Well, I’ve got a LOT to say this week, to say the very least. Ring of Honor has had some interesting things happen over the last seven days, and the state of ROH needs to be talked about. But we’ll get to that. Since Ring of Honor didn’t see fit to give me a show to review this week (again, I’ll get to that), we’re going to take a look at Global Wars instead.
No move by move recaps this time, it’s a 3-hour show. We’ll stick to the more traditional recap style on this one, and then I’m going to rant at the end for awhile, so feel free to skip that if you wish, or read it and tell me that I’m wrong.
Ring of Honor – Global Wars 2016
Video package to start, focusing on two things: the previous two years of Global Wars with NJPW (including Nakamura defeating Steen, and it’s sort of crazy to think that we might get that match again sooner than later) & the return of Colt Cabana to challenge Jay Lethal for the ROH World title.
We are LIVE from the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, Il! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling 3.
The commentators are already talking about the fact that the Bucks have promised that there will be a new Bullet Club member tonight as they run down the card. But we’re going to start with a fatal 4-way to determine the #1 Contender to the ROH World TV Championship!
Roderick Strong vs Adam Page vs ACH vs Dalton Castle
ACH’s One Piece inspired outfit is genius. Castle is crazy over and is arguably the most popular guy in ROH right now. Tag rules apply here. Code of Honor is enthusiastically followed by ACH and Castle, but Page and Strong decline. ACH and Page start off, and Page gets a nice leg lariat for a quick one count. Strong tags himself in, but Page gets a missile dropkick and Roddy tags out to Dalton. Castle does his usual goofy stuff to sucker Page in and take over, and Strong tags back in after Page gets backed to the corner. Strong attacks Castle from behind and suplexes him, but he wanders to close the corner, and here comes Adam again to beat on Dalton. Strong wants another turn and he comes in with corner to corner chops. He keeps on puttin’ a whuppin’ on Castle while Corino already won’t SHUT UP about the promised superkick party that the Bucks have planned for later. Castle gets an exploder on Strong to slow him down, then one on Page when he comes in illegally. Finally ACH gets a tag into the match on Castle, but Dalton levels him. Neat-o sequence where Dalton ducks an ACH clothesline and goes through the ropes with a tope on Strong just as Adam Page somersaults over the top rope back into the ring. Page gets sent to the apron and does a shooting star press onto Strong and Castle on the outside, and that’s followed by ACH taking everyone out with Air Jordan. Match has been non-stop action so far, kudos. ACH goes for the Midnight Star on Strong, but Strong crotches him and runs wild with high knees on Castle and Page, then a superplex and the double-knee gutbuster on ACH. Sick Kick on Page, but Castle catches a jumping knee attempt and hits a Bangarang on top of Page, then pins Adam for the win. (Dalton Castle over Adam Page, Roderick Strong, & ACH, pinfall, 9:28)
RATING: ***. Solid match that never stopped moving. Felt more like an exhibition than it probably should have, and ACH was almost a non-factor outside of about a minute in the entire match, but the right guy went over in the right way; Strong can claim that he was killing everyone and Dalton got lucky, which gives us more matches for him. The time to pull the trigger on Castle is NOW, and they did it, so good for them.
Although I can’t be the only one that thought Silas Young was going to run down and challenge Castle, am I?
