ROH TV continues its New Japan crossover in preparation for the May Global Wars pay-per-view, as well as the War of the Worlds tour. They are airing matches from the February crossover cards entitled “Honor Rising” in Korakuen Hall. Last week’s main event pit Roderick Strong (in a losing effort) vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the ROH World Television title. Let’s get into this week’s show.
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**All match review content is, for the most part, copy and pasted from my February reviews
After the tension shown between both heel parties on the Samurai TV pre-show, I’m a bit more fired up than I would have been had I not seen such a segment beforehand. This tag still didn’t do much for me, but was solid for what it was. Of course it had to be dragged out since it was a co-main event. Like fellow staffer Izzac says at times, New Japan tend to do things like this on shows, filtering out non-traditional booking schemes just to make the pecking order the same everytime no matter where the match is positioned and what it is. Albeit frustrating, at least there are some positives to take out of this tag. We got the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Tetsuya freaking Naito, the man Shinsuke Nakamura called most underrated in the company, and the ROH World Champion together in one match. Jay Lethal sold like a godsend for the finishing stretch, taking Okada’s dropkick and slowly wiggling to the ground, as well as flipping inside-out for YOSHI-HASHI’s lariat. None the less, the heels managed to stay in control although their was a definite power struggle between the two parties. Jay Lethal pinned YOSHI-HASHI (I am shocked) after a Lethal Injection. Naito came back strong with a beatdown post-match, and the two parties shook hands after the fact, Naito gave both guys a fist bump, put his hat on Lethal, and Naito scrolled through the Book of Truth. Quite awesome if you ask me.
This match is brought to you by Adam Cole, who couldn’t make it. Out of all people, Kazarian was called in as Cole’s replacement; and this is essentially replacing what would have been Adam Cole vs. Katsuyori Shibata — pending on placement on the card. KUSHIDA always gives his 110% in affiliation with ROH, and U.S. wrestlers, so this had to be at least solid. I dug this match, especially when it found its identity, with Kazarian getting lots of offense in as the aggressive man taking advantage of KUSHIDA’s size. KUSHIDA still managed to put his agility to use, whether it was taking to the air or owning Kazarian in the touted ground style we all love. In an incredible spot, and one that will sure be a highlight of the shows, Kazarian came diving over the ropes for his signature springboard cutter, but KUSHIDA caught him in the Hoverboard Lock, quickly transitioning it into a squeeze until the bigger man got out. Kazarian brought his own unique offense as well, at one point holding KUSHIDA in a piggyback and proceeding to fallback into a German suplex like position. Kazarian went for a top rope Spanish Fly, but KUSHIDA caught his arm and smashed it into the mat, then proceeded to kick Kazarian in the face, and lock in the Hoverboard Lock for the victory after a minor struggle. Good stuff.
We get a funny segment with out-of-place Mark Briscoe screwing around, asking people if they knew where Godzilla was, attempting to eat Japanese food, and Mark also implied that everyone is afraid of Godzilla. He provided an example of what to do during an Earthquake. He had a hilarious interaction with a stranger, quizzing him on “pro-wres”, eventually leading to him pointing to the New Japan sign in response to Redneck Kung-Fu.
Katsuyori Shibata teaming with reDRagon, as well as being on the other side of the ring from The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega. What a time to be alive. Fun fact: NJPW haven’t updated O’Reilly’s Twitter handle on their nameplates. This was fantastic and is one of my favorite trios matches this year. Everything clicked, even more than what I thought it would. Kenny & Shibata had chemistry as if they’ve been wrestling each other on loops for years. Shibata was so crucial to how this tag performed. His limited involvement was exactly the catalyst that propelled this to the next level. When he stepped in the ring, it meant a lot, especially vs. Kenny with that added chemistry. He continued to be taken out, every step of the way, either by Kenny himself or by Bucks antics, which were more serious geared towards shoot threat Shibata. Kenny & The Bucks are a better trio than AJ & The Bucks were. That’s a shoot. This was match of the night thus far, and something you need to watch. Bucks & reDRagon were not tiresome as they possessed variety, reDRagon got to be more ‘shoot-ish’, and Kenny vs. Shibata was built to excellently. The finishing stretch of the match was incredible, which saw Kyle get his face sprayed after Shibata was taken out once last time. The once countered One Winged Angel by Kyle was hit on him after a struggle to even hit it the second time. The kicker? Fatality 2.0 was put into effect here. More burns on AJ Styles. All hail Kenny!
These shows are completely invaluable to your time unless if you haven’t watched Honor Rising, or want to see the two minute Mark Briscoe segment. It’s just re-air after re-air, and will continue to be so until the pay-per-view. Next week is a Bullet Club hour with Anderson and Gallows vs. The Briscoes and an eight man tag. I suggest checking out this week’s show if you haven’t seen Honor Rising, for a great match, a FANTASTIC main event, and for the novelty of seeing Lethal and Naito teaming as a prelude to what happens when the ROH World title is on the line. Until next time.