ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2016
May 8, 2016
Chicago Ridge, Illinois
#1 Contender’s Four-Corner Survival
Dalton Castle def. Roderick Strong, ACH & Adam Page
ACH comes out wearing awesome gear inspired by One Piece (which is also, apparently, Minoru Suzuki’s favorite anime). This was a fun little opener. It was a little slow to start off, but things picked up in the second half, and everyone had the chance to get their stuff in. Strong had a big flurry at the end, but Dalton Castle would take advantage for the victory. I was really happy to see Dalton Castle get the win here, and a future shot at the World TV Title. If this also opens up the possibility of a Dalton Castle/Roderick Strong feud, based on how they did the finish, then that’d be cool as well. ***1/4
Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Cheeseburger def. The Addiction
Cheeseburger comes out wearing a unique entrance mask, while Liger has a special silver mask. I thought this was a decent match. Not as good as the opener, but still fine for what it was. I think The Addiction are very good in their role as heels, and they played those roles well here. The match told a simple but effective story, as The Addiction isolated Cheeseburger until he made the hot tag to Liger. There was a really scary moment as Liger took a really bad landing on Celebrity Rehab (The Addiction’s tag team finisher), falling right on the top of his head. Cheeseburger pinning Christopher Daniels for the victory here was a real shocker, but I guess since Cheeseburger probably isn’t appearing on ROH PPV again anytime soon (unless he teams with Liger again), then I guess I understand it. Honestly would have preferred if he pinned Kazarian, but that’s just me. **3/4
The Addiction would attack Liger & Cheeseburger after the match, hitting the latter with the Best Meltzer Ever, which looks absolutely incredible.
ROH World Tag Team Titles
War Machine(c) def. The Briscoes
The story behind this one is that Hanson & Ray Rowe have never beaten The Briscoes. I really enjoy stories like this, especially when this one had been slowing building since 2014 (when the teams had their first matches against each other). It’s simple, but effective. When all was said and done, I’d say this might have been the best match of the show. These two teams worked really well together, and they produced some really cool stuff. The Briscoes always bring it, and it was a nice bit of redemption for War Machine after their No DQ Match with ANX at the last PPV fell a little flat.
The second half of this match was especially great. There were some very good near-falls, including Hanson kicking out of the Jay Driller, which got a huge reaction. War Machine would eventually get the win, their first over The Briscoes, with Fallout, in this very exciting encounter (despite the fact that there was seemingly a miscue with the ring bell at the end). ****
Tetsuya Naito def. Kyle O’Reilly
I actually saw this match last year in Philadelphia (at War Of The Worlds 2015: Night 2), back when Naito was still “Stardust Genius”. I thought both matches were very good, but I enjoyed this one a little bit more. This match was more serious, as compared to their match in Philadelphia, which was more lighthearted. I thought both guys were really good in this match, and they had some very cool exchanges towards the end. Naito getting the win was no surprise, but O’Reilly still had a very good showing. ***3/4
Kazuchika Okada & Moose def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin
Elgin & Tanahashi are such a fun tag team to watch (they’ve quickly become one of my favorites) and I thought Okada & Moose worked well together here as well, including simultaneous corner dropkicks! We saw a lot of cool stuff in this match. Elgin showed off his strength, Moose showed off his insane athletic ability, and the crowd LOVED the interactions between Okada and Tanahashi. I was actually kind of surprised that Okada & Moose got the win here (since I figured Moose was going to get pinned), but it was nice to see Moose on the winning side. I preferred this match, just slightly, over the match Elgin & Tanahashi had with The Briscoes in Las Vegas, just because the Okada/Tanahashi exchanges were really cool. ***3/4
ROH World TV Title
Bobby Fish def. Tomohiro Ishii ©
This was a must-win match for Fish, especially when you consider he’s been in the ROH World TV Title match on the last three ROH PPVs, and lost all three times (though he wasn’t pinned in the triple threat match in Las Vegas).
I was really interested to see how these two would mesh together, and they ended up putting on an awesome match! For me, it was right up there with The Briscoes/War Machine for Match of the Night. Ishii was a beast, just dishing out punishment (including some sick headbutts and chops), but Fish never gave up, and kept fighting back. The finish, with Fish choking out Ishii (basically the same finish as Asuka/Bayley from NXT TakeOver: Dallas), was an interesting choice, but it was awesome to see Fish finally win singles gold in ROH. I would have liked to see Ishii get a few more defenses during his title reign, but it was still a great moment for Fish, who totally deserves it.
Bullet Club def. KUSHIDA, Matt Sydal, & The Motor City Machine Guns
It was really cool to see KUSHIDA, Matt Sydal, Chris Sabin, & Alex Shelley all on the same team, given the history all four guys have with each other. Combine all of their team names together, and you get the “Time Splitting Machine Guns of Love” (Putting together Time Splitters, Motor City Machine Guns, and Love Gunn, which was Sabin & Sydal’s short-lived PWG tag team from last year). Additionally, before the match started, Mr. Wrestling III unveiled his “Superkick Counter”, as The Young Bucks had promised to set a Superkick World Record. It was exactly the kind of match you would expect, with (mostly) fast-paced action, and bodies flying all over the place.
