Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling won big with G1 SuperCard inside Madison Square Garden
Times have changed, as shown by the type of pro wrestling that was presented to a raucous Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
For years, the Hammerstein Ballroom was the New York home of Ring of Honor Wrestling. Down the block was Madison Square Garden, home to any sport moment you can think of. Vince McMahon’s WWE was always in control of that venue, but there was always a small bit of hope that another occupant would rent space inside The Worlds Most Famous Arena.
On the other side of the world, New Japan Pro Wrestling has become as popular as ever outside of Japan, putting on shows in the United States in order to secure a new market. As more shows came to be, they were getting closer and closer to New York. They also needed just a little push.
In one night, both promotions managed to sell out Madison Square Garden, create history and put on an event for the ages. Folks, the hype surrounding the G1 Supercard is real.
From championship changes to legends appearing, the G1 Supercard had something for any fan of pro wrestling. NJPW’s goal of expansion became a success, and now they have momentum to do future shows inside Madison Square Garden. While there were a few hiccups along the way, the end result was a show that fans will remember in the long run.
The night started off with a bang, as the Honor Rumble showed the best of the best from each brand. A highlight of the match that is a big battle royal was the involvement of Colt Cabana, Minoru Suzuki and Jushin Thunder Liger. One of the biggest surprises happened when lucky number 30 came out, and The Great Muta arose. One of the most legendary pro wrestlers in the history of the sport was inside MSG, and the place erupted with joy. When Muta and Liger came face to face, it was like a moment saved for WrestleMania. The G1 Supercard got that to happen, and fans will forever be thankful for that.
The two world title matches saw new champions being crowned, one a familiar face and the other a new entity. Kazuchika Okada, New Japan’s revolutionary leader, took care of Bullet Club’s Jay White to claim his fifth IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Okada, Bullet Club and MSG are now intertwined. On the other side, Matt Taven, a longtime member of the Ring of Honor roster, defeated Marty Scurll and ROH World Champion Jay Lethal in a ladder match to win the title for the first time. It was a brutal match that saw all of Taven’s hard work, trickery and patience pay off. He is now a Grand Slam Champion, having held all of the current male titles in ROH.
The other matches that took place defied any law you can think of. Will Ospreay v. Jeff Cobb was a great opener, with Cobb coming out the winner to become the ROH TV and NEVER Openweight Champion. Having the best of both brands competing for gold helped fans get hooked in right away if they already weren’t.
Women got a chance to shine, and shine they did. Kelly Klein defeated Mayu Iwatani to regain the Women of Honor World Title, while women of Stardom and the rest of the WOH roster gave fans something to be excited about.
One of the best matches of WrestleMania weekend was Kota Ibushi v. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Title. Showcasing the best New Japan has to offer, Ibushi and Naito literally put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. Ibushi won the title in a grueling match that can only be described as a true masterpiece. The third match that had everyone on their feet was Dragon Lee v. Taiji Ishimori v. Bandido for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Dragon Lee dethroned Ishimori in a match suited for Madison Square Garden.
While it is unknown the future of the ROH and the NJPW partnership, this last Saturday proved that anything is possible. With Madison Square Garden becoming an ally, the pro wrestling landscape has dramatically changed. Whatever brand you may be a fan of, know that competition is key and change is good. ROH and NJPW proved all of that with one single card that fans will never forget.
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