SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
HONOR RISING JAPAN 2018: NIGHT ONE
FEB. 23, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
(1) Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale) vs. Katsuya Kitamura & Toa Henare. Kitamura and Henare showed a lot of heart, but fell short when Fale hit the grenade on Kitamura.
Winners: Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale
(2) Hikuleo & Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga vs. Cheeseburger & Jushin Liger & Delirious. Cheeseburger ended up hitting the shotei on Hikuleo for the win. Cheeseburger and Liger helped Delirious cover Hikuleo to hold him down for the pin.
Winners: Cheeseburger & Jushin Liger & Delirious
(3) ROH World Six Man Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay. The Young Bucks ran wild early hitting a ton of their signature tandem offense on Finlay. The announcers talked up the potential move of The Young Bucks to the heavyweight division in NJPW. Finlay finally made the hot tag to Robinson, who ran wild. He took turns hitting belly to belly duplexes on Matt and Nick. He went to give the ref one, but he let him go. Robinson ended up bleeding a little from the nose. Matt got worked over for a long period of time. He finally tagged in Nick, who ran wild on Finlay and Robinson. He did his signature step up flip dive to the floor to wipe out Robinson and Finlay and the fans applauded. Robinson and Finlay both ended up in the sharpshooter at the same time, but they got to the ropes.
Matt began to favor his back, but The Young Bucks got on track and ran wild on Finlay. They set up for the Meltzer driver, but Finlay escaped. Nick accidentally hit a superkick on Matt and Finlay rolled him up for a near fall. The Young Bucks finally hit the Meltzer driver on Finlay for the win.
Winners: Matt & Nick Jackson
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a lot of fun. The Young Bucks essentially played their greatest hits before getting the win in the end. The announcers played up Matt’s back injury and the potential move of the Young Bucks to the heavyweight division during the match.
Kevin Kelly plugged ROH’s Honor Club OTT service.
(4) KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Flip Gordon. Flip did some Matrix style evasions of several offensive maneuvers from Takahashi and KUSHIDA. He began dancing on his hands and ended up taking a double dropkick from KUSHIDA and Takahashi. Gordon took a beating, as KUSHIDA and then Takahashi worked over his leg. Flip hit a moonsault to the floor off the turnbuckles on KUSHIDA, but Takahashi immediately wiped him out with a shotgun dropkick from the apron to the floor. Everyone ended up down after Takahashi finished a big exchange of superkicks.
Gordon ran wild with high flying moves and the fans fired up. He went for a 450, but landed on his feet when KUSHIDA got out of the way. He eventually hit a Finlay roll into a running SSP for a near fall. Gordon went up too again, but Takahashi cut him off. KUSHIDA wipes out both men with a double handspring kick. He then got a flying armbar off the top on Takahashi, but Gordon broke it up with a springboard frog splash! WOW!! The action was chaotic down the stretch, but Gordon eventually fought off KUSHIDA up top and then pinned Takahashi with a 450 off the top! Wow!
Winner: Flip Gordon
Star rating: (***3/4) – Great stuff between all three men. It was a bit formulaic to start, but got awfully good as it went on. This is a HUGE win for Gordon on his NJPW debut.
(5) CHAOS (Chuck Taylor & Trent Baretta, & IWGP U.S. Champion Jay White) vs. ROH World Champion Dalton Castle & Ryusuke Taguchi & Jay Lethal. This was kind of a waste of Lethal and Castle here. There was a lot of comedy from Taguchi, but White eventually put him away with the blade runner.
Winners: Jay White & Trent Baretta & Chuck Taylor – Nothing special here.
(6) NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto vs. The Beer City Bruiser. Bruiser came out with a beer and a Cigar. He kept it in his mouth after the opening bell rang. They went to a battle of shoulder tackles after Bruiser had smashed his cigar into Goto’s face. Bruiser won the shoulder tackle battle and then hit a cannonball off the apron to the floor to wipe out Goto. Bruiser got the upper hand on the floor and drank from his beer can before going back after Goto. Bruiser went to methodical offense to ground Goto, who eventually tried to mount a comeback. Goto finally wiped him out after sneaking behind him while they went at it off the ropes. Goto went for a Saito suplex, but Bruiser fought out of it only to take one a short time later for a 2 count. Bruiser fired back with a hip attack and a cannonball in the corner. The fans fired up as he went up top for a Vader bomb, but Goto kicked out at 2. Goto had a sleeper, but Bruiser fired back and hit a sitout powerbomb for a 2 count. Bruiser went up top and Goto hit his signature neck breaker over his knee. He hit a big sidewalk slam variation a short time later, but Goto kicked out at the last second. Bruiser went back up top and the fans fired up. He went for a frog splash, but Goto got out of the way and hit a sliding lariat to the back of his head. They went to a battle of running clotheslines and Goto finally went down after a third go around. Goto hit a headbutt to Bruiser’s chest and the GTR for the win.
Winner: Hirooki Goto to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship
Star rating: (***¼) – This was a bit slow in spots, but they had some really good power exchanges at the beginning and end of the match. It was fun to see the fans get into BCB during the match.
