Ring of Honor – War of the Worlds 2017

Howdy!

Last Friday, Ring of Honor had the War of the Worlds PPV. Let’s see how they did.

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Ring of Honor – War of the Worlds PPV – 5/12/17

We are LIVE from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City! Last time we were in this venue for an ROH PPV, it was Final Battle of last year, where Kyle O’Reilly became…..sigh. Your hosts are Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, & Kevin Kelly.

And we’re getting started with the music of Silas Young! He makes his way to the ring with the Beer City Bruiser in tow. Up next, we’ve got the dulcet tones of ‘Dance Away’ as Bobby Fish makes his way out, saying a hello to Kyle on the way. KUSHIDA is out now, wearing a New York Yankees jersey to suck up to a crowd that he didn’t need to suck up to, because he’s awesome. And bringing up the rear…..(I had to make that joke. HAD to) it’s Dalton Castle with many, many Boys.

Silas Young vs Bobby Fish vs KUSHIDA vs Dalton Castle

Young cuts a promo on KUSHIDA, because that’s what Silas does. He calls the Yankees a ‘craphole team’ which causes a pop from my living room, then kicks KUSHIDA and the fight is on. Fish pulls Silas to the floor and we get a Code of Honor between KUSHIDA, Fish, and Castle, then everyone tries to roll everyone else up. KUSHIDA clears the ring, but gets caught with a choke from Fish and now we’ve got Fish and Castle. Castle quickly clears the ring of everyone including a sneak attacking Silas and we get a stomp from Dalton, but Young attacks again and the match settles into a groove. Everyone trades off a few times before Fish goes over the buckles onto the Bruiser and Young on the floor, and KUSHIDA follows that with a dive off the top onto everyone. KUSHIDA with a sitout hiptoss into an armbreaker on Castle in the ring, Fish goes to the top (!) to try to break it up (LUCHA-FISH!), but ends up headbutting Dalton and KUSHIDA strengthens the hold before Silas breaks it with a split-legged moonsault. Fish goes wild and drops everyone with kicks, then an exploder on Young that nails KUSHIDA at the same time. Dalton tries Bangarang, but Fish counters it into a kneebar, and KUSHIDA breaks that up with a moonsault. KUSHIDA kicks the arm of Fish and puts him the Hoverboard Lock, but Young breaks that with a double sledge. Young goes for Misery, KUSHIDA gets out and sends Dalton into Young, Castle takes the backbreaker/clothesline combo from Young, but Silas then gets clobbered by the wind-up right from KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA runs the apron and has to avoid a sweep from Fish, Young takes advantage and drops him to the floor with a clothesline, then Silas takes the legsweep from Bobby. Bobby charges Dalton, but gets caught with a Bangarang for the pin. (Dalton Castle over KUSHIDA, Bobby Fish, & Silas Young, pinfall, 8:05)

MATCH RATING: **3/4. Match was non-stop action, but it was a lot of style without a lot of substance, as guys were going for submission holds without working any body parts and with all the saves happening over the course of the match, the ending felt surprisingly perfunctory. Castle going over was the right call, for sure, but I would have rather watched him and KUSHIDA work a singles match. It was a fun mess, but still kind of a mess. I’m fine that they kept Castle’s finisher strong, at least.

Post-match, Bobby and Dalton shake hands.

Video package for Kazarian/Page airs. Logically, this feud has been built really well – they have a reason to fight and both sides have legitimate points. There just isn’t much heat for it, because Page just isn’t at the level they want him at yet.

Kaz is out first and crowd doesn’t hate him. Page is out next, and Kaz dives on him in the entranceway, then beats him around ringside, including a belly-to-belly onto one of the security guards. He takes a swing with a chair, but Page rolls into the ring to escape and Frankie follows. Ring the bell!

Frankie Kazarian vs Adam “Hangman” Page

Frankie goes nuts on him to start with rights, then goes to the eyes. Page fires back and ends up superkicking him to the floor, then follows him out with a shooting star press off the apron. Fireman’s carry throw into the post from Page, then he tosses Frankie back in the ring. Lariat gets two for Page. Frankie makes a comeback with a lungblower, then an Unprettier. Back up now, and Page spits on Frankie, then Frankie spits on Page, then we repeat as Frankie spits in Page’s MOUTH, and Page wipes the dribble out of his beard, puts it in his mouth, and spits it back at Kaz, and that was relatively disgusting and turned me completely off to this match. I get that they hate each other, but yuck. They trade shots and Page ends up on the apron, so Frankie slingshots him back in with a cutter for two. Kaz charges and Page pulls the ref in front to stop him, then shoves the ref off and lowblows Kaz for two. Page charges Kaz in the corner, Kaz tries to go over the top, but Page sits on him and grabs the middle rope for leverage to get the pin. (Adam Page over Frankie Kazarian, pinfall, 4:45)

MATCH RATING: **. Not much here, to be honest. Both guys are better workers than this, and the ending was pretty dumb. THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE! Yay?

