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ROH/New Japan G1 Supercard
by Samoa Rowe
April 6, 2019
From the sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City. Our hosts are Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, and Kevin Kelly. I don't care if it's Wrestlemania weekend or not, these two companies selling out this building says a lot about the state of professional wrestling in 2019. Now the pressure is on them to deliver a huge show.
Winner Takes All:
NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay vs. ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb
Cobb immediately lands an uppercut in the corner and a hip toss into the turnbuckles. Ospreay answers with a springboard forearm off the rail. Ospreay's springboard moonsault was supposed to be countered, but Cobb slips, and Ospreay saves it with a DDT counter. They continue their blistering pace until Cobb takes control with a delayed vertical superplex. Cobb counters a hurricanrana with a toss into a bear hug. Ospreay busts out with a back handspring kick to the head. Ospreay rallies with a modified 619 and high flying springboard elbow. Cobb comes back with a nasty fallaway slam and standing moonsault for 2. They trade defiant superkicks and Ospreay surprises with a Spanish Fly out of nowhere! Missile drop-kick by Ospreay targets Cobb's bad shoulder, and Ospreay counters Tour of the Island with Land's End for a great nearfall. Ospreay looks for a finisher, but Cobb hits a devastating lariat. Cobb's frog splash is no good, allowing Ospreay to hit a spinning kick. Cobb initially blocks, but Ospreay springboards into the Os-Cutter for a RED HOT nearfall. Crowd chants "That was 3!" Cobb grabs the ropes to avoid Stormbreaker, but Ospreay kicks him in the head through the legs and attempts Stormbreaker again on the top rope. Cobb reverses with a top rope Tour of the Islands slam, and hits a second for the win at 12:55! WHAT AN OPENER! This was everything the first ROH match in MSG needed to be, a hot back and forth slobberknocker that tore the house down, ****.
Winner and new NEVER Openweight Champion: Jeff Cobb
Dalton Castle (with The Boys) vs. Rush
An supersized collection of Boys accompanies Castle as he enters on a rolling peacock platform. Seeing Castle's entrance video playing on a video wall in MSG is nothing short of surreal. Rush refuses to follow the Code of Honor and starts with a trio of shotgun drop-kicks and... gets the pinfall at 0:17. Man, what a bummer for Castle. At least his entrance was cool.
The Boys check on Castle, who is still absorbing what just happened. The Boys make a throne to cheer him up, but Castle snaps and beats them up (to actual heel heat)! Castle was in desperate need of a character shake-up, so this was the right time and place to do it.
Mandy Leon joins commentary for the Women of Honor Championship match. I wonder if this gets more than 17 seconds, but we get word that someone has beaten up Juice Robinson backstage.
Women of Honor Championship: Mayu Iwatani © vs. Kelly Klein (with Camp Klein)
They share a firm handshake and engage in some sporty chain wrestling. The crowd gives him a nice ovation for a stalemate and this is off to a promising start. Klein kicks out the knee of Iwatani and goes to work on it. Iwatani counters with a choke hold but Klein breaks it with the turnbuckles. Klein catches Mayu in a crossbody attempt and nails a power slam. Klein misses a charge and Iwatani seems to hurt herself with a kick to the head. Iwatani hits a flying crossbody to the floor for a big pop. Klein wins a slugfest but Iwatani hits a reverse rana for 2. Klein survives a superkick and hits a nasty German suplex, but Iwatani leaps up to cut Klein down (I missed the move while typing, so what, wanna fight about it?). Iwatani's German suplex should have ended it if not for a rope break. Iwatani crashes and burns on a moonsault and Klein spins her with a lariat. Klein's powerbomb counter gets a close 2 count. K-Power sets up an airplane spin K-Power and Klein regain the title at 10:39. Despite some sloppiness, they maintained a steady pace and mostly had the crowd with them, **¾.
Winner and new Women of Honor Champion: Kelly Klein
Klein looked genuinely choked up during her victory and pulls Iwatani up for a show of respect. She still gets booed, but this was cool. Or it was until Velvet Sky and Angelina Love debut and beat up Kelly, including marking her forehead with lipstick. Mandy Leon joins them in the beatdown, and the video wall brands them as "The Allure." Good to see this division get some new direction.
