ROH’s world titles were on the line for the second half of Honor Rising in Tokyo, as the tour wrapped up.
We had a change to the advertised card, with the Young Lions Ren Narita, Yota Tsuji and Shota Umino dropping off the card so we could get the pay-off to Delirious low-blowing Colt Cabana on last night’s show. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton are on commentary again…
Jonathan Gresham & Toa Henare vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku)
Curiously, Gresham’s music and video leads out his team, and there’s on particular combo of this match that is going to be extra tasty!
TAKA’s pre-match spiel’s quickly stopped by a shoulder tackle from Henare, who gives the Suzuki-gun pair a taste of their own medicine with a jump start. It was enough to get Milano Collection AT to lean over the railings and bash the ROH signs on the guard rails… so it’s a thing! Tags bring in Sabre and Gresham, and of course they go the ground as they looked to find an edge. Sabre manages to work an arm wringer on Gresham, who slips out into a wristlock of his own… but Zack effortlessly escapes as Gresham took him down with a headlock.
Cue headscissors and attempted escapes, before Sabre flipped out of a bow and arrow hold to pick up a two-count over Sabre. Zack keeps up with a wristlock and an arm wringer, but Gresham cartwheels away and rubs Zack’s head for… good luck? Gresham keeps trying the wristlock, despite Sabre’s escapes and snapmares, before a kick to the shin saw Gresham switch tactics, stunning Sabre for long enough for him to land a dropkick. Sabre cuts that off with a backbreaker after Gresham hit the ropes, before TAKA comes in and pokes Gresham in the eyes. Headscissors from TAKA help him work into a crossface attempt, which Henare comes in to break up as Sabre returns and somehow found his way into Gresham snapping the arm.
Gresham tries for a bodyslam, but he’s not able to complete the move, while Sabre stumbled as he went to charge at Gresham in the corner. Both men are weakened, but somehow Gresham’s able to deadlift Sabre into a tornado suplex out of the corner, as Henare finally gets the tag in to try and pick apart a wounded Sabre. Henare’s all about the strikes here, taking Zack into a Samoan drop for a near-fall, only for Zack to hit back with a guillotine choke… which Henare tried to escape, only to get his arm clocked with an overhead kick.
Henare’s able to come right back, but runs into a tornado DDT as we’re back to Gresham and Sabre… the former hitting a Quebrada to Sabre and a tope to TAKA on the outside, before a Henare headbutt left Gresham free for a shooting star press for a near-fall! Once Henare dispatched Sabre, Gresham’s right back on TAKA with an Octopus stretch, and there’s the submission! Gresham’s gone 2-0 this weekend, and I think we’ll be seeing him back here sooner rather than later! ***½
Commentary was noting that two years ago today, Henare tore his Achilles, so this win was a rather bittersweet moment for him.
Robbie Eagles vs. Marty Scurll
Former Bullet Club colleagues collide here, and we start with back-and-forth forearms as Eagles broke ahead with an early ‘rana before Marty just clocks him with a back elbow.
Scurll tries to pull Eagles into a Romero special, but instead just opts to claw away at his nose and mouth in the stretch, before throwing the Aussie to the outside ahead of an attempted superkick… but Eagles pushes him back inside before a springboard missile dropkick found the knee to flip Scurll for a near-fall. Eagles keeps up on Scurll, continuing to focus on Marty’s left leg as he teased a Figure Four, but again Marty kicks it away before a step-up knee turned into a step-up kick to the back of the head. A grounded headlock keeps Marty down for a while longer, but Scurll hits back quickly with an uppercut after he’d dropped Eagles onto the apron… sending the Aussie outside for the apron superkick.
Back inside, a backslide and superkick gets Marty ahead as a powerbomb almost ended things right there. Eagles counters a Just Kidding superkick into the Turbo Backpack driver for a tow-count, before he sent himself up top for an aborted 450 splash, as the pair then worked into an indyriffic pinning combo to wind up the referee. A bunch of two-counts get cheers from the crowd, before the Just Kidding superkick hits its mark… only for a series of kicks to stop Marty in his tracks! A lariat from Scurll turns it right back around though, before a side package driver led to a near-fall. Eagles is on the proverbial jelly legs from that, but manages to catch Scurll up top with a gamengiri before he looked for a super ‘rana off the top, connecting for yet another two-count! Scurll absorbs some more kicks from Eagles, before he grabbed a hand… only for Eagles to push away a finger snap.
