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Kingdom vs reDRagon

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2015

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: NIGHT 1

13 November 2015 (Friday)
Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee

“The House of Truth” of Jay Lethal, Donovan Dijak, & Joey Daddiego vs. “Bullet Club” of AJ Styles, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson

The House of Truth accompanied by Truth Martini

ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

“The Kingdom” of Matt Taven & Michael Bennett (c) vs. “reDRagon” of Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly

The Kingdom accompanied by Maria Kanellis

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST 2015 QUALIFIERS

The winners advance to the six-person Survival of the Fittest tournament final the next night.

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Best of Five Series Finale

ACH vs. Matt Sydal

ACH has 2 wins; Matt Sydal has 2 wins

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Mark Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Hanson vs. Kenny King

“4 Corner Survival” rules

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Jay Briscoe vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Ray Rowe vs. Rhett Titus

“4 Corner Survival” rules

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole vs. Moose

Moose accompanied by Stokely Hathaway

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Dalton Castle vs. Silas Young vs. Adam Page

Adam Page accompanied by BJ Whitmer

SOTF 2015 QUALIFIER

Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander

Cedric Alexander accompanied by Veda Scott


SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: NIGHT 2

14 November 2015 (Saturday)
Hopkins Eisenhower Community Center, Hopkins (Minnesota)

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST FINALS

?? vs. ?? vs. ?? vs. ?? vs. ?? vs. ??

Winner to receive an ROH World Championship match in the future

card correct as of posting date
images and information retrieved from rohwrestling.com

War of the Worlds, Night 1

React » War of the Worlds Nights 1 & 2

Results courtesy of pwinsider.com and pwponderings.com.

Spoilers ahead!

RING OF HONOR and NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
present
WAR OF THE WORLDS 2015 – Night 1
12 May 2015
2300 Arena, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)

  • Gedo def Delirious
  • Roderick Strong def KUSHIDA
  • Jay Lethal def Watanabe
  • The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) def The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie KazarianX) vs The Kingdom (Michael Bennett & Matt Taven)
  • Tetsuya Naito def Michael Elgin
  • reDRagon (Bobby FishO & Kyle O’Reilly) def Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin “Thunder” LigerX
  • AJ Styles def Adam Cole
  • Kazuchika OkadaO & Shinsuke Nakamura def The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark BriscoeX)

WAR OF THE WORLDS 2015 – Night 2
13 May 2015
2300 Arena, Philadelphia

  • Adam Page def Watanabe
  • Michael Elgin def KUSHIDA
  • Tetsuya Naito def Kyle O’Reilly
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jushin Thunder LigerX, Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi def Roderick Strong
  • The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) defeated Kazuchika Okada & GedoX
  • ROH World Championship
    Jay Briscoe© def Bobby Fish
  • The Kingdom (Michael Bennett, Matt Taven, & Adam ColeO) def Bullet Club (AJ Styles, Matt JacksonX, & Nick Jackson)

Biggest change to the week’s happenings in my mind was the return of Adam Cole. I’d predicted Sabin as AJ Styles‘s mystery opponent but I suppose Cole was closer to being healthy than I’d thought. He managed to go 1 for 1 at War of the Worlds, taking a loss in that return to Styles but teaming with his Kingdom-mates to take down Bullet Club the next night. Losing to Styles is nothing to be ashamed of at all, though I’m sure Cole is going to have something to say about that.

As far as predictions go, the Naito/Elgin match went against my expectations but I think if I’d known Naito was going to have a title shot at Global Wars Night 1 when I made it I would have revised my opinion. That said, Elgin took a flash loss which I was happy to hear; points much more strongly to Naito needing the win than to a lack of regard for Elgin. Naito took next night’s match against Kyle O’Reilly as well. His upcoming opponent, the TV champion Jay Lethal, didn’t do quite so well as he went 1 and 1, but he wasn’t pinned as his loss came in that four-corner survival. Naito’s got the momentum going into Global Wars but I can’t see that it’s going to give him the win.

Bobby Fish has done a lot to sell his title match with Jay Briscoe in the short amount of time he had to do it. That plus reDRagon still being way over as ROH’s top (and now unabashedly beloved) tag team made for a long night for Jay at Night 2. Fish didn’t pull out the win but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets more singles title matches in the future.

After the title match, Moose apparently hit the ring and gave Jay Briscoe a spear. Seems to set up a future title match between the two which I just hope is gonna be on TV rather than at an event. My feeling is that unfortunately Moose will leave soon (for GFW) so they’re wanting to get the title match for the monster out of the way. Could certainly be wrong, always a problem trying to speculate in these things. I’m just not that interested in a Moose title match at this juncture and I can’t see that he was really being built to take a strong run at it.

