This is the first ROH show in Japan since 2008 and their fifth show ever in the country.
Matt Sydal and Jushin Liger vs Dalton Castle and Ryusuke Taguchi
Castle came out with two Japanese young boys as his “boys”. Taguchi is also wearing a dashing cape. The show is airing with no commentary. The match starts with Liger and Castle, who worked well together in Toronto last year. They do some exchanges and Castle celebrates with his boys. Liger responds by calling them into the ring to celebrate with him and he mimics Castle’s pose. Liger does a good job in the match of making Castle and Taguchi look credible as a team, including when they were hitting him with their butt-butts. Taguchi and Castles also dance and clash their butts together. Castle works his gimmick throughout the match but breaks out some wrestling toward the end including an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and a bridging German suplex. Sydal breaks out the athletic wrestling including a hurracanrana and a reverse hurracanrana. Liger does a dive off the apron onto Taguchi near the end while Sydal finishes off Castle with a shooting star press for the pinfall. This was a nice simple opener.
Delirious vs Gedo
This is kind of like the teased Eric Bischoff vs Vince McMahon match from the 90’s. Except Delirious is only pretending to be out of his mind, unlike McMahon and Bischoff. Delirious goes wild and talks in tongues to start and Gedo looks perplexed. Delirious starts out with comedy and moves into some mat-wrestling. Gedo commends him on his wrestling and fist-bumps him. Delirious then kicks him in the gut and starts raking him. Delirious bites his fingers and choking him. Gedo starts swearing in English which should be fun with this being taped for ROH television. Gedo comes back with kicks and a basement dropkick and applies a figure four leglock. Delirious rolls to the ropes. Gedo keeps up the pressure with a chinbreaker and a superkick and is yelling at the referee in English. Delirious comes back with strikes and a flying clothesline. Delirious misses Shadows Over Hell and Gedo is briefly in control but Delirious gets a crucifix roll-up and pins him. This was pretty fun.
Frankie Kazarian vs Kushida
It just seems right to see Kushida with the Jr. Heavyweight Title. Kushida bridges back out of a test of strength early and grabs a kimura. Kazarian takes over briefly but Kushida comes back with dropkicks. Kazarian takes a backdrop to the floor but gets to the apron and slingshots into a DDT on Kushida. Kazarian chokes him on the ropes and then posts him and hits a codebreaker. Kushida eventually comes back with kicks and a springboard dropkick. Kazarian rolls outside and Kushida dives on him from the top rope. Kazarian gets to the apron and slingshots in but Kushida catches him in a cross armbreaker that takes some time for Kazarian to struggle out of. Kushida hits some nice head-kicks and then does a handspring with Kazarian catching him in an electric chair. Kazarian takes him to the top rope but Kushida fights him off and drives him to the mat in a kimura. Kushida then flies at Kazarian and struggles to get a kimura but eventually sinks it in and Kazarian taps out. This surpassed my expectations and Kazarian looked good.
Moose, Michael Elgin, Tomoaki Honma and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tama Tonga, Cody Hall, Yujiro Takahashi and Bad Luck Fale
Moose and Fale start and collide into each other a lot. Fale hits the ropes and Moose hits a high dropkick. After some tags in and out Tanahashi’s team all end up in the ring and they flex together. Both teams start brawling and Yujiro goes after Tanahashi with a chair on the floor. Tanahashi beats the twenty-count and Fale steps on his back and then chokeslams him in the corner. The Bullet Club all take turns working over Tanahashi. Elgin tags in and hits a flying shoulder-block on Takahashi followed by a German suplex. Elgin press-slams Tonga and then manages to hit a double-suplex on Hall and Takahashi. He gives Takahashi and a deadlift German suplex as well. Hall and Moose end up in the ring and are both huge. Hall hits a Samoan Drop on Moose who responds with a spinning clothesline. Hall goes for a Razor’s Edge but doesn’t get him up fully. The Bullet Club all charge Moose in the corner and Hall gives him a chokeslam. Honma takes a brainbuster from Takahashi and Elgin doe his double fall-away slam on Takahashi and Tonga. The Bullet Club are all on the floor and Elgin press-slams Tanahashi onto them. Moose hits a spin-around bodypress off the top rope on Hall and then spears him for the pin. Another fun little match and I have to say that Hall has improved a lot.
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs Katsuyori Shibata, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish
Omega and Shibata brawl on the floor to start. O’Reilly and Fish apply cross armbreakers to Matt and Nick Jackson in the ring. Omega makes his way in but Shibata comes in and applies a cross armbreaker. Omega picks him up and slams him on O’Reilly. There is a palpable difference in watching Omega now. The Bucks do their usual thing including stereo dives to the outside followed shortly by one from Omega who then gyrates for the camera. Fish gets choked with a shirt and takes some backbreakers. Fish fights back and gives Matt an exploder suplex onto Nick. O’Reilly and Fish hit their knee-drop decapitation on Matt and O’Reilly goes for a brainbuster that Matt counters into a chinbreaker. Omega and Shibata are in and Omega hits a big flying elbow in the corner and stomps him down. Shibata hangs in there and hits a corner dropkick followed by a vertical suplex. Shibata applies a sleeper that is broken up by the Young Bucks. He hits the ropes but takes a double superkick followed by a triple superkick. Nick gives Fish a tornado DDT on the floor. Shibata hits Omega with a dropkick inside. O’Reilly hits a corner dropkick in the ring on Omega who fights off a tornado DDT. The Bucks double-team O’Reilly but he comes back with a Nigel clothesline. Omega gets him up for an electric chair but O’Reilly transitions into a guillotine sleeper. Matt sprays a spray can in O’Reilly’s eyes and Omega tosses Nick up for a spike tombstone piledriver by the Bucks. Omega then gives O’Reilly the one winged angel and gets the pin. Omega is fitting in well in his top heel role.
