Ring of Honor & New Japan Pro Wrestling
War of the Worlds 2017
The Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom
New York, New York

Watch: ROHWrestling.com / PPV 

Meet our previewers:

John Carroll: John is here to provide you with the perspective of an old-school ROH fan who grumbles about everything today while not actually watching the TV, as a counterpoint to Sean’s whole “actually knows what he’s talking about” deal. You can find them in the front row of basically every northeast ROH DVD from like 2004-2008 (this is not an exaggeration or a joke, it’s literally true), or in the west box at this show, trying to remember why they actually keep going to these shows. Oh, and on Twitter too: @toshanshuinla.

Sean Sedor: Sean is the Garrett Kidney of SBG-era ROH. He’s seen almost every ROH match since 2011, from the biggest to the incredibly obscure. Whenever ROH has a big show, you can be sure that he’ll be writing something about (whether that be a preview or review) for the site. He’ll also be attending this show live, so if you plan on being there, come say hello if you see him! You can follow him on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can check out his wrestling reviews blog at http://dxvsnwo1994.blogspot.com.

Bobby Fish vs. Dalton Castle vs. KUSHIDA vs. Silas Young

John Carroll: The ROH “we have nothing to do with these guys so let’s put them in a random four-way” booking trope dates all the way back to the glory years; it sucked then and it still sucks now. Look, I know people get tired of the multi-man tags on Japanese undercards, but I will take those matches with clear teams and solid units over these random four-ways every day of the damn week. If you actually care about who’s winning this, that makes one of us. Prediction: Bobby Fish, winner of the coin flip tournament I just held at my desk

Sean Sedor: There really isn’t much of a story to this one. It’s just a match involved four guys who had nothing else to do on this card. In the grand scheme of things, this means nothing, but all for guys involved are really good (to varying degrees, of course), so I’m sure this will be a solid match. As for the winner, I actually think that KUSHIDA takes this one, as it would makes sense for him to get a win ahead of his match with Marty Scurll for the ROH World TV Title in Philadelphia. Prediction: KUSHIDA

Frankie Kazarian vs. Hangman Page

John Carroll: Frankie Kazarian’s fake-out BULLET CLUB turn was one of those booking moves that sounds like annoying garbage on paper but, for whatever reason, actually worked pretty well in practice. Everyone involved did a good job, from Adam Cole selling his shock to Kazarian just looking so incredibly proud of himself, and I ultimately thought it was a fun little swerve that didn’t ruin Christopher Daniels’ title win for me (others disagreed there, and that’s fine I guess). But unfortunately that turn means we have to sit through this match, as the BC sends Hangman Page for revenge and I send myself to the bar to see if I can justify spending $10 for a cocktail just so I don’t have to deal with this sober. Prediction: Frankie Kazarian

Sean Sedor: This is a strange match. From a storyline standpoint, it was going to happen eventually. During his short stint with The Bullet Club, Kazarian won a Six-Man Mayhem to secure himself a shot at the ROH World TV Title, and Page (who was also participating in that match) played a role in helping him get that win. After it was revealed that Kazarian had been working with Daniels all along, Page wanted payback, and got some at Supercard of Honor XI when he cost Kazarian a match against Punishment Martinez. It makes sense, but on the flip side, I have not interested in this at all. On a card that’s already packed with eight other matches, this one could’ve easily been chopped and moved to a different show. This doesn’t need to happen here. I’m fine with Adam Page, but I find Kazarian’s singles work to be incredibly boring, so I’m not expecting much from this one. Hopefully it doesn’t get a ton of time. Prediction: Hangman Page

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) vs. Search and Destroy (Chris Sabin and Jonathan Gresham) vs. War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe)

John Carroll: Look, I know I sound extremely negative in this preview already and I promise things will get better at the top half of this card, but: why the hell are Sabin & Gresham here?? Why are we flying EVIL and SANADA all the way here from Japan, in SANADA’s ROH debut no less, just to stick them in a random three-way tag? Anyone coming to this show primarily for the NJPW talent (like me) is going to be annoyed at this very limited usage of two of the guys they paid to see, and any regular ROH fan doesn’t really have any reason to get excited for this match either. C’mon lizardman, use your talent better than this. Prediction: War Machine

