Ring of Honor Global Wars PPV Preview

Howdy!

I hope that everyone enjoyed Civil War this weekend; let’s talk about what to watch on Sunday, shall we? This Sunday, emanating from Chicago, Il, Ring of Honor presents Global Wars 2016, the annual PPV in which New Japan Pro Wrestling talent comes to ROH (although to be fair, since the talent-sharing agreement was announced this has been happening more often). My job over the next couple thousand words is to try to convince each and every one of you to plunk down some of your hard-earned dollars to watch said PPV. So let’s see if we can accomplish that, shall we?

The history of this event is relatively simple; Global Wars is the re-christened PPV formerly known as Border Wars. The event was renamed in 2014 and this will be the third iteration of the renamed PPV. ROH and NJPW have put a lot into their talent-sharing agreement, punctuated by the tremendous upset at Honor Rising in which Tomohiro Ishii became the ROH World TV Champion, unseating Roderick Strong. Our goal, as always, is to give the history of the match for everyone, including those who haven’t been watching ROH; we want all of you to come aboard and check it out! We’ve got 8 matches on the card, so let’s get to breaking them down!

THE ADDICTION (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & FRANKIE KAZARIAN) vs JUSHIN ‘THUNDER’ LIGER & CHEESEBURGER

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Let’s start off with the former tag team champions of the world, of the world; that would be The Addiction. Christopher Daniels is no stranger to most of you, as one of the most celebrated Indy wrestlers of all time. Most famous for ROH and his run in TNA, especially his matches against AJ Styles. He began teaming with Kazarian at that time as the tag team Bad Influence, which is probably where most of you will remember Frankie from. He is also a former PWG World champion and a former TNA X-Division Champion. Up next, if you don’t know who Jushin Liger is….man, I don’t know what to say. One of the most influential light heavyweights of all-time, he just had a **** match with the current IWGP Jr champ KUSHIDA at Wrestling Dontaku while being 50+ on the age side. Now for Cheeseburger; Cheeseburger is a comedy wrestler in ROH who weighs under 150 pounds and is frequently destroyed to great sympathy heat from the crowd. He also idolizes Liger, having taken his ‘finisher’, the Shotei palm strike.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Very little. Liger needed a partner for the match and with Cheeseburger idolizing him, it makes sense. Program them against two heels and boom, insta-match!

WHO WINS? – While I wouldn’t be shocked if the Liger/Burger team went over, you have to think that since the Addiction are always a back-pocket challenger for the tag team belts in a very rich division, it probably makes more sense to put them over here.

YOUR WINNER – The Addiction

ACH vs ADAM PAGE vs RODERICK STRONG vs DALTON CASTLE – NUMBER 1 CONTENDER’S MATCH FOR THE ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – ACH is one of the top high-flyers in Ring of Honor. Frequently a partner of Matt Sydal, he’s been working with ROH since 2012. Adam Page has recently turned on his former partner in the Decade, BJ Whitmer, and seems to have moved on from that into wanting title shots. He and ACH have a history of feuding dating back to Page’s time in the Decade. Roderick Strong is one of the longest-tenured wrestlers in Ring of Honor, having worked for the company since 2003. In addition to his status as a former ROH World Champion and former ROH World Tag champion, he is also a two-time former holder of this very belt, having been the wrestler who lost it to Ishii at Honor Rising. And that leaves us with Dalton Castle. After a seemingly never-ending feud with Silas Young took up most of the last year, he’s hopefully moving on and up. Castle is one of the most unique stars in ROH; while many of the wrestlers are strictly boots and tights type guys, Castle has an extremely flamboyant personality, calling himself a peacock, and is accompanied to the ring by two young men called his ‘Boys’, scantily clad dudes who fan him off at intervals throughout the match.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – The ROH World Television title, that’s the issue. It is the secondary belt in Ring of Honor but is frequently treated with extreme respect, as many former TV title holders have gone on to win the ROH World championship at some point. Its prestige and lineage is very important in the world of ROH, and becoming the #1 contender is an important step for any wrestler.

