Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling
Global Wars 2018: Night 4
November 11, 2018
Mattamy Athletic Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Watch: Honor Club
Karen Q def. Kaitlin Diemond
The winner of this bout would qualify for the Women Of Honor Title match at Final Battle. At this point, Madison Rayne was the only challenger who had qualified, as she defeated Britt Baker at Survival Of The Fittest 2018. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one (it was my first time seeing Kaitlin Diemond), but it ended up being an average women’s contest. They went about six minutes or so, and there was decent action throughout. Diemond got some offense in at various points, but this was mainly a showcase for Karen Q, who scored the victory with a Boston Crab that’s very similar to the one that Samoa Joe uses (where he just holds the legs and sits down instead of locking in the legs like you would with a normal Boston Crab). This match was by no means bad. However, it didn’t do much to jump off the page either. **1/4
Afterward, Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai (who came down about midway through the bout to get a better look at one of her potential challengers) got into an in-ring brawl with Karen Q. Then, Kelly Klein (who was with Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana on commentary for the opener) ran down and attacked Sakai while also arguing with Karen Q. This led to Madison Rayne getting involved, and we got a four-way brawl that needed to be quelled by security. After Sakai managed to hit a big crossbody to the floor onto Karen Q, Klein, and security, she returned to the ring and had a face off with Madison Rayne to end the segment. It’s a little weird that they had Kelly Klein involved here, since she hadn’t technically qualified yet, but I didn’t mind that too much, since she’s almost a lock to win here qualifier (against Jenny Rose on ROH TV). This was a fine angle to help build to the Four-Way Women Of Honor Title match at Final Battle.
The “Rhett Titus posing segments” continued before our next match could get started. On this particular occasion, Titus came out with a hockey stick and a hockey helmet. I thought this bit got paid off in Buffalo when Todd Sinclair covered Titus up and dragged him off stage, but I guess not.
“The Hangman” Adam Page def. Chuckie T
This was a bout that had a ton of potential on paper. While it wasn’t as great as it could’ve been, it was still a really good undercard bout. It clocked in at just over ten minutes and featured very solid back and forth action throughout. There were some particularly fun exchanges in the final few minutes, with both men trading big moves. At one point, Page went for the Rite Of Passage, but Chuckie T managed to reverse it, and nailed Page with a quick Piledriver. Chuckie T then tried to follow up with an Awful Waffle, and we got another finisher countered. This time, Page got the better end of it, as he successfully hit the Rite Of Passage to score the win. Not a ton to say about this one, beyond that. These two just went out there and had an enjoyable undercard bout. No complaints from me. ***1/2
It was at this point that Ian Riccaboni announced that, due to Cody’s injury, Beretta would instead be facing Juice Robinson. Caprice Coleman then came to the commentary position and told Rhett Titus that ROH officials were demanding that Titus put clothes on. Coleman then joined Riccaboni and Colt Cabana as the third man in the booth.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) def. The Kingdom (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
Here we have a match that came about due to the late changes with the card. Tetsuya Naito and BUSHI were originally scheduled to face Dalton Castle and Juice Robinson. However, with Robinson moving into a singles bout with Beretta, LIJ faced The Kingdom instead. This was a relatively decent tag team affair, but it wasn’t much beyond that. There really wasn’t anything that memorable about it. The first minute or two of the match focused around Marseglia trying to take off BUSHI’s mask, and BUSHI choking Marseglia with his T-Shirt. From there, the action was fine. The Kingdom controlled the middle portion of the bout, as they were able to hit a couple of double-team moves on both members of LIJ. Things did get a little better in the closing stages, but aside from that, this was pretty average. We also saw some botched spots caught on camera. Firstly, Marseglia went to hit Naito with a move on the outside, but it just…..didn’t work at all (I have no idea what he was even trying to hit). Then O’Ryan went to do….something with Naito. This one didn’t look nearly as bad as the Marseglia botch, but it was still noticeable. This version of The Kingdom is perfectly fine as a trio with Matt Taven when they’re battling for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. However, this tag team with Marseglia and O’Ryan isn’t exactly stellar in two-on-two environments, and the fact that they managed to have an average match with a LIJ team that included Tetsuya Naito speaks volumes. I wouldn’t call the match bad (because it wasn’t), but it’s something you could easily skip. Naito got the win for LIJ after he hit Marseglia with the Destino. **1/2
Shortly after the match ended, Matt Taven rushed the ring and attacked Tetsuya Naito. With the rest of The Kingdom focusing on BUSHI, it was a three-on-two assault until Christopher Daniels ran out to even the odds. LIJ then brawled with Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan to the back while the next matchup on the card got underway.
