ROH (& NJPW, CMLL, & RPW) War of the Worlds UK Tour: Edinburgh (8/20/2017)- Edinburgh, UK
COLT CABANA PROMO- he doesn’t have a match for tonight, but he wants one. Josh Bodom comes out and they talk at each other until Bodom’s scheduled opponent, Kenny King comes out and cuts a promo on both of them. Bodom responds with some more talking and suggests a three-way. Ian Riccaboni tells us that ROH management has okayed it, so we get…
COLT CABANA vs. JOSH BODOM vs. KENNY KING- 6.5/10
This was a very fun three-way. Kenny pinned Bodom, which I hope is being done to set up a British Cruiserweight Title match rather than because ROH is just treating RevPro like New Japan usually treats ROH.
THE BRISCOES vs. REY BUCANERO & ULTIMO GUERRERO- 6.75/10
The Briscoes shook hands with the CMLL legends, but then attacked them as soon as they turned their backs to go to their corner. The big story here was Ultimo Guerrero rolling Jay up for the pin. Jay Briscioe, who they spent YEARS protecting, even when it made no sense to do so, got rolled up by Ultimo Guerrero. I don’t care how much of a legend Ultimo Guerrero is. What both he and Bucanero come across as any time they step into the ring is what they really are right now: two overweight old men. It really felt like this was the best match they could have had with the Briscoes, and this was nowhere near good enough for almost fourteen minutes against the one of the best tag teams in the world, and arguably the single best team over the course of the past fifteen years (who are both still in their early thirties, by the way).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- The Briscoes argue. Mark starts it because he is upset with Jay for getting pinned, which, while on the one hand it is understandable, on the other hand makes Mark look like kind of a jerk when you realize that, during the years of Jay’s aforementioned ridiculous protection, which meant that Mark had to take every loss, I don’t think Jay got upset at him once. This is an issue because this seems to have been set up for Jay to be the one who turns heel if they split (his PMSing is what has started the team’s current heel trajectory), but if this causes them to split, it makes Mark not very likeable, which isn’t what you want out of a babyface. They walked off separately, because just when I thought Delirious’ booking couldn’t get any stupider, he starts to break up the Briscoes.
BULLY RAY vs. EVIL- 3/10
Before the match started, Bully Ray gave EVIL- the former Takaaki Watanabe- a man who has wrestled more matches in ROH than Bully has (and probably by a significant margin), a lecture on the importance of the Code of Honor. This would be the same Bully Ray who cheats in every single tag match he is in by doing a spot where he holds his opponent’s legs open so that his partner can headbutt him in the groin, and starts off pretty much every one of his singles matches in this company by cutting a promo saying that “what the fans really want to see,” which is garbage wrestling.
This match was a garbage match, but probably only because EVIL jumped Bully from behind when Bully turned to around to presumably ask for a mic to cut his standard speech. The match was pretty dull, and most of it was Bully getting the best of EVIL at his own striking game, and in order to get any sort of advantage on Bully, EVIL had to cheat more often than not. The fans were booing Bully and cheering for EVIL, but unfortunately that was not the indicator of intelligence that it would usually be, as Bully randokly started a “TABLES!” chant and the idiots chanted along. They also chanted “HA!” for EVIL. You know… like for Tozawa, that other guy Japanese guy they see on TV. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and just call them stupid rather than assuming that this was borderline racist.
The match ended when EVIL randomly decided to grab grab Bully’s metal chain and hit him with it for the disqualification. That’s right. Bully Ray defeats EVIL by DQ, because G-d forbid that a 46 year-old Bubba Ray Dudley do a job in a singles match to a guy being built up for an IWGP Heavyweight Title match against Kazuchika Okada.
After the match, EVIL got a table… and wound up getting chokeslammed through it by Bully Ray, so Bully was still the one standing tall at the end. I just… I don’t have any more words.
KUSHIDA, MISTICO II, & TITAN vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, & Sanada)- 6.5/10
I was really disappointed by this match. It felt like random action interrupted at random times by LIJ shtick or other lazy, tired heel stuff like trying to rip a Luchador’s mask off, even though there is no heat between LIJ and these guys at all. I get that LIJ are dicks, but if everyone is doing the same stuff in every match then none of it means anything. I cannot remember the last time I saw a masked babyface in ROH where the heel didn’t try to rip his mask off (aside from maybe Liger). The announcers can shout until they’re blue in the face about how disrespectful it is, but if it’s always done in a way that feels like just a random spot in a match that they know will get a reaction from the crowd and I never see or hear the wrestlers get angry at it, then it’s not going to mean sh*t to me. Speaking of heel stuff Naito had to use a low blow to get the win. He’s Naito. He just won the G1. So what if he’s a heel? This is Ring of Honor! Can I please get a clean finish?
MARK HASKINS vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI- 7/10
Hiromu saw a fan in the front row with a Darryl so he went over and touched his Darryl to hers like a total babyface. He’s supposed to be a heel!
Hiromu hit Haskins with Darryl, who seemed to sell it as if Darryl is loaded, in which case you would think that Hiromu wouldn’t leave Darryl sitting on the announcers’ table where a babyface could grab it and find out that it’s loaded. There was a reason Chris Hero always had people on the outside to help him hide his loaded elbow pad. And either way, hitting Haskins with Darryl should still warrant a DQ because is a foreign object. Aside from that one spot this was a pretty great match, and I really hope the rumors of ROH seriously pursuing are true.
There was some to do about the a local sports team with an obscene name or something and the announcers (Ian Riccaboni and BJ Whitmer) just kept bringing it up all night, and the entire was always variants of “you say it.” “No, you say it.” “I can’t say it.” “Why not?” “Because it’s a bad word. If you want someone to say it so badly then why don’t you say it?” It was SOOOOO annoying. If there was anyone out there who found thins funny in the first place, they had probably gotten over it by third time they brought it up for the purposes of what was essentially the same joke, never mind the eighty-third time, and it has nothing to do with wrestling anyway, so why are you even talking about it? Because you’re trying to be funny? Well I’ve got some news for you: You’re job is not to be funny. Your job is to call the wrestling matches and get over the characters and storylines.
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Dalton Castle & the Boys(c) vs. Bullet Club (the Young Bucks & Adam Page)- 3.5/10
Dalton and Page do a bit of actual wrestling but then Dalton does his pose and Page gets so scared he takes a bump, meaning that we’re now transitioning into the stupid buillsh*t comedy phase of the this title match. Of course, the announcers have already been there since the get-go, as they’ve spent this entire match so far talking about how “The Boys got lost in the Scottish countryside.” They give any details. They just kept repeating that some variation of that phrase. Oh, and BJ Whitmer thought that this somehow meant that they weren’t the champions anymore. Let’s just ignore BJ’s incomprehensible stupidity and tackle the bigger question here: WHO GIVES A RAT’S ASS WHETHER OR NOT THE BOYS GOT LOST IN THE SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE THIS AFTERNOON?! Do they really think there are fans out there whose opinion of Dalton’s Boys will be altered by having an accurate gauge of their navigational skills?
The Ian also briefly talked about how “odds-makers” had told him that when Dalton & his Boys won the belts they were the biggest underdogs there had ever been in the history of anything. Well now I’m sitting here watching them get the better of the Young Bucks and Adam Page with very little trouble, so what does that say about Page & the Bucks?
One of the Boys grabbed his fans jumped into the ring and ROH Senior Referee Tod Sinclair made no effort to get them away from him. Why did this Boy do this? To “help” the other Boy rotate faster as he was performing a spinning headscissors on Page. Yay comedy. Now both Boys have fans and they fan Nick Jackson so that he loses his balance and falls off the turnbuckle, crotching himself.
After that point this became something resembling a PWG six-man, except that while PWG six-man tags, however spotty they might be, tend to be exciting and fast-paced, this was mostly boring and occasionally stupid, with a referee who seemed to exist only so he could be lured out of position when they decided a distraction was necessary (like during the Boys’ twin magic spot. You know; that thing that HEELS do? But a distraction was apparently not necessary when the Boys had foreign objects in the ring), and with Adam Page playing the role of Glenn Jacobs’ and Rick Bogner’s spiritual lovechild, Fake Adam Cole. The last two minutes and the first wrestling sequence between Page and Castle are the only things that save this from being a DUD, or possibly even slightly into the negatives.
So Bullet Club won the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles, continuing those titles’ spotless record of literally every single decision made regarding them having been bad for ROH, going all the way back to the moment of their conception. And yes, I am aware that they have been successfully defended against several teams that aren’t part of the ROH roster, or even several teams that aren’t even teams, and I think it would have been better for one of those teams to have won the belts so they could just disappear forever. The Bucks are already the tag champs, and they and Page often have to go work for ROH’s friends in New Japan, and because of the way that New Japan books their tours, this means they will likely miss a bunch of ROH shows and thus the belts will rarely be defended, and thus continue to mean nothing. But at the same time, I can’t deny that there is something very appropriate that these symbols of what is wrong with ROH are around the wastes of the Young Bucks and a guy who looked like a promising young star until someone decided that he should Russo Swerve his way into Bullet Club to be their American job boy.
