Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling
Global Wars 2018: Night 3
November 9, 2018
Buffalo, New York
Before the matches got started, The Addiction came out for a quick in-ring promo. They mentioned that Scorpio Sky wasn’t there because he was at a wedding, but they still did their “Worst Town” bit from Being The Elite (but with the babyface twist that I mentioned in my review of Night 1). Daniels said that everything they do is for wrestling fans all over the world, and mentioned that all of the positive energy that’s created is important in this day and age. He then turned his attention to the recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. Daniels said that everyone in ROH and all of the fans are thinking about them, before he and Kazarian led an SCU chant for Thousand Oaks. Normally it’s a bit annoying to start off with an in-ring segment, but I had no issues with this at all.
The original opener was scheduled to be The Boys vs. Matt Taven and Vinny Marseglia, but that match never took place. After forcing Bobby Cruise to announce him as the real ROH World Champion, Taven just stared blankly at The Boys for what felt like ages. Finally, The Kingdom make their move as they unleashed a relentless attack on The Boys. Since the bell never rang, the bout never officially got started. Taven took his studded belt off and whipped both of them with it before the beating spilled out to the floor. From there, Taven gave one boy a back body drop on the floor, while Marseglia gave the other boy a brainbuster on the exposed concrete floor (after ripping up the mats). They then went back into the ring, and Taven destroyed a boy with a lawn dart into a chair that was set up in the corner. This beating lasted for what felt like forever.
ROH seems to really like these long heel beatdowns lately. Bully Ray’s done a bunch of them, and now The Kingdom has done it. With those long beatings come logic holes. For instance, in this situation, why didn’t Dalton Castle come out to help The Boys any sooner? It’s simply not that believe, especially since The Boys are such a key part of the Dalton Castle experience. If he had to be absent, then you could’ve given a much better explanation (such as having TK O’Ryan attack Castle backstage, thus explaining why he didn’t come out). Then there’s poor Paul Turner, who looked like an absolute geek as he just followed The Kingdom around, barely trying to break up the assault at all. I suppose he was trying to tell all of them to get in the ring so they could start the match, but he seemed completely unnecessary in this whole thing.
After the aforementioned lawn dart into the chair in the corner, Matt Taven took the mic and said this beating would continue until Dalton Castle came out to confront him. It was at this moment that Castle FINALLY showed up, and called Taven a son of a bitch. The leader of The Kingdom responded by saying that he wants Castle to show him the respect he deserves, before claiming that Castle has disrespected him and the “ROH World Title” (referring to his purple title belt) for the last time. Taven then said that he wanted his first “title defense” to be against Castle at Final Battle. At this point, TK O’Ryan (who had been absent from the beatdown of The Boys) jumped Castle from behind. After all of this madness, security finally got involved as they took Taven and Marseglia away. O’Ryan forced Castle to the ring, and called for his scheduled match against Castle right now. After what felt like an eternity, we finally got our first match of the night.
Dalton Castle def. TK O’Ryan
With Castle still recovering from the sneak attack beforehand, it looked as though TK O’Ryan was on his way to an easy victory. That wasn’t the case, however, as the former ROH World Champion was able to persevere, and got the win after hitting the Bang-A-Rang. This was a decent opening contest that went about seven or eight minutes. The crowd got behind Castle as he made his comeback, which helped with the story they were telling. Not much else to say beyond that. The match worked within the context of the angle. **1/4
Afterward, Dalton Castle took the mic and talked about the various injuries he’s had over the last year (including a broken back). He said that bandages are holding him together, but the injuries aren’t slowing him down. Castle noted that even though the ROH World Title that Taven is carrying around is a fake, the fire that Taven lit inside of him is very real. He called Taven a jackass and accepted his challenge for Final Battle. They’d done a decent job building up this match for the PPV, but the beatdown angle with The Boys could’ve been handled a little better.