From there, a discus forearm from Scurll stops Eagles, who then instantly tapped to the chicken wing. Really good stuff here on the undercard, and you’ve got to think this’ll be a match that may repeat down the line… ***½
Cheeseburger & Delirious vs. Colt Cabana & Toru Yano
Yes, that is Cheeseburger in a Delirious mask.
This spawned from the antics after the NEVER trios match last night, where Delirious was annoyed at Colt Cabana shaking hands with Toru Yano, oblivious to Yano having low blowed Delirious in the finish. Expect. Comedy. Yano’s again weirded out by Delirious at the bell, but the antics led to Delirious going under the ring for a chair… but of course, Yano brought his own. Their partners need to save them from a way-too-early DQ, as Delirious seemed to think he’d signed up for a death match, and they’re in next as Cabana and Delirious worked a more orthodox style, with Colt throwing in his WOS stylings here as he rolled out of wristlocks.
Colt just walks away as Cheeseburger crashed and burned with a crossbody out of the corner. Poor burger. Yano comes in and orders the referee to start a standing ten count, but he pops up at nine and staggers into the ropes as Yano resumed offence… with Cheesburger aping him.
Delirious comes back in to throw Yano into the turnbuckles, but Yano swaps it around and rams Delirious’ head into the buckles. Like that’ll work. Yano goes to remove a turnbuckle pad, but he takes so long… so Colt gives him one of the regular New Japan pads, only for Delirious to commandeer it and use it on Yano… then hold it like a teddy bear. Cheeseburger’s back with a sunset flip, with Colt throwing in a second pad for Yano to whack Burger with to break it up. Colt tags in with a simple splash for a near-fall, before Cheeseburger returned with a satellite DDT to get back in it. A Shotei’s next as Colt is sent sailing… but he’s able to kick out in time as Delirious makes the tag back in, having tied up the old turnbuckle pad in the corner over the regular ROH-style buckles.
Cue Yano and Cabana shtick as they hand themselves in the ropes… the herd then thins down as Delirious’s rope running antics confuse Cabana, before he tripped Delirious… and got grossed out by his feet. Delirious tries to win with a low blow and a roll-up as Colt was wiping his hands, but in the end Colt just drops Delirious on the top turnbuckle and catches him with the Superman body press for the win. Really enjoyable comedy shtick, which just about erased my disappointment at the Young Lions not being involved. ***
Jeff Cobb & Dalton Castle vs. Will Ospreay & Hirooki Goto
We’re remixing two of the singles matches from yesterday, as we’re teased with a lot of men throwing men at men.
Goto and Cobb start us off, as we quickly see them trade shoulder tackles and missed elbow drops. Ospreay and Castle tag in for their refreshed pairing, as a monkey flip sends Castle outside for a faked-out dive, before Cobb and Castle pass Ospreay around in a gutwrench suplex game of pass-the-parcel. Poor Will. Ospreay’s able to come back with an over-the-top-rope 619 as Goto and Cobb fight on the outside… and yes, we’re on the floor as Castle gets thrown shoulder-first into the crowd barriers. Oof. Things settle down as Goto drops Castle with an elbow for a near-fall, before Ospreay came back with some uppercuts to knock Castle down for a near-fall.
Castle hits back with an Angle Slam-ish Saito suplex to Goto, before he tagged in Cobb to throw some forearms… before he effortlessly threw Ospreay into the corner with an overhead belly-to-belly. A Samoan drop dumps Goto… but Cobb followed that up with a standing moonsault for a near-fall, before a leaping kick from Goto stemmed the tide. Ospreay comes in, and steps up off of Goto to knock Castle off the apron, as Will chose to throw some kicks in the direction of the ROH TV champion. Cobb eventually catches one and turns it into a powerbomb attempt, only for Will to slip out and come in with an enziguiri for a near-fall, with Castle coming in to break it up… and get tossed back outside again.
A hook kick from Ospreay catches Cobb before he teased a Storm Breaker. No way. Cobb back body drops free, with Will flipping onto his feet ahead of an enziguiri as a Parade of Moves broke out… ending with Cobb countering an OsCutter into an Athletic-plex for a near-fall. A Tour of the Islands followed, but Ospreay countered out as he and Goto teamed up ahead of the Hidden Blade (decapitator elbow) before Ospreay somehow got Jeff Cobb up for the Storm Breaker for the win. Holy mother of God, I was NOT expecting that! ***¼
The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi)
Colt Cabana joins commentary here, and we have a jump start of sorts, with Taven going after Naito before the LIJ leader subdued the Kingdom kingpin with an armdrag.
