ROH/NJPW Honor Rising 2019, Day 1

ROH/NJPW Honor Rising 2019, Day 1

From February 22, 2019

ROH/NJPW Honor Rising 2019, Day 1

"The Villain" Marty Scull vs Ren Narita - 6.5/10

Great match. Scurll was all veteran heel on the young Narita, who showed a lot of fire. Narita's comeback in this match was great, and it kinda gave me the feeling that Narita is developing an explosive wrestling style that if you give him some space, he pops out his dropkick and turns the match around. Scurll hit a HUGE forearm and locked in the Crossface chickenwing for the submission win.

Zack Sabre Jr. w/TAKA Michinoku vs Shota Umino - 7.5/10

TAKA cut his opening promo in English and was great, but as he got to the part where he called out Shota to get over here, the young lion ran and knocked TAKA out. This was a GREAT technical wrestling match, this was probably Shota's first big technical test and he passed with honors, granted Sabre sold for him a lot, but Umino was able to hold on with Sabre and make everything look good. Sabre worked over Umino's legs midway through the match, but as usual, Sabre got cocky and wanted to get into a striking battle, which Umino can actually hold his own and lead him to some near falls. Sabre submitted Shota with Napalm Death. Great match

Bullet Club ("Bone Soldier" Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles) vs Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger & Jonathan Gresham - 5.5/10

Gresham couldn't ask for a better debut, he had a run with Robbie Eagles where he had a chance to show off what he has, and then they tagged Liger and Ishimori, and in the first minute, Liger rolls up Ishimori and gets the upset win! If Liger can catch Ishimori like that at the Anniversary show, we'll have a new champion! Perfect booking.

Guerrillas of Destiny w/Jado & Hikuleo & The Briscoes vs Juice Robinson, David Finlay, Tomoaki Honma, & Toa Henare - 6/10

Juice and Finlay came out to the Lifeblood theme. I really wish both Briscoes would shave their heads, they look like bums.

Story of the match was that GoD and the Briscoes kept wanting to one-up each other, leading to some communication problems later on. Most of the match was the heels working over Honma, which scared me because they were just all over the place with poor old Honma. Eventually, Honma failed to turns things around with his hot tag, and Juice had to come in for a second one. Finish saw Juice dodge a Doomsday Device, and because of miscommunication between GoD and the Briscoes, Jado hit Mark Briscoe with a kendo stick, leaving him open for Juice to roll him up for the win. Good match as soon as Henare came in.

Post-match - Briscoes and Bullet Club brawled.

NEVER Openweight 6-man Tag Team Championship Match
Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, & Ryusuke Taguchi (C) vs Colt Cabana, Delirious, & Cheeseburger - 4.5/10

This is actually Cabana's debut for NJPW. Kevin Kelly just called Cheeseburger 'electrifying', completely killing all respect. This is why I still watch the Japanese commentary even If I can only understand about 1/10th of it.

Match had a lot of comedy, everyone except Makabe are comedy wrestlers. Having said that, there was good and bad comedy here, and with some of the stuff with Cheeseburger and Delirious being so bad, Taguchi actually came off as a serious wrestler. Cabana was the guy I ended up enjoying the most. Yano did the turnbuckle spot with the ROH corner pads and that made me laugh out loud when he was taking forever to undo them.

Half of the match was the champions working on Cheeseburger. We got Taguchi mixing it up with Cabana, and then we got Delirious and Yano fight that led to Yano, Taguchi, and Makabe hitting a combo on Delirious for the win. Not exactly a good match, but it was fun.

Post-match - Delirious low blowed Cabana because Cabana was keeping the Code of Honor with the champs.

NEVER Openweight Championship Match
"Ski King" Will Ospreay (C) vs Dalton Castle - 7/10

Yota Tsuji is the ugliest 'boy' that Dalton Castle has ever had, Uemura may be the prettiest one though. Chris Charlton brought up that the NEVER Openweight defense average is 1.4, with only 1 of the last 5 champions having a successful defense.

Ospreay gave a lot to Castle, but at the end, he still over-classed Castle. Match initially saw Castle try to do some of his shenanigans, but Ospreay was slightly more serious and ended up bringing the serious side of Castle out. There was a really scary spot when Ospreay went for the Os Cutter, but Castle caught him mid air and just kinda tossed him over head, Ospreay was heading down head first, but manage to twist and fall on his body. Finish saw Ospreay get out of the Bangarang, hit a Reverserana, the Hidden Blade, and the Storm Breaker for the win. That Hidden Blade is going to end up killing someone. Good defense for Ospreay.

During the match, commentary said that Ospreay has made a challenge to Jay White for the Anniversary Show main event. Given that the Jr. Heavyweight Champion already has a date with Liger, White may as well take on another champ in Ospreay.

ROH Television Championship Match
Jeff Cobb (C) vs Hirooki Goto - 7.5/10

This was supposed to happen in the US, so now it's interesting that Cobb will actually get the win in Japan over Goto. This was a good hoss fight, and having just watched Ospreay defend the NEVER title, it felt like these two titles have changed styles with each other. Goto worked over Cobb's neck and taped off shoulder, while Cobb's offense was his usual 'toss your opponent around' style. Goto got close to winning with the Ushigoroshi and the reverse GTR, but Cobb recovered and hit the Tour of the Islands to defend the title. Good stuff, felt a bit too long.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, & Jay Lethal vs The Kingdom - 6.5/10

Matt Taven is making his return for NJPW, he's traded Adam Cole and Mike Bennett for Small Cass and Rob Zombie. On the babyface side, Jay Lethal actually got he final entrance, respecting he is the only man with a championship. Okada has his leg taped up, I'm hoping it's not legit, especially since he sold it after a dud dropkick. The Kingdom were just completely overshadowed in this match, Okada or Tanahashi alone made The Kingdom look like local indie guys.

Not much to the match, they built up Lethal vs Taven by having them stay away from each other as much as possible. Meat of the match was The Kingdom working over Tanahashi, including a spot focused on Tanahashi's nipples. Yes, nipples. Tanahashi made a comeback and tagged in Okada, who had a good small run against Taven. Last minutes of the match were good, a lot of near falls and several cool looking team moves by The Kingdom that made the fans pop. Finish saw Lethal hit the Lethal Injection on Marseglia for the win.

Post-match - Kingdom went to attack Lethal, but Okada and Tanahashi made the save. Lethal cut a promo on O'Ryan who he fights tomorrow night.


It was a good show, I enjoyed the openers a lot, the middle of the show was fine, nothing special, but then the title matches got good again. If anything else, it's like watching ROH with good production values.

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