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NJPW ‘Honor Rising: Japan 2019’ (2.23.19) Results & Review

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The second of two nights at Korakuen Hall for the 2019 Honor Rising: Japan tour sees another three title matches. The ROH Championship is on the line as Jay Lethal defends against TK O’Ryan and both sets of heavyweight tag titles are up for grabs with the Guerrillas of Destiny challenging EVIL and SANADA as well as FinJuice going after the Briscoes ROH Tag Team Championship. Let’s get started!

Toa Henare & Jonathan Gresham def. Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku @ 12:21 via Gresham Octopus Catch on TAKA – **3/4
Match starts off with Henare cutting off TAKA on the microphone with a tackle. TAKA wants nothing to with Henare so in come Sabre and Gresham. Real wacky grappling exchange between the two. The compliment each other well, Sabre has a rare strength advantage which he decides to use. TAKA would rather Gresham use his strength than grappling abilities but it’s a no go. Gresham shows off his flying abilities with a Shooting Star Press off the top and then taps TAKA out with an Octopus. Very cool showcase for Gresham these two shows. He can hang with Sabre while also being able to fly like a junior. The crowd rightfully love him already.

Marty Scurll def. Robbie Eagles @ 8:55 via Crossface Chickenwing – ***
Great transitions between Scurll and Eagles, hopefully just giving a taste of what’s to come at BOSJ. Eagles blocked a half and half suplex, caught the superkick, just kidding and transitioned Scurll into the Turbo Backpack. Scurll would try two backslide enizguris, successful with the first, not so with the second. He’d look for the chickenwing and quickly turn it into a half and half when Eagles tried to fight out. Eagles fired up with a flurries of kicks, did the BC gun pose and Scurll grabbed the fingers, Eagles escaped his grasp for a moment but was caught in the chickenwing and quickly tapped out.

Toru Yano & Colt Cabana def. Delirious & Cheeseburger @ 10:08 via Cabana Jackknife Pin on Delirious – **1/4
A funnier match without the titles on the line. Delirious and Cabana both feel the other betrayed them the night before. Great stuff from Cheeseburger feigning death after missing a dive off the top. Yano struggled to remove the ROH pads so Cabana saved the day by pulling the traditional NJPW pads out from under the ring. Cheeseburger fired off a satellite DDT and Shotei, Delirious low blowed Cabana, took him to the top Cabana slipped through and pinned Delirious for the win.

Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay def. Jeff Cobb & Dalton Castle @ 11:45 via Ospreay Storm Breaker on Cobb – ***1/4
Will Ospreay further hammers the point that he can beat anyone no matter their size. The match was fun early on with Cobb and Castle passing Ospreay back and forth with gutwrench suplexes. The finishing sequence is where the match got insane. Ospreay landed the wallflip enziguri, Castle was dropped by an ushigoroshi from Goto and a Robinson Special from Ospreay to Cobb. Ospreay then sets up for the Oscutter, Cobb catches him into a swinging backdrop but Ospreay swings out of a Tour of the Islands to an attempted crucifix that Cobb tries to turn into a Samoan Drop. Instead, Ospreay shoves off the shoulders, sends Cobb into Goto for a headbutt and Ospreay finishes Cobb with the Storm Breaker. Insane finish to the match. The visual of Ospreay holding Cobb on his shoulder is incredible.

Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi def. Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia @ 11:49 via Naito Destino on Vinny – ***
A better match from The Kingdom than the night before. No purple nurples, just a strong back and forth. The Kingdom taunted Naito, spit at him and he returned the favor. They focused on him more so than they did Shingo and that cost them. Shingo fired off hard with a various assortment of lariats and allowed Naito the time to make the comeback. The Kingdom felt like they tried harder tonight than they did last night and it was appreciated by everyone. Taven said it’s not over between him and Naito. Whatever that means remains to be seen.

ROH Championship
Jay Lethal (c) def. TK O’Ryan @ 10:51 via Lethal Injection – **1/4

A fine professional wrestling match. TK is supposed to be played up as some goon for Taven but he wrestled a clean match with no interference. He looked perfectly fine as a wrestler but there was nothing that screamed that this guy is a heel. Lethal jumped before the bell, hit a dive, the cartwheel dropkick and started the match off hot. They had a nice chop battle, saw both the Lethal Combination and Lethal Injection for a Lethal win. I understand the purpose is Lethal is now one step closer to Taven and no one was going to buy into TK winning and that this was a filler match. That’s all fine but they treated this match just as throw away as it really is in reality. The match got Lethal on the show and TK is a competent wrestler. Cool.

IWGP Tag Team Championship
Guerrillas of Destiny def. EVIL & SANADA (c) @ 20:27 via Super Powerbomb on SANADA – ***1/4

SANADA locked Loa in the Paradise Lock but instead of freeing him immediately, he went after Jado on the outside. Loa caught SANADA’s Hurricanrana, transitioned to a powerbomb, SANADA turned into an O’Connor roll, Loa kicked out and sent him to the ropes for a Jado cane shot. After some brawling outside, SANADA fired off a double dropkick and EVIL a lariat, bulldog, suplex combo. Tama and SANADA trade holds going from TKO to Tongan Twist to Skull End back into Tongan Twist and turns Magic Killer into a DDT. He tries to finish SANADA with Gun Stun but gets caught in Skull End. SANADA misses the follow up moonsault and G.O.D. avoid Magic Killer, knocking the referee down in the process. Jado comes in with the cane, EVIL cuts it off and lifts Jado up for Magic Killer. Loa frees Jado with a German suplex, ducks SANADA’s springboard dropkick, pop him up for an assisted Gun Stun, Jado holds EVIL outside and a Super Powerbomb means new champions. Great match. These two teams have had nothing but great matches over the last year.

ROH Tag Team Championship
Briscoe Brothers (c) def. FinJuice @ 17:13 via Mark Diving Elbow Drop on Finlay – ***

What looked to be a legitimate injury to Finlay put an end to what was building to a great finishing stretch. The Briscoes used their speed and numbers to cut off Juice at every turn early. Finlay had the hot tag, fired off a series of European uppercuts but the Briscoes again used numbers to gain the advantage. FinJuice start using the same tactic. They send the Briscoes out, land a synchronized cannonball off the apron to the outside on each brother and hit another into the brothers up against the rails. Finlay connects with a superplex and Juice follows with a headbutt off the top on Mark. Jay cuts off further attack, sends Juice out, isolates Finlay for a superplex of his own, followed by an elbow drop and set up for Doomsday Device. Finlay rolls through, hits a spear and backbreaker. Juice has Mark on his shoulders and Finlay European uppercuts Mark to the floor from off the top. Finlay comes down hard on his shoulder, motions to the referee, the Briscoes send Juice out an Mark lands an elbow from the top on Finlay for the win. Seems to have been a legitimate injury to Finlay. Very unfortunate way to end the match.

After the match, the Briscoes call out G.O.D. for a title versus title match at MSG. They come out and agree. That’s how we end the show.

Overall a stronger show than the night before. Ospreay hoisting Cobb up like he’s nothing was incredible and there are new IWGP Tag Team Champions. Unfortunate injury to Finlay. Hopefully he’s able to recover soon. The ROH title match was puzzling. It’s nice to see Lethal but they gave us very little to sink our teeth into. Gresham had a great showcase this weekend. He should be a lock for BOSJ. Scurll and Eagles showed nice chemistry. Most importantly, EVIL and SANADA are now free for a legitimate shot at the New Japan Cup.

Recommended Matches
Goto & Ospreay vs Cobb & Castle
EVIL & SANADA vs G.O.D.

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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