Wrestling Review: ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds (2017)

For the fourth consecutive year, Ring of Honor (ROH) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) present War of the Worlds, the third night of the annual tour, live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in new York City. The old ECW stomping grounds will play host to four ROH championship matches, with the top match up set to be a triple threat for the ROH World Championship, as Christopher Daniels defends against both Cody and Jay Lethal. The new champion will look to everything he can to retain his title, whilst Jay Lethal looks to repeat history and go on another record setting reign, and Cody attempts to bring some gold to one of wrestling’s longest reigning royal families. Television Champion Marty Scurll will endeavor to continue his run as he takes on the newly Reborn Matt Sydal, and the Tag Team Champions the Young Bucks will take on two of Los Ingobernables de Japon in BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito. Other feature matches include Will Ospreay versus Jay White, and a dream match of Hiroshi Tanahashi facing Adam Cole.

+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Adam Cole: put simply, this was fantastic, and easily the match of the night. I’ve always thought Cole was quite bland, but damn if he isn’t great in the ring, and hopefully I don’t need to sing the praises of Tanahashi. This was great, and some huge post-match shenanigans will be talked about for weeks, if not months to come
+ The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Tatsuya Naito) (ROH Tag Team Championships): this was much more of a tornado tag than what was advertised, and it was a short time before the aprty got started, but once it came toa  head, it was well worth the wait. Some shenanigans in the middle made for a fantastic sequence, and the crowd continuously went nuts for Naito, as well as everything the Bucks did. This was relatively short, but it did everything it needed to, and did it with style
+ Christopher Daniels (c) vs Cody vs Jay Lethal (ROH World Championship): this was arguably rather predictable, but it still managed to be as entertaining as you’d expect for three fantastic workers. Daniels has not missed a step in the years he has taken to get to this level, and Lethal and Cody have had such great matches of late, even against each other, that this was always going to be great. Admittedly, the ending was somewhat anti-climactic, but it certainly played into the story the match was trying to tell
+ Marty Scurll (c) vs Matt Sydal (ROH Television Championship): I bloody love Marty Scurll, and cannot wait for his Battle of the Super Juniors. Sydal’s new, more ambiguous alignment character has made me a fan, and this had the potential to be the match of the night. I don’t know if it reached that height, but this was a fantastic match which didn’t rely too much on the high spots like the 6-man tag or even Ospreay/White
+ Jay White vs Will Ospreay: it was White’s very aggressive attitude that made this match so much fun. These two had flips on flips, but also some shots that would make an MMA fighter wince. The longer it went, the less “believable” it became, as the moves being kicked out of were more and more extravagant, but damn if it wasn’t an amazingly impressive display from both men (even if I do wish the decision had gone the other way)
+ Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & EVIL) vs Chris Sabin & Jonathon Gresham (w/ Alex Shelley) vs War Machine (Ray Rowe and Hanson): the crowd made this one weird; it was as if the crowd was all in support of different teams, but instead of cheering they just booed the rest, outside of a few big spots. War Machine are still some of the best big guys, and both of the LIJ members are so cool to watch, and the two smaller fighters made for a great mix of styles. This started slow but soon turned into a really good match
+ The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) &  Bully Ray (c) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & RPG Vice (Trent Baretta & Rocky Romero)) (ROH 6-Man Tag Team Championships): in what was announced as a no DQ match, the blows between Goto and hometown hero (from the ECW days) Bully Ray need to be seen to be believed, and the tag team action between RPG VIce and the Briscoes will leave you short of breath. A few shots between Baretta and Jay Briscoe seemed to have a little bit of oomph on them, and I wonder if there was a reason for it. I would have liked a bit more from Goto, who seemed to disappear for long stretches on end
+ Silas Young (w/ Beer City Bruiser) vs Bobby Fish vs KUSHIDA vs Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys): for the opening match, this did well to get the crowd excited, although a few somewhat convoluted pinfall breakups did take me out of it a bit (surely it makes more sense just to kick the guy, rather than try some flashy top-rope dive?). The finish did seem to come out of nowhere, though I guess that makes sense considering the match type. This was good, but not great

BUSHI, ready to spit some venom in his tag title match.

– Frankie Kazarian vs Adam “Hangman” Page: Neither of these guys interest me much, and I think that is what made this feel like such a waste of a match. Kazarian was best many years ago in TNA, and Page is, as I say all the time, the lowest hanging fruit of the Bullet Club, so it’s hard to take him seriously. This was basically as you’d expect, with some gross mid-match moments to boot

> I cannot stand spitting in wrestling. It never makes me think ‘disrespect’, it just makes me disgusted, and for whatever reason it happened a few times tonight
> Tanahashi sitting in the corner and air-guitaring to Adam Cole’s always fantastic entrance theme was amazing to see

Should you watch this event: With only one match listed as a negative above, this was an overall really good show. The main event, as well as Bucks/LIJ, Tanahashi/Cole and Scurll/Sydal were all great, and the rest listed above are worth watching. The implications or shenanigans from many matches are arguably more important than the matches themselves, but all (even Kazarian/Page if you’re a fan of theirs) are worth the watch.


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