NJPW STRONG #49 – Tag Team Turbulence 2021 Part 1

Port Hueneme, CA – 7.16.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Tag Team Turbulence Tournament Opening Round Match
Clark Connors & TJP vs. The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson)

This is the Good Brothers first NJPW match since January 2016 (February 2016 if you count Honor Rising). As a duo, they are 3 time IWGP Tag Team Champions and won the 2013 NJPW World Tag League. Connors and TJP had their teamwork down pat and Anderson was reeling for it. Gallows was able to shove Connors out of the corner when Connors was giving him the classic corner punches and knocked him down with a big boot and high kick upside the head. The Good Brothers trapped him in their corner, but Connors found an opening to tag in TJP whenGallows missed an elbow drop. TJP and Connors low bridge Gallows outside, then blast Anderson with a pop up double boot from TJP and a bulldog from Connors. Gallows managed to break the fall, then give TJP a chin strike before tossing him out. Connors speared Anderson and TJP dropkicked Gallows when they tried stacking them up in the corner. Anderson though dropped TJP with a spinebuster, and Gallows booted Connors to the outside, leaving TJP to fall to the Magic Killer at 8:01. No surprise to see the Good Brothers advance into the next round, but also unfortunate that Connors’ post-graduation run continues to be a mixed bag. This was better than I expected, but there’s a low ceiling on Good Brothers matches. **¼

Tag Team Turbulence Tournament Opening Round Match
Yuji Nagata & Ren Narita vs. Fred Yehi & Wheeler YUTA

After all four competitors feel each other out, Narita forearms Yehi off the apron after knocking down YUTA with a shoulder block. Both he and Nagata double shoulder block YUTA and double boot Yehi back off of the apron. Nagata wears down YUTA’s left arm. YUTA fires up as Nagata throws chest kicks, and ends up knocking him down with a dropkick. Yehi attacks Nagata’s foot upon tagging in. He gets in a strike battle with Blue Justice, ending it with a Complete Shot and then rolling him into a Koji Clutch. Narita saves his mentor from the predicament. Nagata dropkicks Yehi’s knee out before giving him an exploder suplex. Yehi leg sweeps Narita into a senton splash from YUTA, who then German suplexes Narita for two. Yehi saves YUTA from a sleeper hold, but Narita takes YUTA down with a spinwheel kick. Nagata interjects when Yehi breaks up Narita’s pin after a suplex. He takes Yehi to the outside, giving Narita space to overhead suplex YUTA into a bridge, pinning him at 10:59. I love that YUTA and Yehi had a chance to show their proficiency against Nagata, but that it was Narita who was the offensive contributor for his tandem. Even if I would’ve loved YUTA and Yehi advancing, I appreciate at least one of the LA DOJO people making it past the first round. ***

Tag Team Turbulence Tournament Opening Round Match
Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. The West Coast Wrecking Crew (Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs)

The LA DOJO boys get the best of Nelson. Nelson gives DKC a jawbreaker and tags in Isaacs, who gets taken down with two fireman’s carries and some karate chops. Isaacs Hot Shots DKC on the rop rope and Nelson boots him in the side of the head. Isaacs knocks Knight to the floor so the WCWC can pick apart DKC in their corner. A flying karate kick from DKC knocks down Isaacs and gets Knight the tag. Knight’s incredible dropkick, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and low diving shoulder tackle get him a two on Nelson. DKC bulldogs Nelson into a running Mad Splash from Knight. Isaacs breaks the pin, and the distraction of this break allows for Nelson to crack Knight in the face with a leaping knee strike. Isaacs pumphandle slams him for two. Nelson saves Isaacs from a surprise schoolboy from Knight. They hit their Shooty McGee variant, called “Movie On The Roof”, and pin Knight at 7:32. As it stands, we got to see what we’ve come to expect from DKC and Knight, and a little more from WCWC than we did in their debut. They made solid enough use of the time provided, but it was a little too short to be substantial. **½

Tag Team Turbulence Tournament Opening Round Match
VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King & Chris Dickinson) vs. Team Filthy (JR Kratos & Danny Limelight)

Limelight makes Dickinson chase him right into a knee strike from Kratos. Team Filthy then beat Dickinson up in their corner. Limelight, perhaps unwisely, taunts King in the process. Dickinson stops a corner attack from Kratos and takes him down with a tornado DDT. Limelight does a good job sticking and moving away from King, but his double knees take down gets caught and he is powerbombed down. Dickinson wipes out a charging Kratos with a rolling gamengiri. He attacks Limelight in the corner several times. Kratos ducks an enzuigiri and German suplex Dickinson behind the referee’s back. King finally lariats Kratos to the floor and lays him out with a suicide dive. Limelight goes for a low blow, just like he gave him back in May, and this time Dickinson catches it. Limelight seems unbothered, giving Dickinson a middle finger. An enraged Dickinson lariats and German suplexes Limelight before pinning him with a running Death Valley Driver at 8:22. I was super whatever on seeing this collection of people wrestling each other again, but I like that they wasted little time getting down to business and that they kept the intensity pretty high for the duration. Dickinson destroying Limelight in the closing moments was also pretty sensational, continuing to establish him as a bit of a maniac. This was a strong way to end the episode. ***

Kevin Kelly announces the semifinals as The Good Brothers vs. Nagata & Narita and the West Coast Wrecking Crew vs. VLNCE UNLTD. Both of those take place on the next episode.

Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship; Texas Death Match
Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer

AEW Dynamite #94; Fyter Fest 2021 Night 2 – Garland, TX – 7.21.2021

Moxley has been champion since 1.4.2020 and this is his fifth defense. The Texas Death Match ruleset here is that you must win by knockout or submission. Archer called out Moxley after he successfully defeated Karl Anderson last week, claiming he gets a rematch as a former champion. I don’t think that’s a thing in New Japan, but for a Western audience it’s a stupid thing we’re just conditioned to accept. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is in Archer’s corner. Archer pounces Moxley to the outside and the fight into the crowd (during COVID, with no masks in sight, cool!!!!) Archer also throws a “fan” onto Moxley. Moxley DDTs onto the floor that Archer exposed by pulling up the mats. Moxley bloodys Archer with a fork. He sets up two tables ringside and then attacks Moxley’s left knee, including “Pillmanizing” it. Archer punches a trash can lid into Moxley’s face and it makes a bad ass sound. Archer German suplexes and big boots Moxley before pulling him in with a ripcord Boss Man Slam. Archer places two chairs next to each other and goes for the Blackout. Moxley slips out and low blows Archer.Archer is still able to chokeslam Moxley onto both of the chairs, however. Moxley has to go back to the fork to get things back in his direction. He places two barbed wire boards onto Chekov’s tables. He looks for the Death Rider off of the apron and onto the tables. Archer surprises Moxley with the fork to his head and then chokeslams him through both tables. Moxley is unable to get up by the ten count, making Archer the winner and NEW champion at 13:24. It was definitely a surprise to see this title change in AEW, and the Garland crowd was way into it. I also love that one of Archer’s biggest NJPW wins was defeating Will Ospreay in the G1 in this same building two years prior. I don’t love Moxley’s hardcore brawls, but I think the way they used the fork, the fans really getting into Archer, and the awesome ending helped a lot. This wasn’t nearly as good as their Wrestle Kingdom match, but still a solid successor. ***

Hikuleo who was shown in the crowd earlier makes his way into the ring. He will challenge Archer for the title next week. They have a stare down, and Hikuleo being taller than Archer is something.

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