Post-match, Kaz is angry at the ref. Colt rightly points out that he should have tried to bring him to the middle of the ring if he wanted to avoid that. Colt’s Jesse Ventura impersonation is a thing of awesome.

EVIL and Sanada are out, and our next match is a triple threat tag! Man, how does Sanada get his hair to do that? I should try that out as my next look. All I need is some gel. And more hair. A lot more hair. The music of the Motor City Machine Guns hits next, and it’s Chris Sabin and Jonathan Gresham making their way out with Alex Shelley! Yay, Gresham! He’s awesome! Speaking of awesome, here come the IWGP Tag Team champs, as Hanson and Rowe head to the ring. This should be great.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & Sanada) vs Search and Destroy (Chris Sabin & Jonathan Gresham w/ Alex Shelley) vs War Machine (Hanson & Rowe)

Hey, they flew in Tiger Hattori to ref! Cool. Cheat all you want, boys! Rowe and EVIL start us off. But EVIL knows who I want to see, hell, who we ALL want to see, as he tags in Jonathan Gresham! Okay, maybe it’s just me. But I’ll sing this man’s praises as long as he wrestles. Before Gresham and Rowe can lock it up, Sanada tags himself in off Rowe. Gresham/Sanada? Sure. Sanada offer the Code of Honor, then kicks Jonathan in the gut, and Gresham responds by taking the poor boy to school with a hiptoss and a ‘rana. Smooth as silk. He runs the ropes, but EVIL knows what a threat this man is and yanks him to the floor, then sends him to the barricade. He tosses Sabin as well, then sends Gresham back in, where Sanada ties him up like a pretzel, then does the same to Sabin before coming off with a dropkick onto both guys. EVIL gets the tag, but Hattori is reffing, so Sanada just stays in the ring, because Tiger isn’t going to do anything about it anyway. Gresham frees himself with some heel miscommunication by forcing Sanada to hit a dragon-screw on EVIL, then tags in Sabin, who comes off the top with a cross-body on both Los Ingos before dropkicking War Machine off the apron. I think Sabin might have taken a few too many shots in the head, because antagonizing War Machine is pretty low on the list of good ideas that anyone has ever had. Sabin DDTs Sanada, but thankfully, it doesn’t mess up Sanada’s hair. EVIL makes the comeback and there’s a tag to Hanson, who runs wild on Sabin and Gresham with clotheslines in the corner. Ian declares that Hattori is ‘letting them fight’, which is code for ‘Tiger went blind 5 years ago’. Los Ingos tries to break that up, but Hanson is far too awesome for that, and now it’s EVIL and Sanada’s turn to take the corner clotheslines. They both end up stacked in a corner, and Rowe comes in to pick up Hanson and drop him on the Ingos. Sabin dives in with a crossbody and gets caught by Rowe, but manages to fight off Fallout as Gresham ‘ranas Hanson off the top rope. Double suplex attempt on Rowe, but that doesn’t work, so they throw forearms at him instead, which Rowe blocks with his HEAD. Any other wrestler does that, it probably doesn’t work, but somehow for Rowe, it does. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex on Sabin and Gresham at the same time, and now Sanada is back in. Springboard missile dropkick by Sanada, and he distracts the ref as EVIL brings in a couple of chairs, wraps one around Hanson’s head, then swings for the fences, knocking the chair off Hanson’s head and into next week. Good Lord. Gresham and Sabin are back in now, and they toss Sanada and EVIL, then Gresham follows out with a tope on EVIL as Sabin hits a slingshot crossbody on Rowe, Sanada avoided it and he hits a big ol’ dive of his own onto everyone on the floor. Hanson goes up to the top, but Sabin pulls him off, turning himself heel in the process. Rowe back in and he knees Sabin in the face, pop-up powerslam on Sabin by War Machine, and that’s enough to finish this. (War Machine over Search & Destroy and Los Ingobernables de Japon, pinfall, 8:46)

MATCH RATING: ***. Can’t go higher (I kind of think I’m too high on it), but I really enjoyed this while it lasted. Wouldn’t have minded seeing a few more minutes. War Machine winning was interesting, as I thought that Los Ingos winning might create some intrigue in the tag division back in Japan, but making War Machine look dominant is perfectly fine, to be honest. Match moved very well, flowing from guy to guy, and everyone getting taken out and unable to make the save, allowing the big double team to finish was perfectly fine with me.

