By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Before getting started on night two, check out my full review of NJPW Honor Rising Night 1.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Honor Rising Night 2”
February 24 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World
The English broadcast team was Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.
1. Toa Henare vs. Beer City Bruiser. Henare tried to power up Bruiser, but he couldn’t get him up. Henare got a two count off a shoulder block from the second rope. Bruiser came back with a DDT and the finished off Henare with a top rope frogsplash.
Beer City Bruiser defeated Toa Henare.
Powell’s POV: It’s cool to see Bruiser get some love in New Japan. He had a competitive match with Hirooki Goto for the Never Openweight Championship on night one, and now he was given a clean and decisive win on night two. It will be interesting to see if this leads to Bruiser getting a better push in ROH. After all, Adam Page was a glorified enhancement wrestler in ROH before NJPW decided to repackage him as Hangman Page.
2. Jay Lethal, David Finlay, and Juice Robinson vs. Hikuleo, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi. Lethal performed a couple of early suicide dives that got a rise out of the live crowd. He faced off with Hikuleo, who turned him inside out with a clothesline. Finaly cleared Hikuleo from the ring with a missile dropkick. A short time later, Lethal hit a Lethal Injection on Owens. In the end, Lethal hit the Hail to the Chief elbow drop on Hikuleo and pinned him…
Jay Lethal, David Finlay, and Juice Robinson defeated Hikuleo, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi.
Powell’s POV: A nice showcase win for Lethal with his partners also getting in their share of offense. Hikuleo is a massive man. He looked a little off at times, but it will be fun to follow his progression.
3. Flip Gordon and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi. Gordon and Takahashi squared off and fought in the crowd while Taguchi and Bushi did the same. They returned to the ring and Gordon eventually performed some of his big high spots while also selling the knee injury from the night before. In a fun spot, Taguchi went for a, well, flying ass move on Bushi, who calmly stepped aside, causing Taguchi to crash and burn. Late in the match, Takahashi put Gordon on his shoulders. Bushi came off the ropes and performed a Codebreaker on Gordon from that position. Takahashi pinned Gordon…
Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi defeated Flip Gordon and Ryusuke Taguchi.
Powell’s POV: The story of this match was Takahashi avenging his upset loss to Gordon in a three-way with Kushida on night one. I love that in just two matches they have established a new rivalry between the two. Gordon continues to shine as the future star of ROH. He can do some amazing things in the ring and if he can click from a personality standpoint then the sky is the limit for him. Takahashi is phenomenal and it was logical for him to avenge the loss since there’s no telling when Gordon will be back, but they can easily pick this up where they left off somewhere down the road.
4. Tango Loa, Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale vs. Cheeseburger, Delirious, and Jushin Liger for the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles. Fale went after the ring announcer during the introductions, but Cheeseburger got on his face only to be tossed to ringside to start the match. Later, Cheeseburger threw a punch of punches to the chest of Tonga, who no-sold them, but then took took some offensive moves from Cheeseburger, including a tornado DDT for a two count. Cheeseburger also got a couple of believable near falls off of rollups. Tonga and Loa came back and hit Guerrilla Warfare on Cheeseburger for the win. After the match, Tonga helped up Cheeseburger and raised his arm only to drop him with a cutter. Katsuya Kitamura carried Cheeseburger to the back after the match…
Tango Loa, Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale defeated Cheeseburger, Delirious, and Jushin Liger to retain the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Cheeseburger, Delirious, and Liger were wisely given a win over Loa, Tonga, and Hikuleo on night one to establish them as a threat on this show. The outcome was no surprise and the match won’t be in contention for match of the night or anything, but the live crowd enjoyed it and that’s what counts.
Kelly hyped that they would have English broadcasts for the entire New Japan Cup for the first time…
5. Hangman Page and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. “Switchblade” Jay White, Chuckie T, and Yoshi-Hashi. Page got in White’s face during the introductions. They jawed at one another while White held up the IWGP U.S. Championship belt. Late in the match, Page went for his springboard lariat, but White countered into a Flatliner and followed up with a German suplex. White set up for a Blade Runner, but the Bucks caught him with a double superkick. Page hit the Rite of Passage and pinned White. After the match, White brought a chair into the ring and hit a couple of his opponents. He wound up to hit White, but the Bucks took the chair away. Callis asked what was wrong with the Bucks. The Bucks and Page ended up shaking hands and the Bucks left. Page got a second chair. Page hit White with a Rite of Passage on the chair. White held up the U.S. Title before covering White’s face with it…
Hangman Page and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. “Switchblade” Jay White, Chuckie T, and Yoshi-Hashi.
