lawlor around. Lawlor took down Hikuleo with a dragonscrew leg whip when Hikuleo missed a boot in the corner. Even though Hikuleo sent Lawlor into a ring post to escape a triangle choke, Lawlor chop blocked him in the entryway. He put Hikuleo in a figure four and an ankle lock on the outside. When Hikuleo came back into the ring, Lawlor pulled him into a small package for the pin at 8:58. I liked this story, it just needed a bit more substance from Hikuleo’s end. **

New Japan Cup USA 2021 Semi-Final Round Match
Brody King vs. Lio Rush

King’s left knee is wrapped up due to the damage inflicted on him by Chris Dickinson last week. Rush’s stick and move approach serves him very well until King catches his suicide dive attempt and chokeslams him onto the ring frame. King lights him up with chops and twists up his neck. Rush scores with a kick from the top rope, but is shut down quickly with a forearm shot. Rush front handsprings King to the outside and lands a high crossbody to the floor. When King crawls back into the ring, Rush meets him with The Final Hour onto his back for a two count. Rush tries the Come Up and is met with a German suplex. A lariat and Ganso Bomb from King gets him the pin at 7:38. These two played their dynamics perfectly. I also like that King stopped Rush from using the move that pinned Clark Connors in the opening round. Really fun match. ***

Our finals are set for next week: Tom Lawlor vs. Brody King, with the winner being crowned the first ever NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion.

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