Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling took over Madison Square Garden on April 6, and the wrestling world is still buzzing.
The stars of ROH and NJPW competed at the G1 Supercard, a historic event which saw ROH crown multiple new champions. Still Real To Us was on hand at the Festival of Honor on April 5 to speak to ROH’s roster before they put on a clinic at the garden the following day.
Matt Taven Makes ROH History At MSG
Matt Taven finally got his “Bret Hart moment” that he’s been craving since January. Taven managed to beat Jay Lethal and Marty Scurll, fair and square, in a brutal ladder match. The win solidified Taven as one of the best in the business, as he realized his ultimate dream in becoming the ROH world champion. Before he toppled his foes in a classic battle, Taven told Still Real To Us what it would mean to him to become the top dog in ROH.
“I don’t have long, frizzy hair anymore. That’s kind of a bummer, because I really wanted that picture,” Taven smirked as he thought about the similarities that he once shared with his idol, ‘Hitman’ Hart. “But, you know, if there’s a picture of me, on top of a ladder, at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, taking down the Ring of Honor world title…I mean, could I ask for much more than that? It just happens to be in the same building where Bret won the world title at WrestleMania X. I’ve been a lunatic fan my entire life. I’ve seen a million matches take place at Madison Square Garden. For me to finally have one of those memories that you and your wrestling friends always talk about–if I can have that moment, I’ll feel like this journey has come to this place for a reason.”
Taven’s destiny was fully realized when he grabbed the ROH title. That particular moment sent shockwaves throughout MSG. Going into the match as an underdog, Taven pulled out all the stops to show the world that he is the real deal, and the future of professional wrestling.
Jay Lethal Knows This Is Wrestling’s New Boom Period
Jay Lethal might have come up short against Matt Taven, but he’s still the heart and soul of ROH.
Getting the opportunity to perform at MSG is a big deal. There’s absolutely no getting around it. A lot of wrestlers like to talk a big game and put on an arrogant front. Not Lethal. The former ROH World Champion is as real (and humble) as they come. Lethal tells Still Real To Us what it meant to him to have the opportunity to wrestle at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” He credits social media for changing the game in a major way.
“A big tribute to [the G1 Supercard] is this wrestling boom period that is going on, because a fan who only knew one promotion–let’s say WWE, now at the click of a button, can watch every wrestling promotion from around the world,” said Lethal. “That one particular fan went from having one to two favorite wrestlers, to having 18, 19, 20 favorite wrestlers.”
One More Time
Lethal’s not wrong. MSG was packed to the rafters with knowledgeable fans who had their fair share of personal favorites from both ROH and NJPW. Attendance is growing for ROH because there are more hungry fans with an expanding appetite for a true wresting alternative.
“This is not just the biggest event in Ring of Honor’s history, it’s a real big event for wrestling as a whole. Everything that we thought in this business that was impossible is now becoming possible,” Lethal stated. “Walls that were impenetrable are now crashing down. Hopefully with this wrestling boom period, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Fingers crossed that is just not a one-and-done for Ring of Honor.”
The former champion hopes that the G1 Supercard is only the start of an upward trend for ROH, NJPW, and the entire professional wrestling community.
Kelly Klein Becomes The Face Of The Women Of Honor
ROH’s “Gatekeeper” is an essential component in ROH’s Women of Honor division. Kelly Klein rocked Mayu Iwatani in a stunning fashion at MSG to become ROH’s new WOH champion. The new champion now has her sights set on Velvet Sky and Angelina Love. The duo debuted after Klein’s major victory with a vicious assault.
Before she targets the former “Beautiful People,” Klein wants to address a topic that is important to her. In a previous interview with Still Real To Us, Klein spoke about the tremendous progress that women have made in the wrestling industry.
Being the current face of ROH’s Women of Honor, Klein recognizes that there is still a lot of work that has to be done. A toxic portion of the wrestling community is out there, and Klein plans to tackle them head on in her own way.
“There’s people who want to be a part of the show, or be the show themselves. There’s easy topics that they know they can get a reaction from,” said Klein in an exclusive conversation. “I generally try not to reward those people with attention. I reward the people who are there to enjoy and appreciate what we’re doing.”
The Gatekeeper On Changing Perceptions
When it comes to hostile comments on social media, Klein uses those remarks as a conversation point to show what women have to deal with on a daily basis. When the Women of Honor had their first television episode three years ago, Klein had the distinct privilege of being in the main event. It was a special moment for one of ROH’s brightest stars.
Then somebody tweeted a picture of her, while making a negative comment about her appearance.
A champion in and out of the ring, Klein didn’t let it slide.
“I flipped it around. I basically said, ‘Thank you so much for noticing and pointing out all of the work I’ve done with the health struggles, eating disorders, and emotional issues that I’ve gotten through in my life.’ Obviously, I’m sure he didn’t know about all of that,” Klein nodded. “The point is that you never know. It’s not that it bothers me. What bothers me is that the guy on Twitter has women in his life. These guys have daughters, but they think its funny to talk about my body in a negative way.”
The crowd at G1 Supercard respectfully cheered Klein on during her hard-hitting contest with Iwatani, proving that attitudes toward women in wrestling are thankfully changing for the better.
If you’re interested in catching a replay of the G1 Supercard from MSG, it’s streaming FREE for all HonorClub members. HonorClub content can be streamed via the ROH and FITE apps and at ROHHonorClub.com.