“Let’s face it. You’re either Team Kenny, or Team Cody.”
The Bullet Club dissension storyline that has played out on Being the Elite and New Japan shows over the past two months took center stage on the first night of Honor Rising 2018.
“Bullet Club is fine. And I’ll add one more thing. Bullet Club is mine,” Cody said, after his team defeated the reunited Golden Lovers and Chase Owens in the main event, adding another layer of tension and drama to the schism in the most popular faction in the wrestling world.
That storyline will continue to play out on night two of the event, with the Golden Lovers set to take on Cody and Marty Scurll in tag team action in the main event.
Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale defeated Katsuya Kitamura & Toa Henare
The story here was Kitamura and Henare showing great heart and fighting spirit even as they went down in defeat to the veteran team. Takahashi worked over Kitamura with chops and a legdrop. Fale tagged in and clobbered Kitamura with forearms. Henare got a hot tag but was cut off. Kitamura tagged back in and went for the jackhammer on Bad Luck, but he could not get him all the way up. Fale got a nearfall with a lariat, then hit the Grenade for the pinfall victory on Kitamura. Kitamura tripped over his own feet at one point and was less than graceful, but Henare’s offense looked good.
Jushin Thunder Liger, Cheeseburger, & Delirious defeated HIKULEO, Tanga Loa, & Tama Tonga
Liger and HIKULEO worked the bulk of the match for thier teams, mixing a decent amount of comedy with Liger selling big for HIKULEO. Delirious has slowed down a lot since I saw him last. The crowd loved Cheeseburger. The finish saw Cheeseburger hit HIKULEO with the Shotei, and he and Liger helped the legal man, Delirious, hold HIKULEO down for the pin. After the bout, Liger and the babyfaces kissed the referee’s head. Nothing special, but it’s fun to see the continuing progression of HIKULEO.
The Young Bucks defeated David Finlay & Juice Robinson
The Bucks put on a clinic in the early part of the match, showcasing a bunch of cool double team moves and playing to the crowd, who loved every bit of it. Juice tagged in and hit multiple belly-to-belly suplexes on the Bucks, which got over big. Juice hit a standing senton for a nearfall on Matt. Finlay and Juice worked over Matt’s bad back, but Matt fired back with right hands, and made the tag to Nick. Nick ran wild on Finlay and Juice, and hit a dive to the outside. The Bucks used stereo Sharpshooters, but Juice and Finlay reached the ropes.
Juice went for a powerbomb, but Matt rolled through, and they did a double down. Nick made the tag and the Bucks hit stereo dropkicks. The Bucks teased a Meltzer Driver, but Finlay rolled up Nick for a nearfall. Juice tagged in and hit his Dusty Rhodes jabs and crotch chopped the Bucks. Finlay made a tag and ate a knee to the face for a nearfall. Nick took Juice out with a dive from the apron, then followed up with a Meltzer Driver on Finlay, allowing Matt to score the pin. Good stuff, and the crowd loved it.
Flip Gordon defeated KUSHIDA & Hiromu Takahashi
Flip got the opportunity to shine in the opening minute, showcasing his athleticism. KUSHIDA cut him off, tossed Takahashi to the outside, and went to work on Flip’s left arm. Takahashi worked his way into the match and pounded on Flip’s right leg, including employing a dragon screw. Flip fought back and hit a one-legged standing moonsault for a nearfall. The action spilled outside, and Flip was sent into the barricade, leaving Takahashi and KUSHIDA to do spots together in the ring. These guys were working at about three-quarters speed, and they still athletically blew away everything on the show to this point.
Flip worked his way back inside and missed a 450 on KUSHIDA, landing on his feet and selling the bad knee. He followed with a standing shooting star for a nearfall. KUSHIDA hit a flying armbar off the top rope on to Takahashi, but Flip broke it up with a springboard attack from the ropes. KUSHIDA locked the Hoverboard on Flip, but Takahashi broke up an attempt to transition to Back to the Future. Takahashi went for Time Bomb, but Flip slipped out.
