Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling
Global Wars 2018: Night 2
November 8, 2018
Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Watch: Honor Club
Matt Taven def. BUSHI
Unlike the night before in Lewiston, Matt Taven actually got a decent pop from this crowd when he came out. Taven then went on to cut what was basically a babyface style promo, and the fans seemed very receptive to it. He ran down the “cowardly” Dalton Castle for refusing to defend the ROH World Title against him the last time they were in Lowell (the fans booed when Castle’s name was mentioned). At the time, he promised that the conspiracy would be dead the next time came to Lowell, and he declared that it was dead (he also brought up the Red Sox winning the World Series, which of course got a big pop). Taven then declared that he was the “real” ROH World Champion. There was a fair amount of babyface support here for Taven, which makes sense. It’ll be interesting to see how ROH uses Taven on future events in this building. Anyway, Taven took on BUSHI here in what was a fine opening contest. This was actually BUSHI’s first singles outing in ROH, which was pretty cool to see. It only went about seven minutes or so, but there was good action throughout. Towards the end, BUSHI attempted to use his black mist (after pulling the referee out of the way), but Taven dodged it, and hit The Climax for the win. A clean win for Taven in front of his hometown crowd. Much like Flip Gordon vs. Eli Isom from the night before, this was a perfect choice for an opener. ***
Afterwards, Matt Taven raised BUSHI’s hand, but BUSHI responded by kicking him in the nuts.
Before the next match began, Rhett Titus came out and once again posed on the stage in his underwear prior to joining the commentary team. This time, there was some sort of romantic music playing while he posed.
Dalton Castle & Juice Robinson def. The Bouncers (The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas)
We got a PPV caliber entrance for the Dalton Castle/Juice Robinson tag team, with Castle back in his usual entrance gear (he wasn’t wearing it on Night 1), and Juice in Randy Savage style entrance attire. It was a very cool sight, for sure. Now as for the match, I wasn’t expecting much from this one, but it ended up being a fun little undercard bout. There was some decent action throughout, so in that respect, it was perfectly fine for its spot on the card. However, the highlight was a comedy spot that involved Brian Milonas unintentionally falling on top of Dalton Castle. Juice Robinson tried to get Milonas off, but he couldn’t do it alone. Even with help from The Boys and Todd Sinclair, he still wouldn’t budge (Milonas had been “knocked out” so that’s why they couldn’t get him off). Eventually, they were all able to get Milonas off with help from The Beer City Bruiser, after he powered up Popeye style (with beer instead of spinach). Besides that, there wasn’t much else in terms of highlights. Again, the action was decent enough, but it probably didn’t need to be as long as it was (this went almost twelve minutes when it should’ve been seven or eight minutes). Juice got the win for his team after hitting Pulp Friction. ***
Afterward, The Bouncers shared beers with Dalton Castle and Juice Robinson.
Flip Gordon def. ROH World Tag Team Champion Frankie Kazarian
There wasn’t much to this one, in terms of a backstory. It was mentioned on commentary that these two met on an ROH live event back in June 2017, and after that bout, Kazarian put Gordon over as a future star. I had a feeling that this would be solid, but it ended up being much better than I anticipated. This was a very entertaining contest that featured solid back-and-forth action throughout. Both guys worked hard, and they packed a fair amount of stuff into the ten/ eleven-minute window they were given. While Gordon continues to improve as a wrestler, I was just as impressed with Kazarian (honestly, I’ve been impressed with him over the last year or so). About a decade ago, I was a big fan of Kazarian when he got his singles push in TNA. I’ve enjoyed him a lot in his tag team with Christopher Daniels in the years since, but if you asked me two or three years ago, I would’ve told you that I wasn’t a fan of his singles work in ROH. I don’t know what it was, but whenever he was in a singles match, I was never that interested. In the ensuing years, he’s won me over, and now I frequently enjoy his work when he’s in there with the right guys, like Flip Gordon. To be frank, I’m not sure what changed, but regardless, both men put forth solid efforts here. The only critique I have is that the bout ended in sort of a lower gear after the action had been escalating. After a series of big moves, the two got into a pin exchange, and Gordon ultimately got the better of it. That was an odd way to end the match, but again, the bulk of it was so good that I can overlook it. Kazarian shook Gordon’s hand afterward. ***1/2
