ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour 2019: Toronto

ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour 2019: TorontoROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour 2019: Toronto

By Big Red Machine
From May 09, 2019

ALEX COUGHLIN, KARL FREDERICKS, & CLARK CONNORS vs. BULLET CLUB (Hikuleo & the Guerrillas of Destiny) - 4.75/10

Hey, look! Hikuleo actually got to pin someone!


They did stuff, then we got a ref bump. Silas went for a chair, then tried to Eddie Guerrero himself into a victory Nagata then picked up the chair and did the Eddie Guerrero and got the win. You bring Yuji Nagata into ROH only to have him cheat to win via Eddie Guerrero comedy finish? Are you f*cking kidding me?

Silas got upset and attacked Nagata from behind, and I while Silas is a hypocrite because he tried this same thing, I'm finding it hard to blame him because Nagata is celebrating like he actually won something, and he really didn't. Nagata overcame Silas' cowardly attack and got him in his patented armbar. If you were going to do this then why didn't you just have Nagata make Silas tap out clean instead of this stupid bullsh*t where the babyface cheats to win.

THE KINGDOM (Vinny Marseglia & T.K. O'Ryan) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada & EVIL) - 2/10

We start off with O'Ryan and Sanada doing some fine wrestling. Then we get a couple of comedy spots that make O'Ryan look like an undercard goofball dork heel... which really is the role that fits him best. The problem is that ROH wants me to think of him and Marseglia as the world champion's upper-midcard friends, so he shouldn't be doing this goofball comedy loser bullsh*t.

Tags are made and Ian Riccaboni tells us that EVIL vs. Marseglia is the match-up he has been waiting to see. Me too, but probably for very different reasons, as I'm guessing Ian isn't hoping that EVIL will hit Vinny so hard he decides to quit ROH.

EVIL worked over Vinny's arm a bit, and Vinny sold it a completely cartoonish manner. Most of his selling for the rest of the match was similarly cartoonish. He must have pictures of Joe Koff with a goat. It's the only way to explain his employment. Why not put Rhett Titus with the Kingdom so we can have someone with actual talent wrestle and cut promos, and make Vinny the moron who rarely wrestles but inexplicably shows up to do commentary on every show, where at least I can mute him. There were a few good spots in here, but mostly this match was taking two great workers and putting them in the ring with two dorks who dragged them down.

P.J. BLACK vs. RUSH - 4.5/10

Rhett Titus joined the commentary team for this match for no reason at all. I wonder how much ROH money ROH wastes a month to pay Rhett to show up to all of these shows where he doesn't wrestle or do anything to affect any of the storylines or even add anything intelligent to the commentary.

The match was good while it lasted, but it only lasted six minutes. Is Rush working injured or something? Because if that's not the case, I'm getting really annoyed with all of these short matches. If you're going to do the Goldberg thing then have him actually squash people. If not, let him have the time to have great matches. That's what you signed him for, isn't it?

DALTON CASTLE PROMO - Great. He's happy he dumped and beat up the Boys because he realized he has never needed them. All of his success is due to him and him alone. He's not wrong, about any of this, but he's still a heel because he blames the Boys for his failures.

THE BRISCOES vs. LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams) - 7/10

A great match, but one I had higher hopes for, considering the talent involved.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Bully Ray comes out and cut a promo on LifeBlood. He tells us that he was the one who took out Tenille and that he is going to take out everyone in LifeBlood. He tells us that Juice is in Japan "doing jobs" (got to throw in that insider term just to remind everyone that this is all a work, because that has proven to be such and effective strategy in the past), says that he'll beat Finlay up when he comes back "just like I used to do to your old man" (they've actually never wrestled), he says he'll put Tracy Williams out, too, and tells Haskins to "say hello to your wife for me." He apparently forgot that Bandido is in LifeBlood, which is oh so confidence inspiring from the guy booking the show, especially considering that it was a key point in the main event segment of last night's show.

Haskins grabs a chair, Bully pulls out his chain, Tracy gets, up, too, so it's now two-on-one, advantage babyfaces. And even with Bully daring them to attack him, they still don't go after him, and let him leave. Throw in that Ian Riccaboni was all but shouting at them to "call his bluff" and go after him because he'll just run away, made the babyfaces look terrible (I'm not sure if that's on the bookers for not smartening Ian up to the fact that the babyfaces wouldn't be attacking or on Ian for forgetting what was going to happen and then saying something to make the babyfaces look bad, but either way, they looked bad).

This was bad enough on its own, but the thing that really drove me nuts about this is that means Bully Ray vs. LifeBlood is likely some sort of long-term program. ROH went out and signed world-class talents like Tracy Williams, Mark Haskins, and Bandido... and their grand idea is to have them feud with fat old Bubba Ray Dudley, who has had maybe one good match in over two years in the company, and probably hasn't had more than ten good matches in the past five years? Are you f*cking kidding me?

