Lio Rush To Be Featured In Opening Bout Of 7/2 NJPW STRONG

This week's episode of NJPW Strong will feature Fred Rosser, formerly known as Darren Young in the main event against a competitor better known for his time in ROH.

Also, Lio Rush will be featured. Rush recently announced his retirement from wrestling but remains obligated to an undisclosed number of IWGP appearances.

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling shared the following preview for this week's three-match card:

STRONG preview: Fireworks Frenzy 【NJoA】
Special celebration to kick off Independence Day weekend

This week on NJPW STRONG sees Fireworks Frenzy, as special matches celebrate the Independence Day weekend.

Watch Fridays at 10/9c on NJPW World!
NJPW STRONG is also available on FITE!

Main event: Fred Rosser vs Bateman

Headlining STRONG tonight, Fred Rosser goes head to head with the dark and twisted Bateman. When Adrian Quest and Barrett Brown’s tag team dissolved in May, Brown and Quest went to settle their differences one on one on the road to Ignition. All well and good, but Quest was not expecting Brown to recruit a partner and coach in Bateman. The demented ROH representative has been teaching Brown to be ever more bitter and ever more vicious in the ring, all the while getting himself involved to prevent .50 Caliber from taking any losses.

That Brown had a safety net far bigger than his opponent in Quest was an injustice Fred Rosser couldn’t allow. Rosser stepped up to team with Quest against Brown and Bateman, but when Bateman again saved his charge’s skin in the resulting Ignition tag match, the Suntan Superman was incensed. Now the two will face off in singles action, where just as the holiday weekend begins, Rosser will remind Bateman he takes no days off.

2nd Match: Jordan Clearwater vs Hikuleo

Second up, Jordan Clearwater takes on Hikuleo. Since falling to Fred Rosser in their wild no disqualification brawl in May, Hikuleo has been seeking a new narrative for himself on the road to Resurgence at L.A Coliseum later in the summer. Rampaging into battle against Alex Coughlin he scored a convincing win, and now seeks another against Clearwater.

The Golden Child has had a challenging journey on NJPW STRONG. In fact, as he approaches his first anniversary on the Friday night brand, while he’s been on winning teams, he has yet to pick up a win for himself. Still with ego undamaged, Clearwater is insistent his big break is around the corner. Indeed, it could be if he impresses against Hikuleo. Much as with Coughlin, who bounced back from his defeat to start his high profile open challenge series, could opportunity knock for Clearwater? Or could it knock even louder with an upset victory?

1st Match: Lio Rush vs Adrian Quest

While Adrian Quest came up short in his matches with former partner Barrett Brown thanks to the assistance of Bateman, his performances were enough to remind the world that Young Fuego is a junior heavyweight that nobody should take their eyes away from. In this week’s opener, he’ll have a phenomenal opportunity to definitively prove just that against Lio Rush. Paired against one of the level best athletes in his class, can Quest make a huge step up tonight, or will it be the Man of the Hour with a big win on the road to Resurgence August 14?

Fightful has live coverage of New Japan STRONG every week in our results section.

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