I really do not like that my brain saw The Factory against some New Japan people (kinda sorta) on Dark: Elevation and said “hey, you should watch that match!” I hate that for me.
CHAOS (Rocky Romero, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor) & Danhausen vs. The Factory (QT Marshall, Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto & Cole Karter)
AEW Dark Elevation #83 – Philadelphia, PA – 10.3.2022
Danhausen impresses with a flying Frankensteiner to Solo. Marshall mocks Danhausen’s cursing stance. His finger is bitten and Danhausen stomps him down in the corner for his troubles. Danhausen and Romero double suplex Karter. Comoroto clotheslines Romero from the apron, enabling the Factory to beat down Romero in their corner until he drops Karter with a running Shiranui and hip tosses Solo. Romero tags a fresh Taylor who blasts Solo with the Brodie Knee. Taylor Sole Food’s Solo into a half-nelson suplex from Beretta. Comoroto clotheslines the Best Friends, but Beretta takes him down with a tornado DDT. Marshall snaps Beretta’s neck across the top rope and delivers a slingshot senton. RPG Vice cut off Marshall with jumping knees to the face, following that with a top rope double stomp and a basement knee strike. Solo, Comoroto, and Marshall are wiped out with dives. Marshall is able to drop Beretta with a Diamond Cutter and Romero makes the save. Danhausen curses Solo to help Beretta counter a powerbomb into a modified Strong Zero, with Danhausen playing Romero’s role, to get Beretta the pin on Solo at 7:54. I’m actually very glad I watched this! The action was fun, they told a story with a nice pay off, and the crowd was very into it. What’s not to like? **¾
Las Vegas, NV – 10.8.2022
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.
Shota Umino vs. QT Marshall
Marshall makes Umino angry by throwing him to the mat by his hair, but Umino’s blind anger enables Marshall to get in a cheap shot. Umino avoids an up-and-over in the corner and knocks down Marshall with a running shoulder block. Umino sends Marshall to the floor with a running uppercut, but back in the ring, Marshall catches Umino with a neckbreaker. Umino reverses a an Irish whip, forearms Marshall down and delivers a basement dropkick. Marshall blocks the Death Rider and pops up Umino into a forearm smash, following up with a sit-out powerbomb for two. Marshall takes his sweet time picking up Umino off of the mat. Umino switches him into a tombstone position, and although Marshall switches positions once, Umino switches back and delivers a tombstone for two. Umino does more damage to Marshall’s neck when trading forearm strikes. Marshall’s desperation pin fails, but he clobbers Umino with a back handspring enzuigiri. Umino blocks the Diamond Cutter with two rolling neckbreakers and a reverse brainbuster. The Death Rider then gives Umino the pin at 10:13. I’m glad Umino won here, and am appreciative that all of his offense was based around Marshall’s neck en route to the finish. I was really irked by Marshall, who after taking a tombstone, was up moments later engaging in a forearm battle and doing a back handspring, but that’s wrestling in 2022 I guess. It was a very good showing for Umino which is what matters most. **¾
Before our next match, Team Filthy members Danny Limelight and JR Kratos make their way to the ring. Limelight is incredulous that he and Kratos were left out of the STRONG Tag Team title tournament and says that the champions Aussie Open are bogus. Kratos says they want a shot at the titles and calls out Aussie Open. Aussie Open makes their way out to the entrance stage, nodding whilst holding up their titles to officially accept their challenge.
Ren Narita vs. Juice Robinson
Juice attacks Narita during his entrance. Robinson brings Narita into the ring and has the referee call for the bell, only to toss Narita back out ringside once the bell rings. Robinson sends Narita face first into the ring post and grabs the ring bell. Robinson cracks Narita in the head with the bell. The referee calls for a disqualification at 1:20, declaring Narita the winner. Robinson says he took Narita’s words from last week to heart, and wants to prove without a doubt he is in fact Rock Hard. Narita is covered with blood and being helped by officials when Juice Robinson goads Narita into accepting a restarted match under No Disqualification rules.