War Machine bows to the crowd as the replays are shown. They offer the post-match Code of Honor to Gresham and Sabin; Jonathan accepts, but Chris goes to accept and falls flat on his face instead. Now THAT is selling the finish. Hail Sabin.

Video package airs for White/Ospreay. Man, they put Jay White over guys for SIX MONTHS and didn’t do shit one with him. Meanwhile, they bring in Marty Scurll, treat him like a huge star, put him over everyone, and he’s a huge star. How do they get it so wrong and so right at the same time?

Show is doing fine so far, nothing blowaway.

Can we change that?

Jay White vs Will Ospreay

Man, White is channeling the Brian Kendrick look these days. Code of Honor is followed. They don’t waste any time, as Ospreay hammers him with forearms and bicycle kicks, and White responds by dropping him with a stiff forearm. Oh, this is gonna be fun. Will fires back and Jay escapes to the floor, Ospreay follows him out and they do a nifty reversal sequence there before Ospreay kicks White, then heads back in to try a tope, but White catches him and slams him into the barricade! Ouch. And indeed, Ospreay is sporting a wicked welt on his back as a result. Jay sends him to another for funsies, then slides back in as the ref begins the count. Ospreay back in, White levels him with an uppercut in the corner, and Will sells it like he’s been shot. Glorious. That gets two. Ospreay tries to fight back, but White hits him with a dropkick and puts him in a Mutalock. Will makes the ropes, then makes a comeback with a handspring kick, but can’t follow up because he’s hurtin’. Will catches a charging White with a kick from the apron, then springs in with a flying clothesline for two. Ospreay with a standing shooting star press, but he can’t hit the moonsault and White wipes him out coming off the ropes with a back elbow. Rolling single underhook suplexes by White end with him suplexing Will into the buckles. They exchange running shots from corner to corner, Ospreay goes for a ‘rana but White turns it into a running Ligerbomb! That gets two. Crowd is torn, chanting for both guys. They meet in the center of the ring and exchange forearms, just stiffing the crap out of each other, Will gains a momentary advantage but misses a kick and White just BURIES him with shots to the midsection and a big forearm to the face! Ospreay fires up and takes shots at Jay, but gets caught with a Flatliner from White. German suplex attempt from White, Ospreay lands on his feet, German suplex from Will! Ospreay off the ropes, White turns him inside-out with a lariat! Deadlift German suplex from White! Jay off the ropes, standing Spanish Fly from Ospreay! Both guys are down as the crowd thinks this is awesome, and the crowd is very much correct. Ospreay goes up, 450 attempt and he lands on his feet, then hits White with a kick, Code Red from Ospreay! 1, 2, NO! White rolls out as Will can’t believe it, Ospreay off the ropes, Space Flying Tiger Drop…..caught by Jay White! White hoists him up, drops him head-first on the apron! WILL OSPREAY IS NUTS. Tic another day off the wheelchair countdown. Missile dropkick off the top by White, he picks Ospreay up, Will goes for the reverse ‘rana, White hangs on and hits a chest first Alabama Slam! Half and half suplex by White drops Will on his head again! White goes for a brainbuster, but Ospreay twists mid-air and turns it into a stunner! Twisting kick by Ospreay out of the corner, White catches him in a crucifix and just starts elbowing him in the head! Double underhook by White, and he hoists him up and slams him from there! Kind of like Angel’s Wings. That gets two. Some fan gets so excited, he throws a streamer in the ring while the match is still going. White puts Will on the top rope and looks for a double underhook superplex, they slug it out up there and Will just says ‘fuck it’ and nails White with a nasty headbutt! Ospreay tucks White’s head into the buckle, superkick to the face of Jay sends him to the floor! Ospreay runs up top, shooting star press to Jay White on the floor! He tosses White back in immediately, Oscutter! 1, 2, 3! THIS SHOW HAS BEEN STOLEN. (Will Ospreay over Jay White, pinfall, 13:16)

MATCH RATING: ****3/4. Oh man, where do I even begin? The match construction was tight, with the comebacks and advantage tradeoffs done spectacularly well, as they told a good story with White blocking the big jumps from Will at every turn, but not being able to put him away before Ospreay was finally able to fly and win the match. They had exactly the right amount of time to work with, the shots were stiff as hell, there was no dead time between the bells as the transitions were all aces…..I mean, outside of a very few flaws, this was fantastic professional wrestling. Kudos to both guys for this amazing effort, and this might have been the big breakthrough match that Jay White needed. Find this one and check it out – it was like a weird hybrid of Gargano/Ciampa from the CWC with the stiffness and Ricochet/Ospreay from the BOSJ with the spots. Great match.

