Saturday, May 21, 2016

ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2015: Night 1 Review

It's ROH vs. New Japan, and ROH vs. The Bullet Club, in Toronto!!

ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2015: Night 1
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 5/15/15


1.) Dalton Castle vs. Donovan Dijak: **¾

There was a pre-show match before the iPPV, featuring 2015 Top Prospect Tournament Winner Donovan Dijak, and a guy who really stood out in that tournament in Dalton Castle. I thought this was a fine match for being on the pre-show. I actually thought that the match these two had in San Antonio the month before was actually a little bit better. Still, this was fine. Castle would end up getting the win here.

Main Show/iPPV

1.) Silas Young & Takaaki Watanabe vs. Moose & Gedo (with Stokely Hathaway & Veda Scott): **¾

The show kicks off with probably the most random match on this entire tour, as Silas Young teams with Takaaki Watanabe to take on Moose & Gedo. I thought this was a decent opener. I’d say it was on-par with the Castle vs. Dijak pre-show match, from a match quality perspective. Everyone got a chance to shine here, but like I said, it was ok. Moose & Gedo would get the win here.

After the match, Silas Young attacked Takaaki Watanabe.

2.) Triple Threat Match - Chris Sabin vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. KUSHIDA: ***½

Originally, Sabin was scheduled to face KUSHIDA in a singles match, and reDRagon was going to be in a Four-Way Tag Team Match with The Addiction, Roppongi Vice, & The Decade. However, Bobby Fish had travel/border issues, and it couldn’t make it to the show. Thus, Kyle O’Reilly was inserted into this match, which makes sense in a way, as Sabin was the one who helped The Addiction screw reDRagon out of the ROH World Tag Team Titles. This was a really good Triple Threat Match. You had three very unique competitors, and I think they all worked together well here. There was some great action throughout this match, including some cool three-way spots. The card being reshuffled was actually a small blessing in disguise, as it led to us getting this match. KUSHIDA would get the win after forcing Sabin to tap out to the Hoverboard Lock.

3.) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. Matt Sydal & Jushin “Thunder” Liger: ***

Sydal & Liger is certainly a very interesting team, to say the least. I thought this was a fine match. The action was solid for the most part. Sydal & Liger proved to be a fun team to watch, and The Kingdom was decent. Towards the end of the match, Maria got up on the apron and started dancing which, of course, distracted Liger. After thwarting several attempts by Bennett & Taven to stop him, Liger’s dreams came true when got motorboated by Maria. This pretty much incapacitated Liger for the rest of the match. The finish came when Sydal ate a superkick from Taven, right in the middle of the Shooting Star Press, and then got hit with the Hail Mary for the win.

4.) Cedric Alexander vs. “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada (with Gedo): ***3/4

So this match was originally scheduled to take place at War Of The Worlds 2014, but an attack by The Decade the week prior at Global Wars 2014 (in this same building) forced him off the show. Now this match will probably be remembered for having the power in the building go out on two separate occasions during the match (there was a bad storm outside that night, if I recall correctly). Despite those two disruptions, this was a really good match. It didn’t quite reach the levels of being great, but both men put forth spirited performances, with some very good back & forth action from start to finish. Okada would eventually get the win, but Cedric looked really solid in this match.

They did continue the “Cedric Alexander losing streak/slow heel turn” storyline, as Alexander refused to shake Okada’s hand after the match.

5.) Non-Title Triple Threat Match - ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction vs. Roppongi Vice vs. The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Adam Page): ***1/4

So this was originally going to be a Four-Way Tag Team Match, also involving reDRagon, but Bobby Fish not being able to make the show forced plans to change. I have to say that this match suffered a little bit, in my eyes, due to the changes. I mean, the match ended up being relatively good, but you had two heel teams in there, and I think that dynamic just made it less enjoyable for me. Plus, I feel like this went about five minutes too long. This match didn’t need to got fourteen minutes. The Addiction would end up getting the win here.

