5/11 ROH/NJPW WAR OF THE WORLDS report: Live coverage of Matt Taven vs. Mark Haskins for the world title, The Bouncers vs. L.I.J., ten-man tag

By Harley R. Pageot, PWTorch contributor


ROH WAR OF THE WORLDS
MAY 11, 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, MI AT DELTAPLEX
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana

The commentators ran down the card.  They announced that PCO is not medically cleared after what happened at War Of The Worlds: Toronto so his singles match against Mark Haskins will not happen.

(1) COAST 2 COAST (Shaheem Ali & LSG) vs. NJPW YOUNG LIONS (Alex Coughlin & Karl Fredericks)

Fredericks and LSG started.  C2C have lost their last few matches and showed post-match frustration.  That carried over here with both men looking more dour and serious than usual.  Coughlin worked over Ali.  A gutwrench suplex got the first big reaction out of the crowd.  C2C took the offense briefly but showboated too much, allowing Fredericks to make a hot tag.  The crowd was solidly behind the rookies.  Boston crab to LSG but Ali came in to break it up.  The commentators spun it as a really dishonorable move.  Swing-out slam from Ali to Coughlin as LSG prevented Fredericks from re-entering.

WINNERS: Coast 2 Coast in 10:19.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  C2C are around so sporadically that we probably won’t get a full official heel turn from them but rather this gradual shift that we’ve already been seeing.  Maybe they can become Dalton Castle’s new seconds.  He also turned heel due to frustration with a losing streak.)

(2) “THE GATEKEEPER” KELLY KLEIN vs. “THE MIDWEST SLAYER” STACY SHADOWS – WOH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Shadows ignored the code of honor and shoved Klein to the mat instead.  Klein speared her in response.  Shadows went to the floor to get away but Klein pursued.  Knees from Klein.  Spinebuster from Shadows.  Clubbing blows to the champ that earned her some decent boos.  Clothesline caught Shadows coming off the ropes.  Series of running clotheslines to Shadows.  German suplex.  Back elbow from Shadows and a splash in the corner.  Klein avoided a Vader bomb and hit her running knee.

WINNER: Kelly Klein in 4:39 to retain the WOH title.

-Shadows shook hands after the match.  Klein left and the camera lingered for a suspiciously long time on Shadows at ringside.  Sure enough The Allure showed up and accosted her.  They drew their lipstick anarchy symbol on her forehead.  Klein ran back out and took out Mandy Leon and Angelina Love but Velvet Sky sprayed her in the eyes with hairspray.  Love attacked again but even when blinded Klein managed to hold her own.  Staff and the rookie squad ran out to separate them.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  A good match for the short amount of time given but Women Of Honor desperately needs something more than just Klein vs. The Allure at this point.  It’s only been a month and it already feels tired and repetitive.  Sumie Sakai is possibly still injured as we haven’t seen her in a while but what happened to Twisted Sisterz and Kris Stadtlander & Tasha Steelz?  The latter two beat the established stars Sakai & Jenny Rose at Road To G1 Supercard on March 31 but there has been no follow-up in the six weeks since.)

-The commentators addressed the main event of War Of The Worlds: Toronto and said the ROH board of directors have announced that TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia will no longer be allowed at ringside during Matt Taven’s world title matches.

-NJPW young lion Clark Connors and Cheeseburger entered for a singles match.  The bell was about to ring when Dalton Castle’s music hit and he walked out with a microphone.  He said he was watching the monitor backstage, hoping to be entertained, but this combination won’t do.  He called Connors a half-eaten bowl of vanilla fro-yo and told them to hit the bricks.  Burger grabbed a mic.  He said he didn’t come here to hear his whiny, nasally voice.  He came to wrestle and suggested they make it a triple threat.  Castle said they don’t deserve to be in the ring with him.  Burger said it’s a good thing he said no because he’d just lose in sixteen seconds again.  Castle told referee Todd Sinclair to make it official.

