ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour 2018: Day 3 (5/12/2018)- Royal Oak, MI
SHANE TAYLOR vs. EVIL- 5.75/10
Lots of hard strikes here, but not much in the way of real energy. They did one of those stupid New Japan spots where someone (in this case Taylor) grabs a chair and the responds to the referee trying to stop him from using it by shoving him down, but somehow is never DQed. In this case it resulted in EVIL getting the chair and using it on Taylor. The announcers claimed that this was the second time that attempting to use a chair had backfired on Taylor recently, saying that the first one was in match against Josh Woods at Bound By Honor. I have no memory of this happening, but maybe I’m wrong and there is an actual storyline going on for Taylor. Then again, nothing they’ve done with Taylor since he became a singles wrestler over a year ago has ever gone anywhere, so I doubt any of this is something Delirious has planned and is probably just the announcers latching onto a coincidence.
This match felt like a waste of EVIL, and Taylor is starting to feel more and more like waste of space in ROH. They haven’t done sh*t with him since Keith Lee left, and all he does is lose. His only win since last November was in a tag team battle royale that was just the first stage in a #1 contendership thing for the TV Title, where he then immediately lost the actual wrestling match part of it to his partner Flip Gordon. Other than that, the dude has had exactly two wins over non-jobbers in over a year, one against Beer City Bruiser in the first round of last year’s Survival of the Fittest, and one over Josh Woods last October, which was the second match in their supposed feud that has been going nowhere for almost a year now.
JENNY ROSE & TENILLE DASHWOOD vs. STELLA GREY & SUMIE SAKAI- 4.75/10
We started off with Jenny Rose and Sumie Sakai facing off in a sequence that convinced me that I have no interest in seeing them face off for the Women of Honor Title (which they will do at tomorrow’s TV tapings). In fact, by the end of this match, then they were the two women I had the least interest in seeing, as Tenille looked like a force to be reckoned with and Stella was a very good babyface in peril. Jenny Rose got the pin on Stella, so at least Delirious managed to book that right.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Jenny Rose picked up the title to hand it back to Sumie but Sumie got angry and slapped her. They had a brief pull apart that was actually pretty good, but having just seen them actually try wrestling each other as well, this didn’t do much to raise my hopes for the title match.
ADAM PAGE vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ- no rating, mixed feelings segment
Page jumped Martinez from behind with a chair as revenge for the several times Martinez has jumped him from behind recently. He threw the chair into Martinez’s face, then speared him through a table on the outside… and then the referee sent Page away. Martinez eventually staggered away, but once again we never got our match. On the one hand, this effectively moved the storyline along to a place where these two should now be having some sort of weapons match, and while this certainly didn’t hurt my desire to see said weapons match, I can’t say it really increased my desire to see it, either, as I was already pretty eager… and therein lies part of the problem. This is now the second time in four shows where this match has been scheduled but never started because of a pre-match attack, and they also threw TWO matches I thought had a lot of potential form last night’s show under the bus to ostensibly build up to tonight’s match… and now we’re not getting tonight’s match, which I really wanted to see (even though it wasn’t a gimmick match). Similarly, I’m having trouble deciding how I feel about this match because while I don’t think this was a totally necessary step to get us to Page vs. Martinez in a weapons match, I do think it enhances the story... and yet I can’t decide if it enhances the story enough to mollify me being once again very disappointed that I’m not going to see an advertised Page vs. Martinez match. I think overall the most fair way to rate this is to say that it was good simply because I think it probably did more good for someone who wasn’t previously as eager to see Page vs. Martinez than it was frustrating for someone like me who already was eager to see it.
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH: Marty Scurll vs. Kenny King vs. Sanada vs. Matt Taven- 4.25/10
They did a spot where both King and Taven were tied up in the Paradise Lock and Scrull had grabbed Sanada’s leg and was about to put him in a submission… but then he just decided to let Sanada up and suggested that they both go after the referee instead. You know… because Marty doesn’t care about winning and this whole thing is a big f*cking joke. We then wasted some more time with threats of Taven and King being sodomized by Marty and Sanada with Marty’s umbrella and Taven’s scepter respectively but Tod Sinclair thankfully prevented it.
This match was very disappointing. Aside from the above idiocy, it also had way too much cutesy stuff in it like a series of spots where each guy in successions misses a move from the top rope, and four-way submission and that sort of thing. We also had a very frustrating finish, which saw Kenny King have Sanada locked in a submission and while the referee was checking on Sanada, Taven hit Scurll with the Climax and got a phantom pin on the #1 contender to the ROH World Title. Taven got upset at Sinclair for checking on the submission and thus not noticing his pin and started shoving him, resulting in Sinclair getting turned around temporarily so that Scurll could kick Taven in the nuts and then roll him up for the finish. You could justify this if Taven was getting added to the ROH World Title match at Best in the World, which would actually make a lot of sense because he was supposed to get a title shot against Dalton on the first night of this tour that had to be cancelled due to Dalton’s injury, still has an outstanding issue with Cody, and now has one with Scurll as well, including a claim to have cleanly defeated Marty here… but that’s not what’s happening, so this is yet another pointlessly dirty finish.
On the bright side, the stuff between Sanada and Kenny King good and I’ve to see them face off in a singles match.
THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS vs. ROPPONGI 3K (w/Rocky Romero)- 7.5/10
A solid, action-packed multi-team match, with the right team going over and the right team taking the fall.
SILAS YOUNG & THE BEER CITY BRUISER vs. THE BOYS- 3.75/10
A boring, pointless match in which the supposed babyfaces cheated in an attempt to win.
SOCAL UNCENSORED vs. CHEESEBURGER, FLIP GORDON, & JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER- 6/10
The heat on the injured Cheeseburger was good, as were the last few minutes, but I really could have done without the goofy comedy spot with the arm-work that they took several minutes to set up.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Liger tends to the injured Cheeseburger after he got hit with the Best Meltzer Ever. Speaking of which, does anyone else remember on PPV almost two years ago to the day when Liger & Cheeseburger teamed up to face The Addiction and Cheeseburger got a clean pin on Christopher Daniels and the announcers made a huge deal out of this supposedly being a huge step forward for Cheeseburger’s career? Well here we are, two years later, and he’s still in the same spot on the card and hasn’t developed at all as a character.
Everyone else leaves so Liger and Burger can have a moment together. Then Burger rolls to the floor and Liger climbs a turnbuckle… and of course Bully Ray came out and hit him in the nuts with the Nakamura low blow. He then gave Cheeseburger a Last Ride and started attacking both men with his chain. Unlike a few nights ago (and like what undoubtedly would have been scheduled to not happen last night as well), Flip Gordon actually comes out to save Burger from Bully Ray this time. You’d think that this would maybe have led to us getting Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Bully Ray for the first time ever at tomorrow night’s TV tapings… but no. Instead we got to see Liger team up with Cheeseburger in Cheeseburger’s interminable feud against The Dawgs. Because that’s definitely an effective use of Liger. I don’t like this whole Bully Ray thing, but at least Liger vs. Bully makes sense, and you don’t have to waste any time Cheeseburger vs. The Dawgs for the fifteenth time. At least the Flip Gordon part of this felt like it’s actually moving along.
HIROMU TAKAHASHI vs. CODY RHODES (w/Bernard the Business Bear)- 6.75/10
There was much stalling in the beginning, followed by Hiromu being allowed to hit Cody with a foreign object (Darryl) without being DQed (and in the past people have sold for Darryl as if it was loaded). The bear wanted to fight Darryl and had to be held back by security while Hiromu “had trouble holding Darry back,” which would have been funny if they hadn’t destroyed my will with an overloaded of stupid, pointless comedy over the course of this tour (and especially in the earlier four-way).
After wasting a few minutes with that they got around to wrestling and it actually started to get pretty good. Then they through that away at the end when Cody called for Bobby Cruise to give him his stupid ring, and ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise just casually tossed this illegal foreign object to one of the competitors in an in-progress wrestling match. Referee Paul Turner ordered him to take it off but he didn’t listen. Hiromu superkicked Cody and went for an Arabian Powerbomb but Cody hung on to the ropes, then shoved Turner and punched Hiromu with the ring on. Because G-d forbid we have a clean wrestling match.
This was then used to set up a tease of Cody going for the Din’s Fire, which is what he is calling his Kudo Driver/Vertebreaker. The announcers told us that Cody is going around claiming to have invented the move even though Shane Helms has been doing it on TV for years. First of all, this is yet another notch on Cody’s “look at me! I’m an over the top bullsh*t cartoon heel!” belt that he seems to think is how being a heel works in modern pro wrestling. Secondly… this is ROH. Are we really going to ignore the fact that Megumi Kudo invented the move in favor of an “only the stuff that happened on US TV counts” attitude? And thirdly, the reason they are giving credit for this to Shane Helms is because he is apparently coming to ROH. Yeah. That’s definitely what this company needs.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Briscoes(c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)- 7/10
They spent the first few minutes establishing that Naito’s tranquillo attitude got under The Briscoes’ skin, including a great spot where The Briscoes got really annoyed and Jay threw a chair into the ring so Naito picked it up and faked throwing it back at them, only to put it down and sit calmly on it instead. Unfortunately for LIJ, this just resulted in The Briscoes having even more frustrations to take out on them (and mostly on BUSHI) during the heat. The match was pretty good considering that it went less than fourteen minutes, but it was hampered by the fact that no one thought LIJ had a chance of winning. Still, an ROH main event- and especially one with a title on the line- should be going at least eighteen.
Another frustrating show from ROH, and a pretty darn bad one in the ring as well by ROH standards. It might not be in the bottom tier, but it’s probably close to the bottom of the tier just above that. There was just so much stuff that was either totally bland and pointless or didn’t come close to living up to its potential, and things like not giving us the Page vs. Martinez match did not help matters, even if there was some storyline merit to them. This entire tour has been frustrating as hell, to the point where I think they really need to rethink doing them- or at least the way they do them- in the future. Someone should write an article about that.
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