The annual Ring of Honor/New Japan joint tour during the month of May has become a tradition.
Since 2014, the tour has produced some fantastic and unique matchups between the talents from both promotions. While the quality of the lineups in recent years has dipped, the tour still garners a ton of interest. It’s always intriguing to see the cards Ring of Honor and New Japan are able to put together, along with which talents end up being involved. Of course, BULLET CLUB will always be a big part of these tours, and this year is no exception, as the usual suspects (Cody, The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, & Adam Page) are all going to be involved. They won’t be the only faction represented, however. Los Ingobernables de Japon will be out in full force on this tour, while CHAOS is sending over Jay White and all three members of Roppongi 3K. As for the cards themselves, the first night has a fine (but relatively uninteresting) lineup, while the other three events feature cards that are significantly better.
With regards to watching these events, the first three nights (in Lowell, Toronto, and Royal Oak) will be streamed live on Honor Club, for those who are signed up to the streaming service. Of course, whether the streams will actually work or not is up for debate, but if things go smoothly, you should be able to watch these shows live at their respective times. The final stop of the tour in Villa Park was recently revealed to be a TV Taping, so unless you’re in attendance for the event this coming Sunday, you won’t be able to see it live. The matches that are taped at this show will eventually be shown on ROH TV, presumably starting in late May or early June.
There are plenty of interesting bouts scattered throughout the tour, so without further ado, let’s dive into them!
War of the Worlds 2018: Night 1
May 9th, 2018
7:30 PM EDT
Lowell Memorial Auditorium
- ROH World Title – Dalton Castle vs. Matt Taven
- Six-Man Tag – BULLET CLUB (Cody, “The Hangman” Adam Page, & “The Villain” Marty Scurll) vs. Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, SHO, & YOH)
- Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. The Young Bucks
- Non-Title – ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions SoCal Uncensored vs. Chuckie T, Jay Lethal, & “Switchblade” Jay White
- Non-Title – The Briscoes vs. Flip Gordon & Jushin “Thunder” Liger
- Six-Man Tag – Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, & SANADA) vs. Silas Young, The Beer City Bruiser, & Brian Milonas
- Coast 2 Coast (Shaheem Ali & LSG) vs. The Kingdom (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
- Bully Ray vs. Cheeseburger
I feel bad for the people who will be attending this show. While it’s not an outright awful card, it’s easily the weakest lineup of the entire tour. ROH basically mirrored what New Japan did with some of their Korakuen Hall events on the recent Wrestling Dontaku tour. You have a title match in the main event (in this case, Dalton Castle vs. Matt Taven for the ROH World Title), with the rest of the card being filled out with tag team matches. Now I expect a few of those multi-person bouts to be pretty solid, such as BULLET CLUB vs. Roppongi 3K and SoCal Uncensored vs. Chuckie T, Jay Lethal, & Jay White. Those should be good. However, I don’t think a lot of people are looking forward to third six-man tag on this card, which is LIJ of Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, & SANADA vs. Silas Young, The Beer City Bruiser, & Brian Milonas. A match like that just speaks to the depth (or lack thereof) on the ROH roster at the moment. I’m sure people will be happy with seeing LIJ, but that particular match certainly won’t light the world on fire, in terms of quality.
Some of the straight tag team matches on this card also appear to be pretty solid. Coast 2 Coast vs. The Kingdom should be a fine opener and The Briscoes vs. Flip Gordon & Jushin “Thunder” Liger definitely has the potential to be pretty good. The Young Bucks vs. BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi is a bout that I fully expect to steal the show. I don’t believe it’s a match that’s ever happened in New Japan proper, so it will be very exciting to see these two teams go at it.
The main event (as I alluded to earlier) will see Dalton Castle defend his ROH World Title against Matt Taven. This is very similar to the Christopher Daniels/Matt Taven singles bout from the War of the Worlds Tour event in Dearborn last year. The outcome is pretty much a lock (I don’t see Matt Taven winning the title), but the match should be relatively good. For the most part, I’m enjoying Castle reign as ROH World Champion, and as a singles wrestler, I enjoy Matt Taven more than most (I’m not saying he’s great, but I feel that he’s pretty good). It’ll be interesting to see how much the crowd adds to this one, since Taven is on his home turf, but if there isn’t a ton of outside interference, this main event has the chance to surprise some people.