Post-match, Ospreay hits his pose, then immediately falls over. He offers the handshake to White on his knees, and both guys help each other up and give a hug. Man, Rip Rogers would HATE this. But fuck him. They pose for the crowd, then Punishment Martinez comes out and kills both guys. Now, I know that some guys liked this, because it gave Punishment a ton of heat, which I can understand, but fuck that. He didn’t need it and they should have left this one alone.

The announcers are aghast.

Hey, it’s Roppongi Vice! They head out with Hirooki Goto, and it’s time for some 6-man tag title action! I dig me some Roppongi Vice. “Reach for the sky, boy!” And here come the Briscoes! Jay Briscoe, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, shave. your. head. But where’s Bully Ray? Ah, that spotlight tells me he’s on the 2nd deck of Hammerstein, soaking in the ECW chants. He’s got himself a mic! “Do you know where you are?” They’re in New York City, baby! You’re gonna die! He tells CHAOS that they’re about to get the ass-kicking of a lifetime, and they’re gonna give everyone what they want to see; this match is now no-DQ!

Huh. Guess Bully is allowed to do that. Jay Briscoe decides to take him to heart and flies out onto Goto and Roppongi with a tope, and Mark follows that with a moonsault off the top to the floor.

Bully Ray & The Briscoes (Jay and Mark) (c) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Trent Baretta, & Rocky Romero) – Ring of Honor 6-Man World Tag Team championship match

Mark suplexes Baretta on the floor as Bully climbs over the barricade. Mark follows that with the Cactus Jack elbow off the apron, then just chucks a chair right at Trent’s head. Is it written in the ROH rules that Trent has to get the shit kicked out of him everytime he comes to ROH? CHAOS ends up back in the ring and we get Lucha Bully, as he flies off the top onto all 3 of them. You may have seen a pic of it recently, if you’re into Randy Orton Twitter tantrums. Mark throws Ray a chair, but Goto shows Bully what a real weapon looks like and headbutts him. Probably hurt more than the chair. Speaking of the chair, Jay and Mark both take chairshots to the head, which I really wish they wouldn’t do for many reasons, not the least of which is the sheer amount of concussions those two have probably had over the years in ROH. CHAOS rules the ring now, with Trent hitting a chair-assisted knee to the head of Mark; come on, guys. Rocky doesn’t hear me, as he throws a chair at Mark’s head as Briscoe comes off the top rope. Both Briscoes end up on the floor and Trent does a tope con hilo onto them, then tosses Mark back in and throws a chair at his head. Well, they’re channeling all the worst parts of ECW here, I’ll give ’em that. CHAOS keeps Mark in the ring isolated and Rocky gets two off a drop toehold onto the chair. At least that’s relatively safe, I suppose. Goto gets a Saito suplex on Mark and Bully makes the save. He and Goto end up on the outside while the Briscoes and Roppongi Vice hook it up in the ring. Trent ends up on the floor, and Mark hits a Blockbuster off the apron, while Jay throws a chair at Rocky on the other side of the floor and Bully calls out Goto in the center of the ring. That ends up poorly for Ray, as Goto hits him with a Death Valley Driver. Jay comes in and clobbers Goto with uppercuts, but Vice come back in with double knees to stop that. Vice goes for Strong Zero on Jay, Mark comes back in and stops that with a dropkick on Baretta that ends up in Code Red for Jay. Mark with a rolling Death Valley Driver on Rocky and he goes up, but Trent is back in to meet him, Trent and Rocky go for a double superplex, but Bully and Jay break that up and we get a double Doomsday Device instead from Mark. Goto tries again, but ends up taking the Wazzup in elbow form from Mark. Bully calls for the tables, Trent has the temerity to stick his nose in it and he ends up taking a powerbomb through it, and the 3-D finishes Romero to retain. (Bully Ray & The Briscoes over CHAOS, pinfall, 12:52)

MATCH RATING: **3/4. This was a mess. I actually like Bully Ray and the Briscoes together, but these titles don’t mean shit to begin with, so the fact they retained wasn’t even that big a thing to me. Anyway, most of the match was worked just fine and the crowd was into it, but there were multiple chairshots to the head that made me just squirm a bit in my seat. At least they threw the chairs instead of swinging them, I suppose? Either way, if you’re into this type of garbage brawl, you’ll enjoy it, as the match energy was good at least.

Post-match, the crowd chants for ECW, so Bully grabs the mic and chants ‘ROH!’ to get them to change it up. In the role they have him in, Bully is just fine.

