Ring of Honor: KENTA – Go 2 Sleep

Disc One

GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship
KENTA (Champion) vs. Low Ki

“Final Battle 2005” – Edison, NJ – 12.17.2005

Both men are careful when approaching the opening collar-and-elbow tie up. KENTA breaks it against the ropes and Ki ducks his kick attempt. Ki turns a lock-up in the corner to an armbar in the ropes. Ki releases it at the count of five. Ki locks on a headscissors. KENTA switches out into a hammerlock. Ki chops KENTA against the ropes. Ki delivers some chest kicks and KENTA back elbows him down. KENTA lays in his own chest kicks. Ki kicks him back up to a standing position. KENTA and Ki trade slaps across the face. Ki kicks him in the back of the head. KENTA drops his neck across the top rope and chokes him in the ropes. KENTA’s diving clothesline gets a one count. KENTA pitches Ki out to the floor and sends him into the barricades. KENTA kicks Ki as he’s in the ropes. KENTA slingshots back in and gives Ki a back punt to the head. Ki stops KENTA’s momentum with a Koppu Kick. Ki drops him on the top rope and kicks him to the floor. Ki hops off the top onto KENTA with a double axe handle. Ki gets two back in the ring. Ki ends a strike exchange with an enzuigiri. Ki gets two with a slam. So does a kick to the back. Ki applies a bodyscissors. KENTA drags himself to the ropes to break it. Ki blocks a sunset flip with a double stomp. Ki drives him back first into the barricades. That only gets Ki a two count. Ki trips KENTA onto the second rope and double stomps his back. KENTA uses his last bit of energy to snap off a powerslam. He boots Ki in the corner and mid-ring. He fires himself back up with chest kicks. A springboard dropkick gets him two. More kicks from KENTA. He blocks Ki’s chop and suplexes him into a cross armbreaker. Ki gets the ropes fairly quickly. KENTA gets two with a Falcon Arrow. KENTA and Ki fight on the top rope. Ki puts KENTA in a tree of woe and delivers a double stomp. KENTA kicks out. Ki lights him up with chops. KENTA goes for the KENTA Rush but gets cut off with a springboard chest kick. KENTA kicks out of that as well. Ki throws some Kawada kicks. Ki goes to the top. KENTA pulls a Shelton Benjamin by jumping up and giving him a super Falcon Arrow. Both men lay on the mat catching their breath. They trade slaps when they get back to their feet. KENTA takes Ki down with a hard slap for two. Ki blocks the Busaiku Knee and hits the Ki Krusher for two. Ki hits a cartwheel enzuigiri in the corner. He calls for a second Ki Krusher. Instead, Kenta gives him a Tiger suplex for two. Ki dropkicks KENTA to the corner. Ki hits the Warrior’s Way for two. Ki then misses a Phoenix Splash. KENTA delivers the Go 2 Sleep. He connects with the Busaiku Knee for the pin at 25:00. What a way to make your debut in the company. These two tore the house down and had the fans going hog wild. This was all the awesome wrestling you would expect these two to deliver against one other. The fans are chanting “five star” match, and while I don’t agree, I’d say it’s pretty damn close. ****1/2

KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Bryan Danielson & Samoa Joe
“Best in the World 2006” – New York, NY – 3.25.2006

Joe and KENTA are at odds before the match even starts. Marufuji cleanly breaks a lock-up with Danielson. Danielson twists up his wrist. Marufuji reverses the pressure and brings Danielson to the mat. A quick exchange on the mat leads to a stalemate. Danielson dropkicks Marufuji to the corner after breaking a wristlock. Marufuji backs Danielson to the corner and tags in KENTA. Joe is anxious for the tag, but Danielson won’t give it to him. Danielson brings KENTA to the mat by his arm. KENTA breaks a hammerlock against the ropes and kicks Joe off the apron. This causes Danielson to tag Joe in. They hesitantly throw kicks before Joe lays in knees to KENTA’s face. KENTA backs Joe to the corner and lights him up with kicks and smacks. Joe gives them right back, including a hard kick to the back. Marufuji helps KENTA attack Joe in the opposite corner. Joe however catches Marufuji with an STO. Danielson dropkicks KENTA to the floor, leaving Marufuji to be worn down by the ROH duo. They spend most of their time wearing out Marufuji’s leg. Joe also gets in a few taunts towards KENTA as well. Marufuji escapes their grasp by dropkicking Danielson in the side of the head. KENTA kicks Danielson but then boots Joe to the floor. KENTA throws Joe into the barricades. KENTA kicks away at Danielson’s chest. Marufuji chokes Danielson on the bottom rope behind referee Todd Sinclair’s back. The NOAH team does significant damage to Danielson in their half of the ring. Danielson flips out of the corner and nails KENTA with a discuss forearm to finally tag Joe back in. He tags in Joe who chops both Marufuji and KENTA. He overhead suplexes Marufuji and kicks up KENTA’s chest. Joe big boots KENTA after a Manhattan drop. He lands a senton for two. KENTA kicks Joe in the neck and suplexes him. Marufuji back elbows Joe in the corner. Joe doesn’t budge as Marufuji goes for some shoulder blocks. Marufuji does boot him in the side of the head however. Marufuji dropkicks Joe in the back of the head. Joe gets two with a powerslam. He goes right into a cross armbreaker. Danielson uppercuts KENTA to the floor so he won’t break the hold. Joe puts Marufuji in the STF. Danielson gives Marufuji a diving headbutt when he breaks the submission.