(7) Bullet Club (Marty Scurll & ROH World Six Man Champion Hangman Page & Cody) vs. Chase Owens & The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi). Cody came out and revealed he was wearing a Brandit shirt. He got up on the turnbuckles and tore it in half. The fans booed once his music died down. Chase Owens is on Kenny Omega’s team after Omega hit a jump shot to win his services on Being the Elite. The fans really fired up when The Golden Lovers came out for their first appearance as a team. A big Golden Lovers chant broke out. Cody didn’t like it and he pitched a fit. Ibushi wiped out Page with a nice dropkick off the ropes and the fans fired up. Owens tagged himself into the match when Ibushi brought Page into their corner. Omega tagged in a short time later and worked some quick tags with Owens to work over Page. Omega and Owens hit a three sweet and dropped an elbow on Page. Omega went to tag Ibushi, but Cody sprinted across the ring and knocked him off the apron. Scurll tagged into the match and seemed conflicted. They went to a quick exchange and came to a stalemate. Cody hit Omega from the apron and Page tripped him to give Scurll the upper hand. He went to snap Kenny’s fingers, but he didn’t want to do it. Cody yelled at him to do it. Ibushi eventually got into the ring and wiped out Scurll with a big kick to the back.
Owens got a isolated and took a combination of moves, but he managed to kick out at 2. Owens took a sustained beating from Team Cody. Cody and Page set up for rise of the Terminator. Marty didn’t want to participate. Page and Cody ended up wiping out Omega and Ibushi with rise of the Terminator. Cody and Page held up Owens to do it, but he refused and hit his signature PK from the apron instead. Owens finally sent Cody flying as he tossed him off. He went to tag out, but Cody cut him off. Ibushi got the hot tag and The Golden Lovers both came into the match and wiped out Scurll with a combination of moves. They wiped out Page and Cody and the fans went nuts. They then hit the cross slash and the fans went nuts. WOW! A HUGE Golden Lovers chant rang out. Omega tossed Scurll into a German from Ibushi for a near fall. They set up for a double V trigger on Scurll, but it got broken up! The action picked up and Omega ended a big sequence with a V trigger on Scurll. Omega and Cody stumbled into each other back to back and went at it. Kenny blocked cross-Rhodes and hit a V trigger followed by a snap dragon and the fans fired up. Omega set up for a V trigger, but Page flew into the picture and hit a slingshot lariat on Omega. Cody then kissed Omega and went for the ross-Rhodes, but Ibushi wiped him out with a springboard dropkick. WOW! Scurll hit a neck breaker on Ibushi over his knee. He went for the chicken wing and got it down to the mat. A HUGE Ibushi chant fired up and he managed to get his foot on the bottom rope. Ibushi and Scurll went back and forth. Scurll lifted up Ibushi for a doomsday dropkick from Cody, but Kenny made the save! Omega clotheslined Cody to the floor and they both spilled to the outside. Page went for a slingshot clothesline on Ibushi and went right into a huge kick to the head. Owens hit an arm capture clothesline fora near fall. He lifted up Page for a package piledriver, but he slipped out of it. They went back and forth and Owens caught Page with a rebound lariat. Page countered the package piledriver and hit the rite of passage for the win. WOW!
Winners: Adam Page & Cody & Marty Scurll
Star rating: (****) – This was a great match with great storytelling as fans were given the first chapter inside the ring for the feud between Kenny Omega and Cody. They had just enough interaction to make this satisfying, but there’s so many other issues boiling under the surface that make this feud so good. Marty Scurll is conflicted. The Young Bucks are torn between Cody and Kenny as well. Hangman Page is planting the seeds to turn on Cody at some point after Cody stole his big moment. The crowd heat was great and this was a hell of a way to end the show.
After the match, Omega and Cody brawled on the floor. The Young Bucks ran down to pull them apart. Nick was wearing an Omega shirt and Matt was wearing a Cody shirt. Cody stayed in the ring after everyone left to cut a promo. Kelly asked why Page wasn’t sending the crowd home since he didn’t get the win. Cody welcomed the fans to Honor Rising Night 1. Cody said he’s the face of ROH, which got a hell yeah response from one fan in the crowd. He said you’re early team Kenny or team Cody. He said the fans that can’t understand him can go home and use google translate. He said they can learn from the end of this match signaled the Golden Lovers were over before they got started. He said Ibushi is nothing more than Omega’s rat. Cody said Bullet Club is fine. He said Bullet Club is mine and posed for the fans. The fans booed Cody after he dropped the mic. This is the first time Cody has said he’s the leader of Bullet Club. Cody went over to the commentary table and called Don Callis the rat king. Callis acted like he had no idea what Cody was talking about.
They went backstage and Page was yelling at him. Page asked him if he thought people were watching him and Kenny when he won the match. Cody apologized to Page for stealing his spotlight. He told the press to talk to Page after sarcastically saying Page had taken Bullet Club to the window many times.