Shingo comes in to chop through Taven with ease, but Taven uses the referee as a human shield as the Kingdom quickly broke through, taking Naito outside and into the guard railings before Taven mocked Naito with the Tranquilo pose. Vinny Marseglia’s in next, but Naito begins to fight back only for a knee to the chin to stop him as the Kingdom isolated the IWGP Intercontinental champion. Naito tries to fight back, but his Combinacion Cabron is caught as Taven lifted him onto his shoulders for a dropkick-assisted backpack stunner for a near-fall. A tornado DDT gets Naito back in it, before Shingo came in and found himself in a similar situation, only for him to clear house as finally got into gear. Taven’s dropkick through the ropes is caught and turned into a backbreaker on the floor by Shingo, before they returned to the ring with a suplex for a near-fall.
Marseglia hits back with a tiltawhirl side Russian legsweep before Taven’s knee strike drew a two-count. A missed senton bomb from Marseglia allows Shingo to get free, but a tag’s delayed as Shingo has to back body drop out of something, then charge through Marseglia before finally getting a tag to Naito, who goes for Taven with the Combinacion Cabron. A tiltawhirl backbreaker from Marseglia turns it back around for a near-fall before Shingo came in to help quell the Kingdom. Shingo’s Pumping Bomber lays out Marseglia, before a Destino does the job. Thanks for coming, Kingdom! ***
ROH World Championship: TK O’Ryan vs. Jay Lethal (c)
I don’t think anyone is giving TK a chance here, but this is likely to lead into the Lethal/Taven match in ROH next month.
Lethal starts with a tope to TK on the outside as the pair brawled by the guard rails, with TK going over the gate rather than through it, as Lethal was putting a beating to O’Ryan before the bell. They finally get back in the ring for the bell, with Lethal sending O’Ryan sky high with a back body drop before an armdrag and a cartwheel dropkick put TK down for a near-fall. Chops from Lethal in the ropes are stopped by a knee from TK, who chopped back as TK took over, sending Lethal into the railings with a baseball slide. The crowd don’t seem to want to care much for TK, as they fell silent until Lethal tripped him for a Figure Four that’s easily pushed away, as a spinebuster drew a near-fall.
A Lethal Combination sees Lethal get right back in as O’Ryan rolled into the corner, unable to avoid a forearm and a death valley driver as Lethal goes back up top for the ol’ Macho Man elbow. TK cuts him off, but he can’t get a superplex going as Lethal leaps down and eventually gets his Figure Four on. Lethal chops O’Ryan in the hold as he looked to get a pin, but TK instead gets to the ropes, and nearly comes back with a small package for the win… except Lethal kicks out and goes for a Lethal Injection, only for TK to club away and pull Lethal into an O’Connor Roll for a near-fall. From the kick-out, Lethal heads into the ropes and nails the Lethal Injection for the win as TK O’Ryan lost on his own in a match that was a perfectly adequate stop-gap match in the ROH storylines. ***¼
Post-match, Matt Taven comes through the crowd and lays out Lethal with a ROH title belt – almost overshadowing Jay Lethal breaking the record for cumulative defences of the ROH world title.
IWGP Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (c)
This is a weird one to have on the ROH co-pro, as the Guerrillas got their rematch from WrestleKingdom.
Tama started off the aggressor, beating down EVIL as he tried for an early Gun Stun, but things came to nought as Tama stood back and ended up getting charged through by EVIL. After taking some chops, Tama’s back with a dropkick as the Guerrillas settled into the lead… at least until EVIL handed over the boot of Tanga Loa to the ref so he could throw in a thrust kick. SANADA gets a tag in next, taking down Loa as he looked for the Paradise Lock, which is pulled off effortlessly. Jado threatens to use the Kendo stick as SANADA prepared to free Tanga, but instead Jado ends up taking a plancha before a low dropkick freed one of the challengers.
Tanga Loa’s right back with a powerbomb attempt, and while SANADA escaped, he was quickly sent into the path of a Kendo stick shot as the match spilled outside, with SANADA being thrown into the back of the arena, while EVIL’s taken into the stands as he got extra close to the West sign. Tama Tonga tries to hold SANADA back as the count-out loomed, but SANADA just got back in ahead of him as the match finally returned to the ring. Dropkicks from the Guerrillas put SANADA down, only for Tama to barely avoid a dropkick in a moment that perhaps didn’t quite go to plan. EVIL’s pulled off the apron as SANADA was looking for a tag out, but barely a minute later SANADA gets the tag out as EVIL charged through the Guerrillas with shoulder tackles and clotheslines.
