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NJPW/ROH ‘Honor Rising’ Preview

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The third annual ROH/NJPW crossover tour, Honor Rising, takes place at Korakuen Hall both Friday and Saturday on back-to-back nights. The main story going into these shows is the breakdown of the Bullet Club. They seem to be fractured into two pieces and possibly more. These shows will help us gain further information on how deep the group is cut. There will be fourteen matches over these two shows, many of which only serving the purpose of showcasing ROH talent. I will only be previewing the championship matches and those with major storylines heading into the show.

Night 1

NEVER Openweight Championship Match
Hirooki Goto (c) vs The Beer City Bruiser

This feels ultimately like a throw away match but it will do Goto favors to be seen beating a man the size of Bruiser. Goto has a lot to prove on this reign, he’s awarded chance after chance yet never really seems to succeed in the roles he’s given. It’s not about in-ring talent, put Goto in any other promotion and he’d fair well but his character really needs to put together some big wins before fans start believing in him. Bruiser’s size should gain him fan support quickly. Japanese audiences are usually impressed by huge foreigners so he shouldn’t have a problem here in New Japan. The match has potential to be pretty good. Both guys are big and will be forced to slug it out. Sign me up.

Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens vs Cody, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll
This will be the first time Omega and Ibushi have teamed since 2014. 2012 since they last teamed in New Japan. If you’re a fan of these two then this certainly feels like a big deal. When Adam Cole was kicked out of the Bullet Club in spring of last year, Cody took over his role as the ROH leader of Bullet Club. Since that time, Cody has grown more arrogant and believes he should be the leader of the entire group, not just the ROH subsect. This lead to him attacking Omega on the second night of The New Beginning in Sapporo. We’re not sure just yet where the lines will be drawn within the faction but as it stands for the first night of the tour, both Page and Scurll are teamed up with Cody. A lot of eyes will be watching curiously to see how this plays out.

Night 2

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match
Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (c) vs Jushin Liger, Delirious & Cheeseburger

Each year the booker of Ring of Honor, Delirious, puts himself on these tours. He runs around like a madman and the Japanese audience has no idea what to make of him. Teamed up with Liger and Cheeseburger, you can see this will be a goofball comedy match that won’t mean much of anything. Team Bullet Club should be able to make it out unified, you can’t be certain other members of Bullet Club will meet the same fate.

ROH World Championship Match
Dalton Castle (c) vs Beretta

This will be the second singles title Beretta has challenged for since moving up to the heavyweight division July of last year. He’s a personal favorite of mine but hasn’t translated to the Japanese audience as quickly as I had hoped. Dalton Castle has just passed two months into his reign as champion. He won’t be losing it here to Beretta but I have high hopes for this match. Beretta excels at receiving sympathy due to his strong selling and Castle’s amateur wrestling background allows him to swallow people up on the mat. In no way do I expect this to be a classic but I do think it has the potential to be the best ROH Championship match to have happened in New Japan.

Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs Cody & Marty Scurll
Without a doubt the highlight of this tour for many. This is where we’ll see who Scurll aligns himself with, Omega or Cody. Most seem to believe that Scurll will turn on Cody at some point in this match. Whatever ends up happening it is sure to be the talk of the wrestling weekend. Add me on the list of those really excited to be seeing Omega and Ibushi tagging together once again. This is a moment fans have been wanting for several years now and these two rarely disappoint making the fans happy.

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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