Ring of Honor TV – April 27, 2016: ROH Doing New Japan The WWE Way

Ring of Honor
Date: April 27, 2016
Location: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Attendance: 1,367
Commentators: Kevin Kelly, Mr. Wrestling 3

We’re still in Japan and back in February with more matches from Honor Rising 2016. At this point you almost have to expect Ring of Honor to skip most of the Dallas stuff and just do a new set of TV tapings in May with the New Japan guys again. There won’t be anything major in storyline terms here but hopefully the action will be good. Let’s get to it.

Jay Lethal/Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada/Yoshi-Hashi

Okada is the IWGP World Champion but has since lost the title to Naito, who is kind of a loner, which is why he’s the leader of a stable. Lethal and Okada start things off in what’s actually a pretty cool visual. They trade wristlocks to start as we get the silent treatment (not a bad thing) from the fans. An early Lethal Injection attempt is countered (amazingly enough) but Jay ducks the Rainmaker to get us to a standoff. Naito doesn’t want to tag in and we take a break.

Back with Naito tagging in to jump over the apron and dropkick Naito for two. A quick Codebreaker allows for the tag off to Okada who eats a tornado DDT for his efforts. Lethal adds a roaring elbow but accidentally superkicks Naito (thankfully without a Young Bucks reference), allowing Okada to dropkick him down. The hot (minus the crowd reaction) tag brings in Yoshi for a neckbreaker and Blockbuster for two each. The Book of Truth is brought in to poor results but Naito’s goon Evil (formerly known as Watanabe) shoves Yoshi off the top, setting up the Lethal Injection for the pin at 12:56.

Rating: C+. This was fine and Lethal is really starting to feel like a major player instead of someone in over his head. I’m still not a big fan of the guy but he’s improved by leaps and bounds in the last year or so. Naito was fun to watch but I need to see more of him to get the idea of his whole deal.

Naito reads the Book of Truth and then uses it to pound on Yoshi. Jay shakes his hand post match to imply a future partnership.

Kazarian vs. Kushida

Kushida’s IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title isn’t on the line. It’s a fight over a top wristlock to start as the announcers talk about the referee’s career. Kushida gets in an early Hoverboard Lock but Kazarian bails to the ropes. That’s fine with Kushida as he rides Kazarian on the mat to take us to a break.

Back with Kazarian snapping the throat across the ropes and getting in the slingshot DDT. We hit the choking with Kushida pointing to his throat as he can’t breathe. A Backstabber gets two on Kushida as Kelly says we’ll be seeing more Honor Rising stuff for weeks to come. Kushida gets in a dropkick to send Kazarian out to the floor and there’s a big flip dive to take him out again.

Back in and it’s off to the submission attempts so Kazarian goes American with a rake to the eyes. An electric chair into a rollup gets two as the announcers talk about Japanese baseball. Kazarian loads up the Flux Capacitor (because both of these guys LOVE Back to the Future in a parallel the announcers miss) but Kushida grabs the Hoverboard Lock to slam Kazarian down to the mat. Another Hoverboard Lock makes him tap at 9:37.

Rating: C. I liked this more than I was expecting to but really I just want to go watch Back to the Future. Kushida still doesn’t do much for me and Kazarian hasn’t been the same guy I used to be a fan of back in TNA. I’m also not sure why you wouldn’t make this a title match to add a little spice. The wrestling was fine though.

The Briscoes get into shenanigans on the streets of Tokyo.

Elite vs. ReDRagon/Katsuyori Shibata

Elite is a subset of Bullet Club comprised of Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks because we haven’t seen them enough on the regular shows. The Elite is sent out to the floor and Shibata and Omega fight past the barricade. The Bucks try stereo sunset flips and get caught in matching cross armbreakers. Shibata puts Omega in one as well, only to get powerbombed onto his partners. Omega is left alone in the ring so he dives over the top to take everyone down.

We take another break and come back with the Elite taking turns choking Fish. A tag match breaks out of all the fighting with Nick telling Fish to suck it several times. Bobby suplexes Nick into Matt and makes the tag off to Kyle while Shibata is nowhere to be seen. Chasing the Dragon is broken up and it’s off to Shibata vs. Omega for the big slugout. Shibata gets in a choke and the Bucks can’t break it up.

A double superkick puts him down to one knee and the triple version gets two. Everything breaks down and Omega throws Shibata off a tornado DDT, setting up the superkick party. Everyone kicks everyone until Kyle counters the One Winged Angel into a guillotine choke. Matt sprays something in Kyle’s eyes though and it’s the One Winged Angle to put O’Reilly away at 10:16.

Rating: B-. Best match of the night here as Omega continues to look like a star. Shibata is fine in the Ken Shamrock mold of cyborg submission machine and it’s a good time whenever I get to see the Bucks get beaten up. ReDRagon is still one of the best things about ROH but they’re at the weird point where the Tag Team Titles don’t mean anything to them anymore.

Overall Rating: C. “So you know how we’ve been showing you these matches that don’t mean anything for weeks on end? Well how about paying to see a full pay per view of them?” That’s the WWE style of booking TV to a pay per view and it doesn’t work for either promotion. The limited interest I had in seeing Global Wars and War of the Worlds has been thrown out the window now because I’ve watched these big names for the better part of a month. Where’s the incentive to keep watching and even pay for another show?

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3 comments

  1. Bradley316 says:

    I can explain Naito. For a while he was this goody-two-shoes babyface when he debuted in New Japan. A Tanahashi Junior only not as cool. He was kind of like Roman Reigns in that the bookers were shoving Naito down people’s throats. He was being pushed very hard in 2013 where Naito won the G1 Climax. After he lost to Okada for the IWGP title at Wrestle Kingdom 8, he stayed in the upper mid-card and didn’t do much.

    While still being a pretty boy babyface, he wasn’t getting much crowd support. If I remember correctly, in 2015 at a show in Osaka (Japan’s smart mark city), Naito was loudly booed by the audience at that show. Shortly after that, they finally changed his gimmick to the Los Ingobernables stable.

    For several years prior, Naito’s tag team partner was La Sombra from the CMLL promotion. La Sombra was a member of the Los Ingobernables in Mexico and Naito became a member of that stable in Mexico. In mid-2015 Naito debuted his current gimmick. He was representing Los Ingobernables in Japan. He would act like a total jerk in numerous tag team matches and would always be reluctant to help whoever his random partner was (usually a babyface). The Japanese crowds really started booing him quite a bit. This lasted until Watanabe and BUSHIDA showed up and then they became the Japanese Los Ingobernables.

    Naito pretty much became the top heel in New Japan. If he wasn’t over as a babyface, he sure got over as a heel. With all the departures in NJPW, they moved his spot up to his current main event status.

    That’s kinda long winded. I should have just said to look it up on Wikipedia!

    Bradley316 Reply:

    That’s BUSHI, not BUSHIDA!

  2. John says:

    ROH is also asking you to spend 35 to 45 dollars on their PPV’s.