NJPW Strong: Ep. 48 a ballet or a rock show?

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 17: Rocky Romero looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'Road To Power Struggle' at Korakuen Hall on October 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 17: Rocky Romero looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'Road To Power Struggle' at Korakuen Hall on October 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Hello NJPW Strong fans.

Episode 48 is the Road to Tag Team Turbulence. History has taught me that when a show calls something “the road to” it means that nothing spectacular will happen. Tonight’s episode did not push the wrestling stories forward, but it did promise over thirty minutes of that familiar NJPW Strong action.

The DKC vs. Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown has separated himself as a mischievous heel, teaming up with Bateman and giving Adrian Quest a hard time. His gimmick is that he will stomp on your hand with a sly smile on his face. DKC delivers his patented karate chops and Double Dragon jump kicks, but Barrett gets a win with an illegal schoolboy roll-up. Koslov stated that Barrett has the most effective schoolboy, which is sort of like saying you have the best wristlock in wrestling history…nothing to brag about.

The limitation of Strong is that it is in a purgatory between a ballet and a rock show. A ballet is quiet, filled with precise motions, and calculated moves that follow a pattern, while a rock show is about energy and pumping up the crowd. Strong seems to want you to think they are about to bust out a rock show, but 80% of their product is a ballet. Brown’s conniving character would benefit from a rock show make-over.

Barrett Brown won this match and proved that Strong has a future with him.

Alex Coughlin vs. PJ Black

Once in a while, a wrestling match comes around on Strong that makes the other matches seem like dry Grape Nuts cereal. PJ Black brought his A-game with an assortment of spin kicks, moonsaults, and a very impressive Spanish Fly off the top rope. Coughlin also has the best move set in the whole rookie roster. He hit the Samoan bridge suplex and the deadlift German to complement PJ Black’s charisma. In the end, Black won with a finisher that was a behind-the-back body slam. Alex did an amazing job keeping up, but since he is a Padawan to PJ Black’s Jedi skills, he was taken down. Great match.

One thing I notice is that anyone who wears plain black tights is guaranteed a loss. It works that way in Japan and America. Alex’s skill is way above jobber level, but right now he is a practice dummy for the special guests. Tough break. Alex Coughlin needs to ask NJPW to change his shorts so he can get some wins.

Rocky Romero vs. Josh Alexander

This is the main event. Rocky Romero has a strange relationship with Strong. He has won every title in NJPW, but here he is the stepping stool for Impact talent to rise up. He has Hulk Hogan merits, but he is being treated like Brooklyn Brawler. My guess is that he has a heart for the company and he wants to help the young talent get over.

I am not a huge fan of Rocky Romero. He spends five minutes in his matches messing around with headlocks, armbars, and wristlocks before he starts bringing out the big moves. Around minute eight of the match, Josh Alexander and Romero start realizing that they are in a main event and start bringing out the body slams. The best back and forth in this match was between Alexander snapping on the ankle lock and Romero answering back with an armbar. Romero pulled out some spinning DDTs and his running sliced bread, but Josh Alexander is way too popular on Impact to suffer a loss. He hit Rocky with the tiger driver for the three.

Alexander cut a promo after his win. He says that he is finally in a business that calls wrestling a sport. He prefers the ballet to the rock show. Does that mean he will be leaving Impact because they don’t treat wrestling like a sport?

Next. Shane Taylor Talks The Early Days of ROH and Forming STP. dark

Best in show: PJ Black came into the ring with an intensity and move set that rivals some main event titles matches in NJPW.