NJPW STRONG #91 – Mutiny 2022 Part 2

The rivalry between the LA Dojo and The Factory came to a head last week, when The Factory put DKC out of action with a double chokeslam off of the ring apron and through a table on the floor. The other five LA DOJO members faced The Factory on the May 17th edition of AEW Dark.

Dark 10 Man Tag

Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors, Alex Coughlin, Kevin Knight & Yuya Uemura vs. The Factory (QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto, Blake Li & Brick Aldridge)
AEW Dark #143 – Orlando, FL – 5.17.2022

The Dojo gets the better of the Factory in a donnybrook between all ten men. Once order is restored, they’re able to get in some offense on Li in their corner. A knee from Solo to Knight from the apron enables Li to crack Knight with an uppercut and the Factory to take over. The Factory beats down Knight in their corner. Knight almost escapes with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to Solo. Marshall cuts him off, but Knight shortly after takes him down with his patented shoulder tackle and tags in Fredericks, who spikes Li with a spinebuster. Solo breaks up his pin on Li after Fredericks lands a leaping elbow drop. Comorto and Aldridge take down Fredericks, with all the DOJO making sure he doesn’t get pinned after a double team maneuver. Coughlin and Comoroto trade blows, and Coughlin impresses by reversing Comoroto’s vertical suplex into a stalling version of his own. A series of offenses ends with Marshall trying to surprise Fredericks with a Diamond Cutter. Fredericks hits the ropes as Knight blind tags in. Fredericks wipes out all of the Factory members with a tope con hilo except for Aldridge. Knight dropkicks Aldridge into an electric chair drop from Coughlin, getting Knight the pin at 10:30. Glad to see the DOJO getting a win over the Factory in the Factory’s own “home.” That said, it’s because of this the crowd had no idea who the DOJO guys were. Fredericks got a lot of time to shine, and I liked the ending, but you could put this in a library and it would elicit the same amount of crowd noise. **¾

Los Angeles, CA – 5.21.2022

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.

Ren Narita vs. Chris Dickinson

This match was filmed prior to the abuse allegations made against Dickinson by two former partners. I am not sure what Dickinson’s fate will be in NJPW, as he recently signed a contract and it’s his word against his former partners. Additionally, the most recent U.S. weekend sent a mixed message: Dickinson was removed from the Capital Collision PPV, but remained on the STRONG taping the next day. What I can say is that him being on shows is very distracting, and it was very hard to shake the allegations against him out of my head while watching this. Truthfully, there also isn’t much to say. They wrestled on the mat for awhile, Dickinson went after Narita’s arm when going after his leg wasn’t working, Narita then went after Dickinson’s leg, and they hit and kicked each other a whole bunch. The crowd was very behind Narita, especially when he made his way to the bottom rope to escape Dickinson’s STF. Narita put on the Cobra Twist after, and Dickinson hip tossed his way free. He pulled Dickinson down in the Cobra Twist to the mat when the 15:00 time limit expired. Narita got another good showing, so this wasn’t all for naught, but they could’ve axed this and it wouldn’t have mattered at all. **¾

Karl Fredericks & Clark Connors vs. The Factory (Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solo)

Yuya Uemura is in the corner of Fredericks and Connors and QT Marshall is in the Factory’s corner. Solo is taken down by the DOJO boys, but the mood changes when the larger Comoroto is tagged. Connors shows no fear chopping the Freak Beast in the corner, but they have no effect. It takes three tries, but Connors takes him down with a shoulder tackle. Solo grabs Connors hair, serving as enough of a distraction for Comorto to give him a body slam. The Factory beats down Connors in their corner, including a cheap shot from Marshall, until Connors side steps an attack which sends Comoroto sternum first into the buckles, and kicks away Solo. Fredericks takes down Solo with a spinebuster upon tagging in. When Solo kicks out of a schoolboy, Marshall cracks him with his gold watch around his knuckles. Solo gives him a rolling gamengiri and Comoroto follows up with a spear, but Connors is able to break the pin. Marshall reappears wso that Solo can rake Connors eyes. Uemura takes out Marshall, and Fredericks lands a tope suicida onto Comoroto. Connors spears Solo and drops him with the Trophy Kill for the pin at 8:21. I think that was probably the best Dojo/Factory match yet, as it had an energetic crowd, no wasted time, and strong performances from everyone involved. ***

The crowd relentlessly boos QT Marshall as he challenges Karl Fredericks to a wrestling match in Philadelphia, emphasizing the wrestling aspect of the challenge. Fredericks tells Marshall he will beat his ass next month.

