KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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ROH WAR OF THE WORLDS UK NIGHT 1
AUGUST 18, 2017
BETHNAL GREEN, LONDON, ENGLAND
REPORT BY DAVWE GREEN (@dagreeno), PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Ring of Honor presented Wars of the Worlds UK Night 1, at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, August 18th 2017, in collaboration with NJPW, CMLL and Rev Pro.
The full Ring of Honor set up with video screen and extensive lighting was impressive to see in person. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer and began proceedings by introducing the VOD broadcast commentary team of Ian Riccaboni and BJ Whitmer.
(1) Mark Briscoe beat Ryan Smile. Smile was making his ROH debut and put on quite the show with Briscoe. Both men hit some dazzling moves, especially Smile with a dive over the corner ring post to hit Briscoe with a plancha. A wonderful sequence of both men avoiding attacks on the ring apron ended with Briscoe hitting a blockbuster on the floor. Shortly thereafter, Briscoe hit Smile with a brutal Cutthroat Driver for the win.
(2) The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) beat Rey Buccanero & Ultimo Guerrero. The Addiction received a big pop on their entrance, with many fans in attendance perhaps unaware of their recent heel turn, while the CMLL a team got a quiet but respectful reaction. That soon turned to cheers as they took the fight to the Addiction. Guerrero showed he can still go with a rope handstand into a bronco buster, while later he monkey flipped Buccanero over the top rope to their opponents on the floor. Kazarian unbalanced Buccanero on the top rope illegally, letting Daniels pick up the cheap pinfall. The Mexicans got their revenge post-match as they left Daniels and Kazarian lying on the outside with some brutal ringside barricade bumps. Fun for what it was.
(3) Jay Briscoe beat Kenny King. This was quietly one of the best matches of the night. They told a reasonably simple story but held the attention of the crowd and built up the match really well. Briscoe eventually hit the Jay Driller to get the win, but both men really delivered here. Briscoe refused to adhere to the Code of Honor, which got a negative response from the crowd.
(4) Bully Ray beat Jay Lethal and Silas Young and Sha Samuels in a Four Corner Survival match. This was a one fall four corner survival match. Young and Samuels, making his ROH debut, tended to work together for the most part, with Young offering himself to be slammed onto Lethal. When Young suggested he suplex Sha onto Lethal, he double crossed him and suplexed him onto the canvas. While the ref was detained by Sha, Bully and Lethal combined for the Wassup headbutt to Young. Lethal battled his rival up the aisle way, leaving Bully Ray to hit his top rope crossbody to Sha to get the win. Fun match, but another bewildering finish involving Bully Ray getting the win with his awful top rope dive.
(5) ROH Six Man Tag Title match: Dalton Castle & The Boys (c) beat Delirious & Mistico & Jushin Thunder Liger. This was an extremely fun way to kick off the second half. The seemingly random team of challengers got differing reactions, except for Liger who is ridiculously popular in London. Castle’s antics with the Boys got a great reception. Delirious went wild when the bell rang as ever, chasing the Boys around the ring, only to immediately tag Mistico. After Dalton called the Boys to fan him, Liger mocked his poses and called for the Boys to do the same, which they immediately did. The champions gained an advantage on Delirious after a bit of Twin Magic between the Boys. A few minutes later, Mistico distracted the ref allowing Liger and Delirious to attempt the same trick, with not quite the same results. After some dive sequences, Castle avoided a Delirious charge and caught him with the Bangarang to get the title retaining pinfall
(6) KUSHIDA beat Titan to retain the ROH TV Title. This was a match of the year candidate, plain and simple. Both men kept up with each other’s technical bursts, with both men exhibiting great speed and skill. The tide turned in a scary moment when Tital went for a springboard top rope Asai Moonsault to the outside. He connected with KUSHIDA but also landed on the guardrail chest first, narrowly missing members of the audience in the front row. A few moments passed, but he popped up to his feet to a big ovation from the crowd. Although you could see him struggling, Titan managed to keep up with the champion, hitting some spectacular manoeuvres. KUSHIDA kept locking in arm bars of different varieties, including one from the top rope, but Titan refused to give up. After many close nearfalls, KUSHIDA finally hit Back to the Future to get the pin to retain the TV title. A big show of respect from both men to each other followed, with Titan getting a huge ovation as he left from a crowd that mostly had never seen him before.
(7) Los Ingobernablés de Japòn (Naito, Sanada & Takahashi & BUSHI & EVIL) beat Bullet Club (Cody & Matt & Nick Jackson & Hangman Page & Marty Scurll). A huge main event that saw each team receive a standing ovation during their entrance. Both factions had equal support throughout. (I’m certain many fans were chanting for both sides.) There was much posturing and comedy at the start. Bullet Club paid tribute to Ric Flair by putting all of LIJ in figure four leglocks. As the match broke down, everyone got to hit each other when finishers, including Sanada hitting Rhodes with his own finisher, the CrossRhodes, in a prelude to their title match at the next show. The Young Bucks got a hot tag and of course invited everyone to a superkick party. Bullet Club took turns attempting to hit (and all missing) a top rope moonsault on BUSHI.
All of the shenanigans came to a head when the Bucks grabbed the newly fixed up Daryl from ringside. Threatening to superkick him, LIJ intervened. Scurll was left alone with Daryl laying prone in the ring, and so he did the only thing natural to him – he set up for the chickenwing! Takahashi thwarted that attempt, but a double superkick saw thrown into the air and into the arms of Cody. He passed Daryl to the Bucks, who set up and hit the Meltzer Driver on poor defenceless Daryl! The poor guy can’t catch a break with Bullet Club! A fuming Takahashi ran wild on all five members of Bullet Club, who responded with a quintuple superkick! LIJ gained control through the green mist of BUSHI spat into the face of Page, who then was hit by Destino from Naito for the win.
Bullet Club stayed behind and planted the seeds for a potential huge show in the future, as Scurll made it clear he felt they could sell out the 10,000 seat Wembley Arena. This was a fantastic main event to cap off a really fun show.
FINAL THOUGHT: It was my first ROH experience and I wasn’t disappointed. The in ring action was mostly flawless and every match entertained in some way. The only problem I had was with the presentation of the show itself. Bobby Cruise is a great ring announcer, however he didn’t interact with the crowd between matches. There were awkward silences between when entrance music ended and the next wrestler’s began. Could have easily been filled with some crowd interaction.
This event will be going up on ROH VOD service in some form or fashion in the future and when it does, I recommend the Jay-King match, the ridiculous six-man tag, the KUSHIDA vs. Titan match was a spectacle, and the main event was all kinds of crazy. Highly recommended.
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