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Hamilton’s New Japan Strong (Road to The New Beginning USA 2021) 02.12.2021 Review

February 13, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
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Hamilton’s New Japan Strong (Road to The New Beginning USA 2021) 02.12.2021 Review  

Quick Results
JR Kratos pinned Jordan Clearwater in 6:20 (**)
Bateman pinned Clark Connors in 8:41 (**½)
Chris Dickinson & Danny Limelight submitted TJP & Ren Narita in 15:04 (***¼)

— If you’re on Twitter, give me a follow over on @IanWrestling – and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.

We’re back at the mystery location again as Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov open up the latest episode of Strong.

JR Kratos vs. Jordan Clearwater
On paper, there’s only one winner given that Kratos is part of Team Filthy, but let’s see what sort of shot Jordan gives this…

POUNCE! Kratos tackles Clearwater into the corner at the bell, then whipped him across the ring as some right hands kept Clearwater at bay. A big boot off the ropes keeps Jordan down, brother, before Kratos telegraphed a punch, allowing Clearwater to duck and come back with some kicks.

Kratos shoves Clearwater down and boots him for good measure, before he deadlift him off the mat into a suplex. A leaping forearm traps Clearwater in the corner, before a suplex chucked him across the ring for a delayed two-count. Kratos slows it down with a chinlock, before bringing him up for a front chancery. Clearwater elbows free as he tried to launch a fightback, sidestepping a charge from Kratos before landing a leaping neckbreaker for a two-count.

Some punches on the mat keep Kratos down, but a single swiping clothesline from Kratos turned it back around. After kicking out, Clearwater’s caught in an armbar, which he breaks in the ropes. Another missed charge in the corner gives Clearwater an opening, but his bulldog’s countered into an atomic drop before a diving kick from Kratos, then a Fisherman buster gets the win. A solid, not-too-competitive TV squash, as Kratos had relatively little trouble. **

Kevin Kelly interviews KENTA backstage. KENTA calls Moxley “not a man” and “cheap” as he vowed to be the first Japanese holder of the IWGP US title. We then get words in subtitles from KENTA, berating Moxley for taking so long to show up that he won, damaged AND replaced the briefcase… a briefcase for a shot at a title that Moxley had “let rot.”

Clark Connors vs. Bateman
Much like the opener, there’s only one likely winner given the roster placings. Let’s see if Clark can snap his fingers to get a win…

Connors tries to shoot for Bateman’s legs early on, but that search for a takedown came to nought… Connors took Bateman to the ropes and manages to trip him, but things end in the ropes before Clark’s half-crab could even be applied. A knuckle lock from Bateman takes Connors down to the mat for a two-count, forcing a neck bridge that Bateman sweeps away, before the pair offered themselves up for chops.

Bateman fakes out a chop but just jabs Connors before landing those chops in the corner. Connors switches around for his response, snapmaring Bateman out for a chop to the back… before he dropped to the mat and offered a free shot. Bateman kicks back, then took an uppercut as the tit-for-tat led to Connors getting dumped with a slam.

An elbow drop’s next for a two-count from Bateman, but Connors returns with more uppercuts before a clothesline in the ropes knocked Bateman down. Bateman retaliates with a clothesline of his own, before some misdirection from Connors led to a pounce that took Bateman back into the ropes. Stomps keep him down, before a spear drilled Bateman ahead of another Boston crab attempt.

Bateman kicks it away though, then tried to scoop up Connors, but Clark slipped out and hit a powerslam instead. Another crack at the Boston crab comes up short, so Clark heads up top and went for a spear off the middle rope… Bateman caught him and locked on a front facelock, before switching it into a suplex for a two-count. From there, Bateman scoops up Connors into the This is a Kill tombstone for the win. Pretty elementary stuff, with Connors’ one-track plan – always going for a Boston crab – being his undoing. **½

Add thyme. You know the score… Clark Connors still doesn’t care about Alex Coughlin scalding his hand in a pot.

