SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH WAR OF THE WORLDS (Night 1)
MAY 9, 2018
LOWELL, MASS. AT MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM
STREAMED LIVE FOR HONORCLUB
REPORT BY URSIN DEROCHE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Colt Cabana and BJ Whitmer
(1) ROH Tag Team Champions The Briscoes (c) vs. Flip Gordon & Jushin Liger in a non-title match. Mark started things off with Flip. Mark took Flip down to the ground early and applied a side headlock and then a wrist lock. Flip did his hand spring spot and gets out of the hold. Mark tries some wild haymakers but Flip continued his hand spring spot to duck them. Flip pulled down the top rope dumping Mark to the floor. Flip tagged in Liger and Mark tagged in Jay. Mark attacked with punches but Liger took him down with a drop toe hold. Liger tried for the surfboard on Jay but Mark broke it up. Liger then dumped Mark to the outside. Liger tagged in Flip who was quickly cut off by Jay and Mark was tagged in. Mark chopped Flip but Flip fought back and Jay tagged back in. Mark distracted Flip and Jay delivered a forearm to the back of Flip that took him down. Jay delivered a snap suplex to Flip. Jay tagged Mark back in. Mark but the boots to Flip in the corner. Mark hit a suplex and then tagged Jay back in. Jay hit Flip with European uppercuts and then tagged Mark back in. The Briscoes tried to double team Flip but Flip escaped and tagged Liger. Liger hit the Shotei palm strike on The Briscoes but Jay took Liger down with a back elbow as Mark knocked Flip off the apron. Mark dropkicked Flip on the outside. Jay dumped Liger to the outside which allowed Mark to hit Liger with a sliding basement dropkick on the apron. The Briscoes isolated Liger in their corner and worked him over with quick tags. Liger was eventually able to tag in Flip. Flip takes out Mark and Jay with a dive to the outside. Flip hit Mark with the Samoan pop and the running shooting star press for a two count but it was broken up by Jay. Liger takes out Jay on the floor with a senton off the apron. Liger hit a Shotei on Mark inside the ring. Flip hit a 450 Mark for a two count broken up by Jay. Jay delivered offense to Flip and Liger before low blowing both. Mark tagged in Jay making him the legal man. Jay hit the Hangman’s Neckbreaker on Flip for a two count before Flip kicked out. Flip fought through double team offense by The Briscoes before getting crotched on the top rope. The Briscoes then hit Redneck Boogie and Mark pinned Flip.
WINNERS: The Briscoes at 11:55
Ursin’s Analysis: Very little Liger in this one which was expected. Flip can’t seem to draw sympathy from the audience beyond his social media battles with Cody. Still, anytime I get to see Jushin Liger it’s a treat and this was a solid if underwhelming show opener. (**)
(2) Deonna Purrazzo & Skylar vs. Tenille Dashwood & Sumie Sakai. Sakai starts off with Purrazzo who attacks right away with chops but gets taken down by Sakai with a flying head scissors. Deonna fights back and a cradle from Deonna gets two. Sakai hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Deonna backed off and tagged Skylar as Sakai tagged Dashwood. They locked up and then went into some waist lock exchanges before Dashwood took Skylar down with a single leg hook and a Russian leg sweep got a two count. Sakai tagged in and she and Dashwood delivered a double suplex to Skylar. High cross from the top rope by Sakai received a two count. Skylar hit a jawbreaker on Sakai and tagged in Purrazzo. Sakai laid in some Mongolian chops on Purrazzo before Purrazzo hit a suplex. Purrazzo tried for another suplex but was rolled up for two. Deonna hit a German Suplex on Sakai and then hit a forearm on Dashwood knocking her off the apron. Purrazzo tagged in Skylar who mounted Sakai and began to pound away with repeated forearms. Skylar hit a DDT on Sakai for two. Skylar applied a chinlock to Sakai. Sakai fought back but was hit with a kick to the face for two. Purrazzo tagged in and a short arm clothesline got a two count on Sakai. Purrazzo locked in a standing rear naked choke on Sakai but Sakai escaped with a backdrop. Both women were down but able to tag in their respective partners. Dashwood took down Skylar and Purrazzo with clotheslines. Dashwood applied the tarantula to Skylar then hit Purrazzo with a double underhook suplex. Purrazzo took out Dashwood with a bicycle kick but Sakai took down Purrazzo with a dropkick from the top rope. Skylar took out Sakai but Dashwood hit Skylar with the Spotlight kick and got the pin.
WINNERS: Tenille Dashwood and Sumie Sakai
Ursin’s Analysis: Purrazzo had the best stuff here. The crowd seemed to respond to Dashwood when she asked for it but there was no real crowd investment in the match. A lot of this was very sloppy looking. (*¼)
After the match, Kelly Klein attacked Purrazzo and they did a pull apart. BJ Whitmer informed us on commentary that Klein vs Purrazzo would take place on Sunday May 13th, 2018 at the next ROH TV Taping in Chicago, Ill.
Ursin’s Analysis: This didn’t really have me foaming at the mouth for a Purrazzo vs Klein match because A) They haven’t done anything to get me invested in either woman and B) the match will be taped for TV so that means it isn’t even important enough for PPV or even HonorClub streaming?
ROH Heavyweight Champion Dalton Castle’s music played. He appeared on stage and cut a promo where he described the various injuries that have plagued him throughout his six month title reign, specifically his back among other things. He said he was not vacating the title and that he would fix these problems as quick as possible so that he could continue his reign. We are told on commentary that Castle’s title defense for this show against Matt Taven would not be happening.
(3) The Kingdom (TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia) vs. Coast 2 Coast (LSG & Shaheem Ali). Matt Taven appeared in the ring after The Kingdom’s entrance and cut a promo about Dalton Castle being “a bitch” and “losing his smile.” He stated that he should be given the ROH World Title but that ROH officials wouldn’t do that because there is a conspiracy against The Kingdom. He then got a cheap pop with a Celtics reference in front of the Lowell, Massachusetts crowd and said that the next time he was in Lowell he would be the ROH World Champion.
Ursin’s Analysis: This entire thing was cringe inducing. If Castle is legitimately hurt then I don’t expect him to wrestle. But I also don’t expect him to come out and cut this type of segment which was rather silly and I also don’t expect Taven to come out and try to get cheap pops from the live crowd. Taven was born in New Hampshire and lives in Boston. Some of his family are in the front row. I know this because he’s giving shout outs to his grandparents and the Celtics. As one of the company’s bigger heels, he should not have been sent out there at all because there is no point to it but, more importantly, he shouldn’t have cut this kind of promo. The fans were yelling over Castle during his promo. I watch New Japan and no one yells over Okada during his promos. On the other hand, Okada never comes out to say that he won’t be wrestling in the advertised main event. Obviously ROH knew about this way before the fact so I would have expected them to put their heads together and book a killer main event that would really make it up to the people who paid money for this and announce that. Obviously the deck is going to need to shuffled. No word on what will happen at this point. Outcome: Taven’s really over in his hometown, the champion really isn’t. Winner: Matt Taven Loser: ROH The fate of the fans and this show? Unclear at this time. Young Bucks vs LIJ vs SoCal Uncensored? This main event can be salvaged. And actually, probably better in the long run.