Video package for Scurll/Sydal. Let’s hear from the Villain! “Some of us are here for an education!” Matthew Sydal, he’s watched you for many years! A hell of a wrestler you are, but he doesn’t know what makes Sydal think he can be involved in Scurll’s business! He came to ROH for the best competition in the world, and there is no doubt that Sydal is one of the best! He swings umbrellas, chickenwings fellas, and he will still be the Ring of Honor World television champion!

There’s the music of Matt Sydal! He makes his way out to…..mild cheers. Up next, it’s the best entrance theme in wrestling, and that means that the Villain is here! He’s out in full-on plague doctor gear, trusty umbrella in tow. Crowd is SOLIDLY behind Scurll here, it’s really not even close.

“The Villain” Marty Scurll (c) vs “Reborn” Matt Sydal – Ring of Honor World TV championship match

Colt: “Sydal has recently spent time in Japan.” Code of Honor is offered by Sydal, but Scurll kicks his hand away. Crowd: “Break his fingers!” That’s COLD, guys. They do a nice chain wrestling sequence to start. Sydal eats a back elbow from Scurll, then responds with a ‘rana. More mat work, then Scurll hits a back kick, Sydal responds with a basement dropkick in the corner and the crowd gives absolutely zero shits. Sydal jaws with them for a few seconds, but it’s becoming rapidly clear that he’s the wrong guy at the wrong time to try to play babyface against Scurll. Marty takes him down and goes to work on the shoulder. Sydal fights back and tries a dive, but Marty rolls back in the ring and stomps on Sydal’s fingers on the apron, then hops out and superkicks him in the head. More stomps to the elbow and shoulder from Scurll, then an overhead throw to Matt. ARROGANT COVER~! gets one. Back to the arm now, but Sydal creates some space and catches Marty with a boot on a blind charge. Matt with kicks and a pumphandle driver for two. Scurll goes up, but Sydal ‘ranas him off the top. Meteora by Sydal gets two. They do the ‘yay/boo’ striking exchange and Sydal gets the boos, even with Marty going to the eyes. Fakeout superkick hits the knee for Scurll, but he comes off the ropes and eats a spinning heel kick from Matt. Scurll reverses a suplex into a brainbuster and goes for the chickenwing, but Sydal turns that into a slice for two. Note to Ian Riccaboni – I generally like what you do, and you play off Colt really well, but please stop saying ‘New Champion’ on every goddamn pinfall attempt, will ya? A frustrated Sydal reaches for Scurll, but Marty catches him by the fingers and the crowd falls silent almost IMMEDIATELY, because they’re into Scurll, and he rewards them by breaking the fingers of Sydal. They shower him with a ‘you sick fuck’ chant, and Marty grins a mile wide. I would too, if I had a crowd in the palm of my hand like he does. Brainbuster attempt is reversed mid-move into a ‘rana by Sydal, which was cool. Marty goes for the chickenwing again, but Sydal reverses to a Vertebreaker, which I haven’t seen in awhile, and he goes up for the SSP. That eats the knees, though, and Scurll is through fucking around, as he applies the chickenwing and gets the quick tapout to retain. (Marty Scurll over Matt Sydal, submission, 11:29)

MATCH RATING: ***1/4. They tried, but the crowd was against Sydal and it hurt the match a bunch. The ringwork was very good, to be sure, but the match lacked drama as it was pretty clear that Scurll had to win and Sydal was no real threat. Scurll is on another planet right now with his natural charisma elevating matches beyond the ordinary, and he gave it his all out there, but the crowd was not buying into Sydal at all.

Up next, we see the graphic for the Bucks/Los Ingos. And the music hits, and here comes BUSHI, wearing a Venom mask tonight. The crowd reacts and that means that here comes the IWGP Intercontinental champ, as Tetsuya Naito makes his way to the ring, kicking the title belt the whole way. I love this man. He tosses the belt in the ring as the crowd chants his name. The sound of “Suupeeerkiiiiiick Party!” can only mean that we’re about to be treated to the Jacksons, and here come the Bucks.

The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)

