NJPW Strong: Ep. 47 Fireworks Frenzy Results and Review

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 04: Fred Rosser arrives at the TrevorLIVE Los Angeles 2016 Fundraiser at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 04: Fred Rosser arrives at the TrevorLIVE Los Angeles 2016 Fundraiser at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images) /

Hello New Japan junkies. Time for another action-packed hour of NJPW Strong. Tonight we have Hikuleo, Lio Rush, and Fred Rosser in action.

Recap: Filthy Tom Lawlor defeated Karl Fredericks in his second title defense. Fred Rosser will have his chance to avenge Adrian Quest getting cheated out of a win against Barrett Brown.

NJPW Strong: Lio Rush vs. Adrian Quest

Summary: Rush and Quest get into a shoving match which quickly turns into a jockey for position. Quest gets the first ring clearing dropkick and hits an over the rope splash. Rush gets Quest outside and hits a crossbody from the apron. Quest and Lio exchange big back body drops. Quest levels Rush with a snap suplex. Quest is in control with various chinlocks until Rush hits him with a volley of clotheslines. Adrian then peppers him with clotheslines. Both men connect with a kick to the face. Rush goes for the bouncing stunner, but Adrian dodges it and hits him in the face with a snap kick. He pulls out the standing falling star press, but only gets a 2-count. Rush tries to capitalize with his own spin kicks, but Adrian ducks and goes for the tiger bomb. Rush avoids the first tiger bomb, but Quest persists and hits a successful one. Only a 2-count. Quest goes for a top rope tiger bomb, but Rush fights out of it. Rush turns it into a bouncing stunner and nabs the win.

Positives: There was some great back and forth in this match. The junior heavyweights did a great job showing energy and commitment in the ring.

Negatives: I thought it was Quest who would be put over. He needs a win to build up his grudge match against Barrett Brown. Rush’s victory proves that Quest might be yesterday’s news.

Winner: Lio Rush via the bouncing stunner

Grade: B-

Every time Lio Rush gets into a new promotion, he is promised continuous victories in the lightweight division. He earns them with finesse and style. If he is going to own the junior division then he needs a much stronger storyline.

If Quest is going to shoulder a loss, then it might signal that NJPW is done with his feud with Barrett Brown.

Backstage: Rush struts like a peacock to his latest victory. He promises to be the man of Japan.

So, is Lio Rush retiring to spend time with his family or is he still doing gigs with storylines?

NJPW Strong: Jordan Clearwater vs. Hikuleo

Summary: Clearwater goes in with some kicks and clubs, but Hikuleo stops him cold. Hikuleo shoulder charges Clearwater and sweeps him off his feet.  Hikuleo takes Clearwater from corner to corner with forearms and clotheslines. Hikuleo dominates with a giant vertical suplex. Hikuleo headbutts Clearwater into the center of the ring and scoop slams him.  Hikuleo gets Clearwater into a chinlock but turns it into a jawbreaker. He brings Hikuleo to the corner for some punishment. Clearwater goes for the Midas touch, but Hikuleo reverses it into a fireman’s carry. Clearwater turns the fireman’s carry into a reverse body slam. Clearwater rushes at Hikuleo, but gets power slammed for his troubles. Hikuleo goes for another fireman’s carry, but Clearwater reverses it into a bulldog, but Hikuleo turns the bulldog into a big back suplex. Hikuleo hits his falcon arrow for the win.

Positives: This is the most offense I have ever seen Jordan Clearwater muster in a match. Still not sure why the commentators put him over so much (he still hasn’t won a match yet), but at least I know he can wrestle. This is the first singles match I have seen that did not start with a tie-up.

Negatives: This was a pretty average match to put Hikuleo over.  There was one part where Clearwater seemed confused about where he was supposed to run for a spot.

Winner: Hikuleo via the falcon arrow variation

Grade: C+

NJPW Strong: Fred Rosser v. Bateman

Summary: We get into the collar and elbow dance right away. Rosser gets the first throw with a hip toss. Rosser escapes outside and removes his gloves and tape. Bateman showers him with boots and fists. Rosser puts Bateman down with a clothesline and a scoop slam. Rosser is nursing a hurt ankle that Bateman keeps exposing. Bateman sucker punches Rosser in the face. Bateman keeps untying Rosser’s boot and removes it. Rosser gets fed up with Bateman’s abuse and bites his face. Bateman hits a palm to Rosser’s forehead and tries to sidewalk slam him. Bateman goes for a lucky hook, but Rosser reverses it into a back suplex on the apron. Rosser catches Bateman with a lunging knee. Rosser bites Bateman’s hand. He hits two more lunging knees. Rosser hits a DDT for a 2-count. Rosser goes for the fireman’s carry, but it gets reversed, Bateman answers back with a body slam. Bateman hits a forearm strike to Rosser’s neck. He goes for his tombstone finisher, but Rosser reverses it into his own variation of a power scoop slam. Rosser gets the win.

Positives: This match felt like a throwback to Undertaker versus The Rock. Both men did a great job selling the pain. Selling the bumps was more important than the moves themselves. In the end, this was a story that proved that Rosser can climb through the roster even if he loses his boot in the match.

Negatives: This match had a slow burn that took 15 minutes to really kick off. I hate that some wrestlers in Strong don’t have finishing moves. They can win with a big slam or a running knee. The finishing move is the cherry on top.

Winner: Fred Rosser via a power scoop slam

Grade: B

NJPW Strong is heavy on the dance in the ring and very light on the heat between matches. That is not to say that story doesn’t exist, but it does not have much of a platform in the program. Kevin Kelly explained, with great fervor, that the heat between Rosser and Bateman had come to a boil and this match was a long time coming. In reality, this main event came from two guys getting into a shoving match after the heels got a victory.

Next. AEW: The excitement around Kenny Omega vs Adam Page. dark

NJPW Strong is a lot of things. It is a solid Japanese-style wrestling show for American audiences and it’s a great home for promising wrestlers. The only thing it can never be is a place of sparking drama and rich storytelling. It’s not set up that way.