It feels mean to point it out, but Ring of Honor needs New Japan at the moment. Their roster is threadbare, and they are at their best when they are able to pull on NJPW’s talent pool. It’s a sad reality that has turned Global Wars from a cool gimmick into some of their best shows. Noone can pretend that this Chicago event would have been half as successful without the New Japan talent and, in particular, a certain Cleaner making an appearance. Let’s dish out some stars.
Cody opened up the show to a huge reaction. Say what you want about Cody the wrestler, Cody the character is over. Something that he wanted to point out to Roman Reigns after the Big Dog took a shot on Twitter. Yes, it was all a bit petty. However, that crowd ate it up and The Bullet Club knows how to use this stuff to their own advantage. Plus, WWE hasn’t shown themselves to be above petty recently.
The segment ended with Dalton Castle getting a sneak attack on Cody after dressing up as a fan. I’m fully behind Castle going after the belt. The fact he got a positive reaction from a very pro-Bullet Club crowd says it all. He’s one of the few recent additions to the ROH roster who feels like a star, and I think the sky is the ceiling for him going forward.
Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser defeated The Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor)
The Best Friends are a goddamn delight. They’re two talented wrestlers who know how to go out there and combine that with having a laugh. The same can’t be said for Beer City Bruiser and Silas Young, but they did their part in what was an entertaining opening contest. I’m glad to see Chuck Taylor (or Chuckie T as he’s now known) is set to become a regular in ROH. The guy can do a little bit of everything, and he’s an exciting addition to that roster.
I was surprised at how long this match went as we got a couple of false finishes off the Bruiser Banzai Drop and Trent’s Piledriver. In comparison, the actual finish ended up being a bit of a letdown as a keg shot from Bruiser set up Silas Young hitting Misery. That didn’t ruin a fun match, though.
Verdict: Three Stars
Marty Scurll defeated Hiromu Takahashi
I get that Takahashi selling Scurll hitting him in the face with Daryl is ridiculous. I also get that it’s probably hurting his position as a serious character. However, the fact that an entire arena – from fans to commentators – acts like that cat is a sentient being is why I love wrestling. Where else could you see that?
Going into this one, it could have gone a few ways. Both of these men are fantastic wrestlers, but they’re also quite capable of working a more comedic style and coasting through matches. Thankfully, we got a mixture of the two. We had Daryl, slap battles, arguments with the ref and that sunset flip powerbomb which pops me every time. The greatest match you’ll ever see? No, there was too much silliness for that, and I’m sure these guys could have done better on a bigger stage. This wasn’t that stage and still – from start to finish – this was exciting, and you can’t ask for more than that.
Verdict: Three And a Half Stars
The Addiction (Frankie Kazarian and Chris Daniels) defeated KUSHIDA and Cheeseburger
KUSHIDA and Cheeseburger are an amiable tag team. That makes them perfect opponents for Daniels and Kazarian who have morphed into jock heels. They were perfect in their roles as the bullies here, letting KUSHIDA and Cheeseburger have a bit of fun before stomping all over it and eventually winning the match. It’s not something anyone is going to remember, but it was fun while it lasted.
Verdict: Three Stars
After coming out to put Kazarian through a table, Bully Ray cut a promo post-match and hinted at his retirement. At the time I assumed this was setting up a final match with Jay Briscoe, events later in the show mean I’m not so sure.
Bullet Club (Cody, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and Adam Page) defeated Search and Destroy (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay White and Jonathan Gresham)
Whatever you think of The Bullet Club, you can’t deny their star power. This felt like Bullet Club in conjunction with ROH and NJPW rather than a show they were on featured on.
On top of that, you have to admit that they are damn good at these multi-man tags. They give you a taste of everything and even Adam Page had a lovely flurry of offence here. Put them in the ring with a team as talented as they are (i.e. Search and Destroy), and magic can happen.
This was a big spot for Search and Destroy too, with Jay White and Jonathan Gresham being given a chance to shine. Gresham, in particular, looked fantastic and he’s got star potential. I also liked that they were humble enough to play the heels, knowing that there was no chance this pro-Bullet Club crowd would react positively to them.
