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New Japan Strong - New Beginning in USA
February 26, 2021
From Ocean View Pavillion in Port Huemene, California. This is an empty studio setting with Kevin Kelly and Alex Koslov calling the action.
Brodie King, ACH, and The Riegel Twins (Logan and Sterling) vs. Clark Conners, TJP, The DKC, and Kevin Knight
Feels like TJP is on every non-AEW show I review these days. ACH is determined to wrestle in a mask and hoodie and squares off against DKC. ACH has issues with his mask but manages a tag, allowing the Riegel twins to double team DKC with a tandem backbreaker. TJP tags and tries to school a Riegel twin, but eats a dropkick. TJP can't quite apply a Scorpion Deathlock and Riegel tags in King. Knight talks TJP into a tag so he can trade blows with King. Big dropkick by King and a senton gets 2. Knight gets isolated and worked over for several minutes. Connors, looking more like Hangman Page's little brother, storms in on a hot tag and runs wild through ACH. TJP helps swarm Connors and nearly gets the pin with a top rope splash. TJP dives onto King, leaving ACH and DKC alone in the ring. ACH finishes with a brainbuster at 8:31. Decent match, although somewhat generic, **¼.
Winners: ACH, Brodie King, and The Riegel Twins
Chris Dickinson vs. Ren Narita
Narita looks cool and collected at the opening bell. Dickinson looks like he has something to prove and aggressively wrenches Ren's arm over his shoulder. They trade chops and Dickinson counters into a brief STF as Narita gets the ropes. They trade forearms, but Dickinson snapmares into a heel hook. They trade slaps in the hold and Narita rolls free. Dragon screw by Dickinson, but Narita no-sells to try some running offense into the buckles. Narita shoves the ref aside so he can pummel Dickinson in the corner. Dickinson answers with a somewhat random DVD for 2. Narita goes wild with palm strikes and locks on Sharpshooter for the submission at 7:55. This match was all over the place, they were just doing things for the sake of doing them, **.
Winner: Ren Narita
IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley © vs. KENTA
KENTA has been carrying and defending his challenger briefcase for many months, while Moxley has been inactive as U.S. Champion. Bell rings and they immediately tear into each other with forearm shots. Moxley lands a big boot and low lariat for 2. KENTA grabs the ropes to block the Bulldog Choke, and snaps Moxley's neck. Moxley elbows KENTA off the apron, but KENTA reverses a suplex on the floor. Moxley blocks a briefcase shot, teases a piledriver, but KENTA counters with a DDT onto the case. KENTA goes on offense until Moxley blocks a kick and they trade more forearms. Moxley blocks GTS and nails a tope suicida. Moxley follows with a leaping knee off the (small) stage. Mox sets up a table but KENTA smashes the title belt into his face. KENTA nails a flying elbow through the table! Moxley is nearly counted out and returns for KENTA's running boot and dropkick in the corner. Flying double stomp by KENTA only gets 2! GTS is blocked and Moxley nails a German suplex and lariat for 2. KENTA counters Moxley's punches into a crossface, but Moxley rolls into the Bulldog Choke. KENTA reverses back into the crossface. Mox gets the ropes and nails a standing lariat. GTS is blocked yet again, and Mox hits a DDT for 2. Death Rider finishes at 14:25! Whoa, I was expecting a 30 minute epic, but I'm satisfied with a short and sweet brawl that never let up the intensity for a single second. This gets some minor extra points because we all assumed the point of this match happening now was to get the title off Moxley, but it appears that the Forbidden Door will be open longer, ****.
Winner and still IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley
Final Thoughts: Totally worth watching for the KENTA/Moxley showdown, but I'd say only if you're a New Japan World subscriber (it's available for a fee on Fite.TV as well). Keeping the U.S. title on Moxley certainly raises my eyebrow and has me intrigued for the future.
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