The Addiction (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels) vs Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Cheeseburger
*Grumpy Old Wrestling Fan Mode: On* I hate Cheeseburger. Code of Honor is followed by Daniels and Kazarian with Liger, but Chris rightfully turns his back on ‘Burger, who doesn’t take too kindly to that and DEMANDS that Daniels shake hands with him. They trade quick advantages and there’s tags on both sides. Liger quickly looks to put Kaz in the surfboard so Daniels comes in, and he eats a palm strike from Jushin. Blind tag from ‘Burger, and now we get the awesome power of the LIGERBURGER doubleteam. Man, War Machine should just hand over the belts right now. Corino has the gall to call them a ‘well-oiled machine’ as I just sigh. Shut up, Corino. Kaz and ‘Burger now, and Daniels takes a cheap shot from the apron as Kaz then clobbers Cheeseburger with a lariat. The Addiction proceed to double-team Cheeseburger mercilessly, bringing tears of joys to my eyes. Usual great moonsault by Daniels and he taunts the crowd. Cheeseburger fights back up and ‘ranas him from the mat after a sunset flip attempt is rolled through, and finally tags in Liger. Shotei from Liger on Daniels and he gets the Ligerbomb, 1,2, Frankie breaks up the count, and the Addiction go for Celebrity Rehab…..and drop Liger on his fucking HEAD. I mean, we’re talking full-on, straight down Ganso Bomb style. That gets two as Cheeseburger saves, and it’s a goddamn miracle that Liger is able to move after that. Kaz gets tossed and ‘Burger gets the Shotei to put him down on the outside, so it’s down to Cheeseburger and Daniels. Daniels hits a few STOs, but Cheeseburger rolls him up for the upset on the last one. (Cheeseburger & Jushin Liger over The Addiction, pinfall, 6:55)
RATING: **. Short, boring in spots, and oh, there was the whole thing where they almost crippled a legend of the business. And of course, the roll-up finish to make sure the match had a dumb ending too. I get that people like Cheeseburger, but his character is entirely predicated on every single win he gets being one of the ‘upset’ variety, as opposed to making him a wrestling machine that can beat people in spite of his size. It’s boring at this point. Do something with him outside of the same match every time.
Liger is able to celebrate with Cheeseburger, so that’s a good sign. The Addiction attacks during the celebration, kicking ‘Burger in the balls and hitting the Best Meltzer Ever on him.
Brief recap of Briscoes/War Machine. Simple story; they’ve wrestled 4 times, and War Machine hasn’t beat the Briscoes yet; they need to do it to prove themselves. The Briscoes haven’t had the straps for 3 years, and they want them back. It’s a good, old-school pro wrestling story that’ll be settled tonight.
The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) vs War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) – World Tag Team Championship
Code of Honor is followed by both teams. Hanson and Rowe dominate Mark to start, including Rowe slamming Hanson on Mark for two early. Briscoe does manage to dropkick Hanson and tag in Jay. Briscoes with the double-teams now, as the commentators are rightly pointing out that we’re just waiting for it all to break down with these teams. The Briscoes isolate Hanson and continue the offense, but Mark charges and gets alley-ooped (somersaulting in mid-air) to the floor in a pretty nutty bump. Hanson tags Rowe, who goes out and wails on Mark, Jay comes over to help out, and Hanson takes everyone out with a tope. Rowe and Mark head back in, and Mark takes Hanson off the apron on an Irish whip with a dropkick, then Jay double-stomps him through a table. So it’s Rowe against the Briscoes right now. Jay starts kicking Rowe in the face, and Rowe keeps getting back up and asking for more, then they trade suplexes with Jay doing the same. Now I don’t normally like no-selling moves, but in this context and for this story, it works. They take each other out and Hanson and Mark are at it now, with Mark gaining an advantage before Hanson kills him with a lariat to put everyone down. All 4 guys get back up at the same time and they do a double staredown in the middle of the ring, and it’s fucking awesome. Everyone pairs off and fights, and we get to Rowe and Jay in the middle of the ring, with Rowe taking every shot that Jay dishes out and still standing. Jay comes off the ropes and hits a cactus clothesline to take them both out to the floor. Mark dumps Hanson and Jay comes back to hit a crazy tope that almost ends up in the first row on Rowe. Mark follows that up with a Blockbuster to the floor on Hanson. This is just insane, great power wrestling. Jay tosses Rowe back into the ring and gets a couple of lariats for two. Rowe is being made to look like a star in this match, as he keeps taking every shot the Briscoes deal out and still comes back. Hanson and Mark are back in now, but Jay hits Hanson with a superkick as Rowe hits Mark with a Superman punch. Crowd thinks this is awesome, and I’m inclined to agree. Fallout attempt by War Machine is countered by the Briscoes, and they get a frog splash from Jay and the Froggybow from Mark for a VERY close near-fall that I almost bought as the end. Hanson manages to make a comeback and War Machine gets the Path of Resistance on Jay and Hanson goes up for the moonsault….and misses! Jay gets him up, Jaydriller! 1,2, NO! Holy SHIT, I thought that was it. The Briscoes go for a Doomsday Device to finish, but Rowe chop blocks Jay and Mark goes flying over, then Rowe hits him with a pop-up German suplex. Jay tries to make a go of it alone, but Hanson hits him with a spinkick and they catch Mark coming out of the corner and (with Mark fighting the whole time in a nice touch) hit Fallout to pick up a hard-fought victory. (War Machine over The Briscoes, pinfall, 15:24)
RATING: ****1/4. Now we’re talking. This was AWESOME, just two teams that let it all hang out in a big, heavyweight style match. Stiff shots galore, and the story mattered as War Machine stood up to their greatest challenge and took the Briscoes’ best shots, and still came out on top, which is exactly what was called for. Both teams fought like MEN, and the Briscoes lose nothing by doing the job here after that hard a fight. Great match.