Matt Taven def. Christopher Daniels
We saw an instance of the “Paul Heyman Special” here, as the previous bout bled right into this match. These two had a relatively solid singles contest. It wasn’t nearly as good as Adam Page vs. Chuckie T from earlier in the show, but it featured similar qualities. The bout went around ten minutes and featured fine action throughout. Dalton Castle joined the commentary team about midway through the match to get a closer look at Taven ahead of their match at Final Battle (in a side note, The Boys were with Castle, and showed no apparent signs of injury after they were assaulted by The Kingdom two days prior in Buffalo). As for the bout itself, we, unfortunately, got interference from Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan that led to the finish. Marseglia got on the apron and attempted to distract the referee while O’Ryan tried to slide the purple World Title belt to Matt Taven. Daniels intercepted the belt and used it to attacked Marseglia. Taven then managed to hit a low blow on Daniels while the referee was still distracted, and followed up with The Climax for the win. Again, the bulk of the match was actually pretty solid. However, the stuff we saw at the end definitely detracted from it. ***
The Briscoes def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
While these two teams have faced off a couple of times in the past two years (in multi-man tags as well as three and four-way tag team bouts), this was the first time that they’ve met in a straight two-on-two encounter. This was by no means a great match, but it ended up being pretty good by the time it finished. The Briscoes managed to isolate SANADA after the opening exchanges, and they played their role perfectly. Once the hot tag was made to EVIL, the bout became more even, and we got some solid back and forth action down the stretch. Despite that entertaining action, we were treated to second screwy finish in a row on this show. Towards the end of the match, a chair was introduced by Mark Briscoe. As Paul Turner tried to remove the chair from the ring, Mark got another chair and used it to strike SANADA (who was trying to lock in the Skull End on Jay Briscoe) in the back. Jay then followed up with the Jay Driller on SANADA, and that was it. Even though they won by nefarious means, it was still a big win for The Briscoes. Rarely do you see New Japan talent (especially talents like EVIL & SANADA) lose matches without any reason behind it, so perhaps this is a sign of a rematch happening in New Japan sometime in 2019. Time will tell. ***1/2
After the match, EVIL got a measure of revenge when he attacked The Briscoes with one of the chairs.
Flip Gordon def. Jonathan Gresham
Silas Young joined the commentary team for this one (replacing Caprice Coleman). This was a fun nine-minute match that, while perfectly enjoyable for what it was, could’ve been a little better (it was similar to the tag team bout that came before it, in that regard). After the initial exchange, Gordon “tweaked” his knee on a dive, and from there, that became the focus of the match. Gresham seemed a little reluctant to attack the knee at first, but eventually, he went after it. Gordon managed to mount a comeback but was still met with some stiff offense from Gresham (including three consecutive forearms to a prone Gordon). Despite having a clear advantage, Gresham was unable to secure the victory. After hitting a spear off the middle rope with just his good leg, Gordon hit the Flip-5 and got the win out of nowhere. I would’ve liked it if Gordon got in a little more offense before the win (as those two moves were the extent of his comeback before the pin), but still, this was a fine undercard match that managed to tell a decent story. Even though the loss didn’t exactly make Gresham look good (again, he had a clear advantage after Gordon hurt his knee, and still lost). At the same time, it did make Gordon look solid as he gutted through an injury to get the win. This wasn’t a match you’ll remember, but it worked for its spot on the card. ***¼
After shaking hands with Jonathan Gresham, Flip Gordon took the mic and called out Bully Ray. Gordon declared that Bully was a coward for not being here, before mentioning the beating he received from Bully (with a Singapore cane) in Philadelphia. He recalled Bully asking him repeatedly to quit but said that there’s nothing Bully can do to make him quit. Gordon then challenged Bully to an I Quit Match at Final Battle and, as we know now, that match is official.
