3/12 NJPW STRONG REPORT: Clearwater vs. Hikuleo, Rosser vs. Kratos in New Japan Cup USA qualifier matches

BY REV. KEITH BENNETT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

NJPW STRONG REPORT
MARCH 12, 2021
AIRED ON NEW JAPAN WORLD VIA OCEAN VIEW PAVILION
REPORT BY REV. KEITH BENNETT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Alex Kozlov

Overall Notes: Tonight’s episode will feature two more qualifying matches for the New Japan Cup USA tournament as the Road to Strong Style Evolved editions of the show continue.

-The show began with a video package consisting of promos from both Fred Rosser and J.R.Kratos ahead of their match in tonight’s main event. Rosser stated that he could be intimidated by Krato’s size, meanness, and aggression, but instead he focuses on his passion to be the best in-ring worker in New Japan Strong. Kratos stated that while he respects Rosser for all his accomplishments in and out of the ring, he will not hesitate to bring it in the ring.

(Bennett’s Analysis: I’m ready for this main event. I have been impressed with both of these guys and this is a perfect opportunity for them to shine.)

-Tonight’s opener is a tag match without tournament implications.

(1) ADRIAN QUEST & BARRETT BROWN vs. LOGAN & STERLING RIEGEL

The story of this match was the fact that Adrian Quest and Barrett Brown were having problems co-existing as a team. They seemed to attempt to one-up each other at every turn, thus the Riegel twins were able to capitalize and score a pin

WINNER: The Riegel twins in 11:33

(Bennett’s Analysis: A standard tag team match with nothing out of the ordinary.)

(2) JORDAN CLEARWATER vs. HIKULEO – New Japan Cup USA Qualifier Match

Commentary put Hikuleo over strong by mentioning that his only loss was to Fred Rosser. They also pointed out his powerful upside, combined with his allegiances to the Bullet Club. Hikuleo dominated early by working on the shoulder of Clearwater and overpowering him with massive forearm shivers. Clearwater attempted to mount an offense, but he was clearly overmatched. Hikuleo put him away with a modified death valley driver.

WINNER: Hikuleo by pin at 7:54 to advance in the New Japan Cup USA tournament

(3) FRED ROSSER VS. J.R. KRATOS – New Japan Cup USA Qualifier Match

At the sound of the bell, Rosser surprisingly rolled out of the ring. There were tie-ups, lock-ups, punches, and shivers to start. Each man would not take or give a quarter in this encounter. Around the six-minute mark, Kratos went to powerbomb Rosser on the exposed ringside area, but Rosser managed to sit out and avoided the devastation. A game-changing moment occurred when Rosser delivered a leg drop onto a fallen Kratos as he lay outside the ring. Kratos just made it back into the ring before the referee reached the count of nineteen. Around the ten-minute mark, Rosser delivered his patented double knee gut-buster for a two count. The finish came as Kratos was positioning for a double leg German suplex. Rosser reversed it into a roll-up for the win.

WINNER: Fred Rosser via pinfall at 14:16 to advance in the New Japan Cup USA tournament

-After the match, Hikuleo viciously attacked Rosser.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This show was very well-paced and the main event match stole the show. I hope that Rosser continues to advance in this tournament, as he steadily climbs the mountain in New Japan Strong.

You can reach Keith Bennett via Twitter: @keithbe77.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S NJPW STRONG REPORT: 3/5 NJPW STRONG REPORT: New Japan Cup USA qualifier action in Lawlor vs. DKC and Lio Rush vs. Rocky Romero

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