Philadelphia, PA – 11.27.2021
Commentary is provided by Alex Koslov and Matt Rehwoldt.
Alex Coughlin Challenge Series – Match #7
Alex Coughlin vs. Jonathan Gresham
This is Gresham’s first NJPW match since the 2019 Super J-Cup. Gresham defeated Coughlin in non-tournament action during that weekend. Gresham controls Coughlin in a side headlock. He gives Coughlin a neckbreaker and manipulates Coughlin’s shoulders and wrists in the process. Coughlin reverses into a headscissors. He deadlifts Gresham up into a gutwrench suplex. Gresham’s ear claps don’t help him escape a bearhug. Coughlin converts into a waistlock on the mat before Gresham can get the ropes, but on the mat Gresham does successfully get the ropes and does a little damage to Coughlin’s left shoulder. On the mat they fight for a pinfall and end up rolling around in a cradle. Once back on their feet, Coughlin brings Gresham to the mat in a headlock. Gresham turns that into a headscissors pin, catching Coughlin with the three count at 9:51. If you love mat or “pure” wrestling, you’ll really dig this – I do, and I did. One of the most unique Challenge Series bouts yet. ***½
Fred Rosser, Rocky Romero, Karl Fredericks, Ren Narita & The DKC vs. Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Danny Limelight, JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)
Lawlor has fashioned a necklace that includes the pair of scissors he used to cut off Rosser’s head two weeks prior. Lawlor and Rosser brawl until Kratos shuts down Rosser with a lariat. Tema Filthy keeps Rosser’s partner at bay while also beating him down in their corner. Rosser fights his way out of a suplex on the floor from Kratos and sends him into the ring post. Rosser clotheslines Nelson and Isaacs, backdrops Limelight into Kratos, and gives Lawlor the Gut Check! With all of Team Filthy laid out, Rosser tags in Narita. When Nelson gives Isaacs some unfair help, DKC evens the odds and then passes Isaacs to Narita for a belly-to-belly suplex. Fredericks lands a leaping elbow onto Isaacs for two. Isaacs escapes Manifest Destiny and knee strikes Fredericks in the face. Fredericks stops Limelight with a spinebuster. Limelight avoids a Shiranui from Romero and dumps him on his head with a half-nelson suplex. DKC surprises Limelight with a crucifix driver. Nelson pops DKC up into a powerbomb, and Narita stomps Nelson into the mat. Isaacs Saito suplexes Narita. Fredericks takes him out, then Lawlor drops Fredericks with a modified Angle slam. Rosser tackles and pummels Lawlor on the mat. Kratos again interjects. Although Rosser clotheslines Kratos to the floor, it enables Lawlor to sneak on a sleeper hold. Romero enzuigiri’s Lawlor to save his partner. Limelight tries the Symbiote DDT. Romero halts it and Falcon Arrows Limelight into the Diablo armbar. A masked man enters and cracks Romero with a kendo stick, ending the match at 11:10. Rosser’s team wins by disqualification. One of the weaker multi-man matches to date, but with that ending I get why. At least we get more build to Rosser vs Lawlor and a new wrinkle in the festering issue with Romero and Team Filthy. **½
The individual who attacked Romero is wearing a Black Tiger mask, an identity previously held by Romero. It seems very clear it’s Ricky Reyes. They give Romero a tombstone. Kratos attacks Rosser with the kendo stick and chokes him with it as well. Lawlor laughs as he grabs his STRONG Openweight championship and a microphone. Lawlor tells Romero that his past is not only coming back to haunt him, but to end him. Okay it has to be Reyes. Lawlor then calls Rosser the next losing challenger for his title. That match will take place during the “Detonation” tour. Backstage, Lawlor thinks Romero is using his power to hold Team Filthy down, and that’s why they brought in Black Tiger. Limelight tells Romero to stay out of their business.
Before the next match, New Japan Dojo’s Gabriel Kidd makes his way to the ring. We get a truncated version of his speech, cutting out all the mental health discussion. I highly suggest giving the full version a watch. Kidd challenges Jonathan Gresham to a match during the “Detonation” tour. Gresham comes out and accepts. Gresham tells Kidd that Kidd will be facing the best wrestler in the world in L.A. and wishes him luck. The two men shake hands, and the match is set.