(3) DALTON CASTLE vs. CHEESEBURGER vs. CLARK CONNORS

Castle competed in skinny jeans and a t-shirt.  He threw Connors into the guardrail at ringside twice and went after Burger in the ring.  A schoolboy gave Burger a two-count.  Hurricanrana sent the former world champion to ringside.  Connors stomped away at Burger.  He stopped to run Castle into the guardrail before going back to Burger.  Two gutwrench suplexes to Burger.  Hip toss to Castle.  Castle ran the apron and hit some running knees that knocked Connors off the top turnbuckle.  Castle flipped Burger over his head and onto Connors on the floor.  Gutwrench slam to Connors in the ring.  Connors countered a bang-a-rang into a Boston crab attempt.  Castle escaped.  Spear from Connors.  Boston crab.  Burger tried to chop Connors to break the hold but he ate the chops and hung on.  Burger superkicked him to break the move.  Shotei to Castle!  Pounce from Connors to Burger.  Castle with a saito suplex to Connors.  Bang-a-rang to Burger.

WINNER: Dalton Castle in 9:19.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  Cheeseburger is the go-to babyface for getting a heel turn over as we saw with Bully Ray last year.  I don’t know if Castle wrestling in street clothes will be a permanent change going forward but it worked here to establish a new look to go with his new attitude.  Good to see him back in the ring and he did more than I expected.  I was anticipating the heel hiding at ringside and sneaking in to steal it but this was actually pretty competitive.)

(4) THE KINGDOM (ROH World Champion Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, & Vinny Marseglia) vs. BULLET CLUB (Hikuleo &  ROH World Tag Team Champions Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)

Hikuleo overpowered Marseglia.  Loa tagged in for the first time at 6:15 to take on O’Ryan.  Hikuleo choked O’Ryan behind the referee’s back and Bullet Club worked to isolate O’Ryan.  Tag to Marseglia at 10:20, who was a house of fire on Tonga.  The Kingdom isolated Tonga.  He tagged to Hikuleo at 14:50.  Taven could be seen holding his world title belt in his corner on the floor.  G.O.D. hit the Doomsday Device on O’Ryan.  This prompted The Briscoes to walk out on stage.  As everyone, including the referee, looked at them Taven clubbed Hikuleo in the back of the head with his title belt.  Marseglia pinned Hikuleo.

WINNERS: The Kingdom in 16:39.

-The Briscoes and G.O.D. brawled to the side of the stage while staff and the rookie squad tried to separate them.

The Kingdom celebrated but Lifeblood’s music interrupted.  Mark Haskins walked out with a microphone.  He addressed the fact that he would have had a world title match against PCO on this show if Taven hadn’t stolen the victory in Toronto.  Now he doesn’t have a match at all.  Haskins challenged Taven to a title match tonight.  Taven polled the crowd and said no.  Haskins said that Mike Bennett and Maria must have taken Taven’s balls with them when they left The Kingdom.  Taven said he earned his title by making melvins like Haskins look like fools when they stepped to him.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  We’ve had a couple of heel vs. heel matches on this tour, which is strange considering how it often feels like 70% of ROH’s roster are babyfaces.  This was a pretty formulaic match with most of the stretch being two people isolated and worked over.  The post-match sets up a good late addition to the card but they need to find better ways to get there.  Castle and Taven look so stupid for being easily triggered into accepting matches that they had no interest in.)

-Rhett Titus made his entrance.  He insulted the fan’s bodies and offered to show off his three best poses.  Flip Gordon’s music interrupted.

(5) FLIP GORDON vs. RHETT TITUS

Titus tapped to an STF.

WINNER: Flip Gordon in 3:36.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  Gordon was supposed to be in Japan at the moment for NJPW’s Best Of Super Juniors tournament but visa issues prevented him from making the trip.  We’ll see how they handle that development at the TV tapings.  On Wednesday in Buffalo Lifeblood invited Gordon to join their stable and told him to let them know when he got back from his month in Japan.)

