NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard Highlights w/ The Chairman
While JCWonka is actually in New York living it up and seeing this event in person along with everything else going on for Wrestlemania weekend (make sure you check out his blog for his first hand experiences) I had the pleasure of watching this event from my couch. So here are my takes on what happened at NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard from Madison Square Garden.
Kenny is the King of the Honor Rumble
The preshow featured the thirty man Honor Rumble with the winner getting a future ROH World Championship match. Superstars from both ROH and NJPW entered and rightfully so to earn themselves a title shot. Even legends such as Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Haku, and Great Muta showed up for this event. The final two were the Japanese legends Liger and Muta, but in the end though it was Ring of Honor’s Kenny King that wasn’t eliminated and took out the legends to become victorious and now finds himself with a title shot in the future.
Cobb and Ospreay Meet in a Winner Takes All Match
ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb took on NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay in a winner takes all match. This match kicked off the main show and definitely was a great choice. There are is quite the fan base for both wrestlers and they didn’t disappoint. Ospreay managed to take down Cobb with a Oscutter from the turnbuckle, but was unable to secure the pin quick enough on Cobb. In the end though, Cobb used the Tour of the Islands not once, but twice to secure the win. I predicted Ospreay, but you definitely couldn’t go wrong with Cobb here either. Cobb’s worked in NJPW before and it’s well known Taichi is looking for the NEVER Openweight Championship so expect a match between those two in the future.
Rush Rushes to Victory
Rush and Dalton Castle met in a match that ended instantly. Rush drilled Castle with a shotgun dropkick into the corner and that was basically it. I expected Rush to win here being that he’s fairly new to ROH and they’re pushing him up the ranks. However with the match ending this quickly makes you wonder what the long term plans are for Dalton Castle? Out of frustration he did attack the Boys so it looks like Castle might be turning to the dark side.
ROH Women’s Division Suddenly Has Allure
The match between Mayu Iwatani and Kelly Klein by means was nothing special. We talked in the HTC Wrestling podcast about the state of the ROH Women’s division and it’s lack of star power. Klein ended up defeating Iwatani with two K-Power’s to win the ROH Women’s Championship, but it was what happened after the match that created buzz. Velvet Sky and Angelina Love showed up interrupting Klein’s moment. Mandy Leon stands next to Klein to hold off Love and Sky, but Leon cracks Klein in the back of the head and ambush Klein. A few other ROH women try to make the save, but their attempts were unsuccessful. After a few selfies and writing what looked like an anarchy symbol in lipstick on the forehead of Klein, the trio made their way to the stage. This is where a graphic was showing saying Allure. I’m assuming this is what this trio will be going by for the foreseeable future. I guess it’s fine and dandy ROH has created a heel women faction, but I don’t see any babyfaces in that division to stand up to them to make people care.
New York Street Fight Turns Into a Brawl
Bully Ray was booked to face Juice Robinson, but Juice was attacked backstage. The doctors appeared to rule Juice out so Bully Ray was met with a new opponent, Flip Gordon. Flip was rumored to not be cleared for this match, but he showed up to meet Bully. It wasn’t long though until Bully received help from Silas Young and Shane Taylor. To even the odds though, the team of Juice Robinson and Mark Haskins known as Lifeblood arrived with a bunch of weapons and proposed a six man match. One of the highlights of this match was Flip take a cane shot from all three opponents and they left some nasty marks on his back. The good guys prevailed in this one with Flip, Haskins, and Juice all scoring the pin. I guess my prediction of Tommy Dreamer showing up to face Bully didn’t happen.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Changes Hands
Taiji Ishimori brought his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship into a triple threat match against Dragon Lee and Bandido. Unfortunately for Ishimori, he didn’t factor into the final decision and lost his title. I was surprised Ishimori didn’t retain as that was my prediction here. The match was fast paced, but the match seemed short. Dragon Lee managed to defeat Bandido and it was said Dragon Lee wanted to win the title and defend it against the returning Hiromu Takahashi.
Four Teams, Two Pairs of Tag Titles, One Winner
The fatal four way featuring Guerrilas of Destiny, EVIL and Sanada, Briscoes, and PCO and Brody King definitely was one of the highlights of the night. I don’t watch much ROH so I basically seen PCO and Brody King for the first time as a tag team and I was impressed, especially by PCO. From his crazy Frankenstein like entrance to all the moves he was doing for a man of his size. This match was a straight up brawl between these four teams and alot of signature moves that you see from these teams were featured at various times in the match. One of the spots in this match were GOD powerbombed PCO from the ring over the top rope and straight to the floor was absolutely insane. With Gedo’s assistance, Guerrilas of Destiny managed to leave the Garden with both the IWGP and ROH Tag Team Championships with a Super Powerbomb to Brody King. Well GOD at least left the match as champs by name. Toru Yano managed to steal the IWGP Tag Team belts so one can assume Yano will find a partner and challenge Tonga Loa and Tama Tonga for the titles. I correctly predicted Guerrilas of Destiny winning because I figured ROH desperately needs to generate buzz in their tag team division and GOD would be the team to do it. The way not to create buzz for your tag team division is to have Enzo and Big Cass show up and jump the barricade. It wasn’t mentioned on the show, but if ROH signed these guys they are clearly desperate.
The Ace Attempts to Become the British Heavyweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr puts his British Heavyweight Championship on the line against the Ace of New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi wanted to join Tomohiro Ishii and Minoru Suzuki as the only Japanese winners of the British Heavyweight Championship. As expected, Sabre went to his submission arsenal that he’s well known for. Tanahashi tried his best to conquer Sabre, but the submissions were too much. I don’t even know what to call what Sabre did in the end that wrapped up Tanahashi to make him tap out. I figured Sabre Jr would retain here, but the question now is what’s next for Hiroshi Tanahashi?
Naito and Ibushi Clash in the Garden
One of the most anticipated matches on this card was Tetsuya Naito defending the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Kota Ibushi. It’s always a great time seeing these two rivals collide in the ring. Naito wants to retain so he continue towards his quest of being the first superstar to win both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship at the same time. Ibushi wants to retain so he can follow in the boots of his idols former title holders Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura. This match delivered as expected and there were a couple of moments that made you drop your jaw. One that comes to mind was Ibushi delivering a hurricarana to Naito off the apron to the floor. Naito was able to hit his signature move DESTINO to Ibushi, but Ibushi kicked out. The two rivals continued on, but it was Ibushi’s Kame Goye that sealed the victory and won him the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. I thought for sure Naito would’ve retained and continued on towards his destiny of being a dual champion, but that wasn’t the case. Pretty awesome though seeing Ibushi winning one of the biggest titles in NJPW.
A New Champion Climbs the Ladder to the ROH World Championship
The ROH World Championship was on the line in a triple threat ladder match. Jay Lethal put his title on the line against Marty Scurll and Matt Taven. Definitely ironic that this match takes place inside Madison Square Garden twenty five years ago from one of the most iconic ladder matches of all between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. All three of these wrestlers used everything around ringside. At one point Marty Scurll grabbed his signature umbrella to try and secure the title, however his attempt was stopped. This match went on for quite some time and Taven even introduced a purple ladder at one point. Scurll was pretty much eliminated from the match when it came down to the finish. It was between Lethal and Taven for the title, but Taven used the hanging title to knock Lethal off the ladder and secure the ROH World Championship. I figured Taven was going to win this here and he did. With the rumors of Scurll leaving ROH soon and Lethal the defending champion, all signs pointed towards Taven winning.
Switchblade and the Rainmaker Renew Their Rivalry
The main event featured Jay White defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kazuchika Okada. As most NJPW fans know, they always show a video package featuring all the past champions. I loved it when all the fans booed Brock Lesnar when he appeared and all the fans cheered when some of the recent former champions appeared such as Okada, AJ Styles, and Kenny Omega. White and Gedo definitely were getting booed in this one as the crowd as behind Okada. Gedo definitely made it a point to constantly get involved and try to assist Switchblade as often as possible. Both men used their finishers over the course of the match, but of course it always takes more than one to get the job in a match like this. I predicted Switchblade Jay White to retain figuring that Okada would win it back in Japan, but Okada delivered enough Rainmaker’s to finally down Switchblade and win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the fifth time. It’ll be interesting to see who steps up to challenge Okada first. Jay White? Hiroshi Tanahashi? Tetsuya Naito? Minoru Suzuki? Sanada?
Overall it was an alright show. The New Japan matches definitely were more fun to watch than the Ring of Honor ones. I’ll definitely be interested to see where we go next far as New Japan goes. With that being said, thanks for reading and stay tuned to HTC Wrestling for the latest.