"Nerd Rapper" Mega Ran performs and the fans totally boo him out of the building. His performance is cut short by the arrival of
, who apparently isn't a fan of hip hop. The angle backfires as the fans chant "we want tables" as Mega Ran tries to reason with "Bubba." Bully Ray turns himself babyface by beating Mega Ran with a chain to clear him from the ring. He then turns himself back heel by bad-mouthing Juice Robinson and demands a new challenger for the street fight. The call is answered by none other than the previously injured Flip Gordon!
NYC Street Fight: Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon
The crowd is happy to see Gordon, who was not expected to return to action anytime soon. Gordon wastes no time hitting a superkick and springboard spear. Gordon flies into an ace cutter, and Bully Ray gets the table and a kendo stick. Gordon grabs the kendo stick, but Silas Young and Shane Taylor run in for an ambush. The 3 on 1 assault is interrupted by Life Blood's music. Juice Robinson and Mark Haskins roll out a cart of weapons and the match is changed to 3 on 3.
NYC Street Fight: Life Blood (Mark Haskins and Juice Robinson) and Flip Gordon vs. Bully Ray, Silas Young, and Shane Taylor
The ring fills with weapons and Juice and Bully Ray duke it out. Juice wins the exchange with his patented jabs, but Young catches him off guard with a chair shot. Young plunges Juice into position for his patented elbow drop onto a chair. Taylor knocks Haskins down and catches Juice in a dive, but gets dumped for stereo dives from Haskins and Gordon. Bully Ray returns with a series of kendo shots. Gordon finds himself alone and surrounded by kendo stick weilding villains and takes defiantly takes their shots. Haskins and Juice return with sticks of their own and they draw battle lines and overtake the bad guys, forcing Bully Ray to retreat. Juice drags Ray back, and he pitifully tries to apologize, but catches Juice with a low blow. Taylor makes the save and the bad guys set up a new table. Ray powerbombs Gordon through the table off the top rope, but Juice and Haskins crotch Ray into the turnbuckles. Young suplexes Haskins onto a standing chair, and this is starting to feel a bit senseless. Haskins sets Young up on a pair of chairs for a double stomp! Taylor drops Haskins and retrieves a wooden loading pallet and props it in the turnbuckles. Juice makes the save and places Young against the pallet for a running cannonball! Ray finds himself alone against the good guys and takes the WASSUP diving headbutt ("Ow, my balls!"). Gordon's 450 splash finishes Bully Ray at 15:01. This was fun, but overstayed it's welcome just a tad, **¾.
Winners: Flip Gordon, Juice Robinson, and Mark Haskins
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship:
Taiji Ishimori © vs. Dragon Lee vs. Bandido
The rules are explained in Japanese, the bell rings, and they are off to the races, hellbent on blowing the roof off the building with a quick spotfest. It doesn't take long for Bandido to take a sick hurricanrana off the apron! Ishimori pops the building with a quick moonsault on his challengers. Ishimori tries to slow the pace, but Dragon Lee catches him with lighting quick backbreakers. Bandido hits a Torture Rack GTS, which might be the coolest move on Earth, but Ishimori interrupts any pin attempt. Dragon Lee is alive with a Tiger Driver on Ishimori. The action picks up to a ridiculous extent and all three guys go down for the obligatory standing ovation. Bandido's pop-up cutter gets a great nearfall on Ishimori. Dragon Lee catches Bandido with a double stomp, but Ishimori counters him with a Tombstone Codebreaker! All three guys fight on the top rope, resulting in Bandido hitting a double super fallaway slam! WHAT WAS THAT!!!!! They don't sell that spot for long before they're up trading nearfalls again, and Dragon Lee plants Bandido for the title at 8:51. Just a glorious spotfest that ended far too soon, ****.