Chris Dickinson & Danny Limelight vs. TJP & Ren Narita
Team Filthy bookend this show then, after JR Kratos’ win in the opener…

Narita and Dickinson start us off, scrambling for a lock-up as Dickinson looked to force an opening, only for the pair to head into the ropes for a break. Dickinson’s caught in a wristlock, buti he then rolls out and trips Narita to the mat, looking for a wristlock of his own, but defence from Narita forces Dickinson to grab a front facelock as they head into the corner. Dickinson chops on the break, which forces a somewhat meek reply from Narita. The second one’s more impactful as Dickinson just charges Narita down for a one-count.

TJP tags in, as Dickinson seemingly sarcastically applauded Narita, before TJP tripped Dickinson down. A cross armbar’s attempted, but Dickinson grips his arm and rolls TJP into a pin, before rolling TJP into a half crab. A leglock from TJP in response quickly ends in the ropes as the pair scrapped again, ending with TJP going back into the ropes.

Dickinson breaks the waistlock, but quickly reapplies it for a snap German suplex as some kicks began to connect with TJP. TJP quickly returned with tiltawhirl headscissors into an armbar, before a roll-through pin drew a two-count, as Narita then got the tag back in. Narita picks up with a snapmare and a chinlock, before Dickinson stood up and dropped Narita with a back suplex.

Narita tries to charge Dickinson into the corner, but that just lets Limelight finally tag into the match as he took Narita down with kicks. Ren replies with an uppercut, then with chops… but Limelight caught one and dropped Ren’s arm across the middle rope. More kicks keep Narita in the corner as the Team Filthy pair began to exchange frequent tags.

A senton atomico from Limelight lands as Dickinson proceeded to attack Narita behind the ref’s back. Ren hits back, but it’s to his disadvantage as Limelight capitalised before bringing Dickinson back in for some more strikes. A double-team suplex gets Limelight a two-count, before Narita’s taken back into the corner as Dickinson returned with more kicks.

Finally Narita tries to fight back, trading elbows with Dickinson, before he caught a kick and looked to go for a Boston crab. Dickinson pushes away, but gets caught with a German suplex as TJP manages to tag back in. Limelight’s back too, with TJP dropkicking Dickinson to the outside before an inverted atomic drop from TJP took down Limelight.

A springboard crossbody from TJP drops Limelight ahead of a Romero special, sliding Limelight back down for a near-fall before uppercuts led to Limelight pushing out of a tornado DDT, before taking a back suplex. TJP heads up for a senton bomb, but Limelight rolled away, then countered out of a Fireman’s carry with a crucifix bomb.

TJP keeps going with a kick, but Limelight’s small package driver nearly gets the win… so he calls Dickinson back in and gets the tag. Dickinson has to counter out of an Octopus, landing a Dragon screw instead as a Falcon arrow’s teased. A second Dragon screw’s countered as TJP rolled into a knee bar, with Narita neutralising Limelight in the foreigner with the Narita Special #3 leg lace.

Dickinson breaks free of the knee bar via the ropes, but Limelight throws TJP outside as Dickinson opted to sting Narita with more chops. Ren’s not legal, but he manages to hit an overhead belly-to-belly as TJP connected with a Mamba Splash for a near-fall. Dickinson clings to the ropes to avoid a double-team, then nailed Narita with a brainbuster, before a leaping kick from TJP’s caught and turned into a STF, with Dickinson wrenching back to force the submission. Danny Limelight looks good in his role once more, even though it’s Chris Dickinson who stole the spotlight as he seamlessly transitions into NJPW Strong – and I can only begin to dream of the matches we’d get *if* he’s able to transition into the “main” roster. Dickinson vs. Ishii? Yes please! ***¼

After the match, Narita gets into it with Dickinson, so I’d imagine that’d be a singles match later in the tour… as long as the running death valley driver to Narita didn’t do too much damage.

Next week, The New Beginning USA “tour” begins, with the main event announced: El Phantasmo vs. Lio Rush.

The final score: review Good
The 411
The road to the New Beginning USA continues on - but save for KENTA/Moxley, they’re at best laying breadcrumbs for the rest of that show. NJPW Strong continues to be an improvement on 2020’s offering, helped by fresh faces that fit the format like a glove.

article topics :

New Japan, NJPW Strong, Ian Hamilton