Marufuji and Danielson switch multiple pin attempts, including the cradle that won Danielson his match with Marufuji at Final Battle 2005. Danielson locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing. Marufuji gets the ropes. Marufuji gives Danielson a Shiranui. Danielson blocks it and puts on Cattle Mutilation. KENTA breaks it but then gets sent outside by Joe. Marufuji superkicks Danielson and successfully hits the Shiranui. Joe breaks the cover. KENTA now sends Joe outside. Marufuji delivers a coast-to-coast dropkick while Danielson is in a tree of woe. He goes for a super Shiranui. Danielson turns it into a super belly-to-back suplex. KENTA and Joe both tag in. KENTA delivers a running kick to the face. He also hits a springboard dropkick for two. KENTA drops Joe throat first on the top rope. He gets two with a diving clothesline. Joe drops KENTA with a gord buster. He sets up for the Muscle Buster. Marufuji superkicks him to save his partner. A flurry of palm strikes and knee strikes from KENTA to Joe are paid back by Joe in kind. Joe lariats KENTA and tags out. Danielson kicks KENTA down in the corner. Danielson Dragon suplexes him for two. He puts on Cattle Mutilation. Danielson turns it into a seatbelt pin for two. KENTA breaks out of the Chicken Wing but gets Regalplexed. Marufuji breaks the cover and Joe sends him out. Joe suicide dives after him. Danielson goes up top. KENTA jumps after him and delivers a super Falcon Arrow for two. Danielson’s crucifix pins KENTA to block the Go 2 Sleep. He throws elbows at KENTA’s head. KENTA picks Danielson up and hits the Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 33:35. Although this felt long, the stories between the wrestlers (Danielson being unable to pin Marufuji and KENTA and Joe’s hatred of one another) helped carry things along. The action was intense and hot for most of the contest so it was definitely a success. Just maybe not the all time classic they wanted. ****

KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe
“In Your Face” – New York, NY – 6.17.2006

Danielson wants to see KENTA and Joe start off with each other. They seem to have their sights on Danielson. Danielson kicks Joe’s bad knee and rakes both his and KENTA’s eyes. He throws uppercuts between them. KENTA and Joe kick Danielson’s leg and chest respectively before hitting a tandem chest kick. KENTA then slaps and kicks Joe. Joe catches him with a body slam. Danielson rubs his forearm against Joe’s face. Danielson misses a crossbody off the second rope. Joe powerslams KENTA and Danielson breaks the pin. Danielson stops KENTA’s forearms by raking his eyes. KENTA delivers a hard chest kick to knock Danielson off his feet. He slingshots in and back punts Danielson in the head. Joe smacks KENTA in the face so hard he goes for a pin. Danielson breaks it and trades slaps with Joe. Danielson runs to the floor when he sees how angry Joe is getting. Joe chops him in the corner when he comes back in the ring. KENTA springboard dropkicks both of his opponents. Danielson butterfly suplexes KENTA for two. Joe shrugs off Danielson’s headbutt. He gives Danielson one of his own, followed by some slaps and an enzuigiri. Danielson forearms KENTA and Joe in opposite corners. Joe slams Danielson onto KENTA. Joe and KENTA trade boots. Danielson drags KENTA to the floor. Joe suicide dives onto both of them. Joe and KENTA fight into the crowd, so Danielson springboard dives onto them. Joe ends up back in the ring first. Danielson and KENTA try simultaneous missile dropkicks, but Joe simply walks out of the way to avoid them both. Joe gives Danielson the same Manhattan Drop/Boot/Senton combo he did to KENTA. It doesn’t get him a pin here either. KENTA catches Joe on the top rope and delivers a super Falcon Arrow. Danielson breaks the cover. KENTA snaps Joe’s throat on the top rope. Danielson baits KENTA into the Cattle Mutilation. Joe’s senton breaks the hold. Joe knee strikes KENTA and goes for the Muscle Buster. Danielson clips Joe’s bad leg and stomps on it. Danielson delivers a rolling forearm to KENTA. KENTA ducks a second and kicks Danielson in the side of the head. He gets two with a fisherman’s buster. Danielson forearms KENTA to block the Busaiku knee. He gets two with a Regalplex. Danielson flips off the crowd before giving KENTA a belly-to-back superplex. KENTA manages to kick out. Joe enzuigiri’s Danielson. Danielson forearms him down. Danielson puts KENTA in the Crossface Chicken Wing. KENTA fights out and hits a Tiger Suplex for two. KENTA trips Joe into a cloverleaf. Danielson dropkicks KENTA and puts on Cattle Mutilation. He rolls that into a crucifix for two. Danielson rakes his eyes to block the Go 2 Sleep. Joe puts Danielson on his shoulders. When Danielson rakes Joe’s eyes, he throws Danielson into KENTA’s Go 2 Sleep. KENTA sends Joe out with the Busaiku Knee. KENTA hits a proper Go 2 Sleep on Danielson for the pin at 20:23. Some triple threat matches tend to be awkward, but these guys did a tremendous job keeping the action going without resorting to the old “two guys wrestle while one guy stands by” trick. This was some of the hardest hitting stuff I’ve seen in ROH and just super fun from bell to bell. ****

KENTA vs. Austin Aries
“Chi-Town Struggle” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 6.24.2006

After a couple lock-ups are broken cleanly, they reach a stalemate after looking for control on the mat. Aries switches out of a hammerlock and puts on a side headlock. KENTA smacks Aries after breaking the headlock against the ropes. Aries does the same thing. This leads to a slap battle which KENTA wins. Aries gives him a pair of Japanese armdrags and applies a headscissors. KENTA reverses after a front chancery. Of course, Aries pops out of it and hits a dropkick. Aries hits a slingshot corner elbow. He gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. Aries trips him into the Powerdrive elbow. Aries grabs his ankle while applying a headscissors. Aries turns a gord buster into the Last Chancery. KENTA gets his foot on the ropes to break free. KENTA catches Aries with some kicks from the ring apron. KENTA comes off with a knee strike to Aries’ neck. KENTA kicks Aries in the chest and twists his neck and puts on a Camel Clutch variation. Aries grabs the ropes. KENTA smacks him in the face to block a sunset flip. He puts back on a headscissors. Aries works his way out. KENTA pitches him to the floor and throws him into the barricades. KENTA dropkicks Aries back in the ring. They trade running boots. KENTA wins the exchange and gets a two count. KENTA does his slingshot back punt thing. Aries snapmares him into a couple of back kicks. He drops a knee, then does a slow-motion version for two. KENTA and Aries get into another slap fight. Aries stops the exchange with a shin breaker/suplex combo. He then hits the IED for two. KENTA traps Aries in the ropes. He dropkicks Aries, then slaps him in the face. These slaps put Marshall Eriksen to shame. KENTA nails a springboard dropkick for two. Aries back elbows KENTA and hits a slingshot twisting body press for two. He gets two with a quebrada as well. KENTA gets sent to the floor and Aries follows with the heat-seeking missile. Aries hangs KENTA in a tree of woe. He hits a dropkick and a kick to the back of KENTA’s head. Aries releases him with a neckbreaker for two. KENTA blocks the Finlay Roll. He German suplexes Aries for two. KENTA gets two again with a Tiger suplex. Aries evades the Busaiku Knee. He elbows and lariats KENTA for two. Aries delivers the Finlay Roll and heads up top. KENTA recovers quickly enough to deliver the super Falcon Arrow. Aries kicks out. Aries blocks Go 2 Sleep with a crucifix bomb. Aries and KENTA fight for a big move. Aries punts KENTA in the head and delivers a brainbuster. KENTA kicks out. Aries misses the 450 splash. KENTA hits the Busaiku Knee. He hits a second time. The Go 2 Sleep polishes Aries off at 20:50. This picked up a lot during the home stretch and had some clever exchanges. It wasn’t KENTA’s best match by any means, but a really good back-and-forth contest regardless. ***3/4

