By Colin McGuirestaff member of (@McGMondays)

NJPW strong
Recorded June 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at Vermont Hollywood
Aired July 30, 2022 on New Japan World

Ian Riccaboni checked Alex Koslov’s comments to run through the map. As part of that, Riccaboni recapped the tag team tournament bracket. We are on the Ignition tour and this, my friends, is the fourth week of it…

1. Jeff Cobb vs. Jordan Clearwater
. Clearwater kicked off the match with a few punches, then landed an enzuigiri to send Cobb on the outside. Clearwater ran Cobb into the post and rolled him into the ring. Cobb came back and slammed Clearwater. Cobb hit a forearm to take Clearwater down. Cobb lifted Clearwater for a vertical suplex and threw it. Cobb got a two count.

Clearwater tried to fight back, but Cobb came back with a standing moonsault that missed. Clearwater tried a few clotheslines, but it didn’t work. Still, Clearwater went for a splash, but Cobb caught it and went for a slam, but Clearwater came out and hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Clearwater went for a pump kick, but Cobb caught it and suplexed him for a two count. Cobb then hit a standing moonsault for another two count. Clearwater hit an elbow and rolled Cobb for a two count. Cobb came back with a German Suplex then the Round the Islands for the win.

Jeff Cobb beat Jordan Clearwater by pinfall in 4:27.

McGuire’s thoughts: Actually, I was surprised that it was a squash. Do not mistake yourself. Cobb deserves the shine and the squash, but I thought Clearwater meant more than that to those who book these things. Still, good for both, and good for Clearwater to have a new entry/presentation. In a way, at least. Not much to say for something like that.

2. Fred Yehi vs. Tyler Bateman. Bateman came out to new music and got his first name back. So Stray Dog Army or not could mean something. The two felt and Yehi worked a headlock. Bateman came back with some strikes and chops. Bateman lifted Yehi and slammed him down before landing a knee and working Yehi’s arm. Yehi came right back and sank into a Cobra Twist. Bateman got away with slamming the door.

Yehi got the better of Bateman and worked Bateman’s arm. Bateman came back with an armbar and stomped on Yehi’s arm. Yehi countered by landing a ton of knees to Bateman’s head. Yehi tried stretching Bateman, but it didn’t quite work and it resulted in a few unsuccessful pins. Yehi then worked a headlock. Bateman pushed his way through and hit some chops to knock Yehi down. Yehi came back with a forearm that brought Bateman to the mat.

Back on their feet, Yehi worked on Bateman’s arm and threw him to the ground. Yehi went for a slam, but Bateman blocked it and the two ended up on the ground holding each other’s arms. Yehi came on properly with a spinning back fist that was crazy and then sank into a submission, but the ref called it off.

Fred Yehi defeated Tyler Bateman via referee stoppage in 7:30.

McGuire’s thoughts: Oh, man. That spinning back fist was insane. It was perfect for the way the match ended because Yehi established himself as someone who can knock you out here, right now. This was my favorite Yehi moment in his entire history in New Japan and on Strong. It established him as a real wrestler and someone who shouldn’t be taken lightly, which I love because so far no one watching Strong would think Yehi is a believable wrestler. This game should have fixed that. Also bless Bateman, who I thought was rebooting, but maybe not. Actually, speaking of Bateman…

3. Stray Dog Army vs. Aussie Open. Brown and Fletcher started the match and Brown cut Fletcher a bunch. Brown hit a dropkick to the head and tagged Misterioso, who took it all back and landed a springboard moonsault for a count. Misterioso lifted Fletcher and slammed him before moonsaulting, but Fletcher kicked him in the head. After some double-team moves, Fletcher went for coverage and got a two count.

Davis scored and eventually slammed Misterioso. Fletcher then scored and Fletcher slammed Misterioso. Fletcher sank into a headache. Fletcher continued to work Misterioso in the heel corner and tagged Davis. Davis choked Misterioso with his boot. Fletcher then scored and tried to work Misterioso, but Misterioso got away with a back elbow. Misterioso got the hot tag from Brown, who came in and took on the two Aussie Open guys.

Brown hit a tope on both heels on the outside. Misterioso followed that up with a flip on the two guys on the outside. Back in the ring, Fletcher picked up Brown, but it resulted in both guys working him for a two count. Davis entered the ring, but Davis kicked Misterioso. From there, the Aussie Open hit a series of moves on Brown before pulling Misterioso’s knee out. The Aussie Open then hit their finisher for the win.

