Night two of Honor Rising saw the Golden☆Lovers main event again, as the Cody/Kenny story took another step forward at Korakuen Hall – with a dream match getting teased right at the end!
We’ve still got the ROH-ish set-up, with their ring canvas, turnbuckles and the metal sheets on the guard railings.
Beer City Bruiser vs. Toa Henare
After a surprisingly good outing against Hirooki Goto last night – in that very few saw it coming – he’s down to the opener against Toa Henare’s new music. The Bruiser demanded that Henare fight him, because he doesn’t wanna wrestle…
Eventually Henare fired up into a chop battle, before he misses a shoulder tackle as the Bruiser just sidesteps him. Henare fires back when his head’s rammed into the turnbuckles, as I guess he’s sorta-Samoan, and here comes the fightback with headbutts before the Bruiser fights out of a Samoan drop attempt… and despite Henare trying some more, it’s a freaking frog splash that gets the Bruiser the win. This was fine, but not a patch on his match yesterday… seemed like TV fodder more than anything, even though you know that ROH will likely do nought with this. **
Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & HIKULEO) vs. Jay Lethal, Juice Robinson & David Finlay
The silence from Jay Lethal’s music being muted was broken by a jump start from the Bullet Club – with Chase Owens holding his own in the early moments… until he took an assisted slingshot shoulder block from Juice.
After Owens took a fair bit of offence, it’s a trip from Yujiro that turns it around as the Bullet Club trio storm the ring, placing some focus on Finlay. The crowd chant “Chase” as he did Robinson’s Dusty punches… something which hardly amused Juice, who managed to help Finlay eventually with some double-teaming as a flapjack takes down HIKULEO. Jay Lethal gets the tag in, and he lights up the crowd with a pair of topes to Owens and Yujiro, before HIKULEO looked to offer some resistance with a big clothesline. Juice tries again, but he takes a uranage flatliner as the ring fills, leading to Finlay taking a back suplex/neckbreaker combo.
An errant superkick from Chase left Yujiro out as we get a mini Parade of Moves, leading to the finish as a Finlay stunner, Juice’s Pulp Friction and a top rope elbow from Lethal put HIKULEO down for the count. Solid enough as a trios match… Jay Lethal is somehow shockingly under-rated for how good he is. He’s next in line for whomever the ROH champion is, so you get the feeling his presence here was more for a potential angle later rather than any spotlight moments on the tour. ***
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Flip Gordon & Ryusuke Taguchi
Buzzed that once he’s flown back around the world to the States, he’ll be wrestling in his native Montana, Flip’s back to pick up where he left off yesterday. Someone counted he flipped 17 times on night one, which is par for the course.
He’s quickly in with the see-saw kip-ups to confuse Hiromu, but it’s not long before the Ingobernables take it outside, with Flip getting taken into the bleachers as he and Taguchi get thrown into the metal signs inside Korakuen. There’s more guard rail abuse too, before the crowd started to get behind Gordon as the LIJ wore down his knee some more.
BUSHI chokes Gordon with his t-shirt, but the ref breaks it up as we get Taguchi in with hip attacks. A dual reverse/regular DDT takes down LIJ, before BUSHI gets some Three Amigos as he’s then forced to roll out of an ankle lock. Taguchi’s having a good night in terms of being really fluid with his stuff, but his Dodon’s wriggled out of as Gordon gets the tag back in. FLIP! A tope con giro takes Hiromu out on the floor. FLIP! A 450 sees him land on his feet… FLIP! A somersault springboard slingblade almost gets the pin on Takahashi! Taguchi’s back and whiffs badly on a hip attack as Gordon’s left in one-on-two, and after a pair of superkicks, he’s left prone as he takes a Time Bomb into the turnbuckles.