The Bucks toss their belts in the air just like Naito, and we’re ready to get started. NAITO offers the Code of Honor, but the Bucks turn it down. That was odd. Naito and Nick start us off, and Naito does his usual stalling. I don’t know, but when he does it, it totally works. Nick does the same, so Naito spits at him. Nick takes exception and fires away. Naito takes over and ends up sending both Bucks to the floor, and BUSHI follows them out with a tope. Meanwhile, Naito runs the ropes before sliding into his pose, causing Nick to throw a tantrum outside the ring because Naito is just that much more awesome than he is. Back in and BUSHI chokes Nick with his shirt, but the Bucks make a comeback and clear the ring with double-teams. Tope con hilo by Nick mostly misses, but the Los Ingos guys are kind enough to sell it anyway. Matt works over BUSHI back in the ring now, but gets tripped by Naito and takes a BUSHI dropkick. Los Ingos with the double-team now, as Naito puts Matt in a camel clutch and BUSHI dropkicks him there. Nick comes in and they trade off, this time BUSHI with the clutch and Naito runs the ropes into a curb stomp. Powerslam by Naito gets two on Matt. Matt manages to run BUSHI and Naito together, and hooks them up in a monumentally silly spot that ends with a combo DDT/Sliced Bread on Los Ingos. Looked pretty, but the setup was contrived enough to see from outer space. Hot tag Nick, and it’s kicks for everyone! BUSHI ends up on the floor, and we get a springboard facebuster on Naito and a tornado DDT to BUSHI on the floor. More double-teams from the Bucks, including a top rope double stomp onto BUSHI that Nick somersaults through on the landing for a lungblower on Naito. Assisted Swanton on Naito, but BUSHI saves it.

Missile dropkick by BUSHI drops Matt, but he spins up and gets clocked with a superkick from Nick. Tornado DDT from Naito on Nick, but Matt is back and he superkicks Naito. Naito repays him with a sloppy reverse ‘rana. They slug it out and Matt wins that, but he taunts Naito to ‘suck it’ one too many times, and Tetsuya decides to kick it instead, as he catches a kick from Matt and punts him one in the grapefruits. Watching a Buck get kicked in the nuts brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye, and it’s all the better that Naito is doing the kicking. Naito goes for Destino, but Matt reverses him to the tombstone position, Nick goes for the Meltzer Driver, BUSHI pulls him off the ropes and mists Matt. Naito rolls him up for two, but Matt can’t see and he ends up superkicking everyone, including his brother and the ref. I’m a sucker for that type of thing, I freely admit. Hee! He finds a water bottle and cleans off his face, then realizes what he’s done. He walks into a Codebreaker from BUSHI, and Naito follows it up with Destino! 1, 2, Nick breaks it up with a swanton! Everyone back up and BUSHI takes a moonsault on the floor from Nick as Matt DDTs Naito on the apron (spiked him GOOD, too), they toss BUSHI back in and a 450/moonsault combo gets two. Good lord. Nick does a top rope dive to keep Naito on the outside, and Matt catches BUSHI off the ropes to set up the Meltzer Driver, which hits this time as the Bucks retain. (The Young Bucks over Los Ingobernables de Japon, pinfall, 13:36)

MATCH RATING: ***1/2. I’ve finally found a formula that works for me watching Bucks matches – divorce myself from my dislike of them and just rate it based on whether or not the match delivered on what it promised. This one did, but it was one of the lesser ones that I’ve seen. The contrived spots were out in force, and there wasn’t enough of a match that was strung along underneath them to draw me in. Naito adds weight to the match, as he’s got enough charisma to elevate anything, and the rest of it was a typical Young Bucks match, with the double teams and planned spots that you should expect. A bit on the shorter side, and I’m glad Naito got out of there alive after that apron DDT.

Quick recap of the earlier announcement about the IWGP US title – honestly, I don’t get the hate that I’ve seen online about this one. If they want to expand into the US, having their own belt seems perfectly reasonable to me.

And there’s the music of Hiroshi Tanahashi! This is billed as a dream match, and in one respect it is, as Adam Cole has publicly stated that he’s always wanted to wrestle Tana. “Bullet Club….bay-bay!” The 3-time former ROH World champion makes his way out for what could be the final time on ROH PPV.

Adam Cole vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Tiger Hattori is reffing again, so do whatever you want, boys! Lockup goes to the ropes and Tana gives a clean break, then some air guitar. Cole is less than pleased, and gives a bit of his own. Chain wrestling sequence now, won by Tana, so Cole pulls the hair, which Hiroshi is happy to do as well. They break but Cole goes back to it, then gives us our first ‘Adam Cole, bay-bay!’; Tana is non-plussed, as he puts Cole in an abdominal stretch after making sure we get a ‘Tanahashi, bay-bay!’. Some air guitar on Cole’s midsection as Adam makes the ropes to break. Cole goes to the eyes and kicks Tana to the floor, then hops out to send him to the barricade. Back in, and Cole takes over. Tana tries to fight back and Cole goes to the eyes again, then suplexes him for two. I get what they’re TRYING to do here, as Cole is playing the heel, but it ain’t working. Crowd wants to cheer for both guys, just let them; clearly defined roles in this match are not necessary to draw heat. Adam runs the ropes and puts on the chinlock, but Tana is ready and immediately reverses to one of his own. Tana on offense, and he gets two off a somersault senton. Cole hits a bicycle kick and an Ushigoroshi for two. Panama Sunrise attempt from Cole misses, Tana goes up now, somersault senton misses, Shining Wizard from Cole gets two. Superkick to the knee by Cole, but he stops to play to the crowd and Tana hits a straitjacket suplex for two. They slug it out, won by Tana, but he comes off the ropes right into an enzuigiri from Cole. Superkick by Cole! Again! He goes for a third, but Tana catches the leg and Rolls the Dice. Sling Blade from Tana gets two. High Fly Flow, but Adam gets up the knees! Last Shot from Cole! 1, 2, NO! Cole goes up now, COLE hits High Fly Flow! 1, 2, NO! Tana stops another Last Shot, superkick from Hiroshi! He goes up and comes off, Cole with a superkick! Cole pulls down the kneepad, flying knee from Cole get two. Last Shot attempt, Tana reverses, side suplex! Hiroshi goes up, High Fly Flow hits! 1, 2, 3! (Hiroshi Tanahashi over Adam Cole, pinfall, 13:34)

