The historic ROH/New japan co-promoted event is finally here! The first wrestling event at Madison Square Garden in over 60 years that is not promoted by The McMahon Family. For some reason the theme music is getting dubbed over. but that’s only a mild distraction.
Kenny King won the Honor Rumble by last eliminating Jyushin Thunder Liger – As the rumble name implies, this is a Royal Rumble style battle royal, where the entrants join the match one at a time in intervals. The main variation is in the Honor Rumble, eliminations can also happen via pinfall. The winner will receive a ROH World Title shot. A big factor in King’s victory is he stayed hidden through most of the match.
Here are the Entrants
1 Kenny King
2 Minoru Suzuki – eliminated by Tomohiro Ishii
3 Cheeseburger – eliminated by TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia
4 Beer City Bruiser – eliminated by Roppongi 3K
5 Sho – eliminated by Bad Luck Fale
6 Shingo Takagi – eliminated by Minoru Suzuki
7 BUSHI – eliminated by Rocky Romero
8 Yo – eliminated by Bad Luck Fale
9 Shaheem Ali – eliminated by Brawler Milonas
10 Rhett Titus – eliminated by Shingo Takagi
11 LSG – eliminated by Brawler Milonas
12 Ryusuke Taguchi – eliminated by Rocky Romero
13 Will Ferrara – eliminated by Minoru Suzuki
14 Chase Owens – eliminated by Minoru Suzuki
15 Rocky Romero – eliminated by Bad Luck Fale
16 Brawler Milonas- eliminated by Jyushin Thunder Liger
17 Bad Luck Fale – eliminated by everybody
18 Jonathan Gresham – eliminated by Great Muta
19 Tracy Williams – eliminated by TK O’Ryan & Winny Marseglia
20 YOSHI-HASHI – eliminated by Bad Luck Fale
21 PJ Black – eliminated by Tomohiro Ishii
22 Jyushin Thunder Liger – eliminated by Kenny King
23 TK O’Ryan – eliminated by Great Muta
24 Vinny Marseglia – eliminated by Jyushin Thunder Liger
25 Delirious – eliminated by Great Muta
26 Tomohiro Ishii – eliminated by TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia
27 Colt Cabana – eliminated by Minoru Suzuki
28 Hirooki Goto – eliminated by Minoru Suzuki
29 Haku – eliminated by TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia
30 Great Muta – eliminated by Kenny King
The crowd really booed King for his cheap victory. However, the babyfaces got their payback, as Muta spat mist into King’s eyes, and Liger tossed him out. After the match, Liger stood in the ring as the crowd chanted his name. A nice feel good moment after the screwjob finish.
ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb p. NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay with Tour Of The Islands to win the title– This was the first of two Title vs. Title matches. The winner will be a double champion. It started hot right out of the gate with Ospreay knocking Cobb to the outside. He went to dive onto Cobb, and when Cobb caught him, he turned it into a DDT on the floor. Alas, Cobb was on offense within a few minutes. Ospreay showed some fire and got some offense, but for the most part Cobb dominated most of the first half of the match. Cob blocked an Oscutter and leveled Ospreay with a lariat. Cobb tried a Frog Splash, only to crash and burn when Ospreay dodged. Ospreay hit an Oscutter, but Cobb barely kicked out. The two battled atop the top turnbuckle. Cobb managed to powerslam Ospreay off the top, and follow up with a Tour Of The Islands to get the pin.
Rush p. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) with a Shotgun Dropkick – Castle came to the ring on a throne pushed by a half dozen Boys. Rush dashed right off the bat and hit three Shotgun Dropkicks for a surprisingly short win. The match only ran about 30 seconds. I can assume that may be due to Castle being so banged up in real life. Plus, Rush is likely going to be getting a major push after signing a big money deal.
After the match, Castle sat dejected in the ring. The Boys tried to console him. Castle responded by attacking both of them and leaving them laying. Looks like this was a full blown heel turn for Castle.
A video package aired for the G1 Climax. Mandy Rose joined the announce team. She briefly put over the upcoming Women Of Honor title match. The announce team was then informed that Juice Robinson was attacked backstage. The camera cut to Juice lying on the floor amidst some steel chairs.