Nakamura and Okada apparently were booked to look flawless, especially in showcase matches on night 2. KUSHIDA‘s been the kicking boy with a name so far, so while I expect he’ll get at least 1 win this weekend I would be extremely surprised (and honestly, disappointed) if he beats Elgin on the iPPV. Gedo did his bit and I’m interested to see how he does against Delirious, esp as he’s in Best of the Super Juniors this year.

I find it interesting the level that The Kingdom tag team have been protected, mostly because I don’t feel like The Kingdom have been put in marquee positions. Obviously it could just be protecting the belts, but then I’d have to wonder why they gave them the straps in the first place. We’re apparently set to see a title rematch at NJPW’s Dominion show and at the moment I can’t really see Kingdom still holding onto them. I suppose really what I want to see is The Kingdom have a solid rivalry with someone. Probably won’t materialize soon, though.

All in all they sound like great shows and I’m excited to see them when they finally do come out. As for Global Wars, I can only imagine they’ll be doing their best to top what they put out on these shows.

 

Killer Elite Squad

Review » Killer Elite Squad vs War Machine (ROH TV 2-May)

I feel like this sort of match is one that we don’t get often enough these days: two powerhouse tag teams going toe to toe and just slugging it out. A lot of it is because we really don’t have that many power teams, and probably because there’s such a premium on flying. But if people are watching matches like this one I can see a lot more interest for power guys coming up.

War Machine, made up of Raymond Rowe and Hanson, took Ring of Honor by storm in the 2014 Top Prospect Tournament, where they met in the finals for an excellent match. Later on Michael Elgin brought them together as a team and they were well on their way to a strong spot when Rowe got sidelined by a major injury. Now they’re back on on the path one again, but Elgin’s turned on them and brought in the Killer Elite Squad to take them out. In Ring of Honor, War Machine enjoys a huge power advantage over pretty much every other team. The Killer Elite Squad are bigger than them and they’ve been champions a long time. When they walk to the ring they’re bringing two tag titles (NOAH’s GHC straps and the NWA straps) and they have all the pedigree they need to make sure no one messes with them without thinking real hard about it first.

I have a high opinion of War Machine’s work in ROH so far but I feel like this is their first real test. Hanson singly has had a lot of standout matches while Rowe was out, even rising to an ROH World title shot. Since they’ve been back they’ve mostly rolled over weak competition, working out ring rust. Plus, the fact that their opponents here have such a developed power game is going to make this much different than any test they’re likely to face from the regular roster. Killer Elite Squad are a team I’m sort of iffy on. I don’t really know why. Davey Boy Smith Jr I’ve liked since WWE but my opinion of him has definitely increased since he’s been working New Japan. Lance Archer, I definitely think Steve Corino’s telling the truth when he says Archer’s one of the most slept on talents out there. I’ve seen Archer in a lot of things I liked. I just can’t get into him. Don’t know why, it’s never really clicked for me. That said, he’s definitely good and his viciousness definitely puts the Killer in the KES name.

Tag Team Challenge Match
Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr & Lance Archer) vs War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe)

The best thing about this match was that War Machine was absolutely destroyed. Every single other time we’ve seen Hanson & Rowe they’re rolling right over their opponents. Now that War Machine is up against a team with at least as much power and a lot more experience, they are actually having trouble. Hanson, not Rowe, has been on a total tear through ROH in 2014. Yet here it’s Hanson, not Rowe, who is getting double-teamed, bodyslammed, tied up, and crushed by the Killer Elite Squad. Yet in all that War Machine never lose their steamroller attitude. They don’t become mewling wretches and they’re not gasping and pleading with the fans to help them. You see the KES pinning Hanson in the corner, hitting a series of attacks, and the vibe you’re getting is still “Once I can step out of this corner I’m gonna kick these motherfuckers’ heads in.”

Thought we had a very nice arc here with KES not taking War Machine seriously until War Machine had done some damage, then immediately turning the pressure on. The Killer Elites were brought in to take War Machine out and it seemed very much like that’s what they were intent on doing. Despite being a power team they are exceptionally crafty and did a lot of very effective rule bending. Hanson is actually really good at taking the heat despite being such a big hoss-type guy; was impressed by his tag selling at one point because he gets up looking at the far rope and then sells around rather than doing the regular dead fish crawling sell. I think when Rowe came back in and hit Archer he was supposed to take Archer down. The way Rowe fell back just makes me feel like it was unexpected. However, whatever way it was meant it helped sell the story better, and it didn’t slow Rowe down any. The finish made sense to me but I would have liked it better without having Elgin do the pull the ref spot. We’ve seen that spot a million times and it makes so little sense. In a title match I can see leeway but at some point shouldn’t Nigel be like “okay zero tolerance on this shit now stop fucking touching the ref.” Throwing the match out because it totally breaks down is legit, I would have bought that on its own.

I’m hoping that, given the no contest ending, we are going to get this match again on a pay-per-view. That’s something I’m all for. One criticism I have of War Machine is that they’re trying a bit too hard to be like the current teams ROH likes: Young Bucks, reDRagon, Forever Hooligans, etc. They want to get some cute poses together and do a lot of tag team moves and shit. For me, they should get on the model of teams like Bad Intentions and Killer Elite Squad. Get to be a fluid unit but don’t necessarily try and synchronize everything. Another match, or even a series, against KES could do a lot to help War Machine develop as a team.

Bottom Line: This is a totally savage heavyweight tag team match which is absolutely my style. I’d like to see this one again for sure.

 

Bullet Club

Preview – ROH vs NJPW: Global Wars ’15

After the two mid-week War of the Worlds shows in Philly (which I previewed a few days ago), Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling take Thursday off to truck up to Toronto for Global Wars. On balance, these two shows seem to be where the main action is, and part of that is definitely that night 1 is going out on iPPV and night 2 is being taped for ROH TV. Just looking down the match list, though, I feel that the Global Wars cards are just a bit stronger. Both nights will probably be capped off by the Bullet Club mega tag matches. Night 1 they’ll test the mettle of a crew of ROH fan favorites, “led” by the Briscoe Brothers. Night 2, Bullet Club squares off with New Japan rival faction CHAOS. Interesting that they booked the ROH showcase on the New Japan broadcast and vice versa; it could be a hint that they’re intending to keep pushing this relationship forward and want to introduce more of the ROH product to New Japan.

This is also set to have the scheduled ROH debut of Chris Sabin. He’s been in ROH before but it has been several years since he even poked his head in with the Motor City Machine Guns (still probably one of the best tag teams to never have a real limelight run). Since then, he’s become a singles guy again, won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, and gone insane over Velvet Sky (as many men would). Like I said in my WotW preview, I’m expecting Sabin to be A.J. Styles‘s mystery opponent, but since that’s not confirmed we’ll assume for convenience that his first match will be on Friday the 15th. His alliance with The Addiction and, more importantly, his role in screwing over reDRagon to steal the ROH World Tag Team Championship is going to make him one of the key guys to watch for me, especially as a follower of the TV product. That said, he’ll have a lot of competition from everybody else doing their damndest to come off their best.


Global Wars 2015ROH/NJPW Global Wars, Night 1
16 May 2015 • Toronto, ON

  • THE KINGDOM (Michael Bennett & Matt Taven) vs MATT SYDAL & JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER: The sometimes tag team of Matt Sydal and ACH won’t be in action as you might expect since ACH has other obligations on night 1. That leaves Sydal to team with New Japan’s own international sensation Jushin Thunder Liger to take on the ROH villains. At this moment, The Kingdom is riding very high as a tag team after having secured the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Bullet Club’s Anderson & Gallows. With Adam Cole on the mend, they might be coming to their strongest point yet and I’m sure they’re eager to keep the momentum flowing. Sydal and Liger are both very accomplished wrestlers, but inexperience as a team is going to hurt them against a squad that’s getting more cohesive every day. At the same time, Sydal is a good boy and Liger is an… alien guy, so The Kingdom’s tactic of using Maria’s ass and legs and everything as a distraction is not as likely to work. Sydal and Liger have an uphill battle ahead of them but if The Kingdom are resting on their laurels they’ll be rudely awakened.
  • CHRIS SABIN vs KUSHIDA: Here, officially, Chris Sabin makes his return to a Ring of Honor ring against a livewire in New Japan’s KUSHIDA. This is definitely an interesting matchup if only for both of their relationship with Alex Shelley (and, of course, Shelley’s absence). It is possible on the outside that Sabin will use this match to send a messsage over to Shelley, or even just to the ROH locker room that he doesn’t care about old alliances. If he expects to find a pushover, though, he’ll have to look elsewhere. KUSHIDA is always high on octane and he’s routinely given guys on both sides of the water problems handling him. Sabin has a reputation as being a speedster from his time in the MCMGs, but out of the two Guns I always saw Sabin as the more grounded one. As TNA World champion he displayed a lot more of that game and I think that’s more of the side we’re going to see from Sabin in Toronto. If he really wants to control KUSHIDA, though, he’ll have to know when to put the boosters on.
  • GEDO & MOOSE vs WATANABE & SILAS YOUNG: This is probably the match that makes the least sense if they’re not taking ROH guys over to New Japan and the most sense if they are. Moose would probably be over like crazy in Japan and Silas Young is good enough that he can take his act wherever. As a minor introduction to these guys the match could work great. In the ring? I’m really not expecting too much. As I’ve said in an earlier piece, Gedo is past his prime, not engaged in much ring-wise these days, and probably won’t be amazing. Moose is green as hell. He can carry his end but he’s not going to be in a classic without a lot of direction. Watanabe’s not bad but he’s not great, either. It’s just Young who I’d really like to see from this one. I would assume this will mostly be comedy as I don’t see anybody but Young taking it too seriously. Guessing we’ll see a lot of action from Veda & Stokely here.
  • SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs ACH: Yet another in the “ACH big match series.” It can be argued — as Adam Page has made a point of doing — that ACH doesn’t deserve to keep getting big opportunities, considering he always loses. However, I don’t think he is booked in these matches because he’ll win but because he’s an exciting wrestler who’s good enough to give these guys a run for their money. It’s not just about wins and losses, it’s also about performance, and if ACH was instead ACHP that’s what the P would stand for. With Nakamura across the ring I can’t help but think this match will be completely explosive. I haven’t seen Nakamura against flyers too often so I’m not sure how he’ll do and ACH is one who loves the air, even if he doesn’t protect it as much as some. One of ACH’s big weaknesses is his playfulness. I’m sure we’ll see him imitating Nakamura at some point and Nakamura will put his boot right down ACH’s throat. If that happens too often this match might be shorter than we thought. As always, ACH has an opportunity to seal a big win here, but he’s got a challenge ahead of him that he’s not really ready for yet. He’ll need more than attitude, charisma, and heart to deal with Nakamura.
  • KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs CEDRIC ALEXANDER: We were supposed to get this last year but Cedric got injured. I’m very glad we’re getting it here and on the iPPV show as well. Alexander has needed nothing more than a really landmark performance in ROH. If he brings it all against Okada and accomplishes something special it could mean a hell of a lot for him. Okada, on the other hand, is not really looking for a showcase. He’s over with the ROH fans, he’s way over in Japan, he’s already in contention for the IWGP Heavyweight strap. What he needs out of this match is momentum. I would not be surprised if we see Okada trying to close this one up quickly so as not to jeopardize his future prospects. He has a very strong, solid style that in a lot of ways reminds me of Tanahashi’s: he’s not an immovable monster but he’s definitely out to hurt you straight-up. Not a whole lot of trickery to his attack. He’s also fought most of his top-flight career against heavyweights. If Alexander can give Okada a different sort of challenge he’ll have his best shot at success. Though a comparison with Roderick Strong is often drawn, Cedric is a much more effective flyer and he’s more creative with what he does when he’s on the move. I think those aspects are what’s going to stand out as he tries to conquer the former IWGP champion.
  • Four Corner Tag Survival – THE ADDICTION (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs RPG VICE (Rocky Romero & Baretta) vs REDRAGON (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs THE DECADE (B.J. Whitmer & Adam Page): From the standpoint of title aspirations this is the most interesting match of the night and perhaps of the whole week. Both the ROH World Tag and the IWGP Jr. Tag champions are in this match, along with reDRagon who are the immediately previous holders of both with overwhelmingly legitimate arguments that they should still be. That makes three extremely desirable targets for The Decade to knock off, which means they will probably be bringing their all, especially Adam Page who’s likely in the biggest match of his ROH career thus far. Style-wise this will likely be dominated by the electricity of RPG Vice and reDRagon. I’m not sure what The Addiction’s outlook on this match will be; as it’s non-title (as announced), there’s nothing for them to protect, and we haven’t had much chance to see what their attitude as villains is. Given all the bodies already involved there’s a high probability that we’ll see Colby Corino as the young boy for The Decade, and if that happens with Steve Corino at ringside The Decade’s chances at winning skyrocket. Personally, I don’t know how much I’ll enjoy this match (general opposition to multi-sided matches) but I will be checking to see how it plays out.
  • HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs MICHAEL ELGIN: I have heard a lot about Michael Elgin’s desire to wrestle in Japan. Up to this point he’ll have faced two of New Japan’s rising stars but now, on the biggest show of the week, he’ll stand toe to toe with the long-recognized ace of New Japan. Of the two, I think Tanahashi may have to adapt his style the most because Elgin’s style of power is several shades more tactical than most guys with his strength. I see Elgin simply doing what he can to apply all the pressure he can for as long as he can while Tanahashi tries to find a way around him. On the other hand, if Elgin believes he’ll be able to bully Tanahashi around the ring he will quickly be undeceived. Tanahashi may not be quite as strong as Elgin but he isn’t far behind. Another of Tanahashi’s strengths is his on the move creativity, enough of a flying element to his style that it helps him defy the powerhouses. Elgin has faced that sort of thing before but it doesn’t mean he’s always prepared to fight it, especially since he’s facing a guy the size of Tanahashi and not someone he can snatch out of the air. Out of all the matches on this night this is my favorite one on paper, definitely looking forward to it.
  • ROH World Television Championship – JAY LETHAL© vs TETSUYA NAITO: If Jay Lethal wants to be seen as a champion on the level of Jay Briscoe, he has to put down better competition. Thankfully, New Japan has brought one of their own golden boys over here to face him. This will be a real test for both guys as Naito seeks to continue bolstering his singles reputation and Lethal gets a taste of the Japanese scene in a way he hasn’t really been exposed to yet. Despite winning 2013’s G1 Climax, Naito’s only been able to convert that into a NEVER Openweight Championship reign; the young title’s had some good spotlight, especially with Tomohiro Ishii as its champion, but it’s undoubtedly the lowest title in the New Japan hierarchy that has three other singles belts. One great performance, anywhere in the world, can turn you right around and there’s nobody better for it than Jay Lethal. Problem for Naito is he’ll have to work hard in there if he wants a win. Lethal can certainly match Naito’s pace every step of the way, he can fly as much as Naito wants, and he can grind the pace to paste. That said, I believe Naito does have the edge as a flyer, and I expect we’ll see him do what he can to emphasize that. Truth Martini will probably end up earning his pay this night, as they say.
  • ROH ALL-STARS (Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Roderick Strong, Hanson, & Rowe) vs BULLET CLUB (A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson): If we’ve got to have more than four people in a match I much prefer it in this type of setting: a big war between two sides. Here we’ve got two sides who are certainly going to prove ultra-popular, Bullet Club as a group and the ROH team as three of the hottest acts from a company full of hot acts. The absence of a real junior heavyweight team for the ROH side makes it tough to see what this match is going to set up, if anything. Whatever combat we get between Jay Briscoe and Styles is going to be very interesting. Both guys are definitely going to want to prove something here, especially since the only contact they’ve had since Styles’s return has been in a four-way match. As opposing captains I’m guessing we’re going to see a good deal of tension between them. A lot of outside factors make this one very tough for me to call: relative positions of Bullet Club and the All-Stars, fact that it’ll be on New Japan iPPV, whether or not ROH will be sending guys to New Japan in the future and who. Inside, though, I’m expecting nothing but a battle. The Bullet Club brings a more varied, specialist kind of attack, with their heavy tag team in Anderson/Gallows, their harrier team in the Young Bucks, and the jewel in the crown Styles to bring it all together. ROH’s side is a lot more rounded, with three of them able to keep pace with the Bucks, War Machine (and probably also the Briscoes) able to match Anderson/Gallows for power, and two guys who are as close as anyone in ROH to challenging for Styles’s IWGP belt (Strong and Jay Briscoe). I don’t expect Briscoe’s unbeaten streak to be broken here but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a real scare.