MATCH RATING: ***1/4. They were trying for an epic feel here (hence the match being placed 2nd from the top), but they didn’t get it. It was a very good wrestling match with a hot ending, but not a classic like they seemed to be shooting for. For one thing, the early part of the match didn’t really connect to the much better, hotter second part of the match – it felt weirdly disjointed in a way. Besides that, Tanahashi was working in strictly second gear tonight, which makes sense, in that he has a much bigger match against Naito coming up and needs to take care of himself. Still, I was slightly disappointed here, even though the match itself wasn’t actively BAD or anything, just kind of above average when I wanted great.

Post-match, Tana soaks in some cheers and leaves.

Let the real fun begin.

The crowd chants “Thank you Adam!” as Cole stands up, and I’d be a complete liar if I said there wasn’t a bit of a tear in my eye. This feels like it might be the end. Cole salutes the crowd as the Bucks hit the ring and ready the superkicks, but when Cole turns around, they bring it in for the hug instead. And we get a nice curtain call here, so all’s right and it’s a nice sendoff for Cole.

Then…..the lights go out.

The screen flickers to life, and the crowd goes crazy as the face of Kenny Omega fills it. Full transcription: “Sssshhhh. No, no, no. This is Adam’s special moment. How touching. What a curtain call. Yes, I really wish I could be there with you right now, Adam, but unfortunately, I cannot. Young Bucks, I must admit, I’m a little disappointed. The same man that tried to fire you less than two months ago is now standing in the middle of the ring, being showered with adulation from the crowd. Thank you, Adam. Thank you, Adam. Well Adam, you see, I feel like I have to send my special thanks too! Because, let’s face it, your tenure in Bullet Club, your tenure in professional wrestling, has been long, has been fruitful, has been storied. But just like all fairy tales, Adam, there has to be a hero, and there has to be a villain. (The camera pans out to reveal a man dressed in a top hat and plague mask standing next to Omega) Adam Cole, consider yourself officially fired.”

The lights go out again, and when they come back up, a man is standing in the ring with Cole and the Bucks. He takes off his top hat and plague mask, revealing Marty Scurll! Scurll unfolds his umbrella, and the Bullet Club logo is painted on it! The crowd goes BATSHIT as Cole looks confused, then the Bucks hit him with the double superkick! Scurll takes off his jacket to reveal the Bullet Club shirt as the Bucks hand him a second umbrella. Scurll winds up and CLOCKS Cole with the umbrella, then puts the handle under Adam’s chin and pulls his lifeless form up for the Bucks to kiss Cole’s cheeks. Adam Cole has been fired from the Bullet Club and laid out, and Marty Scurll has taken his place as the crowd chants his name.

Crowd laps it all up with a spoon, as they were crazy hot for all of this, and considering the track record of guys who end up getting turfed from Bullet Club, I’m thinking that it’s possible that we see a certain face in the crowd on Saturday at NXT.

Whew.

Oh, there’s still another match?

Promo for the main event, covering Daniels getting hit from behind by Cody, and Lethal winning the Fatal 4-way to become the top contender.

“Wrestling has more than one royal family.” That can only mean that Cody Rhodes is here! He’s followed by Jay Lethal, and that means it’s time for the champ, as the Ring of Honor World champion…..of the World makes his way to the ring.

“The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels (c) vs Jay Lethal vs Cody Rhodes – 3-way Dance for the Ring of Honor World championship

Cody bails to start, then grabs a chair and sits in it, telling Lethal and Daniels to fight. Because they have the idiot disease that comes with being a babyface, instead of going out to get Cody they do decide to fight. They run the ropes and Lethal flies out with a tope onto Rhodes, so I guess he’s not quite that dumb, then. Daniels comes out and gets sent to the barricade by Jay, then it’s a tope for both of them, but Lethal buggers his knee in the process. Jay and Cody do a sequence in the ring as Lethal hits the seated dropkick. Crowd is just completely burned out by what happened before this, you can tell. Daniels back in and he works Lethal over, Jay fights back before Cody takes both guys out with a missile dropkick. He tosses Lethal and puts Chris in a figure-four, but Daniels makes the ropes. Lethal back now, and he takes over for a bit. Cody fights back and ends up crotching Lethal on the post. He gives the fans in the front row the middle finger, so Chris sends him to the barricade. Back in and he gets a slam and split-legged moonsault on Lethal for two.

Uranage by Daniels is countered and Cody comes back in to hit the drop-down right, then a dragon-screw on Lethal. Lethal goes out and it’s Daniels and Cody, and Cody takes over there, hitting a delayed front suplex on Chris. Beautiful Disaster gets two. Rhodes is frustrated and preps the timekeeper’s table, attempt to suplex Daniels through it is blocked by Lethal as Jay and Chris suplex Cody back into the ring. Double clothesline hits knock down Cody and Jay, and now it’s Chris with the advantage. This match is really technically pretty good, but there’s something missing from it. Blue Thunder Bomb on Lethal by Daniels and Jay rolls out, then Cody charges and Daniels sends him over the top. Split-legged moonsault by Daniels takes both guys out on the floor. Back in and Daniels goes for Angel’s Wings, but Lethal stops it and he goes for the Lethal Injections, Cody blocks that so both guys beat up Cody instead. Lethal Combination from Jay on Chris, but he takes a powerslam from Cody right after. Flatliner by Daniels and all 3 guys are down. 3-way slugfest and Daniels gets hiptossed to the floor by Rhodes, Cody with a kick to the knee of Jay and a Beautiful Disaster kick to Daniels on the apron to send him back down. Moonsault by Cody, but Lethal steps out of the way and Rhodes eats the mat.

Lethal goes up for Hail to the King, but Daniels crotches him and attempts a superplex, then Cody comes over and we get a Tower of Doom situation, but Daniels ‘ranas out of it. Cody comes back with a CrossRhodes and covers, Jay comes off the top with the elbow so Cody hops off and Lethal hits Daniels. Lethal and Cody trade pin attempts on Daniels, then Daniels rolls to the apron as they slug it out. Irish whip ends up sending Rhodes into Daniel on the apron, and Chris goes crashing through the table of Damocles on the outside. Jay and the ref bump heads, and Cody kicks him low, another disaster kick is countered to a cutter from Lethal. 1, 2, no! Lethal Injection attempt by Jay is countered to a CrossRhodes! 1, 2, NO! Cody puts Lethal in a figure-four now, Jay reaches for the ropes, Daniels back in! Best. Moonsault. EVER! on Cody, whose legs are trapped in the figure-four with Lethal! 1, 2, 3! Daniels retains! (Christopher Daniels over Jay Lethal and Cody Rhodes, pinfall, 13:32)

MATCH RATING: ***. Match was technically good, although Rhodes had a few slipups here and there. Here’s the main problem that ROH has right now, though – Christopher Daniels is a bad World champ. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the angle that got him the title, and I thought it was a great moment when he did. But that story, his story, pretty much ended there, and they need to get the title off him. Cody Rhodes has a lot of faults, but he would be a better champ at this point in time than Chris, because he has more heat and gets better responses. I think the world of Chris as a worker, but his character has no sympathy now that his quest is over and there isn’t value to keeping the title on him, whereas there is value to putting the strap on Cody, even though I don’t think he’s half the worker that most of the guys in the company are. He’s a good heel that gets a reaction in ROH, and that’s something that they need. I fully expect he’s probably getting it at some point, although right now, I’d cut my losses and consider bringing in Scurll, and that’s not just me being a homer – Scurll got a bigger reaction tonight than anyone besides Cole or the Bucks.

Post-match, Daniels poses before giving the handshake to Lethal. Ad for Best in the World next month takes us out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a decent piece of business, but I think it was a step below what ROH has been doing on PPV recently, to be perfectly frank. Filled with no real ‘bad’ matches, yes, but there was only one absolute must-see here (Jay White/Will Ospreay), while the rest was very good, if not great. The big angle to send off Cole and elevate Scurll was done very well and made Marty look like a star, so in that respect, they did a good job. Overall, it’s worth your time as ROH normally brings the goods on PPV, and even a slightly lesser effort is still better than most.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter