REVIEW: New Japan Pro Wrestling Strong – The New Beginning Episode 2 (2022)

A Pay-Per-View Event by NJPW

Here we are again, another week, another NJPW Strong Pay-Per-View that I have in the wings. Last week was one of the best episodes of this show that I’ve seen since I took the plunge and started getting these shows two months ago, this one appears to be more of an exhibition showcase, but Josh Barnett being on the card automatically elevates it! I’ve found that these tours usually result in the middle episodes being not as strong as others which makes sense – these are recorded as one big event then split up later. As with any of these, I always recommend purchasing the show from Fite.TV since they have a bundle you can get which contains all three episodes for the price of one. It’s a hell of a deal considering this one was only $7.99 USD for all three!

For anyone wanting to watch this, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far.

The Card:

  • 1 Hikuleo defeated Cody Chhun Singles match 8:32
  • 2 Josh Barnett defeated Ren Narita by submission Singles match 10:37
  • 3 FinJuice (David Finlay and Juice Robinson) defeated Jonah and Bad Dude Tito Tag team match 12:26

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything resembling the typical ratings people give in wrestling reviews. I stopped awarding “grades” to things long ago, after my gig at a videogame site slid into them manipulating scores. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

Chhun and Done:

Cody Chhun is one of those guys that has popped up from time to time on AEW Dark, and always has decent matches even though he’s just brought in as enhancement. He got a crazy pop in this show, chiefly because Seattle is his home town – you would have thought somebody like Okada came out! Chhun got to bodyslam Hikuleo at one point which was somewhat impressive, but the feeling was short lived. Hikuleo gets the win cementing his status as an unstoppable giant.

Ren Narita vs. Josh Barnett:

Barnett is one of those guys that works matches to elevate young stars and makes them look like a million bucks every time. He’s smooth as butter, and even the simplest move, such as an MMA leg hook, looks devastating from him. Ren Narita had a few matches in AEW during the pandemic, and was impressive there, so seeing him get quite a bot of offense here was awesome. as with Yuya Uemura, he seems like he’s about to round the corner of not being considered a “young Lion” anymore, and his recent string on wins is a testament to that. That streak did not swing in his favor here, as Barnett got the win. Overall solid match!

I love this Tag Team:

While FinJuice is awesome, I can’t help get behind the unlikely duo of Bad Dude Tito and Jonah. Both guys are men you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, and have all sorts of crazy power moves. Seeing that the ending of this match had some shenanigans (as crazy as it gets in NJPW), I agree with commentary that a rematch is a must!

Conclusion:

While not as strong as last week’s show, this is a strong show nonetheless simply due to the caliber of matches on the card. It’s awesome to see some guys like Hikuleo and Jonah look strong here, showing that a certain company in Connecticut isn’t the only place “where big boys play”. Next week ought to be interesting considering it’s part of Jay White’s US of Jay Open Challenge, and he is facing a mystery opponent. I have no idea who it could be, but I fully assume some “forbidden door” stuff will be afoot!

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