KENTA vs. Davey Richards
“Fight of the Century” – Edison, NJ – 8.5.2006

Richards is being billed as KENTA’s American protégé. He and Richards lost to the Briscoes in a tag team match the night before. Richards ducks a kick and KENTA blocks one from Richards. Richards kicks KENTA in the shoulder to break a wristlock. KENTA turns Richards’ headlock into a headscissors. Richards pops out. KENTA powerslams Richards and kicks him thrice in the back. KENTA lays down on a chinlock which Richards breaks by getting the ropes. KENTA kicks up his chest. Richards breaks a second headscissors with the ropes. They exchange forearms. Richards catches KENTA coming off the ropes with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Richards throws his own kicks to the chest. Richards suplexes KENTA for two. Richards chops KENTA up before throwing a big chest kick. Richards ducks KENTA’s boot and drops him on the top rope. He boots KENTA to the floor. Richards and KENTA trade chest kicks by the aisle way. KENTA sends Richards into the barricades and kicks him into the crowd. In the ring KENTA does his slingshot head kick thingamajigger. He gets two with a chest kick. KENTA sends Richards back to the floor. He kicks Richards chest against the barricades. He knee strikes Richards as he hangs on the second rope. Richards catches KENTA with a knee strike to stop his momentum. Richards powerslams him and hits a second rope leg drop for two. Richards blocks KENTA’s boot and suplexes KENTA. KENTA rolls to the floor so Richards suicide dives after him. Richards springboard dropkicks KENTA back in the ring. He throws kicks at his legs and chest. He German suplexes KENTA for two. Richards comes off the second rope and KENTA catches him with an Ace Crusher. KENTA hits his own springboard dropkick. KENTA traps Richards in the corner. Like he did with Aries, he delivers a running boot and a smack to the face. Richards slips out of a suplex. He and KENTA boot each other. Richards drops him with a Saito suplex. KENTA sends Richards to the corner with a huracanrana to counter a powerbomb. KENTA then snaps Richards’ throat on the top rope. Richards counters his springboard move with a powerbomb, then applies the Stretch Muffler. KENTA grabs the bottom rope to escape. KENTA gets fired up by Richards’ kicks. He and Richards dish out Kawada kicks to one another. Richards hits the Damage Reflex, and KENTA comes back with the Busaiku Knee. Both men recover on the mat (and now I know where Richards’ no selling habit comes from). Richards overhead suplexes KENTA to the corner. Richards delivers a lariat for two. KENTA gives him a Tiger suplex when he slides out of the Go 2 Sleep. Richards gives KENTA a gut buster. He successfully hits the Liger Bomb and KENTA kicks out. KENTA gets his knees up to block a shooting star press. KENTA hits the Busaiku Knee for two. Richards crucifixes KENTA to block the Go 2 Sleep. KENTA kicks out. He delivers another Ace Crusher before hitting the Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 19:23. I’m beginning to see that this DVD is making KENTA look like a one trick pony of sorts. That’s not to say his matches aren’t entertaining but a bit too similar when watching them in a condensed format. That being said, the match was fun, makes the Go 2 Sleep look like a move to end all moves and helped Richards raise his stock. They would go on to do much better later on (we will get to that later). ***1/2

ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson (Champion) vs. KENTA

“Glory by Honor V, Night 2” – New York, NY – 9.16.2006

Danielson ducks KENTA’s initial kick. KENTA slaps him in the face after breaking a lock-up. Danielson does the same. Danielson pulls up on KENTA’s arm and shoulder, bringing KENTA to the ropes. Danielson knee strikes him before letting go. KENTA kicks Danielson in his injured shoulder. Danielson takes some time on the floor. KENTA kicks Danielson in the shoulder again, causing Danielson to angrily unload with some strikes. KENTA dishes another kick to the shoulder anyways. Danielson grabs a side headlock to stop KENTA’s offense. They exchange submissions on the mat. KENTA puts a wristlock on Danielson’s bad arm. Danielson dropkicks him to the floor. Danielson follows out only to be kicked in the shoulder multiple times. KENTA throws him shoulder first into the barricades. He does work on Danielson’s shoulder back in the ring. KENTA does that slingshot head kick. Danielson feels insulted by it and takes KENTA down. KENTA keylocks his arm and Danielson desperately grabs the ropes. Danielson goes for a sunset flip. KENTA smacks him in the face. Danielson goes through KENTA’s legs. He knee strikes him in the stomach and delivers a cravat suplex. Danielson throws a bunch of kicks in the corner. He lays his forearm across KENTA’s chest after a suplex. He eye rakes KENTA across the top rope. Danielson stomps his knees into canvas. He twists up KENTA’s legs before putting on a figure four leg lock. This is brilliant, as it will lessen the impact of the Busaiku Knee and the Go 2 Sleep. Danielson slingshots KENTA throat first into the bottom rope. KENTA kicks the inside of his leg to block a boot in the corner. He delivers a boot of his own and kicks Danielson’s bad arm. He even gives the arm a missile dropkick. KENTA puts on a cross armbreaker. Danielson makes it to the ropes. He trips KENTA into a half crab. KENTA grabs the ropes and hits an enzuigiri. Danielson nails a forearm to block the Go 2 Sleep. Danielson superplexes him for a two count. He puts on the Crossface Chicken Wing with a bodyscissors. KENTA gets the ropes.

