NJPW STRONG #54 – Summer Struggle USA 2021 Part 1

Port Hueneme, CA – 8.20.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Alex Coughlin Challenge Series – Match #4
Alex Coughlin vs. Matt Morris

Morris is the former Aiden English, who debuted as a commentator for NJPW at “Resurgence.” Coughlin attacks Morris’ neck after tossing him overhead with a belly-to-belly suplex. Morris backs Coughlin to the corner to escape an overhead chin lock and wrist drags him across the ring. Morris drop toe holds Coughlin into the corner pad. Morris lands a slingshot senton before clotheslining Coughlin to the floor and landing a senton off of the apron. A Swanton Bomb back in the ring gets him a two count. Coughlin rolls through a crossbody and gives Morris a bridging fallaway slam for two. Morris comes back with a Sick kick for two. Morris then hits the Director’s Cut for the pin at 8:32. Morris seemed like a square peg in a round hole when he was announced, but he and Coughlin worked well together. If nothing else, it was a solid “name” for this Challenge Series. **½

Clark Connors, Ren Narita & TJP vs. Daniel Garcia, Fred Rosser & Fred Yehi

This is Garcia’s NJPW debut and he recently has been making appearances in AEW. Garcia proves his worth by hanging with TJP on the mat and then chopping Connors back to his corner where Yehi continues the assault. Connors side steps Rosser and nails him with a running shoulder block. Narita gets his hands on Rosser, choking him against the ropes and stomping him down in the corner. Connors helps with the attack as well. TJP sends them to knock Garcia and Yehi off the apron after delivering a low dropkick and a facewash kick to Rosser. Rosser bodyslams Connors into a seated splash and tags Yehi. Yehi batters Connors with chops and a knee strike, but Connors catches him with a powerslam. TJP hits him with the Detonation Kick, and Connors follows up with a Gore. This triggers a series of offenses of all competitors, ending with Yehi taking out TJP with a rolling chop to the face. Narita and Garcia tag in. Garcia tries to fight off a rear-naked choke but Narita remains resolute. He floats Garcia over into the Narita Special #4 (bridging belly-to-belly suplex) for the pin at 12:09. The action flew by as they kept a really engaging pace the entire time. They heated up the rivalry between Narita and Rosser without making it the overall focus of the match, while also giving ample time to just about everyone. This also made me very much want to see Narita vs. Garcia. Well done. ***¼

VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King & Chris Dickinson) vs. The West Coast Wrecking Crew (Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)

JR Kratos is in the WCWC’s corner. Dickinson gets the better of Isaacs to start. Nelson attacks Dickinson from behind to turn things around. King tries to interject but gets double teamed and knocked outside the ring. Nelson and Isaacs pummel Dickinson in their half of the ring with Kratos observing, doing damage to his left knee. Nelson provokes King before grinding his forearm into Dickinson’s face. King is further incensed when he witnesses Nelson slam Dickinson’s left knee into the ring post. Dickinson manages to escape WCWC’s grasp when he rocks Isaacs with an enzuigiri and throws him to the corner with a German suplex. King barrels down Isaacs and Nelson with clotheslines, and then slams Nelson onto Isaacs with a running Death Valley Driver into the corner. Dickinson dropkicks Nelson into a spinebuster from King. King turns him over into a Boston Crab where Dickinson drops a knee onto Nelson’s neck. Isaacs attacks King to free his partner. Dickinson vertical suplexes Isaac and gives Nelson a brainbuter. Isaacs saves Nelson from a Pazuzu Bomb and nails Dickinson with a Superman Punch. King interjects, clotheslining both Nelson and Isaacs to the outside. Isaacs grabs the referee as Kratos takes out King with a lariat. Isaacs German suplexes Dickinson, and Nelson follows with a super elbow drop for the pin at 9:51. This was as good as their Tag Team Turbulence encounter, and had a bit more intensity to it now that WCWC are part of Team Filthy who King and Dickinson had previous issues with. It was a nice win for WCWC to further establish themselves, and it sets up a potential rubber match. All good things. ***

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