Saturday, May 21, 2016

ROH/NJPW War Of The Worlds 2015: Night 2 Live/DVD Review

I travel to the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA to see an amazing night of wrestling from the stars of ROH & New Japan Pro Wrestling!!

ROH/NJPW War Of The Worlds 2015: Night 2
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 5/13/15

This was the third ROH show I’ve attended live (the first two being the 10th Anniversary Show in 2012 and War Of The Worlds 2014, both in NYC at the Hammerstein Ballroom). Obviously, this show was different since it was in a different city, but for me, the real treat was getting to see the stars of ROH & NJPW in the world-famous 2300 Arena (formerly the ECW). Even though the building was remodeled/improved a few years ago, it’s still incredible to come to a venue that has seen so much wrestling history.

One of the coolest sights was actually (interestingly enough) in the men’s bathroom, where there is an awesome tribute to ECW in the form of a mural.

Of course, I did pick up a ton of merchandise before the show!

I had picked up the War Of The Worlds 2014 Poster the year prior, so I though it was only natural to get the War Of The Worlds 2015 Poster (which looks really cool)!

As far as T-Shirts are concerned, I picked up a Bullet Club T-Shirt (this one having the camouflage background instead of just being black & white).

Of course, I used this opportunity to pick up a number of DVD's. I picked up three ROH DVD's (the two Conquest Tour events from Milwaukee & Chicago Ridge, and Supercard Of Honor IX from Redwood City, CA), and one PWG DVD (Don't Sweat The Technique).

Finally, after last year, I made it a priority to get a stack of Okada Dollars. Fortunately, I was able to get some!

I was sitting in the second row on (I believe) the North Side, or whatever sides has people’s backs towards the hard cam. I got tickets in this spot because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t sitting behind the announcers (I didn’t want anything obscuring my view)


1.) J. Diesel (with Truth Martini) vs. The Romantic Touch: **

There was a pre-show match for this event, which saw J. Diesel take on The Romantic Touch. Diesel was originally scheduled to face Moose, but Veda Scott came out, and cut a promo saying that Moose won't be wrestling on the pre-show because he deserved a ROH World Title Match. The Romantic Touch would step in to fill in the spot. Really not much to say about this match. For what it was, it was ok. I think The Romantic Touch actually kissed Truth Martini at one point, but this would do him no good, as J. Diesel got the victory.

Main Show

1.) Adam Page (with Colby Corino) vs. Takaaki Watanabe: ***

We officially got things under way with The Decade’s Adam Page going against Takaaki Watanabe. I thought this was a pretty solid opener. The crowd was really into Watanabe, as they continued to chant “Suplex City!” whenever he used a German Suplex. This included Watanabe giving Colby Corino a german suplex on the floor, which the crowd popped huge for!! This match between Page & Watanabe was very fun to watch live, and it was a good way to kick things off. Even though Page would win after interference from Colby Corino, Watanabe would get the last laugh, as he took out Colby after the match.

2.) "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. KUSHIDA: ***¾

Both of these men are coming off losses from the night before. KUSHIDA lost to Roderick Strong in an awesome match, while Elgin lost to Naito in a good, but disappointing, match. Elgin’s heel character at this time was very strange, as much like everywhere else he wrestled at the time, he got reactions in the ring when he wrestled, but when he makes his entrance, he’s gets next to nothing. I think a reason for that which isn’t really talked about was his entrance music change. The “Sent Me To My Grave” song is awful, and doesn’t fit Elgin at all (thankfully, he’s since changed it back to his old theme, at least in ROH). As far as this match goes, I feel that, compared to both of their matches from the night before, was sort of a middle ground. KUSHIDA is an awesome wrestler to see live. He’s so much fun to watch, and I think he meshed well here with Elgin, who at points, was just tossing him all over the place (including a running powerbomb into the barricade). In a live note, here was one exchange towards the end of the match where KUSHIDA went to hit a paylay kick, but from my vantage point, he missed it by A MILE. It looked bad, and the fact that Elgin fell over and sold for it made it even worse. Still, that’s the only real complaint I had, as I thought this was a very good match, which would see Elgin pick up the win.

After the match, some guy a row or two behind me started heckling Elgin, who came right up to the barricade in front of me and basically gestured that this guy can suck his you-know-what.
3.) Kyle O'Reilly vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***¾

Now this was a match that I was really looking forward to going into it. I was very excited that I was getting to see Kyle O’Reilly in singles action against a higher-tier New Japan Talent in the form of Naito, who I was seeing for the first time. Now while this match wasn’t fantastic (as I was hoping it might turn out to be), this was still a very entertaining match. There was some comedy, with both men going after each other’s eyes and O’Reilly stealing Naito’s eye taunt, but there was also some great action from both men. I don’t have much else to say about this match other than it was really enjoyable from start to finish. Naito would eventually get the win, and the two men shook hands after the match.
4.) Four-Corner Survival - Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini): ***1/4

If politics weren’t a thing in wrestling, I’m sure we would have gotten a Jay Lethal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura singles match. Instead, both of them are participants in a Four-Corner Survival Match that also involves Mark Briscoe & Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Before I talk about the match, I just want to say that if ever get the chance to see Shinsuke Nakamura live on a NXT show, GO SEE HIM!!! He’s legitimately one the best wrestlers in the world, and you just can’t pass up the chance to see this guy live. Nakamura got a MONSTER reaction here (one of the best of the night). As far as this match goes, I’d actually compare it to the reDRagon vs. Tanahashi & Liger tag team match from the night before, in that it wasn’t an amazing must-see match, but was still super entertaining from start to finish. Nakamura is just awesome, Lethal’s great in this current role, and Mark Briscoe & Liger are both so entertaining to watch. Some really fun interactions throughout this match. Nakamura, in the end, would get the win after hitting the Boma Ye, while Lethal brawled with Mark Briscoe up the entranceway and to the back. Again, a pretty fun little match here. We got to see two of the most popular stars from New Japan, and at the very end, they were able to continue the storyline between Jay Lethal & The Briscoes.

Before we come back from intermission, Cheeseburger comes out and starts throwing out free merchandise. I think this was cut from the DVD, but he was throwing out Okada Dollars, and a stack of them (I might have been another merchandise item, I don’t recall), got stuck in the rafters, which led to a HUGE “You f*cked up” chant! Cheeseburger continued giving out merchandise until “Brutal” Bob Evans came out and attacked him. He stole the T-Shirt that Cheeseburger was going to give away, proclaiming that it was his. As Evans was being escorted out by security, Cheeseburger took the mic and says that he was coming for Evans.

5.) Roderick Strong vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: ****1/2

Now this was another match on this card that I was REALLY looking forward to. Strong was just coming off a big win over KUSHIDA, and is looking to pick up an even bigger win over one of the best wrestlers in the world in Tanahashi. I thought this match was awesome!! Live, it was just incredible to see. Of course, the big moment in this match was when Strong got busted open (hardway) about midway through the match. As far as blood goes, it can increased the level of drama & intensity to a match, and that certainly happened here. The second half of the match was just amazing, with the two of them going back & forth, and the crowd coming unglued at each big move and nearfall. Strong showed a lot of fighting spirit, but eventually, Tanahashi would score the win after hitting the High Fly Flow. I am so glad that I got to see this match live, because it was incredible. Once again, Strong has another fantastic match to add to his 2015 collection, and Tanahashi definitely brought his A-Game. Go out of you way to see this one.

After the match, Strong shake hands with Tanahashi, in a really cool moment.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction vs. CHAOS ("Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada & Gedo): ***¼

Daniels & Kazarian now want Bobby Cruise to announce them as “The ROH World Tag Team Champions….of the world”. Yeah. Anyway, they’re in non-title action against Okada & Gedo. There was a noticeable “F*ck TNA” chant right before the bell rang. This was a fine tag team match. Daniels & Kazarian are great as heels, and they had some fun interactions here with Okada (especially Daniels vs. Okada) as well as with Gedo (just for the aspect of all three using heelish tricks). Of course, the end went pretty much exactly the way you would expect, with Gedo eating the pin, but Okada did get to hit Daniels with a Rainmaker after the match, so everyone was happy.
7.) ROH World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. Bobby Fish: ***1/2

The story behind this match was that Fish was the last person to pin Jay Briscoe before he when on this just over two year undefeated run. Interesting enough, the crowd was really into Bobby Fish, and they were actually very much against Jay Briscoe. Live, I thought this was a very good match, but I think it had the potential to be a lot better. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a really solid ROH World Title Match, but given the build this match had, it definitely had the potential to be great. Both guys still put forth a lot of effect, and this was still a very good match, as I said. There were some pretty cool spots throughout this match, including Jay Briscoe hitting Fish with a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron (which happened right in front of me). The crowd’s reaction, being very pro-Fish and very anti-Briscoe, did add a very unique atmosphere to this match as well. Eventually, Briscoe would retain the ROH World Title after hitting the Jay Driller on Bobby Fish.

After the match, Moose came out, and had a stare down with Jay Briscoe. After initially backing down, Veda Scott convinces Moose to go back in the ring and spear Briscoe, which he does. Moose & Veda Scott celebrate with the ROH World Title, while Stokely Hathaway seems uncertain (seemingly opposed to the way Veda Scott is doing things).

8.) Six-Man Tag - The Kingdom (Adam Cole & IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. The Bullet Club (IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks): ****1/2

Bennett & Taven do a special introduction for Adam Cole. I have to say, for me, it was really awesome to see The Bullet Club trio of AJ Styles & The Young Bucks live. They were so awesome throughout 2015, and with AJ Styles now in the WWE, I’m glad I got to see them live once. As far as this match goes, I might be in the minority, but I thought this match was awesome!! There was so much incredible action from start to finish. As I said, AJ Styles & The Young Bucks are an amazing trio, but I think The Kingdom looked good here as well. The run that Bennett & Taven had in New Japan was bad (without question), but in ROH? They actually weren’t bad by any stretch in 2015, and I thought this was the best trios match that The Kingdom ever had. While there was great action, there were also some fun little references to PWG & Mount Rushmore (including a loud PWG chant). There was a moment where The Kingdom pulled out the referee when it looked like The Bullet Club had the match won, but then The Bullet Club got their revenge a little later by doing the same thing to The Kingdom. Even Maria got involved, and took an insane double superkick/pele kick combo. In the end, shenanigans from The Kingdom led to Cole, Bennett, & Taven getting the win. It was a bit of a deflating ending, but the match was still awesome live, and it would lead to a rematch, so in a way, there was some sense in the finish.

Overall: 9.25/10

When I saw this show live, I thought it was amazing. There were two incredible matches in the form of Strong vs. Tanahashi & The Kingdom vs. The Bullet Club, which I would say are both worth going out of your way to see. The undercard also had a number of really good and entertaining matches, such as Elgin/KUSHIDA, Naito/O’Reilly, and the Four-Corner Survival Match. There was also a very solid ROH World Title Match between Jay Briscoe & Bobby Fish. As a whole, this just was just so much fun to see live. It was an amazing experience getting to witness wrestling in the 2300 Arena, and it was awesome to see some of the top stars of New Japan from my spot in the 2nd Row at ringside. If you get the chance to see these ROH/NJPW Crossover Shows, you should definitely go. It’s an awesome experience, and this show is proof of that.

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