Finally, after what took place at Supercard Of Honor XII, Bully Ray will return to in-ring competition for the first time since his most recent retirement to take on Cheeseburger. We don’t need to talk much about this one, because nobody cares about Bully Ray in 2018, especially in ROH.
War of the Worlds 2018: Night 2
May 11th, 2018
7:30 PM EDT
Ted Reeve Arena
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- IWGP United States Title – “Switchblade” Jay White vs. Punishment Martinez
- The Super Smash Bros. vs. The Young Bucks
- Cody vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
- ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles – SoCal Uncensored vs. Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, SHO, & YOH)
- ROH World TV Title – Silas Young vs. “The Hangman” Adam Page
- Tetsuya Naito vs. The Beer City Bruiser
- Eight-Man Tag – Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) vs. Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal, Kenny King, & Flip Gordon
As I write this preview, there are still a few matches left to be announced for this card, but based on what’s been revealed, this Toronto show is significantly better than what the fans in Lowell are getting. The one match that stands out to me immediately is The Super Smash Bros. vs. The Young Bucks. Yes, you read that right. Player Uno & Player Dos (or in this case, Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) are wrestling in ROH for the first time since 2010, and they’re taking on arguably the best tag team on the planet in The Young Bucks. For those who might not remember, these two teams had a series of great matches in 2012-2013, mainly for PWG (though they did face off once in EVOLVE). That series included a Three-Way Ladder Match for the PWG World Tag Team Titles (also involving Future Shock) that I consider to be one of the greatest matches in PWG history.
The Super Smash Bros. have, unfortunately, been confined to Canada since 2013, and although we still don’t know if they’ll ever be back in the US, it’s great to see them again in ROH. This might be the most anticipated match of the entire tour.
There are a couple of title bouts scheduled for this card. In what might end up being the main event (we don’t know yet, but we’ll see), Jay White makes his third defense of the IWGP United States Title against Punishment Martinez. Of course, these two had a lengthy feud in the summer of last year when White was still on excursion in ROH. That feud culminated in a Las Vegas Street Fight at Death Before Dishonor XV last September (just over a month before White returned to New Japan), which was won by Martinez. Thus, he has legitimate case for a title shot. I thought that match they had in Las Vegas was fantastic, and although I expect this bout to be really good, I’m not quite sure if it’ll touch that last encounter.
At the same time, it should be interesting to see how this version of Jay White interacts with Martinez. Another scheduled title bout on this show features SoCal Uncensored defending their ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles against Roppongi 3K. This is actually a rematch from New Japan’s Strong Style Evolved event back in March. On that night, Roppongi 3K came out on top, but they’ll be looking to capture ROH gold in this time around in what should be a very good trios match.
A third title match will see Silas Young defend the ROH World TV Title against Hangman Page. In this case, the result really isn’t in doubt, since Young will be defending the title in Chicago when he faces Austin Aries, but this should still be good. They had a few encounters back in 2013, but that was during Page’s early days in ROH, long before he joined BULLET CLUB (those bouts even predated his time with The Decade). Obviously Page has grown a lot as a performer since then, while Silas Young is usually pretty solid. The quality will depend on how healthy Page is (he suffered an injury recently), but if he’s close to 100%, then this should be a fun title bout.
A pair of special singles matches have also been announced for this show in Toronto. The first of those is Cody vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger. I’m not entirely sure how good it will be, but I’ll be optimistic in this case. We all know that Cody’s track record with singles matches in ROH and New Japan is a mixed bag (to say the least), but hopefully he’ll bring it for this particular bout. As for Liger, I’m not too worried about him. Even though he’s in the twilight years of his career, he can still go when called upon (see his match with Will Ospreay at Strong Style Evolved). It’s also a great generational battle of sorts, as Cody mentioned in a recent promo that he once met Liger backstage at WCW Superbrawl II, when the Japanese legend wrestled Brian Pillman.
The other announced singles bout will see The Beer City Bruiser go one-on-one with Tetsuya Naito. Now this is a match that doesn’t excite me that much, but I’m willing to give this match a chance, since The Beer City Bruiser had impressive showings on the Honor Rising events back in February. This will be the only singles bout on the entire tour for Tetsuya Naito.
