ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2017: Night 2
October 13th, 2017
Hiromu Takahashi def. Mark Briscoe
Of course, Daryl was with Hiromu here, and he was placed at the commentary table before the match began. Based on the initial exchange, this had all the making of being a pretty hot opener. Unfortunately, the match was called off about seventy seconds in after Mark Briscoe suffered an elbow injury (it appeared to be a severe dislocation). At first, I really wasn’t able to tell what had actually happened, and as of now, I still don’t know when the injury specifically occurred. They were just getting started when Mark suddenly rolled to the floor. He was holding his hand by his groin, and at first, I thought he might’ve caught an inadvertent kick in the nuts, but when Todd Sinclair called for the bell, it was obvious that this was something more serious. The camera then caught a glimpse at Mark’s elbow injury, which looked pretty bad. Hiromu was awarded the victory by referee stoppage. Obviously this was a very unfortunate situation. Mark seemed to be more frustrated than hurt (though I’m sure he felt it later when the adrenaline wore off), and Hiromu wasn’t pleased either. Nothing much else to say here, since the match barely got going.
With the injury, I would presume that Mark Briscoe is off the remaining two shows of this tour in Columbus and Chicago. He was scheduled to be in some tag team matches, so I’m sure the cards for those shows will end up being shuffled around slightly.
Up next, we were supposed to get The Addiction vs. Best Friends, but when it was time to make their entrance, Christopher Daniels & Kazarian came out in street clothes. The latter proclaimed that they weren’t going to wrestle tonight, since the fans don’t appreciate them. The former teased that they would still do the match in their street clothes, but then told the fans to “eat a dizz”, and they left. This left Best Friends without opponents, but that soon changed when Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara, known as “The Dawgs”, stepped up to the plate.
Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta) def. The Dawgs (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara)
So this new Rhett Titus/Will Ferrara tag team came together in the last month or two following the forced disbandment of The Rebellion and Ferrara’s heel turn. With a name like “The Dawgs”, they sound like a very obnoxious tag team, and in practice (surprise, surprise), that’s exactly what they are. They’re extremely annoying, but at least that works in the context of being heels.
Ultimately, this turned out to be a decent tag team affair. For the most part, this was meant to be a showcase for Best Friends, and while they controlled a majority of the match, The Dawgs did get some moves in, at least making it somewhat competitive. Titus and Ferrara argued with each other at various points (that’s not a good sign for a new tag team), and on a few of those occasions, their disagreements led to some….accidental double teams (that’s the best way I can describe it). There was some fine action here, but it really wasn’t that memorable, which sucks, because The Addiction vs. Best Friends could’ve been pretty good. I don’t think anyone was expecting that encounter to be an outstanding bout, but I’m sure it would’ve been a very solid undercard tag. Instead, we got a match with (clearly) a lesser team. Anyway, towards the end of the bout, Cheeseburger (Will Ferrara’s former tag team partner) came out to distract The Dawgs. This allowed Best Friends to take advantage, and they would pick up the victory with a piledriver from Chuck Taylor, followed by the Dude Buster from Trent Beretta. **¾
Afterwards, Cheeseburger convinced Beretta and Taylor to join him in a big group hug, which got a large ovation from the crowd.
Jay Lethal def. Jay White
To nobody’s surprise, we got some loud “Let’s Go Jay!” chants from the crowd right out of the gate (all this needed was Jay Briscoe and we would’ve gotten a true Battle of the Jay’s).
Coming into this show, you knew these two had the potential to put together a strong bout, and that’s exactly what we got. This was a very good match that proved to be one of the highlights of this show. There were a lot of technical exchanges early on, with both men trading holds back and forth. While that first portion was fun to watch, the match seemed to drag a little bit in the middle (at least, in my eyes), and it took awhile for the fans to get invested. The action that actually took place inside the ring was really solid, but the issue (to me) was that it just never seemed to hit that next gear until about three quarters of the way through. Plus, it was on the longer side, clocking in at around twenty minutes.
