Ring of Honor TV
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
April 23, 2016
For the second week in a row, we’re getting a number of matches from the Honor Rising events from this past February (specifically Night 1). Much like last week, this will be a more condensed review, since Voices of Wrestling already has two great reviews of both shows, in full, by Rob McCarron & Joe Lanza (which you should all go read).
Like I mentioned last week, the main appeal of these shows (for some) is the English Commentary, which is provided by Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling III. There wasn’t really anything of note that I noticed on commentary, other than the fact that they did plug the upcoming joint shows with New Japan in a few weeks.
This actually brings me to something I’d like to discuss, which pertains to the Global Wars PPV on May 8th. Now, as I said last week, I do like the general idea of showing matches from Honor Rising in the lead up to the PPV (barring the continuity errors of showing Strong vs. Ishii for the World TV Title). It does showcase a number of the guys from New Japan who will be appearing on the tour with ROH in a few weeks. However, besides commentary mentioned it, and the “upcoming events” adds during commercial breaks, there really hasn’t been any build towards the matches on the PPV itself, specifically what’s being billed as the Main Event. Unless I missed it, there has been absolutely no mention of Colt Cabana’s return to ROH on TV. I would have thought they would maybe have one or two episodes from the shows in Dallas, where they should show the Jay Lethal vs. Lio Rush ROH World Title Match, Cabana’s return amazing return promo (why wouldn’t you show that promo on television?!), and finally, Cabana actually pinning Lethal in a Non-Title Match. There’s also been no mention (to my recollection) of the War Machine/Briscoes ROH World Tag Team Title Match, which is a match that’s actually been building for quite some time (War Machine have never beaten The Briscoes). I understand that the stars of New Japan appearing are going to be a big draw for the PPV no matter what, but even mentioning your top title matches and showing a video package would be nice.
Anyway, we have an interesting selection of matches this week (which, I should mention, are out of order compared to when they actually took place on the show). We first have a tag team match, which saw ROH World Champion Jay Lethal & Tetsuya Naito defeat the (then) IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI. I thought this was a pretty solid match. It was fun seeing Jay Lethal mixing it up with Okada, and in a way, it does have some semblance of continuity, with Naito recently defeating Okada to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Invasion Attack, which (Plug Alert!) Joe Lanza reviewed for the site. There were some rough spots, but overall I thought it was a fine tag team match. We also saw Lethal & Naito seemingly form an alliance of sorts between The House of Truth & Los Ingobernables de Japon. Seeing Jay Lethal wearing the Los Ingobernables hat and Naito reading The Book of Truth was something else.
We next have a singles match between IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA & Frankie Kazarian. The “Heavy Metal Rebel” is replacing Adam Cole, who had to be pulled from the show due to personal issues that came up right before the shows took place in real time. Kazarian was an odd choice to bring over as a replacement. There were a ton of better choices (Christopher Daniels & ACH come to mind), but maybe Kazarian was the only person available. I thought this was pretty solid. Obviously, I would’ve loved to have seen Adam Cole in this spot, but for what was (technically) the third match on the full show, it was perfectly acceptable. KUSHIDA would pick up the win here.
There wasn’t much to speak up in terms of behind the scenes footage (especially compared to last week), but we did get a video of Mark Briscoe roaming the streets of Tokyo searching for Godzilla and admiring the Japanese cuisine. If you haven’t noticed by now, Mark Briscoe is super entertaining. Now I’m not the first person to say this, but seeing Mark Briscoe (or The Briscoes in general) on some of those weird Destination America shows, or those swamp shows on the History Channel, or anything kind of TV show really, would be so much fun. Hell, with his (rumored) high IQ, how awesome would Mark Briscoe be on a show like Jeopardy? Seriously, Mark Briscoe is a man of many talents.
Our Main Event this week sees The ELITE (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) taking on the stellar trio of NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata & reDRagon. O’Reilly has referred to the team a number of times on Twitter as The Shooting Gallery, which is an awesome team name (commentary mentioned it as well). While it wasn’t nearly as good as the Roderick Strong vs Tomohiro Ishii match from last week, it was easily the best match on the show this week. Seeing these six guys interact was so much fun!! The interactions between Omega & Shibata were especially cool (and I hope those two meet in a proper singles match during the G1). The Elite get the win here, and props especially go to Omega for preventing a potentially horrible botch at the finish (he nearly dropped O’Reilly when he went for the One-Winged Angel, but he got him back on his shoulders and successfully hit the move).
- CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Tetsuya Naito & Jay Lethal: ***1/4
- KUSHIDA vs. Frankie Kazarian: ***
- The ELITE (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) vs. Katsuyori Shibata & reDRagon: ***1/2
That’s it for ROH TV this week. Next week will be a very Bullet Club centric episode, with two more matches from Night 1 of Honor Rising – An 8-Man Tag with the Bullet Club taking on the team of Tanahashi, Elgin, Honma, & Moose, plus the Briscoes taking on Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows (who have recently made their WWE debuts).