Inside Pulse 12

Metalhead Reviews ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2016 (War Machine vs Briscoe Brothers, Ishii vs Fish, Lethal vs Cabana… And A Superkick Counter)

This year’s joint ROH/NJPW Global Wars PPV took place at the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge Illinois. This was the third annual Global Wars event co-produced by ROH and NJPW. And now the decor has been planted, let’s start with:

Four Corners Survival – World TV Title #1 Contender’s Match: Dalton Castle defeated Adam Page, ACH and Roderick Strong in 9:30 via pinfall:

Good opener, worked with tag rules, meaning the four wrestlers couldn’t be in the ring at the same time, which resulted in the “blind tag” gimmick being used a lot. Of course that particular rule couldn’t last the whole match and things soon descended into chaos. Finish came when ACH hit a huge flip to the outside on everyone (including the Boys). Castle attempted to capitalize by dragging ACH into the ring but Strong went wild one everyone and ended up destroying ACH. Castle then hit the Bang-a-rang onto strong, who landed on Page. With Page Knocked out, Castle just had to cover him for the win.  I have no issue with Castle winning here, since he was the most over anyway. Lots of fun and energy but lack of time also meant it felt rushed and chaotic at times.

Jushin Liger and Cheeseburger defeated The Addiction in 6:53 via pinfall:

Short match designed to get Liger on the card (who was massively over with the ROH crowd) AND to give Cheeseburger his big moment.Some cause for concern unfortunately, as Liger fell on his head after The Addiction hit him with the Celebrity Rehab. Hope he’s OK. Surprise victory Roll from Cheeseburger on Daniels for the feel-good moment of the night. Post-match, The Dastardly heels beat poor Cheeseburger to a pulp and stood tall in the ring.

ROH Tag Team Title Match: War Machine (c) defeated The Briscoe Brothers in 15:26 via pinfall:

Good story to this one. The Champions War Machine felt they had to beat The Briscoes to be the real World Champions because they had never defeated them before. The Briscoes of course wanted to beat The Champions to prove they were still the best. All of this gave us an intense, hard-fought and very competitive match  that deservedly bags Match of the Night honors. A few minor issues thought, mostly due to some shoddy camera works (come on guys, when the wrestlers do a table spot on the outside, you’re supposed to catch that stuff on camera), and the ref being late to signal for the bell after the match ended, which caused some confusion, but other than that, very entertaining to watch. Much was done to put both teams over in their respective role, which is always a bonus. Ending stretch was great with The Briscoes going wild on Hanson with their trademark moves. Hanson then made a BIG come-back, but fell to the Jay-Driller. Rowe then saved Hanson from the Doomsday Device, Mark got hit by the Fallout and the Champions retained. Big win for War Machine in a match that felt like it mattered. Briscoes also looked great despite their loss. Excellent match made even better by a well-told story.

Non-Title Match: IWGP Champion Tetsuya Naito defeated Kyle O’Reilly in 12:03 via pinfall:

I don’t know about this one. Don’t get me wrong it was fine, but, I really don’t get why O’Reilly had to lose in a meaningless match against Naito just after his feud-ending win against Adam Cole. If this was just to give IWGP Champion Naito a good match, they could have put him against literally everyone and he would have entertained the crowd, because that’s what Naito does nowadays. But perhaps I’m missing something here, Michael McMonigle would know (do check out his ROH TV reviews btw, they are excellent). Anyway, good back and forth, with O’Reily responding to Naito’s dickishness by trying to rip his limbs off. The result was never really in doubt though and, unlike Ishii one week before, O’Reilly failed to convince the crowd he even had a chance against the Champ. Not bad, but a tad pointless and, ultimately a poor booking choice.

Kazuchika Okada and Moose defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin in 14:45 via pinfall:

This was always gonna be good, but, like the previous match, never really felt as if they were going all-out. Also, while the Tanahashi/Elgin pair was logical (since the two are a team in NJPW anyway, the Okada Moose pairing felt a bit more random, despite ROH attempts at convincing us Moose had “earned Okada’s respect” during their match some months ago. Again,  nothing bad, match was good, but Elgin is obviously more comfortable in NJPW than he is in ROH and Tanahashi and Okada weren’t about to take too many risks with the big Dominion and G1 Climax events fast approaching. It is also amusing to note that, while the average NJPW watcher is kinda happy the Tanahashi/Okada feud is over (fro now), the ROH crowd reacted big time any time those two were facing each-other in the ring. Watch more NJPW guys, you won’t come over has having missed a a train or two if you do. In the end, Okada hit his dropkick on Elgin, followed by Moose spearing the hell out of both Elgin and Tanahashi, in turn followed by Okada hitting the Rainmaker. Felt like an exhibition match.

ROH TV Title Match: Bobby Fish defeated Champion Tomohiro Ishii (c) in 15:37 via ref stoppage:

Second-best match of the night with the same intensity and sense of purpose as for the Tag Team Title match. Except Ishii (especially) and Fish brought their own brand of hard-hitting bad-assery to the ring. Fish tried some mind-games at the start, but just managed to anger Ishii which is NEVER a good idea. Crowd was firmly behind Ishii, who rewarded them by kicking the hell out of Fish and then, amusingly, looked supremely annoyed when poor Bobby had the gall to try and respond. Good story also, with Ishii going over Fish like a bulldozer on speed, while Fish kept trying to lock on the sleeper under the motto: “If I cut off his air-supply, perhaps he’ll stop hitting me”. Which is exactly what happened in the end, Fish refused to let go of the sleeper and managed to make Ishii pass out which prompted the ref to award the victory to Fish, while the commentators put over the fact Ishii didn’t actually submit. I guess taking the title from Ishii was the right choice here, as Ishii is a major part of NJPW and, as good as he is, he can’t be everywhere at once. The finish might be subject to discussion, but, I’m guessing we will have a big re-match at some point in the future (read, whenever Ishii feels ready for another USA tour). Great stuff from both.

Bullet Club (The Young Bucks and Guerillas of Destiny) defeated Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley), KUSHIDA and Matt Sydal in 13:30 via pinfall:

And here is the point where, in my opinion, ROH booker Delirious completely lost the plot. I have nothing against a bit of comedy in wrestling, but, come on guys. You have the Young Bucks, Matt Sydal and the Time Splitting Motor City Machine Gun Trio of KUSHIDA, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin in there and the one you put over during this match is a… Superkick counter??? Mr Wrestling III indeed introduced a super-kick counter prior to the match (because the Young Bucks had teased a superkicks world record (or something) and, it was supposed to be hilarious to hear Candido freak out anytime there was even the hint of a superkick. Only thing is, no superkick ever materialized and I’m guessing the live crowd must have been completely oblivious to all of that. So the story of this match was that there was no superkicks. Great…

Again, nothing bad in-ring wise here, but, given the talent in there, this should have been a whole lot better. Meltzer Driver on Shelley for the Bullet Club win.

Before the Main Event, a masked BJ Whitmer came out, ripped off Corino/Mr WRestlin III’s mask off and told him he’s tired of his BS. He then gave Corino a flash drive and told him to watch it. And no, I have no idea what all of that was about, you’ll have to ask Michael.

ROH World Title Match: Jay Lethal (c) with Taeler Hendrix vs. Colt Cabana went to a no contest in 15:50:

Main event and, unfortunately, it ended with a complete mess of an angle. Match was fine, although I do feel more could have been done to present Cabana as a genuine threat to Lethal. I mean I know who he is and what he has done in the past, but, I’m guessing not everyone does (beyond his famous CM Punk podcast of course). For the rest, kinda what you expect with Lethal controlling most of the match and Cabana getting some comebacks and playing the nostalgia card with some trademark moves. Taeler Hendrix not only looked good on the outside, but also played her interference-runner role well whenever necessary. And all of that was giving us a nice little main event until… Delirious again completely lost the plot.

Young Bucks came out, interrupted the match, and presented Bullet Club T-shirts to both Lethal and Cabana. Lights went out and suddenly Adam Cole was in the ring with a BC T-shirt. He and The Young Bucks then proceeded to superkick literally everyone. Cabana, Lethal, the ref, Taeler Hendrix, Candido (who went bat-shit crazy and was demanding the re-appearance of the superkick counter), Kevin Kelly, the Young Bucks’ dad, camera-men, ringside guys, you name it, they superkicked them. Counter stopped at 51 and that was the end of the PPV.

 

Conclusion: easily the worst Global Wars event to date. The under-card was fine, with two very good matches (War Machine/Briscoes and Ishii/Fish despite the ending not really being an ending), but there were some questionable booking decisions and the two last matches/angles/whatever the hell that was were just a mess.

Here is the thing, and I’ve spoken of this before. In a day and age where promotions like WWE and NJPW are presenting a ton of content on their Networks (including live PPV) for just about 10 USD (less in NJPW’s case)), then IF ROH indeed wants fans to continue paying  out 45 USD for just one PPV, this is nowhere near good enough. In fact it almost borders on an insult to the fans. The ending was especially offensive because doing a NWO rip-off angle so you don’t have to declare a winner for your main event is something you would expect from WWE. Or TNA. NOT ROH. It’s not the first time ROH booking receives criticism, but, these last weeks, it wasn’t only fans and observers who were complaining, ROH wrestlers have also started to express their frustration with ROH’s booking. I  have no doubt this trend will only intensify after Global Wars. So, Delirious, here is a simple message for you. Get you shit together or leave the pencil to someone who can actually do the job. Because, again, this falls short on (almost) every level.

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