Ren Narita vs. Juice Robinson
Narita kicks out Robinson’s legs after ducking kendo stick shots and locks him in the figure four. Robinson hits him with the kendo stick to break the hold and then cracks him in the right bicep with it. Robinson sets up a table on the floor, but Narita reverses a suplex attempt. Back in the ring, Robinson bites Narita’s open wound to turn the match back in his favor. Robinson then whips Narita across the back repeatedly with the belt from his pants. He also punches Narita’s wound with the belt buckle. Narita dropkicks a chair into Robinson’s face. Robinson digs his fingers into Narita’s head. He sets up a chair in a corner, which backfires as Narita ends up sending him into the chair head first. Narita gives Robinson a chair shot across the back, and Robinson low blows Narita to stop another chair shot. Robinson gives Narita a piledriver onto a chair, and Robinson is shocked when Narita gets his shoulder up. He puts Narita through the table he had set up previously with a powerbomb. Narita has enough energy once he is put back in the ring to get his shoulder up again, so Robinson throws the timekeeper’s table into the ring. Robinson has Narita placed on the top turnbuckle and has him set up for a super Rock Slide through the table. Narita however turns the attempt into a rearnaked choke! Narita wraps his legs around Robinson and puts him in the Paco Special (a double handlebar stretch). Robinson verbally submits at 14:45. This could be a star-making performance for Narita if followed up properly. Narita pouring blood all match long and kicking out of everything Robinson had for him made him seem like the toughest man on the planet. I can see why after this Narita would be brought back to Japan full time – this feels like the zenith of his U.S. excursion, at least since challenging Lawlor for the STRONG Openweight title a year ago. This is also the only other match besides his match with Finlay in the G1 that made me think that there is some life in Juice Robinson as a bad guy. Great stuff all around. ***½
Wheeler YUTA & Homicide vs. BULLET CLUB (Jay White & Karl Anderson)
This is YUTA’s first appearance on STRONG since April. Doc Gallows is in the BULLET CLUB’s corner and Tom Lawlor is on commentary. This was set to be a Trios match, but Eddie Kingston tested positive for COVID-19 and had to miss the show. Homicide and Anderson don’t do much of anything in their opening exchange. YUTA chops down White to a seated position. Possibly embarrassed, White pulls YUTA by his hair across the ring and pummels him down to a seated position. YUTA slams White into a senton splash. YUTA also delivers a senton splash to Anderson when he tags in. Homicide bites Anderson’s wrist and strikes White when he tries to attack. White pulls YUTA off of the ring apron and Gallows shoves Homicide into the barricades right into the commentary table. Lawlor spits water at Homicide, perhaps thinking Homicide charged the table on his own, and they get into a tiff. Anderson pulls Homicide into the ring and drops him with a spinebuster. The BULLET CLUB duo beat down Homicide in their half of the ring. Homicide snatches White’s ear as he talks trash and bites his other ear. He then gives White a chinbreaker so he can tag YUTA. YUTA takes out Anderson with a flying forearm smash and then gets two with the Pain Thriller. Anderson counters YUTA’s slam attempt with a neckbreaker across his knee. YUTA and Homicide give White three atomic drops before Homicide locks him in an STF. Anderson shoves YUTA into them to break the hold. YUTA blocks both the Gun Stun and the Blade Runner, then sends Anderson into the barricades with a suicide dive. White escapes the Cop Killa but takes an Ace Crusher for two. A distraction from Gallows allows Lawlor to try and jump in. While he doesn’t get his hands on Homicide, it does help White drop Homicide with the Blade Runner to get the pin at 14:37. This was a totally solid tag match, but nothing special. YUTA worked his ass off, White was good, Homicide was better than you’d think, but I don’t think the bright lights were on tonight. The Lawlor and Homicide stuff was also very ham-fisted. ***
Lawlor beats down Homicide after the bell. YUTA comes to his aid, so the West Coast Wrecking Crew attack YUTA. Shota Umino then comes out to save YUTA and gets put in Lawlor’s rearnaked choke. Homicide pulls out the Ghetto Fork, which sees Homicide get attacked by both BULLET CLUB and Team Filthy. Lawlor makes Homicide pass out in a rearnaked choke. The ring is cleared of YUTA, Umino, and Homicide at White’s behest.
White then turns his attention to the man who missed tonight’s match, Eddie Kingston, claiming that Jon Moxley talked him into staying home. White says Kingston talks about his Japanese heroes and icons on Twitter, but then gave up the chance to get in the ring with the single biggest Japanese wrestling legend tonight. Since Kingston doesn’t have the balls to come to him, maybe he’ll come to New York City so Kingston can find out first hand what it’s like to breathe with the Switchblade.
Tom Lawlor then takes the microphone and addresses his hometown. He says Team Filthy has carried New Japan STRONG for two years. He sends the fans home happy with a thank you of sorts before he, Royce Isaacs, and Jorel Nelson doing a little strutting and posing to the Team Filthy theme song. They went from beating down the babyfaces alongside the top heel faction to goofing off for cheers moments later – maybe leave a moment like that off of the episode and let the live crowd enjoy it.