Brody King, Taylor Rust & Mascara Dorada vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan & TJP)

After Henare and Rust wrestle to a stalemate, rivals TJP and Dorada enter the fray. TJP unmasked Dorada after their singles match at STRONG 88 which Dorada won. Dorada has TJP’s number, but O-Khan serves as a distraction when he is about to perform a springboard maneuver. When he does springboard in, TJP cuts him off in mid-air with a dropkick. O-Khan and Henare then attack King and Rust on the floor and send them into the barricades so the Empire can isolate Dorada in their half of the ring. When Dorada takes down TJP with a reverse Slingblade, O-Khan and Henare knock King and Rust off of the apron. Dorada dropkicks them both out of the ring, and then walks the ropes before taking down TJP with a shotgun dropkick. King tags in for the first time and throws heavy strikes at both O-Khan and Henare. After splashing them together, King crashes into O-Khan with a rolling corner senton. He takes down TJP with a Black Hole Slam before pinning O-Khan for two. O-Khan wears down King with Mongolian chops and gets two after a Judo Throw. King takes both O-Khan and Henare down with a double clothesline and tags Rust. This leads to a series of kicks from everyone but Dorada, and O-Khan giving King a claw. Henare and O-Khan double team King. Dorada gamengiri’s TJP from the apron, wipes out O-Khan with a crossbody, and Henare spin kicks Dorada right in the face. Rust rolls Henare into the Gai Lock. TJP breaks the hold for his partner, but Rust unloads chest kicks to both him and Henare after the fact. O-Khan muscles Rust to the corner where he is attacked by all Empire members. King and Dorada interject when Henare has Rust pinned after TJP’s Mamba Splash. TJP baits Dorada into diving onto King outside, then wipes them both out with a pescado. Henare passes Rust off of his shoulders into the Imperial Drop from O-Khan to get the pin at 14:04. This was well paced, exciting, and fun to watch. Henare and O-Khan involved made this feel fresh, and it was also nice to see Rust after a short absence. As good as he, King, and Dorada are individually, it was the established trio that came out on top, which just makes sense. Generally speaking, everyone did a great job. TJP unmasks Dorada again. Side note, it was really cool to see TJP bring Dorada’s mask to the Best of Super Juniors press conference, as it makes this rivalry feel more personal and important. ***½

After a one week absence, XTRA returned with their first exclusive match since January 9th:

XTRA 28

(Rocky Romero & Wheeler YUTA vs. Kevin Knight & The DKC
“Windy City Riot” – Villa Park, IL – 4.16.2022

This is a previously unreleased dark match. Knight drops a knee on YUTA’s arm. He also gets the better of a Lucha exchange with a diving wrist drag across the ring. YUTA misses a senton, but Knight then misses his Mad Splash, and YUTA knocks him down with a dropkick. Romero gets in a chop but Knight takes him down with a knee to the stomach and a bulldog, before DKC delivers a falling karate chop. Romero comes back with a running Frankensteiner. When he and YUTA have a disagreement looking for a double suplex, Knight quickly interjects, and the DOJO students take over by sending YUTA to the floor and giving Romero a double Beell toss. Romero escapes their grasp by holding onto the ropes when Knight attempts a dropkick, and giving him a chest kick. YUTA wipes out DKC with a springboard dropkick and Knight with an enzuigiri that turns him inside out. Knight shoulder tackles YUTA into a sunset flip from DKC for a two count. DKC also spikes him with a crucifix driver for two as Romero makes the save. Romero nails the Dojo boys with forever clotheslines before taking them both out with a double clothesline. Romero Falcon Arrows DKC into a top rope splash from YUTA to get the pin at 9:30. As much as I love Knight on his own, the more I see him and DKC teaming, I wonder if keeping them as a tandem is the way to go. They work really well together while each bringing something different to the table. No surprise Romero and YUTA were a good tandem as well, and no surprise in the result either. ***

 

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