NJPW STRONG #84 – Rivals 2022 Part 4

Los Angeles, CA – 3.26.2022

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.

Yuya Uemura vs. Daniel Garcia

Garcia sarcastically claps towards Uemura after Uemura holds his own on the mat against him. They get into a shoving match after reaching another stalemate. Uemura snaps off a pair of excellent armdrag and holds onto Garcia’s arm. Garcia pushes Uemura into the ropes to break the hold, but also snaps Uemura’s neck into the top rope and boots him to the floor. Garcia allows for him to re-enter the ring on his own, but stomps the heck out of his back when he does. He attacks Uemura’s nose, which includes biting on it. Garcia Irish whips Uemura to the corner, but Uemura explodes out of the corner with a dropkick. A dropsault in the corner then leads to a running elbow drop for two. Even though Garcia elbows him in the side of the head repeatedly, Uemura is able to drop him with a belly-to-back suplex for two. He also gets two with a high German suplex. Garcia headbutts Uemura to escape a double underhook. Garcia ducks a clothesline and applies a rear-naked choke. Uemura is able to backdrop his way out of a piledriver attempt, and cradle Garcia to avoid a subsequent sharpshooter. Garcia gets the rear-naked choke re-applied. He successfully transitions into the piledriver. When uemura kicks out of his pin, Garcia pounds him in the side of the head, and then locks him in the sharpshooter. Garcia leans back on the hold and Uemura submits at 10:39. Uemura has the explosive offense, charisma, and an inherit likeability factor that will make him an incredible babyface when he graduates. He was a perfect person for Garcia to flex his bad guy muscle against amidst a really competitive and exciting bout. I hope we get to see them go at it again real soon. ***¾

Rocky Romero vs. Black Tiger

Romero dropkicks Tiger in the side of the head as he lays on the middle rope. Tiger sends Romero into the barricades and clotheslines him into the crowd. Romero comes back over with a swinging Frankensteiner. After driving Tiger’s arm into the mat with a falling knee drop he attempts a Shiranui. Tiger escapes and drops Romero with a quick neckbreaker. Tiger kicks Romero in the spine, but it wakes up Romero who lights up Tiger with forearms and chops. He gives Tiger his own back kick and several back and chest rakes. He drops Tiger with a tornado DDT after three corner clothesline. Tiger comes back with a brainbuster for two. Romero escapes a Tiger Driver and uses a Frankensteiner to bring down Tiger into the Diablo armbar. Tiger lifts Romero just enough to escape with a low powerbomb. After a couple of strikes, Romero goes for Tiger’s mask. When Tiger slips outside, Romero takes him out with a suicide dive, then successfully pulls off a standing Shiranui for two. Tiger blocks another regular Shiranui with a tombstone piledriver. He tries another Tiger Driver, which Romero counters into a huracanrana for two. Tiger turns Romero inside out with a clothesline. He then hits the Tiger Driver for the pin at 11:02. The Black Tiger character has not magically turned Ricky Reyes into a more compelling wrestler, I’m afraid. He and Romero have solid chemistry, and people were into Romero when he was on offense, but this rivalry has worked best in brawls and multi-man matches for a reason. Romero gets Tiger in an armbar after the match to block Tiger from striking him with his stick, and a staff member had to separate them. Romero smiles as he is being taken backstage. ***

Elimination Match
Fred Rosser, Clark Connors, Taylor Rust, Adrian Quest & The DKC vs. Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, JR Kratos, Danny Limelight, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)

Eliminations can occur by pinfall, submission, count out, or by being thrown over the top rope and both feet touching the floor. This is the first elimination match since STRONG 40, and the first one in front of a live crowd. The last elimination match was also Connors’ first match as an LA DOJO graduate. Limelight is too cocky in the opening exchange, resulting in a big time Pounce from Connors. Quest gets in some offense on Limelight, but is taken down with a Zig Zag, and then a shoulder pop into a German suplex from Isaacs and Nelson. Quest takes down Limelight with a reverse Frankensteiner. DKC unloads karate chops and kicks on Nelson and Isaacs. He drops Limelight with a crucifix driver, but Nelson and Isaacs take him down with a spinebuster and a Death Valley Driver onto the knees. DKC gets press slammed over the top rope and onto his partners by Nelson and Jorel, eliminating him at 6:00. Limelight thinks he has Quest cooked after a frog splash, but an arrogant cover results in Quest catching Limelight off guard with a crucifix pin, eliminating him at 6:51. Rosser avoids being thrown over the top rope by Nelson and Isaacs. Rodder catches Isaacs with the Gut Check and a running knee to the side of the head, eliminating Isaacs at 8:09. Nelson pulls Rosser to the corner in a rear-naked choke. Nelson blind tags in, low blows Rosser when his attention is still on Lawlor, and tosses Rosser over the top rope at 8:44. Rust blocks a superkick from Nelson and pulls him down into a half crab. Lawlor tries to break it but ends up taking a backdrop. Kratos fails to pull Nelson to the ropes as Connors shoulder tackles Kratos. Nelson taps out at 9:52. Rust cracks a charging Lawlor in the face with a knee strike. Connors almost gets stuck with a triangle choke. Connors shoves him to the apron. When Connors goes for a Gore, Connors uses a front facelock to pull Connors to the apron. Rust kicks Kratos who is helping Lawlor from hitting the floor. Connors spears Lawlor off of the apron at 12:00, eliminating both men from the match. Connors and Lawlor fight to the back. Kratos and Rust trade blows back inside of the ring. Kratos ends up putting away Rust with a sit-out powerbomb at 14:46. Kratos celebrates winning the match, but Quest had kept such a low profile Kratos forgot he was in the match. Quest wipes out the rest of Team Filthy, sans Lawlor, on the floor with a suicide dive while he’s ducking and dodging Kratos. Kratos blasts Quest with open hand strikes and an overhand chop. A huge lariat turns Quest inside out and gets Kratos the pin at 16:29. All of these elimination matches have resulted in a championship match for the winner – could we see Kratos vs. Lawlor in the near future? The eliminations went really fast, and while the action was good, there was nothing outside of the Lawlor and Connors double elimination and Quest’s surprise emergence at the end that was very memorable. ***

This week’s XTRA match is Chris Dickinson vs. Minoru Suzuki from STRONG 66. Chris Charlton calls it one of the best singles matches in STRONG history – I disagree.

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