Withe the realtion between NJPW and ROH only getting stronger as time comes by, both promotions have decided to do even more joint shows on 2016. On top of that ROH has embarked on their very own tour of Japan, which culminates with these two Honor Rising shows, both happening at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. First show will happen this Friday, so let’s see what both promotions put together for us:
Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Matt Sydal vs. Dalton Castle and Ryusuke Taguchi:
Interesting pairings to start off the show. I can only amuse Ricochet wasn’t available for these 2 dates, but teaming the Legend Liger with the popular high-flier that is Sydal is certainly not a bad way to go. On the other side of the ring Dalton Castle and his Boys will likely give Tagucchi the perfect opportunity to goof around. all in all more than enough going on to give us an entertaining opener. Not an easy match to predict either as there isn’t an obvious “fall guy”. Liger could take the pin, or Taguchi, since they don’t really have a big push going on. I’m guessing Sydal and Liger are going over simply because the former Evan Bourne is one half of the IGWP Jr Tag Team Champions. Then again a Castle/Boys/Taguchi victory celebration could be very funny…
Winner: No idea. OK let’s stick with Liger and Sydal.
Delirious vs. Gedo:
They do like to book this Battle of the Bookers from time to time, don’t they? But, why not? Those matches are usually good for a couple of inside jokes, winks or nods so that’s always amusing. At first glance, Gedo is going over since we are in Japan, but, Gedo won their last battle and has never been shy of putting someone over. In this case, this could also be Gedo’s way to welcome ROH to Japan, so, I’m going for;
Frankie Kazarian vs. KUSHIDA:
Originally, KUSHIDA was meant to face Adam Cole, but, it was later announced Cole would be unable to attend the shows due to some personal family issues, so he was replaced with Kazarian.I’m not quite sure what to expect here since, while KUSHIDA will no doubt try to put on a show, I have noticed that Kazarian sometimes struggles, depending on the opponent. So it all comes down on what chemistry these two will have. As for the winner, I can’t see the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion not going over here.
Tomoaki Honma, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Moose and Michael Elgin vs. Bullet Club (Cody Hall, Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale):
Bullet Club versus a team that is seemingly thrown together. That being said, NJPW has put strong emphasis on the Elgin/ Tanahashi friendship lately so those two at least make sense. Moose is there to give him some New Japan exposition before his match against Okada at the 14th Anniversary show. Finally we will probably see some interaction between Tama Tonga and Honma to further build up the upcoming tag match between GBH and Tonga and Mystery Partner. Further teases might be made in that direction too. Honma also has a big match against Lethal on Saturday. So definitely some stuff going on here, but, basically, this remains Tanahahsi and friends vs Bullet Club’s B-squad so I would say the result is obvious here, with either Hall or Takahashi ending up eating the pin.
Winner: Tanahashi and Co
Katsuyori Shibata, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega:
This match certainly has my interest. The self-proclaimed Bullet Club’s Elite (Omega and the Bucks) vs Shibata, who’s on the verge of receiving a mega-push, and reDRagon, who have been booked as very near invincible in recent months. I like the pairing of Shibata and reDRagon very much since they could easily form a Japanese style stable if NJPW wants to go for that because they have similar styles and philosophies. they’re teaming up again on Saturday (with Goto also) so it will be interesting to see if they’re going anywhere with this. This could be a candidate for match of the night. As for the winner, I’m going for Shibata and reDRagon with one of the Bucks getting pinned. Should be awesome.
Winner: Shibata and reDragon
The Briscoes vs. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson:
This will be the penultimate NJPW appearance for Anderson and Gallows and it is interesting that the Briscoes have been chosen as their opponents. There have been speculations about The Briscoes going to Japan on a more regular base, so having them face (and probably beat) the former tag champions would put them right into the tag team title picture. And I’m all for it, since many have been asking for new teams to be added to that particular scene. If NJPW indeed goes for that, they would have GBH as champs, Tonga and his new partner coming soon, The Brioscoes and indestructible veterans TenKoji adding some support. In other words, a step in the right direction. I except the Japanese crowd will celebrate Anderson and Gallows in some way here, but the real going away party will be for Saturday.
Winner: The Briscoes
Tetsuya Naito and Jay Lethal vs. YOSHI-HASHI and Kazuchika Okada:
Another very interesting match, not in the least because the interaction between Naito, one of the best characters in wrestling today, and Lethal should be something else. And they you have the Champ himself, Okada, who always goes all out, no matter the occasion, so this should be good. NJPW is clearly trying to put Lethal over with the Japanese crowds (more on this in the preview for the second day) and Naito is also receiving a push towards the top heel spot, so what better way to emphasize that then to give them an indirect win over the Champion. Because, yes, that’s YOSHI-HASHI’s role in life, take the pins for Okada when needed. But, honestly, for me it’s all about the Lethal/Naito interactions, can’t wait for that, should be awesome.
ROH World Television Championship Match – Roderick Strong (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii:
Big match for Strong here. He has also been pointed out as one of the wrestlers NJPW is interested in, so, it’s no coincidence he’s being put in a match against one of the pillars of NJPW’s heavyweight division. The former NEVER Champion is indeed the ideal guy to give Strong the match of his life. Ishii isn’t called the Stone Pit-bull for nothing, the crowds accept that you have to damn near kill him if you wanna beat him. So, having Strong go over here would send a, well, strong message to the crowd. Here is a guy who isn’t here to play around. Here is a guy you don’t mess with. Here is a guy who could be a contender. Unless this match is an utter failure (and I don’t think it will be), this could be the start of a strong run for Strong. And if Strong indeed comes to NJPW more often I need to find other words than strong to describe Strong.
Winner: Roderick Strong
Well can’t see much more than this looks like a rather promising card. Let’s see what happens.
Preview for the second night will be up tomorrow.
Tags: bullet club, Dalton Castle, Delirious, doc gallows, Frankie Kazarian, Gedo, hiroshi tanahashi, Jay Lethal, Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Karl Anderson, Katsuyori Shibata, kazuchika okada, Kenny Omega, Kushida, Matt Sydal, Michael Elgin, Moose, njpw, redragon, Roderick Strong, ROH, Ryusuke Tagushi, Tama Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, The Briscoes, Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi Hashi, Young Bucks