We got more talking before the next match. This time it was with Kenny King, who proclaimed that, in just forty-eight hours, he would defeat Jay Lethal in Toronto to win the ROH World Title for the first time. He said that the feeling of victory is inevitable, and then trashed the Buffalo Sabres hockey team (why not go after the Buffalo Bills?). King said that ROH officials granted him a “warm-up” match on this show, as his opponent ended up being Cheeseburger. This reveal didn’t go over well with King, who apparently felt disrespected (he then took the obvious swipe at the Buffalo Bills). Then, after Cheeseburger refused to leave the ring, King jumped him, and the match got going.
Kenny King def. Cheeseburger
To be frank, I wasn’t overly excited to see this unadvertised match, as I just wanted them to get to the business end of the card. Fortunately, this turned out to be a pretty decent contest. It only went about seven minutes, but there was fun action throughout, and it held my attention from start to finish. Both men played their roles well, and as a whole, this was entertaining for what it was. Cheeseburger put up a good fight, but he ultimately came up short, as King hit the Royal Flush for the win. A solid win for King before he challenged Jay Lethal in Toronto. **1/2
Kelly Klein def. Madison Rayne
We followed up one underavertised bout with another unadvertised bout, as Kelly Klein took on Madison Rayne. This went around the same length as the previous matches on the show, but in terms of quality, it was…..slightly below average. The action was alright, but there wasn’t a ton of drama. Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai came out midway through and watched on from the entrance stage. Speaking of the Women Of Honor Title, it was confirmed on by Ian Riccaboni on commentary that there would be two more qualifiers for the Four-Corner Survival Match at Final Battle. Karen Q would take on Kaitlin Diemond in Toronto, while Kelly Klein would face Jenny Rose on an episode of ROH TV. Anyway, as far as this match is concerned, Klein got the win after catching Rayne in a bridging cradle. One of the weakest matches on the show, for sure. **1/4
Before the next match got started, Rhett Titus came out on the stage in his underwear. He started to do his posing, but their Todd Sinclair ran out with a towel to cover Titus, and pulled him off the stage. I have to admit….this got a chuckle out of me.
Four-Corner Survival – Non-Title – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA def. BUSHI, Flip Gordon, & Jonathan Gresham
After a long angle and a couple of average matches, we FINALLY got to the good stuff. This particular match was a pretty exciting one on paper, and it ultimately delivered. These four guys put together an incredibly entertaining Four-Corner Survival that featured strong action from start to finish. The crowd was into it right from the opening bell, and everyone involved got moments to shine throughout. If there’s one downside to this match, it’s that it didn’t get a ton of time (it clocked in at just under ten minutes). This bout could’ve been even better if got another two or three minutes, but to be fair, all four competitors made great use of that time. Towards the end of the bout, BUSHI took out Jonathan Gresham with the black mist, and it came down to BUSHI and KUSHIDA. In the end, the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion picked up the non-title victory after hitting Back To The Future on BUSHI. This was simply a blast to watch. There were some great sequences throughout, and everyone worked hard. You can’t ask for much more than that. ****
Non-Title – ROH World TV Champion Jeff Cobb def. EVIL
In my review of Night 2, I mentioned how Adam Page vs. Tetsuya Naito was a match that, if the blocks were put together differently, could’ve taken place in the G1 Climax this year. Night 3 featured a matchup that could happen in next year’s G1 Climax, if Jeff Cobb starts to get booked more frequently in New Japan. This was a bout that I was really looking forward to coming into this card, and for the most part, it delivered. There was very good action throughout, and even though it took them a few minutes to get going, the second half of the bout was particularly strong. EVIL was easily Jeff Cobb’s strongest test to date in ROH. He certainly took the fight to Cobb, but the former Olympian would not break. The closing sequence was especially exciting, as the two traded counters to their finisher. I feel like EVIL has been taking some notes from Karl Anderson when it comes to closing stretches in singles matches. The various counters of the EVIL STO remind me a lot of when Anderson would always go for the Gun Stun multiples times in the final minutes. On this occasion, things didn’t work out for EVIL, as Jeff Cobb managed to hit Tour Of The Islands to secure the victory. This was an entertaining hoss battle, and a big win for Cobb. Hopefully this means that Cobb will be getting more opportunities with New Japan in the future besides the World Tag League and the occasional New Japan west coast shows. ***3/4