Proving Ground Match
Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai def. Jenny Rose
Brandi Rhodes joined the commentary team for this Women Of Honor bout, which was a late addition to the card. If Jenny Rose managed to either beat Sumie Sakai, or went to a draw with Sakai, she would earn herself on a shot at the Women Of Honor Title. It was explained by Ian Riccaboni on commentary that Rose would get her title shot in Toronto that she won. Given that this was seemingly added at the last minute, I wasn’t looking forward to it that much, but in the end, these two put on a match that slightly exceeded my expectations (again, they weren’t that high, to begin with, but still). The amount of time it got, around eight or nine minutes, was just right, and the wrestling was pretty solid. What really helped this particular bout was that there was a real sense of urgency to it. Since all Proving Ground matches have fifteen-minute time limits, they couldn’t waste much time. Jenny Rose took the fight to the Women Of Honor Champion, but eventually, Sumie Sakai managed to get the win. It’s fair to say that, when it comes to matches involved strictly Women Of Honor regulars, this was one of the division’s best bouts of the year. ***
ROH World Tag Team Champion Scorpio Sky def. Jay Briscoe
Jay Briscoe attacked Scorpio Sky from behind to get this one started. I don’t have a ton of things to say about this one. It was a pretty solid undercard singles bout, with good action throughout, and that’s about it. I enjoyed watching it, but there really wasn’t anything about it that was too memorable. The only notable thing about the match was the finish. Mark Briscoe ran out in an attempt to interfere, but he was quickly confronted by Frankie Kazarian. While the referee was distracted by this, Jay Briscoe tried to use a chair on Scorpio Sky. However, Sky avoided the chair, and managed to roll up Jay Briscoe for the win. That’s a big win for Scorpio Sky, as Jay Briscoe has (over the last several years) been one of the most protected acts in ROH when it comes to taking pinfall losses. Again, this was a good match as a whole, but it was the kind of bout that you’ll forget about the next day. It mainly served to continue the build towards a big title match at Final Battle. ***1/4
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) def. Bully Ray & Silas Young
Before this match got started, we, unfortunately, got a promo from Bully Ray, who was greeted by loud “Yankees Suck” chants. He flaunted the fact that he was from New York City, and offered $20 to anyone who could hit the Yankees hat he was wearing. When someone finally did manage to hit him with a streamer, it seemed like he was going to give the $20 to the women in the front row who did the deed. However, he ended up just ripping up the bill right in front of her. While I’m sure most of you who are reading this are sick of Bully Ray in ROH (as am I), he’s still able to get legitimate heel heat with these live crowds, particularly with his promos and whatever he does outside of wrestling matches. Speaking of which, Bully Ray teamed with Silas Young here to take on the LIJ team of EVIL and SANADA. While it wasn’t overly terrible, this was easily the worst bout of the night. The crowd seemed to be into this at points, but Bully Ray just isn’t that good (we all know this). When Silas Young was in there, the bout was decent, but whenever New Japan talents come over, the last thing I want them to do is mix it up with Bully Ray. The fact that this went close to thirteen minutes didn’t help either. In the closing minutes, there was some miscommunication between Bully and Silas, and that led to LIJ hitting the Magic Killer on Young for the win. Not the most exciting match on this card, that’s for sure. **¼
Afterward, we get some arguing between Bully Ray and Silas Young. There’s some shoving between them until Bully decided he wants to hug it out. However, Young rejected this attempt to reconcile, and just left Bully alone in the ring. Despite this clear dissension, the partnership between these two wasn’t quite finished (based on what happened the next night in Buffalo).
