New Japan Pro Wrestling
Ring of Honor
April 6, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York City
Kevin Kelly, Colt Cabana and Ian Riccobani on commentary.
#1 is Kenny King, who recently requested to be entered in the Rumble in the first spot. And #2 is…… MINORU SUZUKI. Well, then. HUGE Suzuki chants. The bell rings and King steps right up to Suzuki who looks crazy. Chops by king have no effect. “You fucked up” chants. Headlock by King and a tackle puts Suzuki down but he pops right back up with a smile and King is freaked out. King evades Suzuki and keeps coming at Suzuki. Suzuki with a forearm and KING JUST DROPS. UGH. Cheeseburger is #3. Burger tries to insert himself in Suzuki/King and chops both. Suzuki grabs Burger’s hair, hits a HARD forearm, toys with Burger and King puts Burger in the corner.
Beer City Bruiser is #4. King and Suzuki keep going it at but BCB hits jabs to all three. BCB then “bites” King and Suzuki, then does the “got no teeth” bit before “biting” Burger. Suzuki now goes at BCB as Sho is #5. BCB tries to dump Suzuki. Sho blocks a Burger rana, Burger out of it but eats a dropkick. Shingo Takagi is #6. Shingo is a former ROH Tag Champ. Sho and Shingo go at it hard and fast, hitting corner lariats but Sho fires back with elbows before Shingo just DROPS SHO with great great strikes. German suplex by Sho connects. BUSHI is #7. BUSHI goes for Sho and hits a running rana and the LIJ team hits a double team on Sho.
Yoh is #8 and now the junior tag rivals are all in. Yoh gets the advantage on LIJ and hits a flying corkscrew forearm on BUSHI and gets a dragon screw on Shingo. R3K double teams BUSHI and hits the toehold dropkick and a double dropkick on Shingo. BCB is tossed by R3K as Shahim Ali is #9 and takes Sho’s head off with a sidekick, hits a big headbutt on Burger and that big Catatonic-style move on Sho. Suzuki and Shingo square off (I’d love to see that match) and Rhett Titus is #10. Titus just does a posedown at center until Ali comes behind but Titus nails a punch, poses again and hits a hiptoss so he can keep posing. King hits Eddie Gordo to stop Titus’ shtick.
LSG is #11. He goes right for R3K and takes Yoh down with a springboard and Sho with a kick but Titus interrupts, but eats a boot by LSG. Ryusuke Taguchi is #12. Taguchi chants as he hits hip attacks after tossing the rugby ball at Shingo. Will Ferrara is #13. Will and Titus face off and Titus hugs him, but Will says not the time. Titus proceeds to throw Will into other wrestlers, then launches Will into Ali and we get some Dawgs-style double teaming which isnt bad! Chase Owens is #14. Chase hits strikes and Jewel Heist on Will, blocks a Taguchi hip attack and wades into the fray. Rocky Romero is #15. Rocky and Taguchi square off, but then Taguchi starts coaching Rocky with his Forever Clotheslines. Taguchi gets the train going, with EVERYONE CRUSHING BUSHI. Suzuki starts choking out Taguchi as Rocky dumps BUSHI.
Brian Milonas is #16. C2C double teams Milonas but Milonas throttles them and eliminates both in one swoop. Milonas hits a big sidewalk slam on LSG as Bad Luck Fale is #17. Nice ovation for Fale. R3K goes for Fale, but Fale catches double knees and uses the leverage to dump both Sho and Yoh. Burger goes after Fale, Fale just CHUCKS Burger over the top but Shinobi Shadow Squad is at ringside and CATCHES BURGER AND PUTS HIM BACK IN! Fale grabs Isom and Nova, brings them inside aand then puts 3S out… Jonathan Gresham is #18. Milonas and Fale step nose to nose. Shingo almost elminates Titus, who skins the cat back in before Shingo puts him over for good, but then Suzuki eliminates Shingo after that.
Tracy Williams is #19. Tracy goes for Suzuki and they trade strikes, with Tracy going toe to toe with Suzuki in impressive fashion. YOSHI-HASHI is #20. Gresham dumps Taguchi, Tracy lays headbutts into Suzuki who returns, and Milonas tries to dump Rocky. Fale tries to dump HASHI but HASHI holds on. PJ Black is #21. Will tries to take on Suzuki but Suzuki dumps him right away. Chase accidentally hits Suzuki, then PJ does it on purpose, but Suzuki forcuses on Owens and dumps him quickly. Jushin Thunder Liger is #22. HUGE POP FOR LIGER! SHOTEI! SHOTEI! Milonas shrugs them off but Liger is able to single-handedly eliminate Milonas!!!
A chop from Liger drops Tracy, and he then goes after Suzuki. TK O’Ryan is #23. TK tries to dump PJ but PJ holds on. TK eats a lariat from Tracy as Vinny Marseglia is #24. Double flapjack from The Kingdom on Tracy and they dump him right after. Delirious is #25. Because why not, ROH is at MSG so of course he’s gonna be in this match. He just runs around the ring a bunch at first and then just goes wild as usual. Tomohiro Ishii is #26. GREAT pop for Ishii. Liger has Rocky in the surfboard, Ishii strikes TK and PJ. Ishii puts PJ on the apron and hits an elbow to eliminate him. Toru Yano is #27. Yano comes out but then runs up to the announce position and gives his spot to Colt Cabana, and Yano joins commentary!
Colt hits elbows on everybody. Yano says “strong strong strong!” Chants for Colt as Colt and Liger square off. Yano says Colt is his best friend. Kevin says Yano is a good friend and Yano says thank you. I LOVE IT. Hirooki Goto is #28. HASHI is eliminated, which Yano calls and says he’s so sad. Kevin says Yano should go down but Yano says its scary. Everyone bands together to dump Fale. TK tries to make nice with Suzuki. King Haku is #29! HOLY SHIT ITS KING HAKU!!! Yano says its too scary he’s going to stay on commentary. Great pop for Haku. Suzuki and Liger go at it. Goto is on Burger, Delirious gets dropped with a backdrop by Vinny, and Colt goes for Haku but Haku gets the Tongan Death Grip! Yano runs down and cuts it off, and is now in the match.
The final entrant is… THE GREAT MUTA!!!! WHAT!!!!!????!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!!!!!! He’s in FULL regalia and its INCREDIBLE!!!! I dont even know whats happening in the match right now! Who cares?! THE GREAT MUTA IS HERE!!!! HUGE RESPONSE for Muta. Muta on Delirious (who must be shitting himself) who he dumps. Yano hits Colt with the corner pad and Suzuki dumps both Colt and Yano. Muta dumps Gresham (who also must be shitting himself). Goto and Suzuki on the apron, Suzuki gets the advantage and kicks Goto off to eliminate him. Suzuki and Ishii face off. The Kingdom is on Muta in the corner as Suzuki and Ishii have a classic trade. Shots traded, Suzuki looks for Gotch but Ishii gets Suzuki on the apron. Suzuki gets the hanging armbar but Ishii clubs Suzuki and he’s out.
Burger fights off The Kingdom, loads up SHOTEI! In front of Liger but The Kingdom gets House of a Thousand Horses and then dumps Burger. Haku takes on The Kingdom next but eats a double dropkick, and The Kingdom dumps Haku. Ishii hits lariats on The Kingdom, The Kingdom fights back and is able to dump Ishii to a chorus of boos. Its The Kingdom, Liger and Muta left. Big Liger and Muta chants. The Kingdom looks for House on Liger but Liger is able to dump Vinny and Muta dumps TK, and its Muta and Liger left! “Holy shit” chants. “This is Awesome” chants. SHOTEI! connects in the corner but Muta hits a dragon screw and flashing elbow. Suddenly KENNY KING IS BACK IN THE RING AND DUMPS BOTH LIGER AND MUTA, AND HAS WON THE MATCH!
Kenny King wins the Honor Rumble, last eliminating Jushin Liger and The Great Fucking Muta, to win a shot at the ROH World Championship
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
The Great Fucking Muta showed up. What the fuck. This was a great way to get the crowd on board right from jump, with fun spots, a stacked lineup with great surprises, and THE GREAT MUTA. Love that Liger stood tall at the end as part of his retirement tour – well deserved and then some. Plus, I do like Kenny King taking the W here, and his tactics are totally in character and I know he can deliver in the ring when push comes to shove. Well done.
After the match, Liger spews red mist in King’s eyes! Liger stands tall at the end. “Thank You Liger” chants.
And with that, the officaal G1 Supercard officially begins. Kevin, Ian and Colt run down the card.
Title for Title
NEVER Openweight Championship / Ring of Honor World Television Championship
WILL OSPREAY (c) vs JEFF COBB (c)
This has a ridiculous amount of potential, and a brilliant choice to kick off the card with especially given the inherent stakes of two titles from different companies being on the line. Split crowd. Cobb has almost a full 100lbs on Will. We get a Code of Honor, they step back, we get the bell and Cobb hits early with the corner Euro and a HUGE POUNCE that puts Will outside! Chop by Will outside, Cobb reverses but Will hits Pip Pip Cheerio off the barricade. Will inside and looks for the Sasuke Special, Cobb doesnt go down and hoists Will but Will pops up into a tornado DDT on the floor! Will shakes the hand of a fan in the front row and puts Cobb back inside.
Cobb puts Will on the apron, Will looks for Pip Pip but Cobb catches, Will keeps on but Cobb sits him in the corner and hits a deadlift superplex after holding him up for a full 10 seconds. Cover by Cobb but only 2. Big throw by Cobb on Will out of the corner, showing the power. Shots by Cobb, big back elbow connects and Cobb covers for 2. Elbows by Will, tries a rana but Cobb catches him and pops him into a bearhug. Will lays in elbows to break but Cobb fires back. Handspring corkscrew enziguri by Will lands to perfection. Will hits the top rope 619 and Pip Pip Cheerio, cover by Will but only 2. Cobb blocks Stormbreaker, kicks by Will but Cobb catches one and hits a RIDICULOUS fallaway slam.
Flying corner Euro connects again, and Cobb hits the Samoan Drop, kip up and standing moonsault combo and covers for 2. Crowd is still split. Shots traded and Cobb hits a sharp one, looks for Tour but Will counters and hits a big lariat but Cobb absorbs it. Will hits the hook kick but Cobb lands a superkick, Cobb looks for a lariat but Will catches him coming with a standing Spanish Fly and both are down. “This is Awesome” chants. Will climbs the corner and hits a missile dropkick to the back of the head and shoulder, and looks for Hidden Blade. Cobb ducks and looks for Tour but Will counters it into a Code Red, covers but only gets 2! Great sequence.
Roundhouse kick by Will connects, Cobb blocks the Os-Cutter and just explodes Will with a lariat. Cobb now looks to climb the corner, looks for a frog splash but Will moves out of the way and follows with the Robinson Special. Will calls for Os-Cutter again but Cobb catches him, throws him into the corner, Will lands on his feet on the middle rope, and then springs back and hits the Os-Cutter!!! WHAT A GREAT SEQUENCE. Cover by Will, but Cobb kicks out at 2! “That Was 3” chants from the crowd. Hook kick connects on Cobb, then Will looks for Stormbreaker, Cobb escapes into the corner but Will counters into Cheeky Nandos. Will climbs and looks for an Avalanche Stormbreaker but Cobb hits a big headbutt, and comes off the top with a SUPER TOUR OF THE ISLANDS! The straps come down, Cobb pops Will up and hits another Tour of the Islands and covers for the 3 count and the WIN!
Jeff Cobb defeats Will Ospreay by pinfall after the Tour of the Islands to retain the ROH TV Title & WIN the NEVER Openweight Title
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a great opening match on the card between two all-star performers who I have zero doubt are future HOFers wherever they go. They pulled out a ton of stops here, were locked in together the whole way, both looked incredible and fully capable of walking away with the match, and the crowd was into the drama every step of the way. I also love Cobb taking the title here, as I think Will’s star is gonna keep rising in NJPW FAST if he wants it to and this plugs Cobb into the New Japan conversation in a very interesting way. Great work all around, definitely leaning in to this card after the Rumble and that opener.
DALTON CASTLE vs RUSH
Dalton is laying on his shtick thick in this opening, with 6 Boys, a chariot of sorts, giant peacock feathers, a pyro, confetti cannons, a human staircase and, of course, the wings. Rush is out next in full LIJ gear and finally has a proper entrance video!!! Love for both these guys. Rush kicks the handshake away and they yell at each other. One of the Boys left a fan in the ring, and Dalton takes his eye off Rush to tell the Boy to remove it which he does. The bell rings and Dalton turns around into Rush hitting a shotgun dropkick that sends Dalton into the corner and down on his ass, and Rush follows up with two Bull’s Horns! Cover, and thats the 3 count and the WIN as Rush goes Tranquilo!
Rush defeats Dalton Castle by pinfall with two Bull’s Horns
JAY’S RATING: NR
This wasnt a match as much as an angle, and on that level I’m totally down with it. The squash and post-match was the point, a way of bringing Dalton to rock bottom and forcing him to hit a major reset button in the form of this heel turn. And I’m really here for it to be honest, as I’m a huge Dalton fan but think that something needs a new coat of paint, and I feel he’s the kind of performer who can translate brilliantly to being a heel. Rush going over also keeps his momentum alive and electric, and even though he didnt need to do much he executed those 3 spots to utter perfection. Nicely done.
After the match, Dalton is stunned. The Boys fan him gently and help him up, and Dalton pulls away. The Boys try to help and make the throne. “Sit on him” chants. Dalton smiles and then loses the smile and proceeds to destroy The Boys. The crowd boos and Dalton looks dark as he hits the other Boy with Bangarang. Dalton is losing it as he leaves the ring in carnage.
Mandy Leon joins the commentary position. Hopefully she brings more to commentary than I’ve heard from her before…
We cut to the back when Ian gets word that Juice Robinson has been jumped backstage, and we see him laid out under chairs as someone runs to get help.
Women of Honor World Championship
KELLY KLEIN vs MAYU IWATANI (c)
Klein is out with Camp Klein. Is that Fred Yehi up front? Mayu is out with Sumie Sakai. Mandy Leon “has the goosies.” …ok. Aja Pereira is also in Camp Klein and helps Klein finish prepping, and Klein extends the hand. Mayu shakes it but theres something off about it, like she doesnt want to take it. Camp Klein is on the apron, and Klein tells them to go to the back instead of cornering her. Sumie is still at ringside. Now they redo the handshake and Mayu and Klein show full respect. The bell rings and they lock up, they trade arm work and work methodical at the start with some great agility from Mayu and we get a stand off. Good start.
Klein kicks out the leg after an exchange to ground Mayu, and Klein begins to work the legs, deathlocking them and then pulling up with almost a dragon sleeper style choke and just wrenches. Klein releases and continues on the leg. Samoan drop connects and Klein covers but only gets 2. Klein wrenches and hits at the knee, but Mayu looks to turn it into a choke and gets Klein with a body scissors on the ground while working the rear naked. Klein stands and has Mayu on her back and rams Mayu into the corner, Mayu fights back and looks for a middle rope crossbody but Klein catches her and hits a fallaway slam.
Mayu evades Klein and sends her into the turnbuckle and hits a nice kick, Klein heads outside and Mayu climbs and comes off the top with a GREAT crossbody onto Klein on the floor. Ref Todd Sinclair begins the count after Mayu rolls in but Klein is up, Mayu looks to intercept but Klein sends Mayu into the ringpost and gets back inside. Shots traded, crowd is behind Mayu but Klein hits a shot to the chest that drops Mayu. Mayu keeps coming with elbows but Klein puts Mayu down again with an elbow to the jaw. Rana attempt by Mayu is blocked, but Mayu is able to counter into an almost a reverse rana, but rolls with it well into a cover for 2. Basement superkick connects, Mayu covers but Klein is out at 2.
Mayu looks for the Dragon Suplex but Klein breaks it and drops Mayu ON HER HEAD with a German suplex, Mayu pops right up (FIGHTING SPIRIT!) but Klein drops her with a lariat but cant follow up and both are down. Both are up and Mayu hits kicks, a nice superkick and gets her bridging Dragon Suplex but Klein over rotates and her foot is in the ropes! Mayu lines Klein up but the moonsault misses as Klein moves and follows up with a big lariat. Cover by Klein but only 2. Jawbreaker by Mayu stuns Klein, Mayu climbs but Klein cuts her off and folds her with a powerbomb into a cover but only gets 2. Klein looks for K-Power and connects, then picks up Mayu again and hits a spinning K-Power, covers and thats the 3 count and the WIN.
Kelly Klein defeats Mayu Iwatani by pinfall after a spinning K-Power to win the WOH World Title for the 2nd Time
JAY’S RATING: 2.8 out of 5
This was a solid outing by Klein, even though I still feel like Iwatani carried most of the in-ring action between her selling and just her sharpness of execution. Klein isnt bad by any means in my opinion, I just think she gets shaky at times in the ring, like she’s doubting the move just as she throws it instead of just fully trusting and committing in the moment. It’s almost a stage fright feeling I get from her. And the thing is, I think if she can push through that one hurdle and just trust herself more in the ring, that she could be really fucking good and start upping her game on other levels as well. But this was one of her better outings in general, Mayu was a strong partner to work off of, and Klein taking the belt again makes sense even though two people who should have held it, Tenille Dashwood and Madison Rayne, are now gone. But given the post-match angle, that does put some intriguing new blood in the mix. So we shall see how things go in WOH from here…
After the match… ITS THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE! HOLY SHIT! Angelina Love and Velvet Sky make their way down to the ring and eye Klein, then pop up and hit their signature entrance into the ring. Klein asks whats up and things are feeling tense. Mandy Leon now comes down to the ring and stands next to Klein before hitting her from behind with her shoe heel, and Angelina puts her down with a Botox Injection. Jenny Rose runs down and eats one too, Stella Gray is out next but Velvet sprays her with the hairspray and Mandy hits a DDT. They brand Klein’s forehead with lipstick and mock Klein, pose for the crowd and do their shtick. As they exit, the tron flashes their new stable name: The Allure. I mean, Angelina can bring it in the ring, and I was a BP fan back in the day… but why Mandy though? SIGH. (I can dig the group name though.)
MUSICAL GUEST: MegaRan
This was fine enough, not my favorite song featured on a wrestling card, but it was fine. That is, of course, until Bully Ray appears again, as he interrupted MegaRan once before on ROH programming. We get a “We Want Tables” chant. MegaRan tries to appease Bully and saying he’s just gonna get out of the way… but then drops a D-Von joke. We get a “Fuck him up Bully” chant. Bully grabs the mic and says you have 20,000 people in MSG wanting me to kick your ass, says he’s gonna count to 3 but then just pushes MegaRan over. MegaRan pops up though and gets in Bully’s face. Bully pushes MegaRan again and whips him with the chain, and MegaRan bails.
Bully grabs the mic again and says its a shame what happened to Juice Robinson. So he says his Open Challenge for a NYC Street Fight is still open. Suddenly the light go out… and FLIP GORDON’S MUSIC HITS! Flip makes his way down to the ring to a great crowd response.
New York City Street Fight
BULLY RAY vs FLIP GORDON
Caprice Coleman has joined commentary. Flip is in great shape. Bully rushes him before the bell but Flip hits a superkick and a springboard spear to start things off. Flip stays on Bully, looks for a dive off the corner but Bully catches him in a cutter in mid-air, and then heads outside and goes under the ring to get a table and a kendo stick. Bully brings the table in and sets it up, but eats a superkick from Flip. Flip picks up the kendo stick and winds up but Silas Young and Shane Taylor hit the ring and beat down Flip. Silas and Taylor lay Flip on the table stretched out and Bully looks for the cane shot, but the lights go out again and Lifeblood’s music hits. Mark Haskins is out with Juice Robinson, and they have a dumpster full of plunder. Juice has a mic and calls for the match to become a 6-man war, and it looks like its official!
New York City Street Fight
BULLY RAY, SILAS YOUNG & SHANE TAYLOR
FLIP GORDON & LIFEBLOOD (Juice Robinson & Mark Haskins)
Taylor rushes the ramp but gets run over by the dumpster as Haskins hits Silas with something metal. Bully looks to bomb Flip through the table but Haskins turns the table over to save Flip from the full impact, Bully takes out Haskins and Juice goes face to face with Bully. They go at it, Bully looks for Flip Flop and Fly but Juice cuts it off with jabs and the Left Hand From God. Silas in and cracks Juice with chair shots, pushes the table out of the ring and hits the Plunge on Juice onto a chair, but hurts himself which allows Haskins to get the Shoulder Soldier Roll before eating a Taylor lariat. Flip springs but Taylor catches him, Flip gets behind and dumps Taylor with Haskins and Flip and Haskins take out Silas and Taylor with dual suicide dives.
Bully has the cane and cracks everyone with it, then sends Flip back inside. Taylor brings two more kendo sticks out from under the ring and Silas takes one, and all three heels surround Flip with canes. Flip asks for it and absorbs one to the back from Silas. Flip then dares Taylor who hits a HUGE one, but Flip just fires up more and asks for one from Bully. Flip’s back is cut open. Flip SLAPS Bully and Bully replies with a CRACK, and then Lifeblood enters and EVERYBODY HAS CANES! Silas gets taken out, then Taylor with the same sequence, and Bully is alone now…. AND BAILS. Bully starts heading up the ramp but Juice goes and gets him and throws him back in the ring where the faces are waiting with canes.
Bully begs but Silas and Taylor pull Haskins and Flip out and Bully gets a low blow and a superkick, but Flip comes off with a springing dropkick. Haskins back in too and they put Bully up top, and Flip hits Kinder Surprise with a trash can lid on Bully and a pele on Silas. Taylor in with a trash can and catches Flip mid-spring with a shot to the head. Taylor now brings the table back inside. Silas and Taylor set up the table and they look to set up the top rope powerbomb through the table, and Flip goes through hard. But Juice and Haskins trip Bully and crotch him on the post as Bully yells about his balls again (which I do always love).
Silas and Haskins trade, Silas sets a chair up and kicks Haskins leg sending him face first into the chair, and then follows with a GREAT Anarchist suplex into the set up chair! Silas sets up 2 chairs now and climbs the corner with Haskins, but Haskins fights out and sends Silas face first into the chairs and follows with a double stomp to the back while Silas is on the chairs. Taylor is in and pops Haskins up into Greetings from 216, then heads to the dumpster and gets a loading pallet which he props in the corner. Taylor hoists Haskins but Juice cuts it off with a trashcan, gets Taylor seated against the pallet and Juice hits a cannonball driving Taylor through it.
Bully looks to bomb Juice but Flip cuts it off with a cane, Haskins superkicks Bully and Juice slams him, Flip climbs and the 3 faces hit WHAZZUP on Bully (who again loudly yells about his poor balls. Brilliant). Spinebuster by Bully, 450 by Flip, they pile on and thats the 3 count and the WIN.
Flip Gordon & Lifeblood defeat Bully Ray, Silas Young and Shane Taylor by pinfall after a 450 Splash
JAY’S RATING: 2.8 out of 5
This was a good street fight and everyone brought good stuff… I just found it hard to care at this point as I feel like the Bully/Flip saga was concluded as far as any meaningful storyline was concerned. I get wanting to put the final button on it at MSG, and for that to be Bully’s return to MSG also makes a ton of sense… but this was just violence for the sake of violence without any story that needed to be told, so it just ended up feeling more empty to me than I would have liked. But the action kept the match bouyant, with everyone getting chances to show off nicely and Flip getting the win to (HOPEFULLY FINALLY) put an end to this saga. Everyone is ready to move on here.
Triple Threat Match
IWGP World Junior Heavyweight Championship
DRAGON LEE vs BANDIDO vs TAIJI ISHIMORI (c)
The bell rings and things start fast. Lee handstands out of a Bandido rana. Fosbury Flop by Bandido on Lee. Back in, Taiji gets a headscissors into a neck crank. Taiji puts Bandido on the apron, Lee in but Taiji cuts off Lee and Lee hits Bandido instead with a rana off the apron to the floor. Taiji follows with a Golden Triangle of sorts to wipe out Lee and Bandido. Great evade game by Taiji who hits a springing Bombs Away, cover but Lee breaks it up. Lee hits a Naito-esque seated corner kick, follows with the hesitation dropkick, a butterfly backbreaker and a basement dropkick, covers but Bandido breaks it up.
Shots traded by Bandido and Lee, Bandido hits the West Knee and a huge lariat, but Taiji breaks it at 2. Taiji wipes out Bandido with the handspring corkscrew enziguri but Lee plants him with a sitout Last Ride, cover by Lee but Taiji kicks out at 2. Lee puts Taiji in a tree of woe and climbs but Bandido hits him with a super rana, Taiji hits a tilt a whirl facebuster on Bandido and Lee hits Taiji with a running destroyer and everyone is DONE. Lee and Bandido trade, Taiji hits a big knee on Lee but Bandido pops him up into a HUGE cutter, covers but only gets 2. Bandido lines Taiji up and climbs but Lee drops him and its the tree of woe double stomp, then looks for a big move on Taiji but Taiji gets a rana for 2.
Taiji with a big tombstone lungblower on Lee, covers but only gets 2. Taiji calls for the end but Bandido cuts off Bloody Cross and sits Taiji up top, they trade shots but Lee interrupts and climbs but Taiji and he trade shots now. Bandido with a kick to Lee, everyone is climbing the same corner, Bandido has both Lee aand Taiji… AND BANDIDO GETS A DOUBLE AVALANCHE MOONSAULT SLAM!!! HOLY SHIT I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT BEFORE IN MY LIFE!!! Everyone is down. OBVIOUSLY. “This is Awesom” chants. Bandido hits Taiji with a cradle move (the camera cut away for some reason), covers but Lee breaks it at 2 and hoists Bandido up, Bandido escapes but Lee hits a reverse rana and a big knee to Taiji. Lee hits Desnucadora to Bandido, covers and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Dragon Lee defeats Bandido & Taiji Ishimori by pinfall after Desnucadora to WIN the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title for the First Time
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a fast and furious triple threat match, and a great way to inject energy into the event in a way that really matters, had stakes and could have big impact in a shorter time frame. And on all of those fronts and more, everyone delivered the goods. Dragon Lee winning the title is great, as Taiji has had a solid first reign and Lee is without question ready for a run with the title. But you cant talk about this match without mentioning Bandido, who continues to prove that he is a burgeoning SUPERSTAR with every outing he has. THAT DOUBLE MOONSAULT SLAM WAS INSANE. If I have one main gripe I felt like the finish was a little anti-climactic for my taste, but nonetheless this was great work all around.
Four Corner Survival Winner Take All
ROH World Tag Team Championship / IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs THE BRISCOES
GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (c) vs VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (c)
Jado, with kendo stick, is out with GoD because of course he is. An electric chair is rolled out for PCO’s entrance and we get “He’s Not Human” chants. This is taking too long though… PCO is now chained in the chair. Destro is behind him with jumper cables, shocks PCO but it doesnt work the first time. He shocks him again… AND PCO IS ALIVE!!! That was WAY TOO COMPLICATED for what it needed to be, but I dont care because its fucking PCO and HE’S NOT HUMAN! We get the bell and everything breaks down as Mark is elevated outside by PCO who wipes him out with a suicide cannonball. Everyone is on the outside brawling and its pure chaos.
The 4 teams separate themselves and the two champs enter the ring and start slugging away. VE is on GoD but The Briscoes trip up VE and take them out at ringside. LIJ in next to take on GoD, SANADA evades a shot from Jado but Tama gets him from behind before EVIL takes down Tama. SANADA gets the Paradise Lock on Loa, and unlocks him with the dropkick to the bum. Mark in and takes out LIJ, SANADA back up but Jay in and they take SANADA down with a double tackle. Brody in and he takes down both Briscoes with a running crossbody. Loa in with strikes to Brody but Brody hits a pump kick and a running rana to take Loa down, and follows with a cannonball to Loa across the middle rope. Loa bails and Brody wipes everyone out with a no touch tope that lands him on his feet!
Spicy dropkick by Mark connects and Mark wipes Brody out with a Whisper in the Wind from the top to the floor. Mark sends Tama back in but Tama hits a running back elbow and hits a strike series on Mark. Briscoes get a double team on Tama, cover by Jay but only 2. Mark hits the apron blockbuster on Loa on the floor as Jay looks for Rude Awakening, Tama out, Jay with a superkick but Tama with a great evade aand a dropkick. SANADA in who dumps Tama, and EVIL plays baseball with chairs around Tama’s head! LIJ on Tama back inside with a double team, LIJ calls for Magic Killer but the Briscoes cut it off as Jay hits a Jay Driller on SANADA and Mark lands Froggy Bow! Cover but Brody breaks it at 2. Brody and Jay dump outside, Mark flies but Brody catches him with a chokeslam on the apron, then lines Mark up and PCO HITS THE APRON CANNONBALL ON MARK!
Brody calls for the Ganzo Driver and lands it HARD on Mark, PCO climbs and lands the moonsault, VE covers but GoD breaks it up! Spear by Loa, Tama on PCO but PCO gets the machine gun chops. Loa cuts it off and GoD double teams PCO, hoist him up and POWERBOMBS HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE STRAIGHT ONTO THE SLIGHTLY PADDED FLOOR OF THE ARENA! HOLY SHITBALLS. AND THEN PCO SITS UP AND SCREAMS BECAUSE HE’S. NOT. HUMAN!!! “PCO” chants. Brody blocks Gun Stun and hits Tama with a German suplex and Loa with a lariat as PCO is down. Jado cuts off a cannonball with the cane shot and Tama hits Gun Stun, GoD follows up with the Super Powerbomb, cover by Loa and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Guerrillas of Destiny defeats Villain Enterprises, LIJ & The Briscoes by pinfall after the Super Powerbomb to retain the IWGP Tag Titles and WIN the ROH Tag Titles
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a fun and furious tag match that delivered for everyone. PCO is FUCKING INSANE. I could have used more from LIJ and The Briscoes… and god knows they could have taken some time from the Street Fight and put it here, which had WAY higher stakes… but GoD gets better and better and better and so I love them being double champs.
After the match, Toru Yano is on the stage… and has STOLEN THE IWGP TAG BELTS AGAIN! #SublimeMasterThief! A brawl is breaking out at ringside with The Briscoes as well… the cameras cut away but from what I understand Enzo and Cass jumped the rail and got into a brawl with The Briscoes at ringside. While the camera is cut away we can hear the crowd reacting to it, we have “fuck you Enzo” chants and at one point you can see Cass spit at The Briscoes. The commentary team is pretending nothing is happening, so its hard to tell if this is a work or not, and if it is, that actually makes this a VERY interesting way to play it. The team keeps covering as we see Cass flipping off the crowd and the fans booing.
Revolution Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship
HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs ZACK SABRE, JR.
TAKA is here with ZSJ. We get the intro from TAKA in English and ZSJ pie faces Tana before the bell. We get the bell and they go to the mat with ZSJ showing speed in his technical prowess. Lock up, ZSJ works quickly from hold to hold, and we get another stand off. Lock up and ZSJ snags the arm, Tana counters and is able to keep ZSJ grounded for a moment before he fires back with a Euro. ZSJ is cocky and Tana hits him with a Euro of his own. They trade, ZSJ lays in Euros but Tana reverses and hits a mid rope crossbody and plays some air guitar. Slam by Tana and he goes for the jumping elbow, but ZSJ counters into a cross armbar. Tana tries a rollup but ZSJ turns it into a Fujiwara as Tana makes the ropes.
ZSJ kicks at the arm, chants for both as ZSJ continues to work the arm with Tana grounded. Kicks by ZSJ wake up Tana, ZSJ just toys with Tana, Tana fires back, ZSJ dumps him but Tana tries to skin the cat, but he cant so ZSJ gets an armbar in the ropes to wear Tana down. ZSJ stays on him but Tana fires back and dropkicks the knee to change the momentum. Dropkick in the corner by Tana who follows with the middle rope somersault senton, cover but only 2. Tana looks for the Cloverleaf early but ZSJ gets to the ropes. Split chants from the crowd as ZSJ gets a Cobra Twist, but Tana reverses into one of his own. ZSJ counters into his own again and they jockey for the hold.
Pumphandle slam by Tana puts ZSJ down, but ZSJ gets a headscissors in the ropes until Tana snatches the leg and gets a draping dragon screw. Tana looks for the Cloverleaf again and is able to step over and has the angle high. ZSJ reverses into a triangle while working the wrist, Tana tries to break out and is able to transition the triangle back into the Cloverleaf but ZSJ crawls and grabs the ropes for the break. They trade, Tana hits the inverted Sling Blade and looks to climb. ZSJ rises and cuts Tana off with a kick and works the kimura in the corner, keeps working the arm over the top rope and hits the pele to the arm. Tana catches the PK attempt and tries a dragon screw but ZSJ counters into the European Clutch for 2, then follows with the PK and covers but still only gets 2.
TAKA urges ZSJ to hit the Zack Driver, Tana out of it and gets the O’Connor Roll and bridge for 2, ZSJ tries the arm but Tana gets an inverted dragon screw. ZSJ counters a dragon suplex into the wrist clutch bridge for 2 and pounces on Tana with an armlock, but Tana counters into a series of Twist and Shouts. Tana is fired up. Sling Blade connects, Tana covers but only gets 2. Tana tries the dragon suplex again but ZSJ gets a body scissors armbar and works Tana down to the mat, looks for the Fujiwara and wrenches back, then uses his leg to pin both arms behind Tana and grabs the leg, pulls back and Tana has no choice but to TAP and give ZSJ the WIN!
Zack Sabre, Jr defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi by submission with a grounded double Fujiwara with a leglock to retain the RevPro British Heavyweight Title
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was another fantastic outing for these two, with ZSJ once again submitting Tana. I love that Tana is putting ZSJ over and that NJPW still is looking to keep ZSJ in a strong position in the company, especially considering that Tana didnt lose the IWGP strap all that long ago. ZSJ is a master at what he does and Tana is just a legend, and that combo mixed well for another focused and aggressive match, and it keeps me hopeful for ZSJ’s future in this company. Well done all around.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
KOTA IBUSHI vs TESTUYA NAITO (c)
GOD I want this to blow the roof off. Great response for both. Naito looks incredible, and his expressiveness is sharp as hell, as he just drips charisma. Naito takes his time taking off his entrance gear, telling everyone to take it easy and be patient as he makes sure he controls the pace at the start. We get the bell and no one moves at first. “Holy shit” chants. They look to lock up but Naito sidesteps, keeping the pace slow and Ibushi on his heels. And again. They finally lock up, jockey into the ropes for a break but Naito comes right at Ibushi, Ibushi looks for a kick but Naito ducks, they evade each other and Naito goes Tranquilo in a standoff.
Naito with strikes on Ibushi, Ibushi up and over and hits a GREAT snap rana and Naito bails. Ibushi looks for Golden Triangle, Naito evades and sweeps Ibushi onto the apron, then hits the ropes and lands the basement dropkick that drops Ibushi to the floor. Naito whips Ibushi into the barricade except he hits a crew member, and Naito gets right in his face before driving Ibushi again and then sending him to the other side over the top and into the front row. Naito goes back in the ring and the ref starts the count. The fans help Ibushi back in but Naito is right on him, toying with him on the ground and laying in shots.
Combinacion de Cabron connects in the corner followed by a neckbreaker, cover by Naito but only 2. Cravate by Naito grounds Ibushi. Ibushi fights back and hits an incredible dropkick as the crowd is split. Flurry by Ibushi with a big chest kick and a standing moonsault, cover but only 2. Naito takes control and hits boots to the face and elevates Ibushi face first into the corner, then follows with the running single leg dropkick and a cover but only 2. Naito kicks away at Ibushi again and lays in shots and gets a neckbreaker across the knee in the ropes, then another mid-ring and a basement dropkick. Cover by Naito for 2.
Naito sits Ibushi on top but Ibushi counters and they tumble off the top, they try again but Ibushi slips down and hits a pele that puts Naito over the corner and onto the apron. Ibushi looks for the deadlift German off the apron, Naito counters and looks for that dangerous inverted piledriver, Ibushi fights out, they trade on the apron but Ibushi catches Naito coming at him in a big rana off the apron onto the floor! Gorgeous. “Mama Mia” chants which makes me smile. Springing double stomp by Ibushi connects, cover but only 2. Ibushi looks for the bomb but Naito gets the kappo kick and step up tornado DDT, covers Ibushi but only gets 2. Naito hoists Ibushi up top again and hits the Super Rana, follows with Gloria and covers but only gets 2.
Naito calls for the end and looks to dial up Destino, Ibushi fights out but Naito gets an enziguri, Ibushi evades Naito and hits a BIG lariat that takes Naito down and both are out. Ibushi up and lays kicks into Naito, sets Naito up and hits a SICKENING deadlift German suplex that drops Naito hard on his head, Ibushi covers but Naito kicks out at 2! “Both these guys” chant. Ibushi’s kneepad goes down and Ibushi gets a straightjacket German for 2, and looks to transition into Kamigoye but Naito reverses into a rollup, Ibushi counters the rollup and looks for the package driver but Naito reverses and doesnt quite get his own driver BUT JUST DROPS HIM ON HIS NECK INSTEAD. Cover but Ibushi is out at 2. They trade shots on their knees, Naito starts smiling with some crazy eyes, each fire off shots as they get to their feet, Naito spits at Ibushi and hits kicks that wake Ibushi up.
Ibushi gets that dark look in his eye, turns around and just PALM STRIKES THE FUCK out of Naito to a great pop. Flurry by Ibushi but Naito hits a reverse rana, IBUSHI IS STILL UP and Naito hits a HUGE running Destino! Cover by Naito, BUT IBUSHI IS OUT AT 2! The crowd is UNGLUED. Naito calls for another one, dials it up but Ibushi counters and hits a nice head kick and both go down. “This is Awesome” chant. Ibushi pulls a Nakamura taunt in the corner (!!!) and hits Boma Ye to the back of the head, sits Naito up and hits another Boma Ye! Cover, but Naito is out at 2! INCREDIBLE. Ibushi picks up Naito for the Last Ride, Naito fights it but Ibushi plants him down with it and covers for 2, then grabs the wrists and nails KAMIGOYE! Cover by Ibushi and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Kota Ibushi defeats Tetsuya Naito by pinfall after Kamigoye to WIN the IWGP Intercontinental Title
JAY’S RATING: 4.5 out of 5
This was an utterly exceptional match on all fronts, brilliantly paced from top to bottom and with both of these competitors pulling out some utterly incredible moments together. This also stuck the landing big time with regard to Ibushi’s ascension to the next level, as he is READY to be wearing this belt. I have a feeling he will end up being the next definitive IC champ for a bit, and I hope gets a couple reigns in before eventually moving on to the IWGP strap. Speaking of which, it definitely feels like this opens up Naito for re-insertion into that title picture, which I am VERY excited about. The crowd ate up every single bit of this and rightly so – this was New Japan in its best and purest form. Absolutely great work here, dont miss this one, and well deserved and delivered Kota Ibushi. You deserve it.
Triple Threat Ladder Match
Ring of Honor World Championship
MARTY SCURLL vs MATT TAVEN vs JAY LETHAL (c)
Nick Aldis joins commentary. The bell rings and Taven and Jay go right for each other and Marty bails to get a ladder. Jay kicks it into Marty and takes the fight to him outside, but Marty fires right back. Marty and Jay jockey for the laddeer but Taven comes flying over the top rope and crashes into the ladder to drop both of them. Taven puts a ladder inside but Jay cuts him off and hits the cartwheel dropkick on the floor and a pump kick to Marty. Jay now folds and drops a ladder outside before hitting Taven with a snap suplex on the floor. Jay goes under the ring and pulls out a couple of chairs, sets them up across from each other and bridges the ladder between them. Marty cuts Jay off and then hits a tornado DDT on the floor to Taven.
Marty walks to the other side of the ring and puts another laddeer in the ring. Marty sets one ladder in one corner and another in the opposite corner, then slaps Taven before driving him into both ladders repeatedly. Jay in however and he backdrops Marty onto a propped up ladder. Snap suplex by Jay on Marty, Jay drops a ladder on Marty and drops another one onto Taven outside. Jay sets a ladder across the corner bottom rope and goes to Marty and they trade shots, Jay looks to toe hold Marty into the ladder but Marty reverses and then ties Jay up in the corner in a tree of woe with this ladder, then picks up a chair and smashes the ladder and Jay’s head with it! Marty just lays them in as Jay is staggred.
Marty grabs another ladder and sets it up, is worried its not tall enough so he gets his umbrella to help but Taven hits a BIG superkick. Taven climbs but Jay cuts him off and drives Taven into the ladder. Big chops by Marty, gets Just Kidding and then places the ladder on Jay’s head until Taven cuts it off, pulls Marty out and hits Just The Tip…of The Knee on the ladder-wearing Jay. Taven sets up the ladder but Marty cuts him off and dumps Taven and hits the apron superkick, then skins the cat and starts to climb. Jay cuts him off and ties Marty in the ladder and gets a figure four in the ladder! Taven back in and climbs so Jay releases and dumps Taven.
Jay drops the ladder on Marty and looks for the figure four, Marty escapes and looks for the apron superkick but his leg is hurt so Jay gets a cutter on the apron instead. Taven back in and puts Jay on the apron, then slides through Jay’s legs, gets Jay up in a bomb and hits a running powerbomb onto the bridged ladder on the outside! Marty is in the ring and sets up a ladder and starts to climb, but the leg is slowing him down. Taven in but Marty cuts him off, leans the ladder in the corner and looks for a suplex, Taven counters, Marty gets a toe hold that puts Taven on the middle rope and Marty hits a 619! Marty calls for the Chickenwing, hypes up the crowd to call it, Taven cuts it off and plants Marty with a DDT. “Fuck you Taven” chants.
Marty crushes Taven’s hand in the ladder and goes for the fingers, but Taven hits the flipping neckbreaker onto a ladder. Taven sets up a ladder deep into the corner and climbs, Marty up and climbs as well and meets him, and Marty hits a SUPER-DUPER-PLEX OFF THE TOP OF THE LADDER!!! Jay back in but Marty has his umbrella and cracks it across the back of Jay, takes a big swing but Jay ducks and looks for Lethal Injection but Marty counters into Chickenwing until Jay backs him into the ladder in the corner to break it. Marty rolls out as Jay pulls himself up and tries to reposition a ladder to get the belt. Jay climbs, Taven back in and climbs behind him, they trade shots on the ladder, Jay spits in Taven’s face and drops him.
Jay reaches for the belt but Marty climbs behind him and locks the Chickenwing Crossface in DEEP on top of the ladder! Jay fights out of it but Marty drops Jay off the ladder, Taven climbs and reaches but Marty snaps the fingers on the top of the ladder, and snaps the other hand too! Jay takes out the knee of Marty to drop him off, Taven reaches but falls off the laddeer after he cant grab because of his fingers! “You deserve it” chants! HA. Jay hits the Lethal Combination into the ladder, Marty tries for Jay but gets pushed onto a cornered ladder, Jay grabs another ladder and looks to impale but Marty moves and the ladders intersect in the corner now, in the shape of an “X”. Taven looks for a suplex on the X but Marty hits aa gourdbuster instead!
Jay back in and hits Lethal Injection, but theres no ladder handy. Jay dumps the ladder AND ALMOST TAKES OUT A PERSON IN THE FRONT ROW! OH NO. The ref checks on the fan. “He’s OK” chants. “That’s a lawsuit” chants. HAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Jay pulls out a table but Marty cuts him off and hits a brainbuster on the floor, then sets up the table on the outside. Marty gets Jay on the apron and looks for a piledriver through the table but Jay fights back, they trade shots and Taven comes out of nowhere and spears both Marty and himself through the table! “You still suck” chants. Jay gets ANOTHER table and sets it up at ringside, then puts Taven on it and sets up a giant ladder. Jay climbs, “please dont die” chants, Jay calls it and HITS HAIL TO THE KING DRIVING TAVEN THROUGH THE TABLE! Great stuff, great spot.
Marty now crawls his way back into the ring and grabs one of the shorter ladders. Jay stirs, the crowd chants for Marty. Jay back inside, they both climb and battle at the top, and Taven sets up a BIG, PURPLE ladder in the ring next to Marty and Jay. Jay tries to cut Taven off, Marty tosses a ladder into Jay and drives it into Taven, then Marty takes a smaller ladder and bridges it on the purple ladder and the top rope to be a platform for himself. Jay does similar but Taven drops both of them, Jay is still sitting on his bridge as Taven climbs. Jay climbs too and they slug it out at the top and can put hands on the title, but Jay eats a shot and drops through the ladder below, allowing Taven to reach up and grab the title and the WIN!
Matt Taven defeats Jay Lethal & Marty Scurll to WIN the ROH World Title and become a Grand Slam Champion
JAY’S RATING: 4.25 out of 5
This was a great ladder title match, a war between three of the company’s best who all showed great hunger, great urgency, and great storytelling. I know a lot of people who are down on Taven being the ROH champ, but I dont know, I just really dig The Kingdom’s shtick. The Taven Conspiracy angle built well into the Purple Belt saga, with the undercurrent of Jay/Taven always present even when they were dealing with other feuds, and it worked for me. For me this is the natural progression of the story, and Taven makes a TON of sense amongst the current crop of ROH talent to be a true shit-eating heel champ in the best-worst way, pissing everyone off but also being damn good while he’s doing it. Scurll will be back in the picture soon – who knows, maybe he will take the strap next? It will be interesting to see how Jay responds to losing the title. But this earned its spot at the top of the card – an exciting, riveting and drama-filled title change in the most famous arena in the world.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs JAY WHITE (c)
Gedo is out with Jay. Chants for Red Shoes Uno. Okada chants. The bell rings. More Okada chants. Jay rolls out to control the pace. Lock up, and Okada does his break in the ropes. Jay kicks but Okada catches, they hit the ropes but Okada hits a tackle that drops Jay. Gedo looks to interfere and Jay uses the distraction to ground Okada. “Fuck you Gedo” chants. Jay keeps holding onto Okada’s hair in order to keep Okada grounded with a headlock. They trade shots and Okada floors Jay with a boot to the face, follows with a neckbreaker and a cover but only gets 1. Jay evades the basement dropkick by rolling outside, Okada follows but Jay intercepts and beats down Okada, Okada reverses and sends Jay into the barricade and boots him into the front row.
Okada looks for a draping DDT on the floor, Gedo distracts and so Jay is able to drive Okada into the ringpost and hit a head and arm suplex into the barricade. Red Shoes begins the count but Okada rolls in quickly and is met by Jay who decapitates him with a slingshot into the bottom rope. Cover but only 2. Chinklock by Jay grounds Okada, Okada fights up but Jay drops him with an elbow for another 2 and keeps on Okada. Belly to back by Jay connects for 2. Okada looks for the DDT but Jay counters nicely and plants Okada with a DDT of his own, and Jay is fully in control. Jay know with a deathlock, then bridges back and locks in a Muta Lock well, but Okada makes the ropes for the break but Jay wrenches up and breaks before the 5 count.
Okada with shots, chop by Okada, Jay blocks the flapjack but eats one on a second attempt and both are down. Chants for Okada who kips up and suddenly hits a series of shots on Jay, hitting a running back elbow and firing up with the crowd. Corner flying elbow by Okada is followed by a DDT, cover but Jay is out at 2. Slam by Okada who climbs and looks for the elbow but Jay is up and lays boots into the face of Okada who gets pissed and hits the dropkick off the top rope and sends Jay down to the floor. Chants for Okada who sends Jay into the barricade and boots him over into the front row. Okada looks for a draping DDT again but Gedo comes up again and gets tossed over too, Okada gets distance and gets a running start and flies over the barricade to wipe out both Jay and Gedo at once! Great pop for Okada.
Air Raid Neckbreaker attempt by Okada but Jay escapes and hits a GREAT snap Saito suplex to halt Okada’s momentum. Jay hits a running uppercut in the corner and a beautiful twisting brainbuster, cover but only 2. Uranage by Jay is blocked and Okada is able to get the Air Raid Neckbreaker and both are down again. Okada looks for the tombstone, Jay escapes and looks for the Saito, Okada escapes and looks for a shot and Jay just steps away to evade. Okada drills in elbows and looks for a tombstone again but Jay escapes again and heads to the corner. Jay tells the crowd how smart he is but then eats a John Woo from Okada, who climbs and lands a GIANT missile dropkick and covers Jay for 2.
Slam by Okada who climbs again and drills the elbow in deep, the crowd fires up and we get Rainmaker Pose! GREAT moment. Okada looks for Rainmaker, and Jay just drops to a seated position to block. Shots by Okada who is getting frustrated by Jay even has he is in the dominant position, driving Jay down with strikes. Okada picks up Jay who hits the flatliner out of nowhere and completes the combo with the deadlift release German suplex! Jay looks for the uranage again, Okada counters into the corner but Jay hits a suplex tossing Okada into the corner turnbuckles, then hits the spinning uranage and covers but only gets 2. Jay looks for the Kiwi Krusher, Okada escapes but Jay gets a Saito over the top rope onto the apron and Okada tumbles to the floor.
Jay quickly pulls Okada back inside and drives him down with the Kiwi Krusher! Cover, but only 2. Jay lifts Okada up for the sleeper suplex, Okada escapes and hits a hard Euro, they trade but Okada is able to catch Jay and drive him down with a tombstone! Both are down. Boot by Okada is returned with a chop by Jay. They trade, go forehead to forehead and lay them in. Crowd completely behind Okada who gets the advantage with Euros but misses the dropkick and Jay gets a big chop to a seated Okada. Jay lands a great series of chops to Okada, hits the ropes but Okada comes out and fires off the dropkick! Rainmaker is attempted but Gedo distracts, Okada drops Gedo and looks for Rainmaker again but Jay counters with a sleeper suplex and both are down again.
Jay calls for Blade Runner, Okada escapes, they evade each others moves and trade strikes, Okada gets a dropkick to the back of the head, Jay looks for Blade Runner but Okada hits a discus Rainmaker, the crowd pops, and Okada hits Rainmaker! Cover by Okada, BUT JAY WHITE KICKS OUT OF RAINMAKER! Oh wow. That crowd response. The air just escaped from the building in the most INTERESTING way. Chants for Okada, who rises with an INTENSE look in his eye. Tombstone attempt is blocked and JAY HITS BLADE RUNNER! The crowd is dismayed. Both get on their knees and trade shots slow, with both showing great intensity. They rise and keep trading. Jay tries for shots but has NOTHING behind those strikes, as Okada cracks off shots of his own until Gedo pops up on the apron to distract Red Shoes, AND JAY GETS THE LOW BLOW. “Fuck you Gedo” chants.
Jay lines up Blade Runner but Okada counters into a German suplex and holds onto Jay, floats over for Rainmaker but Jay looks for a backslide, counter in, Okada rolls through and Jay looks for Blade Runner, Okada counters into a backslide of his own, holds the wrist, Jay ducks the lariat but Okada lands the dropkick! Okada is fired up and so is the crowd! Jay fights off Rainmaker again, but Okada wont release the wrist and pulls Jay into a short-arm Rainmaker, the crowd explodes, Okada hits ANOTHER short-arm, then looks for Rainmaker, Jay counters again for Blade Runner but Okada reverses into a spinning tombstone and follows with RAINMAKEEEEEER! Cover by Okada, the 3 count and that’s the WIN!
Kazuchika Okada defeats Jay White by pinfall after Rainmaker to WIN the IWGP Heavyweight Title for the Fifth Time
JAY’S RATING: 4.6 out of 5
This was an absolutely FUCKING FANTASTIC main event to cap off G1 Supercard, a fitting ending that feels appropriate for what everyone wanted this card to represent for both companies. Jay and Okada told an INCREDIBLE story together, and while Jay’s first reign was short, he went moment for moment with Okada here and was in every way still his equal in that ring, so there is VERY little doubt that Jay will be seated on top again. He has plenty of time to do so. This finish allowed this Event to be capped off with a true moment, one that everyone will walk away remembering, and that’s great theatre. The nearfall after the first big Rainmaker was STUNNING to me in terms of audience response and investment. Literally everyone expected that to be the end, and the build up to that move was impeccable, so it really felt like a final gesture. GREAT swerve on that nearfall, that audience response was gorgeous. That’s why I do theatre in my other life – to create things that make audiences respond that viscerally, that fully. And Okada and Jay brought it out of them with a spectacular showing where Okada finally vanquishes Jay White, completing a story that began with White’s initial return to New Japan and joining CHAOS as the Switchblade, which everyone questioned Okada on at the time. And while Jay and Okada will likely meet again, this was the cap on that particular narrative arc and they stuck the landing big time. Word is that Okada will likely move on and hold for a bit as Naito rises as the next big challenger, which, hey, I’m not gonna complain about that one. Brilliant work by all, and I think on the list as one of my favorite New Japan matches from a holistic POV – ring-work, drama, storytelling, groundedness. It was all exceptional.
Overall I would call G1 Supercard and the “experiment” that it was in wrenching VKM’s longtime hold of that venue away from him a success. The card was entertaining as hell on the whole, with a ton of great moments and memories peppered throughout, some incredible title matches and big deal changes, and what I will call a triple main event that just blew the roof off of the place as all of the major titles shift. Taven sitting at the head of ROH feels well-timed, and I’m excited to see how this evolves their Kingdom gimmick (which its should, since he can finally legitimately claim the crown and kill the Conspiracy). Scurll will keep pursuing, so I’m most curious about where Jay goes from here directly. Ibushi/Naito was a barnburner, and the emotion in that win from both Ibushi and the crowd was staggering. And then that main event just carried the ball over the fence, with a great story arc reaching its pinnacle to a lava-hot crowd and putting Okada back on top of the New Japan mountain, which no one is complaining about. The ONE big gripe I have is, when I look at the two sides of the card, this ended up feeling distinctly like New Japan Pro Wrestling “featuring Ring of Honor”, rather than a partnered card. And the problem was that the New Japan matches were just on the whole both stronger, and better booked in terms of story and drama. I think about Castle/Rush differently as that had a particular purpose, but the Street Fight did little for the card, the WOH match was fine but not really more than fine, and most of the other matches had a New Japan component, which only leaves the ROH Title match as really peak ROH on this card. Which is a shame, because that feels like a missed opportunity to really share the head seat with New Japan. But as a New Japan card, this was explosive, and I feel like a further sign that the landscape of this industry as we know it is still very much in flux, the balance of power is shifting, and New Japan is knocking aat VKM’s door while he is also looking at a thriving indie scene and the mystique of AEW. What a time to be a fan.
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