Juice Robinson def. Silas Young via DQ
Robinson came out wearing the same Randy Savage style entrance gear that he wore in his tag team bout with Dalton Castle the night before. Juice had a very solid singles contest here with Silas Young, and if it actually had a clean finish, it could’ve been even better. Unfortunately, Bully Ray ran out and kicked Robinson in the nuts for the DQ. That was a real bummer, but as for the match itself, it was relatively good. Juice had the edge in the opening minute. From there, however, the match swung in Young’s favor. The “Last Real Man” was in control for most of this bout, and every time Robinson attempted to mount a comeback, he got cut off. Once Juice was finally able to fully fight back, we got some nice exchanges between these two until Bully Ray ran out. You’re never going to see Silas Young in truly epic matches, but at the same time, he’s rarely going to have subpar matches. He’s a generally consistent performer, and he can have very good matches when he’s in there with strong opponents. Again, this could’ve been a bit better than it was, but the Bully Ray interference ruined it. Still, this was a perfectly fine bout for what it was. ***1/4
As soon as Todd Sinclair called for the DQ, Bully Ray took him out as well. He argued with Silas Young until Flip Gordon ran out and attacked him. Gordon got the edge over Bully, and it looked like he was going to use a chair on him, but Young stopped him in his tracks with a low blow. Bully then brought a singapore cane out, and it looked like he was going to brutally attack Gordon with it once again (after giving him a severe beating on a recent episode of ROH TV), but Joe Koff came out and demanded that he stop. Koff told Bully that everyone hates him, and declared that if he used that Singapore Cane again, he’d be fired. Bully was left flabbergasted by this. Of course, Joe Koff would be the one to really stand up to him. That moment got a good pop from the crowd, at least.
The Young Bucks def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA)
This isn’t the first time that Tetsuya Naito has tangled with The Young Bucks. On Night 3 of the 2017 War Of The Worlds Tour in New York City, The Young Bucks successfully retained their ROH World Tag Team Titles against Naito & BUSHI. While there weren’t any titles on the line this time around, Naito teamed with SANADA instead. I had high hopes for this bout coming into this event, and it absolutely delivered. This was an incredible tag team encounter that was easily the best match of the night.
There was great action from start to finish, and both teams put forth a lot of effort. We got some very good exchanges in the opening minutes, along with some amazing sequences in the closing stages. You can seemingly never go wrong with The Young Bucks in ROH, and it was really cool to see Naito team up with SANADA in a two-on-two environment (since EVIL & SANADA is the regular heavyweight tag team for LIJ). There were a couple of awesome near falls towards the end of this one, including LIJ only getting a two count after hitting their own version of the IndyTaker, and Naito breaking up a pin after The Young Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on SANADA. The finish was a little anticlimactic, as Matt Jackson got the win for his team after catching SANADA in a cradle pin. However, the action in this match was so great that I can overlook the ending. The result was actually a bit of a surprise to me. With all of the speculation regarding the future of The Young Bucks, I figured they would surely lose this one. Regardless, these two teams managed to put together one of the best bouts of the entire tour. ****1/4
Proving Ground Match – ROH World Champion Jay Lethal drew with Chris Sabin
If you were following this Global Wars Tour closely, you would’ve known that we’ve seen some pretty ridiculous nicknames for Chris Sabin. On this night, he was announced as “Omnipresent Supergalactic Oneness ‘Constellation’ Chris Sabin”. I would love to know how he comes up with these. Anyway, Sabin took on Jay Lethal in a Proving Ground Match which, thankfully, wasn’t the main event (nothing against those guys, of course, but this match didn’t need to be in that spot). If Sabin either beat Lethal, or lasted the fifteen-minute time limit, then he would earn himself a future shot at the ROH World Title. Ultimately, the match actually ended up going the distance, which meant that Sabin successfully earned his title shot. The bout itself was actually pretty good. It was never going to set the world on fire, but there was very solid action and cool exchanges throughout this fifteen minute period. These two seemed to work together well, and their efforts resulted in an entertaining semi-main event. It looked as though Lethal was on his way to victory after locking in the figure four leglock, but Sabin refused to tap, and held on for those final few seconds until the time limit expired.
