Ring of Honor & New Japan Pro Wrestling
War of the Worlds
May 12, 2015
2300 Arena (ECW Arena)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Last year, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling held inter-promotional events in both New York City and Toronto. The events were well received, and for a year, fans have been clamoring for more. Now, in May 2015, NJPW returns with ROH to Toronto, while also holding two shows in Philadelphia! Tonight, in the old ECW Arena, NJPW & ROH promote the first of two nights entitled War of the Worlds. Here is the Voices of Wrestling preview for Night One of this year’s War of the Worlds!

Night 1

Delirious vs. Gedo

Rich Kraetsch (@voiceswrestling): Why aren’t more people excited for this match? Not only are both guys more than competent/smart workers but it’s a classic wink-wink-nudge-nudge match that rewards hardcore fans for knowing who’s pulling the strings backstage — that’s really cool. Expect a short but fun match.

Prediction: Delirious

Warren Taylor (@TeddyNoir): Both guys are seasoned pros and know the tricks to the trade. I expect a solid and short match from them.

Prediction: Delirious

Aaron Bentley (@aaron_bentley): This should be fun. The smart crowd will appreciate the battle of the bookers. Clearly, neither guy needs a win but the guy from Philly will likely get the victory in front of his hometown crowd.

Prediction: Delirious

Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes): Want a fun “2nd Match on the Card” type bout featuring both bookers who managed to put together an incredible week of wrestling for all of you? Well, you got it. Delirious. Gedo. Together in the ring for the appreciation of the fans. I feel like Delirious wants this match more to lose than to win, but the result matters so little here.

Prediction: Gedo

KUSHIDA vs. Roderick Strong

Rich Kraetsch: There’s a good chance this is my most anticipated match in either War of the Worlds. Maybe I’m insane but if this gets any amount of time this could be incredible. I’m on record as saying KUSHIDA is not only one of the most underrated workers in New Japan right now but if they ever pulled the trigger on a singles run, he’d be one of their biggest stars. Roddy is Roddy, he’s a solid worker and I’ve been in love with his work over the last year. This is a great combo and great booking by ROH/NJPW. I AM EXCITE.

Prediction: Roderick Strong

Warren Taylor: The next four shows are some of the biggest of both men’s careers. Each has a chance to make an impression and improve their stock in the eyes of the New Japan brass. For KUSHIDA it will solidify what looks to be a coming push. For Strong he has the chance to potentially break into the hottest promotion in the world.

Prediction: Roderick Strong

Aaron Bentley: I do not have much interest in Roderick Strong but KUSHIDA in a singles match is enough to get me excited. This match is the beginning of what should be a very big month for KUSHIDA, as he appears to be in line to win the Best of the Super Juniors. With that said, Strong is likely to take falls in his two other single matches on these shows (against Tanahashi and Nakamura) and I doubt he’s going to go completely winless.

Prediction: Roderick Strong

Rob McCarron: I have to agree with all of my counterparts here – KUSHIDA vs Strong is going to be awesome. I am super hyped for this one. I do, however, have to disagree with their predictions. I feel like we have a lot of ROH-view in the predictions here going with Strong, while I’ll take it from the NJPW side. KUSHIDA is on the verge of a Best of the Super Juniors win, and Jr Heavy Title Match, most likely. Strong, well, he’s not. Now, Michael Bennett got a series of wins before his Tanahashi match, so there is reason to believe Strong will win here. However, I’ll stick with KUSHIDA’s push being more important.

Prediction: KUSHIDA

Jay Lethal vs. Takaaki Watanabe

Rich Kraetsch: Jay Lethal may be the best character in wrestling today and Watanabe is a lot of fun (at least I think so, I haven’t seen him in awhile!). This could be really good or fall well below expectations, I can’t get a good read on it.

Prediction: Jay Lethal

Warren Taylor: Lethal is on roll this year and is having good matches with everyone he gets in the ring with. I expect him to carry Watanabe to a good match.