Daniel Garcia & VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King & Chris Dickinson) vs. Stray Dog Army (Bateman, Barrett Brown & Misterioso)
This is a pseudo rematch from “Battle In The Valley.” This match was taped beforehand, however, which is why Dickinson is involved despite getting injured at BITV. Garcia and VU beat the snot out of Brown to start. Bateman knees King in the back from the apron, allowing Brown to kick him throat first into the top rope. Misterioso takes down King with a pair of superkicks and lands a double jump lionsault. The SDA smothers King in their corner, but King slides off of Bateman’s shoulder to avoid an assisted .50 Caliber Kick from Brown. Dickinson gives Brown a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and suplex. He pins Bateman for two after a top rope dropkick. Garcia drives Bateman’s shoulder and face into the mat. He uppercuts all of the SDA in the corner. Brown saves Bateman from being pinned after a Saito suplex. Garcia pitches Brown to the floor. Dickinson dropkicks Bateman into a Boston Crab from King. Garcia drops his knee onto Bateman’s head. They put Brown and Misterioso in submissions to prevent them from saving Bateman, but Bateman is able to crawl to the ropes. Bateman escapes a Ganso Bomb and drops King with an overhead suplex. King wipes out Brown with a lariat, then tosses Brown onto Misterioso and Bateman on the floor! Dickinson, King, and Garcia hit triple piledrivers in the ring, and King pins Misterioso at 8:07. Garcia goes so well with Dickinson and King – if he joins VLNCE UNLTD group I am all for it. SDA were kinda treated like goofs, which I am not totally against, as long as they don’t look inept. **¾
Philadelphia Street Fight
Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer)
This is a rematch from AEW Rampage #7, where Moxley and Kingston defeated Suzuki-gun. It is also Kingston’s NJPW debut. Suzuki-gun demanded a rematch in an NJPW ring. Tiger Hattori is on commentary for the bout. Archer strikes Moxley with a kendo stick until Kingston stops Archer and chokes him with the stick. Kingston and Suzuki trade chopes. Suzuki lays out Kingston with a forearm strike and clobbers him with a kendo stick across the top of his head. Moxley bites Suzuki’s forehead. All four men fight through backstage and to the parking lot of the former ECW Arena. Archer lawn darts Moxley into a truck. Kingston throws a cinder block at Archer but it crumbles against a wall as Archer ducks. Suzuki-gun batter Kingston with kendo sticks back in the ring. Moxley shows up from backstage with a door. He sucidie dives onto Archer and hits him with a STOP sign given to him by a fan. In the ring, the chair is propped up in the corner and Moxley Jon woo dropkicks Archer through it! Suzuki pulls Moxley to the floor. Archer half-nelson slams Kingston. Kingston fires back with a pair of backfists and a DDT. Moxley saves Kingston from the GSP. Archer big boots Moxley to the floor. Suzuki sets up a trash can for Archer. Archer gives Kingston the Black Out onto the trash can for the pin at 14:28. This was your typical walk and talk brawl. It had some good moments, and I guess the “Forbidden Door” joke was cute? I dunno, this felt like a way less exciting version of their Rampage match, but it wasn’t bad. Suzuki-gun got their win back which I guess is important to somebody. **¾
This episode looked so promising on paper and ended up very mediocre. At least the opener rocked.
Yuya Uemura vs. Barrett Brown
NJPW XTRA #5 – Garland, TX – 11.28.2021
Brown controls Uemura in a side headlock until Uemura reverses it. He shoots Brown to the ropes and takes him down with a shoulder block. Brown rakes Uemura’s eyes, kicks the middle rope into his face, and throws the back of his head down to the mat. Even after Brown chokes him on the ropes, Uemura musters the strength ro reverse a suplex. He gets Brown in a Fujiwara armbar, which Brown uses the ropes to escape. Brown enzuigiri’s Uemura out of the corner and then suplexes him into the buckles for two. Brown drops Uemura with a Complete Shot for another two count. Brown gets caught trying to hold Uemura’s tights in a schoolboy pin. Uemura takes down Brown in a bridging double underhook suplex for the pin at 8:18. This was a nice showcase for Uemura, and nice that Brown got a singles match in his home state on this tour as well. **½