Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Live/DVD Review

It's Ring of Honor vs. New Japan in New York City!!

Much like my other live reviews, I'll be going into a little bit more detail about my experience at the show. War of the Worlds was the 2nd ROH Show I've ever attended (the first being the 10th Anniversary Show in 2012).

From what I can recall, I arrived at the Manhattan Center a little after 5:00, because I had read before making the bus trip into New York City (When I'm not in college, I live about 2 1/2 - 3 Hours away from NYC) that the doors were opening at 5:30. They instead opened either around or a little after 6:00 (memory's a little fuzzy on that one). I didn't see this, but apparently Mark Briscoe climbed up to the top of the Manhattan Center sign (should point out that the below picture is not mine)

Jay Diesel was working the door, making sure people went in the right way. I would have gotten in line for the autograph session, but by that point the line was just way too long (wish I would had gotten in line a little bit earlier, but what can you do)? I decided to go straight for the merchandise tables. They had one set up with some New Japan stuff, but I was surprised by the limited amount of stuff they had. They had a few New Japan Trading Cards and 8x10's, as well as a New Japan T-Shirt featuring the logo mixed with the American Flag, but that was about it. No Bullet Club T-Shirts sadly (though One Hour Tees now has a New Japan Shop on their website, so TONS of New Japan T-Shirts are available to us here in the US).

Of course, the ROH Merchandise Table had a TON of stuff, from DVD's (both new & clearance) to T-Shirts, and even posters! I should note that Nigel McGuinness & Mandy Leon (who, by the way, is SUPER Attractive in person! I got that just from watching the Future of Honor Show on VOD, but it person? Event more so!) were also working the Table a little bit. I got a War of the Worlds Event Poster & T-Shirt, and two ROH DVD's: Flyin' High (which I've already reviewed at this link: http://dxvsnwo1994.blogspot.com/2014/06/roh-flyin-high-review.html) and the Jimmy Jacobs/BJ Whitmer Compilation DVD (which I have yet to review, but I will at some point). The DVD's aren't pictured.

I should also make note that their were A LOT of people wearing Bullet Club T-Shirts, though these were not officially licensed New Japan T-Shirts. I got my own Bullet Club T-Shirt after the New Japan Shop on One Hour Tees opened up.

I also picked up this awesome Event Program!

I was sitting in the lower balcony (you can tell where I'm sitting from the pics I'm posting here). 

Now it's finally time to talk about the show!

ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds
New York City, New York 5/17/14


1.) Caprice Coleman vs. Silas Young Adam Page (with Jimmy Jacobs): **1/2

Not sure if this was included on the DVD or not, but I'll go off of what I remember. Essentially, this was originally supposed to be Caprice Coleman vs. Silas Young, but Young came out in street clothes, and cuts a promo saying something to the degree of this pre-show match being beneath him, and walks out. Jimmy Jacobs comes out with Adam Page, with the latter taking up the spot left opened by Young. This was decent, from what I remember. Fine for a Pre-Show Match. Coleman picked up the win, and tried to sway Page to leave The Decade, but he ends up staying with Jacobs.

They aired two promos before the show started. One spoiled the change to the Main Event (which I'll discuss in a second), while the other announced the Main Event for the Best In The World PPV: Adam Cole vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin for the ROH World Title.

Main Show

Interestingly enough, the show starts off with a promo. The Bullet Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & The Young Bucks come out). The group relished in the "Fuck TNA" Chants (ironic that TNA got rid of all of them, minus Anderson, and they went on to all hold gold in New Japan). They talk about how awesome they are until Okada comes out with Gedo, obviously still upset about how their title match in Japan went down two weeks prior. He demands a rematch, and this brings out "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin, who asks Nigel McGuinness to give everyone what they all really wanted...a Triple Threat Match!! McGuinness converses with a New Japan Official sitting at ringside, and after getting it cleared with him, makes the match official!