Thankfully, when that closing stretch came, they turned it up a notch, and the fans really got into it at that point. Those final few minutes really helped this one, in my view. While I can see some not liking this as much, I enjoyed it as a whole. I’ve said this before in past reviews, but I will never knock a match that is technically proficient throughout. Even though this appeared have a few lulls (as I just mentioned earlier), the wrestling itself was clean and precise from start to finish. They could’ve wrestled at a bit of a faster pace, and a few minutes could’ve been shaved off, but there was nothing wrong with anything they did in the ring when it came to the action (if that makes any sense). Jay Lethal was great in his role here as the veteran, while White looked very strong as he took the fight to the former ROH World Champion. There were a couple of great nearfalls towards the end, and the actual finish itself was pretty unique. Lethal basically countered a sleeper hold into a cutter, before hitting the actual Lethal Injection for the win. Even though Lethal got the win, White looked strong in defeat, and in general, both guys worked very hard. Even with some minor issues, this was still a very entertaining babyface vs. babyface matchup the contained really good action from start to finish. ***3/4
ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Motor City Machine Guns def. The Young Bucks & The Kingdom (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley captured the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the first time back at Death Before Dishonor XV, and I believe this was their first title defense. I was surprised that this went on as early as it did, but it did technically serve as the “first-half main event”, which does make sense, as this is the kind of bout you would put in that spot. When the dust settled, this ended up being the best match of the night, which shouldn’t come as much of a shock. There were some shenanigans early on when The Motor City Machine Guns teased The Young Bucks with the “too sweet” hand gesture (which got a large “Cease & Desist” chant from the crowd), but for the most part, this was nonstop action from start to finish.
The match itself went about fifteen minutes, which was the perfect length for this kind of bout, and there weren’t many dull moments. It’s always amazing to see just how well The Young Bucks and The Motor City Machine Guns work together. I’m convinced that they can’t have a bad match even if they tried. In this particular bout, they were involved in some awesome sequences in the latter stages. As for The Kingdom, they did a pretty solid job here. They did nothing that stood out as being truly memorable, but they more than held their own at the same time. It was probably one of their best matches to date, which just speaks to how great their opponents. That being said, I’m sure most people, when looking at this one on paper, would think that The Kingdom is in here just to take the fall, so the other two teams can continue their feud without either having to lose. However, that wasn’t the case here, as Chris Sabin pinned Matt Jackson with a fancy cradle pin. That ending was a little anticlimactic, but it really didn’t take away from the match too much. The fact that The Young Bucks took the fall here was very surprising. I doubt they’re getting knocked out of the title picture, but based on what happened next, it looks like (for now) they’ll be taking a back seat. Again, the match as a whole was great, and I would definitely recommend checking it out. ****
After the match, The Addiction ran out and attack The Motor City Machine Guns.
The Young Bucks were still in the process of leaving the ringside area, and surprisingly, didn’t get involved. This brought out Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta, who made the save. Daniels ultimately got surrounded, and got hit with a double chokeslam from Best Friends. With the heels sent packing, Best Friends then picked up the ROH World Tag Team Titles, and stared at them before giving them back to Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley. It’s pretty clear that Best Friends will be getting a title shot at some point, which is awesome! When Chuck Taylor made his first appearance in ROH a few months back, I was hoping that he would become more of a regular, and at this point, it looks like he has. Best Friends definitely add a lot to ROH’s tag team division, and I’m really excited to see what they can do in the coming months.
Before we went into intermission, Bully Ray came out to cut a promo. Ian Riccaboni mentioned that Bully Ray got a concussion after Jay Briscoe hit him in the head with a table at Death Before Dishonor XV. While he did spent some time putting over Pittsburgh as a great wrestling city (even bringing up the fact that ECW used to run The Golden Dome), this came off like a retirement promo. Bully Ray said that he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to wrestle again, but he was never going to miss these big events. It seems like this is being done to build the eventual clash between Bully Ray and Jay Briscoe, which is surely coming at some point. I heard that he cut a similar promo in Buffalo the night before, so I would guess that we’ll see the same thing in Columbus and (possibly) Chicago.
