New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor have announced the match lineups for the upcoming Honor Rising events that will take place on Friday, February 23rd and Saturday, February 24th at Korakuen Hall.
Both shows will be airing at 4:30 am Eastern on those days with English commentary available on New Japan World.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD AT KORAKUEN HALL
*Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and Chase Owens vs. Cody, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page
*Hirooki Goto vs. Beer City Bruiser for the NEVER Openweight title
*Jay White, Beretta, and Chuckie T. vs. Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal, and Ryusuke Taguchi
*KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Flip Gordon
*The Young Bucks vs. Juice Robinson and David Finlay
*Guerillas of Destiny and Hikuleo vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Delirious, and Cheeseburger
*Bad Luck Fale and Yujiro vs. Toa Henare and Katsuya Kitamura
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH AT KORAKUEN HALL
*Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi vs. Cody and Marty Scurll
*Dalton Castle vs. Beretta for the ROH title
*Jay White, Chuckie T., and Yoshi-Hashi vs. The Young Bucks and Hangman Page
*Bad Luck Fale and Guerillas of Destiny vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Delirious, and Cheeseburger for the NEVER six-man tag titles
*Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi and Flip Gordon
*Jay Lethal, Juice Robinson, and David Finlay vs. Yujiro, Chase Owens, and Hikuleo
*Toa Henare vs. Beer City Bruiser
It definitely feels like this is going to be used to help draw more clear lines within the sand that Bullet Club and The Elite stand on. I can see the night two matches driving wedges between the Bucks and Page, as well as Marty and Cody, to more clearly define who stands where without stating it outright just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if this all got stretched out long enough to get us to Supercard of Honor at least before seeing who falls where officially within the ranks of Bullet Club.
I hope so, I know it drives suspense to keep the fans waiting to see who goes where but I hope it isn’t dragged out too far into 2018. With Omega only signed for this year, allowing him for one to draw lines help give him a last run (provided he doesn’t resign with NJPW for another year - but who knows)
Also It helps put Bullet Club back in a good place and push them back into heel territory which is sorely needed in NJPW now that LiJ is turning face, and Suzuki-Gun being a bit like cartoonish thugs when Suzuki or KES is not leading the pack.
I don’t think whomever is chosen to be leader of Bullet Club has to be their top guy, Anderson was solid before Styles came to take the reigns. I think Tama Tonga would be a great leader, with Cody running Bullet Club USA
If Cody leads Bullet Club, he leads it as a whole or not at all; that’s a crucial part of this dispute between him and Kenny, as he feels that they currently share that leader title and that Omega’s leadership has taken them down the wrong path. I can see Tama and the rest of the BCOG’s spliting off from the Being the Elite group entirely; Tama leading the Bullet Club (GoD, Fale, Yujiro, and possibly Chase), Kenny leading The Elite (Bucks, Ibushi and Marty) and Cody leading his own group (with Hangman, perhaps Jay White, and a fresh tag team - maybe poach KES or R3K from their respective groups) - Bullet Club and CHAOS in particular are really bloated right now, and Suzuki-gun could use a trim too, so I think the timing is perfect for some stable shuffling leading to good old fashioned faction warfare.
As far as Omega’s contract goes, apparently New Japan signs all gaijin talent to one year contracts and nothing more, but they specifically made a date adjustment this time with Kenny to ensure that he’s signed until the very end of January 2019; that feels like a way to ensure that he’s not available for the Rumble next year. I’m doubtful however that Kenny, who is incredibly creative, would thrive in WWE, where they’re so rigid with how they do things. He can stay with New Japan and help them grow internationally and become their face for the North American crowd, or he can go to WWE and risk being miserable and lost in the shuffle. Never say never, of course, but listening to him in interviews, I don’t think he’d like the WWE system at all.
Honestly it could be anything. WWE stories of late read like a children’s book - you can see what is coming from a mile away.
ROH and NJPW - they seem to have a good grasp on suspense and hype and letting the talent enhance stories on their own (i.e., Being the Elite and now Guerrillas of Destiny) is incredible fun. I am far more invested now and seeing stories unfold between shows thanks to this content has me feeling like a kid again watching Saturday Night Main Event with my dad on my 24" floor model tube TV.
I agree with you @MrMulligan 100%! I am truly joyful when I see a new video drop from BTE, or now NJPWWorld with the mini-doc on Golden Lovers comeback. Everywhere, even twitter, is smart story telling. The Bucks have mostly been radio silent on a platform which is actually really smart “booking” of them. Everyone seems so committed to telling a true wrestling story in a lot of ways. Props all around. This is why I’m sold on Honor Rising being a place for major story progression. Everyone’s together under one roof
I didn’t know there was a mini-doc on the Golden Lovers, I will have to check that out. I still haven’t found the time to watch the Chris Jericho mini-doc from WK12 and I’ve heard it is pretty stellar. Of course whenever you let Jericho wax poetic about pro-wrestling his musings tend to be interesting.
I didn’t either but after this video I wound up watching one more mini clip which had a highlight of their DDT match. I watched said DDT match and boy was I glad I did. One of the most fun matches I’d ever watched!! Highly recommend.
My understanding of the Golden Lovers is that they teamed in DDT when Kenny was just starting out in Japan. And were a very unique team with innovative moves and unlike any team before in that regard. I’ve always wondered if there was more to the name, given the little known about Kennys personal life. To say I’m looking forward to their reunion in the ring is an understatement and I think NJPW has an enormous main event at a G1 or even WK13 show