-Riccaboni announced that CMLL legend Silver King has passed away.  Cabana spoke about his love for him and they gave their condolences.

(6) LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPÓN (Evil & Sanada) vs. THE BOUNCERS (Beer City Bruiser & Brawler Milonas)

The Bouncers offered cups of beer to the ungovernables.  They drank, then spit the beer back in their faces in mist form.  Evil hit Milonas with a steel chair at ringside to a mix of boos and uncertainty on how to react.  Sanada put Bruiser in the paradise lock around the bottom rope, then dropkicked him free.  Hot tag to Milonas.  Sanada prevented Closing Time on Evil.  L.I.J. tried to double-team suplex Milonas to no avail.  They managed to get the big man over on the second attempt.  Magic Killer to Bruiser.  Evil covered for the win.

WINNERS: L.I.J. in 7:05.

(Pageot’s Perspective: I knew L.I.J. weren’t going to lose but what a strange decision to even book this match then.  The Bouncers had been on a three-month undefeated streak, picking up four victories in their last four appearances on TV.  To wipe that away here in a match that won’t lead to anything seems so pointless.  It will probably be months before we even see Sanada and Evil back in ROH again.)

(7) RUSH vs. “DAREWOLF” PJ BLACK vs. “HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS vs. ELI ISOM – WINNER EARNS AN ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

The winner of this match will challenge for the ROH World Championship on June 1 at State Of The Art in Kent, Washington.  Code of honor from everyone but Rush.  He took out Isom immediately but Black and Williams teamed to take him out.  Lots of very quick action, in and out and over the top rope.  Williams put his armbar on Rush at 4:30.  Rush tapped a couple times but the referee ignored it.  Isom unloaded with enziguiris and a top rope frog-splash to Rush.  Springboard moonsault from Black onto Williams and Isom.  Rush avoided one of his own, though.  Rolling German from suplex from Rush to Isom.  Black wound up down in the corner but avoided Rush’s finishing move.  Tower Of Doom.  Springboard 450 from Black to Isom.  Williams pulled Black off a pin and into a piledriver.  Black rolled to the floor to avoid getting pinned.  Rush took out himself and Black on the floor.  Williams and Isom threw hands.  Gutwrench slam from Isom but Williams kicked out of a believable near-fall.  Piledriver from Williams and he pinned Isom.

WINNER: Tracy Williams in 10:36.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  Woo, it’s nice to predict one correctly for once.  The undefeated Rush was obviously the favorite here but it would have seemed too soon for him to be challenging for the world title, let alone in a heel vs. heel match at a non-pay-per-view event.  Williams is a fine challenger for an Honor Club event and ties in nicely to our next match with his tag partner challenging Taven.)

-The commentators said G.O.D. had been evicted from the building.  The Briscoes would have been too if they weren’t already scheduled to compete in the main event.

(8) MATT TAVEN vs. “OVERKILL” MARK HASKINS – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Haskins started out hot with a pump kick that sent Taven to the floor.  He knocked the champ around the ringside area and back into the ring.  Haskins targeted Taven’s legs, setting up for the sharpshooter.  Taven came back and went on offense for a stretch.  Taven dragged Haskins up the ramp at 9:00 and hurled him onto the entrance steps.  Taven left Haskins on the ramp and ran back to the ring, yelling for referee Todd Sinclair to count him out.  Haskins staggered back up the ramp and made it in at 19.  (Of course.)