ROH World Tag Team Titles
SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) (c) def. The Super Smash Bros. (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson)
Before the match started, we got a promo from SCU. After Scorpio Sky did his “worst town” bit, Daniels put over Toronto’s wrestling fans before noting that they wanted to make ROH a better place. He proclaimed that Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky were adding prestige to the ROH World Tag Team Titles, and then praised their challengers for tonight. Speaking of which, The Super Smash Bros. earned this title shot after an impressive outing against longtime rivals The Young Bucks during the War Of The Worlds Tour back in May. They stole the show on that night, and they came pretty close once again. This was an awesome match that featured nonstop action right from the opening bell. The first half featured some good back and forth between the two teams, but the pace really picked up in the second half. Kazarian and Scorpio Sky continue to be an entertaining tag team, while The Super Smash Bros. looked just as great as they did during their big PWG run in 2012. They nearly had the match won on a few occasions, and on one particular near fall (following a Swanton Bomb/450 Splash combo), the crowd in Toronto came absolutely unglued. They were 100% behind their fellow Canadians. Despite their best efforts, however, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson ultimately came up short, as SCU retained after a Rock Bottom/Backstabber combo. This was thirteen minutes of excitement, plain and simple. I really hope that some promotion in North America is able to get the Super Smash Bros. back stateside. They’re still an incredible tag team, and they absolutely deserve the spotlight on the American independent scene, especially after the news that’s come out in the last week. ****
Both teams shook hands afterward.
Juice Robinson def. Beretta
This was the biggest change to the card that came about due to Cody’s injury. At the time, I was very curious about what would potentially happen with the IWGP United States Title, since there is precedent of New Japan making the decision to strip someone of a mid-card singles title if they can’t make a title defense (in 2015, Togi Makabe was stripped of the NEVER Openweight Title after failing to make a scheduled title defense due to illness). Instead, Cody kept his title, and the winner of this match would (presumably) be next in line for a title shot. Now I had a feeling that these two could have a really good singles bout, but when the dust settled, they put together a great match. It was a little on the long side (at just under nineteen minutes), but they worked their asses off and wasted no time as they beat the crap out of each other immediately. They brawled to the outside in the first few minutes, and Juice got his back at bruised up (with a noticeable cut as well) after missing a cannonball into the barricades. Once they got back to the ring, we got more hard-hitting action for the rest of the bout. Beretta came close to winning on a couple of occasions, particularly after hitting multiple piledrivers (one of those was on the apron, which doesn’t bring up the best of memories, as the infamous BJ Whitmer injury scare off this same move occurred in this same building in 2013). Despite taking a ton of damage, Juice was able to persevere and won after hitting Beretta with the Pulp Friction. This was pretty awesome, but the crowd didn’t seem to be that lively for most of it. They certainly cheered for some of the bigger spots, but given how hard they worked, you would’ve expect a bit more from the crowd. This really felt like a New Japan style of match, and I’d be willing to bet this would’ve been received much better in front of a more lively crowd in Japan. Alas, this was still one of the best matches of the night. ****
Afterward, Juice Robinson (who went 4-0 on this tour, by the way) took the mic and thanked everyone for coming. He then turned his attention Cody, and proclaimed that he’s going to get his title back. As we know now, Cody vs. Juice is pretty much locked in for Wrestle Kingdom.
