This week’s episode of STRONG celebrates the show’s 2nd Anniversary. Ian Riccaboni is our host, and he shares the following highlights from the past two years of STRONG:
*KENTA defeating David Finlay in the finals of the New Japan Cup USA 2020 on STRONG #3.
*Jon Moxley defending the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against KENTA on STRONG #29.
*Tom Lawlor becoming the inaugural STRONG Openweight Champion by defeating Brody King on STRONG #37.
*Hiroshi Tanahashi’s STRONG debut on STRONG #58.
*Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer from STRONG #68.
*Jay White facing fellow BULLET CLUB member Hikuleo on STRONG #90.
*Fred Rosser winning the STRONG Openweight Championship from Tom Lawlor on STRONG #96.
Since there were no new matches on STRONG, and no match whatsoever on XTRA, I decided to check out New Japan’s offering on the Ric Flair’s Last Match event:
Ren Narita vs. Yuya Uemura
JCP “Ric Flair’s Last Match” – Nashville, TN – 7.31.2022
Uemura takes down Narita with his Steamboat-esque armdrags – very appropriate for the setting. Narita blocks Uemura’s double underhook belly-to-belly suplex and gets the better of an overhand chop battle. Narita swipes away a dropkick and kicks Uemura right in his spine. Uemura drops Narita with a dropkick as Narita comes off the ropes, and then blasts him with a flying forearm. Uemura scores with a bulldog for two. Narita quickly gets to the ropes to break Uemura’s cross armbreaker. He gets Uemura in the Cobra Twist, and Uemura falls forward into the ropes to escape. Narita then German suplexes him for two. Uemura ends a strike exchange with an enzuigiri. Uemura bursts off of the ropes, but Narita catches Uemura as he charges with the Narita Special #4 for the pin at 5:57. Uemura’s style is very suited to this crowd, and Narita’s surprise pin seemed to engage them as well. It will certainly be distinct from what the rest of the night offers. **¾