Ring of Honor & New Japan Pro Wrestling
War of the Worlds 2019 Night 2
May 9, 2019
Toronto, ON, Canada
Ted Reeve Arena
The second stop on the 2019 War of the Worlds tour saw Ring of Honor head up north to Toronto, with the main event pitting PCO against the newly crowned ROH World Champion, Matt Taven.
Bullet Club (Hikuelo, Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa) def. Alex Coughlin, Karl Fredricks, & Clark Connors
This had the possibility to be a train wreck but it turned out OK. This tour is the perfect opportunity for the LA Young Lions to get some exposure and experience, and though they look a little rough around the edges, there’s a ton of potential between them all and ROH would be out of their minds to not use them more often. Hikuleo – who has not blown anyone away – looked perfectly acceptable here (though he’s Double Hand Choke Bomb finisher looked a bit botched). Overall, this was acceptable and an obvious win for GOD. **1/2
Yuji Nagata def. Silas Young by DQ
Nagata was involved in an enjoyable six-man in Buffalo, while Young was staring at the lights for Rush. This was was an enjoyable slugfest, with Nagata turning back the years with the ease he is capable of. Unfortunately, they decided to fuck around, with Young grabbing a chair and jumping in the ring, before passing the chair to Nagata and playing dead. Nagata one-upped Young by wrapping the chair around his own head and dropping to the mat. The referee took a day and age to recover but eventually saw Nagata lying down and disqualified Young. The crowd popped for this but whatever. **¼
EVIL & SANADA def. The Kingdom
In Buffalo, The Kingdom made short work of the Young Lions, while LiJ had a banger of a match with Haskins/Williams, so hey, here are two teams with momentum going up against each other. What a novel concept! The Kingdom got the heat over EVIL with offense that was largely uninspired, which meant the hot tag to SANADA was muted at best. There was what felt like a bit of a communication breakdown as things got disjointed, but eventually, the LiJ tandem would put the ‘Horror King’ away with the Magic Killer. This existed. **¾
Rush def. PJ Black
PJ Black has been a constant over the past couple of months on the weekly television show, and though there have been a few hiccups, he’s had more hits than misses, and I’ve been happy to see him get a prominent role—especially considering he’s had a rough time with injuries over the past couple of years. Black had a perfectly serviceable outing with Coughlin last night, while Rush put away Silas Young. Another match where two people were coming in with victories!
This was a fun sprint, though a little patchy to begin with. However, once Rush took over it was all action, ending with the double dropkick into the corner where absolutely murdered poor Black (who sold like a champ). This accomplished exactly what it needed to do and so far the booking of Rush in ROH has been perfect. ***
Dalton Castle came out to talk smack, but most importantly – not wrestle (Hey I love Dalton but he needs all the time he can get to heal). Still not sure what the end goal with this ongoing feud with the boys will be, but I’ll always take a segment where Dalton talks trash.
The Briscoes def. Lifeblood (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams)
Haskins/Williams are having a low-key banner year as a tag team and The Briscoes are the fucking Briscoes. Jay & Mark had the first night off but with them taking on GOD for tag titles in Chicago, it was all but obvious who was winning this.
There was a lot more back and forth to this than the LiJ/Kingdom encounter, and about 10 x the energy as well, and by the end of it I came away tantalized by a Jay Briscoe / Mark Haskins encounter, as these two worked at a frantic pace with each other without skipping a beat. Williams would have Mark in the corner but would get caught by Jay and ate the Doomsday Device. Another 5 minutes and this could have easily hit 4 stars. ***½
Bully Ray came out to talk smack at Williams while he was grounded (with Haskins apparently dead). The dynamics of this feud are a bit weird and not good.
Kelly Klein came out, thankfully, not to wrestle. Angelina Love then came out, thankfully, not to wrestle. Love did the cheap pops to the Canadian audience before notifying that she’s not a permanent resident of the USA. We will need to wait just a little while longer to see this match.
Jay Lethal def. Satoshi Kojima
We got a handshake, which felt like the first time this evening. This was Kojima playing the hits as best as he can, with Lethal making everything work in between. The final stretch down the end was good fun, with Kojima thumping the back of Lethal’s head with a nasty lariat but he’d eventually duck another lariat and pick up the victory after connecting with a Lethal Injection.
Possibly could have done with a few minutes chopped off to allow more of a sprint, but hell, like I can do half of what Kojima can do at his age. ***¼
ROH World Television Championship Match
Shane Taylor def. Jeff Cobb (c), Brody King & Hirooki Goto
Goto was the only one who didn’t have his presence known on Night One, with Taylor beating Hikuleo, and Cobb/King being involved in the six-man tag match. Handshakes and fist bumps were offered all around, besides Taylor who decided to spit in the hand of King.
Cobb and Taylor decided to carry on from their surprisingly good match at the 17th anniversary. Quite honestly, as soon as Goto and Cobb started laying into each other, I just wanted to watch these two go for 15 minutes. However, this whole thing was tonnes of fun (probably literally as well as figuratively).
The end result was a surprise, as Taylor would drop King and pick up the victory and TV title, meaning between the MSG show and now, Cobb dropped both the Never title to Taichi, and now the ROH TV title to Shane Taylor. He’s still yet to be pinned and I guess it’s a way to give him a bit of juice and chase the title, but, eh, he was having a hell of a run. This was a fun match, though it did feel like a waste of Goto. ***½
ROH World Heavyweight Championship Match
Matt Taven (c) vs. PCO
In 2019, Pierre Carl Ouellette is wrestling for a major heavyweight championship. What a world. Even more so, it would be against Matt Taven and I would be genuinely intrigued to watch it.
We had a video package with Taven declaring PCO was just a man and showing clips of PCO killing himself as he is one to do. The visual of PCO being brought to life by Destro while holding the NWA Tag Team title was something to see. The visual of Matt Taven as ROH Champion is also something to see.
This wasn’t quite the banger I was hoping for – with me possibly setting my hopes a little too high. But up until the last moments of the match, it had plenty of drama, and plenty of heat (PCO was very much over in his native homeland). It also had plenty of insane spots for a 51-year-old man to take (including a suicide dive out on to no one). But as we’ve established: PCO is no man. I did appreciate the overall story of the match, with commentary noting that if PCO does have a weakness, it would be his one good eye. This played into the overall match and was well executed.
The biggest issue was the nonsense with the finish that has simply been stuck with me in ROH and what it is meant to represent. Taven would be handed a spike to stab PCO in the eye with, which worked in the overall context and story of the match, but also, it’s crucial to get your first defense off to a definitive start, and as much as I love PCO, he really should have eaten The Climax for a clean pinfall.
But whatever, this was PCO in 2019 delivering a better main event than any WWE PPV has managed this year so far. ***½
The Toronto stop was the strongest War of the Worlds 2019 lineup on paper and for the most part, delivered. Unfortunately, nothing truly stood out or will likely be remembered come the end of the year. It also never really tapped into the whole point of this tour (y’kno, ROH vs NJPW), with Lethal/Kojima being the only real thing on the card that fit the description.
Still, if you have an Honor Club subscription, there’s enough here to sink your teeth into and enjoy, and there was no sign or mention of Enzo and Cass in sight.