Tonight's episode of NJPW Strong was also the first on NJPW’s Road to Ignition tour.
TJP defeated Kevin Knight via submission
TJP had a critically-acclaimed match with Josh Alexander on IMPACT last night. In contrast to last night’s Iron Man match, this was a short, technical grappling bout with TJP getting the better of Knight in the end, using a manji-gatame to pick up the win here via submission.
Knight is an impressive Young Lion, which speaks because all of the current Young Lions are top-notch wrestlers. He gets insanely high on his leapfrog. TJP shook hands with Knight before heading to the back.
Barrett Brown (w/ Bateman) defeated Adrian Quest
This is a battle of ex-tag team partners. It was the first time they’d been in the ring together on television since Brown turned on Quest after one of their recent matches.
Brown has aligned himself with resident Strong baddie, ROH’s Bateman, who cornered him in this match. He looked to be giving Brown tips as they came to the ring, or on the floor later on during the match.
Quest landed a springboard tornillo in the ring onto Brown, but Brown was able to cut off Quest’s offensive momentum and toss him to the floor. Brown is a fast, athletic wrestler, but tonight he wrestled with a meaner demeanor and a less flashy offense. He brawled more and took cheap shots when he could.
Quest later used a top-rope frankensteiner on Brown, reversing the superplex or whatever Brown was attempting from up there. He landed a running shooting star press onto Brown on the floor moments later, not all that unlike the move that Hangman Page made popular.
Brown earned two close near-falls towards the end, one after suplexing Quest into the corner, then another after catching him with a running knee. Brown acted frustrated.
Quest later went to the top rope, but Bateman hopped onto the apron while Brown had the ref’s back turned away. A few seconds later, Brown was able to roll Quest into a schoolboy cradle for the three-count and the win.
In his post-match interview, Quest harped on Brown for needing someone with him so that he could win his matches. Fred Rosser overheard Quest off-camera, then joined Quest and explained how he didn’t like bullies and that if Quest ever needed backup, he’d be there for him.
Karl Fredericks and Satoshi Kojima defeated Team Filthy (JR Kratos & Danny Limelight) via submission
Kojima also appeared on IMPACT recently. He’ll wrestle Joe Doering at their Against All Odds pay-per-view, but in the meantime, he was able to appear as the special guest on tonight’s episode of Strong. Having wrestlers like he and Yuji Nagata appear every now and then is a great way to lend the show more credibility in the eyes of the fans.
Kojima and Kratos kicked things off. Kratos offered his hand, but it was a feint, as he’d instead kick Kojima in the breadbasket. Kojima responded quickly with a kick of his own, then attempted a Koji Cutter before Kratos whipped him into the ropes.
Fredericks tagged in next. He and Kratos are a good match and would probably tear it down in a singles match, I imagine. Kratos threw Mark Coleman-esque knees to a prone Fredericks later. He and Limelight began tagging in and out as they worked Fredericks over in the blue corner.
When Limelight went for a suplex, Fredericks widened his base stance and reversed the suplex into one of his own. He’d then tag out to Kojima. Limelight immediately tagged in Kratos, who got right into it with Kojima. We saw Kojima’s signatured machine gun chops and diving elbow drop which he caught Kratos with late in this. Kratos powered up and deadlift Kojima into a suplex for two. He’d then slap Kojima in the face, which in turn fired Kojima up. The two traded more elbows and strikes before Kojima was able to finally land the Koji Cutter on Kratos. Limelight tagged in next, but Kojima took him out with a big lariat that sent Limelight spinning, literally.
Kratos tossed Kojima to the outside and choked him on the floor. Limelight scored a close two-count after a jumping kick that caught Fredericks in the back of the head. When Limelight went for another kick, Fredericks caught Limelights’ leg, then slapped him across the face. Then, with Kojima now in control of Kratos outside the ring, Fredericks locked Limelight in a single-leg Boston Crab and planted his right foot atop Limelight’s head for good measure. Fredericks secured the victory with this hold, submitting Limelight for the win.
All four brawled in the ring after the match, with heavy action between Kojima and Kratos. On commentary, Kevin Kelly mentioned Karl Fredericks’ upcoming shot at Tom Lawlor’s Strong Openweight Championship, which will likely air soon, though it wasn’t officially announced tonight.
Road to Ignition was yet another solid, albeit short, episode of NJPW Strong, with Satoshi Kojima’s appearance in the main event being the highlight. Seeing him work alongside the new generation of talent was fun to watch. Barrett Brown’s new alliance with Bateman takes both wrestlers in new directions storyline-wise, though it’s too soon to tell whether this fully works or not. It did tonight, pretty much.