Ring Of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling
War Of The Worlds 2018: Night 2
May 11, 2018
Ted Reeve Arena
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
IWGP United States Title – “Switchblade” Jay White def. Punishment Martinez
ROH thankfully corrected their mistake from Night 1 in Lowell, as they got the music and the entrance video right this time. I was really surprised to see that this match was opening the show. Since it was for a New Japan title, I figured it would be higher up on the card, but I suppose the finish had a lot to do with the placement (more on that in a second).
When the dust settled, these two ended up having a very good opener. While the crowd didn’t seem to be that into it (they were at times, but it just seemed like they weren’t fully invested), the actual wrestling was really solid, with plenty of back and forth action. The biggest negative about the match was the finish. Martinez went to use a chair (which was an odd move on his part, as he appeared to be on his way to winning the title), but Adam Page ran down to the ring from the commentary table and pulled the chair away from Martinez. This distraction gave White the opening he needed, as he hit the Blade Runner to retain his title. It was a little odd to see Page help out the guy who’s been targeting The Bullet Club for months, but I guess his issues with Martinez trumped that, I suppose. If the crowd was a little better, they certainly would’ve enhanced this match, but I’m not going to complain that much, as it was still very good. ***1/2
Up next, Bully Ray came out to cut a promo. He told the fans not to throw streamers (which he called stupid) at him which, of course, led to fans throwing a ton of streamers at him. Bully Ray then said that all of these fans were “disrespectful millennial marks” who didn’t have the balls to shut him up. The fans responding by chanting for Devon (which has to be a first), and Bully Ray proclaimed that was always the superior half of their team. He called out anyone in the back for a fight, and Cheeseburger came out to accept the challenge. Oh boy, I wonder how this one will turn out….
Cheeseburger def. Bully Ray via DQ
This was very similar to their match in Lowell, as it was basically an angle disguised as a match, though I will say that this was a little better than what they did few nights prior (that’s not saying much). Bully Ray beat up Cheeseburger for a minute, and decided (for some reason) to go to the top rope. Paul Turner tried to get him down, and this led to Cheeseburger giving Bully Ray a low blow after he shoved Turner into the ropes. Cheeseburger then climbed up to the top as well (in an attempt to hit….something), but Bully Ray easily counted it, and gave him a vicious powerbomb off the middle rope. He then argued with some fans, got his chain, and whipped Cheeseburger with it for the DQ. So now Cheeseburger is 2-0 against Bully Ray, but in both cases, he hardly looked like a winner. Again, this was slightly better that what they did in Lowell (mainly because the finish didn’t feel like something Vince Russo would’ve booked), but I still have no idea what the point of this feud is, or where it’s going. N/R
Tetsuya Naito def. The Beer City Bruiser
The Beer City Bruiser was one of the highlights of the Honor Rising tour back in February. While him getting this match with Tetsuya Naito speaks volumes about ROH’s depth issues, this bout had a fair amount of intrigue going into it. I’m sure most of that intrigue was people being curious as to how the match would actually play out. Well, it didn’t set the world on fire, but it was ultimately a fine singles bout.
The first few minutes were decent, with The Beer City Bruiser firmly in control. During this first portion of the bout, he was trash talking about Canada, and at one point, said that they “hadn’t won a war”. This led to the crowd chanted “1812”, which was actually pretty hilarious (and another first on this show). Things picked up once Naito started to make his comeback. He managed to hit some of his signature spots, but The Beer City Bruiser wouldn’t go down that easily, and actually managed to hit some big moves on Naito during the second half (including a big Death Valley Driver on the apron). Eventually, we got the ended that we all knew was going to happen, as Naito scored the victory after two consecutive Destino’s. Personally, I don’t believe Naito hitting The Beer City Bruiser with two of them was the plan. The first Destino was sloppy, and I guess Naito decided to hit a second one (which was much cleaner) for good measure. This was a pretty solid match as a whole, but if they shaved off a few minutes (making it just under ten minutes instead of twelve), it might’ve been even better, just because the closing stretch was so strong. It wasn’t as good as his match with Hirooki Goto, but a fine performance nonetheless from The Beer City Bruiser. ***1/4
The Young Bucks def. The Super Smash Bros.