A second Time Bomb’s countered into a roll-up for a near-fall, but then BUSHI returns to help trigger a German suplex with a sunset flip for a near-fall, before a freaking DOOMSDAY MX – or the Insurgentes as it’s already been labelled – murderised Gordon for the pin.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) February 24, 2018
Perhaps not his better showing, but a fine outing that’s almost surely booked his slot in the Super Juniors later this year… and with BUSHI & Hiromu getting junior tag title shots soon, this was perhaps an expected result in the grander scheme. ***½
NEVER Six-Man Championships: Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Cheeseburger & Delirious vs. Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) & Bad Luck Fale) (c)
The hell? Cheeseburger keeps the ring announcer safe as he read out Fale’s name – complete with wavering voice. Now that’s funny!
We instantly spill outside as Fale went after Cheeseburger… only for Delirious to cause a distraction. It works, for like a second, but Fale treated the burger like an annoyance, throwing him down before missing an elbow. Shoteis follow as Fale’s caught in the corner, but it’s again brief as the champions retained control.
Tama Tonga suplexes Cheeseburger in from the apron for the hell of it, as Liger’s left in the wrong part of town, cornered and pretty helpless. It doesn’t help Liger’s case that his partners are frequently knocked off the apron, but an errant strike from Tanga Loa eventually helped Liger get the tag out… as Delirious comes in with some strikes. Wacky rope running ensues, as I’m disappointed we’ve not seen him do this with Tama Tonga… and here comes the man himself!
A roll-up almost gets Delirious the win, before Cheeseburger sent Tama flying with headscissors and a satellite DDT! Of course it’s not enough for the win, and Fale’s brought back in to put the nail in the coffin, as Cheeseburger’s triple-teamed. Liger makes a save with Shoteis as Cheeseburger tries to snatch wins with more roll-ups, but Tama puts a stop to that before the Guerrilla Warfare double-team DDT left the Burger down for the count. A gutsy showing from a team that nobody gave a chance of winning – despite the history of these titles! **¾
After the match, Tama Tonga lifts up Cheeseburger… and yeah, it’s a ruse as Tama nails a Gun Stun to add insult.
Ah, I see the Rev Pro Cockpit music guy is on work experience here. The New Japan sting and the Young Bucks themes were accidentally played as someone smashed a keyboard in frustration!
Bullet Club (Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) & Hangman Page) vs. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI & Chuckie T
The Young Bucks noticeably distance themselves from their fellow ROH trios’ champion Page here – as Jay White continued to troll the Bullet Club by his mere presence.
Nick and Chuckie start us off with some flips… Nick landing the more impressive as his springboard armdrag sent Chuckie T flying. Matt follows in with a pop-up dropkick… which just prompts Chuckie to tag out to Switchblade, as Hangman Page tags in too to give us a taster of a title match that I can’t imagine many people wanting to see.
White just about edges it out as he sent Page’s head flying with a dropkick, which led to Page getting cornered for a while. Hangman just about fights back, landing a nice dropsault onto YOSHI-HASHI and White as the Bucks turned it on, triple-teaming White with relative ease. Matt comes unstuck when he tries a brainbuster, as White simply switched it into a DDT as the ring became a bit of a revolving door.
YOSHI-HASHI’s on fire with a running Blockbuster and some dropkicks in the ropes, but Page’s slingshot lariat puts an end to that. Again the ring fills as the Bucks target Chuckie and YOSHI-HASHI with superkicks… but White’s able to turn it back around, nailing Page with a Saito suplex, then a back suplex into the corner as he almost took home the win. My feed gave out a little as Page swung things back around, before they teased a triple-team finish on White… Chuckie and YOSHI-HASHI stop that, but the momentum continues to shift as the Bucks turned it on again, wiping out Chuckie and YOSHI with planchas.