KENTA gets his feet up to block Danielson’s diving headbutt. KENTA goes for a springboard move and gets caught mid-air by a dropkick. Danielson smartly uses his uninjured arm when throwing punches at KENTA. He has to resort to headbutts to match KENTA’s kicks. They eventually knock each other down. On the floor, KENTA blocks being thrown into the barricades. He turns around and Danielson belly-to-back suplexes him onto the floor. Danielson sends KENTA into the audience and springboard dives out onto him. In the ring Danielson connects with a top rope dropkick. KENTA ducks a forearm and puts a Fujiwara armbar on Danielson’s bad arm. Danielson scurries to the ropes in an expedient fashion. KENTA catches him with an Ace Crusher and re-applies the hold. Danielson gets the ropes again. Danielson Regalplexes KENTA for two. Danielson superplexes him as well, doing some damage to his own shoulder in the process. When KENTA kicks out, Danielson puts on the Cattle Mutilation. KENTA maneuvers towards the ropes to escape. Danielson suplexes KENTA before heading to the top rope. KENTA jumps up but gets thrown back down. Danielson dives off. KENTA catches him on his shoulders and hits the Go 2 Sleep! Danielson puts his foot on the bottom rope to stop the count. KENTA knees Danielson in the back of the head. Danielson blocks the Busaiku Knee with an O’Conner Roll. KENTA kicks out. KENTA boots Danielson in the face. Danielson crucifix pins KENTA to block another Go 2 Sleep. He throws elbows at the side of KENTA’s head while locking his arm. KENTA fires up so Danielson reapplies Cattle Mutilation. KENTA rolls through for a two count. Danielson Tiger suplexes him for two. He puts on the Cattle Mutilation. He throws more elbows and applies it again. KENTA taps out at 33:00, making Danielson the first person to defeat KENTA in ROH. That was pretty damn great. KENTA was smart to after Danielson’s arm but was too focused on hitting Go 2 Sleep to keep with his strategy. That gave Danielson enough time to recover some of the strength and submit KENTA with the move after wearing him down with elbows. This is definitely KENTA’s best ROH match and one of Danielson’s best defenses of the ROH title. ****1/2

KENTA vs. Matt Sydal
“The Bitter End” – Philadelphia, PA – 11.4.2006

This would be KENTA’s last match in ROH until May of 2007. They fight for a waistlock. When that fails they fight for control on the mat. Neither man gets it. KENTA cradles Sydal for a two count. KENTA boots him in the face. Sydal gives him a neck-tie headscissors and a dropkick. Sydal gets two with a legdrop. Sydal dropkicks him in the corner. They go forearm for chop. Sydal actually wins the exchange. KENTA kicks him in the chest a few times. Sydal blocks a suplex to deliver one of his own. Sydal puts him in a Bow and Arrow. KENTA drops Sydal on the top rope. He comes off the top rope with a double stomp to his back. KENTA throws some kicks to the back for a two count. KENTA and Sydal exchange forearms. KENTA wins that exchange and gets a two count. Sydal goes for a sunset flip and gets slapped in the face. Slingshot head kick, now with an obscene arm gesture. KENTA throws him into the barricades. KENTA puts on a Camel Clutch back in the ring, twisting up Sydal’s neck. KENTA turns it into a Boston Crab. Sydal gets the ropes. Sydal hits a leaping clothesline. He breaks out of KENTA’s waistlock and flips into his inverted DDT/legdrop combo. KENTA misses a corner boot. Sydal dumps him to the floor and moonsaults after him. Sydal’s partner Christopher Daniels is cheering him on from the floor. Although KENTA misses a slap, he does hit a running boot. He also hits a springboard dropkick and gets two. Sydal lands on his feet in a Tiger suplex. He sweeps KENTA’s legs out for a standing moonsault. KENTA kicks out. Sydal huracanrana’s him off the top rope. He follows up with the “Here It Is” Driver for two. He stomps on KENTA’s chest before going up top. He misses a shooting star press. KENTA butterfly suplexes him into the corner. He buckle bombs Sydal before delivering a Tiger suplex for two. KENTA powerbombs Sydal to block his huracanrana. KENTA gets two with the Busaiku Knee. Sydal counters the Go 2 Sleep with a huracanrana cradle for two. Sydal hits the corner clothesline. KENTA catches him with an Ace Crusher. He delivers Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 16:45. I am impressed with how much offense Sydal got in here. He looked like a legit match up for KENTA during the duration of the bout. This also went a bit differently than the other matches so far on this DVD which I appreciate. While it wasn’t his best match during his 2006 run, it was a solid way for KENTA to say farewell…for now. ***1/2

KENTA thanks the fans and ROH for having him. This brings out Samoa Joe. Joe seems angry at KENTA initially but puts him over and seems to make peace. The fans chant KENTA’s name. Joe asks KENTA to deliver a message on his behalf and slaps him right in the face. This gets them into a scuffle which is broken up by students and officials. It sucks we never did get a singles match between these two in ROH.

Disc Two

KENTA vs. Rocky Romero
“United We Stand” – Dayton, OH – 6.22.2007

Both men throw some hesitant strikes. Romero backs KENTA to the ropes and kicks him in the thigh. KENTA slaps Romero against the ropes on the opposite side of the ring. Romero pops up form a shoulder block. A slap exchange breaks out. Romero wins it and grabs KENTA’s knee when he goes for a leapfrog. Romero suplexes him for two. He puts on a seated abdominal stretch while tying up his leg. Romero chokes him with his boot. KENTRA throws some forearms. Romero puts him in an Octopus Stretch. KENTA rolls to the ropes to break free. Romero dropkicks him in the side of the head after a Manhattan Drop. ¡Azúcar! KENTA drops Romero across the top rope. He comes off the top with a knee strike to his neck. KENTA puts on a headscissors. Romero rolls to the ropes. Romero goes for a sunset flip and gets slapped in the face. Slingshot head kick! KENTA puts on the Camel Clutch. KENTA turns that into a headscissors. When he goes for a Kimura, Romero freaks out and grabs the rope. Romero catches KENTA with a tornado DDT. KENTA ducks an enzuigiri but eats Romero’s face kick. Romero puts on a hammerlock Guillotine choke. KENTA backs him to the corner to free himself. Romero nails a flying DDT for two. Romero comes off the second rope and gets caught with an Ace Crusher. KENTA delivers another big boot. A springboard dropkick gets him two. KENTA drops Romero on the top rope. Romero shoves KENTA to the floor to block his springboard maneuver. Romero suicide dives onto him. Back in the ring KENTA shoves off a crossbody. Romero still manages to pull off a springboard DDT. He powerbombs KENTA into a jackknife cradle for two. KENTA gives him a fisherman’s suplex. KENTA drops Romero off the top rope with a gordbuster. Romero comes back up and takes KENTA off with the Diablo Armbar. KENTA reaches the ropes. KENTA ducks a big kick. Romero gives him a Tiger Suplex. KENTA delivers one of his own before collapsing. KENTA boots Romero as Romero goes up top. KENTA superplexes him, but Romero grabs a cradle for two. KENTA powerbombs him into the turnbuckles. He gives Romero a running knee strike. The Busaiku Knee only gets him two. Romero rolls up KENTA to block the Go 2 Sleep. They each go for an armbar. KENTA picks up Romero and into the Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 18:42. This had good and back and forth wrestling but missed some of the energy of KENTA’s earlier bouts. I guess that’s what happens when you go from wrestling the top tier guys in the company to others on the card. ***1/4

KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson
“Driven” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 6.23.2007

This highly anticipated rematch starts with a handshake. Danielson throws KENTA to the mat. They jockey for position on the mat but end up reaching a stalemate. Danielson flips KENTA to the mat in a hammerlock. He grinds down on his wrist and drives his arms to the canvas for two. KENTA slaps Danielson in the face. KENTA kicks Danielson’s legs and twists up his wrist. Danielson breaks it and smacks KENTA in the face. KENTA shoulder blocks Danielson and kicks him when Danielson goes for a leapfrog. Danielson takes some time on the floor. KENTA stomps him down in the corner. KENTA kicks him in the back. Danielson escapes KENTA’s headscissors but keeps the legs locked. KENTA grabs the ropes. KENTA smacks Danielson when he goes for a sunset flip. Slingshot head kick! Danielson dragonscrew leg whips KENTA to stop his chest kicks. Danielson puts on a Stretch Plum. Danielson grinds his elbow into KENTA’s face and head. He suplexes KENTA and goes for a cross armbreaker. KENTA struggles but gets the ropes in the end. Danielson hyperextends KENTA’s arm to bring him to the ropes again. He leans back in a Romero Special to get a two count. Danielson taunts KENTA in the corner. KENTA fires back with forearms. They boot each other in the face. KENTA catches Danielson mid-air with an Ace Crusher. More forearms are thrown. KENTA’s running boot and springboard dropkick earn him just a two count. So does a leg lariat. Danielson hops over KENTA in the corner and German suplexes him for two. He goes for the Crossface Chicken Wing. KENTA backs to the ropes before it can be applied. Danielson gives him a backbreaker. KENTA snaps Danielson’s throat on the ropes. Danielson dropkicks him to the floor to block a springboard move. Danielson goes for a suicide dive but is met by a boot. They fight it out on the apron. Danielson suplexes KENTA onto the floor and the spill looked nasty. Danielson’s shoulder seems hurt (because he’s awesome and used that as a small call back to their first match) so it takes a few minutes before he goes for the pin. He only gets two, so he puts on the Crossface Chicken Wing. KENTA makes it to the ropes. Danielson throws some running forearms to get a two count. He puts on Cattle Mutilation. KENTA gets the ropes again. A pin exchange leads to Danielson hitting a suplex. KENTA gives him a Saito suplex. Repeat those suplexes again. Slaps ahoy! KENTA ducks a clothesline and nails the Busaiku Knee. KENTA puts Danielson in the Cattle Mutilation. KENTA turns that into a Tiger Suplex for two. After a fight in the corner, KENTA gives Danielson a Buckle Bomb. KENTA knees him in the chest for two. Another Busaiku Knee only gets two. KENTA goes for it again. Danielson ducks and O’Conner rolls him for two. KENTA puts on a rear naked choke. Danielson gets his arm up on the third drop. He hits the Go 2 Sleep! KENTA slaps Danielson and puts on the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson slips out and throws elbows to the side of KENTA’s head. KENTA fires up so Danielson throws forearms. Danielson blocks the Go 2 Sleep. He hits a Tiger suplex for two. KENTA rolls through the Cattle Mutilation. He elbows KENTA in the side of the head until he eats the Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 25:32. This was just the slightest bit shy of their first match because it lacked an ultimate prize, and therefore some drama. However, I’ll be damned if this wasn’t a worthy successor. What great action. The small callbacks to their first corner really got a rise out of me and I loved the using of each others’ finishers to differentiate things as well. In no way was this a disappointment. ****1/4

GHC Heavyweight Championship
Mitsuharu Misawa (Champion) vs. KENTA

“Glory By Honor VI, Night 2” – New York, NY – 11.3.2007

KENTA breaks a lock-up against the ropes cleanly. Misawa does the same, but this time KENTA boots him. Misawa throws some forearms. KENTA armdrags him, Misawa puts on a headscissors, then KENTA pops out for a stand-off. KENTA does some damage to Misawa’s arm. He hits a dropkick for two. Misawa wins a short forearm exchange. KENTA slaps Misawa multiple times after backing him to the corner. Misawa knocks him down with a forearm. KENTA throws multiple kicks to his hamstring and chest. KENTA drapes him on the top rope and comes off the top with a knee strike to the back of his neck. KENTA applies a headscissors. Back on their feet we get another strike exchange. KENTA kicks Misawa twice in the back. Slingshot head kick of doom! Misawa elbows KENTA to the floor. Misawa whips KENTA into the barricades. Misawa gets two with a jump-up chest kick. KENTA and Misawa go slap for forearm. Misawa nocks KENTA down first. KENTA catches Misawa with a powerslam. KENTA gets two with a big boot. KENTA boots Misawa in opposite corners. He hits the springboard dropkick for two. KENTA drops Misawa throat first on the top rope. Misawa again elbows KENTA to the floor. He follows with an elbow suicida. Back in the ring Misawa hits the Tiger Driver for two. Misawa scoop slams KENTA and goes up top. KENTA catches him with a leaping boot. Misawa forearms him to the mat. KENTA however catches Misawa coming off the top with a knee strike to the chest. KENTA follows up with a running knee strike to his face. KENTA gets two with a Tiger suplex. Misawa goes for a second one. KENTA lifts him up into the Go 2 Sleep. Misawa kicks out. Misawa gives him the Emerald Flowsion for two. KENTA delivers the Bosaiku Knee but is too worn out to go for a pin. Misawa ducks a kick. He forearms KENTA thrice. More elbows lead to second Emeral Flowsion for the pin at 18:31. While this by no means was a classic, it was a nice novelty seeing Misawa in America. The match flew by and provided the novelty of a GHC Title match in ROH between a Japanese legend and a NOAH guy who made a big impact in ROH. That’s pretty cool. ***1/4

KENTA & Kota Ibushi vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Katsuhiko Nakajima
“The Tokyo Summit” – Tokyo, Japan – 9.14.2008

Ibushi and Marufuji vie for control on the mat. Ibushi ducks a kick and hits one of his own. An evasion of each others’ moves brings us back to equal footing. KENTA and Nakajima tag in. They boot each other in the face simultaneously, then trade kicks to the chest. They too reach a stalemate. Nakajima kicks KENTA in the back. KENTA slaps him numerous times and levels him with a chest kick. Ibushi trades forearms with Nakajima. Nakajima sweeps out his legs and tags Marufuji back in. He chokes Ibushi with his boot and Nakajima pulls his head across the bottom turnbuckle. Ibushi kicks Marufuji in the chest after blocking a German suplex. KENTA boots Marufuji in the face for two. Ibushi’s chest kicks fire Marufuji up. Ibushi wears him down with some more kicks for a two count. Nakajima kicks Ibushi to break his chinlock on Marufuji. KENTA boots Nakajima off the apron. Marufuji sends KENTA to the apron and Nakajima boots him in the face. Nakajima and Marufuji go to work on KENTA, isolating him from Ibushi. Ibushi pays his opponents back by kicking Marufuji to break his chinlock on KENTA. Both teams look for double suplexes. Ibushi and KENTA drop Marufuji and Nakajima on the top ropes. They hit double knee strikes off the top rope. KENTA tops it off with a running kick to Nakajima’s chest. Ibushi and Nakajima fire each other up when trading kicks. Ibushi takes Nakajima off his feet for two. KENTA kicks Nakajima while Ibushi puts on a Camel Clutch. Nakajima whips Ibushi to the corner. Ibushi headscissors him to the floor. Nakajima jumps up and gamengiri’s Ibushi to block his moonsault. Nakajima missile dropkicks Ibushi and tags in Marufuji. A sweet back elbow gets Marufuji a two count. Marufuji and Nakajima do some work to Ibushi on the floor, including throwing a door from the guardrail into his head. Ibushi continues to beaten down back in the ring. He eventually hits a Pele kick on Marufuji to give him the time to tag in KENTA. KENTA takes Marufuji down and knocks Nakajima off the apron. KENTA hits a springboard dropkick for two. Marufuji trips him. KENTA blocks the dropkick and puts on an STF. Nakajima breaks it for Marufuji. KENTA disposes of Nakajima. KENTA backslides Marufuji for two. They block each others’ finishers. Marufuji stomps KENTA’s head into the match, superkicks him, and tags in Nakajima. Nakajima boots KENTA in the corner. He gets two with a suplex. KENTA and Nakajima hit stereo boots. Nakajima dragonscrews KENTA’s leg and puts on a heel hook. Ibushi frees him but gets pitched to the floor shortly after. KENTA blocks the Sankakugeri by dropkicking Nakajima in mid-air. Ibushi tags in and trades forearms with Nakajima. Ibushi kicks him to the mat. Ibushi flips out of the corner. Ibushi and Nakajima dropkick each other. Ibushi hits a standing twisting moonsault for two. Ibushi misses the double moonsault. Nakajima successfully delivers the Sankakugeri. KENTA missile dropkicks Nakajima into Ibushi’s German suplex. Nakajima spin kicks Ibushi off the top turnbuckle. He suplexes Ibushi onto his head. KENTA and Marufuji clothesline each other. Ibushi gives Nakajima a Dragon suplex. Nakajima German suplexes Ibushi, leaving all four men on the mat. Nakajima pump kicks Ibushi for two. Ibushi kicks Nakajima in the back of the head for two. Nakajima and Ibushi unleash some brutal kicks on one another. Ibushi gets two with a missile dropkick as the one minute warning is announced. Ibushi puts Nakajima in a cross armbreaker. KENTA keeps Marufuji at bay, but Nakajima gets the ropes. Nakajima puts on a heel hook after a dragonscrew. The time limit expires at 30:00 without Ibushi tapping out.