Sean Sedor: One of the more disappointing aspects of this tour is that EVIL & Sanada weren’t given any singles matches. Look, I thought they were very good together in last year’s World Tag League, but you would think that each would’ve been given at least one singles match. Alas, they were placed in all different kinds of tag team bouts. In fact, this is their second three-way tag team match on this tour alone (they took on The Briscoes, along with Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser, in Toronto). That criticism aside, I’m actually looking forward to this one. Given who’s involved, there’s no way that this won’t be (at the very least) good. LIJ should have some fun interactions with War Machine, but I’m curious to see how Search & Destroy do in this one. Obviously it’s a little odd that The Motor City Machine Guns aren’t in here, but I’m all for Jonathan Gresham getting an opportunity on PPV. I mean, where else are you going to see him mix it up with the likes of EVIL & SANADA? As for the winner, even though their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line, I would expect War Machine to emerge victorious. Prediction: War Machine

Jay White vs. Will Ospreay

John Carroll: Finally I can say something positive about this show: this match is going to rule and I am very excited to see it. Jay White has been pretty great in just about every ROH match I’ve seen him in since his excursion started (can’t wait till he returns to New Japan!), and Will Ospreay looks rejuvenated since his renewed push began in NJPW with the BOSJ around the corner. We’re getting a first time ever singles match here, and honestly I might be more excited for this one than anything else on the card. Young William is probably winning this just to keep his BOSJ momentum going, but this could (and honestly, should) be a really awesome match. Prediction: Will Ospreay

Sean Sedor: These two were on opposite sides of an international tag team match last month at Supercard of Honor XI, but they’re getting to face off in singles competition. I expect this to be pretty great. Ospreay is always awesome, while Jay White has been very solid throughout his ROH run thus far. I’m not sure if this is a clear frontrunner for potential match of the night, but when the dust settles, I’m certain that it’ll be in that conversation, at the very least. Will Ospreay has the Best Of The Super Juniors coming up, so I would expect him to score the victory over Jay White here. Prediction: Will Ospreay

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship
Bully Ray & The Briscoes © vs. CHAOS (Beretta, Hirooki Goto & Rocky Romero)

John Carroll: Initially when this match was announced I was pretty down on it, but I’ve been swayed by a very simple argument: Bully Ray vs. Hirooki Goto. It’s a very strange match-up that I’m fairly certain no one was ever clamoring for before we found out we were gonna get it, but now that it’s going to happen I’m actually pretty intrigued by this. Just imagine Bully Ray in your mind, no-selling a Goto forearm and firing up with his FIGHTING SPIRIT! Yes, it’s ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous in a good way. Giving us HIROOKI GOTO vs. BUH BUH RAY DUDLEY without making us actually sit through that as a singles match (which would be awful) is honestly the first useful thing these six-man titles have done, so bravo. Prediction: Bully Ray & The Briscoes

Sean Sedor: They haven’t been holding these titles for very long, but The Briscoes & Bully Ray have already racked up a number of title defenses. Just in the last month or so, they’ll already had successful defenses against trios representing two of New Japan’s big factions (The Bullet Club & LIJ), and on this night, they’re taking on another faction from New Japan in the form of CHAOS, who are being represented by Hirooki Goto & Roppongi Vice. This should be a very entertaining six-man tag. The Briscoes are always awesome, and it’s always fun to see Roppongi Vice pop up in ROH. As John already mentioned, the idea of seeing Bully Ray interact with Hirooki Goto is a pretty insane visual, but it’ll certainly be interesting. There really isn’t much going on here in terms of storylines, as The Briscoes & Bully Ray have been defending the titles against random teams ever since they first won them. The result of this one is pretty apparent, but this should still be fun. Prediction: The Briscoes

ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks © vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito)

John Carroll: Here’s the match that can reasonably compete with White-Ospreay for my most anticipated match of the night. Whatever you think of the Young Bucks I don’t think you’d argue if I called them “unique”, and that’s a description that fits Tetsuya Naito just as well as anyone too. Seeing these huge personalities clash for the first time could honestly be something special, especially in front of an ROH crowd that should be hotter for this match than anything else on the show. Honestly, fourth from the top is actually kind of an injustice for this one. If they’re smart this will be the last match before intermission at least, because I’m not sure what could possibly follow it. You can add on a little extra intrigue here due to the past heat with the Young Bucks and BUSHI over his (frankly, accurate) comments on the gaijin-heavy NJPW junior tag division, too, which the Bucks smartly played off of on Twitter when this match was first announced. Whether they’re still really all that pissed about it or not (honestly, who knows with them, they’re always working anyway) it was smart on their part to bring it up. It just adds even more interest to an already extremely interesting match. Rarely will you be hyped for a match where the result (BUSHI getting pinned) is not even remotely in doubt, but in this case it works. Wouldn’t be surprised if we got an angle here to set up the Young Bucks-Roppongi Vice junior tag title match, either, since we’ve seen them run NJPW angles with the gaijin on ROH shows before. Prediction: Young Bucks

