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
After the opening video, Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III (a/k/a Steve Corino) checked in on commentary from the studio… They went right to ring entrances for the opening match…
1. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, Moose, and Tomoaki Honma vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi, and Cody Hall. The first four men were given separate entrances and the Bullet Club members entered together. Big men Moose and Fale started the match with shoulder blocks that didn’t move either man. Moose threw a nice dropkick at Fale to take him off his feet. There were Moose chants and Kelly noted that the fans were immediately connecting with Moose. Tama and Honma tagged in, and Tama caught him with a nice dropkick of his own heading into the break. [C]
The Tanahashi led team cleared the ring shortly after the break and they all flexed Hulk style. There was a graphic that noted the ROH Global Wars pay-per-view for Sunday night. Later, Elgin press slammed Tama heading into another break. [C]
Elgin continued to perform power moves coming out of the break, including a nice German suplex into a bridge on Takahashi for a two count. Takahashi grabbed the referee to prevent another German suplex, then kicked Elgin low to break away from him. Moose and Hall checked in. Moose threw punches, then wound up for a big one and ended up taking a Samoan drop that he no-sold and came right back with a clothesline for two.
The Bullet Club members cleared Moose’s partners to ringside and then took turns hitting moves on him. Hall chokeslammed Moose for two. Hall set up for his father’s Razor’s Edge finisher, but Honma broke it up. Moose put Tama on his back and picked up Takahashi and performed a Samoan drop on one and a fallaway slam on the other simultaneously. Moose and Hall ended up in the ring together. Moose ran up the ropes to a huge reaction and then speared Hall for the win… [C]
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, Moose, and Tomoaki Honma defeated Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi, and Cody Hall.
Powell’s POV: I’ve always assumed that Moose was WWE bound, but you have to wonder if New Japan will be players in the Moose sweepstakes given the way their fans have taken to him. Their reaction to him running up the ropes was tremendous. The match itself was fun. Moose was the star, but the Japanese fans were also into all of the power moves that Elgin performed. Elgin has been a different guy since he went to Japan. He comes across much more confident than he once did.
Jay Lethal and Truth Martini were shown on the streets of Tokyo. Lethal said he can’t wait to get one of those massages they talked about. Truth spoke about getting one of those endings. Lethal pulled out some change and asked if that was enough. Martini said that’s not enough to get one of those endings…
Powell’s POV: The ol’ happy ending joke wasn’t very funny. Worse yet, shouldn’t the heel ROH Champion pull out a wad of cash rather than picking change out of his pocket?
Kelly stated that Tomohiro Ishii had commitments in Japan and couldn’t face Top Prospect Tournament winner Lio Rush, so matchmaker Nigel McGuinness gave Rush a title shot against Lethal. Footage aired of Lethal beating Rush during WrestleMania weekend in Dallas.
Kelly said it was what happened after the match that had people talking. He hyped that an “ROH pioneer” returned. In the ring in Dallas, Lethal boasted that there was nobody left for him to beat. Colt Cabana made his entrance. Clips aired of Colt’s confrontation with Lethal. Colt said Lethal claims there’s no one left for him to beat. Colt said it makes him think about his legacy.
Colt said he doesn’t want to be known as somebody’s friend. Colt said he loves that he’s an independent wrestler and that nobody owns him. “Everybody still wants to see me, Jay,” Cabana said. Colt said the people can’t fire or reject him. He said he should have been kicked out a long time ago, but he’s not because the fans are still chanting his name.
Lethal said the people can’t make Colt the greatest wrestler in the world, the ROH Title does. Lethal said Cabana hasn’t appeared in ROH in five years. He said Colt worked small independent shows and avoided ROH, and it’s because the locker room and Lethal don’t want him in ROH.
They cut to Colt saying he likes going all over the world. He said he goes to the fans. After another cut, Colt said he won’t be able to live with himself unless he is able to wear the ROH Title around his waist.
Kelly cut in on commentary and set up what happened the next day when Lethal deemed Cheeseburger more deserving of a title shot. Footage aired of Lethal beating Cheeseburger in an impromptu title match. Cabana came out in his gear and challenged Lethal to an immediate title shot. Cabana said Lethal can’t call his own shots. He asked if Lethal thinks he can beat him.
“You want a match right now, dammit?” Lethal asked before punching Cabana. Colt came back quickly and the showed him rolling up Lethal and pinning him in an impromptu non-title match. On commentary, Kelly announced Lethal vs. Cabana for the ROH Title at the Global Wars event… [C]
Powell’s POV: Finally, some real hype for the ROH Global Wars event and the main event. I wish we could have watched the entire confrontation between Cabana and Lethal from both nights, but perhaps the edited version was better. It was a bit odd to put this in the middle of the show. I would have opened the show and treated it like it was a major happening and emphasized that by having Kelly say they were going to air the Global Wars footage for the full show, but this was so big that they had to show what happened. That said, the footage clicked and it left me excited to see the Lethal vs. Cabana match on Sunday.
Backstage, Lethal and Truth were in a hallway getting ready to get their massage. Lethal said it seemed shady. Delirious walked through the door with a big smile on his face. Truth said Delirious looked pretty happy to him. They entered the doorway…
In the very next scene, Lethal and Truth were back on the streets of Japan in front of the NJPW store. Lethal complained that his picture wasn’t on the front instead of the NJPW stars. Truth told him not to worry because they are overseas. Lethal said he was going inside to break all of Kazuchika Okada’s stuff. They also showed footage of Jay Briscoe and Dalton Castle on the street. Inside the store, Lethal looked at various masks and said it was dedicated to all the guys he’s beaten. The camera then showed Delirious resting his head in between some of the masks. In another scene, Lethal said they got their massage and destroyed Okada’s stuff. There was also footage of Mark Briscoe. Truth complained that a no smoking sign “ruined a perfect picture of a cigarette.” Dalton took pictures of cats…
2. Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe. Kelly noted that the Briscoes were two-thirds of the six-man champions at the time of this event. Mark had Anderson down at ringside and performed a neckbreaker off the ring apron heading into the break. [C] Mark Briscoe flipped over Gallows to tag in his brother, who had an offensive flurry on Gallows.
The Bullet Club members came back with double team moves on Jay. Anderson had him pinned, but Mark broke it up. Late in the match, Mark took out Gallows with a missile dropkick. Jay caught Anderson with a nice clothesline. Jay followed up with a neckbreaker, then Mark hit Froggy Bow on Anderson, and Jay pinned him to win the match…
The Briscoes defeated Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson.
A video recapped ROH’s run in Japan…
Powell’s POV: There’s plenty to knock (and lord knows I have) about airing Honor Rising rather than having an actual television taping to set up the Global Wars pay-per-view. However, there’s no denying that it’s pretty cool for ROH to have their most successful tag team defeat WWE’s hottest newcomers. The broadcast team could have made a big fuss over this since the commentary was done in post production. I’m actually surprised they didn’t go there. I don’t know if they don’t feel like poking the bear or if they were simply being respectful. Either way, the footage speaks for itself.
Overall, I came away happy that ROH finally delivered some hype for their pay-per-view on television. It wasn’t nearly enough, though, as viewers still have no idea what the card is aside from the main event. Granted, they have one more show to air this weekend, but that’s cutting it pretty close and it will be too late for viewers who watch the show on DVR delay like I do. Despite knowing so little about the card, I find myself looking forward to the show because of the main event and because history shows that the ROH and NJPW talent can deliver a hell of an event. Join me for live coverage as the show airs on Sunday night on pay-per-view television.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...