LSG started off with TK. They traded exchanges and both hit leg sweeps that only got 1 counts. This ended in a double dropkick and a standoff. Taven in on commentary now with Colt and BJ. Colt and BJ are sympathizing with Taven! This is insanely ridiculous. So Busch league. Taven continued his tired Alex Jones conspiracy schtick on commentary. Back in the ring LSG took TK down with a shoulder block but TK hit a powerslam for two. TK tagged in Marseglia. Taven’s commentary is getting so cringe worthy that I’m mentally checked out from what’s happening in the ring. A dropkick by LSG got two on Marseglia. LSG tagged in Ali and they hit a double dropkick on Marseglia for two. Marseglia fought back and tagged TK. TK hit a powerslam on Ali followed by a diving headbutt by Marseglia that only got a two count. Marseglia and TK isoloated Ali and worked him over but Ali fought back and Marseglia climbed underneath the ring. Marseglia pulled Ali underneath the ring. LSG went under the ring to save Ali. the ref went outside the ring to see what was happening. The referee was pulled underneath the ring. TK O’Ryan is the only one in the ring. The crowd chanted “TKO.” The ref somehow escaped from underneath the ring and ordered TK O’Ryan to go underneath the ring and retrieve Marseglia and Coast 2 Coast. C2C appeared from underneath the ring as did Marseglia wielding an axe. The ref took the axe and C2C hit double team offense on TK before he could eventually tag Marseglia. Marseglia ran wild but was eventually cut off. C2C went for the Coast 2 Coast but TK and Vinny cut it off. TK hit a cutter on Ali which was followed by a diving senton from Marseglia. SoCal Uncensored came down to the ring to steal back their ROH 6-Man Tag titles and LSG pinned Marseglia off the distraction.
WINNERS: Coast 2 Coast at 8:35
After the match, Taven challeneged SoCal for the Six-Man titles to a big pop from the live crowd.
Ursin’s Analysis – To be honest, if we really needed to fill the time, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky vs. The Kingdom is going to be a better match than Dalton Castle vs Matt Taven. So, I’m on board with that. As far as the last half hour of this show, it was a complete trainwreck. If you’re currently positioned as the #2 promotion in the United States, this is completely unacceptable and will have you removed from that spot. (N/A)
(4) Bully Ray vs Cheeseburger
Bully started off by getting in Colt Cabana’s face on commentary and then harassing the ring announcer. The crowd shows respect to the legacy of Bully with streamers but is firmly behind Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger ate three powerbombs and a low blow. Bully Ray went outside the ring and stood in front of a fan in the front row with an intimidating look on his face. Bully was counted out.
WINNER: Cheeseburger at 5:17
After the match, Bully powerbombed Cheeseburger again and continued to harass fans and officials at ringside.
Ursin’s Analysis: As tired as this is, I’ve always been amazed at Bubba’s ability throughout his career to draw legit heat from an audience. It’s really impressive to see. Cabana and Whitmer did not put this over on commentary to the extent that they should have and were really exposed here. (N/A)
(5) Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh & Rocky Romero) vs. Bullet Club (Cody & Adam Page & Marty Scurll w/Burnard The Business Bear). Romero and Scurll to start but Cody tags himself in as the tensions between Marty and Cody continue to mount. Wristlock by Romero but Cody got out of it with a cartwheel. They traded exchanges before Cody was dumped to the outside and Romero teased a dive. Marty tagged himself in and Rocky tagged in Sho. Marty and Sho engage in some chain wrestling before Marty hyped up the crowd and Yoh tagged himself in. Sho and Yoh cleared the ring and isolated Scurll. Senton by Yoh got a two count. Burnard tripped Yoh allowing Marty to hit a lungblower and tag in Page. Page worked over Yoh in the corner with repeated boot stomps. A back suplex by Page got a two count. Cody tagged in and continued to work on Yoh before a quick tag to Scurll. Scurll got in some offense before another quick tag back to COdy who teased Shattered Dreams. This allowed Yoh time to mount an offense as he tagged in Sho. Cody was able to tag in Scurll. Sho cleared the ring and hit a fisherman’s suplex with a bridge on Scurll for a two count. Sho put an arm bar on Scurll but age was in to break it up. RPG3K cleared the ring and double teamed Page. Double high knees only got a two count. Page dumped Yoh and Scurll hit the Ghostbuster knee on Sho for a two count. Scurll hyped up the crowd and called for the Chickenwing submission but Cody tagged himself in. Cody went for Cross Rhodes but Sho was able to escape and tagged in Romero who set up the Bullet Club and then delivered a series of Forever Clotheslines before a Rana to Page and a double clothesline to Scurll and Cody. Romero was left in the ring with Cody. Romero went for Sliced Bread but Cody rolled out and hit a Disaster Kick. The match breaks down as everyone took turns going in and out of the ring to get their stuff in. Burnard held Rocky for Scurll but Rocky moved and Scurll kicked Burnard who bumped on the floor. Cody was pissed and he and Scurll started to argue. Page tried to break up the shoving match before RPG3K were back in the ring as the two teams traded triple team strikes. RPG3K then hit a big triple team dive onto Bullet Club. Romero ended up in the ring with Cody who hit Cross Rhodes for the pin.
