NJPW held the first night of their annual crossover with Ring of Honour which would serve as a build up to the upcoming show in Madison Square Garden during Wrestlemania Weekend. The card showcased some talent we have never seen wrestle in a NJPW ring before, as well as, some obviously familiar faces like Jay Lethal, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Now I will move onto the review part of all of this starting with obviously the opener.
1st match – Ren Narita vs Marty Scurll
This match was your pretty basic veteran versus young lion match with Scurll controlling most of the match. Being a typical heel Scurll was often mocking the crowd and his opponent to draw heat and to rev up the crowd since it was the opener after all. The match consisted with a lot of chain wrestling but after 11 minutes Narita eventually tapped out to Scurll’s Crossface Chicken Wing
Overall I’d give this match a solid C, it wasn’t bad but nothing special or anything that stood out either.
2nd match – Shota Umino vs Zack Sabre JR
Match started with Michinoku doing his textbook hype up promo for Sabre JR, but this time he cut the promo in English. After the promo was done Umino instantly booted him out of the ring firing into the match. Like the match before, this match consisted of a lot of chain wrestling which is to be expected of Sabre JR. Umino got his moments of shine and was really showing a lot of intensity throughout the match. He would eventually tap to ZSJ, but it was a strong showing for Umino who is starting to win the crowd over.
I’d give this match a C+
3rd match Jonathan Gresham and Jushin Thunder Liger vs Robbie Eagles and Taiji Ishimori
There’s really not much good I could say about this match. Robbie was making noise far too often and it was ruining Gresham’s spots of comedy. The match went for just over five minutes, five of those minutes were really basic chain wrestling between Eagles and Gresham. This basic chain wrestling is an alright start to the match, but if the match is short, then don’t waste all of the match doing it. Eventually Eagles and Gresham would tag out and Liger would instantly roll up Ishimori to get the win within mere seconds of the two being in the ring.
Overall I’d give this match a D, there wasn’t really any botches, but it was very poorly put together
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4th match – Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma, David Finlay and Juice Robinson vs Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa, Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe
This was the standard heels vs faces match with Honma taking most of the beat down from the heel side, Juice was often the one to come in and fire the crowd back up to think that the faces were about to fully be back in the match before something would cut him off. This is something all wrestling fans have seen plenty of times of course. The match ended with Mark Briscoe getting hit in the head accidentally with a kendo stick by Jado and Robinson rolling him up. After the match the Briscoe’s tried to attack Jado but were beat down by Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa protecting their manager.
Overall I’d give this match a C-, as it was very slow at times.
5th match for the Never Openweight 6 Man Tag Team Championships.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano and Togi Makabe (champions) vs Cheeseburger, Delirious and Colt Cabana
This match was actually Cabana’s first ever appearance for NJPW, but the crowd already knew who he was so he was over as soon as he came out. The match consisted as you would expect it to, involving a lot of comedy and the odd heel beatdown here and there, the brightspot of the match was Yano taking off the turnbuckles which he normally does, but since it was the Ring of Honour turnbuckles it took much longer providing a bit of comedy with it. Yano would win this match with a lowblow to Delirious retaining the championships. Delirious blamed Colt Cabana for not seeing the lowblow and set sparks between the teammates who are supposed to team again tomorrow night
Overall I’d give this match a C+; it delivered where it needed too
6th match for the NEVER Openweight Championsip.
Will Osprey (champion) vs Dalton Castle
Osprey’s first defence of the NEVER Openweight title came in a very entertaining match with Dalton Castle, the two started the match doing the code of honour. This would quickly change into Osprey mocking Castle to try to get him to expend a lot of energy early in the match. The match started off with a relatively slow pace, but in true NJPW fashion, once it really picked up it didn’t slow down from then on. The match was very back and forth throughout most of the match keeping everyone watching on the edge of their seat. Osprey would on a few occasions try to hit his Hidden Blade elbow strike, but Castle would continue to avoid it, although once Osprey hit it, he followed it with the StormBreaker and that was it for the match. Osprey would be the first NEVER champion in the last 5 reigns to get a successful defence of the title.
Overall I’d give this match a B, my personal match of the night
7th match for the ROH TV Championship
Jeff Cobb (Champion) vs Hirooki Goto
In what was essentially a rematch of the NEVER Openweight title match from last year both men started the match trying to out strike one another or knock their opponent down. Cobb would be the first to succeed with this but wouldn’t be in control for long as Goto would bounce right back and would end out suplexing a Young Lion right onto Cobb. For the next few minutes Goto dominated this match and the crowd swung back and forth with who they wanted to win the match. After a reversed GTR, Cobb would bounce Goto off the ropes and hit him with Tour Of The Islands to defend his ROH TV Championship and get revenge from the NEVER title match loss last year.
Overall I’d give this match a B-
8th and final match. Jay Lethal, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada vs Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia
Lethal and Taven started the match, but Taven instantly tagged himself out opting not to fight Lethal just yet. Lethal would do well for a while before he would tag in Okada who O’Ryan would say he didn’t want to fight and that he wanted to fight Tanahashi. Tanahashi, once tagged in, took the beatdown of this match, Kingdom dominated most of the match as heel teams often do. But would ultimately fall when they would go for their finish. Okada and Tanahashi would break this up leaving Lethal and Marseglia in the ring. Lethal would hit the Lethal Injection for the win while Okada and Tanahashi stopped the other members from getting into the ring. Taven after the match got a short attack in on Lethal, but was stopped by Okada and Tanahashi, and leading up to Taven vs Lethal at the ROH Anniversary show.
Overall I’d give this match a B-
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