ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard: Match grades, what worked, what didn’t, what’s next

first_imgJoin DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearHere are the G1 Supercard match grades and a recap courtesy of SN’s Steven Muehlhausen.ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard Pre-Show GradesHonor RumbleMuehlhausen: A fun way to get the talent that wasn’t going to be on the main card on the show at such a historical event. What happened was a standard battle royal mixed in with a giant surprise at the end when Japanese legend The Great Muta was the last guy out, as he received a loud ovation from the crowd at MSG. The final four were thought to be Muta, Jushin Liger, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia. Muta threw out O’Ryan and Liger tossed Marseglia over the top rope. Fans were losing their minds when Muta and Liger stared each other down. They exchanged a couple holds and then Kenny King, who many thought had been eliminated, came back into the ring and threw out the Japanese legends to earn a future shot at the Ring of Honor heavyweight title.Grade: CWhat’s next:  King gets a crack at the winner of the ROH heavyweight title match between Jay Lethal, Matt Taven and Marty Scurill.ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard main card gradesWill Ospreay vs. Jeff CobbMuehlhausen: Couldn’t ask for a better start by going with Ospreay and Cobb and the finish was surprising.A loud ovation for Ospreay before the match began. Early on, you could see the story was going to be the power of Cobb — like when he performed a one-arm suplex from the middle turnbuckle and was holding Ospreay in the air for over 10 seconds — and the aerial attack of Ospreay, as the height Ospreay gets on his moves from the ropes is the highest in wrestling today.For a man near 300 pounds, Cobb is very light on his feet, evidenced by a standing moonsault halfway through the bout.The finish occurred when Ospreay tried for an OsCutter. Cobb blocked it and tossed the Englishman into the turnbuckle. Ospreay, though, landed on the middle ropes and this time around, connected on the OsCutter.Cobb and Ospreay were on the top rope when Cobb hit a super Tour of the Islands. Cobb went back to the well one more time and did another Tour of the Islands for the win to add to the NEVER Openweight championship in addition to his ROH TV title.Grades: B+What’s next:  Cobb will face Taichi for the NEVER title in the near future.Dalton Castle vs. RushMuehlhausen: Interesting way to go as Rush came out quickly and hit a drop kick to send Castle into the corner. Moments later, Rush hit the Bull Horns drop kick in the corner to win in just 20 seconds, much to the surprise of the crowd.The stunning finish was the right call. Rush continues to look strong, as ROH tries to build the Mexican star’s name in the United States.Grade: C-What’s next: Hard to see where they go with Rush. A program with one of the losers of the world title match wouldn’t be the worst idea.Mayu Iwatani vs. Kelly KleinMuehlhausen: An underwhelming match to say the least and the fans let them know that by sitting on their hands. Beyond a cross body block on the outside by Iwatani, a lot of the ladies’ moves were slow. Iwatani went for a moonsault, and Klein got out of the way. Klein clotheslined Iwatani nearly out of her boots. Then, Klein hit two K-Powers to win her second Women of Honor championship.Grade: DWhat’s next: After the match, the debuting Angelina Love and Velvet Sky along with Mandy Leon were with Klein in the ring when Leon attacked the new champion from behind and left her laying. From what happened, a Klein-Leon should be on the horizon.Bully Ray vs. Flip GordonMuehlhausen: Originally, Ray was supposed to take on Juice Robinson. But the former WWE, WCW and ECW tag team champion beat up Robinson in the locker room at the start of the event and was declared unfit to wrestle.A pleasant surprise of Gordon replacing Robinson in the New York City Street Fight to finish off their feud. It would have been nice, though, to have Ray and Gordon go one-on-one instead of it looking like a six-man tag team match with Silas Young and Shane Taylor helping Ray and running out, and Robinson and Mark Haskins at the aid of Gordon.Ray powerbombed Gordon through a table. Haskins and Robinson grabbed Ray from ringside and gave him a low blow. Haskins performed the Wassup spot to Ray and Gordon and covered Bully to win the match with all three of them announced as the winners.The action wasn’t bad, but it was too confusing because you had no idea what was going on in there and who was facing who. Hardcore matches should be simple without having to think about what it is going on.Grade: CWhat’s next: Hopefully, this means Gordon can move into the TV title picture with Jeff Cobb and inch towards the world title by the end of the year. Gordon has a good look, is becoming a better wrestler each time he’s out there and has an excellent connection with the fans. A recipe for a future world champion. Dragon Lee vs. Bandido vs. Taiji Ishimori Muehlhausen: Best match on the show even it went nine minutes. How do you give three of the best wrestlers in the world only nine minutes? Pretty ridiculous that these guys didn’t get at least double that amount of time.Due to the time constraints, all three guys came out firing off their aerial maneuvers to the delight of the MSG crowd, who were into it from the get-go. We saw flips, moonsaults, hurricanranas, and dives. You name the dangerous high spot, Lee, Bandido, and Ishimori did it.The finishing sequence happened when Lee executed a sit-out powerbomb style on Bandido to pin him and win the belt.A miscarriage of justice was done here. Lee, Bandido, and Oshimori were on their way to a classic, and their legs were cut out from under them. Grade: A-What’s next:  The victory should set Lee up to face Hiromu Takahashi when he returns from his neck injury that was caused by Lee in their match last July.Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa vs. PCO and Brody King vs. Evil and Sanada vs. Jay Briscoe and Mark BriscoeMuehlhausen: The match placement hurt this one and the fact, like the last match, that it was way too short.  It was also way too close from the street fight about 20 minutes beforehand. The eight men did nothing wrong. Everything they did was crisp, solid and looked believable. Quite surprising at the age of 51, PCO is still doing all of these crazy spots when he did a somersault off the top rope onto the ring apron to connect on poor Mark Briscoe. Tonga and Loa picked up PCO and powerbombed him over the rope and to a padded floor. The two members of The Bullet Club shifted their focus to King, as they hit the super powerbomb to win the match and add the ROH tag team titles to their IWGP straps.Grade: C+What’s next:  Wouldn’t mind seeing this matchup again for the ROH gold as long as it’s given more time.Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hiroshi TanahashiMuehlhausen: The crowd loved Tanahashi. A very good match that like the previous two was cut short right when Sabre and Tanahashi were getting into a groove. From the looks of things, the final three bouts are going to get a ton of time. Tanahashi exemplified why he’s one of the best in the business by knowing how to adapt to all types of different styles. He did it here by using Sabre’s bread and butter, which is mat wrestling and trying a variety of submissions.A unique and surprise ending when Sabre had Tanahashi wrapped like a pretzel and to the shock of the crowd, the Japanese superstar verbally tapped out. Sabre retains the British heavyweight championship.Would have loved to see this go another 15 minutes, as a good story was being told between the two. Grade:  B+What’s next:  Hard to see where Sabre is going. He’s one of the guys who is right outside the top tier in New Japan. Wouldn’t mind seeing Sabre getting into a program with new IWGP Intercontinental champion Kota Ibushi.Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota IbushiMuehlhausen: At this point, this was the best match of the night.Naito and Ibushi put it all on the line and showed a little bit of everything to the pleasure of the fans. They brawled, performed aerial moves and even a little bit of chain wrestling. Every move executed by both guys meant something. No wasted motion whatsoever which got the people emotionally invested the entire time. Naito controlled the match by focusing on Ibushi and setting him up for the Destino. Naito nailed the Destino, but Ibushi kicked out to a giant roar. Incensed, Naito went for Destino one more time, but Ibushi hit two knees, and Naito kicked out. Ibushi hits a powerbomb, but Naito kicked out again. With the title within his grasp. Ibushi connects with the Kamegoye to win the Intercontinental title for the first time.Grade: AWhat’s next: As stated above, an Ibushi-Sabre program would be a thing of beauty.Jay Lethal vs. Matt Taven vs. Marty ScurllMuehlhausen: A better than I expected ladder match from these three. They worked hard, but the crowd didn’t know who to root for. I’m shocked they didn’t get behind Lethal and Scurll since they are considered the bigger stars. When Taven walked out, the crowd made it abundantly clear that they wanted him to lose by receiving no reaction while walking to the ring. The use of the ladder was well done and evoked in the right situations, unlike many matches where it’s applied more often than it needs to be.After Scurll suplexed Taven onto a couple of ladders, Lethal hit the Lethal Injection on Scurll. A few moments later, Lethal climbed a humongous ladder and dropped a thunderous elbow on Taven through a table to a great reaction from the MSG crowd. It comes down Taven and Lethal on top of a tall purple ladder. Taven was inches away from grabbing the title from the hook above the ladder, but Lethal stopped him. They exchanged heavy shots until Taven shoved the belt into Lethal’s face. The move sent Lethal crashing onto another ladder, and Taven snatched the championship to win the ROH championship for the first time.The crowd HATED the finish. They wanted anyone, but Taven walking out on top of the ROH mountain. Taven’s good in the ring, but something needs to change with him, as the fans aren’t buying him. To be a successful world champion and wrestler overall, you need to have a reason to care about the character. Ring of Honor needs to explain that going forward or it’s going to be a bumpy road for the next few months.Grade: BWhat’s next: Since Lethal had a lengthy title reign, the program with him and Taven should continue for the next couple months.Jay White vs. Kazuchika OkadaMuehlhausen: Best match of the show and the weekend so far. It was flawless execution from Okada and White. Okada came out to a rock star reaction and White received a loud chorus of boos. The crowd gave it a big match feel before Okada and White even locked up. The story told is one not often done in the U.S., but one told in Japan quite often where you have a slow build to where when it gets to the latter part of the match and you have everyone on the edge of their seats. The heel tendencies by White were fantastic. Whether it’s going up to the top turnbuckle to pose after performing a move or escaping from the clutches of Okada, the crowd eats it up and boos him intensely.Around the 25-minute mark, White tries for a Blade Runner, but Okada hits two successive Rainmakers. White kicked out at 2 9/10 to the amazement of the crowd. A great spot there. White got up and finally hit the Blade Runner, but cannot cover Okada. They rose to their knees and exchanged a series of blistering forearms. White’s manager, Gedo, tried to interfere, but got thwarted by the referee. That allowed White to hit Okada with a low blow. After a series of quick reversals, Okada blasts White with his customary high drop kick. White was kicking Okada, but the former wouldn’t let go of his wrist and hit a Rainmaker. Okada hits another Rainmaker, a spinning tombstone piledriver and one final Rainmaker to win his fifth IWGP heavyweight championship. Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling had the spotlight during WrestleMania weekend Saturday night, live from a sold-out Madison Square Garden with a fantastic G1 Supercard.And every match delivered, meaning that WrestleMania 35 on Sunday night has big shoes to fill. Okada is the face of New Japan and having him regain the gold on your biggest show to date in the U.S. was the correct move.Grade:  A+What’s next: That’s the million dollar question and it’s hard to answer considering what happened on the show. If NJPW can agree to a deal to bring back either Chris Jericho or Kenny Omega, then that should be the direction to go.last_img read more

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