Finally, a big LIJ vs. ROH eight-man tag was recently added to the card. Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA will be taking on the team of ROH World Champion Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal, Kenny King, & Flip Gordon. I don’t think this will be quite as crazy as BULLET CLUB vs. LIJ ten-man tag that’s scheduled for the show in Chicago, but it should still be a very entertaining match filled with cool action. The lineup for team from ROH looks really solid, and I’m actually very intrigued to see an LIJ multi-man tag minus Naito. I feel like those are a rarity in New Japan. Regardless, it adds to an already loaded lineup.
War Of The Worlds 2018: Night 3
May 12th, 2018
7:00 PM EDT
Royal Oak Music Theatre
Royal Oak, Michigan
- ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Briscoes vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
- Cody vs. Hiromu Takahashi
- Triple Threat Tag Team Match – The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. The Young Bucks
- “The Hangman” Adam Page vs. Punishment Martinez
- Four-Corner Survival – Jay Lethal vs. Kenny King vs. “The Villain” Marty Scurll vs. Matt Taven
- Non-Title – ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions SoCal Uncensored vs. Cheeseburger, Flip Gordon, & Jushin “Thunder” Liger
- EVIL vs. Shane Taylor
The third stop on the tour comes to Detroit, though this time around, they’re running in Royal Oak instead of Dearborn. This card features a ton of variety, in terms of what kinds of matches we’ll be saying.
The main event will see The Briscoes defending the ROH World Tag Team Titles against the LIJ team of Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI. This particular LIJ duo came up short when they challenged The Young Bucks last year in New York City, but this time around, they’re facing an entirely different team in the form of The Briscoes. Now I don’t think anyone expects to see a title change here (and if I had to put money on it, I would say that BUSHI is going to eat the pin here), but this should still be a very good main event. Seeing The Briscoes mix it up with Tetsuya Naito should be pretty cool. There is also a storyline thread from the War Of The Worlds events last year, as it was a loss to LIJ in a ten-man tag (after black mist from BUSHI) that started the slow burn towards The Briscoes turning heel.
While The Briscoes vs. LIJ sounds like a strong main event, the bout that could end up stealing the show is a Three Way Tag Team Match featuring The Motor City Machine Guns, Roppongi 3K, & The Young Bucks. This should be fantastic, and it has the potential to be one of the best matches on the tour (how many times have I said that in this preview, specifically pertaining to The Young Bucks?). Of course, we all know about the incredible encounters between The Young Bucks and Roppongi 3K earlier in the year, and if you throw in Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley, you have a recipe for greatness.
There are also three singles bouts on this particular show. The biggest of those is a first-time ever bout between Cody and Hiromu Takahashi. As I mentioned earlier, Cody has a shaky track record when it comes to the quality of his singles matches, but he’s going up against one of the most exciting wrestlers on the planet. In theory, this should be really good. However, this is Cody we’re talking about, so you never really know. Then there’s Hangman Page vs. Punishment Martinez. These two were originally going to have a singles bout on a ROH live event in Lakeland, Florida a few weeks. However, a brawl broke out, and the match never officially got started. In reality, I believe this was done because Page was injured. The quality of this one will obviously depend on the severeness of that injury, but it certainly could end up being really good, if everything goes well. Finally, the last singles match on the card will feature EVIL going up against Shane Taylor. I have mixed feelings on Taylor, but I believe this is a good spot for him, as I could easily see these two having a fun hoss battle. I’m not expecting it to be spectacular, but it could end up surprising people.
A couple of multi-man matches round out the announced card. There will be a Four-Corner Survival Match featuring Jay Lethal, Kenny King, Marty Scurll, & Matt Taven. That should be a pretty solid match. It’s fair to say that Lethal and Scurll are certainly a level about King and Taven, but I’m fully expecting this to be good. Then there’s a non-title six-man tag, featuring SoCal Uncensored going up against Cheeseburger, Flip Gordon, & Jushin “Thunder” Liger. This will certainly be an entertaining bout. The Addiction & Scorpio Sky play their roles as heels very well, and the babyface side (in this case) should be perfect foils for them.
It should be noted that ROH World Champion Dalton Castle and SANADA (one-half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions) are both confirmed for this show, but neither has been announced for a match.