Kelly Klein p. Women Of Honor Champion Mayu Iwatani with two K Powers to win the title – Klein sent her entourage to the back, and shook Iwatani’s hand. The two did several reversals and dodges off the bat, with neither getting a distinct advantage. Iwatani managed to use a Rear Naked Choke to ground Klein. Se then was able to knock Klein to the floor and hit a dive. Back in the ring, Klein battled back. Klein hit K Powers back to back to get her second title reign.
After the match, the two shook hands. Klein posed with her newly won title when Angelina Love and Velvet Skye came to the ring. Mandy Leon left the broadcast booth and got in the ring as well. She then attacked Klein from behind, and the three heels drew on her face and forehead with lipstick. Presumably they will now be a heel stable.
Mega Ran (a nerdcore rapper who I didn’t recognize) started to perform in the ring. Bully Ray came out and stared him down. The crowd started chanting “We want tables”. Bully shoved Ran to the mat. Ran tried to fire up, but got tossed to the floor. Bully then cut a promo saying that it was a shame what happened ton Juice Robinson, but that means his open challenge is still in effect. Flip Gordon’s music hit, and Gorden came out to accept the challenge.
Bully tried to attack Gordon from behind, but Gordon dodged. Flip got a few moves in until Bully reversed a springboard into a Cutter. Bully proceeded to get a shinai from under the ring, and set up a table. Silas Young and Shane Taylor ran out and attacked Flip. The heels put Flip on the table. Before they could finish the job, the Lifeblood music hit, and Juice and Mark Haskins appeared on the stage. Juice cut a fiery promo asking the match to be a 6-Man.
Juice Robinson, Mark Haskins, & Flip Gordon b. Bully Ray, Silas Young, & Shane Taylor in an impromptu Street Fight – The babyfaces knocked the heels out of the ring, but soon Juice and Haskins were taken care of. The three heels surrounded took Shinais and surrounded Flip. They each took shots with the sticks, but Flip withstood the sots and stood his ground. Juice and Haskins got back into the ring and took it to the heels. When Young and Talyor were disposed of, Bully begged forgiveness and tried to run to the back. Juice caught him and dragged him back into the ring. The heels regrouped, and Taylor decked Flip with a garbage can. Flip got put through the table by Bully. Juice and Haskins crotched Bully from behind with the ringpost. Bully screamed “My balls!”. The babyfaces then made their comeback and finally hit the “Whassup” on Bully. Gordon followed up with a 450 splash and pinned Bully.
Dragon Lee b. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori & Bandido when he pinned Bandido with a Suplex Powerbomb to win the title – As expected, this match was 100mph right from the start. Way too many moved to list them all, but if you like these action packed cruiserweight matches, this was one of the best. The three were all on the top turnbuckle, where Bandido powerslammed both opponents at the same time off the top. Dragon Lee managed to hit his Suplex Powerbomb combo to pin Bandido.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions The Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) b. ROH World Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises (PCO & Bryce Harper), Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA), & The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark) when Tonga pinned Harper with a Super Powerbomb – PCO got shocked back to life by Destro’s electric chair. The match was another fast paced, high action human demolition derby. The match was all over the ring and on the floor. PCO hit a Briscoe with a senton to the apron. Shortly afterward, GOD tossed PCO over the top rope and to the floor. That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. PCO tried to no sell it, but seemingly fell unconscious. Hopefully he wont wake up and think he’s now a sailor. After that GOD hit the Super Powerbomb on Harper to get the pin and the ROH Titles.
After the match, Toru Yano was seen on the stage carrying both IWGP Tag belts. A couple years back, Yano stole the titles and defended them with Ishii. If that happens again, I’m fine with it.
According to live on location reports, Enzo and Cass crashed the post match fallout. I didn’t notice anything happen, but the camera stayed on the announcers and the stage. It was a little awkward, but probably the best way to handle it, presuming it’s not a work.
Revolution Pro British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. (w/Taka Michinoku) s. Hiroshi Tanahashi with a Double Armbar – Taka did his usual pre-match promo. It was a little surreal seeing him cut it in English though. Sabre slapped Tanahashi before the bell, which angered him. The match was almost all Sabre in the opening minutes. Mostly by grounding Tanahashi with holds an submissions. Tanahashi made his comeback and used a Cloverleaf. Sabre managed to reverse it into a Armbreaker. Tanahashi reversed that back into a Cloverleaf. Sabre got the rope break. The two exchanged several holds. Sabre kept reversing Tanahashi’s moves into submissions. After about the third or fourth reversal, Sabre put Tanahashi in a double armbar in the middle of the ring, and Tanahashi finally submitted.
