ROH/NJPW Global Wars: Pittsburgh (10/13/2017)- Pittsburgh, PA
MARK BRISCOE vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI- no rating.
Mark injured his elbow early on and the match was stopped.
BEST FRIENDS & THE ADDICTION SEGMENT- bad
These two teams were scheduled to wrestle each other but The Addiction came out in street clothes. Kaz cut a promo pointing out that the last time ROH was in this building, fans cheered him when they thought he had turned on Daniels and joined Bullet Club, which proves that the fans don’t care about important concepts like good wrestling and loyalty and they’re really just here to throw streamers and chant their chants… and he’s got a solid point there.
Because of this treatment, The Addiction decree that the fans don’t deserve to see them wrestle, and after a brief tease by Daniels that they might just wrestle in their street clothes, they just walk off and refuse to wrestle their scheduled match. Why are they allowed to do this?
Sensing an opportunity to get themselves on the card, The Dawgs come out to take The Addiction’s place, so not only are we getting a bait-and-switch, but it’s a bait-and-switch replacing a top team in the tag division with the very bottom non-jobber team in the company. Because that’s apparently what we do in ROH now.
BEST FRIENDS vs. THE DAWGS (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara)- 4/10
When Best Friends hugged, the camera zoomed out like it was Okada doing his Rainmaker pose. The problem with this is that we could then only see an ant-sized Chuck & Trent hitting Ferrara with the double-elbow drop they always follow that hug up with.
The babyfaces got shined up, then the heels cut them off. The heels were going to cheat to win when Cheeseburger (who they have been feuding with) came out to prevent Ferrara from cheating. Cheeseburger then distracted Rhett Titus, allowing Best Friends to hit their moves and pin him. So Best Friends needed help from CHEESEBURGER to defeat a team that is barely above jobber level. This was what they gave us instead of the advertised Best Friends vs. The Addiction match. Hooray for Delirious booking!
JAY LETHAL vs. JAY WHITE- 8/10
Twenty minutes of solid, clean wrestling. This company needs to have more matches like this.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Motor City Machineguns(c) vs. The Young Bucks vs. The Kingdom (TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia)- 7/10
Even though MCMG are the babyfaces and the other two teams are the heels, they had to be the heels whenever they were in there with the Bucks, because until literally the very last moment when one of the Bucks got rolled up by Sabin for the pin, it felt like every single thing in this match was designed to get the Young Bucks pops. The match was great, but it would have been better if they had just stuck to babyface/heel alignments that made sense with the overall product rather than as seen in a vacuum on this one show.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- The Addiction came out and attacked the Motor City Machineguns. Best Friends came out to make the save. They bumped Kazarian around, then they and MCMG both pinballed Daniels around for a while before Best Friends gave him a big double-chokeslam. The point of this was to set up Best Friends picking up the tag title belt so we could get that brief little stare-down before they gave the champs their belts back to start the build to Final Battle, and it did that just fine… but it would have been a lot better if they had just chased The Addiction off rather than beaten them up because that way you’d still get your tag title tease, but The Addiction would also be able to escape with some actual heat.
BULLY RAY PROMO- he gives a speech in which he all but says that he has to retire, and tells the fans how much they meant to him. This was fine aside for two bits. One was Bully saying that most wrestlers don’t appreciate the fans as much as he does, which came across a little douchy to me. The other, and much worse one, was the announcers actually saying that “retirements in wrestling never last.” They said it for the purpose of following it up with essentially “but this one seems totally legit!” but it had the same problem to me as doing a worked shoot, where in your effort to put this one over as “real,” you damage everything else you’re doing (or in this case, any other retirement angle they ever do). It would have been better to not say anything at all.
DEONNA PURRAZZO, JENNY ROSE, & MADNY LEON vs. SUMIE SAKAI, FAYE JACKSON, & BRITT BAKER- 5.75/10
The announcers pushed this hard as the first Women of Honor match on iPPV and praised ROH for delivering what the fans had asked for… and then they gave us a random six-woman tag that went ten minutes.
