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NJPW STRONG REPORT
MARCH 5, 2021
AIRED ON NEW JAPAN WORLD VIA OCEAN VIEW PAVILION
REPORT BY KEITH BENNETT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Alex Kozlov
Overall Notes: Tonight the show features two qualifying matches for the New Japan Cup USA in which eight finalists will compete for an opportunity to receive an IWGP United States Championship match.
-The show started with a video package hyping the main event Cup qualifier between Lio Rush and Rocky Romero.
(1) ALEX COUGHLIN & KARL FREDERICH vs. KEVIN KNIGHT & CLARK CONNORS
The story of this match is that all four of these competitors are former young lions that were trained at the New Japan LA dojo. Both Alex Coughlin and Karl Frederich are returning from injuries, with Coughlin having sustained a neck injury over eight months ago. This was a hard-fought match in which technical and submission moves were utilized. Each competitor was out to prove themselves in the match. The finish came when Karl Frederich pinned Kevin Knight with a suplex DDT.
WINNER: Frederich and Coughlin via pinfall in 12:41
(2) DKC vs. TOM LAWLOR – Cup Qualifier Match
The story of this match was DKC attempting to give Filthy Tom Lawlor his first loss on New Japan Strong. Lawlor bullied and attempted to intimidate his less experienced opponent. At the midway point in the match, DKC applied a front face-lock, which he converted into a lateral press for a near fall. DKC then applied an armbar, which Lawlor eventually reversed. The finish occurred when Lawlor applied his patented sleeper hold and positioned it into the PK for the win.
WINNER: Lawlor via pinfall in 9:30
(3) LIO RUSH vs. ROCKY ROMERO – Cup Qualifier Match
This was old school versus new school. The veteran Romero attempted to use his wit and ring experience to his advantage. However, Lio was able to execute his own arsenal to gain an offensive position. Rocky worked on Lio’s arm for much of this match. Lio countered with a barrage of strikes and a spinning kick to the face. Rush picked up the win after reversing an inside cradle.
WINNER: Rush via pinfall at 13:57
FINAL THOUGHTS: This show was a quick watch. The two New Japan Cup qualifiers showcased skill and athleticism. I’m excited to see the remaining qualifying matches. Next week’s qualifier will pit Fred Rosser against JR Kratos.