NJPW STRONG Special: Lonestar Shootout dazzles in Texas

This was a nice tight US-style NJPW card with some sweet appearances from the main roster. Nothing seismic, just a really good wrestling event, NJPW Lonestar Shootout is what we all wanted.

Wasn’t it?

Singles Match | Ren Narita Vs Rocky Romero

A good solid starter is what NJPW Lonestar Shootout needed. These two can deliver that and so much more.

Rocky can delight us with his excellent Tornado DDT and some Forever Clotheslines (never gets all 3.33 recurring in), Narita can show his tough kicks and slaps, plus his great technique on his Bridging suplex, one of the Ren Narita Special moves and this is how he got the three, on the tips of his toes for that excellent bridge.

A classy, tough and rather a fine opener.

Winner via a Narita Special: Ren Narita

Eight-Man Tag Match | David Finley, Juice Robinson, Daniel Garcia & Kevin Knight Vs Mascara Dorado, Karl Fredricks, Clark Connors & Yuya Uemura

This could have been a bit of a mess. It was.

A wonderful one.

So many people wanting to impress here, at NJPW Lonestar Shootout, this match was bound to be memorable.

Try this on; Garcia tasted a big Eumura Dropkick but Yuyu soon fell to a lovely FinnJuice combo Slam and Senton, Juice getting excited enough to bring out a Cannonball. Knight showcased his excellent low shoulder tackle for a long 2 count.

Karl got in on the act with a Spinebuster but didn’t have time to celebrate, a Knight very high Dropkick caught him but he managed to hit his Manifest Destiny for the pin.

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Karl Fredericks Credit, NJPW1972.com

As expected with 8 man matches, some people had less to do and here it was Dorado and Connors. Shame. They of course got some action, but didn’t have the impetus of the others.

Lovely to watch though, in a mass of action.

Winner via Manifest Destiny: Karl Fredericks

Singles Match | Killer Kross Vs Minoru Suzuki

A dream match? Kross wanted to face Suzuki, so maybe it was for him. And for us? This was surely going to be brutal.

The screams. The shouts. These two wanted to challenge each other. And to have fun, well Suzuki seemed to be doing that, avoiding Kross early on and briefly synching in his version of the Tarantula before doing his ‘relax’ spot with the ref.

He even smiled as he pulled back on his opponent’s arm in the way it wasn’t supposed to bend (you’re right, Kevin Kelly) and went to snap those fingers. The close-up camerawork work on this was both great and horrible.

Kross wouldn’t take this lying down (on the mat) though and a Suplex Throw later, he was back.

Drrrrrring! The NJPW Lonestar Shootout chop shop opened, Kross not seeming happy with his, Suzuki more than satisfied.

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Kross v Suzuki Credit Fite.tv

And although Kross blocked a Sleeper to put on one of his own, Suzuki got him up for the Gotch Style Piledriver, held him for ages to show, you know, he could, and nailed it for the pin.

No quarter given, no rest holds expected, no lack of quality. And afterwards, Suzuki picked a kid from the crowd and raised his hand on the stage – the kid seemed delighted and so did Suzuki.

Winner via a Gotch Style Piledriver: Minoru Suzuki

Singles Match | ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey Vs ‘Switchblade’ Jay White

Oh, NJPW Lonestar Shootout Match Of The Night. A close run thing and well deserved.

The US of J open challenge continues. And Speedball Mike Bailey is certainly a challenge; can Jay White use his ring skills to match Mike Bailey’s effervescence?

Early on, no. Kicks to the chest sent White outside and a sweet tope con heilo put him down.

Bailey may have landed a huge kick on the outside, but White suddenly turned it around with an amazing top rope Cutter to the outside.

This is where White is so dangerous, piling on pressure. A huge biel to the corner sent Bailey inside out, but the White onslaught didn’t materialise, instead we had a gorgeous Bailey Corkscrew Shooting Star Press, his patented springboard roll up for a 2 count and a so well-timed Asai Moonsault to connect just a White slid under the bottom rope.

Another opportunity for White appeared when Bailey smacked his knees on the apron, White capitalised with a Leg Grapevine and 2 very low Dragon Screws.

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White v Bailey Credit; Fite TV

Bailey went big, finding the energy to try Double Knees from a backflip, also only finding the mat.

White didn’t need another opportunity; Sleeper Suplex, Blade Runner, pin.

Not just a procession of high spots, this match had great psychology. And all those high spots, of course…

Winner via a Blade Runner: Jay White

Singles Match | Chris Dickinson Vs Tomohiro Ishii

Chris Dickinson is back! And there’s no gentle easing him in, no just ‘catch up on your emails for a day or two’ stuff.

This is Tomohiro Ishii. The Stone Pitbull.

Dickinson had injured his hip, which is why he was off. It was well tested here. The Dirty Daddy was invited to get Ishii off his feet early on, so he did.

Driiing! The chop shop was open again. And the fare was meaty; even after Dickinson hit some strong kicks and a penalty kick to the back, Ishii just pushed himself into Dickinson’s forearms.

At this point, a lesser man may have bailed. On his first match back, he was sweating and Ishii looked calm, going about his business, taking a lovely gut-wrench German Suplex, finding more power after a Brainbuster, not letting go of the match after a nasty Death Valley Driver.

Dickinson must have been flummoxed after a 2nd Brainbuster garnered a 2.9999 recurring count, but after a sliding Lariat and an Inzegueri which may have knocked him silly, he was done.

Kevin Kelly accepted it was anticlimactic. Ishii had to almost lift a dead weight to his his Vertical Drop Brainbuster. But that didn’t sully this excellent NJPW Lonestar Shootout main event.

Two big men, both tough as quadratic equations, both who can really wrestle. A pick ’em fight, this one never disappointed for a second.

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Tomohiro Ishii Credit; NJPW1972.com

Winner via a Vertical Drop Brainbuster: Tomohiro Ishii

And what a way to end the show. Suzuki appeared on the stage. To challenge Ishii. That’s big news. Bigger than even Moxley’s appearance half way through this show. Suzuki v Ishii; how tasty…

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