Sean Sedor: I don’t think The Young Bucks have ever clashed with Tetsuya Naito in any form since LIJ formed. Then again, The Bullet Club & LIJ have really been kept apart in New Japan (aside from tournaments, of course), so that shouldn’t really be a surprise. Sure, the result of this one is obvious, but this could be one the best matches on the entire show. The Young Bucks never fail to disappoint, especially in the Hammerstein Ballroom, and seeing them go up against Naito should be a blast. Normally, I would be a little concerned about Naito not working that hard (since it’s a tag team match), but given that it’s a title match on PPV against a team like The Young Bucks, I’m sure he’ll have his working shoes on. As far as BUSHI is concerned, it’ll be interesting to see how his interactions with The Young Bucks go, considering the past heat between them that John already brought up. Plus, the crowd should be pretty hot for this (LIJ is very popular and, of course, The Young Bucks are probably the most over act in ROH right now), so that will surely add a lot to it. Again, The Young Bucks will retain their titles here, but this should still be a ton of fun to watch, and it could easily be in that match of the night conversation. Prediction: The Young Bucks

Adam Cole vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

John Carroll: If you’re one of those people that actually thinks Adam Cole is really good, I’m sure you must be really hyped for this. Personally, I’ve always been one of the type who thinks Cole is fine but massively over-pushed and overrated for what he actually brings to the table. I’ve always felt that people see Cole as a former ROH World champion, look at the lineage, and see how long he’s held this title for and think “well, obviously he must be good”, but he’s got a hell of a lot more in common with Xavier or a washed-up Jerry Lynn than he does with peak Bryan Danielson or Samoa Joe. I probably should give the guy a break given that it’s his goodbye tour and all, but I can’t say I’ll miss him much once he’s on Hunter’s vanity show. Tanahashi is Tanahashi: he’s great, he’s old, he’s not very over at all in ROH because god forbid the self-serious bros that make up today’s fanbase cheer for a white meat babyface. At Field of Honor last year there was a guy sitting on the toilet in the men’s bathroom screaming “ROMAN REIGNS SUCKS!” for no discernable reason, which honestly sums up most of today’s ROH fans better than anything. Anyway. Even though I hate Love & Energy, ROH wimping out on using it in favor of the song Tanahashi retired in January is just so lame. It’s such an ROH decision, honestly. Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Sean Sedor: Adam Cole has made it known for some time that Hiroshi Tanahashi was one of his biggest dream opponents. Now, as his run with ROH appears to be coming to an end, Cole is finally getting his wish granted. Personally, this is my most anticipated match on this PPV card. I know that Cole’s stock has certainly fallen in the eyes of many in the last few years, but as I’ve already mentioned, this is a match he’s wanted for some time, so I have no doubt that he’ll be looking to put on the best match possible (and it could end up being one of his best singles outings this year, if everything goes well). As for Tanahashi, he almost never disappoints in a singles environment, unless he’s in serious pain (more so than he usually is) or facing off against a really subpar opponent, so I’m certain he’ll be working hard here as well. This might be a weird thing to say, but I genuinely think that Cole will be more over with this NYC crowd than Tanahashi, who’s never gotten huge reactions in most of his ROH outings. That last sentence sounds crazy, but given the kinds of fans that will be making up a majority of those in attendance, it won’t be that much of a surprise. A victory from Tanahashi seems like the likely outcome (especially since Cole appears to be on his way out), but this should still be very good. Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi

ROH World Television Championship
Marty Scurll © vs. Matt Sydal

John Carroll: Marty Scurll is one of the few bright spots on the current ROH roster, a guy who has translated his Villain act to ROH even better than I expected him to. Sydal’s career went off the rails after he got caught up in a bad scene at a Japanese airport (as Jae of IHeartDG said during his Open the Voice Gate guest appearance: DON’T BRING DRUGS TO JAPAN!!), but he’s slowly been putting it back together of late with his return to Impact (formerly TNA) and now ROH (currently TNA). It’s kind of sad he’ll never get to wrestle in Japan again as he was a perfect fit for the NJPW junior division, but it looks like he’s putting that whole unfortunate business behind him now. This match isn’t quite a first time ever meeting- they met in 2015 in WXW- but it certainly hasn’t happened many times before (just that match and a 2016 RevPro tag with Scurll/Sabre-Ricochet/Sydal). It’s new to me at least, and I suspect it will be new to a great many people watching as well. If both men are on their game there’s really no reason why this can’t steal the show. Prediction: Marty Scurll

