ROH/NJPW War Of The Worlds 2015: Night 1
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 5/12/15
Before we get our first match of the night, Adam Cole comes out to the ring. He says that the mystery opponent that was supposed to face AJ Styles tonight was going to be him, but because he was still recovering, his doctors, his family & ROH warned against it, saying that he could return on Night 2 of War Of The Worlds. Cole says he’s not returning tomorrow night…he’s returning tonight to face AJ Styles, and the doctors can kiss his ass! Cole firmly declares that he is tonight, bay-bay!
1.) Delirious vs. Gedo: **½
We officially kick things off with a “Battle of the Bookers” (*wink wink*). This was a fine opener. In all his years of wrestling, I don’t think Gedo has ever facing someone like Delirious. Some fun stuff between these two. Towards the end of the match, Gedo would send Delirious into the referee, Red Shoes. This distraction proved to be enough, as he hit a low blow on Delirious and got him in the Gedo Clutch to secure the pinfall victory.
2.) KUSHIDA vs. Roderick Strong: ****1/2
This is a big week for Strong, as he has three big singles matches against some of the top stars of New Japan. The first of those is KUSHIDA. I thought this match was awesome!! It’s incredible to think that we got such an incredible match this early on the show, but that just speaks to the depth that some of these cards have. Fantastic back & forth action for both guys. Seeing Strong going against juniors/smaller wrestlers/high flyers is always fun, and he can toss them around in a multitude of ways. However, KUSHIDA showed a lot here, and took the fight to Strong. There were some especially great nearfalls towards the end of the match, but eventually, Strong was able to put KUSHIDA away for the win.
3.) ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. Takaaki Watanabe: ***
Out of all of the matches that were announced for this tour, I thought this was the most disappointing. Lethal & Watanabe had a very bland & forgettable match in Hopkins, Minnesota in 2014, and I wasn’t expecting much from this match going in. However, I can firmly say that this was not only a great improvement compared their previous match, but that it also exceeded my expectations. It was nowhere near the best match on this show, but it was just so much better than that earlier match. Watanabe was on fire early, hitting a bunch of German Suplexes, and getting a “Suplex City!” chant. Some solid action from both guys here, both inside the ring and on the floor. Lethal getting the win here in this non-title match was never in doubt, but this was definitely Watanabe’s best singles performance to date.
After the match, Lethal guys a promo (or maybe it was before the match. I don’t recall.). Anyway, the point is that Jay Briscoe came out after the match to confront Lethal, but the ROH World TV Champion bailed.
4.) Three-Way Tag Team Match - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks vs. ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction: ***3/4
What’s interesting about this particular match is that each team is holding gold. That’s pretty cool. Anyway, this match was pretty crazy, as you would except, with bodies flying all over the place. I was interested to see how this match would work, since there were two teams of heels in the form of The Addiction & The Kingdom, but things ended up working out very well. A really good match from all three of these teams. The Young Bucks would eventually pick up the win after a Meltzer Driver on Daniels.
5.) "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/4
Elgin is another guy who has a number of big singles matches on this tour. The first of those is against Tetsuya Naito, who’s making his ROH debut. Now, I have to be honest here….I was a little disappointed by this match. I mean, it’s not like it was bad. The match was relatively good. However, given both guys involved, I was expecting something much better. They told a nice story here, with Elgin’s power against Naito’s speed, but again, I was expecting more. Maybe the crowd’s reaction (or lack thereof, at some points) had something to do with it. Of course, Elgin was still heel at this time. To add on to all of that, the match ended out of nowhere, with Naito scoring a rollup on Elgin for the victory. Again, the match wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it didn’t reach my expectations.
6.) reDRagon vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin "Thunder" Liger: ***1/4
Now this is a very interesting match. Tanahashi & Liger tagged together at Global Wars 2014, and they’re teaming again in 2015, this time against reDRagon. Of course, Tanahashi in tag team matches doesn’t exactly mean you’re going to get a stellar match. Still, this was a very entertaining tag team match for what it was. Seeing Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish interact with Liger & Tanahashi was super fun to watch. Again, it didn’t need to be spectacular, but it was perfect for it’s position on the card. reDRagon would get the win after hitting Chasing The Dragon on Liger, and more importantly, Fish was the one who scored the fall, gaining more momentum as he challenges Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Title the next night.
7.) IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. Adam Cole: ****1/2
The match originally had it listed as a "mystery person" taking on AJ Styles, but as seen earlier in the night, that spot was filled by Adam Cole. This is the first time Adam Cole has wrestled in ROH since Final Battle 2014, as he spent five months on the shelf with a variety of injuries to his shoulder & elbow. He’s jumping right into the deep end, as he’s going one-on-one with AJ Styles, who was then the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. These two had an epic encounter back at All-Star Extravaganza VI in Toronto, and I have to say, this match was just as awesome!! Styles, of course, is always phenomenal (pun 100% intended), but it’s amazing that Cole was able to come back (apparently only getting officially cleared by doctors the day of the show) and have this incredible of a match after not even being in a wrestling ring for five months. There were a ton of great moments in this match, and the latter stages were especially fantastic. Cole gave Styles everything he had, even hitting him with the Styles Clash!! However, Styles fought back hard, eventually hitting Cole with two Hollow Points before putting him away with the Styles Clash. A truly incredible match that’s right up there with KUSHIDA vs. Strong for Match of the Night.
8.) CHAOS ("Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura with Gedo) vs. The Briscoes: ****
You want to talk about dream tag team matches? Well, we’ve got one right here, as the two top guys in CHAOS, Okada & Nakamura, take on two ROH Legends in the form of The Briscoes! While this wasn’t quite as good as KUSHIDA vs. Strong of Cole vs. Styles, this was still an incredible Main Event. Okada & Nakamura were really over with the fans in Philadelphia (as one would expect), and they worked very well here against The Briscoes, who were their usual awesome selves. Some really good back & forth action from both teams here. In the end, CHAOS would get the win after Mark Briscoe was hit by a Boma Ye from Nakamura, followed by a Rainmaker from Okada. You’re not getting up from that 1-2 Punch, no matter who you are.