Tonight's show opened with promos from both Brody King and Batemen, who were set to square off in the main event, a qualifying match for the New Japan Cup USA 2021 tournament. Bateman explained how this win could change his life. He also promised that tonight's match between him and King would get physical. King talked about coming up short in last year's Cup, and that this year, we would see a different version of Brody King.
Jeff Cobb defeated Alex Coughlin
The newly mustachioed Alex Coughlin held his own against Jeff Cobb early on. This is one of Cobb’s first appearances on Strong as a member of the United Empire alongside Great O-Khan, Will Ospreay and Bea Priestley. We saw a meaner, oilier Cobb here tonight, who quickly cut off Coughlin’s attempts at offense with serious power. He ragdolled Coughlin a bit, but the young lion hung in there and continuously fired back at Cobb with strikes of his own to no avail.
Next, Cobb locked in an old school bear hug submission. When Coughlin went for a spear, Cobb side-stepped out of the way and guided Coughlin face-first into the mat. At around five minutes in, Coughlin drained most of his energy on trying to bodyslam Cobb. He eventually pulled it off, but Cobb answered back later, catching him with a spinning back suplex and later a vicious Tour of the Islands powerslam for the pin.
Cobb looked killer here. When he works with someone like Coughlin, someone who can take a serious physical beating, Cobb is allowed to show more “follow-through” in the ring on offense; the chops, lariats, and suplexes all had greater impact tonight as opposed what we’ve seen from the former Olympian in the past. It’s more clear than ever that Cobb is a heel now, and it’s great. And kudos to Coughlin, as well, who has lost pretty much all of his matches so far this year but looked excellent in every loss.
Ren Narita defeated Misterioso to qualify for the NJPW Cup USA 2021 tournament
Both were hesitant at the start as the two felt each other out. We saw a nice monkey flip from Narita early. Narita muscled Misterioso down to the mat with headlock, but Misterioso slipped out of his grasp and sprang to his feet. Narita then bullied Misterioso into the corner and wailed away with strikes.
Misterioso later went for a triangle moonsault but caught himself on the top rope. Luckily, the momentum from the dive carried him all the way down to the floor so it didn’t look too bad. It could have been a lot worse.
Back in the ring, Misterioso stuck a flying lariat and followed it with a powerslam. He used a Guerrero Special from the top for two. Narita wouldn’t stop fighting back, answering Misterioso’s offense with more submissions as opposed to strikes. Before he landed a pretty German suplex for a two-count, Narita put Misterioso away with his modified Cloverleaf finish for the win in just over ten minutes. This was decent, but Misterioso’s slight botches were also hard to unsee.
Brody King defeated Bateman to qualify for the NJPW Cup USA 2021 tournament
The Riegel Twins accompanied Brody King to the ring tonight.
Slow start until both started trading hard forearms. Bateman feigned another forearm shot but poked King in the eyes instead. He then tripped King who was coming off the ropes, and King landed face-first onto the mat.
King seemed not to like any of Bateman’s foul play and quickly turned the tides, locking in a seated abdominal stretch while peppering Bateman with huge forearms to the chest, King growling with each shot.
Bateman went back to the eyes. Loud chops from both. After catching King with two big elbows in the corner, he took off his elbow pads and threw him at King’s head with contempt. King didn’t seem to like that either and responded by using an exploder suplex into the corner on Batemen, then launched himself at a prone Batemen with a running cannonball.
Both were out for a while. Bateman came back to his feet and was able to lay in a few more elbows. Bateman later tried using a German suplex into the corner on King, but King’s head missed the post, so I guess it was just a regular German suplex. He used a face wash on King next. King couldn’t make a proper comeback at this point because of his injured knee. The Riegels encouraged King from the outside the ring. King was able to deliver a snap German suplex, a huge running lariat, and finally a Gonzo Bomb to finally put Bateman away. Good stuff from both here.
Brody King with the Riegel Twins appeared after the match, celebrating backstage. Before departing, King stated: “Last year I came up short, but this year I’m taking the whole thing” in reference to the NJPW Cup USA tournament.
The main event was the standout on tonight’s episode. Bateman is a refreshing personality in the mix, and his style and size help spice up the show without compromising any of the show’s usual quality. King has been very good in these main event spotsl. His singles matches are usually the highlights of those particular shows, and tonight’s performance provides more evidence of this.
Chris Dickinson vs. Blake Christian and Clark Connors vs. TJP are in action next week. Both are New Japan Cup USA qualifying matches.