Britt Baker did some of Adam Cole’s signature spots and the announcers made reference to them as Adam Cole tribute spots and some people in the crowd cheered, but I have to ask… WHY? Yes, she is Adam Cole’s legit girlfriend, but that has never been mentioned in kayfabe, so all you are doing is confusing people who don’t know indy insider news, and either way, doesn’t doing heelish spots to show admiration for an infamous heel make her a heel?
Mandy and Faye are so clearly (at least) a step below the others that it makes you wonder why they would be included in this match intended to showcase the division when all they did was make the match worse by eating up time with their presence (and then you remember exactly why Mandy is featured and you get annoyed). As I said above, this was a random, bland six-woman tag with no hook to make me want to see more of the Women of Honor, and getting people interested in the division should have been the entire point of having this match on the iPPV. If you’re just going to give me ten minutes of inconsequential wrestling, at least give me ten minutes of Deonna Purrazzo vs. Britt Baker so that the match will at least be good.
PROVING GROUND INSTANT REWARD SIX-MAN MAYHEM MATCH: ROH TV Champion Kenny King vs. KUSHIDA vs. Adam Page vs. Josh Woods vs. Punishment Martinez vs. Matt Taven- 6.75/10
I cannot help but look at the booking here and wonder why the hell this wasn’t just King vs. KUSHIDA for the TV Title in KUSHIDA’s rematch and then the other four guys in a Four Corner Survival? Why are we making KUSHIDA earn something that the champion has always been portrayed as inherently deserving, and throwing four other dudes in his way?
Anyway, they had their match, and my main takeaway from it is that someone seems to have taught KUSHIDA about flipping the bird and he has really taken a liking to it. This was your dive-heavy spotfest for the evening, but they did a good job at structuring hi some fun twists and turns with the stuff they did. They had some trouble on the finish, which was Kenny King hitting Woods with the Royal Flush. I’m not qualified to say who screwed it up, but they had enough trouble that when they went and did it again right afterwards, I wasn’t sure if they got it right the second time, either. Without that bit, this would have been a 7/10.
WAR MACHINE vs. KILLER ELITE SQUAD (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)- 7/10
Okay… whatever War Machine are wearing on their heads needs to go. They look so goofy. What was wrong with just the Viking armor and scary facepaint? Why do they need these silly headdresses? Especially the one Rowe is wearing. It makes him look like a two-legged horse. Speaking of looking goofy, Archer needs to go back to his old facial hair. Now he looks less like a big cool scary badass, and more like a cross between the least flattering physical aspects of Silas Young and Brodie Lee.
Between how long they spent on the outside and the fact that Davey Boy Smith Jr. used a chair, ROH really should have just billed this as a Relaxed Rules Match. It would have fit in perfectly with everything the commentators had been saying about how these teams have been beating each other up all around the world for over two years, and it would have made the match feel a bit bigger.
This match was as hard-hitting and violent as you would expect from these two teams, but it was disappointingly short when you consider how much time they usually get against each other in Japan. War Machine pin K.E.S., setting up yet another of the seemingly-infinite number of matches these guys and the Guerrillas of Destiny will have against each other for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.
Ian Riccaboni seems to think that Minoru Suzuki has some sort of “master plan” to destroy Ring of Honor, though it seems to me that if anyone has a master plan to destroy ROH, it’s obviously Delirious and the Young Bucks.