1.) Six-Man Tag - ACH, Matt Taven & "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Forever Hooligans & Takaaki Watanabe: ***

The first ROH vs. New Japan encounter on this show is a Six-Man Tag. Team ROH is certainly an interesting one (particularly as it pertains to the history between Taven & Ciampa). This was a fun match both Live & on the DVD. Everyone got their stuff in and they got the crowd into the show, which is exactly what an opener should always be able to do. ACH hits a MASSIVE dive to the outside that brings everyone to their feet, and Matt Taven hits The Climax on Watanabe to score the win for Team ROH.

2.) The Decade (Roderick Strong & BJ Whitmer with Jimmy Jacobs & Adam Page) vs. CHAOS (Jado & Gedo): **3/4

Here we have another interesting scenario as the veterans of ROH take on true veterans of New Japan. The Decade prove their hypocrisy by attacking Jado & Gedo before the bell. This was fine, albeit a bit slow in the first half (which would be expected, as Jado & Gedo aren't exactly young), but it actually picked up in the second half with a number of good spots. Strong & Whitmer would end up getting the win in this solid tag team affair.

After the match, as The Decade are celebrating, Cedric Alexander (who was originally slated to face Okada, but couldn't wrestle due to injuries sustained when The Decade attacked him at Global Wars), ran out and attacked them!! Security had to come out and separate the two sides.

3.) ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. KUSHIDA: ***3/4

Now we have our first of our FIVE title matches of the night. This is the first instance where I noticed a discrepancy between seeing the show live, and watching it on DVD. Live, this match was great! I really enjoyed it. Lethal plays a very good heel, and the crowed was just in awe of almost everything KUSHIDA did. Lots of great back & forth action, with a number of false finishes that really got the crowd into it. Truth Martini eventually got ejected for interference, but in the end, it didn't matter all that much, as Lethal scored the win and retained his World TV Title. The DVD version wasn't quite as good as I remembered, but the live experience still sticks with me over that.

4.) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles - The Bullet Club (Doc Gallows & Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson) vs. The Briscoes: ***1/2

Oh boy, this one's going to be a doozy. Two teams who just like to beat people up. I thought this was another really solid match. Definitely different than anything else we had seen up to this point. A lot of brawling around ringside. Tons of hard hitting action from both sides, including a number of sick bumps. Eventually, The Bullet Club are able to get the win over The Briscoes and retained their titles, scoring the first win of the night for New Japan Pro Wrestling in the process.

5.) IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Steen: ****1/4

Up next we have one of the bigger matches of the night. When the match graphic for this came up on the screen at the entrance way, the place went nuts. Nakamura & Steen both got really great reactions.  Everyone in the crowd was into this right from the start. I loved watching this match. Two of my favorite wrestlers going at it in the same ring. These two show definitely showed why they're both so awesome at what they do. Incredible Match! It took Nakamura hitting THREE Boma Ye knees to finally put Steen down for the count. What else can I say? Loved this live!

After the match, Steen gives (essentially) a farewell speech to New York City and the HammerSTEEN Ballroom, but is interrupted by Silas Young. He talks about how all the champions in Ring of Honor aren't real men like himself (he actually came up with some clever names for Cole, Lethal & The Young Bucks), and then says that Steen was one of the only guys he saw as a real man, but then called him a pussy for quitting and made a derogatory comment towards Steen's family, which set Steen off and started a brawl!! This led to Steen attempting to hit a dive from the top rope to the floor onto Young, but he moved out of the way, causing Steen to take out a bunch of security guys instead.

6.) Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: ***1/4

The match that brought us back from intermission is the match that caused the most controversy. A lot of fans were not happy that Tanahashi was going to be wrestling Michael Bennett, but I was willing to give them a change. Bennett has been steadily improving, and Tanahashi has been one of the best wrestlers in the world over the past several years. In the end, they put together a solid match. It was fine for its position on the card, but it wasn't anything totally memorable. I thought there was too much interference by Maria for my taste (once, maybe twice, was fine, but she interfered a lot in this one). Tanahashi got to hit his signature spots, and Bennett looked good also. The ending sequence was the best part of the match, and Tanahashi was able to score the win with the High Fly Flow.