WHO WINS? – This is a good one, because any of these guys could come out on top. Strong is actually the least likely candidate in my view, due to him having just had a run with the belt recently. Page, while a decent choice, feels as though he’s not quite at the level he needs to be at yet to win this one. That leaves us with two. ACH is a guy I’ve been begging them to push for the last few years, as he pops crowds with his high-flying act and would benefit from finally getting a big shove behind him, as he seemingly gets close but then loses right when he needs to get to the next level. But I’m going to go with the Peacock himself, Dalton Castle. Castle is one of the single-most marketable wrestlers that ROH has, and now that he’s finally put his feud with Silas Young behind him, is probably the wrestler who would benefit most from winning the title if they want to go that route. He’s perpetually over and I think that now is the time to see if he can carry a title in ROH.

YOUR WINNER – Dalton Castle

THE BULLET CLUB (MATT JACKSON, NICK JACKSON, TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA) vs THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (ALEX SHELLEY & CHRIS SABIN), MATT SYDAL, & KUSHIDA

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Whew. Okay, let’s start with the Bullet Club. A Japanese heel faction (although they are frequently cheered like faces in ROH), their members in this match are the Young Bucks and the Guerillas of Destiny. The Bucks are a highly-innovative tag team, brothers in real life, who are crazy over in ROH and are part of the NEVER Six-man Tag Champs with Kenny Omega in NJPW. Well, this week at least. They are polarizing, yes, but they’re also insanely over and well-loved by the ROH crowd. The Guerillas of Destiny are Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, also real life brothers who are the sons of Haku; Tanga might also be familiar to you as the former Camacho from the WWE. They are the current IWGP Heavyweight tag team champions. The Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, are formerly of TNA and have just recently reunited in ROH. Shelley also used to team with KUSHIDA, who is the current IWGP Jr champion and one of the top light heavyweights in the world. He is an awesome worker and I love him in a manly way. Matt Sydal most of you will remember as the former Evan Bourne from the WWE, and is currently one half of the IWGP Jr Tag Team champions with Ricochet.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – This is a basic ROH/NJPW crossover match. The brothers Tonga have not had much time in ROH, but the Bucks are signed to an exclusive deal that has made them one of ROH’s top tag teams. With the Machine Guns reuniting recently, it makes sense to give them a few partners and have a crazy 8-man tag to tear the house down. Sydal’s work in particular over the last several months has been excellent, as has KUSHIDA’s.

WHO WINS? – Flip a coin, really. I suspect that this one is the Bullet Club’s for the taking, as NJPW guys tend to win these types of matches, plus there’s really no loss for ROH if they do, as there isn’t really any personal issue to settle. I could see it going the other way, but this one just feels like it’s there for the Bullet Club to win. I think that part of the reason that this match is actually happening is that Kenny Omega could not get his visa issues cleared to make the show, which means that while the Bucks would normally team with him as part of their ‘Elite’ faction of the Bullet Club, they had to go elsewhere.

YOUR WINNER – The Bullet Club

HIROSHI TANAHASHI & MICHAEL ELGIN vs KAZUCHIKA OKADA (WITH GEDO) & MOOSE (WITH STOKELY HATHAWAY)

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Let’s start with Tanahashi. A former 7-time IWGP World champ, he is a partner of Elgin’s in Japan since the 2015 world tag league. He holds the record for most successful title defenses of that championship and most reigns with that title. He is, quite simply, one of the top wrestlers in the world. Michael Elgin is a former ROH World champion who spends the majority of his time in the Land of the Rising Sun these days, having lost his last ROH title shot to Jay Lethal at WrestleKingdom 10. He’s a strong, large wrestler who has earned the sobriquet ‘Big Mike’ over in Japan, where he’s extremely well-loved. Kazuchika Okada is another former IWGP World champ. Known as ‘The Rainmaker’, Okada is one of the most popular stars in Japan and is the leader of the faction CHAOS; he is managed by NJPW booker Gedo. Moose is a former NFL player who is a large, agile big man. Still a little rough around the edges, he’s got all the potential in the world, and ROH has continued to put him in the ring with guys like Elgin, Okada, etc. He is managed by Stokely Hathaway.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – At the ROH 14th Anniversary show, Elgin and Tanahashi teamed to defeat the Briscoes, while at that same show Okada defeated Moose in a one on one match. Okada also has a long-standing rivalry with Tanahashi, having successfully defended the IWGP World title against him at WrestleKingdom 10. After defeating Moose, Stokely Hathaway announced at Supercard of Honor weekend that Okada was so impressed with Moose that he wanted to team with him at Global Wars, so Elgin and Tanahashi stepped up to the plate.

WHO WINS? – While I can certainly see the other side of things, I’m going to go with Moose and Okada here. Now, they could do a finish wherein the communication between the two of them breaks down and Moose eats the pinfall, but I’m standing by my assertion that Moose is the one that they want to showcase and push, so it makes sense that he be on the winning side in this one. I suspect that Okada will get the pinfall on Elgin, but that’s a small thing.

YOUR WINNER – Moose & Okada

TETSUYA NAITO vs KYLE O’REILLY

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Tetsuya Naito is the current IWGP World Champion, having won the title from Okada at Invasion Attack in what could be considered a relative upset. A former white-meat babyface, he’s currently the top star in the Japanese heel stable Los Ingobernables with Evil and Bushi. Kyle O’Reilly is the partner of one Bobby Fish in the tag team reDRagon; they’ve held tag team titles in both ROH and NJPW. O’Reilly is an MMA-based striker who uses knees and kicks along with arm-based submissions and is one of the top workers in the world. He’ll be part of ROH’s representation in the BOSJ tournament in Japan, where he made the finals last year against KUSHIDA.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – This is actually a rematch of sorts; last year on the second night of War of the Worlds, the two faced off with Naito getting the win there. This is the chance for Kyle to get redemption for that loss and catapult himself possibly into the IWGP title picture, or get back into the ROH World title picture.

WHO WINS? – Well, Kyle is my favorite wrestler in the entire world, and every time I pick him, he loses. But here, I’m not picking him even if that’s true, because I don’t think that Naito is doing a job to Kyle. Now, I would contend that Kyle needs it more; he’s lost both of his last two title shots against Jay Lethal for the World title and needs a high-profile win. Regardless, I would assume that Naito is not losing on the ROH PPV while the IWGP World champ.

YOUR WINNER – Tetsuya Naito

WAR MACHINE (HANSON & ROWE) vs THE BRISCOES (MARK & JAY BRISCOE) – RING OF HONOR WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – War Machine are the current ROH World tag team champions. They’re big, brawny guys with huge beards that come off as Vikings in attire. Of the two, Hanson especially is an agile big man and moves really well in the ring. The Briscoes are the true stalwarts of Ring of Honor, with Jay having actually wrestled on ROH’s first show back in 2002. They are real-life brothers who portray rednecks and are 8 time former ROH World tag team champions, with Jay also having won the ROH World title on two occasions.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – War Machine won the titles from the Kingdom back at Final Battle 2015, but there’s a thorn in their side, and that’s the Briscoes. The Briscoes have never lost to War Machine, and War Machine has stated that they won’t feel like they are truly the champs until they finally beat the Briscoes. For their part, the Briscoes have taken notice of ROH’s deep tag division these days and made it clear that they want to pick up those belts for a 9th time.

WHO WINS? – War Machine is the pick for me. They’ve been playing this whole thing as War Machine getting that big win that they finally need to truly feel like the champs, and I think that it’s time for them to get it. I like Jay and Mark more than I like War Machine, but that doesn’t change the fact that the time is right for Hanson and Rowe to pick up the duke here.

YOUR WINNER – (And STILL ROH World Tag Team champs!) War Machine

TOMOHIRO ISHII vs BOBBY FISH

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Bobby Fish is one-half of reDRagon with Kyle O’Reilly, one of the most decorated tag teams in the world with championships in both ROH and NJPW. He also will participate in the BOSJ tournament soon in NJPW. Tomohiro Ishii is the current ROH World TV champion, having won the belt from Roderick Strong at Honor Rising on Night 1. He is known as the ‘Stone Pitbull’ and works with heavy strikes and headbutts that are cringeworthy to hear. His work is extremely stiff and he is a former NEVER openweight champion, having dropped that belt to Katsuyori Shibata in one of the single stiffest matches I’ve ever seen.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Bobby Fish originally challenged Roderick Strong for the TV title back at Final Battle 2015; Strong tapped out to Fish outside the referee’s view, and when Fish released the hold thinking he had won, Strong got the win. After that, Fish lobbied Strong for a rematch, taunting Roddy about tapping out at every opportunity. Finally, he was set to get his rematch at the 14th Anniversary show, but one week before that show, Ishii won the belt from Roddy at Honor Rising. That turned the match at 14th anniversary into a triple threat in which Ishii successfully defended the title. Fish turned his attention to Strong again, defeating him a 2 out of 3 falls match at Supercard of Honor 10 Day 2 and establishing himself as the #1 contender to the TV title as a result, and getting his 1 on 1 against Ishii.

