Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ROH/NJPW Global Wars Review

Ring of Honor & New Japan come together for a massive show in Toronto!!

ROH/NJPW Global Wars
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 5/10/14


1.) TaDarius Thomas (with Jimmy Jacobs) vs. The Romantic Touch: **1/4

This match was not included on the DVD, but it was on the Free Ustream Pre-Show. Thomas recently broke up with his Adrenaline RUSH partner ACH, and decided to join The Decade as one of their "young boys". Pretty standard stuff in this pre-show match between Thomas and The Romantic Touch. One of the things they're trying to get over the fact that Thomas has become more serious & deadly since joining The Decade. Thomas ends up winning the match.

Main Show

Before I go over the show, I should mention how this show is laid out. There really aren't any interpromotional matches on this show, save for Elgin/Watanabe. It's pretty much just ROH Matches and New Japan Matches, while the show in New York City, War Of The Worlds, will have all interpromotional matches featuring ROH vs. New Japan.

1.) Michael Bennet (with Maria Kanellis) vs. ACH: ***

Here we have the first match from the ROH portion of the show. This was a pretty entertaining opener. Bennett plays a good heel, while likewise, ACH plays a good face. Speaking of ACH, he did things a little bit differently, as he worked over one of Bennett's legs. We got some cool spots, including Bennett accidentally spearing Maria on the ring apron!! Eventually, Bennett is able to sneak away with the win. They really wanted to put over the fact that Michael Bennett & Maria will do anything to defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi the next week at War Of The Worlds.

2.) Takaaki Watanabe vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ***

For those who aren't familiar, Watanabe is a relative newcomer. He's not necessarily a rookie, but his career is still young. Here he's taking on Toronto Native "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin. A pretty solid match here. Watanabe looked good, but Elgin was pretty solid in this one as well. Obviously Elgin was meant to look strong heading into his big IWGP Heavyweight Title Match at War Of The Worlds, and winning this match accomplished just that.

3.) Three-Way Tag Team Match - The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer with TaDarius Thomas) vs. reDRagon vs. The Briscoes: ***1/4

This is the first of two Three-Way Tag Team Matches of the night. Interestingly enough, I believe this is the first even encounter between The Briscoes & Jacobs/Whitmer (the latter began teaming, and later broke up, while the former were on a sabbatical from ROH). This was a solid match, though it didn't get enough time to become really good. Still, this was a pretty fun match. All of the teams in here looked good. I found it entertaining. The Briscoes get the win.

After the match, Roderick Strong comes out to console his fellow stablemates in The Decade after their loss. They show a really good video package hyping up the Roderick Strong/Cedric Alexander feud. They come back and Strong is in the ring, and tells Cedric to get his ass out here so they can fight. Cedric quickly obliges and it's on!

4.) Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander: ***3/4

The Decade are banned from ringside for this match, as Strong won the first encounter at Supercard of Honor VIII after outside shenanigans involving The Decade. This was a really good match, and definitely turned things up a notch, both from their first match and on this show. Lots of great action in this one, as Strong was his great usual self, while Cedric was equally impressive and held his own. The match ends when Strong goes for his End of Heartache Backbreaker, but Cedric reverses it into a small package and gets the three count!! Again, a really solid match here.

Immediately after the match ends, The Decade comes out and attacks Cedric Alexander. They set up a bunch of chairs in the ring, and Roderick Strong drops Cedric on those chairs. This was a very good segment that further advances The Decade/Cedric Alexander angle.

5.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles - Three-Way Tag Team Match - The Young Bucks vs. The Forever Hooligans vs. The Time Splitters: ****1/2

These teams have been trading the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles for a good while in New Japan. Alex Shelley has made sporadic appearances in ROH since leaving to work full time for TNA in 2006 (mainly as The Motor City Machine Guns with Chris Sabin), but this is his first ROH appearance since 2010, if I recall correctly. This was an awesome match!! Non-stop action from bell to bell. Everyone looked awesome here and the crowd was really into it! Easily the best match on the show! The Young Bucks pick up the win and retain their titles in this exciting thrill ride!!

After intermission, we are graced with the presence of Papa Bear himself, RD Evans (along with Ramon)! He talks about The New Streak, which is now at 104-0 (and he even gave the metric conversion). Evans hands Bobby Cruise an envelope, which conceals the identity of his next opponent. Cruise opens in, and reveals (confused) that Evans' opponent is....Bobby Cruise! Evans rolls up Cruise & Ramon counts the 1-2-3!! The New Streak continues!!! 105-0!!!