Powell’s POV: A big weekend for Page. He scored the pin for his team in the six-man main event on night one and they made a big deal out of him pinning the IWGP U.S. Champion here. Obviously, they are setting up a match between the two. The other story is obviously the Bucks stopping Page from hitting White with a chair and how that factors into the Bullet Club meltdown.
Ring entrances for the ROH Title match took place. Kelly said Beretta was working the match against doctor’s orders because of a torn bicep and a torn pectoral muscle. He had his right shoulder and left elbow heavily taped. Dalton Castle came out with two Japanese Boys and did his usual entrance after working in a t-shirt the night before. Beer City Bruiser entered the ring and said he promised to bring gold back to the U.S. and thus was adding himself to the match. Bruiser punched Beretta and then traded punches with Castle. The referee tried to get between them and one of the young boys intervened. Castle took the mic said they could put “his fat ass” in the match. The announcement of the match becoming a three-way was made to the live crowd…
6. Dalton Castle vs. Beretta vs. Beer City Bruiser in a three-way for the ROH Title. Jay Lethal sat in on commentary and spoke about facing the winner of this match for the ROH Title at the 16th Anniversary event. He said he hopes to face Castle. Beretta threw a chair at both opponents at ringside early in the match. Beretta seated Bruiser on a chair at ringside and then dropkicked him off the apron. There was a big double superplex on Bruiser. Beretta tried to piledrive Bruiser on the apron, but Bruiser suplexed him on the apron instead. Bruiser clotheslined Castle over the top rope and they both tumbled to ringside. A short time later, Beretta performed a piledriver on Bruiser in the ring for a two count.
Bruiser came back and performed a top rope splash on Beretta, who kicked out at the last moment. Castle returned to the ring and took out Bruiser and then went for his finisher on Beretta, who countered into a pin for a two count. Castle performed an impressive suplex into a pin on Bruiser for the win…
Dalton Castle defeated Beretta and Beer City Bruiser in a three-way to retain the ROH Title.
Powell’s POV: I assume they added Bruiser to the match since Beretta was limited by his injuries. Beretta gutted through the match and is either a warrior or insane depending on your point of view if the injuries listed are legitimate. The question I have now is whether Bruiser was showcased so well in the two previous matches because NJPW or ROH is high on him or because they knew they would be adding him to this match. Either way, he had a really good weekend.
7. “The Golden Lovers” Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi vs. Cody and Marty Scurll. Another big pop for the reunited Golden Lovers, who slapped hands around the ring prior to the introductions. Scurll tried to talk with Omega prior to the match and said he thought they were a team. It was hard to make out the exchange, but Callis questioned who Scurll is to question Omega about what it means to be in Bullet Club. Cody teased starting the match before tagging in Scurll instead.
With Cody in the crowd early on, Omega performed a springboard dive onto him. They fought at ringside where Cody ran Omega into the guardrail and then Scurll delivered a kick from the apron. Cody tagged in with Omega down and blew a kiss to Ibushi. Omega took offensive control and Cody begged off, which led to Omega performing several kicks before tagging Ibushi into the match for a nice round of double team moves.
Later, Omega and Ibushi performed a series of moonsaults on Scurll for a two count. The crowd erupted with another round of Golden Lovers chants. Cody pulled Ibushi to ringside and then Scurll did the finger break spot on Omega. Cody tried to powerbomb Ibushi on the exposed floor, but he avoided it. Cody set up for CrossRhodes on the apron, but Omega caught him with a running knee to knock him off the apron. Scurll hit Omega with an umbrella while the referee was distracted and then performed CrossRhodes for a two count. Cody and Scurll performed the Doomsday Dropkick on Omega. Scurll applied the chicken wing on Omega and then Cody applied his leg lock on Ibushi. Omega eventually got to his feet and then ran over and performed a senton on Cody with Scurll on his back.
Cody and Omega traded forearms in the ring. Cody performed the sit down uppercut. Omega performed a high knee. Omega ran the ropes, but Scurll pushed Cody out of the way of a V-Trigger and caught Omega with two kicks. Ibushi performed a Pele kick type of move on Scurll. Ibushi went for a powerbomb, but Scurll slipped out of it and kicked Ibushi and turned him inside out with a lariat moments later. Cody and Scurll teamed up for another Doomsday Dropkick, but Ibushi landed on his feet and then he and Omega both hit wicked suplexes on Scurll that cleared him from the ring. Omega tossed Cody powerbomb style to Ibushi, who performed a German Suplex in the same motion. Great spot.
