NJPW STRONG #104 – High Alert 2022 Part 3

AEW’s Trios Title tournament continued on the August 24th edition of Dynamite, with the current IWGP U.S. Champion and current STRONG Openweight Tag Team Champions entering the fray:

Death Triangle vs Aussie Open

AEW World Trios Championship Tournament – Dynamite Semifinal Round Match
United Empire (Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. Death Triangle (PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix)

AEW Dynamite #151 – Cleveland, OH – 8.24.2022

Death Triangle scores triple dives onto the United Empire after the opening exchanges conclude. Ospreay is rocked in their corner, especially by Fenix, for several minutes. When Ospreay reverses an Irish whip, Davis sweeps out Fenix’s legs and Fletcher lands a double stomp to the small of his back from the apron. Ospreay takes out Penta and PAC with a twisting moonsault to the floor and then is launched by Aussie Open into a corner dropkick to Fenix. Aussie Open are able to get vengeance on Fenix, beating him down in their corner like their leader Ospreay was moments earlier. Fenix uses the ropes to pull off a double armdrag and tag in Penta. Penta spikes Fletcher with a crucifix driver. Ospreay catches him with a back handspring kick, and Aussie Open takes down Penta with a lawn dart into an Ace Crusher. Penta now finds himself at the United Empire’s mercy, with Ospreay tearing at Penta’s mask in the process.Penta pops Ospreay upside down in the corner and superkicks him. PAC tags in, dropkicks Aussie Open off the apron, and then German suplexes Ospreay. Aussie Open and Lucha Bros trade strikes and superkicks, with Ospreay and PAC spiking each team at the same time with stereo reverse Frankensteiners. Ospreay ends an exchange with PAC by spiking with an OsCutter, but is too fatigued to go for a pin. They end up on the top turnbuckle where PAC brings down Ospreay with an avalanche brainbuster! Davis thrashes PAC with forearm shots to buy Ospreay recovery time, which helps him to crotch PAC on the top turnbuckle to stop the Black Arrow, and land on his feet when Fenix tries to bring him down with a super Frankensteiner. Fenix takes him out with an Ace Crusher right after, and the Lucha Bros take out Aussie Open. Ospreay gets his knees up to block the Black Arrow, but takes a tornado DDT. Fletcher pulls Ospreay to the outside, and PAC lands a moonsault onto both of them! PAC is distracted by who he thinks is Kip Sabian under his box in the crowd, who had been stalking PAC, but it’s a decoy. The real Kip attacks PAC from behind and gives him a suplex onto the floor. After Aussie Open took out Penta, they lifted Fenix up into the Coriolis position. However, then they double drop Fenix into the OsCutter from Ospreay, giving The United Empire the win at 25:22. This was all sizzle but the crowd was down for a match like that. Even if some portions felt redundant, the pace was such that it didn’t bother me. The Kip Sabian thing landed with a thud, but fortunately the finish was spectacular enough to end things on a high note. I don’t think it’s an instant classic or anything, but an entertaining match for sure. ***¾

Next week on Dynamite in Chicago, the United Empire faces The Elite of Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks in the Dynamite Final round, with the winners facing either The Dark Order or Best Friends at “All Out” to determine the inaugural champions.

Charlotte, NC – 8.27.2022

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.

Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. The Heatseekers (Elliot Russel & Sigmon)

Finally, an away crowd who were adequately impressed with Kevin Knight. The Heatseekers crotched Knight on the top rope when he was poised to dive. Knight dodges their offense and blasts Russel with his amazing dropkick in order to tag in the karate ready DKC. Russel and Sigmon scored a nearfall on DKC with their Stampede Slam/diving headbutt combo thanks to Knight placing his partner’s foot on the bottom rope. The match ended when a cradle was double reversed by the respective partners and DKC pinned Sigmon at 9:55. The Heatseekers were a competent but nondescript duo, totally serviceable in giving DKC and Knight a tandem victory. I’m glad the crowd was as into DKC and Knight as other STRONG crowds should be – it really helped make them feel like a solidified team. *¼

QT Marshall vs. Parker Lee

Marshall showed up unexpectedly and introduced Parker Lee as his opponent, an independent wrestler from Florida who looks remarkably similar to Lucas Riley. Aside from some customary hopeful offensive moments, it’s a squash for Marshall, who pins Lee with the Diamond Cutter at 2:56. Shota Umino gets in Marshall’s face when Marshall asks for anyone who thinks they can match up with him to step up. The unadvertised Umino gets a big reaction from the crowd. Marshall teases having a match with Umino right then and there but then bails. Seeing Umino was nice, just about everything else, not so much.

Mascara Dorada vs. TJP

This is a rematch from STRONG #88 which Dorada won, but TJP unmasked him after the bout. TJP unmasked Dorada again at STRONG #91 when he defeated Dorada in a six man tag team match. Since his last U.S. appearance, TJP won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles with Francesco Akira. TJP takes down Dorada with a crossbody, but Dorada retaliates with a reverse Sling Blade and a shotgun dropkick off of the middle ropes. TJP holds onto the ropes to try to lure Dorada in, but Dorada simply follows him in and dropkicks TJP to the outside. However, TJP is able to pull Dorada from the apron so that Dorada crashes face first onto the ring apron. TJP messes with Dorada’s mask in the ring, and when Dorada looks for a leaping back elbow, TJP catches him in a cross armbreaker. Dorada takes TJP down with a facebuster and follows him to the floor with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, TJP surprises Dorada with a DDT to put the match back on equal footing. TJP blocks a suplex by dropping Dorada stomach first onto the top rope and lands the Mamba Splash on Dorada’s back as Dorada is laying across the top rope! Dorada is able to avoid the Mamba Splash back in the ring and nails the Dorada Screwdriver for two. Dorada places TJP in a figure seven submission, and TJP pulls off Dorada’s mask! Dorada of course releases and gets situated, but once his mask is back on, TJP surprises him with the Mamba Splash for the pin at 11:55. I’ll take a clever ending after some very solid wrestling, but that ending maybe could’ve been executed in a more subtle way (Dorada laying there after his mask was put on didn’t work for me). I’ve liked this rivalry and I think a mask vs. hair match could be in our future – maybe a double mask vs. IWGP Jr. Tag Titles match? ***¼

KUSHIDA & Ren Narita vs. The WorkHorsemen (Anthony Henry & JD Drake)

This is KUSHIDA’s STRONG debut and the NJPW debut of both Henry and Drake. It takes a clothesline to the jaw for Drake to stun KUSHIDA. As he lands a senton splash, Henry knocks Narita off of the ring apron so he and Drake can wear down KUSHIDA in their corner. KUSHIDA takes them down with a double back handspring elbow and tags in Narita, who gets a nearfall on Henry with a bridging overhead suplex. Henry stops Narita by getting his boot up,and Drake then drops Narita face first onto the top rope. Henry follows that up with a running face kick, and the WorkHorsemen now isolate Narita. Narita wakes up when Henry snapmares him into a back kick, and he shows Henry how it’s done. Drake interjects, slamming Narita into a falling headbutt. The WorkHorsemen deliver an onslaught of kicks to Narita’s back afterwards. Narita shoves Drake into Henry and then takes down Henry with a brainbuster. KUSHIDA gets the tag, but is tagged back out when Henry shoots KUSHIDA to the ropes. Narita overhead suplexes both of them, but succumbs to an Airplane Spin/Shining Wizard combo. After a double stomp from Henry, Drake lands a moonsault, and KUSHIDA breaks up their cover just in time. KUSHIDA impressively bodyslams the much larger Drake and hip tosses Henry into a dropkick. A hammerlock suplex then pins Henry at 11:18. Pretty surprising and abrupt ending, which is a shame as the match was cooking up until that point. The WorkHorsemen would be an unbelievable addition to the tag roster on STRONG, and this outing proves that they’d be one of the best teams right away. Narita and KUSHIDA made for a solid pairing, and I am glad Narita did not get overshadowed. This would’ve been even better with a fully baked conclusion. ***¼

No XTRA match again this week.

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