6.) Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. CHAOS (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura & Jado): ***1/4

Now it's time to get to some of New Japan biggest stars! Liger gets by far the biggest reaction of any New Japan wrestler on the show, even bigger than Nakamura & Tanahashi, which really shouldn't be a surprise. It goes to show you how popular, revered & respected Liger is in North America. This was a good tag team match, but it wasn't anything overly spectacular. You could tell they were holding back a bit for the bigger show in New York City, but they still put out a solid effort and gave us an entertaining tag team match. Liger, Tanahashi & Nakamura all looked good in here, and the crowd was into it. In the end, Tanahashi gets the win with the High Fly Flow onto Jado.

7.) ROH World TV Title - Four Corner Survival - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Matt Taven vs. Silas Young: ***1/2

This is an interesting match as all four of these guys have been intertwined with each other over the last few months (Lethal/Ciampa, Lethal/Taven, Lethal/Young, Ciampa/Taven, Ciampa/Young, Taven/Young, etc...). I really enjoyed this match. Some might not have like it as much as I did, but I thought it was really entertaining. They packed a lot of action in here, where everyone got to hit their stuff, and it really got the crowd into it. Lethal pinned Taven to retain his title after a distraction from Truth Martini, and while that seemed kind of a lackluster ending, it made sense since Lethal & Taven would continue their feud after this show.

8.) CHAOS ("Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada & Gedo) vs. The Bullet Club (IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles & IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson): ***3/4

Here we have the 2nd tag team match of the night featuring some of New Japan's biggest stars, as well as two of New Japan's Top Factions in CHAOS & The Bullet Club. This match comes off the heels of AJ Styles defeating Okada (with a good deal of help from The Bullet Club) to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title just a week prior. I should also note that Michael Elgin joined the commentary team for this one, and lets just say that his commentary was.....not the best (and Elgin's never been the best on the mic). This was definitely the better of the two tag team matches. Okada (who was 2nd most over New Japan guy behind Liger) meshed really well with AJ Styles & Karl Anderson, and Gedo did a good job at holding up his end of the match. Very solid action in this one. AJ Styles is eventually able to pick up the win for The Bullet Club after pinning Gedo with The Styles Clash.

After the match, we get a three-way stare down involving AJ Styles, Michael Elgin & Okada, which would build up to their Triple Threat Match at War of the Worlds in New York City.

9.) ROH World Title - Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen: ****1/4

The story here is that Kevin Steen had yet to receive his World Title rematch since he lost the belt to Jay Briscoe at Supercard of Honor VII well over a year ago. Of course, Steen cashes in his title shot not only in his home country of Canada, but in Toronto, the same city where Steen won the ROH World Title in 2012. This match also has a good deal of build up, after having previously been scheduled to take place twice before over the last year, but never happening due to various circumstances (the first time it was changed due to Jay Briscoe winning the World Title, while the second time, Cole had a concussion and wasn't cleared to compete). I thought this was a great main event! Cole & Steen have a certain set of expectations after the matches they've had with each other in PWG, and in my view, they certainly lived up to those expectations. Lots of really good action here. Both guys played their rolls really well and their crowd was really into it. Steen busted out a number of big moves that could have easily won him the match, including the Top Rope Brainbuster (paying homage to El Generico), but Cole somehow managed to stay alive. The finish came out of nowhere, when Cole countered out of a Package Piledriver and hit a superkick for the win. That did hurt the match a little bit in my eyes, but that was my only real complaint.

Overall: 8.5/10

The first of the two Ring of Honor/New Japan SuperShows was a good one. I know there was a good deal of criticism about this card beforehand (in regards to not getting the matches people wanted), and I know this was technically intended to be the lesser of the two SuperShows, but dammit, I thought this was a pretty entertaining show. Every match was, at the very least, good, and the Toronto Crowd was into pretty much everything on the show. The first half had some solid ROH action, the advancement of The Decade/Cedric Alexander angle, and was headed by New Japan's IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match, which ended up stealing the show. The second half featured the bigger stars from New Japan, and although the Main Event for the ROH World Title is the only real noteworthy match on the second half, it was still nothing but good to great wrestling matches. Couple that with the fact that we're getting to see New Japan's biggest stars in an ROH ring, and in the end, isn't that what we all want? To sum it up, Global Wars was, although not a blow away show, a very solid one that set up War of the Worlds really nicely.

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