The wrestlers do not seem satisfied with this result. Both teams request five more minutes, and Cary Silken obliges. KENTA and Marufuji start so their partners can rest. They start off unleashing forearms. KENTA throws some different kicks. Marufuji superkicks KENTA and KENTA clotheslines him. KENTA gets two with a powerbomb. He gets two again with a Tiger suplex. Marufuji hits a clothesline. Marufuji hits the Shiranui and Ibushi breaks the count. Nakajima tosses him to the floor. KENTA kicks Marufuji on the top rope. He tries for the Super Falcon Arrow but Marufuji knocks him off. Ibushi cartwheels into a double Pele kick while Marufuji is still perched on top. KENTA delivers that super Falcon Arrow and Nakajima breaks the pin. Ibushi Phoenix Splashes onto Marufuji. KENTA goes for the cover and again Nakajima breaks the pin. Marufuji superkicks KENTA twice. KENTA hits the Busaiku Knee. Marufuji kicks out just as the 5:00 time limit expires, and the match is a Draw. This was a fine showcase between two very unique teams. They kept the flow going for the duration of the contest and had little to no slip-ups at all. Sure, the extra five minutes was pointless, but it was fun at least. It was just an athletic, hard hitting showcase that was a treat to watch. ****

ROH World Championship
Nigel McGuinness (Champion) vs. KENTA

“7th Anniversary Show” – New York, NY – 3.21.2009

KENTA slaps McGuinness after backing him to the ropes. KENTA delivers a second one after ducking McGuinness’ slap attempt. KENTA kicks McGuinness’ left bicep which is heavily taped. KENTA delivers a running chest kick for a one count. KENTA throws McGuinness shoulder first into the ring post. KENTA twists up his arm on the mat. KENTA kicks away at the arm in the corner. KENTA gets two with a boot. McGuinness gets the ropes to break a kimura. KENTA misses a stomp from the top rope. McGuinness gives KENTA the Tower of London off the ring apron and to the floor. In the ring McGuinness throws KENTA shoulder first to the mat. McGuinness headbutts KENTA in the chest. He twists up KENTA’s shoulder some more. McGuinness hits a dropkick, but lands on his bad arm in the process. McGuinness kicks KENTA away to prevent KENTA from going for his legs. KENTA manages a suplex and heads up top. He gets two with a diving dropkick. KENTA reapplies the Kimura. McGuinness grabs the ropes to break it. McGuinness kicks KENTA in the back and clotheslines him to the canvas. KENTA evades a Tower of London. KENTA powerslams McGuinness and places him up top. McGuinness crotches KENTA on the top rope. KENTA ducks a lariat, but McGuinness shoves him to the floor to block a springboard maneuver. McGuinness whips him into the barricades. KENTA boots McGuinness into the crowd. KENTA double stomps McGuinness’ neck as McGuinness lay across the barricades! In the ring, KENTA boots McGuinness in the corner multiple times. KENTA’s fisherman’s buster only gets him a two count. KENTA ducks a lariat and hits the Busaiku Knee for another two count. KENTA ducks the Jawbreaker Lariat. McGuinness however manages to lock on the London Dungeon. KENTA scurries to the ropes to break it. The Tower of London can’t get the job done either. McGuinness fights out of a sunset bomb, but KENTA still pulls off a super Falcon Arrow. McGuinness kicks out. KENTA gets two with a German suplex. KENTA knees McGuinness in the back. McGuinness goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat. KENTA counters with the Go 2 Sleep. McGuinness gets his foot on the bottom rope to break the cover just in time. A fight over to the corner ends with McGuinness giving KENTA the Tower of London onto the ring apron. Both men make it back into the ring just before the twenty count. KENTA boots McGuinness. McGuinness blocks the Go 2 Sleep. McGuinness hits it himself! KENTA is able to kick out. McGuinness locks on the London Dungeon. KENTA turns it into a cradle for two. McGuinness hammerlock divorce courts KENTA’s arm before reapplying the London Dungeon. McGuinness bends KENTA across his knes, causing KENTA to tap out at 25:19. All of the work McGuinness put in on KENTA’s shoulder paid off in the end. Simple storytelling like that always, always works. They worked smart and left the bigger stuff for the latter portion of the match and really amped up the crowd. Brilliant work by both men in what I’d say is a pretty underappreciated match. ****

GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship
KENTA (Champion) vs. Davey Richards

“Supercard of Honor IV” – Houston, TX – 4.3.2009

Richards does not accept KENTA’s handshake offer. Richards ducks KENTA’s initial kick. Richards shoulder blocks KENTA. KENT brings him down to the mat. They block each others’ kicks and stand-off. Each guy fights over a wristlock. Richards snapmares KENTA into a back kick. KENTA slaps Richards and does the same. He delivers a running kick to the head. KENTA dropkicks Richards to block his leapfrog. Slingshot head kick! KENTA sends Richards to the apron. Richards dragonscrews KENTA’s leg in the ropes and kicks a random ringside attendant for the hell of it. That’s pretty great. Richards goes to work on KENTA’s leg. He refuses to do the figure four when the fans “Woo!” KENTA grabs the ropes to break a modified Indian Death Lock. KENTA uses a burst of adrenaline to deliver a suplex. KENTA’s leaping lariat gets two. KENTA suplexes him for two. KENTA puts on an STF. Richards gets the ropes to break it. Richards suplexes KENTA to block a kick. Richards follows KENTA to the floor with a tope suicida. Richards hits a missile dropkick back in the ring. They boot each other in the head. Richards German suplexes KENTA for two. KENTA drops Richards off the top rope and delivers a slingshot dropkick. He follows with two boots and a delayed dropkick in the corner. KENTA’s sit-out powerbomb earns a two count. As does his top rope double stomp. KENTA snaps Richards’ neck on the top rope. Richards blocks a powerbomb and puts on a Texas Cloverleaf. KENTA crawls to the ropes to break it. Richards and KENTA trade kicks to the shoulder and chest. They knock each other down with stereo kicks to the head. KENTA kicks Richards in the head again and gets two with a Tiger suplex. Richards and KENTA fight on the ring apron. KENTA ends up giving him a Falcon Arrow onto the floor! Richards makes it back into the ring before the twenty count. Richards spits in KENTA’s face. Infuriated, KENTA lights him up with kicks and strikes. He hits the Busaiku Knee for a two. Richards blocks Go 2 Sleep and dragonscrews KENTA back into the Cloverleaf. When KENTA breaks, Richards gives him the Alarm Clock and the DR Driver for two. Richards wins a forearm exchange. He turns a Go 2 Sleep attempt into a crucifix. KENTA blocks the Damage Reflex with a Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 18:17. The crowd was hot, these guys did some pretty nifty things, and that Falcon Arrow to the floor was insane. Richards wasn’t nearly as annoying as he would become just yet and was much better nearly three years after his and KENTA’s initial match. While this was quite great, I don’t exactly agree with some of the higher threshold ratings I have seen this match receive in the past. ****

