Ring Of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling
War of the Worlds 2018: Night 3
May 12, 2018
Royal Oak Music Theatre
Royal Oak, Michigan
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion EVIL def. Shane Taylor
This was Taylor’s first appearance on the tour, and he had a big challenge in front of him as he went up against EVIL. When the dust settled, this ended up being a pretty solid opener. There really wasn’t anything spectacular in this one, but their was fine action from start to finish. They did do some brawling on the floor in the middle of the bout, which led to EVIL doing his usual spot with some chairs. The pace picked up a bit in the closing minutes, and the crowd in Royal Oak seemed to be into it. While it was a good showing for Shane Taylor, he ultimately came up short after EVIL hit his EVIL STO for the pin. It’s interesting to note that this was EVIL’s third straight pinfall victory on the tour, as he scored the winning falls in six-man tags on the first two nights. ***1/4
Jenny Rose & Tenille Dashwood def. Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai & Stella Grey
Of course, Sumie Sakai would be defending her title against Jenny Rose the next night in Chicago, so this match is helping build up to that. Rose would score the victory after hitting her new finisher (basically a Rock Bottom) on Stella Grey in what was a decent tag team bout. In terms of quality, this was just below the women’s match in Lowell on Night 1, but it was certainly better than the women’s match in Toronto on Night 2. The three veterans were all solid, while Stella Grey (who wrestled in her entrance vest for some reason) looked fine for someone who’s relatively inexperienced. Nothing much else to say about the bout itself. **½
Afterwards, Jenny Rose went to hand the Women Of Honor Title to Sumie Sakai, but the champion attacked her, and we got a short brawl that was broken up by the referees.
Up next, we were supposed to get a Adam Page/Punishment Martinez singles match, but it never got underway. As Martinez was waiting for “The Hangman” to make his entrance, Page ran out through the crowd and attacked Martinez with a chair. He then set up a table on the outside and speared Martinez through it. The crowd was very behind Page in this segment, and even though we didn’t get a match, this did a great job in continuing the feud. This was actually the second time a scheduled singles bout between the two didn’t happen, as Martinez came out on top of a similar brawl on a live event last month in Lakeland, Florida (Page got put through a table on that night). Of course, both men costing each other title matches the night before in Toronto just added fuel to the fire. If I had to guess, they’ll probably be facing off at the next PPV, Best In The World, which takes place in June.
Fatal Four-Way Match
“The Villain” Marty Scurll def. Kenny King, Matt Taven, & IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion SANADA
Jay Lethal was originally scheduled to compete in this match, but he was forced off the show after getting injured during the main event in Toronto. SANADA would end up filling that vacant spot. I’m probably on the high end when it comes to this particular match, but I thought it was a ton of fun to watch. There was a little bit of comedy at the start, and we would see a bit more later on, but once the action got started, it was pretty entertaining. Everyone involved had opportunities to shine, and the crowd seemed to be really into it.
At one point, a fan in the crowd shouted “Matt Taven, you ruin everything!” (or something along those lines), which is a line I’m sure a ton of people agree with. Later, there was a bit where Marty Scurll wanted SANADA to teach him how to do the Paradise Lock, after he had just done the move to King and Taven. They teased doing it on Todd Sinclair, but then they teased sticking pointy objects (Scurll’s umbrella and Taven’s walking stick) up the asses of King and Taven, who were still trapped in the Paradise Lock. I’m sure the idea of even teasing this brought up bad memories of the Kenny Omega/Ryusuke Taguchi feud from 2015, but the fans in Royal Oak were certainly behind the idea.
Anyway, the finish was a very interesting one, as it actually played into Matt Taven’s “conspiracy” storyline. While Kenny King had SANADA locked in the Last Chancery, Taven managed to hit Marty Scurll with The Climax. However, Todd Sinclair was focusing on King’s submission attempt, and didn’t see Taven’s cover. Sinclair got shoved by Taven, and Scurll used this distraction to roll up the leader of The Kingdom to score the victory. It’s interesting to see that they’re playing up the “Kingdom Conspiracy” in actual matches. Regardless, I very much enjoyed this match, even with stuff like the comedy and the finish. ***1/2
Three-Way Tag Team Match
Roppongi 3K def. The Motor City Machine Guns & The Young Bucks
For the third time on this tour, The Young Bucks were put in a great position to have the best match of the night. On this particular occasion, they took part in a Three-Way Tag Team Match alongside The Motor City Machine Guns & Roppongi 3K, and to nobody’s surprise, this was pretty awesome. The bout featured some really cool action from start to finish, and all three teams worked well together. When you combine those things with a crowd that’s invested, you have the perfect ingredients for a great match. For comparison’s sake, I’d say that while this match wasn’t quite as incredible as the Super Smash Bros./Young Bucks bout from Toronto, it was about on par with the LIJ/Young Bucks main event from Lowell. Towards the end of the bout, it looked like it was going to come down to The Motor City Machine Guns and The Young Bucks, but as the two teams were going back and forth, Roppongi 3K swooped in from out of nowhere and hit the 3K on Chris Sabin for the win. That was a result which made sense on two fronts. It continued the slump that The Motor City Machine Guns have been in since losing the ROH World Tag Team Titles back in March, while giving Roppongi 3K a strong win the night before when they face The Briscoes for those same titles. I went into this bout expecting it to deliver, and when the dust settled, it definitely met my expectations. ****
ROH World TV Champion Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser def. The Boys
This was a last minute addition to the card and it was a nondescript tag team affair that the crowd didn’t seem that invested in (aside from a double suplex on The Beer City Bruiser by The Boys). They did manage to get some offense in, but The Boys were simply no match for Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser, who scored the victory after hitting a Misery/Frog Splash combo. **1/4
SoCal Uncensored def. Cheeseburger, Flip Gordon, & Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Cheeseburger slowly made his way to the ring for this one, as he’s still feeling the effects of the beatings he’s taken at the hands of Bully Ray. This was very similar to the opener. It was a pretty solid match for what it was, and they really didn’t do anything spectacular, aside from a few things during the closing stretch. At the same time, however, they definitely could’ve shaved some time off. This didn’t need to go sixteen minutes. Anyway, Flip Gordon brawled with Scorpio Sky to the back, which meant that it was doing to The Addiction vs. Cheeseburger & Jushin “Thunder” Liger in the ring. Cheeseburger tried his best, but he ultimately got pinned after The Addiction hit the Best Meltzer Ever. ***
Afterwards, Liger helped Cheeseburger back to his feet. He then stood on the turnbuckle to pose to the fans, but then Bully Ray ran out and gave the Japanese legend a low blow before turning his attention to Cheeseburger, who quickly took yet another powerbomb. Bully Ray then started whipping both with his chain until Flip Gordon made the save and chased him off. Based on how that played out, it looks like we’re getting Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon at the next PPV. I’m just happy that Bully Ray wasn’t in a match on this show.
Cody def. Hiromu Takahashi
This was a first-time ever singles encounter. I was very curious to see what kind of match Cody would have with the former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion. As I’ve said plenty of times, we know that Cody’s track record is spotty when it comes to singles bouts with talents from New Japan. This particular bout ended up being….alright? I’m honestly not sure what to make of it.
In the first few minutes, we got pure comedy as Hiromu used Daryl Jr. as a weapon right of the gate. This led to (I kid you not) a confrontation between Bernard The Business Bear and Daryl Jr. that had to be broken up by security. That scene sounds completely ridiculous, but the fans in Royal Oak really ate it up. From there, we got a relatively fine wrestling match. The middle portion saw Cody do a lot of Kenny Omega mannerisms (setting up for the V-Trigger and the Terminator dive) as he worked over Hiromu. While there wasn’t anything outstanding in the first two-thirds of this bout, the final two minutes or so was actually pretty strong. Hiromu not only managed to hit the Cross Rhodes on Cody, but when he got hit with it shortly thereafter, he kicked out!! That got a big reaction from the crowd. Unfortunately, Cody still won the match anyway, as he put Hiromu away with Din’s Fire. You could realistically split this up into three parts. The first part which featured the Bernard/Daryl Jr. stuff, the second part which featured some decent wrestling with Cody taunting Kenny Omega, and the hot closing stretch. As a whole, I would say this was solid, though I’m sure opinions will vary. ***
ROH World Tag Team Titles
The Briscoes (c) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
Exactly one year prior, this very same LIJ pairing came up short when they challenged The Young Bucks for the ROH World Tag Team Titles in New York City. This time, they faced a much different team in the form of The Briscoes. This was a perfectly fine match, though it certainly could’ve been a little better, considering it was the main event. Naito got the show off early, but then The Briscoes managed to isolate BUSHI until he made the hot tag. The action did pick up down the stretch, and the last few minutes were pretty good. Towards the end of the bout, BUSHI tried to hit Jay Briscoe with the black mist, but Jay was able to dodge that attempt. He then hit the Jay Driller on BUSHI, and that was it. Again, the match itself was fairly solid, but as a main event, it fell just short of what I was expecting from these two teams. ***1/4
I have a hard time deciding where this show in Royal Oak ranked compared to Lowell and Toronto. Ultimately, I would say that it was a slight not below Toronto, but definitely ahead of Lowell, as it didn’t a portion of the show that was actively terrible. Night 3 of the 2018 War Of The Worlds Tour was a relatively good event which featured one great match (The Three-Way Tag Team Match) and a number of really solid matches. Nothing was outright bad, but the first half was definitely better than the second half. Even stuff that was on the lower end of the spectrum (Cody vs. Hiromu, for example) had its moments. Much like the previous two stops on the tour, I would say check out the match involving The Young Bucks, as it’s the only thing on the card that’s absolutely worth checking out.