The match dragged a little bit when the Guerrillas of Destiny were in there, but they weren’t in control for that long. I’d say it was on the lower end of multi-man tag team matches involving The Young Bucks on ROH PPVs (their match earlier this year from Las Vegas with Kenny Omega against ACH, KUSHIDA, & Sydal was significantly better), but I still enjoyed it for what it was. Ironically enough, we saw no superkicks at all in this match, and The Young Bucks eventually won the match for their team with The Meltzer Driver. There had been a tease of a new member of Bullet Club, but he made no appearance here. More on that in a minute.… ***1/2
ROH World Title
Jay Lethal vs. Colt Cabana – No Decision
This was Colt Cabana’s big homecoming to Chicago after making his return to ROH last month in Dallas, cutting what was arguably one of the best promos of the year, anywhere in wrestling. He’s had many ROH World Title matches in the Frontier Fieldhouse, but he’s never been able to capture the gold. As far as the match itself went, I thought it was going along well. Lethal was his usual great self, at one point hitting a dive that sent him flying into the front row. Cabana also looked very good here, and really took the fight to Lethal. They had some really nice exchanges here, and I was actually very much looking forward to how this match would turn out…
Of course, the only thing this match will be remembered for was the reveal of Adam Cole as the newest member of Bullet Club, with Cole, The Young Bucks, and The Guerrillas of Destiny utterly destroying Lethal, Cabana, Todd Sinclair, Taeler Hendrix, Kevin Kelly, Mr. Wrestling III, cameramen, hordes of security, and even The Young Bucks’ own father.
It was a very n.W.o. style takeover (complete with spray paint). This angle is, of course, coming off the speculation surrounding Cole’s status when ROH went out of their way on Twitter to say he wasn’t booked for any upcoming shows, as well as the news that’s developed over the past week (which I won’t get into here). I honestly don’t feel comfortable right now giving a star rating for this match, given the big angle that happened. NR
I tend to be relatively optimistic on ROH (I’m more of a “glass is half full” kind of guy, when it comes to wrestling), and while I’m completely fine with Adam Cole being in Bullet Club, this was a very sour note to end the PPV on. It just further puts into question the booking, in my opinion, which has become a big talking point when it comes to ROH. Interference in the main event of a PPV (which we’ve seen a number of times from ROH since this new era of PPVs began for them two years ago) is one thing, but a non-finish? I’d expect something like that out of TNA, or even WCW, but not ROH, which is a company that should be above this kind of thing. This is the same company that’s remembered for the legacies that the likes of Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, and many others left behind during their respective tenures. Many have had qualms over the booking of ROH in the last year or so, but I’ve tended to be, again, more optimistic. After tonight, I’m of the firm belief that changes need to be made when it comes to the booking. Again, ROH is just too good to stoop to the level of TNA & WCW (and that’s what this reeked of).
There are two aspects of this that I find especially sad. Firstly, ROH has done an angle like this in the relatively recent past that was significantly better. I know there are people who have a lot of mixed feelings about the S.C.U.M. storyline from a few years ago, but the big invasion angle that took place, involving S.C.U.M., back at the 11 Anniversary Show in 2013 (in Chicago Ridge, the same location as Global Wars 2016) was, in my opinion, handled much better than the angle that took place last night (just to be clear, I believe this was right after Jim Cornette left ROH in late 2012 and Delirious took his place). That’s saying something, considering the fact that the S.C.U.M. invasion angle involved the likes of Matt Hardy, Cliff Compton, Rhino, & Rhett Titus. Even though this Bullet Club angle has much better in-ring talent involved, it just wasn’t handled well. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that the Main Event itself ended as a No Contest. If they had done something similar to what they did with that S.C.U.M. angle (letting Lethal vs. Cabana actually finish the match, and then do the angle with Adam Cole & Bullet Club after the match), I don’t think there’d be this big uproar. Basically, if they were going to do this angle, there were better ways to go about it.
Secondly, I especially feel really bad for Colt Cabana. That promo he cut in Dallas when he returned was absolutely phenomenal, and on a weekend where ROH got a lot of criticism for not running any iPPVs during that huge weekend in Dallas, it still kept ROH in the conversation because it was such a big moment. For him to have this big homecoming in Chicago, only for this to happen to him, just tarnishes his big return and, in particular, that incredible promo he cut.
Up until the main event, I thought Global Wars 2016 was going along relatively smoothly. It was basically what we’ve all come to expect from a ROH PPV, with some really good to great wrestling, but no match really reaching Match of the Year levels of amazing. The first two matches were solid, but then the middle of the card was where this show really hit its stride, bookended by the night’s two best matches of War Machine vs. The Briscoes, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Bobby Fish.
However, the ending of this PPV will unfortunately overshadow all of the good that we saw on this card. Again, while I’m fine with the idea of Adam Cole in The Bullet Club, this angle could have been handled so much better. Instead, it definitely left many people upset and disappointed at the direction this company seems to be taking. You should definitely check out the majority of this card at some point (maybe when the VOD comes out), but after that ending, I think a lot of people, myself included, will think twice when it comes to spending money to watch ROH PPVs.