NJPW STRONG #108 – Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2022 Part 3

After two singles victories in Impact Wrestling, Yuya Uemura was involved in a “Triple Threat Revolver Match”, with the winner earning a shot at the X-Division Title at Bound For Glory. It’s essentially a triple threat gauntlet match, with the person who is pinned leaving and replaced by another person waiting in the wings until the gauntlet concludes. Laredo Kid was the first person eliminated, with Mia Yim pinning him with Eat Defeat. Mia Yim then eliminated Alex Zayne, who was called a New Japan representative by commentary, with a crucifix driver. When Yim had Trey Miguel set up for Eat Defeat, Kenny King snuck in a roll-up and eliminated Yim. This is when Yuya Umemura entered the match.

Uemura Victory Road

Triple Threat Revolver Match – Pairing #4
Yuya Uemura vs. Kenny King vs. Trey Miguel

Impact Wrestling “Victory Road 2022” – Nashville, TN – 9.23.2022

Uemura defeated Kenny King in his Impact debut. He enters the match with a springboard dropkick to Miguel, but is thrown down to the mat by his hair by King. Uemura wipes out King with a dropkick when he gets back to his feet. King spikes him on his head with a dragon suplex. Uemura and Miguel ping-pong King between them, with Uemura taking King down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Uemura avoids a double stomp to the back, but is taken down by a Lightning Spiral from Miguel and pinned at 2:50 (total match time up to that point was 14:25.) There was very little time for Uemura to strut his stuff, but he was a totally solid inclusion in this Gauntlet. Frankie Kazarian was the next man in, and ultimately won the match, pinning Kenny King at 24:08 with a slingshot Ace Crusher.

Los Angeles, CA – 9.24.2022

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.

Keita vs. QT Marshall

The crowd hated QT, and Keita gave them enough to get behind him, but a pop-up forearm shot and the Diamond Cutter got Marshall the win at 5:12. There was not much to sink your teeth into at all, and I really don’t know why the Factory is still kicking around STRONG. Marshall calls out Shota Umino knowing he isn’t in the building, but gets mad when Umino accepts the challenge via video for Las Vegas next month. *

Christopher Daniels & Yuya Uemura vs. TMDK (Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito)

This is Tito’s first match since seconding JONAH during the G1 Climax, and the first match of Daniels and Uemura as a team since they failed to capture the STRONG Openweight Tag Team Titles. Daniels cracks Haste in the chain with a leg lariat. Uemura wins a shoulder block battle with Tito, and then he and Daniels take turns slamming Haste. Tito blind tags himself in, mowing down Uemura with a running shoulder block and knocking Daniels off of the ring apron. Uemura is beat down by TMDK until he tosses Haste off of the second turnbuckle with a double arm capture belly-to-belly suplex. Daniels German suplexes Haste and gets two on him with a Death Valley Driver. Uemura takes care of Tito with a dropkick when Tito grabs Daniels’ foot from the floor. Uemura also pulls Daniels to safety to avoid a corner somersault senton from Haste. Tito shoves Uemura off of the top and he knocks into Daniels. Tito drags Uemura to the floor and holds onto him as Haste drops Daniels with a Death Valley Bomb for the pin at 9:10. This was a solid win for the new chapter of TMDK, and another stumbling block for the new team who are still learning to gel…or so I thought. **¾

Daniels seems to forgive Uemura for the miscommunication with a hug and an arm raise, but he then kicks Uemura in the groin! Daniels drops him with a uranage and lands two BME’s, leaving him lying in the ring. Daniels yells to the commentary team that he is tired of being embarrassed by rookies. Uemura is helped out of the ring but insists on making it to the back on his own. I am really interested to see the two of them in a singles match.

TJP says he built New Japan STRONG and vows to win the STRONG Openweight Title from Fred Rosser next week.

Ren Narita vs. Jakob Austin Young

Young is a Sacramento native who primarily wrestles in California and Las Vegas, and this is his NJPW debut. Like many of the local debuts, he was found through a New Japan LA Dojo camp. He thinks quickly when he wrestles, twisting Narita’s ankle when he catches an upturned boot in the corner, for example. He attacked the left arm early and would go back to that as the match progressed, but Narita’s tenacity didn’t let Young maintain his offense for long at all. They each go for a rear-naked choke and trade pin attempts. Narita holds onto Young’s wrist a pump kicks him in the face before pulling him into the Narita Special #4 for the pin at 4:48. This was really fun! I am glad to see that Young returns next month because he was competent, unique, and capable of hanging with a top Young Lion. A good find for STRONG. **½

Alan Angels vs. Taiji Ishimori

This is Angels’ singles debut in NJPW, last seen tagging with Evil Uno in July. This is Ishimori’s first match on STRONG since October 2021. He is the current IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion. Angles takes down Ishimori with a single leg dropkick and an armdrag, and a quick back elbow earns him a two count. Ishimori retaliates with a back handspring enzuigiri. Ishimori attacks Angels’ shoulders and neck. He uses an eye poke but succumbs to a springboard dropkick from Angels off of the bottom rope. Angels does some damage in the corner before taking down Ishimori with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Ishimori sends Angels face first into a middle turnbuckle with a Complete Shot. Angels manages to follow Ishimori to the top turnbuckle and bring him down with a Spanish Fly for two.Ishimori stops Angels’ momentum with a knee under the chin. Angels avoids the Bloody Cross and takes down Ishimori with a rolling lariat for two. Angels shins collide with the guardrail as he lands a springboard moonsault to the floor. When Angels comes off the top turnbuckle in the ring, Ishimori catches him coming off the top with a Code Breaker. Bloody Cross then gets Ishimori the pin at 9:14. With Ishmori as champion there was no chance for an upset, and the finish was very abrupt. It was a solid showcase for Angels but for the reason stated above the LA crowd was not terribly engaged. While this was a good match, it was a disappointing main event. ***

Backstage comments saw Ishimori call out Lio Rush, who defeated Ishimori last October, for a rematch with the IWGP Junior Title on the line. Rush hasn’t been seen since “Capital Collision” where he cut a promo and did commentary, but perhaps an in-ring return is on the horizon.

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