NJPW STRONG #53 – Road to Summer Struggle USA 2021 Part 2

Port Hueneme, CA – 8.13.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Wheeler YUTA vs. Barrett Brown

Not only is Bateman in Brown’s corner, but so is Misterioso! Chainmail aside, Misterioso is wearing all black. YUTA has Brown’s number in the opening minutes. Brown uses the middle rope to attack YUTA’s throat and follows up with a throat thrust. YUTA is able to come out from under momentarily with a slam, but Brown avoids the follow up senton and goozles YUTA on the canvas. Brown suplexes YUTA into the corner and hits the .50 Caliber Kick, and incredibly YUTA kicks out from the follow up pin. Brown misses a Swanton bomb. YUTA enzuigiri’s and German suplexes Brown and then locks him in an STF. Bateman slides in to distract YUTA As the referee is handling Bateman, Misterioso sneaks in and puts down YUTA with the MSO. Brown then pins YUTA at 7:25. With the way this match was laid out, I feel like it would’ve been believable that Brown was capable of defeating YUTA without the interference, but what do I know? I guess they wanted to do something further to introduce Misterioso as a formal partner for Bateman and Brown. Fine match otherwise. **½

Fred Yehi vs. Hikuleo

Commentary spends the entire match building up the “Resurgence” show the next day, which shows you how important this match ultimately is. It’s a Hikuleo singles match, I don’t blame them, even if I adore Yehi. Yehi had a brief flurry of offense before a big boot and the Tongan Driller pinned him at 9:31. It felt longer than that. ½*

After the match, Hikuleo demands better competition. Juice Robinson makes his way to the ring. He was last seen in STRONG in December and has been doing a lot with Impact Wrestling of late. He also hungers for competition and says he and Hikuleo will face off against each other in a U.S. ring. Alex Koslov on commentary more or less says it’s happening tomorrow on “Resurgence,” and that does end up coming to fruition.

Karl Fredericks & Lio Rush vs. Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Danny Limelight)

An attack from Fredericks on Team Filthy yields positive results, with him and Rush doing some significant damage to the STRONG Openweight Champion. Fredericks misses a boot and his leg gets caught on the top rope. Limelight pummels Fredericks’ leg as Lawlor chokes him with his boot. Lawlor attacks Fredericks’ leg for a while. Fredericks pulls off a vertical suplex which gets him enough time to tag Rush. Rush picks up the pace with Limelight, knocking Lawlor off the apron in the process and following him out with a suicide dive. Lawlor breaks Rush’s pin on Limelight when Rush knocks down Limelight with a clothesline. As Rush tries a tornado DDT, Lawlor throws him down. Limelight powerbombs Rush onto his knees for a two count. Limelight superkicks Rush into a German suplex from Lawlor, but Fredericks comes in out of nowhere to break up the pin. He Cactus clotheslines Lawlor to the floor. Rush takes down Limelight with the Come Up for the pin at 12:18. This gets Rush some nice momentum behind him as he petitions for a STRONG Openweight Championship match. The match itself was okay, not the most exciting outing for anyone involved, and a bit of a strange way to end the final STRONG episode before the “Resurgence” event **¾

Backstage, Lio Rush tells Lawlor that pinning Limelight was a harbinger of things to come. Fredericks then calls out Alexander James. James talked trash about the LA DOJO backstage after defeating Kevin Knight last week, and called out Fredericks afterwards, stating he wanted to cut off the “head of the LA DOJO snake.” Angered by James’ negative remarks towards the DOJO, Fredericks accepts his challenge.

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