Loaded evening on episode three of STRONG Friday night
The full card has been revealed for this week’s NJPW STRONG, with the finals of New Japan Cup USA in the main event spot and Jay White’s return!
Main event: LEC presents New Japan Cup 2020 in the USA final: David Finlay vs KENTA
In the main event this Friday night on STRONG, either David Finlay or KENTA will be standing tall as the first ever winner of New Japan Cup USA, earning the right to challenge IWGP US Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley at a later date.
Finlay made his way to the final after getting past two of KENTA’s BULLET CLUB compatriots in Chase Owens and Tama Tonga. The Prima Nocta saw him to two victories and has now gotten him to within reaching distance of the US Championship, a title Finlay has history with. In November last year, Finlay’s first match back from a long shoulder injury induced absence was to challenge for the US title, in a match that saw him come up just short in San Jose. Now a chance for redemption, but with a monumental challenge opposite him.
KENTA has been vicious and ruthless in his path to the finals, first over Karl Fredericks and then Jeff Cobb. His strikes have shown that as ever, he has little regard for his opponents, but his methods, in a semifinal victory tainted by a low blow with a distracted referee over his Olympian opponent Cobb, have proven he has the same lack of regard for the rules and the fans.
Stakes are high in this tournament final. Its winner not only gets a place in history as the first New Japan Cup USA victor and a future title shot, but will, in this seminal period for the future of NJPW STRONG, doubtless become the de facto focal point of Friday nights going forward to boot. Who gets their hand raised Friday?
2nd Match: Jay White & Chase Owens vs Flip Gordon & Brody King
As first announced this weekend on Finish STRONG, Jay White will make his first appearance in an NJPW ring for some six months this Friday night, returning to action teaming with Chase Owens against ROH’s Flip Gordon and Brody King.
NJPW fans haven’t seen Flip Gordon on a consistent basis since back in 2018; initially scheduled for entry into last year’s Best of the Super Juniors, Flip was unable to make the trip at short notice. Now a part of NJPW STRONG, Gordon will look to make a lasting impression Friday night. Yet with the Switchblade part of the picture, that’ll be a tall order indeed.
Jay White’s absence has led to questions being asked as to his status within NJPW and BULLET CLUB that the Switchblade will be eager to answer with conviction and violence. Out of the IWGP Championship picture after losing the Intercontinental Championship to Tetsuya Naito on January 4, White has been conspicuously missing while EVIL entered BULLET CLUB and won double IWGP gold, and KENTA headed to the finals of New Japan Cup USA. How will STRONG fit into his political machinations?
Then there’s the matters of Chase Owens and Brody King. Both men had high hopes going into New Japan Cup USA, but fell at the first hurdle to David Finlay and Tama Tonga respectively. This is a chance for both men to reshape their narratives on Friday nights.
1st Match: Adrian Quest & Rocky Romero vs Danny Limelight & The DKC
The night’s action kicks off with some familiar faces returning from Lion’s Break Collision. Danny Limelight and The DKC will team up against Rocky Romero and the debuting Adrian Quest.
Even Romero would admit that Lion’s Break Collision was not exactly kind to him. A string of disappointing losses at the hands of Karl Fredericks, TJP and Tom Lawlor have continued a slump for Rocky that has lasted since January. Now he plays mentor to a new up and coming high flier in Adrian Quest. ‘Young Fuego’ debuted in 2009 at just 12 years of age, and has amazed on the Californian independent scene. How will he fare with a major league spotlight?