Jenny Rose, Mandy Leon, & Deonna Purrazzo def. Britt Baker, Faye Jackson, & Sumie Sakai
Following intermission, we were treated to a Women of Honor showcase in the form of a Six-Women Tag. This was actually the first time that this iteration of the WOH division has been featured on a PPV or iPPV of any kind, so that’s pretty cool. The match itself was by no means spectacular, but for what it was, it was perfectly fine. There was decent action throughout, but it was very obvious at points to see which of these women were good wrestlers, and which ones were….not so good. Britt Baker, who is from Pittsburgh, was the most over person in this match (no surprise there), but interestingly enough, she wasn’t involved in the finish. Deonna Purrazzo would end up getting the win for her team after making Faye Jackson tap out to the Fujiwara Armbar. Again, this was decent match that proved to be a solid showing for the Women of Honor. **1/2
Instant Reward Six-Man Mayhem – Kenny King def. Josh Woods, KUSHIDA, “The Hangman” Adam Page, Matt Taven, & Punishment Martinez
I know the name of this match can be a mouthful at times (especially since ROH occasionally calls this kind of match a “Proving Ground Instant Reward Six-Man Mayhem”), but the rules are actually pretty simple. If anyone other that the champion wins, then they receive an immediate title shot, but if the champions wins, then there’s no title defense. When looking at this card on paper, I’m sure this was a match that most people would’ve been very “meh” on, particularly with some of the guys involved, but for the most part, this was a really entertaining match.
Much like the ROH World Tag Team Title bout from earlier, the amount of time this got was just about perfect (clocking in at around eleven to twelve minutes), and they packed in a fair amount of action. Everyone had the chance to shine, and the fans were very much into it as bodies were flying all over the place. There was so much stuff going on in this one, but a few moments stood out. Punishment Martinez once again showed off his crazy athleticism when he hit ACH’s Air Jordan dive to the floor. At another point, Adam Page got sent into the crowd, and came back with an incredible dive where he jumped off a railing that was about four rows away from the barricade onto his opponents on the floor. He almost didn’t clear the barricade. Anyway, the match was going along very nicely….until the finish. It came down to Kenny King and Josh Woods, and it was pretty clear that King was supposed to win after hitting Woods with his finisher, The Royal Flush. Unfortunately, Woods screwed up….twice. The first one looked horrible, and while the second one was better, it still looked sloppy. King did get the win, but that finish was a wet fart on what was otherwise a very exciting match. ***1/2
Non-Title – War Machine def. The Killer Elite Squad
It’s crazy to think that the feud between these two teams started on a ROH TV Taping in San Antonio, Texas nearly two-and-a-half years ago.
Since that initial matchup, their battles have spanned multiple promotions, from ROH, to NOAH, to New Japan, and now back to ROH. In that time, the one constant that almost never changes is the fact that, when KES and War Machine do battle in a two-on-two environment (and not in ANOTHER three-way tag like we saw recently in New Japan), they always have really good matches. None of their past bouts have been overly amazing, but you can throw them together on any card, anywhere in the world, and they’ll give you a ***1/2 tag team encounter every single time. Of course, we all love seeing those MOTY calibur bouts, but there’s something to be said about a rivalry that produces consistently good matches.
There was a lot of brawling on the outside to start, and while the fans didn’t seem to be that invested at first, it didn’t take long before they got into it. There was some very solid action throughout this one, as these two teams just beat each other up for close to twelve minutes. Eventually, after a strong closing stretch, War Machine managed to get the win after hitting Fallout on Lance Archer. Immediately after the match ended, Davey Boy Smith Jr. grabbed the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles and yelled that this result didn’t matter since the gold wasn’t on the line. The fact that War Machine got a clean non-title victory over KES here pretty much guarantees a title match at some point. After what we’ve seen in New Japan over the last month or so, hopefully it’s just a two-on-two bout. Again, as I said earlier, these two teams always produce when they go up against each other, and this show in Pittsburgh was no different. ***½
Non-Title – Minoru Suzuki def. Silas Young
On an episode of ROH TV that was taped after Death Before Dishonor XV, Minoru Suzuki teamed up with Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser to challenge for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. They came up short in that bout, which does add a bit of backstory to this one. For the most part, this was a pretty good match. Young took the fight to Suzuki early on, and showed that he was not at all intimidated. There was some brawling on the floor, and it became obvious quickly that the rules for this one were relaxed, as Suzuki uses a chair on Young and shoved down referee Todd Sinclair.
