Garland, TX – 10.23.2021
Commentary is provided by Alex Koslov and Matt Rehwoldt.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight, Ren Narita & The DKC vs. David Finlay, Brogan Finlay, Fred Yehi, Wheeler YUTA & Will Allday
Brogan and Will debuted the previous night in a ten man tag team match that aired on NJPW XTRA #4. I loved that during the opening exchange YUTA went for a Skayde schoolboy on Knight, as he pinned him with that very move in June. Coughlin won over the crowd by gutwrench suplexing Allday and YUTA at the same time. The DKC finds himself beaten down by Yehi and the Finlay brothers. He takes down YUTA with a karate kick and tags Taguchi, who wipes out all of the opposing team with hip attacks. Taguchi does the BlocBoy JB dance while the four DOJO students wallop Finlay in the corner. Everyone but Taguchi and David fight to the floor. David blocks a hip attack with an atomic drop, but Taguchi takes him out with an enzuigiri. Brogan busts out a classic Finlay Roll on Narita for two. Allday breaks Narita’s figure four leg lock on Brogan but is wiped out by Knight’s signature dropkick. The Finlay’s avoid a double hip attack from Taguchi. Brogan fisherman suplexes Narita for two. Narita overhead suplexes Brogan and then bridges him in a Northern Lights Suplex. Brogan kicks out of that and almost pins Narita in a small package and schoolboy. Narita gives Brogan a brainbuster and then locks on a Boston Crab, and Brogan taps out at 14:49. I dig Narita getting the win for his team and seeing some fresh faces in Brogan and Allday. This was your classic multi-man match, which is mostly a compliment. It’s hard to feature everyone in a ten man tag, but the right people got what they needed out of it. Poor Yehi and YUTA – let’s get them something more substantial to do already! ***
Chris Dickinson & Robbie Eagles vs. BULLET CLUB (Chris Bey & El Phantasmo)
Dickinson has some fun overpowering the BULLET CLUB. He also allows Eagles to use him as a launchpad onto Bey and Phantasmo outside the ring. When he is about to go back into the ring, however, Phantasmo shoves Eagles face first into the ring post. The BULLET CLUB have their own with Phantasmo, with low kicks and back rakes. Eagles gets his boot up to block a charge from Phantasmo and tosses him to the floor. The path is cleared for Eagles to make a tag when he takes down Bey with a spinwheel kick, but Phantasmo yanks Dickinson off the apron before one can be made. A miscommunication leads BULLET CLUB to clash into one another, and Eagles lands a senton onto both opponents before tagging a now ready Dickinson. He suplexes both Phantasmo and Bey at the same time. They duck a double clothesline. Bey back sentons onto Dickinson, and Phantasmo follows that with a lionsault for two. Bey wipes out Eagles with a roundhouse kick. He wants a back handspring cutter, but Eagles counters with a backslide and the Turbo Packback. Eagles locks Bey in the Robinson Special. Dickinson takes out an incoming Phantasmo with a Death Valley Driver, and Bey taps out at 12:34. Eagles and Dickinson made for a good team. It would have been interesting to see either Bey or Phantasmo pin the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, but I also understand the value of Eagles getting some momentum back after losing to White two weeks earlier. Another fun match. ***
As Eagles is backstage talking to the camera, his former tag team partner Will Ospreay walks by with a smile, compliments Eagles, says it’s good to see him and that they’ll catch up soon. Eagles seems confused.
Clark Connors & Karl Fredericks vs. The United Empire (Will Ospreay & TJP)
TJP joined the United Empire last week after attacking Connors and Fredericks. Fredericks wastes no time, laying out Ospreay and TJP with a tope con hilo during the Empire’s entrance. This leads to an all out brawl between both teams around ringside. TJP ends up baiting Connors right into a forearm smash from Ospreay. Ospreay sends Connors back first into the metal guardrails before feeding him to TJP back inside. Connors is chided and worn down by the United Empire until he catches Ospreay with a Pounce! Fredericks unloads on Ospreay, scoring a nearfall after a jumping elbow drop. Ospreay takes him down with a back handspring kick. After a strike exchange, Fredericks drills Ospreay with a spinebuster. Connors mauls TJP with punches and German suplexes him right on his neck. Connors comes off the second turnbuckle with a spear to TJP, and Ospreay stops his pin attempt. Ospreay superkicks TJP. TJP double underhooks Connors into a lungblower from Ospreay. Fredericks double stomps the back of Ospreay’s head. Connors powerslams TJP into a jumping elbow from Fredericks. Connors jumping back elbow gets a two count on TJP. Ospreay shoves Fredericks off of the top rope. He also surreptitiously unties the corner pad, so when Connors charges at TJP, Ospreay rips it off and Connors goes crashing into the exposed buckles. TJP schoolboy pins Connors after the fact for the pin at 10:42. This was very energetic and heated, and the ending was quite clever. It was a solid victory to cement TJP’s United Empire membership in a manner that fits what the group represents. ***½
The attack on Fredericks and Connors continues after the match. Ospreay is about to hit the Hidden Blade on Connors when Kevin Knight, The DKC, Yuya Uemura, Alex Coughlin and Ren Narita run out to help their fellow DOJO brethren. TJP and Ospreay head for higher ground as Connors is assisted.
Texas Bull Rope Match
Juice Robinson vs. Hikuleo
This is basically a No Disqualification match where both men are tied at the wrist by a bull rope. You win by pinfall, submission, or referee stoppage. This is the threematch between Robinson and Hikuleo, with them being tied at one win a piece. Hikuleo attacks Robinson with the cowbell before the bell and chokes him using the rope. When Hikuleo pursues him on the floor, Robinson uses the rope to pull Hikuleo face first into the ring post. Robinson introduces a choke sheet which they hit one another with. Hikuleo uses the rope to pull Robinson into the metal barricades twice. The third time, Robinson leaps over the barricade and unloads punches on Hikuleo. Robinson introduces a ton of items into the ring. He sentons a trash can lid, cookie lid, and pan onto Hikuleo’s chest. Robinson also sets up two chairs in the corner and pulls Hikuleo head first into them. Hikuleo however is able to pull Robinson into a chokeslam when he re-enters the ring. Robinson pulls the ropes between Hikuleo’s leg multiple times to do damage to his crotch. He places a trash can over Hikuleo’s head and smashes it with the cowbell twice. He chokes Hikuleo with the bull rope. When Hikuleo begins to fade, the referee calls for the bell at 13:40, making Robinson the winner. This was their best match of the three but that is faint praise. The excited crowd and plunder definitely helped. I’m glad to see the feud end, and for Robinson to have come out on top. ***