WINNERS: Bullet Club (Cody and Adam Page and Marty Scurll) at 14:37
Ursin’s Analysis: Everyone kind of seemed like they were taking the night off here getting their stuff in before going to the back. However, this match did re-energize the audience and got me interested in the show again. Bullet Club was super over with the live crowd but I don’t understand why they needed the win here especially considering the myriad number of ways you could have worked for them to take a pin since, spoiler alert, RPG3K has an ROH 6-Man Title match booked for Night 2. (**¼)
(6) Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Sanada vs. Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas. Evil and Silas started this one off. Silas took Evil down by the hair but Evil fought back with a superkick and tagged in Naito who teased a dive onto Silas but posed instead. BCB and Milonas hit the ring and attacked Naito opening up the door for Silas who took control. Milonas tagged in and shot Naito hard into the turnbuckle. BCB tagged in and worked over Naito with help from his teammates before tagging in Silas. A double boot stomp by Silas on Naito got a two count. Naito and Silas traded blows. BCB tagged in and the team of Silas, BCB, and Milonas worked over Naito in their corner with punches, biting, and chokes. A pin attempt by BCB only received a two count. Naito fired up and hit a tornado DDT on BCB before tagging in Sanada. Sanada took down BCB with a series of dropkicks. Silas ran into the ring but Sanada tied him up in the Paradise Lock followed by a dropkick. On the outside, BCB tried for a cannonball but hit Silas. Natio came around and he and Sanada delivered a double dropkick to Silas. Milonas was in the ring bringing Evil to the top rope but Naito and Sanada dump Milonas with a double powerbomb from the second rope. Sanada took out BCB and Silas with a plancha. Evil hit Everything Is Evil on Milonas for the pin.
WINNERS: Tetsuya Naito and Evil and Sanada at 9:09
Ursin’s Analysis: I love Naito, Evil, and Sanada. The crispness in their work, even in a short house show styled match like this, was extremely evident. Why bring them over to the United States to have a nine minute match involving The Beer City Bruiser is anyone’s guess. Naito blew the roof off when he came out. Whitmer and Cabana seemed lost on calling some of the moves at times. This was fun, Naito seemed like he was having fun, but that’s all it was. Nothing eventful. (**1/4)
(7) Chuckie T vs. Jay Lethal vs. Jay White. These three guys were supposed to face SoCal Uncensored in a 6-Man tag match but due to the Dalton Castle injury/card re-shuffling, Cabana explains that these three men will be having a Triple Threat match. White and Chuckie attacked Lethal to start. Lethal fought them off. Chuckie and White tried for some double team offense but Lethal fought back with chops. Lethal dumped his opponents to the outside and hit a trio of suicide dives. Lethal covered White but only got a one count. Lethal hit a double axe-handle on White for a two count. Chuckie came back into the ring to save White allowing White to hit a Saito suplex on Lethal. Chuckie and White double team Lethal in the corner. White hit a pumphandle backbreaker on Lethal. White and Lethal brawled on the floor. Back in the ring Chuckie and White took turns dropkicking Lethal. Lethal tried to fight off the double team with chops but White hit Lethal with another Saito suplex and Lethal rolled out to the floor. Chuckie wanted a hug from White but White teased Bladerunner. Lethal came back in and hit Lethal Combination on Chuckie T and then a cutter on White. Lethal put the Figure Four on Jay White. White made it to the ropes to break the hold and then White rolled out of the ring. Lethal rolled outside but Chuckie took out Lethal and White with a dive over the top rope to the outside. Back inside Chuckie hit Lethal with a sit-out Powerbomb for two. White and Chuckie finally began to slug it out in the ring. Chuckie hit Soul Food on White but White hit a deadlift German on Chuckie. Lethal came back in and superkicked White. Lethal went for Lethal Injection but White countered and tried to hit Bladerunner but Lethal was out of that and hit the Lethal Injection on White. Chuckie T ran in and rolled up Lethal for the pin.