Everybody gets ice packs after the match. Well-earned.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Tetsuya Naito
Naito is, of course, the IWGP Champ, but he’s going it alone tonight, as is Kyle, who’s out without Bobby. Naito drops the belt on the stage as he walks out in his bitchin’ leisure suit. He is an absolutely spectacular dick, and I mean that with the utmost of compliments. Kyle offers the Code of Honor, so Naito shakes the ref’s hand instead. I’m really warming up to this dude. Lockup, Naito gives a clean break to Kyle and then cheap shots him, so Kyle takes him down and mounts with strikes. Kyle goes for a cross-armbreaker, but Naito makes the ropes and spits at him when they stand up. Kyle gets tossed, but catches Naito with the armbar on the ropes. Naito comes back with a seated dropkick, then ties Kyle in the tree of woe and dropkicks his face. Kyle fights back, but Naito sends him to the corner and hits the dropkick to the apron, then springs in with a seated dropkick in the corner. Naito spits on Kyle again, and O’Reilly comes back with kicks. They trade the advantage a few times and Kyle gets a guillotine, which he transitions into a weird hammerlock variant, pulling back on Naito’s ankle in an anklelock at the same time. Naito makes the ropes as Kyle pulls back on the arm. Kyle charges in the corner but Naito gets the boots up, and Naito gets the tornado DDT on Kyle, both guys down. Naito gets to his feet and puts Kyle on top, ‘rana off the top rope! 1,2, NO! Naito looks for Destino, but Kyle fights out and hits a knee right to Naito’s face. Naito fights back with a kick, but Kyle hits the rebound lariat. Very nice flow to this match, with no one really controlling for very long. Back to their feet and they slug it out, Naito tries for Destino again, but Kyle reverses to a Regalplex for a VERY close two count. They keep fighting, with Naito gaining a slight advantage, Kyle counters Destino with a knee to the head, but gets spinebustered coming off the ropes. Destino hits this time, and that’ll do it. (Tetsuya Naito over Kyle O’Reilly, pinfall, 12:00)
RATING: ***1/4. This felt like it SHOULD have hit 4 stars, but it needed at least another 8-10 minutes to get there. They worked well in the ring together, but it just sort of ended without building to much of anything, and Kyle didn’t do nearly as much of the arm work that he normally does to work towards his submissions. Kind of disappointing, really, considering the talent involved. Should have been better.
