Saturday April 6, 2019
This is the first non-WWE event that Madison Square Garden has hosted in over half a century. It was a joint production between Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, the two biggest non-WWE promotions in the world. Here’s the report card for that show. If you want to view this show yourself, you can order the replay on PPV, or on demand through the Fite TV, Honor Club,and New Japan World
Pre Show Match: Kenny King wins the Honor Rumble last eliminating Justhin Thunder Liger to earn a future ROH World Title Shot.
Grade: 2.75 Stars (B-)
We thought it had come down to Liger, The Kingdom, and Japanese legend, The Great Muta. Muta and Liger eliminated The Kingdom and were about to face off until Kenny King reentered the ring and eliminated both men to win since he was never eliminated. Everyone was upset about not seeing a legit Liger vs. Muta match up.
Match 1: ROH World TV Champion Jeff Cobb pinned NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay after two Tours Of The Islands to capture his championship.
Grade: 3.5 Stars (B+)
This was a solid opener that fell just short of being great. Both men played to
their strengths, but neither man seemed to totally empty their tool box. Ospreay is also trying to evolve away from his Arial Assassin moniker, and it’s going to take some time for him to rejoin the best in the world with his new style. Cobb remains undefeated in ROH, but does not unify the championships and he will defend both belts separately going forward.
Match 2: Rush pinned Dalton Castle after three shotgun dropkicks.
Grade: 0.75 Stars (F)
This was this show’s version of the King Kong Bundy Squash Match from the first
WrestleMania. Rush simply nailed three drop kicks in the corner and just pinned the former ROH World Champion to remain undefeated in ROH. After the match, Castle attacked his servants to a chorus of boos.
Match 3: Kelly Klein pinned Women of Honor World Champion Mayu Iwatani with a Spinning K Power
Grade 2.25 Stars (C)
This was a rematch from the last few shows as Iwatani had won two in a row
against the former champion. Nothing really of note happened here, but Klein did hit her finisher twice to pick up the win. After the match, Angelina Love and Velvet Sky, formerly The Beautiful People in Impact Wrestling, and Mandy Leon attacked Klein revealing their new stable of Allure.
Match 4: IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson, Flip Gordon, and Mark Haskins defeated Bully Ray, Silas Young, and Shane Taylor in a New York City Street Fight when all three men pinned Bully after Gordon hit him with a 450 Splash.
Grade: 1.75 Stars (D+)
This was originally scheduled to be Bully vs. Juice one on one, but Juice was laid
out backstage beforehand. Bully Ray beat up some rapper who was trying to perform, and Flip Gordon made the save seemingly taking Juice’s place. Minutes in, Bully’s friends Silas Young and Shane Taylor interfered until Juice and Mark Haskins made the save. This lead to an average six man tag team weapon match with the good guys picking up the W.
Match 5: Dragon Lee defeated IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori and Bandido to win the Championship after pinning Bandido with a Power Bomb
Grade: 3.25 Stars (B)
Lee wins the title without pinning the champion which is still a big deal in New
Japan. A lot of people liked this match a lot more then me. It was just way to short. What we saw was great, but it was over just as I was settling in for what should have been an awesome match. Lee’s upcoming title defenses should be amazing though.
Match 6: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Guerrillas Of Destiny defeated ROH World Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises, The Briscoe Brothers, and Evil and Sanada when The Guerrillas pinned Brodie King after a Super Power Bomb to win the ROH Titles
Grade: 3.25 Stars (B)
Another short sprint of a match. This played to all four teams strengths. After
the match, Toru Yano stole the Guerrillas IWGP Tag Team Titles and former WWE superstars Enzo and Big Cass jumped the guardrail and bawled with the Briscoes as the company did their best not to show it.
Match 7: Rev Pro British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi bysubmission to Napalm Death.
Grade: 3.5 Stars (B+)
Great match between the two, but these two have had better in the past. I’m
not sure if it was part of the story, but Tanahashi seemed a little off here. Regardless anytime you can get the Ace of New Japan to submit, you’ve accomplished something.
Match 8: Kota Ibushi pinned IWGP I.C. Champion Tetsuya Naito to win the championship after a Kamigoye
Grade: 4.5 Stars (A).
Match of the night. These two proved why they will be two of the best in New
Japan for years to come. Ibushi finally wins the title his gods, Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi held with such pride. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these two fight for the IWGP Heavyweight Title eventually. This match had to much greatness to properly describe, so watch it for yourself.
Match 9: Matt Taven defeated ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and Marty Scurll in a Ladder Match to capture the championship.
Grade: 4.25 Stars (A)
The ladder match was popularized by Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X 25 years ago in Madison Square Garden, and these three men would have made the
innovators proud. Taven finally wins the championship but does not pin Lethal. There wasn’t anything that made this Ladder Match stand out from others, but the grand atmosphere made this match more special. Once again NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis was on commentary teasing future involvement in the ROH World Title scene.
Match 10: Kazuchika Okada pinned IWGP Heavyweight Champion Switchblade Jay White with The Rain Maker to win The Title.
Grade: 4.5 Stars (A).
Great way to close the MSG show. It was well guessed that Okada would regain
the championship here, but in no way did White look out of place. In fact, Okada used effort usually reserved for his epics with Tanahashi and Kenny Omega. The last 10 minutes of this match are must watch. It will be interesting to see how long this 5th reign of The Rain Maker lasts.
Final Show Grade: 3.11 Stars (B)
Disagree if you want, but this grade is for the entire show where I weigh each match equally in the equation. While there were three below average matches in the
middle you don’t need to watch, A great opener and a great second half makes any wrestling show a sucess