NJPW STRONG REPORT: KENTA vs. Jeff Cobb, Tama Tonga vs. David Finlay

John Pollock's review of NJPW Strong featuring the two semi-finals of the tournament, a great six-man tag match & more.

The show began with Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov teeing up the semi-final matches.

The semi-finals will take place on this show with the finals scheduled for next week’s program.

CLARK CONNORS & JORDAN CLEARWATER VS LOGAN RIEGEL & BARRETT BROWN

Connors rushed to the ring and began shoving Riegel and Brown. They noted Clearwater is a trainee of Karl Anderson. They explained Logan’s twin brother and partner Sterling is back in England.

Clearwater fought out of the corner and hit Riegel with a power slam and worked to the corner tagging Connors. A hip toss by Connors to Brown was awkward, so they did it again and Brown launched himself off the throw. Connors has tremendous intensity and is a cut above everyone else in the match.

Brown countered coming off Clearwater’s shoulders and won with a roll-up.

WINNERS: Logan Riegel & Barrett Brown (pinned Jordan Clearwater) in 6:43

The star of the match was Connors but it was so short that it didn’t allow to hit the next gear. It was a basic tag and Kelly was heaping lots of praise on Logan and Sterling Riegel.

PJ BLACK, MISTERIOSO & BLAKE CHRISTIAN VS TJP, ACH & ALEX ZAYNE

Koslov wouldn’t confirm or deny when Kelly asked if he was training for a comeback.

There was an intricate sequence between TJP and Christian that would have gotten over strong with a live audience. Black entered and went from corner to corner and constantly came off the top. TJP spiked Black with a DDT.

Zayne flipped over ACH to deliver a ‘rana to Black off the turnbuckle. Zayne hit a shooting star with his knees landing on Black but Misterioso broke the cover.

Christian hit an insane Fosbury Flop taking out TJP on the floor. Zayne was left on the canvas allowing Black to land a springboard 450 splash (Placebo Effect) for the win.

WINNERS: PJ Black (pinned Alex Zayne), Misterioso & Blake Christian at 7:57

This was a super fast-paced tag match and got over strong with the athleticism involved especially from Zayne and Christian during their sequences. ACH and TJP are both so smooth and they had their moments throughout the match. It’s the type of match a crowd would have added significantly with their reaction to the crazy spots mixed throughout the match. A lot of fun and well worth checking out.

TAMA TONGA VS DAVID FINLAY IN THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE TOURNAMENT

Tonga was in control from the beginning of the match and Kelly predicts Tonga’s strategy will be a long one.

Finlay used a headbutt on Tonga and Koslov said head butts won’t work on a Tongan, which is one of those stereotypes that need to be retired but it’s one all these guys grew up with.

Out of nowhere, Finlay made a quick comeback landing a stunner and Prima Nocta for the cover and shocked Koslov.

WINNER: David Finlay at 6:11

It was a strange match and way shorter than you would anticipate for the semi-finals. The match was all Tonga until the end and the comeback was so quick that it felt out of nowhere when the match ended so quickly.

Finlay spoke backstage and said Tonga was tough and their families go way back. He said Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa can’t beat him clean without Gedo or each other to assist. He is going to the finals and will win the United States title.

JEFF COBB VS KENTA IN THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE TOURNAMENT

Kelly said, “Road to Fighting Spirit Unleashed” begins in two weeks in this slot.

KENTA was trying to frustrate Cobb at the beginning and compensate for the size disparity.

KENTA got the knees up for a standing moonsault and blasted Cobb with a kick to the chest. KENTA’s kicks come off great in the empty arena setting because of the sound and his demeanor.

It was a slow pace from KENTA but works for him. He grounded Cobb and KENTA is so cocky, which is amplified in the cavernous setting. KENTA repeatedly kicks Cobb until he fights back and gets stopped with a power slam from KENTA.

KENTA hit the Green Killer (draping DDT) and landed a running boot and sliding dropkick to the corner. KENTA hit the double stomp for a two-count.

Cobb caught him and hit the power slam. Tour of the Islands was prevented when KENTA grabbed the referee and KENTA ran Cobb into the referee in the corner. Cobb had the bridge, but the referee was down, so Cobb tried to revive him.

Tour of the Island was countered, and KENTA kicked Cobb low and pinned Cobb.

WINNER: KENTA at 14:38

The match was good, but I wouldn’t put it at the level of “great” or anything. KENTA is a performer I enjoy more than most in the empty arena setting because a lot of the little things he does are picked up on and emphasized to a higher degree. The ref bump at the end will generate a groan from most and it was a story of convincing you Cobb could win but knowing KENTA would have a plan to outsmart Cobb and sneak away with the win.

Backstage, KENTA said he’s here to win this tournament and he’s not here to give you a great match and doesn’t care what you think. “Shut up and watch me”.

Overall, I found this week’s show significantly better than last week. Both tag matches were fun while they lasted, and the six-man tag is a match to check out and will probably be the most talked-about match on the show. There was an amazing level of talent consolidated into that match.

KENTA and David Finlay is an odd mix for next week’s final but we’ll see what they produce.

About John Pollock 2008 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.