I was really looking forward to seeing The Super Smash Bros. again in a major promotion, and for my money, this was the most anticipated match on the entire tour. Unless you’re someone who follows the Canadian independent scene, particularly promotions like SMASH Wrestling, then you wouldn’t have seen much of Player Uno & Player Dos (billed as Evil Uno & Stu Grayson here) since they mysteriously disappeared from the American independent scene in 2013 (I think we all know why). It’s a real shame that they’ve been stuck in Canada, because they’ve always been an awesome tag team. Well, they had a big opportunity hear against The Young Bucks, and they certainly didn’t waste it. This was an incredible tag team encounter that was filled with great action from start to finish. While The Super Smash Bros. look a little different compared to the last time most of us saw them, they still showed here why they’re a great tag team, as renewed their rivalry with The Young Bucks. The crowd was going bonkers by the second half of this one, with both teams hitting one amazing double team after another. The Young Bucks gave The Super Smash Bros. a ton here (they hit their finisher and all of their signature spots), but in the end, The Young Bucks emerged victorious after hitting The Meltzer Driver. This was easily the best match on the show, and the best of the tour, up to this point. The Young Bucks have been openly campaigning for The Super Smash Bros. to get signed by ROH on Twitter, and if they’re able to overcome the obvious obstacle (crossing the Canadian border), then they’d be a great addition to ROH. ****1/4
The Young Bucks raised the hands of Evil Uno & Stu Grayson as the four got a big ovation from the crowd, but then The Briscoes ran out and attacked both teams. They soon made The Young Bucks their primary target, and Jay Briscoe gave Nick Jackson the Jay Driller while Mark Briscoe locked Matt Jackson in a choke. Jay then took the mic and said that they had to remind everyone who runs this place (which is a really funny thing to say, considering who they just attacked). He then said that everyone wearing a Bullet Club T-Shirt or a Young Bucks T-Shirt can “burn in hell” (that’s a strong statement) while Mark showed off their “Sandy Fork vs. Everyone” flag. Jay closed by telling The Young Bucks that they should stick to selling T-Shirts, and leave this “best tag team in the world” business to them. Looks like we’re getting The Young Bucks challenging The Briscoes at the next PPV in June, which should be a strong match. Those two teams always have great matches together, and although The Briscoes haven’t been having a particularly noteworthy 2018 when it comes to their in-ring work, I’m fully expecting that bout to deliver, when it happens.
I should quickly note that there was a change to the commentary team at some point during the first half. Ian Riccaboni & Colt Cabana started the show, but BJ Whitmer later came out, and told Cabana that he was needed backstage (this was the setup for Cabana’s involvement in the main event).
Jenny Rose & Tenille Dashwood def. Alexia Nicole & Xandra Bale
Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai joined the commentary team for this match. For once, I was actually familiar with the non-regulars who were in this bout (both are Canadians who are regulars on the independents, though Bale is the more experienced member of that team). This was definitely a step down compared to the women’s tag team match that took place in Lowell a few nights prior. Bale was ok, but Nicole was not very good at all. Rose would pick up the win for her team after hitting a Rock Bottom variation (which commentary put over as a new finisher for Rose). Obviously this was just building up the title match between Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose in Chicago, but the actual tag team bout we saw here was the worst match of the night, if you don’t count Bully Ray/Cheeseburger as an actual match. **
SoCal Uncensored def. Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, SHO, & YOH)
This was originally scheduled as a title match, with SoCal Uncensored defending the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles, but that changed after The Kingdom won the titles in Lowell for the second time. They weren’t booked on this show, so we didn’t get any immediate fallout from that here. This was also a rematch from New Japan’s Strong Style Evolved event back in March, and it’s fair to say to this was much better than that first encounter. I really enjoyed this six-man tag. Both trios are really solid, and they seemed to work pretty well together. There was some fun action throughout, with both sides busted out double team and triple team maneuvers, and the match never lost my attention. The pace picked up a little bit in the closing minutes, and in the end, SoCal Uncensored avenged their loss from Strong Style Evolved after The Addiction hit Celebrity Rehab on Rocky Romero. The finish seemed to come out of nowhere, but that’s just a minor complaint. I probably enjoyed this bout a tad more than most, but I found this to be a very entertaining bout. ***1/2
ROH World TV Title – Silas Young (c) def. “The Hangman” Adam Page
Before this match began, Punishment Martinez ran out and attacked Page while he was making his entrance. It looked like Page was going to fend him off, but Martinez threw a chair at him and continued his attack. He gave Page a curb stomp onto the chair, and at that point, it looked like “The Hangman” was done. Young took the mic and demanded that the referee start the match so he could get the countout victory, but as soon as the count started, Page stumbled back to the ring, and went after Young. The match itself went about seven minutes, and ended up being a decent bout that served more as a backdrop for the Adam Page/Punishment Martinez feud. In the first few minutes, Young went after Page’s injured head (and the announcement sold it like he was clearly concussed and in no condition to complete), but Page fought back, and the fans got behind him as he made his comeback. He even managed to hit his big moonsault off the top rope to the floor, and the Buckshot Lariat. However, Young eventually regained the advantage, and hit Page with Misery to retain. Again, this was just used to further the feud between Adam Page and Punishment Martinez, with both men costing each other title matches. **3/4
In between matches, we got the first match announcements for ROH’s upcoming UK Tour (called the Honor United Tour) at the end of May. The Addiction vs. EVIL & SANADA will take place in Edinburgh on May 24th, The Kingdom vs. SoCal Uncensored vs. The Young Bucks & Adam Page for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles will take place in London on May 26th, and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Adam Page (in a big singles bout for Page) will take place in Doncaster on May 27th.
Cody def. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Bernard The Business was once again at ringside with Cody. Coming into this show, I was very curious to see how this particular bout would unfold. Ultimately, it was a pretty solid match, though it was by no means spectacular. There was some fine action throughout, with Liger doing some of his signature spots, while Cody played a good heel. I actually would’ve gone a tad higher on this if not for some of the shenanigans towards the end. Todd Sinclair got knocked down (The referee getting taken out in a Cody match? How shocking….), and Cody went to use a chair, but by the time he did, Sinclair recovered and tried to take the chair from him. Liger then used the chair while Sinclair was distracted again (that spot was particularly ridiculous and made the referee come off pretty bad). Cody then just hit the Cross Rhodes out of nowhere, like he always does, and got the win. A minute or two could’ve been shaved off, but otherwise, I was really enjoying this until that last portion at the very end. ***
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL, & SANADA with BUSHI) def. Colt Cabana, Jay Lethal, & Kenny King
I mentioned earlier how I was surprised by the placement of Jay White vs. Punishment Martinez for the IWGP United States Title. Well, I was also surprised by the placement of this eight-man tag, which was announced relatively last minute (less than a week before the tour started). Now this bout when through a fair amount of changes in a short amount of time. Dalton Castle was scheduled to be in this match, but the fact that he was nowhere to be seen on this show proves that whatever injuries he has are legitimate. Colt Cabana stepped up to the plate here, so I assume that he was always the one scheduled to replace him. However, Flip Gordon’s flight was delayed (which came off to me as weird because they had a day off between Lowell and Toronto that was, presumably, supposed to be a travel day), so he missed the show. Apparently there were no last minute replacements available (by the way, The Briscoes appeared on the show, but they weren’t booked in a match), so they kicked BUSHI to the curb and turned this into a Six-Man Tag. When the dust settled, it proved to be a really solid match that was about on-par with the opener, in terms of quality. There was some comedy early on (mainly involving Colt Cabana wanting to wrestle Daryl Jr.), but the actual wrestling itself was pretty good. Everyone involved had the opportunity to shine, and as a whole, it was a fun main event. Obviously it sucks that there were so many late changes due to injury and travel issues, but everyone involved in the match still put forth solid efforts. Towards the end of the match, Lethal landed hard after taking Hiromu’s signature sunset flip powerbomb to the floor, and I’m guessing that’s where he got the injury that kept him off the rest of the tour (probably a concussion, since his head appeared to bounce off the floor). Shortly after this, BUSHI misted Cabana, and EVIL followed up with the EVIL STO for the victory. Tetsuya Naito came out to celebrate with the rest of LIJ as a the show came to a close. ***1/2
Even with the changes to the main event, this was a still a relatively good show as a whole. It’s not the best Global Wars/War Of The Worlds event we’ve seen in Toronto, but it was certainly a step up from Night 1 in Lowell. The Young Bucks had the match of the night once again, in a bout that served as a reminder of just how exciting The Super Smash Bros. are as a team. If there’s one match from this show that you should check out, make it that one. Aside from that, the rest of card had some pretty good matches as well (White/Martinez, Naito/Beer City Bruiser, SoCal Uncensored/Roppongi 3K, and the main event). Cody vs. Liger would’ve been up there as well, if not for the weak ending. There were some low points for sure (another Bully Ray vs. Cheeseburger segment, the women’s tag team match), but overall, Night 2 of the 2018 War Of The Worlds Tour proved to be a very solid show.