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Mox gets skewered, Willow shines & titles change hands at NJPW Strong Independence Day

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling brought their United States-based Strong brand to Japan for the first time on July 4 with the first of two Independence Day shows at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.

Tuesday’s show was headlined by an “Exciting Encounter Doomsday No Disqualification match” between Jon Moxley & Homicide and El Desperado & Japanese Deathmatch legend Jun Kasai — and even though they didn’t use the word Deathmatch in the title, that’s definitely what this was.

After each man got an entrance (and the crowd was hyped for the Crazy Monkey’s)...

... the action immediately spilled to the floor and out into the stands. Aside from a few wooden skewers, they mostly kept the plunder used in the seats to the non-stabby kind. As they made their way back to the ring, forks and knives were heavily featured. Despy and his partner were both dropped onto a board covered in forks that Kasai set-up.

The Japanese wrestlers survived the flurry that followed that, which included Homicide stabbing Desperado between the legs to soften him up for a Mox Figure Four. Kasai started his team’s comeback by suplexing Moxley and slashing his face with a knife. He set-up a cross covered in razor blades, but this also backfired as Kasai ended up being the one who went into it when Mox dodged a charge.

That lead to another flurry from the AEW star, but the crazy Monkey lived up to his name and took Mox out of the equation by driving a fistful of skewers into his head.

Homicide and Despy were left alone after that, and with Mox’s partner unable to connect on Cop Killer, he ended up taking the pin following a low blow and two pinche locos, the final one onto a trash can lid.

The Korakuen crowd loved it, which is good since they’re getting more of it tomorrow when Moxley & Desperado have their Final Death match. Fans chanted “This is Awesome” in English during the victors show closing promo, where Desperado & Kasai teased chasing the IWGP Tag titles.

Those titles will be on the line during the second Independence Day show, and NJPW built to that by having the two teams that will battle for them face off on today’s card. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) came into this event as both the IWGP Heavyweight and Strong Openweight Tag champs, but they’ll be leaving it without the latter after the Bullet Club Wardogs duo of Alex Coughlin & Gabe Kidd beat them for the Strong belts today. The young heels attacked the veteran team before and after beating them, setting the stage for a heated rematch for Bishamon’s remaining straps on July 5.

Another Wardogs duo, Drilla Moloney & Clark Connors, took the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag belts from Catch 22’s TJP & Francesco Akira in another match that proved the newest BC offshot is more about being ruthless than cutting corners.

Two other matches on this show were prelude to bigger ones tomorrow. Strong Women’s champion Willow Nightingale teamed with Momo Kohgo to take on Giulia & Thekla, 24 hours before Nightingale defends against Giulia. Willow picked up the win for her team after throwing Kohgo into her opponents and pinning Thekla with a flurry of offense that ended with a powerbomb. The win may not bode well for her chances in the title match, but it did continue a string of great performances from Nightingale and continued her overall rise in the business.

Ahead of challenging for KENTA’s Strong Openweight title, Eddie Kingston teamed with Rocky Romero to take on the champ and his Bullet Club teammate Gedo. Romero played face-in-peril for most of that one before Kingston pinned Gedo after a spinning backfist.

Here are the full results from the July 4 show:

• YOH, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Oskar Leube def. Kengo, Dragon Libre & Takahiro Katori via pinfall (YOH on Libre after Direct Drive)

• Bad Dude Tito def. The DKC via pinfall after a Steiner Screwdriver

• JR Kratos, Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs def. Alex Zayne, Lance Archer & Ryohei Oiwa via pinfall (Nelson on Oiwa after a springboard cutter)

• Filthy Tom Lawlor def. Kosei Fujita via pinfall after a knee to the head

• Eddie Kingston & Rocky Romero def. KENTA & Gedo via pinfall (Kingston on Gedo after a spinning backfist)

• Willow Nightingale & Momo Kohgo def. Giulia & Thekla via pinfall (Nightingale on Thekla after a powerbomb)

• Bullet Club Wardogs (Alex Coughlin & Gabe Kidd) def. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) via pinfall (on YH after tandem offense) to become new NJPW Strong Openweight Tag champs

• Bullet Club Wardogs (Drilla Moloney & Clark Connors) def. Catch 22 (TJP & Francesco Akira) via pinfall (on TJP after tandem offense) to become new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team champions

• El Desperado & Jun Kasai def. Jon Moxley & Homicide in an Exciting Encounter Doomsday No Disqualification match via pinfall (Desperado on Homicide following pinche loco)

And coming our way on night two of Independence Day:

• KENTA (c) vs. Eddie Kingston for the NJPW Strong Openweight championship

• Jon Moxley vs. El Desperado in a Final Death match

• Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Bullet Club Wardogs Alex Coughlin & Gabe Kidd for the IWGP Tag Team titles

• Willow Nightingale (c) vs. Giulia for the NJPW Strong Women’s championship:

• Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii & The DKC vs. Tom Lawlor, Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs

• Lance Archer & Alex Zayne vs. Bad Dude Tito & Kosei Fujita

• Drilla Moloney & Clark Connors vs. YOH & Rocky Romero

• Homicide & Ryohei Oiwa vs. TJP & Francesco Akira

• JR Kratos vs. OSkar Leube

• Ryusuke Taguchi, Master Wato & Boltin Oleg vs. Dragon Libre, Takahiro Katori & Rekka (Kickoff match)

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