Omega and Ibushi performed stereo moonsaults from the ring to the floor. Omega tagged in Ibushi (as if it mattered at this point since even Kelly admitted he lost track of who was legal). Cody performed CrossRhodes on Omega. Scurll got a two count on Ibushi following a kick from Cody into a neckbreaker onto his knee. Cody told Scurll to pick up Ibushi so he could seal it with a kiss. Scurll obliged and Cody rubbed his face. Ibushi broke free only to have Cody grab him and kiss him on the lips.
Ibushi fired back with a shot to the chest, a kick, and a powerbomb. Scurll rolled up Ibushi for a good near fall. Omega performed the V-Trigger on Scurll and then hohisted him onto his shoulders and tossed him into a kick thrown by Ibushi. Omega and Ibushi performed the Golden Trigger (double knees to the face) and Ibushi pinned Scurll to win the match…
Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi defeated Cody and Marty Scurll.
After the match, Omega and Ibushi hugged in the ring while Cody helped Scurll to his feet and walked him toward the back. Cody stopped at the broadcast table and said the look on Omega’s face made it all worth it. “Once you go Cody…” Cody said before walking away. In the ring, Omega spoke to the crowd in Japanese. He switched to English and said it’s been one of the best weekends of his life having brought back the Golden Lovers. Omega said there was a point in 2017 when he thought he reached his peak, but now his first dream in Japan to become the very best tag team with Ibushi is going to come true. Omega said that even though they made some mistakes, they are the best tag team in the world.
The Young Bucks walked out and entered the ring. Matt Jackson took the mic from Omega and said they didn’t have a problem with Omega and Ibushi initially. He said they are best friends and came to room 710 with a peace offering and they accepted. Matt said they didn’t have a problem until Omega said the Golden Lovers are the best tag team. Matt said the Golden Lovers are not the best tag team in the world, the Young Bucks are. Matt said that from this day forward, he and Nick will compete in the heavyweight tag team division. “So I guess what that means is, uh, see you around,” Matt said before he and Nick left the ring.
Omega spoke in Japanese again and got some laughs from the live crowd. He passed the mic to Ibushi, who spoke briefly and was cheered. Omega spoke in Japanese again and closed by saying in English that he wished them goodbye and goodnight. Omega and Ibushi hugged and shook hands again before raising their arms and playing to the crowd. Omega and Ibushi shook hands at ringside while Kelly spoke about the possibility of a dream match between the Golden Lovers and the Young Bucks. Callis said there were grown men acting like children trying to touch the Golden Lovers. “This is like the goddamn Beatles, Kevin,” Callis said. Kelly thanked members of the ROH staff and said they would be back in March 6 with the anniversary show…
Backstage, Omega said what he and Cody have is far from over. he said Cody is trying to manipulate people and get in their heads. Omega called Cody a WWE reject. Omega said the Young Bucks are two of his very best friends and they are like brothers to him. He said he was sorry they couldn’t work it out backstage and that they put him in a bad situation in the middle of the ring. He said he’s not one to run away from what he believes and he believes that he and Ibushi are the best. Omega said if the Bucks think they are the best then he and Ibushi will have no choice but to prove themselves. Omega and Ibushi answered media questions in Japanese. Omega also said that he doesn’t give a fuck whether he and Ibushi hold the tag titles because they are the best in the world. “We can change the world,” Omega said. They shook hands and posed for photographers. Omega thanked the media to end the English portion of the broadcast…
Powell’s POV: A strong tag team main event with a finish that wisely did not include Omega and Cody. The post match angle sets the stage for a huge tag team showdown match, which is every bit as big, if not bigger, than the Omega vs. Cody match that will headline the ROH Supercard of Honor event.
Honor Rising Night Two was a good show. I actually enjoyed night one more due to the three-way match and main event, but they were both quality shows. It’s interesting that a number of ROH regulars did not work the show. I realize there are only so many spots, but it was strange that we didn’t see The Briscoes, ROH TV Champion Silas Young, ROH Tag Champions The Motor City Machine Guns, Punishment Martinez, and others. These shows felt like NJPW events with a half dozen ROH wrestlers sprinkled to go along with NJPW talent and wrestlers who work regularly for both companies.
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...