Sean Sedor: Marty Scurll’s reign as ROH World TV Champion has been nothing short of fantastic. From a match quality perspective, he’s been one of the best champions in recent memory. Even his lower profile defenses against the likes of Juice Robinson & Sonjay Dutt have been really good. However, one of the interesting theme’s of Scurll’s title reign is that he’s (mostly) defended the title either against guys making one-off appearances (Juice Robinson, Sonjay Dutt, Ken Anderson) or people who departed the company shortly thereafter (Donovan Dijak, Lio Rush). Matt Sydal recently made his return after the now widely reported issues that have essentially ended Sydal’s career in Japan, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be sticking around for that long, as he’s now working for Impact Wrestling (the former TNA) as part of their X-Division. Here we have another match that features an incredibly predictable result, but it’s a contest that, on paper, has the potential to be fantastic. Again, Scurll’s been an awesome champion, and when Sydal is on point, he can deliver some incredible performances. I can easily see this being a contender for match of the night, but in the end, Scurll will probably retain. Prediction: Marty Scurll

ROH World Championship
Christopher Daniels © vs. Cody vs. Jay Lethal

John Carroll: The booking for this match was one of those “we have to fill time!” head scratchers; from the moment it was announced as Daniels vs. Cody vs. A WINNER OF A FOUR WAY THAT HAPPENS TO INCLUDE THE GUY CODY’S FEUDED WITH ALL YEAR, it was pretty obvious which way this was headed. I’m not sure what to expect from this match, honestly. I didn’t see their street fight but I was pretty bored by the first Cody-Lethal match at Final Battle last year, and Christopher Daniels is, well, pretty old (though he has looked excited ever since it was clear he was winning the title, I’ll have to give him that). Cody winning the belt here wouldn’t shock me, but the one thing that gives me pause is the fact that it looks like he’ll be in the G1 this year. Does ROH really want to have both their singles champions doing jobs in NJPW leagues within the span of a few months? Maybe it doesn’t even matter anymore, I dunno. Or maybe Cody just wins the belt here and drops it again before the G1, but at that point we’re starting to get into a lot of title changes in a pretty short period of time (especially for this title). I have no idea what purpose giving Lethal the belt back again would serve, so I’m probably ruling that one out. Let’s say for now Daniels retains, but a Cody win wouldn’t surprise me. Still, this is a weird and uninteresting choice for the main event of a major PPV, especially one that in theory has more eyes on them than usual due to the NJPW involvement. You have a chance to put your best foot forward and convince wary fans on the peripheral (hi, like me!) that your company is worth paying attention to for the rest of the year, and you go with a random 3-way as your main event? Uh, okay. Prediction: Christopher Daniels

Sean Sedor: I don’t necessarily have an issue with this match happening, but the setup was all backwards. Jay Lethal defeated Cody in a Texas Bullrope Match at Supercard of Honor XI, yet Lethal was the one who had to earn his was into this match, while all Cody did was attack Christopher Daniels after a successful title defense at that aforementioned event in Orlando. I know that Cody & Jay Lethal are technically 1-1 in singles matches against each other, but come on ROH. This is just as bad as Shane McMahon getting to be in control of RAW for several weeks, even though he lost his Hell In A Cell Match to The Undertaker. The aftermath was completely disconnected from the result of that Texas Bullrope Match. Aside from Adam Page vs. Frankie Kazarian, this is the least interesting match on the card. However, the result is far from predictable. I doubt Lethal wins the title again (especially since he’s been beaten on the first two shows of this tour), so that means either Daniels retains or….Cody becomes ROH World Champion. I know that second scenario looks scary, but look at what we know. It’s been rumored for the last few weeks that Cody is looking to sign somewhere very soon, and it would appear as though ROH is the front-runner at the moment. Plus, when you consider the fact that Cody will be in the G1 Climax this year, it seems like Cody winning is the likely destination. Now, I could see a scenario where Daniels retains, but even if he does, he’d probably pin Lethal, which could lead to Daniels vs. Cody in a singles match at the Best In The World PPV in June. The result of this one could really go either way, but I’m going to say that the unthinkable does occur, and the show will end with Cody (unfortunately) as your new ROH World Champion. Prediction: Cody