The Road to New Japan Cup USA 2021 starts here! After a look at what’s to come, it is announced the winner of this year’s New Japan Cup USA tournament will not only receive the New Japan Cup USA trophy, they will also be crowned the FIRST NJPW Strong Openweight Champion!
This reveal finally makes sense of the confusion on commentary over the past few weeks as to whether the winner would challenge for the NJPW US Heavyweight Championship. It also gives NJPW Strong its own title, which will give the roster something to aim for.
New Japan Strong | Saturday 3rd April 2021 | 03:00 (UK) | NJPW L.A. Dojo.
MATCH ONE: Rocky Romero Vs Kevin Knight
Rocky is following the footsteps of Antonio Inoki, in going “back to the roots” to take on Young Lions in an effort to prove himself. After losing in the New Japan Cup USA qualifiers, he is aiming to start at the bottom to earn himself a shot at the NJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship under his own name. He even brings out his old Black Tiger mask and places it on the ring post during his match as a symbolic representation of his goal – having held the championship as Black Tiger previously.
A grappling exchange early is fairly even. Knight gets frustrated and shoves Romero. Knight misses a dropkick to give Rocky the advantage. Romero starts working on Knight’s left arm. Knight manages to drop Rocky with a body slam, but Romero escapes and goes back to the arm. They trade shots, with Romero getting fired up. Knight takes Rocky down with a shoulder tackle and a hip toss out of the corner for a two-count. Another body slam gets another near fall for Knight. Romero takes Knight over with a wrist lock, and transitions to an arm bar. Knight manages to roll into a pinning predicament on Romero for a two-count. Romero hits two Forever Clotheslines, but is met with a dropkick on the third. Knight hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and then a tackle and a standing splash for a pair of near falls. Knight locks on the Boston Crab, but Rocky manages to get a rope break. Romero counters Knight’s suplex attempt into an arm bar, but Knight gets to the bottom rope. Romero lands a German suplex, and a knee. Rocky then lands a Falcon Arrow, transitioning into an arm bar. Knight tries to fight out, but eventually has to tap out.
Match Time: 8m 39s
WINNER: Rocky Romero via submission (arm bar)
MATCH TWO: TJP and Alex Coughlin Vs Misterioso and Jordan Clearwater
Clearwater and Coughlin start with an amateur exchange. Coughlin locks a headlock in, Clearwater rolls him over for a pin attempt, but Coughlin maintains control. TJP and Misterioso tag in and show some lucha-style submission grappling. TJP gets a near fall after transitioning from a standing submission. Misterioso removes TJP from the ring with an arm drag and lands a thrust kick on Coughlin after faking him out. Misterioso goes for the dive on both opponents, but Coughlin cuts him off with a tackle. TJP locks Clearwater’s arm behind him, and pulls him into a stretch backbreaker. Coughlin lifts Clearwater for a delayed vertical suplex, walking to his corner and tagging TJP in before dropping The Golden Boy. TJP follows with a slingshot senton for a two-count. Clearwater prevents an Octopus Stretch and lands a neckbreaker to create space for the tag. Misterioso lands a rolling dropkick and gets a couple of near falls. Misterioso avoids a double team and lands a double handspring back elbow for a two-count on Coughlin. Coughlin catches Misterioso with an impressive flying shoulder tackle. Coughlin hits Misterioso with a backbreaker, then a bridging fall-away slam, but Clearwater breaks the pinfall. Clearwater hits The Midas Touch on Coughlin, but TJP breaks the pinfall. Coughlin avoids a second Midas Touch, and drops Clearwater with a gutbuster. He tagged TJP in while holding Clearwater, who hits a Mamba Splash for the win.
Match Time: 13m 56s
WINNER: TJP and Alex Coughlin via Mamba Splash
Before the main event, Kevin Kelly interviews Team Filthy. He mentions Dickinson working with King in Ring of Honor. Lawlor starts to answer, saying it’s about the money. Dickinson cuts him off, and says it doesn’t matter what’s happening elsewhere. Kelly asks whether Dickinson “cleared” the RoH appearance with Lawlor. Kratos and Lawlor don’t like the question, or Dickinson’s answer of “it’s none of your business”. Lawlor didn’t look happy with Dickinson’s interruption – and this is the second time we’ve seen Dickinson not quite on the same page as the leader of Team Filthy outside of the ring. This could be teasing the Violence Unlimited team from ROH forming within NJoA.
MATCH THREE: Brody King and The Riegel Twins Vs Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor, Chris Dickinson and JR Kratos)
Dickinson starts against Logan Riegel. Dickinson explodes through Logan with a shoulder tackle, but Logan hits a blockbuster in retaliation. The Riegels work some quick double teams including a slingshot senton and diving splash for a quick pin attempt. Dickinson stops their momentum with a double dropkick. Sterling pushes Dickinson into a dropkick from the second rope by Logan, and lands a standing moonsault for a two-count before tagging in Brody King. Dickinson escapes a gut-wrench and lands some leg kicks on King. Kratos tags in and trades forearms with King reminiscent of their match a few weeks ago. King takes down Kratos with a bicycle kick. Kratos avoids a splash on the outside from Sterling and flattens him with a clothesline. Lawlor tags in and works on Sterling’s left arm. Team Filthy take advantage of the referee being distracted to deliver a beat down to Sterling. Kratos tags in and delivers some brutal elbows to Sterling’s head and neck. Dickinson comes in and goes back to the arm. Sterling starts to fight back against Dickinson, with the Dirty Daddy welcoming the shots. Dickinson grabs the head of Sterling, but Sterling reverses to a sleeper. Dickinson lands a backdrop, but Sterling pops straight to his feet and delivers a uranage to create space.
Lawlor and King tag in. King counters a guillotine in to a body slam, and a senton gets him a two-count. Lawlor backs away from King and tags in Kratos. King splashes them both in the corner. King lands the cannonball on Lawlor. King tags in Sterling, and looks to send him into Lawlor in the corner, but Kratos intercepts in mid-air and pounces Sterling out of the ring! Kratos lands a heavy layout powerbomb on Kind. Logan dives off the top with a crossbody, and bounces off of Kratos who feels no effects. Kratos tags Dickinson back in and he trades shots with Sterling. Dickinson lands a left forearm on Sterling, and knocks him out. The referee stops the match.
Match Time: 11m 9s
WINNER: Team Filthy via Knockout
After the bell Kratos continues attacking King outside. Lawlor sees Sterling clutching his arm and asks if he wants him to break it. Lawlor then has a better idea, and tells Dickinson to break it. Dickinson holds the arm in a kimura, but despite Lawlor’s pleading is reluctant. Dickinson lets go, and argues with Lawlor. Kratos instead grabs Sterling’s arm and hits a leaping stomp on to it. Logan shouts out “you broke his arm” as Team Filthy leave. Dickinson looks unhappy at what’s transpired, while Lawlor leaps around in joy outside the ring. We go off air with Logan, King and members of staff attending to Sterling.