Los Angeles, CA – 1.15.2022
Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly & Alex Koslov.
Karl Fredericks & Kevin Knight vs. Stray Dog Army (Bateman & Misterioso)
The SDA attacked the DOJO crew before the bell. Fredericks is taken out on the floor, but Knight slams Misterioso inside the ring. The SDA double team Knight after Knight misses a Stinger Splash, with Misterioso knocking Fredericks off the apron in the process. The SDA manhandles Knight in their half of the ring until Knight slips out of a facebuster from Bateman and blasts him with his signature dropkick. Fredericks immediately boots Misterioso off the apron after being tagged and drops Bateman with a spinebuster. He Shibata dropkicks Bateman before giving him a back suplex and a leaping elbow drop for two. Bateman counters Manifest Destiny with a 2k1 Bomb. Misterioso hits a super leg drop on Fredericks, but Knight saves him from being pinned. After a series of offenses leaves everyone laying, Knight wipes out Bateman on the floor with a pescado. Fredericks pops up Misterioso into a spinebuster for two, then immediately hits Manifest Destiny for the pin at 10:04. This took a little time to get going but the last few minutes were very fun. I’m glad to see Knight get a win, but the 50-50 win loss record of the SDA does not make them feel like a formidable unit. **½
Brody King vs. Dave Dutra
This is Dutra’s NJPW debut. His look is “Warhorse, but older.” He did a nice looking Bermuda Triangle, but the match was more or less King breathing the shit out of Dutra. King debuted for AEW this week, so this was likely his STRONG swan song. He main evented a hell of a lot of episodes in the first year, but had been less featured as of late, so it isn’t as huge a loss as for NJPW USA as it would’ve been a year ago. That said, his presence will be missed. King pinned Dutra at 6:01 after a lariat and the Ganso Bomb. **¼
David Finlay vs. JONAH
This match was made as a result of JONAH’s attack on Finlay and Juice Robinson at “Battle In The Valley”, and Finlay’s subsequent attack to JONAH on STRONG 69. JONAH tries to attack before the bell but Finlay evades the attack. Finlay gets a flurry of offense in, but is shut down when JONAH catches his pescado and rams him back first into the ring post. Back in the ring, JONAH avoids an uppercut from Finlay and lands a back senton. JONAH does more damage to Finlay’s back with a grounded waistlock. Finlay swats a clothesline away and dropkicks JONAH outside. Finlay successfully lands a pescado and then a high crossbody back inside the ring. Finlay clotheslines JONAH in the back of the head. Finlay avoids another senton from JONAH and locks him in a crossface. JONAH pulls him up to his feet. Finlay tries an Acid Drop, which JONAH counters with a backbreaker. He turns Finlay inside out with a lariat and follows up with a powerbomb. JONAH’s Tsunami Splash gets him the win at 8:20. They used their size dynamic in a captivating way, teasing and paying off moves throughout the match. JONAH’s back work coming into play to get Finlay set up for his finisher was sweet as well. Nicely done. ***¼
They’ve run out of fresh matches to show on XTRA, so they’re showing some STRONG matches fans voted for during the Best Of poll. This week’s match was Tomohiro Ishii vs. Brody King from STRONG 70.