Naito offers the handshake after the match but double-legs Kyle and kicks him in the nuts, then tosses the IWGP title belt in the air as he leaves the ring. Awesome.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin vs Kazuchira Okada (with Gedo) & Moose (with Stokely Hathaway)
Moose and Okada have women who do the Moose hand gesture as he makes his way to the ring, then throw money at Okada as he does. Code of Honor is declined by Okada, and it looks like we’ll start with Okada & Tanahashi. They do a quick sequence where Okada goes for an early Rainmaker, but Tana counters and a hiptoss by Tana is broken with a quick headscissors by Okada. Just establishing that they know each other well, which this crowd is very much aware of. That earns them a “New Japan!” chant. Tags on both sides, which the crowd boos, so Elgin and Moose are in. Elgin gets the delayed suplex (which is fucking sick no matter who he does it on, but even more so with a dude as big as Moose), but Moose pops up and no-sells it. He’s getting more confident out there, I’ll give him that. They go back and forth, but Mike regains control and tags in Hiroshi. Tag back to Okada, and they double team Tana; Mike comes in to break it up, but he and Tana both end up on the top rope and get dropkicked to the floor by Okada and Moose. Moose runs up the buckles in the corner and dives onto Elgin and Tana on the floor! Crowd was fond of that one. Okada and Tana back in now, and Okada gets control with a loose neckbreaker. He and Moose team up for a headbutt/senton combo on Hiroshi, who’s in a bad way here. He tries to comeback on Moose when the latter charges him in the corner, but Moose shrugs it off and hits a sit-out chokeslam off the top, forcing Elgin to save. Moose misses a spear, and Tana tags in Big Mike. Elgin goes wild with forearms and sends Moose to the floor with an enzuigiri. Okada up on the apron now, but he misses a shot and Elgin gets a slingshot powerslam on him. Elgin German suplex on Moose gets two. Moose tries to fight back with a bicycle kick, but Elgin clobbers him with a lariat. Tags on both sides, and we get the big slugfest between Okada and Tanahashi in the middle of the ring. Tana finally gains control with a dragon-screw legwhip, Somersault senton off the second rope gets two for Hiroshi. Tanahashi misses a corner splash and Okada gets a DDT. They do a nice sequence where Tanahashi wiggles out of a tombstone and goes for a Rainmaker, Okada ducks, but when Okada tries for one of his own Tanahashi avoids it and gets a slingblade. Smooth as silk, that sequence. Tag to Elgin and they double-team Okada, finishing with a top rope powerslam and Mike slamming Hiroshi onto Okada. 1,2, Moose makes the save! Tana tosses him and goes over the top rope with a crossbody as Elgin gets the buckle bomb on Okada, but the Elgin bomb gets countered to a neckbreaker across the knee of Okada. Elgin hits Okada in the back of the head and loads up his forearm, but gets caught with a dropkick from Okada. Okada tries the Rainmaker, but Mike ducks it….right into a spear from Moose! He dropkicks Tanahashi off the apron and Okada isn’t going to miss it this time, as he grabs a dazed Elgin and hits the Rainmaker for the 1,2,3. (Okada/Moose over Tanahashi/Elgin, pinfall, 15:28)
RATING: ***1/4. Best use of Moose ever. Seriously, I really, really liked what they did with him in this match, keeping him in and out of the ring for his power moves and crazy athleticism, not having him work the whole match or for too long. As for the rest, it was almost a slimmed-down version of Okada/Tanahashi at times, with Elgin thrown in there. That’s fine, since Elgin works Japan and knew the flow and the pacing of the match and the participants. Again, Moose fit in much better here than he has in the past when he’s worked one on ones against both Okada and Elgin, and that’s good for him to continue learning his craft.
We recap how we got to Fish/Ishii, starting at Final Battle with the tapout from Strong the ref didn’t see, through Ishii winning the strap at Honor Rising, all the way to Fish beating Strong in the 2 out of 3 falls match at Supercard of Honor X in a very, very good match.