WINNER: Chuckie T at 10:41
Ursin’s Analysis: I enjoyed the layout of this match, the back and forth between White and Chuckie T, and the solid work by all men. Definitely the best match on the show up to this point. The IWGP US Champion Jay White doesn’t eat the pin and Chuckie T pins Lethal ahead of their match at the TV tapings on Sunday to add some fuel to that fire. An all around solid match but the crowd didn’t seem to be buying into it. Maybe they aren’t familiar with the Switchblade character for Jay White? Maybe they don’t have any investment in Lethal or Chuckie T right now? Whatever it was it seemed the audience was kind of flat for this. (**¾)
(8) ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title Match SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) (c) vs The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan). Everyone begins brawling at the bell and spilled out to the floor. Scorpio ended up in the ring with Taven and TK who double teamed him. TK dumped Scorpio and a Taven dive took out Scorpio and Daniels. TK and Kaz ended up in the ring TK got the upperhand so Kaz bailed to the outside. Before Kaz could be attacked by Taven and TK he dove underneath the ring. Kaz reappeared with balloons tied around his neck choking him and he took some double team offense from Marseglia and TK before the match settled down. Marseglia and Kaz ended up in the ring together but Kaz was already hurt and quickly tagged out to Daniels. Marseglia got in some shots before tagging in Taven. A dropkick by Taven on Daniels got two. Taven tagged TK O’Ryan in. TK went for a pin on Daniels, Kaz was in to make the save. Daniels whipped TK hard into the turnbuckles. SoCal made some quick tags and used triple team offense. A splash by Scorpio on TK got a two count. Kaz was tagged in and worked a chinlock on TK. TK fought back but Kaz took him down by the hair. Kaz choked TK on the ropes before SoCal used triple team offense on TK for a two count. Daniels was tagged in and put the boots to TK in the corner with help from Kaz and Scorpio. Short clothesline by Daniels on TK got a two count. TK was isolated in the corner of SoCal. TK fought back, hit a cutter, and was able to tag in Matt Taven. Taven came in and took out all of SoCal. Vinny came in and he and Taven double teamed Daniels. Lionsault by Taven on Daniels only got a two count. Taven hit Daniels with a knee for a two count. SoCal triple teamed Taven. A top rope Rana by Scorpio only got a two count. The match broke down and The Kingdom had Daniels isolated in the ring. Triple team offense from The Kingdom to Daniels but Scorpio Sky ran in to break it up with a running knee to Marseglia. Kaz hit a Codebreaker on Marseglia and a slingshot cutter onto Taven. Best Moonsault Ever by Daniels onto Marseglia only got a two count as Taven pulled the ref out of the ring. Scorpio with a dive took out Taven and the ref on the outside. TK hit a DDT on Daniels but there was no ref to count. Kaz tried to hit TK with one of the championship belts but accidentally hit Daniels. Taven hit a frog splash on Daniels for the pin.
