Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
We watched a lot of Morishima for the 2000’s US Indies project and one thing that sticks out is that for a big guy – especially compared to the smaller ROH roster – he sure did take a lot of his opponents’ offense. It is clearly one of his stronger points. He can bump big when needed but he also has a wide range of ways to sell his smaller opponents’ offense without downplaying the size difference. Morishima has a good “gnat just landed on my shoulder” annoyance sell at weaker offense, a nice rocking back on his feet in a wobble motion for bigger moves, and bumps hard for the big stuff.
All of that was on display on February 3rd versus Shane Haste given that the majority of this non-title bout was a showcase for Haste’s high-impact offense. Haste is a solid offensive wrestler with nice fire, both of which are on display here. He attacks Morishima right off the bat landing a nice Paul London-esque back flip drop kick followed up a real great tope (see below for GIF). Haste leads with his (as he should) and connects straight on with Morishima. His running cannonball into the corer always looked great but it looked really good here as he had no fear launching himself onto big Morishima.
Both guys throw some nice forearms and punches throughout the match as well.
Kenou and Ohara interfere liberally following a ref bump. As far as ref bumps go, this was fine. It is a small difference and something I don’t know how to precisely define, but there is a difference between a ref bump that feels like it screws the viewers and a ref bump that feels like it screws the baby face. This one felt like the former which is obviously the better of the two. The same can be said for any non-finish. Perhaps part of it was that Haste went after Kenou early on and they tried to interfere a couple of times, so it was there interference post-ref bump was built to and expected.
Haste put up a good fight but the odds were too much to overcome. Morishima eventually got the backdrop driver for the win. I like the way he is being built up as a heel champion with all of this backup. There is a chance it will go on way too long but right now at least, if they pulled the trigger on a title change with the right guy late Spring or so, I think his title reign could go down as a pretty solid one.
High Impact | Worthwhile | Quality