Honor Rumble for a ROH World Championship Shot - 6/10
First entrants were Kenny King (per request), but unfortunately for him, the second entrant was THE other king, THE KING Minoru Suzuki!
This was just an excuse to book as many NJPW guys without actually giving them matches, looking how irrelevant guys like Goto or Shingo ended up being, just made me think of WWE and how they care more about cheap entrance pops than anything else.
Highlights included Milonas vs Fale face off. Taguchi coaching about 10 people. Chase Owens getting a pop. Jyushin Liger's entrance. Yano giving Cabana his entrance, and then entering for the fucks of it. And yes, number 30 was fucking Great Muta! The man with the greatest attire.
Suzuki eliminated Cabana and Yano. Muta eliminated Gresham. Goto got elimianted by Suzuki, Goto didn't do shit. Suzuki and Ishii went at it until Ishii eliminated him to a big boo. I really really wanted Suzuki vs Muta. Kingdom eliminated Cheeseburger, King Haku, and Ishii. Meaning final four are Muta and Liger vs The Kingdom, who got eliminated quickly.
Fucking A! Great Muta vs Jyushin Thunder Liger! Suddenly, it turned out Kenny King had been hiding all this time and came back and eliminated both to win the Rumble. I'm glad he won the title shot, but it felt like they stole Muta vs Liger from the fans.
Post-match - Muta hit King with the Green Mist. Liger thanked the fans to 'Thank You Liger' chants.
Opening Video - Awesome, made MSG seem like a big deal, big enough that even Naito would care about being here. As soon as the camera focused on the fans, they were all chanting "New Japan" just in case we needed to confirm who the fans think this show belongs to.
Title vs Title Match
NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay vs ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb - 8/10
Hell of an opener. What has become a specialty for Ospreay, this was a Speed vs Power match up.
Rush vs Dalton Castle w/The Boys - SQUASH!
Castle got a big match entrance with a ton of boys. Rush doesn't need to show off, his presence controls the room. Rush destroyed Castle in under 30 seconds with a shotgun dropkick and the Bull's Horns! This is a statement!
Post-match - Castle was mentally broken. The Boys tried to lighten up his mood, but Castle turned on them and beat them up!
We go to the back and Juice Robinson has been attacked in the locker room, making Bully Ray's challenger a surprise now.
Women Of Honor Championship Match
Mayu Iwatani (C) w/Sumie Sakai vs Kelly Klein w/Camp Klein - 4/10
Code of Honor upheld, but Iwatani's hand shake was weak. Klein sent
Camp Klein to the back before the match, and now she got a proper Code of Honor.
Match was ok. Mayu was great, her execution and selling was great. Kelly Klein wasn't. Klein worked Mayu's bad knee for about 1/4th of the match, but Mayu made her comeback really quickly and then they just went back and forward with strikes and big moves. There were some nice near falls towards the end of the match. Kelly Klein then unceremoniously hit K-Power and reclaimed the title. Fans didn't give a single shit for Klein, who was really exposed tonight, she's just not that good, especially with better women leaving ROH one-by-one.
Post-match - Klein was crying in the middle in the ring, when suddenly, The Beautiful People walked down to the ring. 2008 me is super excited, 2019 me thinks that at least I know that Angelina Love is better than Klein. The other geek Mandy Rose walked up to the ring to back up Klein, but turned on her and joined the Beautiful People. I'm sorry, but Mandy Rose ain't beautiful people. When they walked up to the ramp, their logo came up on the tron, they're known as The Allure. Cabana asked who put the graphic on. Other geeks came out and also got their asses kicked.
Mega Ran Performance - Waste of time, fans hated this. For some reason they rang the bell for this, I thought someone was going to come out and kick hiss ass and pin him. Ahh, Bully Ray did come out, first time in a long time I've been happy to see Bully Ray come out. Fans chanted for tables, and I mean, who wouldn't want to support putting a musician through a table. This is not how you get heat for Ray. This just made Bully Ray seem like a total babyface instead and that guy like a total geek.
Anyway, Bully Ray made his challenge and out came Flip Gordon, making me feel that his second injury was a work. He looked really good, he put on some weight and was ripped.
Street Fight Open Challenge
Flip Gordon vs Bully Ray -
Flip started strong, total babyface, but once again, Ray brings out a table and a kendo stick and fans start chanting for him because fans love tables and the heel gives them what they want. Silas Young and Shane Taylor came out to join Ray on the attack. They held Flip for the attack, but out came Juice Robinson and Mark Haskins with a bunch of weapons. He challenge them to make it a 3-on-3 street fight! And so we now have...
6-Man Street Fight
Lifeblood (Juice Robinson & Mark Haskins) & Flip Gordon vs Bully Ray, Shane Taylor, & Silas Young - 5/10
At least this was better than having yet another Ray vs Gordon match, but it was still more of a segment. It all build to a spot with Gordon getting caned by all three heels and then turning into a 3-on-3 kendo stick fight that Ray would run away from.
The match would continue and Ray would put Gordon through a table with a top rope powerbomb. Silas and Haskins did some chair spots, ending with a double foot stomp from Haskins onto Young's face onto chairs. Juice hit a huge cannonball into Shane Taylor that was leaning against a wood pallet. Lifeblood hit the Wazzap Up dive on Ray before he took a 450 by Flip for the win.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship 3-Way Match
"Bone Soldier" Taiji Ishimori (C) vs Bandido vs Dragon Lee - 9/10
Bandido's mariachi attire tonight was on point, I saw his second match in PWG last year and now he's here at Madison Square Garden, I can't remember who else has had such a quick ascension to stardom. Dragon Lee honored Takahashi bringing his mask along.
This was a fantastic 3-way match with so much fast paced action that it be impossible for me to recap even if I tried. At one point Bandido hit The Revolution Fly on both Ishimori and Lee. Finish saw Bandido take out Ishimori with a jumping knee, but Dragon Lee would capitalize hitting a Tiger Driver '91 on Bandido to win the championship.
Post-match - Bandido put the title around Dragon Lee's waist. Now it's just a matter of time for Takahashi to return and reclaim his championship against his greatest foe.
Title vs Title 4-Way Match
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs IWGP Tag Team Champions Guerrillas of Destiny w/Jado vs The Briscoes vs ROH Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises w/Destro - 8/10
SANADA and PCO were super over, so much that PCO got his own singles special Frankeinstein's monster entrance. I really miss the Briscoe's old songs, but I LOVE GoD's new song and video. Tiger Hattori was the referee and I was seriously scared for him.
The match was chaotic and all over the place. We got to see some new and old pairings. Most big spots belonged to PCO taking bumps. Most teams got to shine at one point or another, Villain Enterprises and the Briscoes having good near falls before going to the finish that saw Jado hit Brody King with the kendo stick and GoD hit the super powerbomb to capture and retain the championships. Crazy match!
Post-match - Yano revealed that he stole the IWGP Tag Team Championship belts
Side note: Enzo Amore and Big Cass jumped the guardrail and got into a shoot brawl with the Briscoes and Bully Ray. Commentary had to stall forever until they got kicked out. I don't think this was a work. I just hope this wasn't a big delay. If this was indeed a work, it sucks that the man that attacked Bret Hart at the HOF just stole all the attention.
British Undisputed Heavyweight Championship Match
Zack Sabre Jr. w/TAKA Michinoku (C) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi - 9/10
This was pretty much the continuation from their New Japan Cup with Sabre going for the arm and actually learning from his previous mistakes, while Tanahashi went for Sabre's legs as he usually does. Sabre submitted Tanahashi in the middle of the ring, which I found surprising, I really thought they would give Tanahashi his big MSG win and have Sabre regain the title at the Royal Quest show.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
Tetsuya Naito (C) vs 'Golden Star" Kota Ibushi - 9.5/10
As usual, they dropped each other on their heads over and over again, but I do think this was one of their safest match, I didn't really cringe like I usually do. Even spots like the deadlift German looked I guess kinda better than usual. Naito got a HUGE near fall after the running Destino, the crowd went crazy for the kick out. Likewise, Ibushi hit two Bomayes for a big near fall himself. Finish saw Ibushi hit Kamigoye and capture the win. Awesome match, one of the better ones between these two. I take it Naito's plans to be a double champion will be delayed.
There was a spot towards the end that I don't know if Naito was out, but he couldn't properly lift Ibushi up and ended up botching some roll ups. It was so awkward that even Naito laughed.
Something I do think is that when Ospreay lost earlier today, I got worried about how they would go about his heavyweight status. I think Ibushi winning here and Ospreay having a win over him gives him a window to challenge Ibushi now for his title. That should take them to Dominion, and from there on, Ospreay can run the G1 Climax and properly graduate.
ROH World Championship 3-Way Ladder Match
Jay Lethal (C) vs "The King" Matt Taven vs "The Villain" Marty Scurll - 9/10
Nick Aldis joined commentary for this match. Scurll brought out a shitty looking attire. Taven got a piano entrance, he looked awesome with a cape and crown.
I liked this match, I thought it went too long, but I don't get enough good multi-man ladder matches anymore. There were some cool spots and everyone had a nice role to play in the match. Taven was hated, everyone wanted Marty, and Lethal was the defending champion that was doing everything to retain. In addition, we had the heated rivalry between Lethal and Taven going on. There were a lot of big spots, at one point Taven hit a huge spear on Scurll to the outside, crashing into a table. Jay Lethal hit a Hail to the King from the top of a huge ladder into Taven, who was on a table.
Finish saw Taven and Lethal fight at the top of the ladder. Taven threw Lethal down and grabbed the title and became a Grand Slam Champion. Crowd hated the win. O'Ryan and Marseglia came out to celebrate with him.
I felt ROH was in a tight space in this match. One one side, Lethal has had the title for too long and hasn't made it better, everyone is tired of him and he feels like an old era of ROH that we're all trying to move away from. I take it ROH knows or doesn't expect for Scurll to re-sign with them once his contract is over and thus they didn't go with him. And finally, Taven, who is disliked by everyone except Delirious.
Aside from Kenny King, who won't win, I don't know who is going to chase Taven. I think Cobb being undefeated and the TV champ is a good opportunity to build to a title vs title match again as when they did Lethal vs Briscoe. I think Juice Robinson could be a good chaser given that the Kingdom can feud with Lifeblood. Maybe finally push Flip Gordon into the main event spot. What i'm trying to say, anyone by Lethal please.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
"Switchblade" Jay White (C) w/Gedo vs Kazuchika Okada - 8/10
Story of the match was a combination of their Wrestling Kindom match, but in addition, Jay White kept avoiding Okada as much as possible, to the point that he would just drop to the floor when Okada would go for the Rainmaker or other moves, and while it killed momentum, he would then just pull a move from out of nowhere. I think this approach was good for the start, but when he did it at the 20 minute mark, it really hurt the match.
Towards the end of the match when both men started chasing their finishers, they finally hit second gear and the match got really good. We saw a lot of reversals, about 5 rainmakers. At one point, Okada hit the Rainmaker and White kicked out. Later on, White hit Bladerunner, but was too weak to roll over and pin Okada. Finish finally saw Okada hit about the Tombstone and about 3 Rainmakers to recapture the championship. Not their best and I hate to say it, but the crowd took me out of the match, it's just not as good as a main event in Japan. Yeah, if this had been in the Tokyo Dome, it would had been a higher grade.
Awesome show top to bottom, there were some low points like the women's match, but I think that overall, this show was one of the best of the year so far. I don't exactly agree with the sentiment, but I'm sure a lot of people will say that NJPW parts were good and the ROH ones weren't, and there is something to that, but I don't think it's as extreme as that.
I have to say that on a personal note, the Enzo and Cass situation (and the Bret Hart too I guess), really took me out of the show. It was hard to concentrate and get back in the mood after that thing. I may rewatch everything from Sabre vs Tanahashi and on to see if I get a better feel next time.