Prediction: Jay Lethal

Aaron Bentley: Watanabe lives! Lethal is one of the best wrestlers in the world right now. I felt that he stole the show last year in his match with KUSHIDA. I don’t think Watanabe is nearly good enough for that to happen again this year but this should surpass Watanabe’s match with Andy Dalton as his best ever.

Prediction: Jay Lethal

Rob McCarron: Yeah, Jay Lethal is going to win here. Let’s hope Watanabe cuts a half hour promo before hand. Or not.

Prediction: Jay Lethal

The Addiction vs. The Kingdom vs. The Young Bucks

Rich Kraetsch: This could get real interesting. The Addiction have been the new focus of the ROH Tag Division so they make sense as the winners… until you realize how fondly New Japan Pro Wrestling views both The Kingdom and The Young Bucks. Now I have no idea who wins this match — either way, it’ll be flippy, there will be fun spots and some laughs thrown in-between. Flip a coin on the winning team.

Prediction: The Addiction

Warren Taylor: The booking in this three way will be interesting to watch unfold. The Addiction are just getting started as ROH Tag Team Champions and need to build momentum. On the other hand The Young Bucks could use the win to set up a future title match down the road. Either way The Kingdom is taking the pin.

Prediction: The Young Bucks

Aaron Bentley: This match was made slightly more interesting by The Young Bucks regaining the IWGP Junior Tag Team titles at Wrestling Dontaku. Obviously, Taven or Bennett will take the fall but the winning team is much closer question now that the Bucks and The Addiction are their respective company’s champion. Perhaps The Young Bucks will be the victims of shenanigans this time as Chris Sabin gets involved on behalf of his KRD brethren.

Prediction: The Addiction

Rob McCarron: I’m not so much into the camp of “Taven or Bennett is obviously taking the fall here” like some others here. They are the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, afterall. Their opponents are the ROH Tag Champs, and the IWGP Junior Tag Champs. This is a star studded and golden affair, but it is clear that The Kingdom are somehow still the low men on the totem poll. I think a Young Bucks win here not only puts them over on the NJPW side, but also sets up a future for the ROH side.

Prediction: The Young Bucks

Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito

Rich Kraetsch: I’m not an Elgin fan, I’ve been over him for about a year now but he’s been slowly but surely building me back up. These shows could go a long way in fully rebuilding him and Naito is a great first opponent. You want to get booked for the G1? Knock it out of the park (har-har), Mike.

Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

Warren Taylor: Personally, I want Michael Elgin to kill it this week to silence his detractors. The Canadian big man always brings the goods and hit the jackpot for his opponent on night one of the tour. Naito may be the most consistent performer in New Japan. His work ethic and style will mesh well with Elgin in what is my pick to be match of the night.

Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

Aaron Bentley: Everyone knows Michael Elgin is auditioning for a spot in this year’s G1. Naito is a good matchup for Elgin but I wonder if a guy who has been dying to go to Japan will feel the pressure and try too hard. Elgin’s work of late has been great and I, for one, will be rooting for him. But it’s something to watch for.

Prediction: Michael Elgin

Rob McCarron: Part of my reasoning for making this prediction is the fact that I think KUSHIDA will win earlier. If Strong beats KUSHIDA, I think this Elgin prediction will fall flat. Either way, I expect an all out performance from Elgin, and Naito is certainly the type that can be agreeable to that. Backstage wise, if Gedo still doesn’t have interest in Elgin, it’s understandable that Gedo would want the win to go to his guy here. It’s a toss up for me on the result.

Prediction: Michael Elgin

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. reDRagon

Rich Kraetsch: My word! The crowd is going to come unglued for Liger & Tanahashi (maybe more so for Liger, a living legend to middle aged American wrestlers). The big question here will be Tanahashi’s health and how much effort he wants to put into these shows. If he wants to work at full strength and full effort, this could be a hell of a match. If he’s taking it easy, eh, we’ll see.

Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger

Warren Taylor: Who is getting chills just thinking about watching this match? I know I am and wish that this was on another show so it would get more time. Watching O’Reilly lock up with Tanahashi will be a real treat.

Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger

Aaron Bentley: Does the protection of reDRagon in NJPW expand to these shows? Even when Tanahashi is involved? We know Tanahashi isn’t going to do too much here and I could see that including selling on the outside while Liger takes the pin.

Prediction: reDRagon

Rob McCarron: I cringe to think what kind of pain Hiroshi Tanahashi will be in when he gets back home to Japan next week. Four shows in five days, two flights of 10+ hours each, and at least one wrestling match where he gives it his all. That match will not likely be this one, and I see Liger doing most of the work. The question becomes whether Liger takes the fall, as well, because reDRagon is a pretty important team in ROH, while Liger isn’t a stranger to losing tag matches in NJPW. Now, he doesn’t usually take the fall in them, and he’d have to here. Many questions, only one answer. I, unfortunately, don’t have that answer. So I’ll toss a coin…

Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger

A.J. Styles vs. MYSTERY GRAPPLER

Rich Kraetsch: If we jump ahead to Night 2, the TBA is pretty obvious (Adam Cole). If we’re right and it is Cole, expect this to be a great match. I question the booking a bit of Cole coming back and losing immediately. Also, I question how he’ll look fresh off an injury. I think someone as talented as Cole can snap right back into action, so I’m looking forward to this regardless of the questionable booking. Expect to see a DQ finish or some shenanigans to get ROH and Cole out of a loss.

Prediction: A.J. Styles

Warren Taylor: Rumor has it Styles’ opponent will be Adam Cole. Their match last September was a superb. Logic says Cole gets his win back but there is no way Styles loses since he as the IWGP strap. Look for him to win with a flash pin.

Prediction: A.J. Styles

Aaron Bentley: It seems odd to bring Adam Cole back to lose to A.J. Styles, who is clearly not taking any falls on this tour. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m expecting TBA to be someone else. Either way, it ends in a Styles Clash.

Prediction: A.J. Styles

Rob McCarron: Everyone assumes it will be Adam Cole. Dave Meltzer ‘reported’ it will be Adam Cole. Not. He reported that Cole was the plan. Plans change. Samoa Joe’s NXT start date changed. I’ll join Alan4L’s bandwagon and say Delirious shocks the world with Joe vs AJ tonight for one last time.

Prediction: A.J. Styles

The Briscoes vs. Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura

Rich Kraetsch: This is going to be bonkers, I don’t even know a better word to describe this — yup, bonkers works. In-ring, this will be the standout, maybe for the whole weekend and the crowd is going to be ridiculous. Okada and Nakamura will love this environment and the Briscoes will be at home with one of the hottest crowds of recent vintage. The finish? C’mon… I’d bet my life savings (admittedly not much) on Mark Briscoe taking the fall here, the only question is is it the Rainmaker or the Boma Ye (can it be both?!).

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura

Warren Taylor: Dem Boys have not locked up with world class opponents as a unit in quite some time. Okada & Nakamura are beyond world class, they are living legends. Put them in the ring with one of the best tag teams of all time and magic will happen in Philadelphia. Mark Briscoe will take the fall via Rainmaker of Boma Ye. I am sure he will sell the hell out of either move.

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura

Aaron Bentley: Realistically, I don’t know if there are any “dream matches” to be made out of the ROH and NJPW rosters, especially considering all the recent crossover. However, getting Jay Briscoe in the ring with Okada and Nakamura is awfully close. Since we know Mark Briscoe is taking the fall, the more interesting question is whether Okada or Nakamura will get the pin. My thought is that Nakamura is more over with this crowd and the response to a Boma Ye as the finish is the best possible way to end this card.

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura

Rob McCarron: Mark Briscoe is taking the fall in every match he’s in this week. All of them. Every one. Maybe. Definitely this one, though. This is the capper for an amazing card that can deliver only to 70% of the hype and would still be a candidate for Show of the Year.

Prediction: Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura