5/12 Powell’s ROH War of the Worlds live review: Christopher Daniels vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH Title, Adam Cole vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, The Young Bucks vs. Tetsuya Naito and Bushi for the ROH Tag Titles

By Jason Powell

Ring of Honor War of the Worlds
Aired live on pay-per-view
New York, New York at Hammerstein Ballroom

A video package opened the show… Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, and Kevin Kelly introduced the show from their table on the stage. The trip hyped Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Adam Cole, the Triple Threat main event, and the opening match… Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…

Powell’s POV: It was announced prior to the show that the New Japan Pro Wrestling events in Long Beach, California will feature a two-night tournament to determine the first NJPW U.S. Champion. Jay Lethal was announced as an entrant. In the pre-show dark match, The Rebellion (Shane Taylor, Kenny King, and Rhett Titus) beat Gedo, Cheeseburger, and Will Ferrara in five minutes. Thanks to Dot Net Member Don Murphy for passing along that info.

1. Kushida vs. Bobby Fish vs. Silas Young (w/Beer City Bruiser) vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) in a four corner survival match. In the end, Castle performed the Bangarang on Fish and pinned him clean…

Powell’s POV: Unfortunately, the FITE TV app cut out before the match, so I had to make the switch to the DirecTV feed and missed the majority of the match. Knock on wood, but it should be smooth sailing from here. It’s a shame that FITE is experiencing issues tonight because it was a great feed for SuperCard of Honor and there’s a lot of great content available on the app. Plus, they don’t gouge you extra money for the HD feed like the cable and satellite companies do.

A video package set up the Frankie Kazarian vs. Hangman Page match. It included footage of Page attacking Kazarian in a parking lot and comments from both men…

2. Frankie Kazarian vs. Hangman Page. Page made his entrance and was “too sweeting” with fans at ringside when Kazarian performed a dive over the top onto him. Page charged at Kazarian, who suplexed him onto a seated security guard. Page came back with a nice shooting star press off the apron and onto Kazarian on the floor. Back inside the ring, Kazarian came back with a nice combo of moves that included a backstabber followed by a face plant move.

Page got up and spat at Kazarian, who returned the favor. They both spat age one another again. Page wiped a loogie off his hand and licked it. A short time later, Kazarian went for a sunset flip in the corner, but Page held onto the ropes and got the pin. Kazarian barked at referee Todd Sinclair afterward. The broadcast team defended Sinclair by saying there was no way he could have seen it…

Hangman Page pinned Frankie Kazarian in 5:20.

Powell’s POV: Not too long ago in a promotion far, far away, Page licking the loogie would have drawn a “you sick f—” chant. The match was fine while it lasted, but they didn’t get much time to work with. There are a lot of advertised matches, so hopefully this is not going to be a common theme of the show.

3. IWGP Tag Champions “War Machine” Hanson and Raymond Rowe vs. Sanada and Evil vs. Chris Sabin and Jonathan Gresham (w/Alex Shelley) in a non-title match. The DirecTV feed digitized during the entrances (at least on my end), but it returned to normal quickly. Tiger Hattori was the referee. There was a silly spot early with Sanada typing up Sabin and Gresham in separate octopuses and then performing a running kick to the ass of both wrestlers. Hanson checked in and worked over Sanada and Evil with clotheslines in opposite corners.

Rowe tagged in and then picked up his own partner and threw him into Evil and Sanada. Rowe no sold a series of forearm shots to the face from Sabin and Gresham. Sanada brought chairs into the match. He wrapped one around the face of Hanson and then knocked it off with the other. Sabin become a heel to the crowd when he prevented Hanson from going to the top rope to leap onto his opponents. A short time later, Rowe tossed Sabin in the air. Rowe caught Sabin on the way down and powerslammed him. Rowe dove onto opponents at ringside while Rowe pinned Sabin…

War Machine defeated Sanada & Evil and Chris Sabin & Jonathan Gresham in a non-title match in 9:00.

Powell’s POV: The crowd was into the match, particularly the War Machine power spots. It’s nice to see those guys getting good reactions in ROH again. The company lost their way with them from a creative standpoint after they dropped the ROH Tag Titles, but the fans seem into them again now that they are IWGP Tag Champs.

A video package set up the Jay White vs. Will Ospreay match. The broadcast team hyped up the match from their spot on the stage…

4. Will Ospreay vs. Jay White. The wrestlers shook hands prior to the match as Riccaboni told viewers that it was the first time they have been in the ring together. After seven minutes of mostly even action, the wrestlers traded strikes in mid ring. White got the better of the exchange. and threw kicks and punches at Ospreay in the corner until the referee backed him up. Ospreay caught White with a quick series of strikes. White performed a Flatliner. Ospreay came back with a big move of his own, but White responded with a suplex. Ospreay performed a standing Spanish Fly. The fans chanted “this is awesome.”

Ospreay performed a big leap onto White, who caught him at ringside and then slammed him onto the ring apron, which drew a holy shit chant. White followed up with a missile dropkick. White performed a wicked Cobra Clutch suplex. White tried to follow up, but Ospreay countered and performed a springboard move, but White caught him and threw a series of elbows to the head and got a near fall shortly thereafter. The fans roared in approval.

White placed Ospreay on the top rope and they traded blows. Ospreay headbutted him and then leapt off the ropes and superkicked White from the mat. Ospreay followed up with a beautiful shooting star press onto White at ringside. Ospreay rolled him back inside the ring, leapt off the ropes, and caught White with a cutter on the away down. Ospreay pinned White clean. The wrestlers shook hands afterward while the crowd chanted “that was awesome”. After White left the ring, Punishment Martinez entered the ring and blindsided Ospreay with a kick. White returned to help, but Martinez put him down with a chokeslam…

Will Ospreay pinned Jay White in 13:20.

Powell’s POV: The match was crowd pleasing highlight of the night thus far. Ospreay was the star, but White gained something in defeat. White had that big introduction on ROH TV and has quickly become just another guy. Meanwhile, ROH dedicated an entire show to Ospreay and Marty Scurll, yet Ospreay hasn’t been a regular on ROH television since then. The post match angle sets up Martinez with a couple of good opponents. By the way, the first two matches were brief, but they are a little over an hour into the show and have nearly two hours remaining for the last five matches.

5. Bully Ray, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe vs. Hirooki Goto, Trent Barreta, and Rocky Romero in a No DQ match for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Bully was the last man out and he appeared in the balcony with a mic in hand. The fans chanted ECW. Bully channelled Axl Rose by asking, “Do you know where you are?” He said they were in New York City and added, “you’re gonna die.” Bully told his opponents they would get the ass kicking of a lifetime. He said they knew what the people wanted to see and they would give it to them – a No DQ match.

The Briscoes worked over their opponents to start the match. Bully made it to ringside quickly and performed top rope cross body block onto all three opponents. RPG Vice rebounded and worked over Mark Briscoe with a chair as part of their offense. Mark continued to be isolated by the challengers. Jay broke up an RPG wheelbarrow spot with a chair.

Bully and Goto traded blows in mid-ring whiel their partners all fought on the floor. Goto powered up Ray for a Death Valley Driver. Goto ducked a chair swung by Jay, who eventually knocked him down with a big forearm. At 11:15, Ray and the Briscoes performed a double Doomsday Device. Mark performed the Whassup spot. Bully did the “get the tables” setup. The fans popped big for tables and chanted ECW again. Bully powerbombed Barreta off the middle rope and through a table, then he joined the Briscoes in hitting 3D on Romero, which led to the pin. After the match, Bully grabbed the mic and yelled ROH, which led to the fans chanting ROH briefly…

Bully Ray, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe defeated Hirooki Goto, Trent Barreta, and Rocky Romero in 12:55 to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing brawl that was lopsided in favor of Bully and the Briscoes. I remain hopeful that we get the heel Bully Ray in ROH sooner or later, and the Briscoes get back to doing their thing rather than performing Team 3D nostalgia spots. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun for now, but the thrill will wear off soon and both Bully and the Briscoes have a lot to offer beyond what they are doing now.

A video package set up the ROH TV Title match. A pre-taped Scurll promo aired…

6. Marty Scurll vs. Matt Sydal for the ROH TV Title. Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Sydal was down for the handshake, but Scurll kicked his hand away. Scurll connected with a kick off the apron and then played to the fans at ringside before flipping them off and then standing on a chair and playing to them again. Sydal came back and caught Scurll with a huracanrana from the ropes and followed up with a double knee press for a two count.

Sydal caught Scurll with a kick and then slapped the mat and yelled. He was greeted with some boos in response. Scurll revved up the crowd and then set up for his finisher, but Sydal countered and got a two count that the crowd didn’t seem to buy into. Scurll grabbed Sydal’s fingers and did the bit where he acted like ha broke them. The crowd chanted “you sick f—” (forget what I wrote earlier). Scurll went for a suplex, but Sydal countered into a huracanrana for a two count. Sydal went for a Shooting Star Press moments later, but Scurll put his knees up and then applied the chicken wing for the win…

Marty Scurll defeated Matt Sydal to retain the ROH TV Title in 12:00.

Powell’s POV: A good match that saw the crowd siding with the cool heel rather than the babyface. Scurll made more of an effort to get boos at times, but he also plays to the crowd quite a bit. He’s very entertaining so he will have to work harder than most to turn the fans against him. The fans also had no reason to get into Sydal’s current run. He’s appeared on television, but it’s not like he delivered promos to rally the fans behind him.

The broadcast team set up the ROH Tag Title match…

7. “The Young Bucks” Matt and Nick Jackson vs. Tetsuya Naito and Bushi for the ROH Tag Titles. Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match amidst all of the streamers that were tossed by the fans. Naito offered a handshake, but the Bucks blew him off. Nick gave Naito and early “suck it” gesture. Naito spat in his face. A short time later, Naito teased a big running dive only to slide onto his side in a cocky manner, which was cheered by the fans. Later, Naito ran the ropes repeatedly while Bushi held one of the Bucks in position. Naito simply stopped and stomped the mat before using his foot to drive their opponents’ head into the mat.

At 8:00, Nick caught Bushi with a superkick. Matt performed superkick on Naito moments later. Naito came back with a reverse huracanrana on Matt. At 10:00, the Bucks set up for one of their signature spots on Naito, but Bushi broke it up. Bushi sprayed mist into the face of Matt, who was rolled up by Naito for a near fall. The “blinded” Matt started superkicking everyone, including his own brother and the referee, which popped the crowd. Matt used water to flush out his eyes.

In a wicked spot, Naito swept the leg of Nick, who didn’t miss a beat as he went through the ropes and moonsaulted Bushi off the apron. Matt Jackson performed a springboard DDT on Naito. The Bucks followed up with simultaneous moonsaults onto Bushi for another near fall. A short time later, the Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on Bushi and pinned him clean…

The Young Bucks defeated Tetsuya Naito and Bushi in 13:30 to retain the ROH Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: A really fun match. The blinded Matt Jackson superkick party was a blast, and Naito also had his moments to shine. It never ceases to amaze me that the Bucks can do what they do so consistently.

The broadcast team spoke from their desk about the pre-show announcement that the NJPW events on July 1-2 in Long Beach, California will feature IWGP Heavyweight and IGWP Intercontinental Championships will be defended, and there will be a tournament to determine the first NJPW U.S. Champion in a two night tournament. They showed Jay Lethal coming out as the first entrant, and Hangman Page coming out to protest…

8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Adam Cole. The broadcast team sold the match by comparing it to Harley Race vs. Bob Backlund, Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan, Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich, and Superstar Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes. Cabana said it was like Cabana vs. anyone. Funny. Cole played to the crowd early and got his “Adam Cole Bay-Bay” response. Tanahashi got a “Tanahashi Bay-Bay” response moments later.

At 8:45, Cole teased a superkick and instead kicked Tanahashi’s thigh. Cole spat on Tanahashi to boos. Tanahashi came back with a German suplex into a bridge for a two count. At 10:4, Cole connected with a pair of superkicks. but Tanhashi came right back with a neckbreaker followed by a sling blade clothesline for a two count. Tanahashi went up top and went for the High Fly Flow, but Cole put his knees up. Cole performed the Last Shot for a near fall.

There were dueling chants for the wrestlers.Cole went for a Last Shot, but Tanahashi avoided it and connected with a superkick. Tanahashi went up top and leapt into a superkick. Cole connected with a shining wizard for another near fall. Cole went for the Last Shot again, but Tanahashi escaped and put him down, then went to the ropes and performed the High Fly Flow for the win…

Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Adam Cole in 14:00.

After the match, Cole was on his knees when the fans chanted ‘thank you, Cole.” The Young Bucks entered the ring behind Cole and teased superkicks, but instead smiled and hugged him. The lights went out. Kenny Omega appeared on the big screen to a big pop. He shushed the crowd. He said “what a curtain call” and he wished he could have been there. He said he must admit that he’s a little disappointed that the Bucks allowed the same man who tried to fire them to now soak up the “thank you, Adam” chants.

Omega spoke about Cole’s ten-year career and said that in every story there has to be a hero and there has to be a villain. The camera pulled back to show Marty Scurll in his mask next to Omega. Back in the arena, the lights went on and Scurll was in the ring with the mask on. He opened his umbrella, which read “Bullet Club.” Scurll waved goodbye to Cole and then the Bucks superkicked Cole. Scurll opened his jacket to reveal a Bullet Club t-shirt. Scurll blasted Cole with the umbrella and then held him up so that the Bucks could both kiss his cheeks. The fans chanted Marty” to end the segment…

Powell’s POV: A good match with Cole getting several near falls before Tanahashi came back and put him away with his finisher. The outcome is no surprise given all the speculation that Cole is NXT bound. As such, the post match angle going from a Curtain Call takeoff into moving Scurll into Cole’s old spot was well done. Scurll is a good fit with the group and I guess he can just keep on keeping on in terms of not going for consistent heat since that’s not what most of the other Bullet Club members do either. Cole had a really nice run. He appears to be in the best shape of his career and he should do very well in NXT, assuming that is his next stop.

A video package set up the main event… Ring entrances for the main event took place…

9. Christopher Daniels vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal in a Triple Threat for the ROH Championship. Kelly noted that Cody was the odds on favorite to win the match with the social media followers. Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions. By the time the bell rang, they were 18 minutes from the top of the hour. Cody immediately headed to ringside and took a seat.

Lethal performed an early suicide dive. It looked really tame, but he came up limping. The broadcast team told the story of Lethal tweaking his knee in the past. Lethal returned to the ring and ran just fine, but he sold knee pain when he landed after a cartwheel. Cody entered with a missile dropkick onto both wrestlers. He applied a figure four on Daniels, who reached the ropes quickly.

At 3:30, Cody wishboned Lethal on the ring post. He teased “too sweeting” fans at ringside and instead flipped them off. A short time later, Daniels performed a springboard moonsault on Lethal for a two count. A short time later, Cody performed a dragon screw leg whip on Lethal’s bad leg. Cody worked over Daniels for the next couple minutes and positioned a table at ringside. Cody tried to suplex Cody off the apron, but Lethal broke it up and joined Daniels in suplexing Cody back inside the ring.

At 8:00, Daniels set up for an angel’s wings suplex on Cody, but Lethal broke it up. Lethal performed the Lethal Combination on Daniels moments later. Cody powerslammed Lethal. Daniels caught Cody with a Flatliner. All three men stayed down briefly. Lethal ended up avoiding a moonsault attempt by Cody. Lethal went up top. Daniels cut off Lethal and set up for a superplex. Cody snuck underneath Daniels, who performed a huracanrana. Cody ended up performing CrossRhodes on Daniels. Cabana noted that Daniels’s knee appeared to bend awkwardly when he took the move.

Daniels ended up being knocked off the apron and through the table at ringside. Lethal caught Rhodes with a cutter for a good near fall. Lethal caught Cody with a superkick and set up for his finisher, but Cody countered into CrossRhodes and covered him for a two count. Cody pulled back the kneepad of Lethal and applied a figure four. Daniels returned and performed the Best Moonsault Ever onto Rhodes and pinned him while he still had the figure four applied…

Christopher Daniels defeated Cody Rhodes and Jay Lethal in a Triple Threat in 13:05 to retain the ROH Championship.

A video hyped the ROH Best in the World pay-per-view for Friday, June 23 in Lowell, Massachusetts. They cut back to the ring where Daniels and Lethal shook hands to close the show…

Powell’s POV: The broadcast team talking about Cody being the social media favorite before the match caused me to assume that he was not going to win after all. The match was entertaining and the finish was well executed. I don’t know if the crowd was burned out or if they just weren’t as into this main event as the rest of the show, but their reaction was definitely tame compared to a lot of the other matches. It was still a good match and you have to wonder if they had some time cut due to other matches running long.

Overall, there was plenty of good in-ring action and it’s hard to beat the Hammerstein atmosphere for ROH. While I enjoyed the show, I do prefer more traditional babyface vs. heel matches and backstory than the format for War of the Worlds allowed. Again, though, it was very good for what it was. I will have more to say in tonight’s member exclusive audio review.



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