Page tries to capitalise with another slingshot lariat, but White counters into a Downward Spiral before an attempt at the Blade Runner’s met with superkicks, as Hangman nails the Rites of Passage belly-to-back piledriver for the shock fall. Or let’s be realistic, there’s no way they’re changing the title to him, so this is his moment… for now. A pretty fun match that seemed to indicate that the Bucks are on the same page as Page… or are they? ***¼
Post-match, Page forcibly gets a chair from the crowd as he lays out Chuckie and YOSHI-HASHI with chair shots. The Bucks disarm him, and there’s your dissension. They leave, but Page gets another chair, and dumps White with a second Rites of Passage onto it.
ROH World Championship: Beretta vs. Dalton Castle (c) vs. Beer City Bruiser
With the winner getting Jay Lethal at ROH’s 16th Anniversary PPV in just under a fortnight, this is probably a lame duck title match… but let’s see if ROH are really gonna swap their headline match!
Dalton has his jumpsuit and some, erm, boys with him here. That’s what happens when you finish bottom of the Young Lions Cup – you become a boy! Beer City Bruiser comes out during Dalton’s disrobing, and he’s adding himself to the match because… reasons. Castle accepts, and gee, I wonder who’s eating the pin here?!
Castle charges right for the Bruiser on the outside as he and Beretta double-team the big guy on the floor as Jay Lethal bemoans the change. Somehow, the Bruiser rebounds off the guard rail with a pair of clotheslines, and in the melee, Beretta grabs a chair to lay out the other two. Well, it is no-DQ now, I guess…
Beretta whips Castle over the guard rails as he decides to target the Bruiser some more… but Castle’s back in to give a German suplex to Beretta, before the big guy returns to just squash them in the corners. The Bruiser continues to go for Beretta’s arm, both in and outside the ring, before he threatened to go up top once more…
Thankfully, Castle stops the Bruiser from diving to the floor, as we’re back outside again as the match ground to a snails’ pace. Back inside, Dalton tries for a German suplex, but it’s blocked as Beretta returned to catch Dalton with a swinging DDT off the Bruiser… before he’s bulled to the ground again. Again, the big guy goes up top, but Beretta crotches him before a double-team superplex takes him flying to the mat.
Despite that, the Bruiser’s back up to dump Beretta with a death valley driver on the apron, before he does the Cactus Jack clothesline to take himself and Dalton out on the other side. Beretta tries to fire back again with a Shining Wizard to the back of the Bruiser’s head, before he gets him up for a snap piledriver?! It’s only enough for a near-fall, but you get the sense that Beretta’s running on fumes, thanks to the injuries he came into the match with.
A running knee to the Bruiser in the corner completely whiffs as Castle sent himself flying to the outside, which somehow led to the Bruiser getting a frog splash for a near-fall as Beretta somehow kicked out. Castle rushes back in to boot the Bruiser out and go for a Bangarang on Beretta, but it’s countered into a roll-up before we finally get an impressive as hell deadlift German suplex onto the Bruiser… and mercifully it’s over.
I get why the Beer City Bruiser was added, but this match just didn’t work for me. Beretta’s injury ordinarily would have led to a change in the card, but the workaround we got looked to have done more damage to Beretta’s arm and chest injury… and led to a match that was an understandable disappointment. **¾
Bullet Club (Cody & Marty Scurll) vs. Golden☆Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi)
So the story is that Marty’s wearing white and dyed his hair grey because the ructions within Bullet Club are stressing him out. At least he’s not trying to be a Seven tribute! Meanwhile, Cody has new gear that declares him “LEADER”. Well, if enough people believe him, it might be true. That guy from yesterday still thinks he’s Stardust…
Yet again, Korakuen came unglued for the Golden☆Lovers, and yet again Omega got announced as the “Best Bout Machine”. He finally graduated from having the broom!
Cody’s throwing hissy fits – and chairs into the ring – before the bell goes, as Marty tried to tell Omega that by picking Ibushi, he was picking sides. We started with Ibushi and Scurll’s slow-paced affair, with Marty trying to get under Ibushi’s skin in the early stages… and this time Kenny Omega is wise to the Bullet Club’s tactics of stopping him from tagging in. Cody runs a mile when Kenny does get that tag, since every good bad guy in wrestling has to be a coward.
Although Cody’s gone into the crowd, Kenny hasn’t forgotten, as he leaves a sunset flip from Scurll to springboard into a sitting Cody in the front row. Cody picks his spots, throwing Omega into the railings before tagging in so he can have a go on a weakened Omega… but as soon as Kenny gets the upper hand, Cody’s a-begging off! We’re back to the Golden☆Lovers against Cody, with Omega’s Kotaro Crusher knocking Cody to outside… but their attempt at the Cross Slash (duelling Golden Triangle moonsaults) is thwarted.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubItal) February 24, 2018
Cody’s attempt at going airborne kinda flops as he slips off the apron, but he recovers back in the ring as he wears down on Ibushi with some Garvin-ish stomps, before holding Kota up in a stalling front suplex. Out of nowhere, Cody suckers Omega off the apron with a Disaster kick, but it doesn’t bother Ibushi much as he takes down Cody with a Goldust-like scoop slam instead. Kenny tags in as he shows Cody how to hit a frog splash crossbody, following up with a snap ‘rana as Scurll tags in too… avoiding a Dragon suplex only to get taken out with an Ibushi dropkick. Too much to call as the Golden☆Lovers chain a Finlay roll with a standing shooting star press, and a pair of springboard moonsaults, but it’s not enough for the win, so they try to clock Marty with a Kamigoye/V-Trigger duo… but Cody pulls out Ibushi as we’re still denied.
Marty snaps some fingers, which is hardly going to win Kenny over, before Cody teased a Cross Rhodes to Kota off the apron to the exposed floor… but a V-trigger saves that. Scurll uses an umbrella to stop a One Winged Angel, as we’re into the big guns with a Cross Rhodes from Scurll getting a near-fall, before a springboarded doomsday dropkick took Kenny down again.
Duelling chicken wings and trailer hitches follow as Ibushi and Omega were left fighting submission attempts, but somehow Omega powers up and breaks up the trailer hitch when he splats Scurll onto Cody! Just like that, Kenny’s back with a V-trigger to Cody, but that just sparks a Parade of Moves as a Just Kidding superkick and an overhead kick left everyone but Ibushi laying, only for a Scurll clothesline to but the Golden Star down.
Ibushi lands on his feet as Cody and Marty tried another doomsday dropkick, before Cody ate that assisted German suplex. Now it’s time for the Cross Slash, a move you can really only see properly from the hard cam, before Omega lands Aoi Shoudou to Scurll… but Cody rushes in with Cross Rhodes as another Parade broke out, ending with a superkick-assisted Tomorrow Driver from Cody for a near-fall!
Cody wants to target Ibushi some more, and after planting a kiss on Ibushi, Kota fires back with slips before dumping the lovelorn Cody with a powerbomb. Marty gets something similar – the Golden Trigger – and that Kamigoye/V-trigger combo is enough to get some form of retribution. Well, they’re slowly building this story up, which is just as well as the Golden☆Lovers have been the main thing that folks have cared about going into this… so at least that delivered. A fine, yet unspectacular main event, all told. ****¼
During the post-match speech, Omega called himself and Ibushi the best tag team in the world… this prompted the Young Bucks to come out and argue that point. They’re not too pleased with that, and after the Bucks declared themselves a heavyweight tag team, I guess the next chapter in the Bullet Club implosion is the Young Bucks vs. Golden☆Lovers. Yes please!
This was still a good show, but – main event aside – night two of the Honor Rising double-header felt a little flat for me. The ROH title match understandably needed a change due to the injury to Beretta, but what we got fell short of expectations, while the rest of the show topped out at “good”. One for the completionists, but otherwise a card that lived up to the little buzz it got going in. Let’s not delve too deeply into Cody’s problematic lines after his matches, be it the “rat” comment yesterday or the “once you go Cody” reference tonight…