NJPW STRONG #118 – Detonation 2022 Part 1

Los Angeles, CA – 12.3.2022

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.

Rocky Romero & Adrian Quest vs. Atlantis Jr. & Virus

This is designed to be a preview match for the Fantastica Mania tour, which is making a return after a three year absence. This annual tour features tons of CMLL talents in a New Japan ring. Virus was last seen in New Japan during the 2016 iteration of the tour, and Atlantis Jr. during the 2019 tour. Virus refused to return Romero’s handshake offer when Romero took the opening exchange. Atlantis takes out Quest with a backbreaker and superkicks him to the outside. Virus and Romero then come back into the ring. Atlantis surprises Romero with a kick to the back from the apron when he hits the ropes. Virus clotheslines Romero to the floor, and both luchadores boot Quest out with him, with Atlantis then landing a double suicide dive. They beat down Quest back inside the ring, then toss him outside so they can beat down Romero when he enters the ring as the legal competitor. Romero is able to send Atlantis outside with a flying headscissors, but is taken out by Virus with a clothesline. Romero and Quest then double teamed the luchadores separately. Virus takes out Quest with a haymaker, but Romero takes him down with a running Shiranui. Atlantis saves his partner from being pinned and catapults Romero across the ring twice. Quest dives onto Atlantis onto the floor. Virus has Romero in an over the shoulder stretch. Romero escaped, and when Virus went for a figure four leg lock, Romero pulled him into an inside cradle for the pin at 10:33. Virus and Atlantis were excellent, which isn’t always a guarantee with luchadores on excursion. They were a great match with Romero and Quest, and even though I didn’t know it at the time, I like that Virus and Romero played into their history. Thies match made me want to see more CMLL people on STRONG to freshen things up every once in a while, which is great. ***

Homicide vs. Danny Limelight

This is a grudge match, stemming from Limelight choosing Tom Lawlor over Homicide, despite them being former partners in MLW. I hate interpromotional stories, but there’s enough meat on the bone when it comes to the issue between Homicide and Team Filthy in STRONG that it’s fine. Homicide takes out Limelight early with an Ace Crusher. He then strikes Limelight around ringside, but Limelight eventually takes him down with a blockbuster. Back inside the ring, Limelight takes down Homicide with a high crossbody, but Homicide tosses him overhead with a belly-to-belly suplex. Limelight takes back control with a slingshot senton. Limelight also ends a Three Amigos suplex from Homicide by giving Homicide a suplex of his own. Homicide is able to take down Limelight with a superplex and an exploder suplex for two. Limelight grabs Homicide’s nose, and Homicide bites his hand and forehead while fishhooking him in response. Limelight escapes a tornado DDT and delivers a Pele kick. Limelight scores a nearfall with a tornado DDT. Homicide evades the Symbiote DDT and drops Limelight with the Cop Killa for the pin at 11:14. This match was really engaging and fun. They blended Homicide’s experience edge against Limelight’s speed advantage together in a compelling manner, and I truly did not know who would come out on top. I once again question Homicide winning many of these matches, but there is no doubt he’s having the best matches I’ve seen from him in years during this time, so, I’ll accept it for now. ***¼

Homicide looks to do more damage to Limelight after the bell when he is cut off by Bobby Fish! Fish is a former IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champion and ROH Tag Team champion. Fish takes out Homicide with an exploder suplex. He says “The Fish Tank Fight Club” has some business to take care of alongside Team Filthy, and that’s bad news for everybody else in the locker room. I wonder if Fish actually has others coming in with him. Fish has turned into a walking meme, but he has potential to be a solid contributor to STRONG.

Emily Mae then interviews the STRONG Openweight Tag Team Champions the Motor City Machine Guns. She asks the Guns what their strategy will be when they defend the tag team titles against the Stray Dog Army. Chris Sabin says the SDA will have to pry the titles from his cold dead hands. Alex Shelley says they’re the fucking best, and they made their names on New Japan’s blue mats. Neither of those responses answered Emily’s question.

Blake Christian vs. Juice Robinson

Robinson cost Christian a tag team match two weeks ago, and Christian returned the favor by attacking Robinson after his match with Jake Something last week. Robinson takes a cue from Jay White and rolls to the outside before Christian can strike. Christian surprises him with an elbow suicida right into the guardrails. Christian tries a moonsault off the apron, but Robinson catches him and drops him throat first onto the guardrail. Robinson misses a clothesline, colliding with the ring post, and Christian takes advantage of the error by using the guardrail to inflict more damage to Robinson’s now hurt shoulder. Robinson uses Christian own momentum to score with a backbreaker inside of the ring, as well as a spinebuster. Robinson then leg sweeps Christian into a senton. Christian enzuigiri’s Robinson’s shoulder when Robinson comes charging at him in the corner, then takes down Robinson with a springboard forearm. Christian ducks a leg lariat and back handspring kicks Robinson’s shoulder. Christian blocks the Left Hand From God, stomps on his hand, then kicks Robinson right upside the head. Robinson rolls out of the way of a frog splash, but Christian scores with a rolling thunder on the ring apron. Christian brings down Robinson with a divorce court into a Fujiwara armbar. Robinson gets the ropes to escape. Christian attempts a ripcord maneuver, but Robinson blasts him with the Left Hand of God! Christian kicks him in the shoulder again and attempts a victory Roll. Robinson cuts back on it and holds onto the middle rope, pinning Christian at 9:33. I really liked this match – Christian wrestled the better match and only lost because Robinson cheated quickly. These two have really good chemistry, and whoever saw that in these two deserves credit. That ending means we’ll see them wrestle again and I am very happy about that. ***¼

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