Jay and Mark Briscoe vs Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows
They all brawl to start. Mark and Jay both hit Gallows with clotheslines to knock him out of the ring and Mark hits Anderson with a baseball slide dropkick through the ropes and follows up with a blockbuster off the apron. Mark and Jay take control on Anderson inside initially but Gallows trips Mark from outside and Anderson gives him a legdrop on the apron. Gallows beats on Mark with a chair outside and then he and Anderson work him over in the ring. Jay gets the hot tag and strikes away at Gallows and gives him a Death Valley Driver. Gallows and Anderson fight back with kicks and give Jay a double-team neckbreaker and then Anderson hits a TKO. Jay blocks another one and attempts a Jay Driller. Gallows interferes but takes a springboard dropkick from Mark. Jay goes for the Jay Driller again but hits a short-arm clothesline instead. Jay gives Anderson a neckbreaker and Mark hits him with a Froggy ‘Bow and Jay pins him. The ending was a little messier than I might have liked but it is cool to see the Briscoes getting over in NJPW.
Jay Lethal and Tetsuyo Naito vs Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi
Naito taunts Milano Collection AT on commentary and calls him into the ring. Milano comes to the ring and holds the ropes open for Naito and they do a high fist-bump. Milano then returns to commentary next to Kushida. Truth Martini accompanies Lethal to the ring. Lethal starts against Okada so it’s ROH Champ vs IWGP Champ. They do basic exchanges and Okada avoids a Lethal Injection while Lethal avoids the Rainmaker. Lethal cartwheels into a dropkick. Naito and Yoshi-Hashi tag in Hashi gives Naito a bodyslam but Lethal cuts off further offense. Hashi goes to the floor where Lethal hits him with a tope suicida and then dropkicks Okada off the apron. Lethal takes control on Hashi who fights back with chops but Lethal drops him on the top rope and dropkicks him to the floor. Lethal hits a back suplex in the ring and tags in Naito who dropkicks Hashi in the corner. Hashi fights back and hits Naito with a lung-blower. Okada tags in and lays out Naito with a kick, gives Lethal a facebuster and hits Naito with a DDT. Naito hits a reverse atomic drop and a tornado DDT. Lethal comes in and hits a spinning forearm and a Lethal Combination. Naito holds Okada for Lethal’s superkick but takes it himself when Okada escapes. Okada then hits Lethal with a high dropkick. Hashi tags in and hits Lethal with a couple neckbreakers. Okada and Hashi double-team Lethal and Hashi hits a blockbuster. Lethal gets the Book of Truth but Hashi lays him out with a clothesline and goes to the top rope but is stopped by Martini and then EVIL. Lethal then hits the Lethal Injection to pin Hashi while Naito is reading the Book of Truth. Lethal actually got over well in Korakuen Hall as compared to the Tokyo Dome. He celebrates with Naito and his entourage after the match and gives him the Book of Truth. Martini does a spinarooni,
ROH TV Title Match: Roderick Strong (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii
This should be fun. Strong does some stalling early on and then Ishii attacks him with forearms and get a big strike exchange. Ishii hits some huge chops and headbutts. Strong teases leaving but then grabs Ishii and drops him back-first on the apron. Strong follows up with a back suplex on the guardrail and then takes Ishii in the ring and works him on the mat. They get into another chop exchange. Strong hits an Olympic Slam. Strong throws more chops but Ishii counters with a powerslam. Ishii works him over in the corner and hits him with a shoulder-block and a Saito Suplex. Strong’s chest is bleeding and he backdrops out of a powerbomb attempt. Strong hits an enzuiguri and slams Ishii into the mat a couple times (I couldn’t think of names for the moves). They both struggle for position on the apron and Strong gives Ishii a back suplex on the floor. They’re back in the ring and Strong is throwing chops again. Ishii fights back with headbutts and a forearm and hits a big clothesline. Ishii gives Strong a superplex followed shortly by a powerbomb. Strong hits a spinning forearm and a knee-strike. Strong hits a superplex, a double-knee gutbuster and a sick-kick for a pin attempt. The fans are chanting “This Is Awesome”. Strong hits a knee-strike countered by a clothesline from Ishii. Strong avoids a sliding clothesline and hits some knee-lifts but Ishii headbutts him to the mat and hits a sliding clothesline for a near-fall. Ishii hits a brainbuster and pins Strong to win the TV Title. Great finish.
Overall: This was a show with a decent undercard and a great main event that people should try to watch. The undercard was very much like Fantastica Mania with a mish-mash of opponents and partners or interesting match-ups but the main event was the reason to check it out. It’s really cool to see Ishii get the title and it hopefully creates some buzz.