KENTA & Tyler Black vs. Austin Aries & Katsuhiko Nakajima
“Take No Prisoners 2009” – Houston, TX – 4.4.2009

Aries takes Black to the mat and applies a side headlock. Black fires up from a falling chop to the chest. He breaks a lock up against the ropes. Aries slaps Black in the chest and quickly tags in Nakajima. Nakajima dragonscrew leg whips Black to the mat. Black dropkicks him to the corner and tags in KENTA. They exchange forearms and boots to the face. Aries’ face as they trade chest kicks is awesome. KENTA ducks a leg sweep, and Nakajima ducks a chest kick to reach a stand-off. KENTA kicks Nakajima mid-air. Nakajima backs KENTA to his corner and tags in Aries. He wants to wrestle and not have KENTA throw kicks at him. KENTA obliges. Aries pops out of KENTA’s headscissors. Aries pops out another headscissors and misses a dropkick. Aries gives KENTA credit, but slaps him in the face. Aries ducks a kick and slides to the floor to take a victory lap. Black comes off the apron with a forearm and throws Aries back in the ring. KENTA lights Aries up with multiple kicks. Black chops Aries up in the corner and hip tosses him across the ring. Black suplexes Aries for two. KENTA gets two with a chest kick. Slingshot head kick! Black whips Aries to the corner. Aries sends Black to the apron. Black kicks Nakajima to the floor, but Aries is able to shove Black off the top rope and to the floor. Aries follows out with a double axe handle. Black gets beaten down by Aries and Nakajima until he avoids Aries’ twisting elbow drop. He kicks Aries in the head and tags in KENTA. He fights off both Aries and Nakajima by himself. KENTA springboard dropkicks Aries and yakuza kicks him twice. KENTA gets two with a fisherman’s buster. KENTA puts on a Boston Crab. Nakajima kicks KENTA, so KENTA releases the hold and kicks Nakajima right back. Nakajima suplexes and DDT’s KENTA before heading to the top rope. He hits a missile dropkick for two. Nakajima then hits a Sankakugeri for two. Nakajima roundhouse kicks KENTA on the top rope. KENTA blocks a super brainbuster and comes off the top with a double stomp. Aries kicks KENTA from the apron. Nakajima blocks a Go 2 Sleep with a huracanrana. He superkicks KENTA twice. KENTA takes him down with a lariat. KENTA and Nakajima slowly recover. Aries gets the tag and knocks Black off the apron. He suplexes KENTA after a shin breaker. Aries nails the IED for two. KENTA German suplexes Aries and tags in Black, who springboards in with a clothesline. Black gets two with Paroxysm. Black clotheslines Aries in the back of the head and gets two with a standing shooting star press. Aries moves out of the Phoenix Splash’s trajectory. He Japanese armdrags Black to the corner and puts on the Last Chancery. KENTA breaks it. Nakajima brings KENTA to the floor. Aries goes for a super brainbuster. Black fights out of it. Black blocks an IED with the F5. Black buckle bombs Aries. Nakajima superkicks Black three times. KENTA gives him the Busaiku Knee. Aries kicks KENTA and Black in the forehead. Black blocks the brainbuster with God’s Last Gift for the pin at 22:10. While the story and action were really solid throughout, the closing moments are what really made this match great. For ROH’s final televised PPV, this was a great way to go out. ****

KENTA vs. Tyler Black
“End of an Age” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 6.27.2009

A lock-up is cleanly broken. Black misses his initial dropkick, but hits it the second time. He stomps on KENTA’s face. KENTA kicks Black to the corner. Black gives KENTA a chinbreaker to break a sleeper. Black kicks KENTA in the back, so KENTA snapmares him and does the same. Black wins a battle for a suplex and gets two. KENTA drops Black across the top rope and knee strikes the back of his neck. KENTA drops a few knees before the slingshot head kick of Dr. Doom comes into play! KENTA applies a headscissors. Black escapes and throws some clotheslines. A diving clothesline from the second rope puts him in control. Black enzuigiri’s KENTA from the apron. He gets two with a springboard clothesline and a standing shooting star press. KENTA powerslams Black as he charges out of the corner. KENTA nails a running boot for two. KENTA puts on an STF after his own springboard clothesline. Black gets the ropes. KENTA’s leg lariat gets another two count. Black gives him a neckbreaker to block a fisherman’s buster. KENTA catches Black on the top rope with a boot. KENTA superplexes him. KENTA gives Black two boots and a delayed dropkick in the corner. His double stomp only earns a two count. Black superkicks him twice. KENTA turns him inside out with a lariat before collapsing. KENTA blocks Black’s running boot and reapplies the STF. KENTA stops Black from going to the ropes. Black evades a Tiger suplex. KENTA pops Black up into an Ace Crusher. Black huracanrana’s KENTA off the top rope. He bodyslams KENTA to the floor and tope con hilo’s after him. In the ring he drops KENTA with an F5 for two. Black misses the Phoenix Splash and lands on his feet. He rolls up KENTA for two. He kicks KENTA in the head and drops him with Paroxysm. KENTA kicks out. KENTA huracanrana’s Black to the corner to block a buckle bomb. He Tiger suplexes Black for two. Black blocks the Go 2 Sleep. He goes for God’s Last Gift. KENTA blocks that so Black gives him a sloppy DDT. KENTA blocks God’s Last Gift with the Go 2 Sleep for two. KENTA knee strikes him in back twice. As he comes off the ropes, Black catches him with a superkick. He buckle bombs KENTA. KENTA blocks a superkick and hits Go 2 Sleep again for the pin at 17:49. Really good non-stop action throughout the bout. This was during the time when ROH was bringing Black up to the main event title picture, and even though he didn’t defeat KENTA, he came off as a worthy competitor. This genuinely raised his stock in the company. ***3/4

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