Non-Title – ROH World TV Champion Jeff Cobb def. Christopher Daniels
Christopher Daniels was the only person on this tour to be booked strictly in singles matches. He came up short against Juice Robinson in a really good bout on Night 1 in Lewiston, and on this second stop of tour, he suffered a similar fate against Jeff Cobb. This wasn’t on the same level as that aforementioned Daniels/Juice bout from Night 1, but it was still a good match that featured solid back-and-forth action. This only went about eight minutes or so, which made it one of the shortest matches on the show. I wish they chopped out three or four minutes from the previous contest, and gave it to this one (it could’ve used it). Nevertheless, I enjoyed this for what it was. Jeff Cobb got the win after hitting Tour Of The Islands. This was perfectly competent. ***1/4
Non-Title – IWGP United States Champion Cody (with Brandi Rhodes) def. Mark Briscoe
While Jay Briscoe was in singles competition with Scorpio Sky earlier in the night, his younger brother Mark Briscoe had a big match of his own as he went up against Cody in a non-title encounter. At just under fourteen minutes, this was one of the longest matches on the card (if not the longest), and in terms of quality, it was very similar to some of the show’s earlier bouts. The action throughout was relatively solid, but the bout never really jumped off the page. Both of these competitors put forth good efforts, and Mark Briscoe took the IWGP United States Champion to the limit, but Cody eventually emerged victoriously. Early on in the bout, Mark Briscoe distracted the referee with a chair, which allowed him to kick the ropes into Cody’s nuts as he was trying to get back in the ring. Later, Cody returned the favor by kicking Mark low when the referee was distracted and followed up with the Cross Rhodes to get the pin. Another competent match on this card, but again, it’s not a match you’re going to remember. ***1/4
Tetsuya Naito def. “The Hangman” Adam Page
Not only was this the most anticipated match coming into Night 2, but it was probably the most anticipated match on this entire tour. As I mentioned in my preview of the tour, this was a G1 Climax caliber singles bout on paper (in the sense that it could’ve easily been a match in this year’s G1 Climax had the blocks been put together differently), and it had the chance to be really great. When the dust settled, it didn’t quite meet those expectations, but it was still a very strong match. There were some fun exchanges in the opening minutes, such as Page stealing Naito’s tranquilo pose, only to get kicked by Naito in retaliation. The bulk of the contest was filled with entertaining back-and-forth action between these two. It was on its way to being a great match, but unfortunately, we got a botch in the closing minute. Naito hit a quick running Destino after countering the Rite Of Passage, but when Todd Sinclair went to make the pin, he held up before the three count. This was because Page (apparently) forgot to kick out. The botch was noticeable, and the crowd booed. Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana did a decent job covering for Sinclair on commentary, but it was still a black mark on this match. They still finished things off a minute or so later, when Naito hit another Destino to score the winning pinfall, but there’s no doubt that they both had an impact on the quality of the match. Despite that issue, this was still a very good bout as a whole. Page once again proved that he could hang with a top New Japan talent. If this was a bout that took place during the G1, it probably would’ve fit right in on one of those shows in the middle of the tour. ***3/4
Four-Corner Survival – ROH World Champion Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham def. The Kingdom (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan), Time Machine (Chris Sabin & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA) & The Young Bucks
Unlike their leader Matt Taven earlier in the night, Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan came out to almost no reaction. As for Chris Sabin, his weird ring introduction on this night was “The Last Living Descendent Of The Lost Civilization of Atlantis ‘Constellation’ Chris Sabin”. Given the competitors involved, I went into this main event expecting it to be a potential show stealer. Ultimately, it met those expectations, as these four teams put together a great match. It took a minute or two for the bout to get going, but once it did, we got close to eleven minutes of nonstop action, with bodies flying all over the place. All four teams involved had opportunities to shine, including The Kingdom. Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan aren’t the most exciting pairing, but in these multi-team matches, they hold up their end of things more often than not. There were some excellent exchanges in the closing minutes, but ultimately, Jonathan Gresham scored the win for his team after hitting a big Shooting Star Press on Chris Sabin. It’s great to see Gresham getting a victory in the main event of a semi-major show. He’s clearly a guy that ROH should be pushing up the card (especially after the departure of Punishment Martinez), and to the company’s credit, they’ve done a decent job. He had a great in-ring feud with Jay Lethal, which turned into a semi-regular team with the ROH World Champion. Now he’s picking up wins in main events. This was another step forward for Gresham, and I’m very intrigued to see where he goes from here. ****1/4
Night 2 of the 2018 Global Wars Tour was certainly a step up compared to Night 1. Not only did you have two strong matchups at the top of the card (Adam Page vs. Tetsuya Naito and the main event), but the undercard was also much better.
The only bout that was subpar was Bully Ray & Silas Young vs. EVIL & SANADA. Aside from that, all of the other matches landed in that ***-***1/2 range, with Flip Gordon vs. Frankie Kazarian being the best of that bunch. If you’re short on time, then the aforementioned top two bouts are the only ones that you really need to seek out. However, if you’re looking to watching a mostly solid wrestling show, then this one would be a solid choice.