NJPW/ROH Honor Rising Day 2 Review

Air Date: 20/2/16

This is day 2 of Ring of Honor’s short tour of Japan in association with NJPW. The first show was fun but unspectacular, and this show looks like it’ll be very similar but let’s see.

David Finlay vs. Jay White

I always enjoy some young boy action. Finlay worked heel in this, going after Jay’s arm with some aggression. These two guys had a very good back and forth match that got much more time than you might expect. It’s clear that White is better than Finlay right now, who looked a little bit clumsy at times, just from the fire he showed in the finishing stretch of this. Hell of a match to start the show. Jay White submits David Finlay with a Boston Crab *** ½

Delirious and Gedo vs. Jushin Thunder Liger and Matt Sydal

After their match last night, the two bookers team up to face the surprisingly solid team of Sydal and Liger. Delirious was again doing his comedy schtick which I wasn’t at all a fan of, but Sydal and Gedo had a lot of really great interactions which saved the match. Sydal pins Gedo with a Shooting Star Press ** ¾

Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) vs. Frankie Kazarian

Castle, like Moose yesterday, has become surprisingly over with the Japanese audience. That said, this was a mediocre match that felt like it could’ve fit on an episode of ROH TV. I have no idea why these guys were put against each other when there are several more interesting matches for both of these guys. Castle pins Kazarian with the Bang-a-Rang ***

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows) vs. Meiyu Tag (Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata) and ReDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly)

Really great eight man tag match here, I said in the review for day 1 that Anderson and Gallows had basically checked out since they were on their way out but they absolutely proved me wrong and worked their asses off here. Gallows especially, who I often consider lazy, was great in the sections he worked. The main story coming out of this match was teased tension between Shibata and Goto, but it’s Goto and honestly I can’t even pretend to care about him. Shibata pins Gallows after a PK *** ¾

This is Anderson and Gallows last match in the company, so they hugged the rest of the Bullet Club and bowed to the crowd after the match. Anderson was especially upset for obvious reasons. What a great match to go out on, and a great moment for both of these men.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito and BUSHI w/EVIL) vs. KUSHIDA and Moose

Apart from a lot of LIJ shenanigans, this was a pretty fun tag match. BUSHI and KUSHIDA worked well together and god bless Moose because he completely held his own against some of the best wrestlers in the world. He is super over and I really hope he gets brought back at some point. Moose pins BUSHI with a spear *** ¼

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, and Roderick Strong vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSH-HASHI w/Gedo)

This was your fairly standard undercard multiman tag. The only really interesting bit were the interactions between Ishii and Strong, with Roderick obviously still pissed off that he lost his title. There was also some teased tension between Elgin and Okada which could be a very good singles match down the line. Elgin pins YOSHI-HASHI with an Elgin Bomb ***

The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe) and Toru Yano (c) vs. The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson))(w/Cody Hall)(NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship)

There were basically two different matches here, the first being filled with Toru Yano schtick which I either love or hate depending on my mood (I hated it this time) and then there were The Briscoes working at a million miles a minute and being generally amazing. Luckily there was far more Briscoe greatness in this than schtick and the match came across like an awesome sprint. Kenny Omega pins Toru Yano *** ¾

Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini) (c) vs. Tomoaki Honma (RoH World Championship)

Jay Lethal in Japan has been an interesting experience. It may just be his character, or the fact that the crowds aren’t really taking to him very well, but his matches feels kind of soulless. That’s really an achievement against someone like Honma who is one of the biggest babyfaces and most charismatic guys in the company, but in this match Lethal seemed to just be having a bit of a wrestle and not really engaging the crowd or drawing any real heat. Any emotion the crowd had in this match came from Honma, Lethal could have been literally anyone and we’d get the same kind of match. I’ve seen a lot of Lethal’s travelling champion title matches and they never really drew me in and I didn’t understand until now. Jay spent a lot of his career parodying other wrestlers and because of that he never really developed a personality of his own, which has led to these soulless title matches. Jay Lethal pins Honma to retain after interference from LIJ and a Lethal Injection ***

After the match LIJ attack Honma and Naito officially makes Lethal a member of Los Ingobernables de Japon. I thought that happened on day 1 but I guess this is to solidify that.

Overall: 5.5

This show felt very much like day 1 but without any match of the calibre of Strong/Ishii. Again, nothing bad but considering how special these shows could have been this was a real let down.


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