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OMEGA & BUCKS VS. DANIELS & TANAHASHI & KAZARIAN, CODY VS. OSPREAY & MORE: 5/7 ROH WAR OF THE WORLDS TOUR IN TORONTO LIVE REPORT

By Mike Burgess on 2017-05-08 09:15:00

I attended the ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour, at Ted Reeves Arena in scenic Toronto, ON. I'm poor at estimating crowd sizes, but attendance seemed up from last year, even without Kazuchika Okada or Jushin 'Thunder' Liger. Based on that, and the reaction of the live crowd, I think Kenny Omega, Los Ingobernables de Japon, Hiroshi Tanahashi and KUSHIDA, as well as the ROH regulars, more than made up the difference for those in attendance. I definitely recommend viewing this show when it comes out on VOD or DVD. 

Dark Match:

CHEESEBURGER & WILL FERRARA vs. THE FRATERNITY

The Fraternity are local to Toronto I believe; they appear sometimes for SMASH Wrestling, although this is my first time seeing them live. They are what they sound like, two guys with a frat boy gimmick, accompanied by a sorority girl/cheerleader type. Decent and fun match, The Fraternity come across as very polished, and I hope to see more of them. Frat boys are easy heels for me. Cheeseburger and Ferrara are back on the same page after some recent dissension (I must have missed something in reading recent results). Cheeseburger, who seems beloved wherever he goes, hit most of his usual spots, Ferrara did his small power guy thing. One of the Frat boys goes down to a Shotei Palm Strike from Cheeseburger.

Ian Riccaboni is joined on commentary by Kevin Kelly and Colt Cabana as the show kicks off.

THE REBELLION (CAPRICE COLEMAN & RHETT TITUS) vs. MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (ALEX SHELLEY & CHRIS SABIN)

Good heat for The Rebellion, great reaction for Shelley and Sabin. Shane Taylor joined Coleman and Titus shortly after the match began. Lots of tandem offense from the Machine Guns, but Coleman and Titus were able to keep up. A highlight was Coleman doing what can best be described as a 619 from the floor, using the post to go back into the ring and out to a hit a hurricanrana to the floor. MCMG were able to fend off interference from Taylor until the end, at which point Coleman hit a leaping frankensteiner to Sabin on the top rope, followed by a frog splash from Titus for the pin.

A fired up Shane Taylor calls out Hirooki Goto to have their match NOW!

HIROOKI GOTO vs. SHANE TAYLOR

A hard-hitting match showcasing both men's power and strength. Taylor really got a chance here to showcase himself as a single, especially as Keith Lee was always seen as the star of their former team. Huge reaction when Goto was able to nail Taylor with a saito suplex after several failed attempts; similar reaction when Taylor squashed Goto with a splash from the second rope. The finish came when Goto lifted Taylor off of the top rope to hit a HUGE ushigoroshi (that's the same fireman's carry into a neckbreaker you may have seen AJ Styles or Tye Dillinger use, for the uninitiated) which was crazy when you compare the size diference between Goto and Taylor - followed by the GTR (clothesline into a backbreaker) to pin Taylor. 

CHAOS (GEDO & ROPPONGI VICE (BERETTA & ROCKY ROMERO)) vs. DALTON CASTLE & THE BOYS

Good reaction for the Chaos team, huge reaction, as per usual, for Dalton and The Boys. Gedo & RPG Vice have a good 6-man act down, if you've ever seen them team here in ROH, NJPW or elsewhere; a combination of cocky and chicksh*t heels, but tweeners, really. A lot of comedy, some great antics from The Boys, and great tandem offense from Beretta and Rocky. Dalton was the star of the show, with his usual blend of flamboyant charisma, technical wrestling, and power. Dalton nails Gedo with the Bangarang for the win. Gedo and RPG Vice tease dissension before huugging it out on the outside. Dalton is presented with a celebratory drink afterwards. Looked like a martini glass, but I can only imagine it was a mimosa.

BULLY RAY vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. HANGMAN PAGE

Bully Ray enters to "ECW" chants (I checked the calendar on my phone, but it still said 2017). Bully Ray takes the mic to show his appreciates the ECW chants, but this is Ring of Honor - cue "ROH" chants. Bully asks Page and Martinez to follow the Code of Honor but both decline. Early match is mostly Page & Martinez focusing on Bully Ray, but eventually turn on each other. Bully Ray is able to get Page to provide the assist in hitting a Wazzzup headbutt on Martinez. This was followed by a highlight of this match for my partner - after Bully Ray told Page to "GET THE TABLES" the look of absolute, childlike glee on Page's face was a sight to behold; she couldn't get over it. This was short-lived, as Page followed-up not with a table, but a superkick for Bully Ray's trouble. Martinez eventually returned to hit huge chokeslams on both men, but after he was tossed from the ring, Bully Ray was able to nail Page with a Bubba Bomb sit-out full nelson drop for the win.

“THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE” CODY vs. “THE AERIAL ASSASIN” WILL OSPREAY

This was the match of the night for us. Huge reaction for Ospreay, but even bigger for Cody. Dueling chants for both competitors. Cody's more traditional and technical style is a good base for Ospreay to work with, and the contrast works better for me than when Ospreay works with someone who has a similar style to his. Indeed, Ospreay showed more of his technical side earlier in the match before busting out more of his high-flying later in the match, including a beautiful Sasuke Special to Cody on the floor. However, Cody is no slouch in the agility department and followed Ospreay in on  an OsCutter (springboard RKO) attempt and hit him with a Disaster kick while both were in the air. Cody then hit CrossRhodes for the pin. We went into intermission with Cody demanding that Bobby Cruise announce him as the winner "and NEXT WORLD CHAMPION".

