6/24/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Roderick Strong
The first match of the card was also my favorite. The timing of the match airing was very fortuitous because it pitted ROH’s newly-crowned #1 Contender against one of the three NJPW stars at the very pinnacle of his country’s wrestling industry. Although Strong did not come away victorious, he gave Nakamura a great challenge, which is an accomplishment for any wrestler. On top of all of that, it was a clever pairing- the “King of Strong Style” against a wrestler who appropriated the style for his stage name.
They started on the mat, exchanging holds, while Strong worked on Nakamura’s shoulder. In response, Nakamura used his trademark knees and traded forearms with Strong. Very suddenly, Strong hit a double-knee backbreaker and got a near fall. Meanwhile, a cut on his forehead started to obscure his vision, likely as a consequence of the forearm shots earlier in the match.
Nakamura fought out of a Strong Hold and locked Strong into a sleeper. When he could not get it cinched in fully, he turned it into a series of suplexes. Nakamura went to the top rope and delivered a knee strike. He missed the Boma Ye knee and Strong responded with a double-knee gutbuster and the Strong Hold. He couldn’t get a submission, but he followed that move with a Sick Kick and a vicious backbreaker for a very near fall. A reenergized Nakamura hit a Boma Ye and was shocked that he only got a one count. He came off the ropes and hit an even stiffer Boma Ye and it finally got him an impressive win.
AJ Styles and the Young Bucks def. Kazuchika Okada and Roppongi Vice
While five of the six participants in the main event are fairly regular ROH guests, both teams were made up entirely of wrestlers on the NJPW regular roster. Naturally, it was such a crazy spot fest that it was more of a comedy match than a real wrestling contest. While I won’t look down on people who scoff at such matches, I think these wrestlers- the Bucks in particular- are the best in the world at executing them. Therefore, the matches can be outrageously fun, even if non-traditional.
Rocky Romero hit the first crazy spot- a double hurricanrana on both Matt and Nick Jackson. Shortly thereafter, the Bucks started their superkick party. Romero hit a variation of a Doomsday Device from the apron to the floor in which he used his knee for the strike. Okada countered a Styles Clash into a tombstone, but missed the Rain Maker lariat to follow. Nick hit a springboard facebuster and a rope-hung swanton. They combined for More Bang for Your Buck, although a blind tag prevented it from ending the match. Okada missed another attempt at the Rain Maker and the Bucks came to Styles’s aid.
All six men faced off in the ring and the Bullet Club members hit simultaneously superkicks on their three opponents and then teamed up with three superkicks to Okada at the same time. They hit a spike piledriver, a Meltzer Driver, two superkicks, and a Styles Clash consecutively on Trent Barreta to end the insanity and get the win.
Michael Elgin def. Gedo
The middle match of the card got somewhat lost between the two impressive bookends. Elgin was too powerful for Gedo from the beginning. He hit a very long delayed vertical suplex and several other suplex variants. Gedo found an opening when Elgin missed a moonsault and followed with several strikes. Elgin recovered and hit a buckle bomb and Elgin Bomb to get the win.