Taven pummeled Haskins.  Cross armbreaker.  Rope break.  Haskins fired up at 13:00.  Suicide dive to the back of Taven’s head at ringside.  Haskins avoided the Climax and locked in the bridging armbar.  Rope break.  Crossface.  Rope break.  Dragonscrew leg whip.  Just The Tip (of Taven’s knee).  Both men were down at 18:00.  Blue thunder from Taven.  Rolling death valley driver from Haskins.  Taven raked the eyes.  Stereo flying dropkicks left both men down again.  Top rope double stomp from Haskins.  Climax from Taven to Haskins on the apron.  He rolled Haskins back in.  Just The Tip.  Top rope frog-splash.  Haskins kicked out.  (Completely absurd.)  Sharpshooter to Taven.  He dragged him back to the middle of the ring and Taven teased tapping.  Bully Ray walked out with a microphone and heckled Haskins.  Haskins let go of the sharpshooter while Cabana yelled what we all were thinking, “Who cares?!”  Low blow.  Climax.

WINNER: Matt Taven in 25:52 to retain the ROH world title.

-Taven dedicated his victory to everyone who says he sucks.  He mentioned Marty Scurll, Jay Lethal, and PCO as people he’s beat.  PCO’s music played.  PCO walked out and his eye appeared perfectly fine.  Pop-up powerbomb to Taven.  Tombstone.  Moonsault.

(Pageot’s Perspective:   Wow.  ROH just can’t help themselves.  The match became really good down the stretch.  The victor was never in question since Taven just won the title and is already scheduled to defend against Flip Gordon on TV next week but it was still a very good match.  With the new stipulation that TK & Vinny aren’t able to interfere in Taven’s title matches, I was intrigued as to how he was going to retain.  So how does it happen?  Somebody else interferes.  And Cabana was completely right that Haskins looked like a complete moron for letting go of his submission simply because Ray asked how his wife is.  Grow a thicker skin.  You’re a goddamn professional wrestler.  I thought the intent of matches like this and the 60-minute match with Lethal at 17th Anniversary were to give Taven in-ring credibility and really establish him as a main event wrestler.  But to have Haskins kick out of Taven’s finishing move on the apron + a knee to the face! + a frog-splash! after a previous 20 minutes of hard action and then only take the win thanks to a distraction and a low blow just makes Taven look like a bigger joke than ever.)

-Kenny King was helped out on stage by timekeeper Amy Rose.  He’s still blind as a result of The Great Muta misting him at G1 Supercard.  He said he’s the #1 contender to the world title after winning the Honor Rumble in Madison Square Garden.  Luckily being blinded has heightened his other senses.  Based on the vibrations in the air he could tell Amy Rose was wearing a blue dress.  He could also sense that ring announcer Bobby Cruise was wearing women’s underwear and that Lethal has put on 15 pounds.  At 11:45 tomorrow morning he’s meeting with a doctor in Chicago to finally have his necessary surgery to save his eyesight.  But first, one last night of blind commentary.  Rose guided him to the commentary booth.

(Pageot’s Perspective:  Actually Flip Gordon is #1 contender since he’s getting his title shot on TV next week.  King is either #2 contender or #3 depending on if he gets his title match before or after Tracy Williams on June 1.)

(9) JEFF COBB, HIROOKI GOTO, YUJI NAGATA, SATOSHI KOJIMA, & JAY LETHAL vs. BULLY RAY, JAY BRISCOE, MARK BRISCOE, ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION SHANE TAYLOR, & SILAS YOUNG

Lethal and Jay Briscoe started.  Mark vs. Goto next.  Taylor vs. Cobb third.  Ray vs. Kojima fourth.  Young vs. Nagata fifth.  Cobb tagged back in at 10:00 as the faces started to work over Young.  Lethal wound up isolated next, then Jay Briscoe.  Others took turns playing the victim who sold.  Lethal Injection to Taylor at 20:30.  Anarchist suplex from Young to Lethal.  Exploder suplex from Nagata to Young.  Dropkick from Jay to Nagata.  Cobb took out Jay.  Ray took out Cobb.  Kojima looked to take out Ray but Young tripped him.  Ray grabbed his steel chain.  Mark Haskins ran out and took it from him.  The babyfaces all hit one move each on Ray.  Kojima hit a lariat on Ray and pinned him.

WINNERS: Team Babyface in 23:28.


Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to discussions of all things ROH every Wednesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Talking Honor.”

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