The Young Bucks def. Time Machine (Chris Sabin & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA)
The wonderful Chris Sabin nicknames continued, as he was announced here as “The Inventor of the Cosmic Astral Code ‘Constellation’ Chris Sabin”. I’ve said this already in previous reviews, but I’d love to know how he comes up with this stuff. Anyway, I went into this expecting an awesome match, and that’s pretty much what we got. The first half featured both sides taking turns isolating someone on the opposing team (The Young Bucks isolated KUSHIDA first, but then Time Machine gained the advantage and isolated Nick Jackson for a bit). Once things became more even, we got some great back and forth action in the second half. The Young Bucks delivered (as they always do), while Chris Sabin and KUSHIDA have proven to be a very strong pairing, even with Sabin not being what he once was. There were some great nearfalls in the final few minutes, with pin attempts after each team’s finishing moves (Made In Japan and The Meltzer Driver) getting broken up. Eventually, Matt Jackson locked Chris Sabin in the sharpshooter and, after being hit with a facebuster from Nick while in the submission, tapped out. There’s not much else to say about this one. It was just two teams having a great, action-packed tag team bout. It’s not that far ahead of SCU/SSB and Beretta/Juice, but it’s my pick for the match of the night. ****1/4
ROH World Title
Jay Lethal (c) def. Kenny King
I appreciate and respect ROH’s desire to have the ROH World Title in the main event of their big shows. There are times when it absolutely should be the main event (Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay is a good example), but then there are other times when it shouldn’t be. It all really depends on the challenger and what else is on the card. Dalton Castle vs. Marty Scurll seemed like a good main event on paper, but it shouldn’t have been the main event over the first Cody/Kenny Omega match. This main event is a lesser example, but the same principle still applies. Even though there isn’t a clear alternative, Jay Lethal vs. Kenny King doesn’t sound like a main event.
Now, to ROH’s credit, they’ve done a great job building up King for this match (the mini-feud with Austin Aries that started his heel turn, beating Jushin “Thunder” Liger along with a number of Bullet Club members). It’s exactly what you would do to build up a title challenge. I also have to give credit to the way this match was put together. They did everything in their power to make King look like a credible threat to take the title, even though everyone knew he was losing. He jumped Lethal before the bell, took the fight to him throughout, and kicked out of the Lethal Injection after successfully dodging in several times (I can’t remember the last time anyone kicked out of the Lethal Injection). They even did a false ending where King got a three count, but it was called off by Todd Sinclair after he saw that King had his feet on the ropes. Despite everything they did, the fans didn’t care that much. They popped for some of the bigger moments in this one, but sections of the crowd definitely seemed to be disinterested at times. It wasn’t the right choice for the main event, but at the same time, I do feel bad for both guys, because they worked really hard. It was definitely one of King’s best matches this year (and one of his best singles outings in ROH). As fantastic as Lethal is, he could only do so much, given all of the different variables. I’m someone who always appreciates the effort, and these two put forth a ton of effort into this match (which was still very good), but it just wasn’t the best spot for them to be in. ***3/4
The fourth (and final) stop of the 2018 Global Wars Tour was very similar to Nights 2 & 3, in terms of the match quality. You had some average stuff scattered throughout the early portion of the undercard, but almost everything from the middle of the show onwards ranged from good to great. My nod for match of the night would go to Time Machine vs. The Young Bucks, but SCU vs. The Super Smash Bros. and Beretta vs. Juice Robinson weren’t that far behind. You also had a couple of other really good matches with Jay Lethal vs. Kenny King (despite the clear flaws with it), Adam Page vs. Chuckie T, The Briscoes vs. EVIL & SANADA, and even Flip Gordon vs. Jonathan Gresham to a lesser extent. Nothing on this show was downright amazing, but there was certainly a lot to like about it.