Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NJPW/ROH Honor Rising Night Two Review

ROH/NJPW Honor Rising Night Two
February 27th, 2017 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 1,271

After a mediocre at best night one, the ROH/NJPW joint production is back for night two. Admittedly, this card looks better. It features what should be a wild eight-man tag main event and two title matches. This was not a sellout. Apparently, tickets for this show were as expensive as G1 Climax shows in Korakuen, which is laughable considering ROH’s huge lack of star power.

Jado and Silas Young def. David Finlay and KUSHIDA in 8:16
We got another generic “real man” promo from Young about a lack of respect. They got the early jump on their opponents in typical fashion. Jado is just horrible. I continue to watch him and just never find him even remotely entertaining. KUSHIDA surprisingly took the heat for his guys. I’d expect him to be the hot tag guy, but he did fine in drawing sympathy. KUSHIDA hit a handspring double back elbow on his opponents and got the tag to Finlay. His string of offense was fun and went toe to toe with Silas. Silas’ moonsault worked this time around. Young then planted Finlay with Misery and won. Like a lot of night one, this was fine. Silas looked better here and got a round of applause before leaving. **½

Los Ingobernables de Japon (NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions BUSHI, EVIL and SANADA, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi and IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito) def. Dalton Castle, Delirious, Jushin Thunder Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi and Tiger Mask IV in 10:32
Some of the Young Lions dressed as the Boys tonight. Taguchi did the Castle entrance, complete with peacock cape. Naito and Rocky got into it before the match again. I’d be all for a Rocky/Naito IC Title match on a smaller “Road to” card or something like that. Delirious ran wild early but tagged to Castle, who was rather over. LIDJ took over with their usual tactics. That included Naito tying Delirious’ mask to a railing and beating him up. Tiger Mask got worked over by the heels for a while. Taguchi got the hot tag and worked Takahashi to build their upcoming title match. We usually can’t understand Delirious but as he picked up EVIL, he clearly said “HE’S HEAVY AS HELL”, which made me laugh. He tried using a chair as revenge for night one but got stopped by the official. He fell to the STO shortly after. Fun match where almost everyone brought something to the table and it built towards Taguchi/Takahashi well. ***

After the match, Taguchi and Takahashi continued to brawl. Tiger Mask has his mask removed and had to be covered up.

War Machine def. The Guerillas of Destiny in 9:21
Tama and Rowe started things out. Tama knocked Hanson off the apron, so Rowe did the same to Tonga. GOD took over and busted out some fast paced tandem offense on Rowe. Hanson came in hot and did a bunch of corner clotheslines. Rocky said he did them wrong because he wasn’t screaming “FOREVER.” War Machine hit their popup powerslam for a close near fall. The fans seemed way into War Machine. GOD cut off Fallout and Tama nailed Veleno. Things broke down into a wild brawl with all four men trading offense. The finish came Rowe blocked Gun Stun and hoisted Tama up for Fallout. Easily my favorite Guerillas match besides the one against Ishii and YOSHI. It was hard hitting, had a hot crowd and was intense. War Machine are great in Japan and I do see improvement from GOD. ***½

War Machine cut a short promo saying they want the IWGP Tag Team Titles, regardless of who the champions are.

The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay Lethal and Juice Robinson in 9:10
Fale attacked the ring announcer during his introductions again. After some standard stuff early on, Juice took the beating for his team. Most of it was Fale before he let Page and Yujiro handle it when he got tired. Juice’s tag eventually saw Lethal and Tanahashi do their thing to a healthy pop. An assisted slingblade got two for the babyfaces. With Juice and Tanahashi outside, Page took out Lethal with a big lariat for the win. Considering he’s pinned Jay Briscoe and Lethal in the past six months, ROH should certainly push Page. They could use another star or six. This was as solid as it could be with not much Tanahashi involvement and guys like Yujiro and Fale involved. **

NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) def. Punisher Martinez in 10:49
Punisher did a lot of campy villain stuff early. He laughed and taunted to show he wasn’t intimidated. Goto taunted back, showing he wasn’t intimidated either. His size allowed him to go toe to toe with the hard hitting champion. At one point, they just traded forearm strikes before Martinez wiped him out with a big lariat. Knowing he was in trouble, Goto slid outside to avoid his challenge but Martinez met him with a big diver over the top. It was a way less impressive version of Undertaker’s signature dive. He got two on a super spin kick before trying a chokeslam. Goto countered and they traded more strikes before Goto again countered a chokeslam into GTR. This was better than I expected. I’m not sold on Martinez but he looked better here than in the tag on night one. Good, hard hitting back and forth work from both men. ***

ROH World Championship: Adam Cole (c) def. YOSHI-HASHI in 16:27
YOSHI-HASHI had a great 2016 and continues to impress. Adam Cole is just there. YOSHI earned this shot by pinning Cole in a tag at New Year Dash. The crowd seems to enjoy the “BAY BAY” part of Adam Cole’s taunt. YOSHI got a slight advantage, so Cole took things outside and swung the momentum in his favor. Inside, Cole cut off any YOSHI rally attempts. Even when it looked like YOSHI finally got going, Cole slipped free and hit a shining wizard for two. YOSHI countered the next one into a roll up for two. That got him going, getting another near fall on a powerbomb. Cole brought the smack talk, only to get pulled into a butterfly lock. Cole survived the submission and a swanton bomb. He hit the Destroyer but only two, which angered him. He tried Last Shot but YOSHI turned it into another roll up for two. It two some superkicks, shining wizard, another near fall and finally the Last Shot for Cole to retain. Best match of Cole’s two most recent ROH World Title reigns. He looked good early and YOSHI brought a ton of fire. The near falls down the stretch stopped just shy of overdoing it. ***¼

Bullet Club (Cody, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks) def. The Briscoes, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay in 20:16
Omega and Okada went to start but Okada wanted Cody instead. The crowd was pro-Kenny, though that’s not surprising as a lot of Okada opponents are more popular. Omega declined, so Okada tagged out himself. Ospreay got the first real shine, overwhelming the Bucks with his athleticism. He got in trouble though and took offense from all four BC members. They did a funny spot where they kept sending Ospreay into their boots in the corner, but it backfired on them eventually. Ospreay nearly got the hot tag but all his partners were pulled off the apron. They kept finding innovative ways to their signature spots, which I appreciate. Ospreay finally broke free with a stunner and tornado DDT and tagged Okada as Cody got tagged in. They traded stuff, while Okada also took out the Bucks. The Briscoes got the tag and came in on fire. Ospreay hit a great dive outside before Cody tried to superplex Okada onto the pile. Okada isn’t taking that kind of bump on a show like this, so Ospreay intervened and took the move instead. This led to the Okada/Omega battle. Omega still couldn’t hit the One Winged Angel. The Bucks broke up their fight with superkicks and Okada took a triple superkick. Everybody got shine in a crazy fast paced stretch near the end. Jay hit a superplex, Mark hit froggy bow and Okada hit his elbow. The Rainmaker pose was met with boos. Omega countered with a knee but got caught with a Spanish fly by Ospreay. Cody and Will became the legal men and after a fun exchange, Cody caught the Oscutter into the Cross Rhodes for the win. Exactly the wild, chaotic match I was hoping for. Each guy brought something to the table. The result was a match that never stopped, had some fun comedy moments, Ospreay taking the heat in front of a hot crowd, teases of Okada/Omega and more. The best thing on these shows. ****

Kenny Omega cut a short promo about them being the elite and that 2017 would be their year. Adam Cole did not come out to celebrate with them.

Overall: 7/10. A much better outing on night two. The main event is genuinely great and an absolute blast. I say this despite not being a fan of a few guys involved. Goto/Martinez is better than expected and I enjoyed Cole/YOSHI. The undercard is mostly enjoyable and accomplishes the goal of building the matches it should. I also really enjoyed War Machine/GOD and am hoping to see more War Machine in NJPW in 2017. I’m still not going back to watching ROH consistently though.