Winner and new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Dragon Lee
Winners Take All:
ROH Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises (PCO and Brody King, with Destro) vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and SANADA) vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe
From one shameless spotfest right to another, nice move, ROH. Fine with me, I'm in a good mood and happy to watch anything right about now. Hey, did you know that Tanga Loa was Camacho in WWE? I didn't make the connection until recently, which is kind of embarrassing, but I guess I'm bad with faces. PCO gets an extra special entrance with an electric chair on the stage, and I just love these goofy types of theatrics. He appears to be dead but the chair seemingly revives him. That's a five star entrance right there. I love wrestling so much.
Bell rings and bodies immediately go flying. PCO had the coolest entrance, so he's the crowd favorite here. SANADA does that hilarious thing where he ties Tonga into a pretzel and leaves him helpless for a drop-kick. Briscoes double team SANADA, and can you believe the Briscoes are at MSG? I can't. Loa takes the fight to King, but eats a big time rana. King delivers an insane dive onto the field and makes it look easy. Jay's dive is just as cool, but more routine. The Briscoes try to finish Tonga amidst the chaos. Meanwhile, Evil wraps Loa in a chair and cracks another chair against the neck. The Briscoes almost finish with a J-Driller and Froggy Elbow, but King makes the save. PCO murders himself with a dive onto Mark on the apron. King sets Jay up for PCO's moonsault, but GOD make the save. GOD have PCO at their mercy and powerbomb him over the ropes to the floor! HE'S DEAD! PCO SITS RIGHT UP and then passes out. King tries to avenge his partner with a German suplex and lariat, but GOD powerbomb him off the turnbuckles after a Destro kendo stick shot and steal the match at 9:44. Crowd rightfully hates that result. This was another spectacular spotfest that raised my eyebrows several times, ***½.
Winners and new ROH Tag Team Champions: Guerillas of Destiny
I take a bathroom break about now and social media informs me that Enzo and Cass jump the guard rail and get beaten down. That's wacky. The cameras didn't pay any attention to it, so this might have been another pitiful stunt by Enzo. I would have expected Cass to know better, but what do I know?
Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship:
Zack Sabre Jr. © (with Taka Michinoku) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Taka hypes the already hyped crowd up on the mic as ZSJ palms Tanahashi in the face. Bell rings, and they engage in aggressive chain wrestling. ZSJ arrogantly palms the face again and hits a series of uppercuts. Tanahashi answers with a crossbody and some air guitar. Tanahashi's elbow drop is cleverly countered with a cross armbreaker. Tanahashi is unable to skin the cat and ZSJ briefly reapplies the armbreaker. Tanahashi answers with a nasty drop-kick to the knee. Tanahashi delivers a nice somersault senton for a 2 count. ZSJ avoids Sling Blade and applies an abdominal stretch, and they trade reversals until Tanahashi hits a pump handle slam. Tanahashi's dragon screw leg wrench seems to shift the momentum and he applies a high angle cloverleaf, but ZSJ reverses into a triangle choke. This was simply been a joy to watch thus far. Tanahashi reverses back to the cloverleaf but ZSF gets the ropes. Sling Blade by Tanahashi connects, but ZSJ applies a Kimura on the turnbuckles. ZSJ blocks a leg sweep and kicks the chest for 2. ZSJ escapes an O'Connor roll but Tanahashi answers with a dragon screw leg sweep. ZSJ blocks a suplex and pretzels the legs in a pinning predicament for 2. Tanahashi delivers a trio of suplexes and Sling Blade for a good nearfall. ZSJ relentlessly stretches the arm of Tanahashi, until he locks on a full blown, sickening armbar. Tanahashi submits at 15:11! This was an awesome display of pure technical wrestling, just a complete joy to watch from bell to bell, ****½.
Winner and still Rev Pro British Heavyweight Champion: Zack Sabre Jr.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship:
Tetsuya Naito © vs. Kota Ibushi
I met Ibushi in 2009 and he was awesome. I like bragging about that, but I'm even happier about the success he's had since. Naito won the IC title from Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom, so he has some wind in his sail. I gave these two a somewhat negative review last summer when I said their G1 tournament main event was **½, when the rest of the internet was giving them ****+ honors, so this could be interesting. The crowd is chanting "holy sh!t" at the opening bell, so they have a great atmosphere to work with.