A hype video aired recapping the history between Naito and Ibushi. New Japan production went the extra mile and subtitled their promos.
Kota Ibushi p. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito with a Kamigoye to win the title – Another off-the-charts match with a ton of action. Naito dominated the first half or so. Ibushi made a comeback and hurricanranad Naito to the floor. Naito tried to retaliate and climbed the top rope. Ibushi kicked him off the top to the mat, and hit knee strike for a near fall. When Naito kicked out, Ibushi hit a Last Ride Powerbomb. Alas, Naito kicked out of that too. Before Naito could retaliate, Ibushi landed the Kamigoye and finally got the pin.
Another video aired that showed the past several weeks, with Taven talking about how it’s his time, and Scurll saying he need to be champion.
Matt Taven b. ROH World Champion Jay Lethal & Marty Scurll in a Ladder Match – If you like Ladder Matches, you’ll love this one. Scurll tried to grab the belt from the ladder using his umbrella. Taven wedged Lethal upside-down into folded ladder. He then hit Lethal with several chairshots. When Taven hooked Lethal in an armbar around a ladde, Scurll took that moment to climb the ladder. Taven knocked him off and powerbombed Lethal onto another folded ladder. This left Taven and Scurll in the ring to duke it out. The two climbed the ladder, and Scurll suplexed Taven off the top of the ladder. By this time, Lethal had recovered and re-entered the ring. Scurll managed to put Lethal in a chickenwing and ascended the ladder while keeping him in the hold. Taven climbed the ladder again and was met with a pair of Scurll’s Finger Breakers. Lethal knocked the two off the ladder, and hit a very scary looking Lethal Injection that propelled Taven into the side of the ladder. Scurll then got hit with a regular Lethal Injection. Both Taven and Scurll got put through tables. Taven via Lethal’s Savage Elbow Drop. Scurll again tried to climb the ladder. Lethal met him at the top. During the action, Taven pulled a much taller ladder out from under the ring. Finally noticing the threat, Lethal met Taven at the top of the ladder. Taven used the hanging belt to knock Lethal off the top. Lethal crashed on one of the folded ladders, leaving Taven alone to finally grab the belt and win the match.
The main event video was set to “Pomp And Circumstance”, which for those who don’t know was the music Randy Savage traditionally used. Hearing that song while Okada cut his promo was a little surreal.
Kazuchika Okada p. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White with a Rainmaker to win the title – Either Gedo is even smarter than I gave him credit for, or the crowd legit hates White. The fact that they are actively booing and chanting “F— You Gedo!” makes me think the former. White controlled the first ten minutes, keeping Okada grounded with submissions. Okada made his comeback and hit a cross body on both Gedo and White at the same time. After hitting the Savage elbow, Okada signaled for the Rainmaker. White dropped to his butt on the mat to avoid the move. Okada kicked out of a Uranage, and a Kiwi Crusher. Okada was about to hit a Rainmaker when Gedo interfered. Okada knocked Gedo the floor and hit the Rainmaker. Amazingly, White kicked out. That puts White on a very short list of people that have kicked out of a Rainmaker. White reversed a Tombstone into a Blade Runner. However, White was unable to make the pin. The two traded strikes while seated on the mat. Gedo again got on the ring apron and distracted Red Shoes. This allowed White to low blow Okada. A very rapid exchange of of finisher attempts ended with an Okada dropkick. Okada hit two Rainmakers and went for a third one. White tried to reverse it into a Blade Runner. Okada blocked that ans hit a spinning Tombstone. Another, final Rainmaker, and Okada got the pin.
Unlike most New Japan shows, this did not end with an in ring promo. Presumably they were out of time, because within a couple minutes of Okada’s win, the show went of the air.
This was another great show overall. There may have been too many dangerous moves and highspots, but that seems to come with the territory now. especially with ROH and New Japan. While I’m sure a lot of the matches will be better, I can’t realistically compare this to Wrestlemania because Mania will always be a spectacle. Even NXT, which effectively had its Mania yesterday, would probably be an unfair comparison. But it was a great show with a loud crowd and a lot of great matches and stories.