War Of The Worlds 2018: Night 4
May 13th, 2018
7:00 PM CDT
The Odeum Expo Center
Villa Park, Illinois
- Ten-Man Tag – BULLET CLUB (Cody, “The Hangman” Adam Page, “The Villain” Marty Scurll, & The Young Bucks) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA)
- ROH World TV Title – Silas Young vs. Austin Aries
- ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Briscoes vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
- Women Of Honor Title – Sumie Sakai vs. Jenny Rose
- Jay Lethal vs. Chuckie T
- Flip Gordon vs. Jonathan Gresham
- Deonna Purrazzo vs. Kelly Klein
- Karen Q vs. Tenille Dashwood
- Cheeseburger & Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. The Dawgs (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara)
Back in October, ROH drew well over 2,000 people in this very venue for the last stop on the Global Wars Tour. While I don’t see this show matching that attendance number (which just speaks to the power of Kenny Omega as a draw), it features a very strong lineup, especially in the top half of the card.
Of course, the main event is a huge ten-man tag pitting BULLET CLUB against LIJ. This is actually a rematch from Night 1 of the War Of The Worlds UK Tour in York Hall last August. I heard great things about that match at the time, and I fully expect these two teams to tear down the house again. LIJ are such a cohesive unit, but at the same time, BULLET CLUB is going to be insanely over with the fans in the building. Anything less than an awesome match here would honestly be a disappointment.
This big show in Chicago also features the in-ring return of Austin Aries, who will be wrestling in ROH for the first time since 2015. The “Belt Collector” has made it clear over the past few months that he wants to add the ROH World TV Title to his growing collection of titles. He finally gets his shot here, as he challenges Silas Young. This particular title has been a hot potato over the last few month, as Young traded the title with Kenny King a few times. I was a little surprised to see a singles match here, since it seemed like they were going to do Aries vs. King, which does have a story behind it (given the history King has with Aries). After the way the Last Man Standing Match at Supercard Of Honor XII ended, I figured we’d be getting a Triple Threat Match, but apparently that’s not the case. This should be a really good title bout, but I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to end. I don’t believe Young is just going to beat Aries outright to retain the title. The only two potential outcomes I see is an outright Aries victory, or the match ending in some screwy fashion, setting up a Austin Aries/Kenny King vs. Silas Young/Beer City Bruiser tag team bout, which would lead to the aforementioned Triple Threat Match for the title with Aries, King, and Young. Regardless, it’s great to see Austin Aries in a ROH ring once again.
Another big title match on this Chicago card will see The Briscoes defend the ROH World Tag Team Titles against Roppongi 3K. These two teams did meet once before on a live event in February 2017, but that was back when SHO & YOH (known then as The Tempura Boyz) were on excursion. Of course, they’ve grown a lot since they last met The Briscoes, as Roppongi 3K quickly became one of the top teams in New Japan’s junior tag team division. At the same time, however, The Briscoes have become more vicious since that previous meeting, and are determined to hold onto the ROH World Tag Team Titles at any cost. This has the potential to be an excellent tag team clash. The odds of seeing a title change here are slim, but still, it could be one of the best matches of the night, when all is said and done.
This event in Chicago is the only stop on the tour where the Women Of Honor matches have been announced. The biggest of those will see Sumie Sakai make her 2nd defense of the Women Of Honor Title against Jenny Rose. Both women have been regulars in the division since it was brought back in 2015, and while I don’t think this will set the world on fire, this should be pretty solid. Then, Deonna Purrazzo will take on Kelly Klein in another match featuring two women who have been regulars in the division for quite some time. Like the Women Of Honor Title bout, I’m not expecting Klein vs. Purrazzo to be anything spectacular, but it’ll probably end up being good. Finally, Tenille Dashwood will face Karen Q. Of course, we all know about the former Emma, and what we should expect from her. I haven’t seen a ton of Karen Q’s work, but I’ve heard good things about her, so hopefully this bout ends up going well.
The rest of the card features a number of bouts that should be good/entertaining, despite not having any real background to them. Jay Lethal will face off against Chuckie T, while Flip Gordon will take on Jonathan Gresham. I’m fully expecting those two matches to the really solid. Finally, Jushin “Thunder” Liger will team up with his favorite partner Cheeseburger to take on The Dawgs of Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara. I doubt anyone’s expecting this to be a classic, but it certainly has potential to be a fun little undercard tag team match. While I find The Dawgs to be incredibly annoying, Liger is always over with the crowds in the US. Plus, it’s always cool to see him team with Cheeseburger.