A Fisherman buster’s next for a near-fall from EVIL, only for Tanga Loa to lift him up top as the pair looked to be running on fumes here, trading forearms ahead of a superplex. EVIL’s back in with a diving clothesline as tags brought in SANADA and Tama, with the latter running into the double-leapfrog clothesline. The Tongan Twist turns things around though, but EVIL’s right back to restore parity, with a clothesline sending Loa sailing to the outside. From there, EVIL and SANADA tease a Magic Killer, but Tama counters into a tornado DDT before a Skull End from SANADA is fought out of. SANADA blocks a Gun Stun, and counters with a Skull End as he then let go to try a moonsault… which crashed and burned. Another crack at the Magic Killer saw SANADA get pushed into the ref, which was the cue for Jado to come in with the Kendo stick… but EVIL makes the save as it was Jado who needed to be saved, as Tanga Loa’s German suplex dumped SANADA.
More finishes are teased as EVIL takes the double-team Tongan Twist, before SANADA runs into a 3D/assisted Gun Stun as the challengers then went for a Gedo & Jado super powerbomb… and as Jado held EVIL back, there was nothing he could do as the Guerrillas regained their titles for a fifth time. This took me a while to get into, but perhaps the LIJ pairing dropping the belts opens them up for the upcoming New Japan Cup? ***½
Trivia bit – that was the first time the IWGP tag titles had changed hands at Korakuen Hall since March 20, 1987. Or September 23, 1986 if you’re looking for a “challengers beat champions” title switch. Way to make us all feel OLD.
ROH World Tag Team Championship: Life Blood (Juice Robinson & David Finlay) vs. Briscoe Brothers (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe) (c)
So, the entrances happened as I was scanning Cagematch for that stat… we got underway with the Briscoes being the aggressors, taking Juice to the outside as we got the Cactus Jack elbow off the apron to the floor.
Back inside, Juice is dragged into the Briscoes corner as he’s peppered with body blows ahead of a suplex that garnered them a one-count. A neck crank keeps Juice down, as dod a shoulder tackle, before Juice finally finds a way through with a chop… only to get blasted with a dropkick from Jay Briscoe for a near-fall. Mark comes in to keep up the offence, but a clothesline from Juice sends him flying as Finlay gets a tag in to follow up with a diving European uppercut. Another one off the middle rope connects for a near-fall, only for Jay Briscoe to return as he corkscrewed Finlay with a big boot as Mark followed up with a corkscrew moonsault to the floor.
Inside again, a double-team shoulder tackle barges down Finlay for a two-count, as the champions maintained the upper hand, at least until Finlay landed a side suplex before Juice’s full nelson bomb led to cannonballs for both Briscoes. An old-school airplane spin from Juice led to the Juice Box on Mark, but the Briscoes are right back as Mark caught Juice up top with an Iconoclasm for a near-fall. Jay tries for the Jay Driller, but instead he just spikes Juice with a death valley driver for a near-fall, before Finlay returned to help out with a double-team flapjack.
The Briscoes head outside but get caught with duelling cannonballs off the apron… then again into the barriers! Back inside, a superplex from Finlay and a swandive headbutt from Juice hits the spot for a two-count on Mark Briscoe, only for the Briscoes to hit back as the challengers teased a Doomsday Device. Instead, Jay heads up for a superplex as they aped the Life Blood double-team, instead nailing a Froggy Elbow for a near-fall. Finlay rolls through a Doomsday Device as his Victory Roll almost got the win, before a standing uranage just spiked Jay. Life Blood go for an uppercut-assisted powerbomb, but delay in making a cover as Jay’s able to kick out, but that diving uppercut looked to dislocate his elbow on the landing, and with Juice sent outside, it was all elementary as a Froggy Elbow was enough to get the win. A good match with a curtailed finish as Finlay’s long-standing shoulder issues looked to cost them in the end. ***½
After the match, the Briscoes issued a challenge to the Guerrillas of Destiny – champions vs. champions at the New Japan/ROH G1 Supercard of Honor at Madison Square Garden… and of course the Guerrillas accepted it as we ended the show with an obligatory four-belt stare-off.
While still a strong show, night two of Honor Rising didn’t quite have the same peaks as the first; although that could very well be down to me not being an ardent follower of ROH. The IWGP tag title change was somewhat out of left field, especially since we’d not had the usual beating over-the-head build for it, but it was a nice change… even if it means the belts are back on a tandem who seem to be even more pigeon-holed as “tag guys”.