They pace themselves in the early going with a deliberate lock-up. They sprint to a stalemate and pose for the crowd's approval. The match restarts with Ibushi scoring a hurricanrana. Naito uses a leg sweep to set up drop-kicking Ibushi off the apron. Naito whips Ibusih into the guard rail and gets into the face of an equipment worker. Tanahashi rebounds with a slingshot drop-kick, but Naito answers with a neckbreaker for 2. There's a dueling chant as Ibushi puts together some offense with a standing moonsault for 2. Naito's one legged drop-kick gets 2, and so far this is turning into a laborious kick-out festival. Pair of neckbreakers by Naito and a drop-kick gets another 2 count, and I imagine he'll be kicking out of an Ibushi move in a few seconds. Sure enough, Ibushi connects with a Pele kick to Naito on the apron, but Naito blocks a German., and they duke it out on the apron until Ibushi hits a hurricanrana to the floor! Springboard double stomp gets a flat 2 count for Ibushi. Crowd must be tired, or expecting this to go another 15 minutes. Tornado DDT by Naito gets a better 2 count. Super hurricanrana by Naito and Hammerlock slam gets another nearfall. A quick exchange results in an Ibushi lariat. Ibushi's dead lift German over the ropes is good but Naito kicks out for an EXCELLENT nearfall. Straight jacket German by Ibushi gets a lesser nearfall. They jockey for position until Naito gets some sort of piledriver variation for a confusing nearfall. They slug their way to their feet and Ibushi seems to go into a dark zone, no selling a reverse rana, but Naito plants him for a RED HOT nearfall that earns a standing ovation. Ibushi hits a pair of running kicks to the head for a great nearfall of his own. Ibushi's sit-out powerbomb gets another 2 count that the fans ate up. Another kick to the head earns Ibushi the pinfall at 20:46. The fans were eating this up by that final sequence. The formula here is not my favorite, and not every false finish worked, but this ended on a very hot note, ***¾.
Winner and new IWGP Intercontinental Champion: Kota Ibushi
NWA World Champion Nick Aldis joins commentary for the ROH title match.
ROH World Championship (Ladder Match):
Jay Lethal © vs. Marty Scurll vs. Matt Taven
Scurll has the best entrance in all of wrestling with the ominous music, psychopathic entrance viceo, and plague mask. Going into this, I wish it was Lethal vs. Scurll in a straight up singles match, so the pressure is on Taven to earn his keep. Taven has a live piano player for his entrance, which does help him seem a bit more main event worthy.
Bell rings and Scurll sneaks out for ladder, but Lethal cuts him off. They fight over a ladder and Taven wipes them out with a dive. Lethal dismantles Taven with a series of bumps on the floor and sets a ladder up on two standing chairs. Scurll interrupts with a tornado DDT on Taven, and props some ladders in the corners of the ring for Taven to bounce off of. Lethal clears the ring and attempts a climb, but Scurll puts him in a tree of woe on a ladder and cracks a chair repeatedly into it. Scurll grabs his umbrella for the climb, but Taven drops him off. Taven is booed heavily while climbing, but Lethal stops him. Scurll places a ladder on Lethal's head, but it's Taven who hits a soccer kick. Lethal wraps Scurll's leg around a standing ladder for a modified figure four, but has to let go because Taven is climbing. Scurll is taken out with a cutter to the floor, and Taven powerbombs Lethal through the ringside ladder on chairs! Scurll returns to stop Taven with a 619 and he pumps up the crowd only to have Taven cut him off with a DDT. There's a "F*ck you, Taven" chant, which is only going to encourage ROH to give him the title. Taven neckbreakers Scurll on a resting ladder and has a chance to win, but Scurll superplexes him off the top. Lethal returns to prevent Scurll's victory and nearly reaches the gold, but Scurll sneaks up for a chicken wing! Lethal falls, and Taven meets Scurll at the top, but his wrist gets twisted so badly he can't grab the title and falls to "You deserve it" chants. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination on Taven into a standing ladder. Lethal misses a ladder shot, causing his ladder to form an X with a resting ladder. Scurll drops Taven gut-first onto the X ladder! Lethal Injection on Taven! Lethal dumps the X ladder, and it bounces into the front row, which could be good for a lawsuit. In fact, the fans chant "That's a lawsuit" as Aldis cracks a joke about 20,000 lawyers being in attendance. Scurll brainbusters Lethal on the floor and sets up a table, but a miscue results in Taven spearing Scurll through the table! Lethal places Taven on another ringside table and positions a ladder nearby. Lethal buries Taven through the table with an elbow drop off the ladder! Scurll and Lethal make a climb while Taven sets up a super-sized purple ladder! Scurll and Lethal drap second and third ladders on the purple ladder, and Taven wrenches them onto them, with Lethal taking the final big bump before Taven retrieves the title at 29:28! Man, I don't know how I feel about this result. This screams "Everyone else left for WWE and AEW, so we gotta take a shot on this guy." This was waaaay too long, especially considering the length of the show, and while there were come cool stunt bumps, this did not do anything new or interesting with the gimmick, ***½.