THE ADDICTION vs. BULLET CLUB (Cody Rhodes & Marty Scurll)- 6.5/10
Addiction are wearing Roddy Piper inspired gear here in Scotland. Kaz then tells the crowd that Piper wasn’t a real Scotsman. While that might be true, it is, to me, a breach of kayfabe, and one that was done for no other reason than to get cheap heat. More cheap heat ensues, which worked for the live crowd, but for me watching at home, who is not from where this show is taking place, it’s just boring. How about if we give them some sort of concrete storyline so that fans can dislike them because of the dastardly things they’ve done rather than because they have to come out and say something mean about Localsville? Oh. Right. Because the booker is lazy and bad at his job.
Cody has the most obnoxious music in wrestling. Maybe if were actually good it wouldn’t be as annoying, but his failure to actually have great matches on the indies have all but justified WWE limiting his use to being a “space clown,” and here is coming out with this song that just feels like an artistic way of saying “I swear I’m totally not bitter about it!”
First the babyfaces waste time milking the crowd reaction. Then the heels waste time by arguing about whether they are supposed to wrestle with the kilts on or off. The bell finally rings… and there is more stalling, as Kaz goes over to give Daniels a hug, then more stalling plus some comedy as Cody responds to this by giving Scurll a kiss on the lips, which Marty sells by bumping in shock and looking very unhappy. We went a good minute and a half between the opening bell and the first time two opponents even attempted to touch each other. One short sequence from Kaz and Marty and now we’re wasting time with Marty milking the crowd for a tag to Cody.
We waste more time with Cody and Scurll milking the crowd for a reaction by getting ready to throw a t-shirt to them, just to set up The Addiction attacking them from behind when, after milking every side of the ring at least twice, they finally got ready to throw it, and like idiots, they chose the side of the ring opposite of where The Addiction were. How about if you press your advantage when your opponents roll to the outside- you know, like actually to win a wrestling match- instead of trying to get the crowd to cheer because you’re going to give one of them a free t-shirt? And if you wanted one lucky fan to have the t-shirt so badly, why didn’t you just toss it into the crowd DURING YOUR ENTRANCE? I have no sympathy for these idiot babyfaces.
Speaking of things that get in the way of me having sympathy for the babyfaces, Cody’s facial expressions. WWE might have made him look like a space clown, but on his own here, as the ROH World Champion and no paint on at all, he looks like a clown that forgot to put on his clown suit and face paint. He both looks and moves like a living cartoon, and it’s not natural to Cody Runnels. This is the act that he puts on when he wrestles because he thinks that this is what a pro wrestler is supposed to be. That this is how a main eventer does things to make sure that he or she connects with the crowd. But it doesn’t. When he gets punched it makes me want to laugh. He had better thank his lucky that stars that 1) Delirious is a mark, and 2) he or someone else pushed for him to get put in Bullet Club, the hottest babyface stable in the world despite the fact that they’re unrepentant heels. Without those things, he probably wouldn’t even have been in ROH after his feud with Lethal ended, never mind the ROH World Champion.
The match did have some good bits in addition to its frustrating bits, but the sad truth is that this is nowhere close to the level that we should get in the an ROH semi-main event involving four top guys.
STREET FIGHT: Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young- 9.25/10
They start brawling as soon as Lethal comes out, because they hate each other and this is a f*cking street fight. No comedy here.
That Russian Leg Sweep onto the ladder looked like one of the least fun bumps I’ve ever seen someone take (for both men!). That was soon surpassed by the bump Jay Lethal took onto the ladder later in this match, which, quite frankly, I’m shocked he was able to get up after. This was an absolutely tremendous match! Half an hour of violence that built almost perfectly from beginning to end. I have been critical of the choices of both Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe being put in the babyface singles “face of the company” role because neither man has ever felt to me like the level of elite singles wrestler that has been put in that spot in the past (Joe, Dragon, Tyler, Davey), but I’ve been racking my brain, and unlike Jay Briscoe, I can’t think of a time when Lethal was given the appropriate amount of time but didn’t come through. Maybe not always to the level that those guys would, but he has almost always put on the type of main events ROH should have when he has been given the time to do so.
This was another disappointing show from ROH (and friends) that was pretty much single-handedly saved by the main event. If I tuned in to any random indy and saw a show like this I’d think it was good and maybe and worth checking out the next show, but for a company with a reputation like ROH’s, this just doesn’t cut the mustard when you consider the talent involved and the end results we got.
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WWE in 2005
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PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
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