ROH “War of the Worlds-Toronto” Review
Ted Reeve Arena
Kevin Kelly,Colt Cabana and Ian Riccaboni were on commentary to start the show.
The Rebellion (Rhett Titus & Caprice Coleman) vs. Motor City Machine Guns
Titus and Coleman attacked Shelley and Sabin right off the back, only to have the advantage be short lived as MCMG turned the tables and hit dives to the outside. Taylor came out because, as Riccaboni pointed out, he has a manager’s license in Toronto. Love this kind of discussion.Taylor stopped Shelley from connecting with the splash part of the Skull and Crossbones. Coleman hit Sabin with a hurricanrana off the top and Titus finished it off with the Big Dawg Splash for the pinfall victory.
Winners: The Rebellion
Shane Taylor vs. Hirooki Goto
The start was one-sided here, as Shane Taylor dominated to start the match, looking very strong in the process. Riccaboni managed to squeeze in a Joe Carter reference from the 1993 World Series Blue Jays against the Phillies. Back in the ring, Taylor continued his offense, but struggled to put Goto away. Taylor hit his splash, but Goto kicked out. Taylor climbed the ropes by his ascent was stymied by Goto, who then dumped Taylor on the mat with a Death Valley driver.Goto hit GTR afterwards and scored the pinfall victory. Good even contest. Taylor looked good in control and the story that Goto is just one tough SOB shone through.
Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta) & Gedo vs. Dalton Castle & The Boys
Having the Boys transition into a credible team has been a slowl process, but matches such as this one are finally giving them the chance to be more than Castle’s arm candy. Romero and Trent can seemingly get any team over and the did their very best here. The end came when the Boys engaged in, allowing the “injured” boy to tag out. Boys took out RPG with topes, allowing Castle to hit Bang-A-Rang on Gedo.
Winner: Dalton Castle & The Boys
Bully Ray vs. Hangman Page vs. Punishment Martinez
Bully Ray put ROH over before starting the match and wanted to adhere to the code of honor but Page and Martinez were having none of it. Martinez and Page double teamed Ray to start.Page and Ray teamed for a wassup spot, but Page caught Ray with a superkick after Ray called for the tables. Martinez was able to hit two chokeslams and seemed poised for victory, but Ray was able to duck a charging Martinez and tossed him to the outside, leaving him to hit a Bully Bomb on Page for the pinfall victory.
Winner: Bully Ray
Will Ospreay vs. Cody
Cody and Ospreay worked really well during this match-whenever an opponent is looking to ground Ospreay and keep it mat based as opposed to someone who is trying to match or out do his aerial style. The end of the match came when Cody barely avoided Oscutter after a Robinson special, but Cody countered with a beautiful disaster kick followed by a Cross Rhodes for the pinfall victory. Everything worked here, even if it was not over spectacular this was an enjoyable match between two wrestlers on the roster that I did not previously think would pair up well.
The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) vs. Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI
Taven got on the mic and trashed the Toronto Raptors before talking about how he has beaten LIJ all over the world and how he plans on adding Canada to the list. He promised he and Marseglia would win and that he would be a grand slam champion after Dearborn, reminding everyone that he has never broke a promise, which of course meant that he would lose. A boring chant broke out during the promo, but he brushed it off well and as he posed the crowd chanted shut the f up, while he wasn’t even speaking, which he quickly pointed out-great stuff here. Taven and the Kingdom are dedicated heels and he should go back to the hunt for a single title soon after O’Ryan returns because he is excellent at getting the crowd’s dander up wherever he goes. Naito and Taven started off for their respective sides, with Taven and Marseglia double teaming Naito before being dumped to the outside. Bushi fly to the outside and then held the Kingdom as Naito hit his posing spot. The end came when Taven had Bushi up and ready for Rockstar Superstar, only to have Bushi spit green mist into Marseglia’s face, allowing Naito to hit Destino for the pinfall victory.
Beer City Bruiser & Silas Young vs. EVIL & SANADA vs. The Briscoes
On the the War of the Worlds tour there are always a few matches that just feel thrown together with little purpose behind them, just to get everyone a spot on the show. I really enjoy Young and BCB as a team, they work well together and stand out from the other teams on the roster. That said, the winner seemed like a forgone conclusion here, as Young and BCB do not consistently tag enough together in the division to be really viewed as a tag team. EVIL and Sanada are not the top members of LIJ, so the Briscoes, especially as ⅔ of the 6-man tag champions were never going to lose this one. Despite all that, the match itself was what you would expect from these six men and went the perfect amount of time. The Briscoes won after a neckbreaker/froggy bow combo on BCB for the pinfall victory.
Winners: The Briscoes
Jay Lethal vs. KUSHIDA
As of late, it seems that Lethal has had great matches with everyone he has wrestled. With someone of KUSHIDA’s ability, Lethal is able to reach new heights. The matches had different well told parts to it- Lethal worked on KUSHIDA’s back to start the match and commentary was quick to mention that lethal must have seen something on tape that indicated KUSHIDA’s back was previously injured. As KUSHIDA gained control, he worked over Lethal’s arm, setting up the Hoverboard lock and Lethal sold it the entire match. In the end, KUSHIDA hit the Back to the Future and won via pinfall. After the match the two exchanged a handshake as a sign of respect. Lethal losing to the surging KUSHIDA works here, as Kushida has been on a path of redemption in NJPW as of late. Lethal loses nothing by losing the match here. This was one of, if not the match of the night.
The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi & The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
The big story here is that Omega made his return to ROH, albeit for only one show on the tour. Whatever the reason may be for him not appearing on other shows, it was nice to see him in an ROH ring alongside the Bucks. As the clear leader of the Bullet Club, a group that is so instrumental to what ROH is doing now, it is important to have him appear, even briefly. This was a fun match and an excellent multi-man main event, however the end of the match seemed a bit questionable. Having Omega pin Daniels for the victory seems to be an odd choice, especially as Daniels was moving toward two title defences a week after this match. He’s clearly a star in NJPW and challenging for the major title there, but he could have easily pinned Kazarian, which would have taken nothing away from Kazarian’s current run. Aside from who took the pin here, this was an overall good match, albeit one marred by the ending.
Winners: The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks)
Final Reaction: B-
I’ve grown to enjoy the War of the Worlds tour in a way that I have not before. My familiarity with NJPW’s roster makes the matches more enticing. However, there are only so many matches that can be created while also leaving the meat and potatoes for the PPV. KUSHIDA/Lethal stood out as a real gem on this card and the main event was a good row between two sides that have some history. Had Omega not gotten the pin over the ROH World champion in a 6-man tag I would have been higher on the show overall. Seeing the Rebellion pick up a win was good to see, but even that was off set with Bully Ray gaining a win over two young talents that should be elevated, not used to elevate a veteran.