The ending did come out of nowhere since they never made the audience aware of how much time was left (like New Japan does with all of their matches), but in this instance, I didn’t necessarily mind that. The time limit really seemed to fly by in this one, which I guess is a credit to the both guys for wrestling at a relatively brisk pace here. Again, this was a very solid bout from start to finish. ***1/2
Despite earning himself a title shot, Chris Sabin wants to go five more minutes. Lethal responds by saying that they’re going to need more than five more minutes. He’s just getting warmed up, and he decides to put the ROH World Title on the line against Chris Sabin right now. Both men agree to it, and as soon as the bell rings, Kenny King runs out and jumps both men. Of course, King had a title shot against Jay Lethal on the final stop of the tour in Toronto. The commentary team did a solid job explaining why King did this. They said that King had prepared to face Lethal for weeks, and didn’t want to see a surprise title change that would throw off his plans for Toronto.
Speaking of the commentary team, I have a few notes on them. Firstly, after that semi-main event, they did a really nice job of reminding everyone of the list of challengers that Lethal now has coming up (Flip Gordon, Marty Scurll, and now Chris Sabin). With regards to the actual commentary team, Caprice Coleman joined Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana for this show. Now he hasn’t been really good on commentary in the past, but I thought this clearly was his best outing to date. He stayed mostly on focus for most of the broadcast, and didn’t goof around that much. I don’t think ROH needs to change anything with their main commentary team (Ian and Colt are arguably the best commentary pairing in the business right now), but Caprice did a fine job here. I wouldn’t mind him being used a bit more if he’s more serious like he was here.
Three-Way Tag Team Match – Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) def. The Briscoes & The Elite (“The Hangman” Adam Page & Cody with Brandi Rhodes)
Before the match began, Cody was doing a bit where he was running around the ring to see which side of the crowd he was going to throw his T-Shirt to. It was during this moment that he heard his knee pop. We found a few days later that he suffered a torn meniscus which, thankfully, wasn’t terribly serious (I believe he’ll only be out of action for a few weeks once he does get the surgery). Anyway, despite getting that injury, he showed no signs of being hurt during this main event, which was a very good three-way tag team bout. It probably went a few minutes longer than it needed to, but that’s only a minor complaint. There was really solid action throughout this one, but there were a few comedy spots mixed in. At one point, Brandi Rhodes distracted Beretta with her breasts (she didn’t fully expose herself, but she did show off more….skin, I guess you could say). The Briscoes then convinced Paul Turner to eject Brandi from ringside, and that led to one of the most memorable lines that anyone has said on a wrestling show in 2018. Turner actually said “You and your boobies….out of here”. Yes….he actually said that. Anyway, speaking of Paul Turner, he accidentally got taken out late by a running knee from Beretta after Cody got out of the way, and that led to the finish. Mark Briscoe hit Cody with the IWGP United States Title. Then Beretta got the title, and teased hitting Mark with it, but Jay Briscoe attacked him with a chair. Jay teased hitting Beretta with the Jay Driller on the chair, but The Addiction ran out and took out Jay. This allowed Best Friends to gain the advantage, and they won after hitting the move that used to be known as the Strong Zero (Roppongi Vice’s old finisher) on Mark Briscoe. Even with the chicanery at the end, this was still a pretty solid main event. ***1/2
Following the main event, we got a faceoff between Beretta and Cody, in anticipation for their IWGP United States Title bout in Toronto which (of course) didn’t take place due to Cody’s injury.
Night 3 of Ring of Honor and NJPW’s 2018 Global Wars Tour was a very good show. It didn’t get off to the best start, as we got a very long beatdown segment with The Kingdom followed by three fairly average matches. Fortunately, things really took a turn for the better after that. Everything from the Four-Corner Survival onward ranged from good, to really good, to great. LIJ vs. The Young Bucks was easily the best match of the night, with the aforementioned Four-Corner Survival and EVIL vs. Jeff Cobb not that far behind. If you’re interested in angles leading up to Final Battle, I would check out the stuff between Dalton Castle and The Kingdom (despite the issues I had with aspects of it). However, if you’re solely interested in the wrestling (as I’m sure most of you are), then you only need to watch the last two thirds of the show.