Discussion in 'ROH Feed' started by ROHNEWS, Mar 8, 2016.

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  1. Ishii
    If then-Ring of Honor World Television Champion Roderick Strong was looking past Tomohiro Ishii at Honor Rising in Tokyo two weeks ago, he certainly learned a painful lesson about underestimating the hard-hitting New Japan Pro Wrestling star.

    Ishii defeated Strong for the championship at legendary Korakuen Hall, which then forced ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness to change Strong’s scheduled title defense against Bobby Fish at ROH’s 14th Anniversary show this past weekend in Las Vegas to a Triple Threat Match between Ishii, Strong and Fish.

    Proving that his victory over the former ROH World Champion wasn’t a fluke, Ishii retained the title, again pinning Strong.

    With the title belt in Ishii’s possession, the ROH World TV Title is a true world championship now more than ever, as he is the first champion who will primarily defend it in a country other than the United States.

    For those who are unfamiliar with Ishii, he has earned a reputation as one of the most intense and powerful wrestlers in the sport. With his brawling style and compact build (he’s 5-7 and 220 pounds), it’s easy to see why Ishii is nicknamed The Stone Pitbull.

    Ishii is anything but an overnight success, however. Having spent most of his 20-year career as a solid-but-not-spectacular competitor, he didn’t start coming into his own until a few years ago.

    Ishii, who was trained by Japanese legends Genichiro Tenryu and Riki Choshu and has been a frequent tag team partner of former NJPW superstar Shinsuke Nakamura, scored a stunning breakthrough victory at the 2013 G1 Climax tournament when he defeated seven-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi in the main event on the second night of the tournament at Korakuen Hall.

    He won his long-awaited first title in NJPW when he defeated Tetsuya Naito in February 2014 for the NEVER Openweight Championship. He went on to hold the title for more than four months before losing it to Yujiro Takahashi, Ishii’s former teammate in the Chaos stable.

    Ishii was determined that his first taste of championship gold would not be his last, and he went on to win the NEVER Openweight Championship three more times. His four title reigns and 379 total days as champion are both records.

    Ishii’s crowd-pleasing battles against Naito, Hirooki Goto and Tomoaki Honma in 2014 solidified his status as a legitimate star in NJPW, and his victory over Honma a year ago for his third NEVER Openweight Championship is regarded as one of the best matches of 2015.

    His win over Strong for the ROH World TV Title at Honor Rising was labeled an upset, but considering the strides Ishii has made in recent years, perhaps the result shouldn’t have been all that surprising.

    Now that Ishii is coming off the biggest victory of his career and seemingly is at the top of his game, it’s no doubt going to take a monumental effort to defeat him.

    Two of the toughest competitors in ROH -- Strong and Fish -- have already found that out.

    Continue reading...
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