WINNERS: The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan) at 14:29
Ursin’s Analysis: The title change to Taven and his group in front of a very pro-Taven crowd (he lives in Boston, MA) after cancelling Taven’s title shot against Castle at the beginning of the show, felt very strange. But the match was decent. When Taven was in his stuff looked good. The Vinny Marseglia horror gimmick where he carries an axe to the ring has to go ASAP and the under the ring spots are goofy and silly. But, Christopher Daniels can’t really work a bad match. It’s not possible. (**¾)
(9) The Young Bucks vs. Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi. Takahashi and Bushi attacked Matt and dumped Nick. Nick came in for the save. The two teams traded blocked kicks and ended in a standoff. The Bucks hit double dropkicks and then double dives to the floor. Takahashi got double teamed in the ring while Bushi was on the floor. Bushi came into the ring and took down The Bucks with a double Hurricanrana. Bushi took down Matt with a missile dropkick. Bushi took off his t-shirt and began to choke Matt with it. Takahashi was tagged in and LIJ hit double team offense on Matt and then on Nick. Takahashi was in the ring with Matt laying in chops. Takahashi dropkicked Matt in the back and tagged in Bushi. Bushi applied an STF to Matt. Bushi went to work on Matt’s back. Bushi distracted the ref and Takahashi began choking Matt on the rope. Bushi put his boot to Matt’s throat. Bushi tagged in Takahashi. Takahashi hit Matt with a basement dropkick for a two count. Takahashi dumped Nick and then dumped Matt. Takahashi and Bushi took Matt to the top of the stage and tried for a double suplex but Matt fought out. Matt dove off the stage and took out Bushi and Takahashi. Back in the ring, Bushi prevented the tag to Nick. Bushi tagged Takahashi. A front face suplex by Takahashi on Matt only got two. Matt fired up and hit a spear on Takahashi and was finally able to tag Nick. Nick came in on the hot tag and cleaned house taking down both Bushi and Takahashi with a series of offensive strikes. Nick tagged in Matt. The Bucks hit double sunset flip roll throughs into double scorpion deathlocks. Bushi and Takahashi were able to quickly make it to the ropes. Nick hit a double stomp on Takahashi and then a lungblower to Bushi with the help of Matt. Young Bucks splash/moonsault combo on Takahashi only got a two count. Nick accidentally knee’d Matt in the face after Takahashi moved out of the way. Takahashi took down Nick with a clothesline. Bushi and Takahashi hit Matt with a double bridging German suplex for two. Double kick combo to Matt only got a two count. Takahashi and Bushi went for a Doomsday MX but Nick made the save. Matt superplexed Bushi and then Nick hit a 450 splash on Takahashi. Takahashi was hit with superkicks. The Bucks set up for the Meltzer Driver but Bushi made the save. Bushi held the ref so that he couldn’t see and then mist’d Matt. Matt superkicked Takahashi and Bushi and Nick because he couldn’t see. Matt put the ref in the scorpion deathlock. Nick used water to remove the mist from Matt’s eyes. Nick hit a superkick on Bushi and then one on Takahashi but Takahashi hit Nick with the sunset flip powerbomb to the floor. Bushi hit Matt with a Canadian Destroyer for two. The Bucks took out Takahshi on the outside but Bushi did a dive and took out The Bucks. Bushi slid Matt into the ring but Matt and Nick were able to hit the Meltzer Driver on Bushi for the pin.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks at 15:22
Ursin’s Analysis: When you’re in trouble and you need something to go to, just put the Young Bucks in the main event with Takahashi and Bushi. Because therre is no such thing as a bad Young Bucks match. (***)
Overall Thoughts: Sadly, nothing on this show needs to be seen if you weren’t already watching live. The first half was really bad and confusing but the second half was fine TV style wrestling. A lot of this felt like going through the motions. On the positive side, it did seem slightly better than the last few ROH streams. The crowd was very hot for Bullet Club and Naito and I think that helped make the show at least feel more important even if it wasn’t in reality.