WHO WINS? – I didn’t think that Ishii was going to survive the last set of TV tapings with the belt, so I may not be the best one to say this; but I think there’s a good chance that we’re going to see a pretty big upset here and have Bobby walk out with the belt. It opens up more storyline possibilities, not just against Strong but possibly against Adam Cole or even against Kyle if they want to go that route. I would not at all be shocked to be wrong on this one, as I was sure Ishii was losing last time, but I gotta think that the TV title would be better served seeing it defended on ROH TV, so I’m going to go out on a limb here.

YOUR WINNER – (And NEW ROH World TV Champion!) Bobby Fish

JAY LETHAL (WITH TAELER HENDRIX) vs COLT CABANA

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Jay Lethal is the current ROH World champion, having held that title for close to a full year. He was previously the ROH World TV champion, and he held that belt for over a year after winning it, during which he turned heel and joined the stable the House of Truth, led by Truth Martini. So far in his run, Lethal has defeated Jay Briscoe, O’Reilly, Cole, Strong, & AJ Styles amongst others, and has been a dominant champ. Colt Cabana is an Indy stalwart, having worked in Ring of Honor from 2002 – 2007, returning in 2009, and finally returning again at Supercard of Honor 10 in 2016. He is famous for a lot of his actions outside the ring, mostly for his friendship with CM Punk and his podcast, which is one of the most listened to wrestling podcasts out there.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – At Supercard of Honor 10 Night 1, Lethal defeated Lio Rush. He proceeded to call out the ROH locker room, saying that there was no one left to beat. And then, Colt’s music hit, and out he came for the first time in 6 years to an ROH ring. He proceeded to cut a promo on Jay, claiming that his career would not be complete until he won the ROH World championship, and that’s what he was back to do. On Night 2 of Supercard of Honor, Lethal easily defeated Cheeseburger and cut his own promo stating that Cabana didn’t deserve a title shot, and Colt came out again, challenging Jay on the spot. He finally goaded Lethal into it, and won the non-title match with a rollup counter to Jay’s Lethal Injection attempt. That earned Cabana his shot at the strap, and here it is; even though Cabana lost a match in 2009 to Austin Aries that prevents him from challenging for the title in his hometown of Chicago, ROH has announced that provision has been waived by both parties.

WHO WINS? – Cabana returning to win the belt that eluded him for so many years in ROH is a compelling storyline, but they’ve fumbled it in a lot of ways. Colt has done his best as has Jay, but there’s really no reason that I think that Lethal is losing the belt here. Jay is very close to having a year-long reign with the title if he makes it to Best in the World, and I think that at this point he will do just that. I expect what may be a better match than most do, but I’m pretty sure that Lethal is coming out on top in this one.

YOUR WINNER – (And STILL ROH World Heavyweight Champ!) Jay Lethal

That’s all, folks! 8 matches on the card, not a dud amongst them. As usual, ROH excels at putting together a compelling in-ring product, and combining that with the NJPW guys normally makes for a very, very good time. There is the elephant in the room that is the lack of Adam Cole; he is not scheduled for matches at the PPV nor is he scheduled at this time for any matches at the TV tapings over the next few days. SOMETHING is going on there, it sure feels like. Cole has been MIA since Supercard 10 over a month ago, where he lost to Kyle O’Reilly in the main event, and one of ROH’s top stars being gone that long is bound to look a little suspicious.

Regardless, it’ll be nice to have an ROH PPV on a Sunday as opposed to their normal Friday slot. I’m sure that we’ll be discussing it on the blog in the nightly thread, and I hope that you’ll take the time to join us for some of the best wrestling in the world. See you all on Sunday night!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter