ROH War of the Worlds Tour 2017: Dearborn (5/10/2017)- Dearborn, MI
BOBBY FISH vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys)- 6.5/10
Before the handshake, Fish loudly insisted that “this is my favorite part!” and did a little ditty, while Dalton told Fish “I want to shake your hand. I want to shake your hand real good.” Then they did a bunch of goofy crap with it. This came across to me like two babyfaces mocking the Code of Honor.
Dalton is supposed to be a babyface but Fish got cut off after Dalton’s Boys distracted him. Dalton won in a match that was nowhere near as good as fifteen minutes of Bobby Fish vs. Dalton Castle should be.
SEARCH & DESTROY (Jay White & the Motor City Machineguns) vs. THE REBELLION (Caprice Coleman, Shane Taylor, & Rhett Titus)- 7/10
These two teams have been feuding ad nauseam, so The Rebellion jumped the bell on Search & Destroy as they were sliding into the ring. This was a great action-packed tag team match, but I had some trouble getting into it because I knew that this was the second of three matches these two factions were going to have on this four-show tour and they’re all on the undercard, and none of the other matches they’ve had in this endless feud have ever meant anything so how the hell does Delirious expect me to care about a feud that he has made clear to me is undercard filler. The wrestling was an enjoyable way to pass the time, but I don’t give a sh*t who wins or about what happens anyone in the match (with the obvious exception of not wanting anyone to get hurt. But in terms of what happens to these kayfabe characters, I just don’t care).
KUSHIDA vs. SILAS YOUNG- 5/10
They stole the dumb comedy spot that the Bucks, Omega, Addiction, and Tanahashi did on the previous show where the babyface does a springboard back-rake and the idiots in the crowd cheer because a springboard back-rake is apparently funny and this therefore somehow excuses a babyface cheating, as well as the disappointment that he was in a perfect position to do something cool like a springboard dropkick rather than a stupid f*cking 1980s move like that back-rake.
The match wasn’t good before that, either. These two guys NEVER have good matches together, and yet ROH and New Japan seem to love booking them together. I would much rather have seen Silas lose a competitive match to Tanahashi and Lethal team with KUSHIDA against War Machine then see these two face off again. The last three minutes were good, but the first eight were boring as hell.
WAR MACHINE vs. JAY LETHAL & HIROSHI TANAHASHI- 6.25/10
After his victory in the last match, Silas kicked Ian Riccaboni off of commentary to take his place, which was a real heel move in my eyes. Not because Ian is particularly good or anything, but because Ian is infinitely more tolerable than Kevin Kelly, who I had honestly hoped to never have to hear call an ROH show again after the announcement earlier this year that he was going to work for New Japan full time and thus had been removed from all of his ROH duties.
The match started off with War Machine insisting on being dicks by showing their strength advantage and not releasing the handshake, but after the third time they were pulled back, Lethal and Tanahashi improvised a cool combination to not only break the handshakes, but start off hot with a great spot that set up a memorable (even if it wasn’t really bitable) nearfall.
War Machine quickly cut Lethal off and just obliterated him, working over the head and midsection. He eventually made a hot tag to Tanahashi and Tanahashi made a bit of a comeback, but then got stuck in a situation where he was facing both members of War Machine 2-on-1... and rather than fight these two behemoths like the valiant babyface he is known for being, Tanahashi instead responded to this by calling for a time out. Yes, really. This did come after a spot where Tanahashi gave War Machine thirty seconds of forearms to the face and War Machine no-sold every last one of them, but none of that should have happened in the first place because this whole dumb no-selling set-up for a comedy spot just killed all the momentum they had after the hot tag, which is, as its name suggests, one of the hottest moments in the match!
After that point, the match felt like they were just kind of doing stuff and the story fell apart. Lethal got pinned clean in the middle of the ring. This made Silas Young happy, so Kevin Kelly, being an idiot, said “I’m sure you’re one to cast blame on Jay Lethal for War Machine’s victory,” to which Silas Young, who is not an idiot, responded by simply saying “who else’s fault would it be? Did Tanahashi get pinned in the middle of the ring?”
BULLY RAY PROMO- this is the part of every single f*cking show where he comes out and uses his own authority that apparently has in order to get his match changed to a no DQs match, without getting it cleared by management, or even the other wrestlers in the match. It makes you wonder why the company doesn’t just book him in no DQs matches in the first place.
The reason, of course, is so Bully can be the one to get the pop for changing this normal match to a plunder match because fans love plunder matches. It also means that on every single show Bully gets to cut a promo in front of the live crowd, which is something that most guys on the roster don’t even get to do once a month. And I’m sure Bully has insisted on it happening this way because despite everything he says, he’s not here to help ROH, he’s here to get himself over.
Anyway, during this promo Bully milks the announcement as much as he can, and tonight he did that by asking the fans if they “want to see things get more….” and he would wait for them to shout “EXTREME!” and they obligingly did so, and he kept doing this to get as loud as possible… and on commentary, Colt Cabana absolutely made my day when after about the fourth time that they Bully did and the fans shouted “EXTREME!” in response, Colt asked “are they getting it wrong?” I f*cking died of laughter.
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH FOR THE ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLES: The Briscoes & Bully Ray vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, Sanada, & BUSHI)- 2.75/10
Bully concluded the aforementioned announcement by telling his opponents “I’m not exactly sure how to say this in Japanese, but this match is now… a No Disqualifications Match!” and then immediately after he finished saying “match” he and the Briscoes charged in at LIJ from about three feet away and started to attack them.
That just makes this even more heelish, as he is admitting that these men might not even understand that the rules have changed and are thus at a disadvantage. The charging in at them right when he finished talking (and certainly before the bell rung) was also pretty heelish. Colt Cabana even pointed this out, and Kevin Kelly just said “nope. They’re got no idea” in a completely amused manner, in no way concerned for the fact that something very unfair has just happened or for the fact that said unfair thing should logically cause quite a bit of friction between ROH and New Japan, so he’s a dick, too.
He also kind of comes across like a dick for not realizing that both EVIL and Sanada have spent significant time in the US. Didn’t he scout his opponents before the tour? He’s wrestling them twice on this tour alone! And it’s even worse with Sanada because Sanada was in the US working for the same company as Bully. And he’s also kind of a dick for not knowing how to say this in Japanese when you realize that he has wrestled no DQs matches in Japan before! (Also, for those wondering, here is my best approximate English transliteration for the Japanese phrase meaning “No Disqualifications Match:” “O ni ta bee ess.”
Bully and the Briscoes (especially Bully and Mark) came across like total dicks for the first half of the match so I didn’t care at all when LIJ began to do things which were theoretically heelish to cut them off (although they kind of flushed the idea of cheating to get heat down the toilet when they pointlessly turned this into a no DQs match). Then, after LIJ crotched Bully on the ringpost to cut him off, absolutely nothing happened to warrant the stipulation they added on for the vast majority of the match until BUSHI tried to spray mist but accidentally hit his own teammates, the babyfaces did a WHAZZUP?!” spot, then Bully made his white Devon replacement lackeys go get a table so he could put BUSHI through it with a release powerbomb from the second rope, and that was the finish. If all you’re going to do is four spots and you’re going to wrestle 90% of the match like it’s a regular match, why make it a gimmick match at all?
A title match in which the challengers have done nothing to earn their title shot? Check
Bully Ray cuts a promo before the match to turn it into a no DQs match? Check
A six-man tag title match where no one buys for a moment that the belts will change hands? Check
A match gets short-changed on time due to Delirious’ insistence on booking a million matches and stuffing as many people onto the card as possible and still trying to keep the show around three hours?
All of these plus my free space make me the winner of 2017 ROH BINGO!
TETSUYA NAITO vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ- 6.75/10
Naito starts off by stalling. What he does comes across a bit more as “trying to get into his opponent’s head” rather than Cody’s blatant wasting of time, but it’s still dumb, especially as they have rarely (if ever) shown it how this supposed getting in the opponent’s head affects the opponent in the match (like, say, the opponent getting frustrated, leading to him making a mistake which Naito can capitalize on).
It was two minutes before anything actually happened in this match. After that everything was great (aside from one dumb spot in which Naito did some goofy, convoluted bit where he decided he had to stop what he was doing and psych Martinez out instead of just hitting Martinez in the knee with the dropkick from the beginning). They did an impressive job here by making both men feel like they were fighting an uphill battle, as Naito had to try to conquer the much larger man while Martinez had to beat one of the best wrestlers in the world. This was hurt a bit by the fact that no one really believed that Naito would lose, but this was quite impressive for what was only nine minutes of action.
PROVING GROUND INSTAND REWARD MATCH: ROH TV Champion Marty Scurll vs. Cheeseburger vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Gedo vs. Beer City Bruiser vs. Vinny Marseglia vs. Will Ferrara- no rating, meh comedy match.
This match was not originally supposed to include Vinny Marseglia, but he came out and just said that he was going to be in the match. Kaz cut a promo insulting him and everyone agreed that he could be in the match. The reason we wasted time with this rather than just booking him in the match in the first place was so that he and Kazarian having this exchange could function as some sort of anemic build for the Daniels vs. Taven ROH World Title match that will take place later tonight. Also, apparently Vinny Marseglia hasn’t showered in the past two days, because BUSHI’s mist is still on him from the last show, which was several days ago. Yet another reason to want Marseglia to leave ROH forever. I already hate his voice, and his ringwork, his ugly face, and even uglier tattoos, but now I’m worried about his stench, too.
Stuff happened. At one point Marseglia snuck into the ring wearing a blood-splattered goalie mask, which rightfully earned him chants of “YOU LOOK STUPID!” Marty Scurll then hit him in the face with his umbrella right in front of the referee but was not disqualified. Then he was going to hit Gedo but decided not to. They shook hands instead, but then ran out of the ring so they wouldn’t have to hug Beer City Bruiser.
This whole thing then turned into one of those old CHIKARA matches with a lot of stuff that’s overly scripted and supposed to be kind of funny, but it’s not something I really want to see in ROH. That being said, I will give them props for at least trying a different sort of comedy than the outright clownish sh*t we usually see in ROH nowadays. Cheseburger won when he pinned the Beer City Bruiser, and apparently tonight you don’t need to pin the champion to earn the title shot even though that has usually been the rule in these matches, so we wind up with an…
ROH TV TITLE MATCH: Marty Scurll(c) vs. Cheeseburger- DUD!
This was so short as to be pointless. Not that Burger should have had a long match with Marty, but then what was the point of even doing this. Everyone knew that Cheeseburger wasn’t going to win, so all this did was waste time.
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Christopher Daniels(c) vs. Matt Taven (w/Vinny Marseglia)- 8/10
Why is the ROH World Title playing second fiddle to a pointless eight-man tag that wouldn’t even main event a New Japan “Road To…” show?
Both guys use trash-talking to get in each other’s heads early. Taven worked over Daniels’ back, and was able to use Marseglia’s presence to his advantage several times. Daniels eventually came back, and once Marseglia was disposed of by Kazarian, hit the BME for the pin. Twenty minutes of great wrestling.
BULLET CLUB (The Young Bucks, Adam Page, & Cody Rhodes) vs. CHAOS (Trent Berreta, Rocky Romero, Hirooki Goto, & Will Ospreay)- 9/10
This was basically a PWG match, which is fine for a situation like this. Heck, it’s better than fine, as guys like Cody, Roppongi Vice, and even to an extent Page and Goto rarely feel like they are utilized well on these tours, so sticking them in a match like this where they can contribute to the fast-paced chaos (no pun intended) turns something unexciting into a big positive. There were definitely some spots in here that felt overly-choreographed but there was very little that I flat-out didn’t like. They mostly stayed away from comedy, and went out there and provided twenty minutes of fast-paced action. Much like last year’s Cole & the Young Bucks vs. Castle, Cabana, & Lethal match from Reloaded Tour 2016: Pittsburgh, this completely unheralded match surprisingly manages to place itself near the top of my list of the best matches in ROH this year.
This was a very frustrating show from ROH that managed to save itself with an excellent top of the card. The first two hours and twenty minutes of it are just disappointing match after disappointing match, in most cases due to having their time cut in an asinine effort to cram as many people onto the card as possible, but the last hour is stuff you should definitely try to go out of your way to see.
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