6.) ACH vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: ***3/4

Now this was a match that I was really looking forward to. Apparently ACH had some travel issues, and his luggage didn’t make it to Toronto, so he had to wear somebody else’s gear (it ended up being Davey Vega’s gear). A lot of people (myself included) expected this match to be amazing, and while it didn’t quite reach that level, this was still very good. Both these men are extremely charismatic, and we got some really funny moments (including a mini dance-off). We also saw some very good action in this match. Nakamura was his usual awesome self, but ACH showed a lot here against one of the best wrestlers in the world. Eventually, ACH would fall to the Boma Ye, and Nakamura would pick up the win.

7.) ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Donovan Dijak) vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/2

Naito is coming off some big wins on the shows in Philadelphia over Michael Elgin & Kyle O’Reilly on the road to getting this title shot. Dijak was in Lethal’s corner, but there was no Truth Martini, as apparently he had gotten stuck at the border as well. Again, we have another ROH vs. NJPW singles match that was pretty good, but not great. Lethal continues to be a great heel champion, and Naito looked very solid here as well, getting some close nearfalls at a number of points. There was some interference from Dijak, but it didn’t play a role in the finish (not that I recall). In the end, Lethal retains the ROH World TV Title after hitting the Lethal Injection on Naito. A big moment not only for Lethal, but for ROH, as they pick up a win over a top New Japan Talent.

8.) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ***¾

Elgin is returning to the city (his hometown) where things felt apart for him several months prior, where he lost the ROH World Title in Jay Briscoe, and was actually stuck in Canada for a time. Now he’s facing the “Ace” of New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Once again, similar to the other ROH vs. NJPW singles matches on the card, this match was really good, but not great. That was mainly attributed to a few sloppy points in the match. Still, even with these small mishaps, I really enjoyed this match. Elgin looked very solid here, and really went toe-to-toe with Tanahashi, who was also very impressive (as he always is in big singles matches). Just a very good back & forth match between these two. Despite his best efforts, Elgin would eventually fall to the High Fly Flow, and Tanahashi would score the victory.

9.) Ten-Man Tag - The Bullet Club (IWGP Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, Karl Anderson, & Doc Gallows) vs. ROH All-Stars (The Briscoes, Roderick Strong, & War Machine): ****½

The Main Event of this iPPV sees five of ROH’s best going up against the top names in The Bullet Club. AJ Styles & Jay Briscoe, the IWGP Heavyweight Champion & ROH World Champions, respectively, are the de facto captains for each team. Now I figured this match would be really good, but I never expected it to as good as it was. This match was awesome!!! It was absolutely insane. A car crash with balls-to-the-walls action from start to finish. Some of the things we saw in this match were just unbelieve. There were five man superkicks, insane dives to the outside, and even a superplex from the top rope to the floor onto a pile of people. My brief description doesn’t do this justice. You need to go out of your way to see this match. It’s that amazing. Team ROH would get the win here. The only real thing I didn’t like about this match is that Mark Briscoe got the win for his team, which I didn’t necessarily agree with. I feel like either Hanson or Ray Rowe getting the win here would have done a lot for War Machine as a team. Still, that’s only a minor gripe.

After the match, AJ Styles & Jay Briscoe have a stare down, but this is interrupted when Jay Lethal comes out and attacks both men. The ROH World TV Champion stands tall to close the show.

Overall: 8.5/10

I don’t think this show was as good as the two shows earlier that week in Philadelphia, but this was still a very solid show from start to finish. There really wasn’t a bad match on the show. The first few matches were pretty good, for the most, with the Triple Threat Match featuring KUSHIDA, O’Reilly, & Sabin being the highlight. There were a number of ROH vs. NJPW singles matches on this show, and while none of those matches were great, they were all very good, and are still worth watching. Of course, the Main Event is fantastic, and absolutely needs to be seen. The show ending with Jay Lethal taking out Jay Briscoe & AJ Styles continues the build towards the champion vs. champion match at Best In The World ‘15. On the whole, I thought this was really good show featuring a lot of fun interactions between the stars of ROH & the stars of New Japan.

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