Los Angeles, CA – 12.10.2022
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.
Gregory Sharpe vs. Kenny King
We’ve seen Sharpe unsuccessful in two tag matches with Jakob Austin Young, but this is his first singles match in New Japan. King returns to STRONG after defeating Che Cabrera last month. King cracks Sharpe with a back elbow to stop an Irish whip. Sharpe rolls through the subsequent hip toss, however, and takes King’s wind away with an atomic drop and double chop to the chest. He scores with a high crossbody for two. When he goes back up top, King dropkicks the top rope and Sharpe crashes down to the mat. After pummeling him on the canvas, King takes down Sharpe with a spin kick for two. Sharpe muscles his way out of a Camel Clutch and forearm strikes King into the corner. Sharpe surprises King with a one-footed dropkick and German suplexes him for two. King blocks a kick and hits Sharpe with the Eddy Gordo kick, following with a spinebuster for two. Sharpe brings down King from the top with an exploder suplex, then delivers a basement dropkick for two. King manages to roll through Sharpe’s crossbody and muscle him up into the Royal Flush for the pin at 9:43. Sharpe continues to be a worthwhile investment for STRONG, as the crowd is into him and he stands out amongst the rest of the roster. Sharpe and King had a very good dynamic and it made for an entertaining and engaging opening match. **¾
The DKC vs. Christopher Daniels
The LA DOJO crew continues to hold a grudge against Daniels over his treatment of Yuya Uemura during their short tenure as a tag team. Uemura himself and LA DOJO trainer Rocky Romero both have defeated Daniels, but I guess these grudge matches must continue anyhow. Daniels attacks DKC’s left arm. DKC’s flying kick and an armdrag takes down Daniels, and he delivers some kicks while Daniels is grounded. Daniels pulls down DKC by his hair to take back control. Daniels attacks DKC’s neck and back, even wisely holding onto the ropes to avoid a dropkick, causing DKC to come crashing down on his own accord. DKC avoids a clothesline off of the apron and takes down Daniels with a flying headscissors. After a flying single leg dropkick he crucifix pins Daniels for two. Daniels stops a corner attack from DKC by maneuvering him upwards so that he lands crotch first on the top rope. The BME gets him the pin at 9:15. After the match, Daniels gives DKC a piledriver. Daniels’ character added color to the match and got people behind the DKC. I am curious what Daniels’ future holds from him in STRONG and if there will be a significant pay off for this LA DOJO story. DKC continues to look good, and perhaps this story will be something he can sink his teeth into. **¾
Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Hikuleo), David Finlay, & Alan Angels vs. BULLET CLUB (Jay White & El Phantasmo) & The West Coast Wrecking Crew (Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)
Bobby Fish is in the WCWC’s corner. Since we last saw Hikuleo on STRONG, he turned on the BULLET CLUB and united with his brothers. Finlay and Angels take down Phantasmo in the early going. Nelson knees Angels in the back as he hits the ropes, and Phantasmo is able to knock him down with a pump kick after the fact. The WCWC and BC contingent beat down Angels in their corner until Angels takes down Phantasmo with a standing Shiranui and tags Hikuleo. White bails to the floor as Hikuleo wipes out the rest of his teammates. White tags when Hikuleo misses a corner boot and gets his leg momentarily stuck on the top rope. White lights him up with chops and dropkicks his knee out when Hikuleo looks to retaliate. Hikuleo chops him down from one knee and tags Tonga, who blasts White immediately with a dropkick. He beats down White ringside, then back in the ring lands a corner splash and powerslam. He puts White in his crosshairs for a Gun Stun, but White evades and drops Tonga with a DDT. Isaacs takes down Tonga with a belly-to-belly suplex, and Finlay takes Isaacs out with a backbreaker. Finlay’s rival, White, comes in, and escapes Finlay’s Trash Panda attempt. Bobby Fish grabs Finlay’s leg, and the distraction enables White to give Finlay the sleepwalker suplex. Phantasmo tries to sneak attack Hikuleo when he is face-to-face with White. Hikuleo chokeslams Phantasmo as he comes in, and White chop blocks Hikuleo’s knee when he has a double goozle on the WCWC. Tonga pulls White into the Tongan Twist but succumbs to a double team attack from the WCWC. Tonga kicks out of their Dominator/neckbreaker combo, and Angels comes to his aid before WCWC can do any further damage. Angels however finds himself taking a German suplex from Isaacs. When they try the same thing on Tonga, Tonga drops Isaacs with a Gun Stun. Nelson misses a Knee Trembler, and Tonga drops him with the Gun Stun for the pin at 13:20. This was a fun, action packed match, and a good way to re-establish Tonga and Hikuleo into the STRONG tapestry. It was good to see them both back, and they had strong chemistry with Angels and Finlay as well. GoD vs. WCWC would be a good time. ***½