By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped February 19 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III (a/k/a Steve Corino) were on commentary. Kelly acknowledged that they were “reliving” Honor Rising from “back in February” early on. They hyped the other matches as the ring entrances for the opening match started…
1. ROH Champion Jay Lethal and Tetsuya Naito (w/Truth Martini, Tetsuya Bushi, Evil) vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi Hashi (w/Gedo). Red Shoes was the referee. Corino boasted that the match featured the two most important champions in pro wrestling. Kelly and Corino also spoke about the Los Ingobernables faction that Naito and Bushi are with.
Lethal dodged an early Rainmaker clothesline attempt by Okada. Lethal shoved Okada, who fired back with punches. Lethal caught Okada with a cartwheel dropkick. Lethal reached out to tag Naito, who didn’t accept it heading into the break. [C] Lethal was still in the ring, but the broadcast team noted that he and Naito had been effectively working together during the break.
Corino noted that Evil looked familiar. When Kelly explained that it was Takaaki Watanabe, Corino, as Mr. Wrestling III, said he wasn’t with the company at the time. Funny. Naito left his shirt on as he entered the match. Later, Lethal hit the Lethal Combination on Okada. Naito held Okada and Lethal went for a superkick, but Okada escaped and Naito ate the kick. Okada threw his amazing dropkick to knock down Lethal and then made the tag to Naito.
Later, Lethal swung the Book of Truth at Hashi, who ducked and then caught him with a slingblade clothesline that turned Lethal inside out. Hashi went up top and kicked off Martini when he tried to interfere. Bushi distracted the referee, allowing Evil to push Hashi off the top rope. Lethal hit Hashi with the Lethal Injection and pinned him. Afterward, Lethal and Naito shook hands, and Naito put his Los Ingobernables hat on Lethal, then read the Book of Truth… [C]
Jay Lethal and Tetsuya Naito beat Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi Hashi.
Powell’s POV: A cool match with the two company heavyweight champions on opposite sides. The Los Ingobernables dynamic was hard to follow for this NJPW infrequent viewer, and the broadcast team wasn’t very effective at explaining it. It’s good to see Watanabe is having some success. ROH didn’t show him much love. Likewise, it’s cool to see Naito, who was part of the No Limit tag team in TNA, thriving with his new look. Here’s hoping that we won’t see American companies waste young Japanese talent going forward given the popularity of NJPW and its alumni in North America.
2. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kushida vs. Frankie Kazarian in a non-title match. Tiger Hattori was the referee. Kelly and Corino said Kazarian would probably blame him if he lost the match. Kushida went for the Hoverboard Lock early. They cut to a commercial early in the match. There was a brief Global Wars pay-per-view commercial. [C]
Kushida knocked Kazarian to the floor, then went up top and flipped onto him. Later, Kazarian performed an electric chair into a bridge for a two count. Kazarian went for a superplex, but Kushida countered into an arm lock and wrenched it as he leapt off the mat and both men fell to the mat. Kushida went for his finisher again. Kazarian moved toward the ropes, but Kushida rolled him over and locked in the Hoverboard Lock for the win…
Kushida beat Frankie Kazarian.
The broadcast team hyped the six-man main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: A well wrestled match. I really enjoyed the broadcast team last week, but they phoned in the call of this match. They spent some time talking Japanese baseball, which was actually brief and fine, but they just never created the sense that the match mattered.
On the streets of Japan, Mark Briscoe searched for Godzilla and asked a local if he’d seen him. He said Mount Fuji was named after Mr. Fuji. He said earthquakes hit Japan, but everyone knows what to do when that happens. He hid under a sign. He asked another fan where to find the dojo and then said Redneck Kung Fu. The fan turned and pointed to a New Japan building. Briscoe found a sign that had chickens on it and asked, “How do you say home in Japanese?”…
Powell’s POV: Bad timing on the earthquake line as far as when this aired, but it is what it is. The segment was cute. You know what would be cuter? Promoting the Global Wars pay-per-view instead.
The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega made their entrance wearing “The Elite” t-shirts. Never Openweight Champion made his entrance, then Omega approached him and mocked him while holding the Intercontinental Title. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly made their entrance…
3. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs. Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Katsuyori Shibata. Shibata had enough of Omega and punched him to start the match. They fought toward the back of the building with Omega leaving him lying as Fish and O’Reilly applied cross arm breakers on Nick and Matt Jackson. Omega returned to try to break them up with kicks, then Shibata returned and put Omega in an arm lock too.
Omega powered out of it and slammed Shibata onto O’Reilly. Omega stood in center ring while the Bucks banged the mat to the tune of The Terminator before Omega dove onto all three opponents on the floor. [C] Fish and O’Reilly worked over Matt Jackson and caught him with a double team move for two. They set up for their finisher, but one of the Bucks pulled Fish to ringside and ran him into the barricade.
Shibata and Omega ended up in the ring together. Shibata worked him over with punches, but Omega came right back and elbow, punches, and kick. Shibata caught Omega with a running boot in the corner. The Bucks and Omega performed a triple superkick on Shibata, but O’Reilly broke up the cover that followed.
Late in the match, O’Reilly caught the Bucks with a clothesline. Omega hit him with a knee to the head, but O’Reilly caught him guillotine. The referee was distracted by Nick Jackson, allowing Matt Jackson to use a spray can on O’Reilly to break the hold. The Bucks hit a piledriver on O’Reilly, then Omega performed the One Winged Angel and scored the pin for his team…
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks beat Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Katsuyori Shibata.
Kelly hyped Gallows and Anderson vs. The Briscoes, and a big eight-man tag match for next week. He called it The Bullet Club Hour as they countdown to Global Wars…
Powell’s POV: The usual entertaining Bucks style spot fest. And, really, the entire show was entertaining with good ring work and the unique atmosphere. The broadcast team took a step back after doing such a nice job last week, but I still enjoyed the show. I just can’t get over the fact that ROH has Global Wars coming up and they did nothing to promote it aside from run a generic commercial that didn’t even mention Colt Cabana, who is challenging for the ROH Title in the main event. If Global Wars bombs on pay-per-view then ROH has no one to blame but themselves. Even if it’s successful, then they will have to wonder how much more successful it could have been if they done more to promote it.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Jim Ross on his role in AEW, Tony Khan as a leader, whether Ross knew Shawn Spears was going to hit Cody with a chair shot to the head, working with Excalibur and Alex Marvez, his new book and speaking engagement deal, and much more... Search "Pro Wrestling Boom" in Apple Podcasts or any podcast app to subscribe.