MINORU SUZUKI vs. SILAS YOUNG (w/the Beer City Bruiser)- 7/10
Rather than shaking hands and following the Code of Honor, these two spit at each other. This was good as a clash of personalities, but I was very disappointed in this as a wrestling match. I greatly enjoyed the defiant, almost babyface-ish Suzuki standing strong and proud and defiant in the face of Silas’ efforts to mentally break him down, but I really hated the chairshots (one of which was right in front of the referee and Suzuki was not DQed for) and the ref bump and the interference. And not just because all of that stuff worked against the idea of Suzuki as the structural babyface (which the crowd was certainly reacting to him like as well), but because this is Ring of Honor and when you announce a big, exciting match-up (and especially a legendary Japanese wrestler’s only singles match on just his third American tour), I want to see an excellent professional wrestling match, not a TNA-style run-in bullsh*t-fest. I assume that the reason this was done was protect Silas in his loss, but if you don’t want to put either guy over clean then DON’T BOOK THE MATCH. And they really shouldn’t have booked this match because whatever protection this gave Silas did not save him from the real problem with his loss here, which is that yet again after he has won what should be an elevating feud for him, this kills his momentum dead.
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, & Marty Scurll)(c) vs. CHAOS (Toru Yano, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI)- 6/10
Apparently these belts can now be defended under Freedbird Rules by anyone in the entirety of Bullet Club because… um… throwing random six-mans together and saying they’re for the tag titles is easier than actually trying to book key players like Scurll and Cody in actual storylines. But if you’re going to be this lazy at least be reasonable about it and stick Scurll in Page’s spot in the Proving Ground Match so that at least one of the actual champions can be defending the belts. This would also prevent some redundancy in this tour’s cards because we got two thirds of this match as a tag match on last night’s show (Cody & Scurll vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Yano). To make matters worse, this wasn’t even advertised as a title match. Scurll just decided to make it one… so not only did we have a heel deciding to give the crowd a title match for no reason, but he’s offering up belts that no one in the match is the rightful champion of, and the ROH Board of Directors is totally okay with that. This is so dumb! But hey, it’s guaranteed to get the crowd to pop for the announcement, so Delirious wants to do it, because booking things that you know will get pops is a lot easier than booking storylines to create moments that will get pops with real emotion behind them.
We get the now painfully predictable spot where a babyface offers a Bullet Club member to 2 Sweet him even though it’s a dickish thing to do and it makes Bullet Club feel like babyfaces even though their cheating ways make them heels.
On commentary, Colt Cabana had some veiled criticisms of the obsessive focus of all of the booking being about Bullet Club, urging everyone not to forget that there are other excellent wrestlers in the match. Also, Toru Yano is in the match.
After the aforementioned 2 Sweet spot, Scurll and Ospreay had a nice little sequence that was interrupted by comedy based around Marty’s stupid arm-flapping. Marty then wanted to tag in Cody so he wasted a lot of time milking the crowd before making the tag. Upon being tagged in, Cody predictably started to stall. He wanted Ospreay to tag Yano in, which is more evidence that Cody has made it his personal mission to make it as hard as possible for me to enjoy any ROH match he is in.
Cody wanted Yano to kiss his ring because Cody is an idiot. Doesn’t he know the sort of ridiculous and disgusting things Yano will likely do when allowed to put his mouth on Cody’s hand? Also, shouldn’t the referee have made Cody take the ring off before the match started? It’s basically a brass knuckle. That was Damien Sandow’s entire heel gimmick in TNA last year.
Personally, I was hoping Yano would eat the ring so I never had to see it again, but eating the ring would also make Yano very sick and he’d have to retire forever so I’d never have to see him again either. Instead, he simply just refused to kiss Cody’s stupid ring gimmick. Imagine that. They did some “comedy” that eventually resulted in Yano accidentally kissing the ring. I would have called that bit clever except that the referee should have made Cody take the ring off already, so it’s just them once again rubbing in my face that they’re not here to have a professional wrestling match but rather to just do comedy spots.
Anyway, YOSHI-HASHI gets tagged in and he wants Kenny Omega so Omega gets tagged in and hey, look: it’s something that makes me believe that these two guys don’t like each other and want to win this wrestling match against each other!
Ospreay got tagged in and a bunch of nothing happened, leading to a reset with Ospreay and Omega facing off. Scurll wants a tag and Omega spends a while milking it before instead flipping Marty off. What a dick. Then Omega charges at Ospreay and immediately eats a drop toehold and winds up looking like a total clown. YOSHI-HASHI gets tagged in and we’re back to serious wrestling until Cody tries to get involved and it’s back to the clown-show again until he has been disposed of. Basically, it seems that whenever it’s not Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI, it’s just comedy crap.
Scurll hit YOSHI-HASHI in the back with some sort of foreign object. We couldn’t see what because the camera was focused on Omega pulling the referee towards him so he wouldn’t see the weapon shot… and that’s perfectly fine. The camera not catching exactly what weapon was used in what was supposed to be a covert weapons shot makes it feel organic and natural and real. All that we really need to know is that Scurll hit YOSHI-HASHI with some sort of foreign object and YOSHI-HASHI’s upper arm is now injured.
Omega tags Cody in and even Cody is now being serious. Scurll gets tagged in and he is… half way between serious and clown, which is better than what he has been so far this match. YOSHI-HASHI was a great babyface in peril for a while and Bullet Club beat him down and but he made a hot tag to Ospreay and Ospreay did flying babyface things… and then Scurll took forever to do his stupid chicken dance so Ospreay hit him with a Pele Kick before he could lock the hold in and Ospreay tagged in Yano… who immediately ran over to take off a turnbuckle pad because he is a sick man with a very rare mental illness that causes him to obsessively do this.
Scurll kicked Yano in the knee, and with Yano temporarily out of the way we got a really cool action sequence with all five other guys. Then Yano, a babyface, manipulated the referee so he wouldn’t see him kick two heels in the groin… then he immediately ran and got a tool from under the ring to help him cut the turnbuckle pad off due to his rare mental illness.
Stupid Yano Tricks happen, then Stupid Bullet Club Tricks with their idiotic “N Boots!” spot. They even call for “TEN BOOTS!” and their stablemates run into the ring and participate in a spot where they make physical contact with an opposing wrestler for the purposes of hurting him and they don’t give a sh*t that the referee will almost certainly see them and disqualify them because they care about popping the crowd instead of winning. At least this time someone (Ospreay) made sure the referee was distracted and Yano also reversed the move (sending Scurll into a turnbuckle he had previous exposed to pay that off), but their matches would be SOOOOO much better if they just wouldn’t do this dumb sh*t in the first place.
The ref gets distracted by Ospreay diving onto all of Bullet Club aside from Scurll on the outside, which lets Yano- again, a babyface- hit Scurll in the nuts and then roll him up for a nearfall that some marks in the crowd actually bit on even though this match is three guys who aren’t even the champions defending the titles against New Japan’s leftovers in a match that wasn’t even a title match until right before it started. Then Yano ran into an exposed turnbuckle when he tried to give Marty a Stinger Splash and Marty locked him in the crossface chickenwing and made him tap out. This was a good match when they weren’t trying to put on a clown show, which makes it all the more frustrating that they chose to spend two thirds of it doing a clown show instead of a wrestling match.
This was a disappointing show from ROH. It was quite solid in the ring, but that exacerbated the problem because it was so easy to see how just a few changes could have made this so much better. This has definitely dampened my excitement for my next review, which will be ROH Elite, but the main event of that show- Omega & the Young Bucks vs. Kenny King, Jay Lethal, & Dalton Castle- reminds me a lot of ROH’s main event at last year’s fall show in this building, which was also a Bullet Club trio (including the Bucks) taking on three top singles babyfaces (including both Lethal and Castle) and that match was bonkers so hopefully this one will be, too.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Ian Riccaboni referred to Chuck Taylor as “one of the best-kept secrets on the independent scene.”
Yes. Chuck Taylor has been flying under the radar until 2017.
2. Ian Riccaboni referred tony Mandy Leon’s running knee to the face in the corner as “something she learned in STARDOM,” which I guess means that the ROH Dojo doesn’t teach basic striking maneuvers.
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