In recent months, I have been lax. Whereas in years gone by I have been a regular viewer of ROH, I have quite frankly just not had the time. It’s meant that I am woefully behind on the product and apart from occasionally reading show reports online, don’t quite know where they are at this point in 2016. However, this morning (because once again, UK time zones, etc. ) I caught up with ROH Global Wars, their latest partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
And my first thought upon tuning in was how much better ROH looks. I’d heard this from other people, but the difference in the lighting and camera work is like night and day to the old product. ROH is still an independent promotion but now it doesn’t look like one, and when you’re trying to get casual viewers to tune in, that is important.
Despite that, there are still some production issues. At one point they pulled up the tale of the tape for Cheeseburger and Liger vs. The Addiction rather than War Machine vs. The Briscoes. Also, despite the improved camera work, they do still miss things occasionally. The camera getting lost in among the indieriffic chaos that any ROH show has. Those little things aren’t really an issue – especially as their replays have improved significantly – but they do add to that indie feel.
That indieriffic feel isn’t aided by the action in the ring. ROH still has all the subtlety of a Michael Bay film and the lack of selling is sometimes ridiculous. There are times when it works, The Briscoes and War Machine beating the crap out of each other could get away with it. At other times, it just becomes a mess. It is exciting, and I love watching talent like The Young Bucks, but when you get right down to it, I really struggle to care. Those incredible moves stopped being special a while ago; although the super kick counter was a lot of fun.
It is worth it though for matches like Naito vs. Kyle O’Reilly. Two wrestlers who just have more talent than seems fair. I’ve always liked O’Reilly, and his almost MMA hybrid style works well with the New Japan workers. I do wonder if ROH does occasionally get the short end of the stick in this deal. Their talent seems to lose a lot, and O’Reilly was even made to look a bit of a fool by taking the nut kick at the end. On the flip side the TV Title match with Bobby Fish getting the win felt like a lot better use of both men. The way Ishi was presented during the match made him feel like a legit badass while Fish felt like a man who had conquered a giant.
The main event was the real reason I tuned into this show. I’m a huge Cabana fan and him wrestling for the ROH World Title in Chicago is in to unmissable territory. It’s a shame then that the match had to end with a load of sports entertainment bullshit. They had a great match up to that point with Cabana’s unique offence combining nicely with the ROH champ. I can only hope we get this again somewhere down the line.
As for the Bullet Club reveal and beat down it was entertaining enough, but I find it really hard to get excited about heel factions. I’d much prefer if ROH as the wrestling fans wrestling company stayed away from that kind of thing. It also made ROH staff look really stupid as they ran into superkick after superkick.
All things said, however, I enjoyed my return to ROH. They still do actual wrestling better than nearly any company in the world, and that makes up for a lot of their faults. However, I have to say I think I enjoyed Payback more.