Bobby Fish vs Tomohiro Ishii – World Television Title
The commentators play up Fish’s age, talking about how there might not be many more opportunities for him at this point to get back here again. As usual, Ishii looks as though he bludgeoned a few baby seals on the way to the arena as warmup. Code of Honor is declined by Ishii. Ishii with a big shoulder to knock Fish down early to establish who the more powerful guy is. Bobby sticks and moves with kicks and slides out off an Irish whip to slow it down. Fish back in with kicks, Ishii tells him to bring it on, so Bobby does, sending him to the corner and continuing the assault. Bobby comes back in, but Ishii is not having any more of this shit, and he starts alternating chops and elbows to turn Fish into mush in the corner. Ishii chops him from corner to corner and dominates, but Fish keeps fighting back up, putting Ishii down with a spinkick to the head. Ishii keeps on Fish, who keeps telling him to bring it on. Ishii does and gets two after a corner lariat. He keeps pounding away at Bobby, slapping him in the corner and cutting off everything he does. He headbutts Fish in the corner, and Bobby has a great loopy look on his face. They have a WAR in the corner on the top rope when Ishii goes for a superplex that Fish wins, but he then goes for a diving headbutt and misses. The story here is excellent, as Ishii is dominating the match; Fish is making comebacks, but he can’t sustain any offense against the monster that is Ishii. Quick ‘rana and kicks from Bobby get two. Exploder from Fish gets two. They go corner to corner, but Ishii cuts off Bobby’s offense with a monster headbutt that I winced at. Delayed superplex by Ishii gets two, which is just criminal; that move is nuts to watch. Stack-up powerbomb by Ishii gets two. Bobby comes back with a few high knees and slaps on a sleeper. Ishii breaks, but Bobby gets it again from the apron and holds on until 5. They slug it out on the apron and Ishii wins that with chops, but Fish sweeps Ishii’s leg to take him down. Both wrestlers beat the count back in, Fish doing it barely at 19. They slug it out in the middle of the ring, but Bobby comes off the ropes and Ishii clobbers him with a lariat for two. Ishii goes for the brainbuster, but Bobby floats over and applies the sleeper again. Ishii tries to elbow out, but Bobby still has the arm and just nails Ishii with elbows to the head and reapplies the sleeper. Ishii tries one more time by slamming him over the top, but Fish hangs on to it, and Ishii passes out to give Fish the title. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a NEW World Television Champion! (Bobby Fish over Tomohiro Ishii, ref stoppage to pass out, 15:33)
RATING: ***1/2. Okay. First off, kudos to an excellent story here. Fish came out with swagger and tried to prove he was as tough as Ishii was, but that didn’t work and he got clobbered. He kept trying, though, never looking for his kneebar (Ishii has never submitted according to the commentary team), but instead looking for spots to try to get the win with anything. Once he found the weakness with the sleeper, he kept at it until he got the win with it, which is good stuff. Ishii doesn’t get hurt by the loss, as he was dominating several parts of the match and simply got caught in a hold, keeping him extremely protected. I wasn’t completely wild about the ringwork to some extent, but the story was well-done and I’ll never fault them for that. Good stuff.
We’re once again reminded that the Bucks have promised both a new Bullet Club member and a world record of superkicks tonight.
KUSHIDA, Matt Sydal, & The Motor City Machine Guns vs The Bullet Club (The Young Bucks, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Roa)
Well, this’ll be quite the spotfest. Tama & Tanga are known as the ‘Guerillas of Destiny’, by the way. The Bucks greet their parents in the front row, and let me say that Daddy Jackson is wearing a shirt that looks exactly like the shirt that a parent of the Bucks would wear. I expect a knockoff on Pro Wrestling Tees any day now. Corino reveals what he’s been hyping all night: his very own Mr. Wrestling 3/Bullet Club Superkick counter on screen. He claims it cost $6,000; well, it’s no Jericho jacket, but still, way to waste some money there. Code of Honor? Come on, it’s the Bullet Club, they too sweet each other instead. Sydal and Matt Jackson start off. They do some chain wrestling to start…..ah, fuck it. We’ll just recap the spots, since that’s going to be the whole match anyway. The faces all end up in the ring after a minute or so with the Bullet Club on the outside, allowing Sabin and Sydal to hit matching topes onto all four guys through the ropes, then they triple team Matt Jackson in the ring with a double dropkick while Shelley holds him in the chinlock. The Bucks come back and toss all the faces to the floor, but they go for the Terminator dives and get cut off by superkicks from Sydal and Sabin. The Guerillas come in and all the faces end up on the floor again, so Nick Jackson does a spinning dive onto all of them. The Guerillas end up in the ring against Shelley and they double-team him with a neckbreaker/Samoan drop combo that forces KUSHIDA to save the match. Michinoku Driver and a big elbow on Shelley, and the faces have to save it again. By the way, I’m using ‘faces’ to indicate the storyline alignment, not the actual reactions, as the crowd is firmly behind the Bullet Club here. Shelley continues taking a beating and the Guerillas hold him on the outside, but he moves and Matt Jackson dropkicks his own team through the ropes as a result. Shelley gets a Flatliner/DDT combo on both Bucks and tags in KUSHIDA. He runs wild on the Bucks and gets a rollup on Matt, when Nick tries to save KUSHIDA hits a German on Nick while still rolling up Matt and goes to pin them both at the same time in a really cool visual. That gets two. Sydal in now, and he takes Tama down and gets a standing moonsault, Roa saves it at 2. The Bucks come in, but Nick gets tossed and Matt gets caught in the corner and quad-teamed. Sabin powerbombs him while Sydal comes off the top with knees to the face. 1,2, Tonga makes the save. KUSHIDA goes to the top and dives onto the Guerillas on the floor, while the Machine Guns hit Made in Detroit, but Nick comes back in to save his brother. The Guns and the Bucks do a nice sequence where everyone kicks everyone else (but ZERO superkicks from the Bucks, causing Corino to almost go into apoplexy) and Shelley goes for Sliced Bread #2 on Matt Jackson. Matt catches him in midair and holds him in a Tombstone position, while Nick is back on the apron, Meltzer Driver on Alex Shelley! We’re done here. (Bullet Club over KUSHIDA, Sydal, and the Motor City Machine Guns, pinfall, 13:21)
RATING: ***3/4. I’m giving that rating with the full knowledge that this was a spotfest with almost zero wrestling in it; that’s what was advertised. I can’t fault them for delivering that to the absolute letter. There wasn’t any psychology to the match and it was all double and triple and quad teams, but it held together fine and was fun to watch in that trainwreck way that these types of matches have. And the Bucks not hitting 18 superkicks actually made the match more fun to watch! Although, it’s kind of weird that they made the counter and there weren’t any superkicks, isn’t it? What’s the old saying about ‘if you show a gun in the first act, it needs to be fired in the third…’
Corino’s anguished cry of “I just wasted SIX GRAND!” is actually pretty funny.
BJ Whitmer comes out in a mask to cut a promo on Corino at ringside, and hands him a FLASH DRIVE! WHOA! “USB!” chant from the crowd as BJ gives it to Corino and stalks off, telling him that he might want to see what’s on it. Well, that was certainly a thing that happened.
Recap of Cabana returning, intercut with fans at WrestleCon talking about how happy they are that Cabana is back, along with him challenging Lethal for the ROH World Title at Supercard of Honor X, then rolling him up for the pin the next night. The main event is NEXT!
We’re joined by Nigel McGuinness at ringside, and the crowd is already chanting for Colt as his music hits.
Colt Cabana vs Jay Lethal (w/ Taeler Hendrix) – Ring of Honor World Title
Cabana is, of course, rabidly cheered by the Chicago crowd. Cabana is working in Omaha on Thursday with a local Indy fed; I’ll be there, so if you all have any q’s for him, let me know. Lethal goes for a kick off the Code of Honor, but Colt reverses and it’s on. Cabana with the early advantage, including a spinning headscissors takeover on Lethal. Lethal comes back, but Colt gets a double-leg rollup for a quick two. Colt ends up on the floor and Taeler tries to distract him, but Colt sees Lethal coming and sidesteps a suicide dive and Lethal hits the barricade hard. Cabana is dominating here. He rolls Jay up for two, and Lethal sends him back out, and Taeler holds onto him from the apron so Lethal can dropkick him, and Lethal hits two topes, sailing into the front row on the second one. Meanwhile, Nigel has had enough of Hendrix and he leaves commentary to toss her from ringside. The ref agrees, and Lethal is perturbed. “Great call by Nigel McGuinness! You always want a definitive finish in a World title match!” sayeth Mr. Wrestling 3! Ironic statements can be so ironic sometimes, can’t they? Lethal in the driver’s seat now, chops galore and a belly-to-back suplex for two. He goes for the Lethal Injection, but Cole counters it into the rollup from Dallas. 1,2, no! They slug it out and Cabana turns Lethal inside-out with a lariat. He fires jabs and some flip, flop and flys at Jay, then a stutter splash for two. Another elbow by Cabana is countered into the Lethal Combination and Jay goes up, Hail to the King! 1,2, NO! Lethal puts Colt on top and goes for a superplex, Colt fights him off. Lethal hits an enzuigiri and goes for a top rope ‘rana now, but Cabana catches him and hits the Chicago Skyline! That gets two! Diving double-leg by Colt, that gets two! Cabana hoists him up for a tombstone, they trade it a few times and Lethal ends up getting it for two. Jay calls for the Lethal Injection, but Colt catches him and turns it into the Billy-Goat’s Curse! Lethal may tap….but Taeler is back at ringside and she pulls the ref out! Man, Nigel is a great matchmaker, but he’s TERRIBLE at the rest of his job. And now the Bucks are out (?), and they superkick the referee, then they superkick Hendrix! They both have Bullet Club shirts in their hands, and they get into the ring. They each toss a shirt at Lethal and Cabana, who look confused….and the lights go out.