Flip hit a crossbody on both men, then tossed KUSHIDA to the floor, as KUSHIDA took a crazy bump off the apron. Flip hit a 450 on Takahashi to earn the victory. The finish was a little bit out of the blue, and a little flat, but the action was excellent, and this is worth going out of your way to check out.
“Chuckie T” Chuck Taylor, Beretta, & IWGP United States Champion Jay White defeated ROH World Champion Dalton Castle, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Jay Lethal
A lot of your typical Taguchi comedy kicked things off here, including the mandatory butt spot. Taylor and Beretta worked over Taguchi, before Lethal tagged in and ran wild on both of them. Lethal used a figure four on White, but the Best Friends broke it up. Taguchi tagged in and hit a hip attack on White for a nearfall. They traded cradle attempts for a series of nearfalls, before Taguchi transitioned to the ankle lock. White slipped out, before hitting the Blade Runner on Taguchi for the victory. Way too much Taguchi for this to be taken seriously as a match, and it felt like this was a step down for White in terms of positioning, having to sell for Taguchi.
Hiroki Goto defeated The Beer City Bruiser to retain the NEVER Openweight Title
The Bruiser sent Goto to the outside and hit a flip dive off the apron. They exchanged chops on the floor, with Bruiser getting the best of the exchange, and sipping his beer. The Bruiser continued to work over Goto, including using a nerve hold, before Goto came back with a desperation lariat. Goto hit a leg lariat and a suplex for a nearfall. Bruiser hit a cannonball in the corner, and followed with a Vader Bomb for a nearfall.
Goto used a sleeper, as they slowed the pace down before working towards the finish. Goto used a top rope-assisted ushigoroshi for a nearfall. Bruiser missed a frog splash off the top, and Goto followed with another leg lariat. After a double down, they traded lariats, with Bruiser getting the best of the exchange. Goto fired back with a headbutt, and hit the GTR for the win, retaining his championship. Bruiser matches are always a spectacle, but this one was missing something.
Cody, Marty Scurll, & Hangman Page defeated Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, & Chase Owens
Cody got real heel heat coming out, and the Golden Lovers got a massive babyface reaction. Ibushi and Page were in first. They started slow, before the Lovers and Owens used a series of quick tags to take over on Page. Cody jumped in and knocked Ibushi off the apron before Omega and Ibushi could execute their first tag, though, which got a lot of heat. Omega and Scurll became the legal men, and worked on each other’s left arms. Page and Cody attacked Omega from the apron, and Scurll stomped on Omega’s hand. Cody ordered him to do the finger break spot on Omega, but Scurll wasn’t sure he should, and the hesitation allowed Ibushi to cut him off.
Page and Cody sent Ibushi and Omega to the floor, and with Scurll, triple-teamed Owens. Scurll hit a superplex on Owens, and made a tag to Cody. Cody and Page taunted Omega, and tried to get Scurll to join in, but again, he teased feeling conflicted about it. Cody and Page hit their version of the Rise of the Terminator on to Owens on the outside. Back in the ring, Cody worked over Owens. Owens was able to make a tag, and Omega and Ibushi did their first real team spots of the match, including stereo Golden Triangles. Korakuen broke out into a big “Golden Lovers” chant.
Ibushi hit a Last Ride on Scurll for a nearfall. Things broke down into a six-way, and four men brawled to the outside, leaving Omega and Cody alone in the ring. Omega hit a V-Trigger and went for another, but Hangman cut him off with a springboard forearm. Cody went for Cross Rhodes, but Ibushi made the save. Scurll cut Ibushi off and used the chicken wing on Ibushi, while Page did a shooting star from the apron to the floor. They teased a submission, but Ibushi reached the ropes. Scurll went for a pin after an assist from Cody, but Omega made the save.
Ibushi made a tag to Owens, and Scurll did the same to Page. Owens went for the piledriver, but Page slipped out. They traded superkicks and lariats, before Page hit the Rite of Passage for the pin.
After the match, as Omega and Cody began to brawl outside, the Bucks ran out, and tried to play peacemaker. While Omega left with Ibushi, Matt and Nick left with Page, leaving Cody alone in the ring to cut his promo.