Ring Of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling were given a golden chance to change the wrestling industry when they were able to run a show in Madison Square Garden. With huge title and even title for title matches, was their card truly ‘super’?
Result: Kenny King wins, eliminating Jushin Thunder Liger and Great Muta
Thoughts: The match loses points for having the nerve to DUB OVER MINORU SUZUKI’S THEME. It was a good way to get some of the younger stars from Ring Of Honor and the middle-to-lower stars on New Japan Pro Wrestling. Then King Haku turned up. THEN GREAT MUTA TURNED UP. What a moment, goosebumps. Muta and Liger as a faux last two was tremendous. Then Kenny King appeared from nowhere and eliminated them both. Woeful scenes. Really fun opener.
Winner Takes All – NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay vs ROH Television Champion Jeff Cobb
Result: Cobb wins via pinfall
Thoughts: This started at 100 miles per hour and didn’t let up. Cobb and Ospreay tore it up with all of their greatest hit. They worked that big man vs small man dynamic well, with Cobb throwing Ospreay about and Will sticking and moving. Some tremendous moves as well, with Ospreay hitting a big Spanish fly and Cobb knocking out moonsaults and frogsplashes. Superb finish, with Cobb hitting a super Tour Of The Islands before hitting a regular version for the win. Great opener.
RUSH vs Dalton Castle
Result: RUSH wins via pinfall
Thoughts: Dalton Castle took his eye off the ball for one second and he was demolished by RUSH. Unbelievable. This was used as narrative to seemingly turn Dalton Castle, who attacked the boys post-match in frustration. Very intrigued to see where this goes.
WOH Women’s Title Match – Mayu Iwatani © vs Kelly Klein
Result: Kelly Klein wins via pinfall
Thoughts: The right move overall, but the match was a very good technical match. Nothing too outstanding, but a solid match. Again, this was overshadowed by storyline, as Velvet Sky and Angelina Love made their ROH debuts, alongside the returning Mandy Leon, attacking the new champion, forming The Allure. If i’m honest, this acutally might make Women Of Honor more interesting, so it’s a good thing.
New York City Street Fight – Bully Ray vs Flip Gordon/Flip Gordon, Juice Robinson and Mark Haskins vs Bully Ray, Shane Taylor and Silas Young.
Result: Flip Gordon, Mark Haskins & Juice Robinson win via pinfall.
Thoughts: Bully Ray came out to gloat about not facing Juice, but Flip Gordon makes it return but that turns into a six-man street fight. A great six-man plunder brawl, echoing days of ECW. Really really fun.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Taiji Ishimori © vs Bandido vs Dragon Lee
Result: Dragon Lee wins via pinfall
Thoughts: These guys left it all in the ring, full force, high octane from the opening bell. If you are a fan of the modern junior heavyweight style, this is right up your street. Bandido hit a moonsault slam from the top on both men at the same time. Unreal. A phenomenal sprint.
Winner Takes All – IWGP Tag Team Champions The G.O.D vs ROH Tag Team Champions P.C.O & Brody King vs The Briscoes vs EVIL & Sanada
Result: G.O.D win via pinfall
Result: This was less of a four-way match, more eight men battering eachother across the ringside area. Some insane spots (mainly involving P.C.O, especially the powerbomb to the outside. Far too short, should have been a lot longer and more competitive.
RevPro British Heavyweight Title Match: Zack Sabre Jr © vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Result: Zack Sabre Jr wins by submission
Thoughts: Due to some nonsense between these matches, the crowd did not get into a great technical match between these two tremendous wrestlers. Again, good stuff but not long enough for a New Japan match and hampered by what happened before.
IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: Tetsuya Naito © vs Kota Ibushi
Result: Kota Ibushi via pinfall
Thoughts: Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi would have to go out of their way to have a bad match, so of course this was brilliant. A lot very high-impact action, in particular a hurricanrana from the apron and a middle rope german suplex. This went into another gear with stiff strikes and huge spots. A trait of this show, could of gone on a bit longer. Great match though.
Ring Of Honor World Title Ladder Match: Jay Lethal © vs Matt Taven vs Marty Scurll
Result: Matt Taven wins, grabbing the title
Thoughts: There some was tremendous innovation from Marty Scurll in this match, using his joint manipulation style and even his umbrella for an advantage. Apart from Scurll’s innovation, it was a pretty standard ladder match. Jay Lethal’s elbow from the top of the ladder through a table was an unreal spot though. Taven deserves the belt no question, it’s been a long time coming. Finishing spots were pretty brutal.
IWGP World Heavyweight Title Match: Jay White © vs Kazuchika Okada
Result: Kazuchika Okada wins via pinfall
Thoughts: This told a great story of White avoiding the big moves of Okada at all chances, even just going limp when he set up for the Rainmaker. A classic IWGP Heavyweight Title match between two world class athletes, with a pace that hit that sweet spot between fast and methodical. Gedo played his part masterfully as well, trying to help Jay White hold on to the belt. Did not see that finish coming at all, shocked Jay White lost on his first defence.
Overall Thoughts: New Japan held up their end of the bargain with some fantastic matches. Ring of Honor did not. The middle portion of the show was full of weird turns, random debuts and something that might be real, might not be. Such a shame, as this was their moment to join the big boys, but in the end they’ve made themselves look silly and left New Japan with red faces.
Overall Grade: B