The lights come back up, and ADAM COLE is standing in the middle of the ring, wearing a Bullet Club shirt! The Bucks superkick Lethal and Cabana, and Adam demands a mic. “My name is Adam Cole, bay-bay! And we, WE, are the Bullet Club!” And the Bullet Club proceeds to run wild, taking out everyone including security who rushes the ring. Matt Jackson gets on the headset and tells Corino to put the Superkick counter back up, and they superkick everyone in range, sending the counter past 20 in seconds. The Guerillas are out now, spray painting ‘BC’ on top of a table and powerbombing one of the security guys through it. The Bucks superkick Kelly and Corino at the announce table, while Cole zipties Lethal to the top rope and superkicks him over and over while he holds up the ROH Title belt. The Bucks’ dad comes into the ring (MAN, he looks like Steven Segal) and Cole goes to kick him, but the Bucks stop him….and they kick him themselves. A cameraman gets one as well, and our last image from Global Wars 2016 is the Bullet Club laying down on the mat, telling the camera that this is theirs now. Final superkick tally according to the counter – 51
RATING: Uh…..I dunno. No, really, I got nothing. Colt looked better than I’ve seen him in ages, and he and Lethal had a nice little match going before all the craziness started. I’d guess around *** or so?
Okay, that’ll do it for the show. What follows is my thoughts on the state of ROH in general, including the show-closing angle. This damned thing is long already, so if you don’t read it, no harm, no foul.
THE STATE OF ROH
First off, the end of the show. I’m going to play both sides here as I see it. There is only ONE path forward for this to work out and have any resonance, and that is for Adam Cole to beat Jay Lethal for the ROH World title at Best in the World. That’s it. The only way that this makes sense it to elevate Adam Cole back to where he belongs, which is holding the World title. Lethal’s reign hits one year since beating Jay Briscoe as of Best in the World 2016, and you absolutely, 100%, no doubt HAVE to put the title on Cole at that show. While I’ve enjoyed Lethal’s reign, it has also been lackluster in spots. His protracted feud with Roderick Strong was good to a certain extent, but wore out its welcome for me by the second match. His defenses have all been technically sound matches, but the build for some of them has been suspect.
To seize on a point, I’m a giant mark for Kyle O’Reilly. Everyone knows this. But his matches with Jay weren’t built very well; in fact, the best part of those matches were his stuff with Cole, not his stuff with Lethal. The fact is that since they shot Jay into orbit by having him go over Jay Briscoe for Briscoe’s first pinfall in two years, Lethal hasn’t had that big feud he needs to put him over the top as a great champion. He’s a good wrestler, don’t get me wrong; but there’s something that’s been missing from this title reign.
It’s time to rectify this situation and put the belt on Cole, because he’s had those types of feuds over the last year, specifically with Kyle. This whole show-closing angle was designed to make Adam Cole look like a giant star, to make it look like it was a big deal that he had joined up with the Bullet Club. You have to pay that off, and Lethal’s title reign coming full-circle is the time and place to do that.