WOMEN OF HONOR SEGMENT - Didn't like it. Kelly Klein comes out and says that she knew this would be first opportunity to defend her title in Canada so she wants the best Toronto has to offer. Maybe it's just me, but if Kelly was so eager to defend her title in Canada, shouldn't management have set up a match for her in advance. We've known about this show a while now and Kelly has been the champion for over a month.

So Kelly asks for the best Toronto has to offer, and out come... The Allure. Wow. Women's wrestling in Toronto sure has gone downhill, hasn't it? Angelina starts to cut a patriotic promo but then predictably heels on the crowd by telling them she doesn't live in Canada anymore so she will let Kelly defend the title against her in the US. Kelly grabs Angelina by the hair and drags her into the ring and gets some punches off but Velvet and Mandy pull her to safety. The Allure leave and Kelly calls them "a bunch of bitches."

I can't deny that mechanically this segment did everything right to achieve the goal of planting seeds for a future Angelina Love vs. Kelly Klein title match and establishing The Allure as chickensh*ts. That being said, I found this impossible to enjoy because it was painfully predictable cheap heat waste of time segment to build up to a match that I have no desire to see, and when which examined outside of the vacuum of the idea of a future Kelly Klein vs. Angelina Love title match makes no sense. In every city they go to, ROH is able to find some shlub, no matter how undeserving, for Kelly Klein to defend her title against... but now that they're in Toronto, which has a long wrestling tradition and larger population than all but three others markets that ROH runs on an annual basis (NYC, London, and Tokyo) and they couldn't find an opponent for Kelly Klein? And it's not even like there are that many other wrestling shows for them to all be booked out on because (as Dalton Castle noted, it's not even a weekend). It's one of those things that I find to be immersion breaking it feels like the reason no opponent was scheduled for Kelly Klein for tonight was so that this segment could happen instead of Kelly defending her title.


Kenny is on commentary, still doing this stupid fake blinding gimmick. The match was... what I expected Jay Lethal to be able to get out of a 48-year-old Satoshi Kojima.

Jeff Cobb(c) vs. Shane Taylor vs. Brody King vs. Hirooki Goto - 6.75/10

This match was not originally supposed to be for the title when it was signed but Shane Taylor basically talked ROH management into it. That's fine, I guess, but if Taylor has earned a title shot then wouldn't it make more sense for ROH management to just book him in a singles match against Cobb on a future show than to make this a title match and give a title shot to two guys who really haven't done much to earn it?

This was something of a fun four-way hoss-fight. Taylor surprised everyone by winning the title. The way he did so was by knocking Cobb out of the ring after Cobb had hit Brody King with the Tour of the Islands, then picking Brody up and hitting him with his own finisher. Unfortunately the camera caught Taylor's finisher at an angle where it was clear Brody didn't hit the ground at all so it didn't look very good. After the match Cobb and Taylor had a stare0down before Cobb- who the announcers noted had just lost his title without being pinned- went to respectfully hand the title to Taylor but Taylor yanked it away from him anyway and told him to go to the back of the line. That bit was quite good.

At least tonight when they did their dumb zoom in on the CaryTron to show us the graphic for the title match they did it during a double-down, but it was still dumb because we could see it just fine from the hard-camera anyway, so zooming in on it wasn't showing us anything we wouldn't already see!

Matt Taven(c) vs. PCO (w/Destro) - 7.75/10? I think?

This might well be the single weirdest wrestling match I've ever seen. Um... PCO just dove out of the wrong side of the ring and crashed into the floor... then got up, got back into the ring, charged, and did the dive to the side of the ring he was supposed to. That was extremely f*cking weird.

So... Vinny's axe was finally successfully kayfabe used. PCO's face was slammed into it, supposedly taking out one of his eyes. And it was the good one. And now PCO is bleeding from the eye area and Taven is doing some gouging. Maybe Ian and Cabana were making that part about the eye being damaged up because PCO recovered from it... or maybe the idea is that the eye regenerated or something? I just don't know what 'm supposed to think.
The story here is was that PCO is this weird unstoppable monster that sometimes screws up and short-circuits or something (maybe?) and so Taven had to come up with different ways to try to beat this unstoppable force. I know that makes it sound like Taven should be the babyface but they made it work. PCO got all of his stuff in and they built everything up well and had some good false finishes. In the end, Taven stabbed him in the head with a Jimmy Jacobs-style spike and got the pin. PCO kicked out at 3.1, but most of the crowd- along with me watching at home- thought it was 2.9.

This whole match was so strange it fried my brain and I'm still not totally sure what to make of it. At the moment, I'm pretty sure I liked it, but I also am very certain that I don't want to see anything like this ever again.

Final Thoughts
This was a very disappointing show from ROH, with most of the matches being hindered by a lack of time (only three of the eight matches cracked the ten minutes and ten seconds mark) and some frustrating segments. That being said, it can't be denied that this show was important to storylines and gave us a main event that was... well... unique. Make sure you watch the main event for yourself to form your own opinion of it.

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