A View From Ringside - Tokyo, Japan

Discussion in 'ROH Feed' started by ROHNEWS, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. By Kevin Kelly
    I had the honor and privilege of being asked to announce the “King of Pro Wrestling” event for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Here are some of my thoughts following this mind-blowing trip.

    First, I have to thank New Japan Pro Wrestling and TV-Asahi for the first-class treatment I enjoyed for my stay. While I was 8,000 miles or so from home and 13 hours ahead, I felt very comfortable in NJPW. The staff and crew reminded me a great deal of our ROH crew, a team of dedicated professionals who worked their tails off to make a fantastic viewing experience.

    Regarding the matches, going into the event, I thought it could be a ROH sweep in title matches but the competition was strong for both champions and their challengers. Matt Sydal could have easily won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title from Kenny Omega but “The Cleaner” was too strong and retained his title. reDRagon could have easily lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title belts but they were the beneficiaries of a controversial call from referee Tiger Hattori and kept the titles away from Roppongi Vice.

    Kazuchika Okada is everything a company would want in their champion. We did an exclusive interview with the IWGP Heavyweight Champion for NJPWWorld.com on Sunday following the press conference and he was as cordial and focused an athlete in his young prime as I’ve ever seen. Okada reminds me of Dwayne Johnson for the ease and comfort he exudes in all situations. He and Hiroshi Tanahashi are not strangers and they collide again for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 10 on January 4th.

    I got to spend some time with Tanahashi as well over the weekend and he’s in the best shape of his life. His English and my Japanese are both extremely limited but “The Ace” let me know he’s healthier than he’s has been in two years and expects to win at Wrestle Kingdom.

    AJ Styles can not be disappointed with the fact that he was unable to get past Okada to become a three-time IWGP Champion. Late in their match, Styles hit a top rope “Bloody Sunday” on Okada and I was convinced it was over. Somehow, someway, Okada kicked out and Styles looked right at me with the same shocked look on his face I must have had on mine. Before it’s all said and done, AJ Styles will be the most decorated American singles wrestler in New Japan Pro Wrestling history.

    I was shocked by Takaaki Watanabe’s transformation into “Evil”, as we saw in the Tanahashi vs Naito match with the main event spot at Wrestle Kingdom on the line. Tanahashi lost only twice in this year’s G1 Climax tournament (Bad Luck Fale & Tetsuya Naito) and he avenged both on the Road to Wrestle Kingdom 10. But Watanabe’s dark turn was very disturbing for me and once I heard his new name was “Evil”, I wondered if Naito was behind it or a truly larger, darker force.

    Having seen it live, I can tell you that “Honma-Mania” is for real as is the toughness and confidence of the Bullet Club and “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson. The 2012 G1 Climax finalist and one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions with Doc Gallows looks to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura on November 7th to become the IWGP Intercontinental Champion.

    I am proud to represent Ring of Honor no matter where I go and I truly value every experience I get as an announcer in Professional Wrestling. I look forward to returning to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2016 and thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

    Yours in Sport,

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