Wrestling Review: ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard (2019)

For the first time ever, Madison Square Garden will play host to a joint production from two of the biggest wrestling promotions in the world, as Ring of Honor (ROH) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) present the G1 Supercard. Fresh of winning the New Japan Cup, Kazuchika Okada will seek to claim his fifth IWGP Heavyweight Championship when he does battle with Switchblade Jay White, whilst the ROH Championship will also be defended in a triple threat ladder match, as Jay Lethal goes to war with both Marty Scurll and Matt Taven. Tetsuya Naito will defend the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay and Jeff Cobb will fight for btoh the NEVER Openweight Championship and the ROH Television Championship in a winner takes all match, and CMLL superstar Rush wil do battle with one of ROH longest reigning top champions, Dalton Castle, in an interpromotional exhibition match, All of this and much more at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard, live from Madison Square Garden.

+ Jay White (c) vs Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Championship): this was the real main event of the show, and it was pretty good. I think, especially following the gimmicky Ladder match this was a bit too slow to start with, but the sheer hatred the crowd had for Switchblade was worth the build up. Okada is the best wrestler on the planet, and White has carved a niche of his own with his Switchblade gimmick, so this was a well plotted “good versus bad” match. It was reasonably predictable, but I think the fans more or less knew what they were getting into, so they played their part nicely. I liked this, but the length of the event meant it was not quite as good as it should have been
+ Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Kota Ibushi (IWGP Intercontinental Championship): this was one of my most anticipated matches of the whole weekend, and it did not disappoint. It felt like it went very short, though the time certainly didn’t match that feeling, because I was so entranced the entire time as the action was going on. Both men took huge risks to make a compelling match, and it payed of to a huge degree. If this isn’t one of the best matches of the weekend then we are all in for a treat
+ Guerrillas Of Destiny (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions) (w/ Jado) vs PCO & Brody King (ROH World Tag Team Champions) (w/ Destro) vs EVIL & SANADA vs The Briscoes (Winners Take All): PCO is the greatest wrestler in history, and I will fight you if you disagree. Exactly one year ago, PCO had the greatest resurgence in the history of Pro Wrestling, and it has continued until now. THis match was fast and furious, and one fo the matches on this show where the promotion the guys worked for didn’t hinder their ability to put on a fantastic match. This was great, and evenhad a few interesting moment post-match
+ Taiji Ishimori (c) vs Bandido vs Dragon Lee (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship): holy cow, this was absolutely, unbelievably incredible. All three guys were so smooth, and so perfectly in time with each others crazy offence. The only complaint I could make was that I wish it went longer, because I was enjoying it so much
+ Will Ospreay (NEVER Openweight Champion) vs Jeff Cobb (ROH World Television Champion) (Title vs Title Match): this was the opened, and it was bonkers from the beginning. With Ospreay’s ascent to the heavyweight division, and Cobb’s natural athleticism, this was almost a reversal of what you’d expect, as the smaller guy tried to manhandle the larger, whilst conversely Cobb was flipping around Ospreay’s offence. I really enjoyed this, and I really like the ending in particular

Jay Lethal (c) vs Matt Taven vs Marty Scurll Match for the ROH World Championship): I will never understand why Matt Taven is given the treatment he is. He is the absolute definition of average. In the same vein, Lethal is almost the same as Tanahashi these days; he used to be good, but that nostalgia just doesn’t cut it any more. I didn’t think this match was ever going to end, and the fact that Okada/White was still to come meant this just did not hold my interest. In a bubble I am sure it was fine, but as part of this show, it was just not good
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) (w/ TAKA Michinoku) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (RPW British Heavyweight Championship): this was fine, and it may not go the way many would expect (whichever way that is is up to you), but I just didn’t feel anything for it. Sabre was far and away the preferred choice in the building, and definitely for me watching at home, and I know it’s a taboo thing to say, but I just don’t care for Tanahashi any more
Bully Ray’s NYC Street Fight Open Challenge: holy shit this was the absolute worst. I know what they were going for, and maybe the die-hard ROH fans may get something out of this, but on a show with the IWGP Junior triple threat, Ospreay/Cobb, White/Okada and all the other gold, this was a rusty turd
Mayu Iwatani (c) vs Kelly Klein (Women Of Honor World Championship): holy smokes, Klein was falling out of her “gear”, if that’s what you even want to call it. Iwatani was heads and shoulders above Klein in terms of skill, and even moreso in terms of fan support, but in the end this was a disappointing outing for the Women of Honor, though there were some nice post-match shenanigans to keep things interesting
Rush vs Dalton Castle: simply put, you’ll either love this or hate it, and frankly I am more in the camp of the latter
Honor Rumble: this was fun, in the way that all battle royale/Rumble matches are, but I was more disappointed that so many of the big NJPW stars were seemingly put here as a containment zone. Tomohiro Ishii, Minoru Suzuki and Hirooki Goto were the biggest non-surprise stars, bit at least two of those surprises were real, big surprises. Overall this was fun, but entirely inconsequential

> if that post-tag match situation is real, then you’re in for a good laugh. If it was planned, then we are all in for a strange and horrible time in ROH’s future

Should you watch this event: In relatively even terms, the ROH side of this joint show sucked, and the NJPW side was great. hWGP Junior Heavyweight triple threat match was fantastic, both the Winner Takes All matches were great and Ibushi/Naito is easily one of the best matches of the weekend, if not the year. Both main events were good, but would have been better suited headlining their own shows. Seek out the matches I’ve listed as positives above, and maybe the Rumble on the pre-show, but don’t both with the rest.

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