THE KINGDOM (MATT TAVEN & VINNY MARSEGLIA) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION TETSUYA NAITO & BUSHI)

Not a lot of love for the The Kingdom from the fine people of Toronto. I can't say the same. Taven took the mic, and while I can't do it justice was able to repeatedly take control back from a jeering crowd, from referencing the Celtics and the Raptors to shutting down "DELETE" and "shut the f*** up" chants. Great reaction for L.I.J., but more people seemed familiar with Naito than BUSHI. Naito tosses the IWGP Intercontinental title HIGH and into the ring.  This match was a bit of a lowlight once the action got going. There were some notable miscommunications, mainly between Naito and Marseglia. Taven and Naito were able to get things back on track. After hitting a huge dive at the start of the match, BUSHI was largely a non-factor during the middle, but came back with a big missile dropkick to both members of The Kingdom followed by a spinaroonie. The finish came when The Kingdom was attempting some sort of tandem move with Marseglia coming off the top, and Taven holding BUSHI up in a powerbomb position. BUSHI was able to hit Marseglia with the green mist in mid-air and reverse Taven's powerbomb into a rana to send him out of the ring. Naito hit Marseglia with Destino for the win. The IWGP Intercontinental gets tossed in the air again before LIJ depart.

THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (EVIL & SANADA) vs. SILAS YOUNG & BEER CITY BRUISER

This match was an unexpected highlight, and at least partially for an unexpected reason. Great reactions for all three teams, including a better than usual, or expected, reaction for Silas and The Bruiser; this will be a theme. All three teams had their working boots on, and this match was fast-paced and hard-hitting. EVIL was over big from his entrance right to the end, but SANADA could have been highlighted more than he was. The Briscoes were the same workhorses they always are, with Jay engaging in striking exchanges with nearly everyone, Mark flying around the ring and hitting big throws, and huge dives at different points in the match from both men. Silas' popularity has been bubbling up for awhile now, and this could be a big year for him as the year progresses. But the unexpected star of this match very well may have been The Beer City Bruiser of all people! I would definitely call the Bruiser underrated, but either this match was built perfectly to showcase him, or people really hadn't been paying attention to him all this time, but the stars aligned for him tonight and his usual offense was over huge. People were amazed by the cannonball to the corner, a cannonball off the apron onto the group of opponents, and almost lost when he almost squashed Mark Briscoe with a HUGE frog splash off the top. Unfortunately, he fell to a neckbreaker and froggy-bow from The Briscoes for the pinfall loss.

JAY LETHAL vs. KUSHIDA

Another must-see match, and given the implications of the outcome, I wouldn't be surprised to see this pop-up on tv. The usual good reactions for both men. The story of the match was KUSHIDA working over Lethal's arm and Lethal's attack focused mainly on the back. Good aggression from both men during the match, and maybe it's me, but I feel a heel turn coming from Lethal. At one point on the outside, with Lethal seated in a chair, KUSHIDA hit a running dropkick in the style of Samoa Joe's old Olé Kick. Back in the ring, Lethal caught a dive attempt with a cutter out of nowhere; with both men on the top rope KUSHIDA hit a leaping hammerlock divorce court/single-arm ddt, but when he was able to lock in the Hoverboard lock (seated kimura) Lethal made the ropes. KUSHIDA was able to counter a Lethal Injection and nailed Jay with a Lethal Injection of his own, followed by a Small Package Driver for the pin. 

BIG win with big implications going into Jay's triple threat title match at the War Of The Worlds PPV on Friday

“THE CLEANER” KENNY OMEGA & ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE YOUNG BUCKS (MATT & NICK JACKSON) vs. ROH WORLD CHAMPION CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, KAZARIAN, & HIROSHI TANAHASHI

This was pretty unmistakably the match everyone was waiting for. Good reactions for The Addiction and Tanahashi, but the crowd was on fire for Omega and The Bucks. Lots of Terminator claps. Lots of "Too Sweet" chants. Lots of "Six Stars" chants. Lots of "THE ELITE! THE-THE-ELITE!" chants. I don't know that any description can do this match justice. Very fun. Good mix of serious action and comedy spots from all six men. A round of eyepokes to from the Bullet Club team to Daniels, followed by a round from the other team to Matt Jackson. Big moves galore. Huge dives to the outside. Lots of tandem offense from the Young Bucks. Back rakes for Omega and both Bucks from Tanahashi. Lots and lots of superkicks, especially to Kazarian. At one point Nick Jackson was like a hurricane hitting big moves on every member of the opposing team at once. The Young Bucks hit the Indytaker springboard spike tombstone to Tanahashi on the floor. Kenny Omega was able to pin Christopher Daniels after interference from Cody at ringside. Spectacular match - more highspots than psychology, but a great way to send the fans home after a long show. 

The Bullet Club celebrated together before Cody departed. This left The Elite to plug their merch and Youtube channel. Kenny thanked the fans, but was losing his voice, and passed the mic to Matt Jackson to complete the sales pitch and thank the fans.

Overall, I think one of the better War of The Worlds/Global Wars shows to hit Toronto, even with what could be seen as a lack of star power with some of the notable names that were absent. The show had a good pace to it and kept people engaged even as it got late into it. With some of the previous joint ROH/NJPW shows being tv tapings or iPPVs, they could lag with necessary downtime in certain spots just making things drag a bit. This was nice and lean, and I don't miss the big video screens and higher production values when a show is this good.

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