NJPW Honor Rising Preview (2/23): Golden Lovers Reunite, NEVER Title Defense, Huge 3-Way Match & More; How to Watch

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The stars of both Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling invade Korakuen Hall this Friday morning for part one of their two-day HONOR RISING tour. The show will be broadcast live on New Japan World beginning at 4:30am ET and will feature English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.


KENNY OMEGA, KOTA IBUSHI & CHASE OWENS
vs. CODY RHODES, MARTY SCURLL & HANGMAN PAGE

The main event will see the first in-ring collision between Kenny Omega and the “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes ahead of their upcoming singles match at Supercard of Honor, as Omega reunites with Kota Ibushi and Chase Owens to take on Cody, “The Villain” Marty Scurll and Hangman Page in a six-man tag team match.

It was Cody’s rivalry with Ibushi that originally started this division within Bullet Club, after the six-star performer made it very clear that his old friend and former tag team partner was off limits, and beyond the group’s reach. Since the attack on Omega at NJPW New Beginning,  most of the faction’s members have been manipulated by Rhodes behind the scenes, on recent episodes of Being The Elite, while others have expressed their desire not to pick sides at all.

This match will also be the first time the Golden Lovers have shared a ring since 2014. New Japan World released a documentary short earlier this month showing the two training together for the first time in four years, working on new double team finishers and trying to get their chemistry back.

NEVER Openweight Championship Match
HIROOKI GOTO (c) vs. BEER CITY BRUISER

The Bruiser will go it alone here in his first ever match in Japan, taking on strong style expert and veteran NJPW warrior Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship. Goto managed to take the belt off the terrifying Minoru Suzuki at Wrestle Kingdom this year, so Bruiser is really going to have to step up his game if he wants to stand a chance. Interestingly, this is also Beer City’s first ever singles championship match for Ring of Honor, so regardless of the outcome his performance here could dictate some major opportunities for him down the line.

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DALTON CASTLE, JAY LETHAL & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
vs. THE BEST FRIENDS & JAY LETHAL

I’m not sure whether Ryusuke Taguchi will be joining the Peacock Nation for one night one, or if the ROH World Champion will be joining the hilarious ranks of Taguchi Japan, but either way this should be a fun six-man bout. It’s also something of a proving ground, as the newly heavyweight Trent Beretta will face Dalton Castle for the title on night two this Saturday. Also, Taguchi and Chuck Taylor in the same ring sounds like a recipe for the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

KUSHIDA vs. FLIP GORDON vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI

There’s really no storyline reason for this to be happening, other than Ring of Honor wanting to put on a potential show-stealing performance featuring its greatest high-flyer taking on the two best junior heavyweights in Japan today. Given what three of these men are capable, this has a chance to be one of the most must-see matches of the year. Plus, with Will Ospreay not working this tour, the winner of this bout makes a great case to be next in line for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.

Also signed…

– Katsuya Kitamura & Toa Henare vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi

– Jushin Thunder Liger, Delirious & Cheeseburger vs. Guerrillas of Destiny & Leo Tonga

– Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. The Young Bucks