Was this way too reminiscent of the NWO? Right down to the black and white it was, yes. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt here, and the reason I’m willing to do so is that:
- I’m a mark for ROH and I want them to succeed.
- In the US, the Bullet Club is still a big deal, and putting Cole front and center is a way to make the whole thing work. He has more history here than Kenny Omega does, so him as the front man for the stable is the way to go for a North American part of the faction.
- The NWO worked, and copying angles that work isn’t the worst thing to try, especially since most NA fans only knew of the Bullet Club as a Japanese faction; giving them a stronger NA identity while still following the original angle that worked is not an inherently bad idea.
Look, I get that a lot of people were pissed off about paying $45 for that ending. I was pissed off too, initially. That’s the type of ending you do on television, and if they end another PPV like that, I’ll be the first one to call them out on it. As a ONE-TIME deal, I can live with it. The PPV itself was very good, with good work all over the card. I got my money’s worth, and I didn’t spend my money just to see Lethal/Cabana; in fact, that was near the middle of my list.
ROH has some real problems that do need to be addressed. Why didn’t I just recap TV this week? Well, here’s the reason; it was a preview show for this PPV. That aired on the Wednesday after the PPV aired.
I mean, that’s TNA levels of stupid.
Of course, you could argue that most people probably caught this show on Saturday in syndication. Maybe that’s true; but that doesn’t matter. You could air anywhere or any time in syndication all across the country. Maybe it’s 9:00 at night, maybe it’s 3:00 in the morning, who knows? But I do know, for a FACT, that the show will air on Comet every week at the same time, no matter what, on Wednesday. And that reaches everyone at the same time, no matter what state they live in, an estimated 150 million homes.
Yet we spent 3 weeks of television on Honor Rising replays as opposed to making sure that the damn PPV preview aired on the main platform BEFORE the PPV itself! And that doesn’t even take into account the people who watch the show online; when tomorrow’s episode gets posted to the website, those folks are going to see a PPV preview for a PPV that already happened.
This type of stuff should not occur. And a whole lot of the displeasure with the show-closing angle would have been avoided if they had just put it on television instead of on PPV, but due to the mismanagement of the TV show, that couldn’t happen. The weekly show is normally filled with good wrestling, and that’s great and definitely one of the reasons I enjoy recapping it; but SOME angle advancement would be nice on the main way you have to build to your PPVs.
Onto the NJPW partnership. Now, it’s great that the NJPW talent is coming more often to ROH these days, as it gives us better matches and fresher ones as well. But the NJPW guys are being booked in a way that makes all of the ROH guys look inferior in almost every aspect, unless it’s guys like the Bucks who work both feds. The partnership doesn’t do much when the ROH guys are continually looking at the ceiling on their own show. I didn’t REALLY expect them to job Naito to O’Reilly for example, but if you look back at the history since this partnership started, the NJPW guys have gone over strongly in more ways that the ROH guys have. Fish’s win tonight was one of the stronger ROH wins that we’ve had, and even that didn’t involve Ishii submitting.
NJPW is becoming more and more of a crutch for ROH, and they don’t need that. They need to create their own stars and follow through with it. Putting Castle over tonight, for example, is exactly what they should have done. And more of that is what’s needed. But for the next month or so of ROH TV, we’re going to see more ROH/NJPW stuff, as opposed to storylines and angles being driven for the next PPV. And that’s not okay. ROH has exactly ONE hour of television time each week, and they have to use that time in the most efficient way possible to attract eyeballs and sell PPVs. None of the NJPW guys are coming to Best in the World as far as I know, but we’re going to see them on TV, while guys that are going to be at the PPV are going to sacrifice that time.
There’s more, but I’m past my limit at this point. I’ll close with this:
Ring of Honor is my favorite wrestling company and has been for a long time. I think that the work the wrestlers do in the ring is some of the best in the world. I desperately want them to succeed and continue their great work.
Get your shit together, ROH.
Thanks for reading this (long) thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter