NJPW STRONG #67- Showdown 2021 Part 3

Philadelphia, PA – 11.20.2021

Commentary is provided by Alex Koslov and Matt Rehwoldt.

FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs. Kevin Knight & Yuya Uemura

FinJuice were both Young Lions in Japan, and Knight and Uemura are current Young Lions stationed in the U.S. The current Young Lions run roughshod on FinJuice until Robinson crushes Knight with a senton splash. FinJuice wears down Knight for a while. Robinson has a bone to pick with Uemura it seems, as he knocks him off the apron and jaw jacks at him in Japanese. Unfortunately, this enables Knight to blast him with his signature dropkick. Finlay suffers the same fate and Knight tags the energied Uemura. Uemura takes down Robinson with a flying forearm. Uemura also wins a fight for a back suplex with Finlay. He rolls Finlay into a kimura lock. Knight gets Robinson in a Boston Crab at the same time, but both veterans are able to get to the ropes and escape. Knight pulls Robinson into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and nails a diving shoulder tackle. Robinson kicks out after taking a running Mad Splash. FinJuice gives him a double flapjack and Uemura breaks the pin. FinJuice takes down Knight with a Sick Kick/leg sweep combo, and is surprised when Knight is able to kick out of the pin attempt. Knight almost shocks the audience with a victory roll on Robinson. However, Knight succumbs to the Demolition Decapitation which gets Robinson the pin at 12:54. Knight and Uemura put in an amazing effort and looked incredibly competent against the veteran tandem. They show the Young Lions their respect by giving them the ring after the loss too. It may have gone a little long, but I am pleased to see Uemura and Knight get such a spotlight. ***¼

Lio Rush & Ariya Daivari vs. BULLET CLUB (Chris Bey & El Phantasmo)

Rush and Daivari do damage to Bey’s left arm. Phantasmo holds Rush’s foot momentarily when he hops to the second rope, so that when he does jump off, Bey is able to catch him in a spinebuster. BULLET CLUB humiliates Rush while wearing him down, though Rush is able to escape a back suplex attempt from Bey and tag Daivari. Daivari’s onslaught is cut short with Phantasmo dragging him to the floor and sending him back first into the guardrails. They disrespect Daivari with a whole lot of backrakes, including to his magic carpet, and a double nipple twist. Daivari and Bey collide when they each go for a running crossbody at the same time. Rush takes out Phantasmo with a flying headscissors and a back handspring elbow smash, and gets on him with a Falcon Arrow. Phantasmo catches Rush’s attempt at the Come Up. Bey knees Rush into a spin-out torture rack slam from Phantasmo. Bey Superman punches Rush to the floor. Phantasmo holds onto him, but Rush moves and Bey ends up wiping out his own partner with a suicide dive. Rush dives onto Bey, then Daivari lands a carpet assisted dive onto everyone on the floor. In the ring, Phantasmo shoves Daivari into the path of Rush’s Come Up. Phantasmo delivers the Sudden Death superkick to Rush, and Bey hits the C-B-Knee on Daivari to get the pin at 13:12. This was a really fun match, though Daivari clearly stood out as the odd man out. I am glad they’re keeping Rush and Phantasmo’s rivalry going, but hope the big singles match comes sooner than later. That is coming, right? ***

We get a video showing Clark Connors and TJP’s history as a tag team, Will Ospreay bad mouthing the LA DOJO at “Resurgence”, and TJP turning his back on Connors and joining Ospreay’s United Empire.

Clark Connors vs. TJP

Connors gives TJP a taste of his own medicine – dabbing while applying a headscissors, and spitting water into his face. Connors then sends him crashing into the guardrails. As Connors enters the ring, TJP catches him with a dragonscrew leg whip. TJP snaps both Connors’ taped up left leg and left arm on the mat. TJP does a bit more damage before Connors spears him on the apron. TJP shoves Connors shoulder first into the ring post, and then hyperextends his injured leg onto the turnbuckle. Connors breaks a front facelock with a gutbuster over his shoulder. He powerslams TJP after walloping him with chops for a two count. TJP drops down and elbows Connors’ hurt leg to avoid a German suplex. Connors headbutts TJP when he looks to duck under his leg. TJP rolls him into a modified cloverleaf. When Connors gets the ropes, TJP goes to the top turnbuckle. TJP jams Connors’ knee across his shoulder before hitting the Mamba Splash for two. Connors escapes the Detonation Kick and blasts TJP with a Pounce. A Gore gets Connors a two count. TJP pulls Connors into a reverse facelock and looks for the Eye of the Hurricane. Connors rolls through that, but TJP then rolls Connors into a cradle while holding the ropes for the pin at 16:44. It’s kind of interesting that Connors lost to TJP here after he and Fredericks got a tag win last week at Battle in the Valley. It was a weird ending too and gives Connors a bit of out, but a bit of a strange way to end the episode. ***¼

XTRA4

Kevin Knight, The DKC & Lucky Ali vs. AJZ, Jordan Clearwater & Will Allday
NJPW XTRA #4 – Garland, TX – 11.21.2021

Things between teams almost break down when DKC gets Clearwater in a modified Anaconda Vise. Cooler heads prevail, and Ali and Allday, both making their NJPW debuts, tag in. Allday faceplants Ali with a reverse Sling Blade. Ali avoids a superkick and slides outside, and Knight surprises Allday with a running shoulder tackle. AJZ takes Knight down with repeated forearm strikes. Knight grounds AJZ with a knee to the stomach and gets two with a basement shoulder tackle. AJZ pops up Knight into a forearm strike. AJZ and his teammates beat down Knight in their corner until Knight blasts Clearwater with his signature dropkick. Ali counters a tornado DDT from Allday into a suplex, and then hits him with a seated dropkick. Clearwater gives Ali a spinebuster, and AJZ slingshots in with a DDT to Ali. Allday Swanton Bombs onto Ali after, but DKC and Knight save him from being pinned. Clearwater and Ali are left in the ring as their partners fight around ringside. Ali tags DKC who makes his way to the apron. An onslaught of karate chops and a crucifix driver lead to DKC locking in the Anaconda Vise again. Clearwater escapes and lariats DKC. DKC counters Clearwater’s pin attempt into a crucifix and pins Clearwater at 11:48. If the action were more cohesive this would’ve been a lot better. It was still pretty good, with the two hometown debuts getting a lot of ring time, and a nice win for The DKC. A perfectly acceptable XTRA match. I wonder what the future holds for Clearwater in NJPW USA, as his appearances are way less consistent now. **¾

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