If you don’t like these clusterfuck multi-man tags, then this won’t change your mind. For the people that do, sit back and enjoy the chaos.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
The Dawgs (Rhett Titus and Will Ferrera) defeated One Mean Team (Brian Johnson and Justin Pusser)
Wow, The Dawgs might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The contrast between the crowd’s reaction to The Bullet Club and them didn’t help but fuck me, that act should be burned with fire. They were up against One Mean Team who I assume are locals. I honestly didn’t care. This was bad, and it should have been on a pre-show rather than in a decent spot on a big event.
Verdict: Half A Star
Jay Briscoe came out post-match and called out… his brother? This was weird. I think we assumed it would be Bully Ray particularly – with his brother being out for at least a couple of months. Instead, he’s calling for his brother to up his game, and it looks like the Bully stuff will be forgotten for another Briscoe Brothers tag run. Strange decision.
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) defeated Jay Lethal, Shane Taylor and Kenny King
Oh fuck, it’s a Suzuki-gun six-man. I thought I was safe from them away from New Japan.
Actually, I’m being harsh, because as Suzuki-gun trios go, this was an alright one. No Iizuka or Taichi to be seen. The match was even entertaining once we got past the usual opening brawl. I’m a big fan of Jay Lethal deciding to slap Suzuki. It was good of him to sacrifice himself for our entertainment, and he’ll be remembered fondly.
All joking aside, any match which has Suzuki getting involved in slap battles is fine by me.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Colt Cabana defeated Toru Yano
ROH couldn’t bring Toru Yano over for a tour and not have him face off against Colt Cabana. The fact they had it in Chicago makes it all the more special, and the thirty-minute wrestling classic they put on was exactly what we expected.
Sorry, bad jokes. Yes, this was a comedy match, and if your name is Jim Cornette, you probably shouldn’t bother. If, however, you have a sense of humour, then you’ll enjoy this. We got DVD sales, turnbuckle wars and a game of catch with Todd Sinclair. Most importantly, I laughed the whole way through.
Yano annoys me in New Japan because he gets involved in the otherwise serious action. Slotted into a mid-card comedy match, you can appreciate what he brings to the table.
Verdict: Three Stars
Will Ospreay defeated Flip Gordon
Top flipping all around, here are all the stars.
I genuinely can’t fathom how people like Will Ospreay and Flip Gordon move at the speeds they do, never mind doing it while diving through the air and catching each other. How can you watch this and not be astonished?
I was pretty sure this was going to be fantastic and it was even better than I’d hoped. I really enjoyed Will kicking it off by playing the arrogant veteran. Well, it’s slightly disconcerting because the bastard is only 24, yet he’s had a career that means he can get away with that already. It also gave the crowd something to react to as the natural response to this kind of wrestling is to cheer all involved.
Flip Gordon was undoubtedly deserving of any cheers he received because this was a star-making performance from him. He went out there with arguably the best high flyer on the planet and matched him every step of the way. I have a feeling ROH and countless other promotions could go back to these two fifty times in the coming years, and it would get better each time.
Verdict: Four Stars
Kenny Omega defeated YOSHI-HASHI to retain the IWGP US Title
It was hard to take this match seriously when Kenny has been doing everything in his power to make it clear that YOSHI-HASHI is beneath him. He didn’t even take the belt to the ring for Christ sake.
Despite that, the first part of it was actually pretty decent. HASHI is one of these wrestlers who I struggle to get excited for but whom always delivers when placed in the big spot. Plus, he was in there with Kenny Omega, and that would turn me into a decent wrestler.
Then, the ref bump happened. Suddenly, we went from a serious wrestling match to all that ten boot shenanigans. I’m okay with that in the fun multi-mans. In a serious title match, it has no place. I get that this was a Bullet Club heavy show. I get that they are the most over thing on the card. That doesn’t mean they should overshadow the belt.
The result was a complete rarity. A disappointing Kenny Omega main event. It wasn’t an awful match, it just could have been so much better.
Verdict: Three Stars
Disappointing main event aside, this was a top ROH show. Flip Gordon and Will Ospreay stole it and the only proper dud was The Dawgs (and the less said about that, the better). If we take that out, it was entertaining from top to bottom. The only worry for ROH fans is that the New Japan guys are heading back to Japan and that roster still looks thin.