Reviews

NJPW/ROH Honor Rising Day 1 Review

Air Date: 19/2/16

This is the first in two shows co-promoted by RoH and NJPW in Japan, as part of their working agreement. Think of it like Global Wars but in Japan instead of the US, or like the annual Fantastica Mania tour.

Ryusuke Taguchi and Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger and Matt Sydal

Dalton looked surprisingly awkward in places here, especially during the early bits of comedy with Liger which should have been his biggest strength. Some fun spots in this high paced match, with Sydal working his ass off and looking like a man among boys, pun maybe intended. Matt Sydal pins Dalton Castle with a Shooting Star Press ***

Gedo vs. Delirious

It’s the battle of the bookers, which seemingly happens at every NJPW/RoH joint show these days. After some Delirious shenanigans we get a pretty good back and forth match. For two guys that don’t really work regular singles matches anymore this was a pretty solid affair, although it felt very much like an exhibition at times. Delirious pins Gedo ***

KUSHIDA vs. Frankie Kazarian

Frankie Kazarian has had a very interesting career. As a part of TNA I always thought he was incredibly underrated and deserving of a major push, some of his work in his last few years there was the best stuff in the whole company. But ever since leaving he has stagnated and almost regressed to the point that I don’t even want to see him wrestle. Luckily he was against one of the best wrestlers in the world in KUSHIDA here, with the story being that KUSHIDA was completely out wrestling Kazarian which pissed him off. Unfortunately, pissed off Kaz is about as boring as normal Kaz. KUSHIDA submits Kazarian with the Hover Board Lock ** ¾

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, Moose, and Tomoaki Honma vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Cody Hall, Tama Tonga, and Yujiro Takahashi)

Amazingly Moose, and more specifically the Moose chant, was the most over guy in this match. The early portions of this match were built around Bullet Club going after Tanahashi in an attempt to take him out, before descending into a somewhat chaotic multiman match. Moose and Elgin were impressive as usual, as was Tama Tonga who continues to be one of the more underrated wrestlers on the roster. Moose pins Cody Hall with a spear ** ¾

The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)) vs. Katsuyori Shibata and ReDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly)

Shibata teaming with ReDRagon is the stuff dreams are made of. This was a really great spotfest trios match, with short bursts of really great grappling from Shibata and Kyle. The Elite work great in these kind of sprints and this was no exception, although I would have preferred a cleaner finish but that’s a minor complaint. Kenny Omega pins Kyle O’Reilly with the One Winged Angel *** ½

Bullet Club (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) vs. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe)

I have really enjoyed The Briscoes in NJPW as they, Mark more than Jay, just seem to try and kill themselves by taking some of the craziest bumps imaginable. They seem really energised being a part of this company. These two teams started out trying to straight up murder each other, but the pace very quickly slowed down to a crawl. Gallows and Anderson are known to be out the door any day now, and at times I felt like they were just phoning it in here. Jay Briscoe pins Karl Anderson after a Froggy Bow from Mark ** ¾

Tetsuya Naito and Jay Lethal (w/EVIL, BUSHI, and Truth Martini) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI and Kazuchika Okada w/Gedo)

This was a sneaky good tag match, Lethal can be a little hit or miss but he worked really well with Naito and his interactions with Okada were great. Tacos worked hard as per usual and as you’d expect everything Naito and Okada did together was downright phenomenal. Lethal pins YOSHI-HASHI with the Lethal Injection *** ½

After the match Jay Lethal seemingly joins Los Ingobernables de Japon officially. Again, he worked surprisingly well with Naito so I am all for this even if he’s just an extra body for tag matches.

Roderick Strong (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (RoH World Television Championship)

Roddy vs. The World has been one of my favourite gimmicks in wrestling just for the sheer wackiness of some of the matches we’ve gotten, and on paper this looks like it could be a great match. And oh boy did it deliver. Strong came into this match really playing up his asshole jock character and Ishii was having none of it and these two men preceded to beat the tar out of each other. Roddy sold exhaustion really well throughout this, and the fear in his eyes when it became clear to him that Ishii was tougher than him and that he had made a horrible mistake going after him was really something to behold. It seems like an odd choice to have Ishii win the title here, since Roddy’s run has only really started to get going and Bobby Fish was the more obvious choice to dethrone him, but if it leads to some Ishii matches in the US I am all for it. Ishii pins Roddy with a vertical suplex to win the title **** ¼

Overall: 6.0

If you value consistency in your wrestling this was the show for you as everything was at least good. That said, other than the main event nothing really felt must see and even that can be skipped if you’re pressed for time although I would advise against it.

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