Winner and new ROH World Champion: Matt Taven
Well, it's 11:20, and I'm exhausted, and sobering up (thanks a lot, Taven), but there's still one match left to go... (please don't go 30+ minutes...).
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Jay White © (with Gedo) vs Kazuchika Okada
The crowd isn't too tired to give Okada a superstar ovation. It's pretty cool to have a legit New Japan main event taking place in MSG. White embraces the crowd's hate and stalls for time early on. They lock up and Okada fakes White out with a fake chop. Gedo distracts long enough for White to apply a side headlock. Okada slowly escapes and hits a neckbreaker, but White stalls for time again. Okada sends White into the rail with a reverse Irish whip but White backs him into the ringspost and wheelbarrows back into the rail. White works over the head and neck of Okada. After finally getting some space, Okada rallies with a series of quick attacks, complete with a DDT for 2. Okada drop-kicks White off the turnbuckles to the floor. Gedo interferes but gets tossed over the rail with White, setting up a running double clothesline over the rail by Okada! Back to the ring, White retaliates with a disgusting Saito suplex. White's Brainbuster gets a cold 2 count (the crowd is clearly worn out, and so am I). Okada's patented neckbreaker gets a polite reaction from the fans and leaves them both down for a bit. White avoids the Tombstone, but Okada drop-kicks him into the corner and nails a missile drop-kick for 2. The crowd wakes up for Okada's rainmaker pose, but White collapses onto his ass to avoid the actual move. White sneakily hits a Flatliner and German suplex. White's Urinage gets a laborious 2 count. White suplexes Okada over the ropes and drags him back for the Kiwi Crusher for a close 2 count. Okada reverses into a Tombstone Piledriver but can't get a cover. White seems to gain the upper hand in a chopfest but he runs into an Okada drop-kick. Gedo provides another distraction, and Okada can't hit the Rainmaker, and White nails a sleeper suplex. They counter finishers unitil Okada hits a spinning Rainmaker! A second Rainmaker is good, but WHITE KICKS OUT! The crowd is stunned! Desperation Blade Runner by White but he can't get a cover. They exchange blows on their knees, while collapsing on one another. Gedo distracts the referee long enough for White to hit a low blow. Okada hits a German anyway. A series of counters results in two more Rainmakers and a Tombstone Piledriver! A fifth Rainmaker finishes White at 31:42! Crowd LOVES this result. In a vaccum, this was a fantastic match that provided a feelgood finish. In the context of this show, it was a bit too much of a good thing, but White and Okada deserve a ton of credit for getting a worn out crowd to get their energy back as the match ended as the clock struck midnight. Let's call it **** and get some sleep.
Winner and new IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Kazuchika Okada
Final Thoughts: If you can get past the ridiculous length, this was the grandest ROH show of all time, and a huge step for New Japan on American soil. Just a surreal event that contributes to this exciting era of professional wrestling. Easy Thumbs Up, even if it kept me up way past my bedtime.
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