NJPW STRONG #55 – Summer Struggle USA 2021 Part 2

Port Hueneme, CA – 8.27.2021

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.

Adrian Quest, The DKC & Wheeler YUTA vs. Stray Dog Army (Bateman, Barrett Brown & Misterioso)

Quest gets the better of his former tag partner Brown in the opening exchange. Bateman shows no fear against the larger and more experienced Bateman. He even slips out of a This Is A Kill attempt. YUTA sends Bateman stumbling to his corner with a dropkick. Misterioso overpowers the DKC. Bateman and Brown help wear down the DKC until he catches Misterioso with a flying karate kick. Quest takes down Brown with a torneo crossbody. Misterioso trips Quest, but YUTA dumps him to the floor. DKC knee strikes Bateman out as well, leaving Brown surrounded by all three of his opponents. Brown is stomped down before being triple teamed in the corner. Bateman saves Brown from being pinned after Quests’ running shooting star press. Misterioso wipes out Wuest and YUTA with a twisting Asai senton. Brown knee strikes DKC from the apron, sending him into This Is A Kill from Bateman for the pin at 9:26. The Army’s three different styles are very complementary to one another, and this match was a great way to show just that. I wish YUTA was featured more in general, but that’s a minor complaint. ***

Karl Fredericks vs. Alexander James

James called out Fredericks’ after defeating Kevin Knight, dissing the LA DOJO in the process. James does some early damage to Fredericks’ left arm and ankle. Fredericks takes down James with a leaping crossbody and delivers a jumping stomp to his chest. James repeatedly headbutts Fredericks’ left shoulder, then forcefully boots him down to the mat. James traps his right ankle as he stretches out his shoulder and back. After Fredericks gets the ropes to escape, James applies a toe and ankle lock. Fredericks once again has to go to the ropes for a reprieve. Fredericks fights up to his feet and gives James a roundhouse kick to the stomach. He follows James to the corner with a big boot and then pulls him to the middle of the ring for a belly-to-back suplex. James escapes Manifest Destiny, bashes Fredericks’ shoulder, and throws him out of a pump-handle position for two. Fredericks uppercuts his way out of a gutwrench hold. James takes him down with a lariat, and puts him in a leg-capture crossface while pummeling Fredericks’s neck. When Fredericks gets the ropes, James pulls him up. Fredericks ducks a rip cord back elbow and drops James with a spinebuster. Wasting no time, Fredericks then drops James with Manifest Destiny for the pin at 9:37. Thanks to James’ physicality and technical acumen, the story of him breaking down Fredericks worked very well. Fredericks having to move quickly to get all his offense together was also a good way to emphasize how he couldn’t afford to give James any breathing room. Very good stuff, as expected. ***½

Juice Robinson, Lio Rush & VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King & Chris Dickinson) vs. Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)

Rush embarasses and frustrates Lawlor in the opening exchange. Lawlor is taken down by a shoulder block from King, so an angry Lawlor tags in Kratos. King takes him down with a bulldog before letting Rush get in some offense on the big man. Robinson and Dickinson do damage to Kratos’ left arm before King slams him into a senton splash. Kratos however fallaway slams Rush into King. Lawlor, Isaacs, and Nelson all attack Robinson on the floor and send him back to Kratos. Team Filthy take out their frustrations on Robinson, especifically attacking his left leg. We even get an arrogant team pose after they wipe out the rest of Robinson’s team from the apron. They set up Robinson to be powerbombed on the outside on the exposed floor. Robinson sends Kratos face first into the ring post to escape. He also ducks a clothesline from Lawlor and finally tags King. King chops up all of Team Filthy. Robinson and King both cannonball splash Nelson in the corner. Dickinson powerbombs him after and gets a two count. Things break down with everyone coming in and out of the ring. Rush hits the Come Up on Nelson, with Dickinson scooping him up into a Death Valley Driver after. Dickinson then makes Nelson tap out to a crossface at 14:24. With Rush getting an upcoming title shot, it’s surprising he wasn’t the one to pick up the win directly, but there was enough interaction with him and Lawlor to get the point across. Robinson is such a great babyface that he in the role of the isolated partner works phenomenally, and the power and excitement of VLNCE UNLTD and Rush are awesome in playing clean-up. This was really fun, and it felt very different from a lot of the big Team Filthy matches. ***½

Backstage, Juice Robinson calls out Hikuleo, and Hiikuleo blind sides him. Hikuleo beats Robinson into a lobby where he gives Robinson a Death Valley Driver through a table.

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