The Aussie Open beat Stray Dog Army by pinfall in 7:30.

After the game, Fletcher grabbed a microphone and declared that the United Empire was going to rule the world.

McGuire’s thoughts: With the way so much of this tournament has been booked, I wasn’t quite sure the Aussie Open would come out on top, but I’m really glad they did. It only makes me believe that they will be Strong’s first Tag Team Champions, which I think is very deserving, but only time will tell. So far it was a good game. Misterioso took a lot of it, which was good because Misterioso doesn’t get enough screen time as it is. There wasn’t a lot of drama here, and that’s not always a bad thing, but in this case the match could have benefited from a bit more back-and-forth. Even so, forward we go.

4. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Fred Rosser and Kevin Knight vs. Jay White, Hikuleo and Chase Owens. White and Tanahashi started the match. They both performed in front of the public. Before they could connect, White tagged Owens, who played air guitar in mockery. Tanahashi grabbed a headlock, but Owens came back pulling his hair. Tanahashi responded by hitting a cross-body from the second string and playing his own air guitar. Rosser scored, knocked Owens down and played guitar with Tanahashi.

Rosser threw Owens across the ring. Rosser hit his signature leg twice. Knight then scored and slammed Owens, who came right back and took Knight down, but Knight worked a Boston crab. White went in, but Knight sank into another Boston crab. Hikuleo then came in and smashed everything. This allowed the heels to take control and White landed a chop on Knight. White and Hikuleo worked on Knight with chops. Hikuleo scored and tried to cover Knight, but it was broken.

Owens scored and hit his back rake off the top rope. Owens slapped Knight. Knight fired and tried to get out of it, but Owens cut him off with a daredevil. Knight fought back and elbowed Owens. Owens went for a pile-driver, but Knight returned fire and took Owens down. Knight tried to jump on his partners, but Owens caught him. Still, Knight hit the Best Dropkick In Wrestling to even things up.

He then gave the hot tag to Tanahashi, who entered the ring after White scored. Tanahashi worked on White with the elbows. Tanahashi landed a splash for a two count. White took down Tanahashi with a dragon screw whip. White took down Tanahashi and pinned him for a two count. White worked a chin bar. White landed a chop, but Tanahashi came back with his own leg whip. White came back with a neck breaker to even things up.

Hikuleo scored and beat the hell out of Tanahashi until Tanahashi landed a dropkick to Hikuleo’s knees. Rosser then tagged and cleaned the house. Hikuleo came right back and made clotheslines for everyone. Rosser took out Hikuleo’s knee and tagged Knight, who landed on Hikuleo. Knight rolled up Hikuleo then went for a Boston Crab, but Hikuleo landed a chop. Tanahashi ran up and hit a slingshot blade before everyone hit their finisher on Hikuleo. Knight rolled Hikuleo into a Boston crab and all of the babyfaces had their heels in the submissions, but no one tapped out. In the end, it allowed Hikuleo to hit his snap powerslam and chokeslam for the win.

Jay White, Hikuleo and Chase Owens defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Fred Rosser and Kevin Knight by pinfall in 15:42.

After the game, White grabbed the mic. White said he wanted to take the moment to enjoy it with everyone there. White said his belt meant it was proof that Strong was successful. White said he made the decision to spend his time in the United States to give Strong credibility. White said people keep coming back to see the likes of Rosser and Narita and Lawlor and Team Filthy. Owens tried to take the mic, but White held him back and said thank you, but his Bullet Club members told him to stop, and then White immediately turned on the fans. He said he didn’t need Strong and Strong needed him. He said he was the only confidence and the first Grand Slam champion. He said to breathe with the Switchblade because it’s still his era. The show has ended.

McGuire’s thoughts: Welp, Jay White just did the smartest promo I’ve heard all year and he knew exactly what he was doing and it’s such a shame he got eclipsed on a weekend like this one. Brilliant is a word that’s too hyped up, but it really deserves it here. The game was what it was. I’m very happy that Hikuleo shone (because, as we all know, he’s a star), but this match was never really in doubt.

I was hoping Rosser would get something better for his first outing as Strong Openweight Champion, but I’ll take it because Rosser looked great here too. Predictable isn’t bad, so I can’t complain, but with all that said, Jay White’s promo was hugely memorable. Those five minutes alone are worth your time. I’ll have a lot more to say later today in my weekly audio review for Dot Net members (including our Patreon patrons).

Listen to “11/18 Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell (Episode 136): Court Bauer on MLW Reboot, Pandemic Precautions, & More” on Spreaker.