Honor Rising Night 1, Korakuen Hall, February 26th:
Juice Robinson, KUSHIDA & David Finlay defeated Gedo, Jado & Silas Young
This was a very good opener. Jado & Gedo wore “real man” shirts, which was pretty funny. It was great to see Young get an opportunity here, as he is one of the more under appreciated guys in ROH and a great veteran. He and Robinson had some good exchanges. Robinson was the standout of the match. He ended up with a bloody nose after an attack from Jado & Gedo, but was able to pin Gedo after hitting Pulp Friction.
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship
EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI defeated Delirious, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV
Lots of comedy early on from Delirious. It doesn’t really do it for me. He ran around the ring and it just distracted from the match. Some good stuff in the middle of the match from Tiger & BUSHI. Tiger took him off the top with an arm drag and hit a nice tombstone. Delirious got the hot tag late on in the match. Delirious got on some close near falls on SANADA with various roll ups, until EVIL hit him with a chair and allowed SANADA to lock in Skull End. This was fine for what it was. This LIJ unit are the team that should be given a long run with the six man titles and finally add some legitimacy to them.
YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale
This was a really fun match. Ospreay played the babyface in peril at the hands of Bullet Club until he eventually got back into it. The last several minutes of this saw some excellent back and forth. Okada was all fired up when he slammed Fale. Goto took out GOD. Okada assisted Ospreay with a huge corkscrew dive onto Fale, who was on the floor. The finish saw YOSHI finish Yujiro after hitting a lariat and Karma. YOSHI picks up the win ahead of his ROH World title match with Adam Cole tomorrow.
War Machine defeated The Young Bucks
This was amazing. We got to see The Bucks show a very different side to themselves as they had to adapt and innovate to wrestle the much larger team. They became the babyfaces out of sympathy and Korakuen Hall were behind them as they controlled much of the match by out manoeuvring Hanson & Rowe. Later in the match War Machine started putting together combinations of power moves. We saw Nick hit a double springboard dive to the floor. Hanson kicked out of two 450 splashes and then powerbombed both Bucks on his own. The finish saw Nick taken out with a deadlift powerbomb and a splash before Matt was finished with Fallout. This will likely put War Machine in line for an ROH Tag Team Championship match in the near future. This is definitely worth checking out.
Punishment Martinez, Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi defeated Dalton Castle, Ryusuke Taguchi & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Pro wrestling peaked when Tanahashi & Taguchi came out as Dalton Castle’s Boys. This was gold. They went full on with it, even getting on the floor so Dalton could step into the ring. The booking of Martinez was great. He was presented like a monster. He refused to embrace the fist bump of LIJ. He towered over Castle, who sold his fear. Tanahashi was worked over by Naito & Hiromu. Taguchi got the better of Hiromu ahead of their title match. Castle took Martinez off his feet with a German suplex and it took a three way dropkick to knock him over a second time. After this Martinez was unstoppable. He took out all three guys, including hitting a spin kick from the top. He finished Castle with a chokeslam. He again refused to embrace Naito and walked off on his own. Martinez had an early Undertaker vibe about him with his presentation. He looks strong heading into his NEVER title match with Hirooki Goto tomorrow, which is the biggest opportunity of his career.
Jay Lethal & Katsuyori Shibata defeated Hangman Page & Cody
Shibata was one of the names on Cody’s list, so that was his target. Straight away Cody called him into the ring and they had a brief back and forth. The Bullet Club team took control of Lethal. Page had another really impressive showing. He hit a great bridging pumphandle suplex and a shooting star off the apron. Lethal managed to tag on Shibata. There was a great moment here when Shibata shrugged off Cody’s missile dropkick, to his disbelief. Shibata then unloaded with forearms and a corner dropkick. The finish of the match saw Lethal pin Page after a Lethal Injection. After the match Cody & Shibata got into a brief brawl, so we may be seeing a singles match between them too.
Adam Cole & Kenny Omega defeated The Briscoes
This was a hell of a main event as Kenny Omega made his return to NJPW for the first time since Wrestle Kingdom. There was some tension between Bullet Club members as Omega got frustrated at Cole’s time wasting antics. Omega had great exchanges with both Briscoes, especially Jay. The Briscoes got lots of near falls, the biggest came with a Doomsday Device on Cole. Omega made the save. The finish saw Omega hit a V-Trigger, followed by Cole hitting the Last Shot on Mark.
After the match Cole interrupted Omega, and said this year would be all about him, so it’s looking like we are heading towards Kenny Omega, and likely The Young Bucks splitting away from Bullet Club. Omega looks to be on his way to becoming one of the top babyfaces in New Japan.
This show is now available at NJPWWorld.com and is well worth your time.