Things really picked up in the second half, with one of the highlights being a manly chop exchange between Suzuki and Young. It looked like this was going to have a hot finishing stretch, but unfortunately, we got Suzuki-gun interference. Davey Boy Smith Jr. came out and distracted Todd Sinclair. Shortly thereafter, Sinclair got knocked down, and a brawl ensued between Davey Boy Smith Jr. and The Beer City Bruiser. This allowed Suzuki to get a chair, which he used on Young before hitting his signature Gotch Piledriver for the win. Again, based on how the match was going, it had the potential to be one of the better bouts of the night. It was certainly on it’s way to being much better than Cody/Suzuki from the last PPV, and while I would still say it was marginally better, the Suzuki-gun BS at the end ruined it. Again, it was still technically good, but that finish hurt it a ton. ***1/4
Afterwards, Suzuki proclaimed that Suzuki-gun is ichiban, and said that he hopes to return to ROH in the future.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles – The Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Cody, & “The Villain” Marty Scurll) def. CHAOS (Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, & Toru Yano)
To nobody’s surprise, Omega got a massive reaction from the crowd in Pittsburgh when he made his entrance. Before the match began, Marty Scurll took the mic, and said he wanted the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles to be on the line in this main event by involving “Bullet Club rules”. Cody & Omega agreed, the titles were brought out, and it was turned into a title match. Now the night before in Buffalo, The Elite defended the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles against The Kingdom. That at least made sense, as The Young Bucks were part of the original team that won the titles. However, what they did here makes no sense at all, as none of these three were part of the original Bullet Club trio that won the titles in the first place. I guess this shows that The Bullet Club can really do whatever they want in ROH, regardless of whether it makes sense or not.
As a whole, the match was perfectly fine, though it didn’t deliver as a main event. The lineup for this main event was weird going in, because while you did have three guys who are awesome (Omega, Scurll, & Ospreay), you had another set of guys (Cody, Yano, YOSHI-HASHI) who clearly aren’t on the same level. There were some really good moments, as far as the wrestling goes, but there was also a lot comedy, which wasn’t that surprising. Towards the end, things got a little ridiculous when Scurll called The Young Bucks & Adam Page out to join Omega and Cody so he could throw Yano into ten boots in the corner. Then, they all just hung out in the ring and started shaking the ropes ala Ultimate Warrior. Again, this just goes to show that, in some aspects, ROH is just The Bullet Club’s playground. Guys who aren’t even champions can defend titles, and members who aren’t even in the match can just come out, interfere, and hang out in the ring at will. The referees eventually got The Young Bucks and Adam Page to leave the ring, but still, that was pretty ridiculous. In the end, Scurll got the win for his team after making Yano submit to the Crossface Chickenwing, which I guess is (kind of, sort of) a big deal, since Scurll is classified as a junior in New Japan. Again, this had some good wrestling moments, but it was very long (going almost twenty minutes) and featured a ton of Bullet Club shenanigans.
At least the live crowd loved it, and to be fair, most of those fans in attendance at Stage AE were there to see The Bullet Club (especially Omega) do their thing, and for the most part, I’m sure those fans got their money’s worth. ***
This show got off to a rocky start, with the Mark Briscoe injury in the opener and the underwhelming tag team bout between Best Friends and The Dawgs. From there, however, things got a lot better. The middle portion of the card contained some of the best matches of the night, including the Triple Threat for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, Jay Lethal vs. Jay White, Killer Elite Squad vs. War Machine, and to a lesser extent, the Instant Reward Six-Man Mayhem. Those three bouts are worth checking out, in my view. The show closed out with two matches that, while technically good, were hampered by shenanigans, interference, or a combination of both. As a whole, this was a pretty solid event, but not everything delivered.
Of course, the big silver lining was that the show was a free iPPV for Ringside Members. In the future, I hope this is something that ROH does more often. What’s the harm in throwing up one of your random live events on your website for Ringside Members? It does add an extra incentive for signing up, and it won’t matter if the show was a mixed bag like this one, because it’s free.