7.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - The Young Bucks vs. reDRagon (with "Filthy" Tom Lawlor): ****3/4

This is a rematch from Raising The Bar: Night 2 in Chicago, which saw The Young Bucks defeat Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles. reDRagon are accompanied by UFC Fighter (and apparently massive pro-wrestling fan) "Filthy" Tom Lawlor, who had bee training with Fish & O'Reilly in preparation for this match. I'm going to keep this as short as possible. There are almost no words that can do this match justice. It was AMAZING!!! Easily the best match I've ever seen like. So much fast paced action happened right from the opening bell. It was insanity!! The crowd was going absolutely nuts for most of it. The atmosphere was simply electric. After a absolute war of a match, O'Reilly is able to get the submission victory and recapture the World Tag Team Titles for reDRagon. What else can I say about this match that hasn't already been said. If you haven't seen this match yet, you need to drop what you're doing, and go watch it. A Match of the Year Contender without question, these two teams proved why they're two of the best in the world today.

8.) ROH World Title - Adam Cole vs. Jushin "Thunder" Liger: ***1/2

Despite having the unfortunate pleasure of following the reDRagon/Young Bucks Match, the NYC Crowd was still really into Jushin "Thunder" Liger. They showed a pretty cool video package on the entrance screen, highlighting Liger's career. While not totally outstanding, this was a really good match. Cole was awesome as always, but even for his age, Liger performed very well. There was one spot where Liger had Cole trapped in a submission hold, and Cole had to grab the bottom rope with his teeth to break the hold. It's little things like this that make Cole just so good. The crowd was of course was really into Liger, and reacted to all of his big moves. Cole was able to get the win by making Liger tap out to the Figure Four to secure his title. Even though the ending was a bit sudden, this was still a very solid World Title Match. Liger got to show his stuff and make the crowd happy, while at the same time putting over the ROH World Champion clean. Everyone wins.

9.) IWGP Heavyweight Title - Triple Threat Match - "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada: ****1/4

It's Main Event Time!! This is the first time the IWGP Heavyweight Title has been defended in a Triple Threat Match in several years. An Awesome Main Event! Everyone in this match looked really good. Much like the Triple Threat Match from Final Battle 2013, it started off a bit slow, but once it got going, the match got really good and the crowd was very much into it. As I already said, everyone in here got a chance to shine, and it made for a really great match. Eventually, Okada is able to hit Elgin with The Rainmaker (to a MASSIVE pop), but Styles hits a flying springboard forearm, which knocks Okada to the outside, and he able to then hit Elgin with the Styles Clash to score the win and retain his title. Once again, really great match. Not the best match on the show, but definitely in the Top 3.

Afterwords, AJ Styles is celebrating his win, when Adam Cole comes out & blindsides him! He then proceeds to lay out both Elgin & Okada with the ROH World Title. At this point, the DVD ends, but we a little extra stuff for the Live Crowd. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin "Thunder" Liger came out and chased Cole off. Tanahashi thanked the New York City crowd for coming out, and said that New Japan would be back, which was awesome to hear.

I don't believe this was shown at the venue, but on the iPPV (and on a DVD), they showed a video hyping the return of "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels and....another (*cough*Frankie Kazarian*cough), which was also pretty cool to see.

Overall: 9.25/10

Out of the two ROH/NJPW SuperShows, this was definitely the better of the two. This was an amazing live experience. Getting to see people like Tanahashi, Okada, Nakamura, and Liger live & in person was just so awesome. The entire show, from top to bottom, was simply amazing. Every match, from the opener to the Main Event, either met or surpassed the expectations I had going into it. I know there was some discrepancy, when it came to the noise of the crowd and how it came off on iPPV, but as someone who was there live, I can say the crowd was rocking the whole night. They were into everything, and it made for a really enjoyable show. reDRagon & The Young Bucks once again stole the show, giving us a Match of the Year Contender in the process. Steen/Nakamura & Styles/Okada/Elgin were both equally awesome, and the rest of the undercard (Cole/Liger, Tanahashi/Bennett, Lethal/KUSHIDA, and so on) was pretty solid. The show came off pretty well on the DVD Version as well, but it just can't convey how awesome the live experience was. In the end, this is one of the best wrestling events I've ever had the pleasure of attending. The ROH/New Japan SuperShows were undoubtedly a success, and it was awesome to be able to experience it LIVE!!

No comments:

Post a Comment