 

gwarsrotor_1

ROH/NJPW Global Wars, Night 2
16 May 2015 • Toronto, ON

  • KUSHIDA vs WILL FERRARA: One thing the ROH Dojo excels at is turning out rookies. What I mean is that Will Ferrara, Pelle Primeau, and Rhett Titus come to mind as having a very basic-seeming approach. Very capable all-rounders, I suppose is a good way to put it. Ferrara is good, there’s no doubt, but he’s certainly still looking for those elements that are going to push him into being great. KUSHIDA is, I think, going to give Ferrara a different sort of test than he would usually get in Ring of Honor. This may just be my perception but I feel that Japanese flyers tend to have a more intense style of air attack as opposed to the acrobatics-focused American style. So while Ferrara has certainly faced accomplished flyers in the past, KUSHIDA’s rip-roaring attack may be a little more than Ferrara was planning on getting. I feel as though KUSHIDA will see this as more of a showcase match. If he underestimates Ferrara too far, he’ll find himself in trouble. For Ferrara’s part, a win against a New Japan import would do a lot for his standing in ROH.
  • MICHAEL ELGIN vs GEDO: On paper this match makes very little sense. Gedo has not been in serious contention for any titles in over ten years. At the moment he is mainly Okada’s mouthpiece and sideman. Elgin is somewhat knocked back in the ROH standings after his loss in the four-way title match at the 13th Anniversary Show but he is still one of the top contenders and still undoubtedly hunting that championship. So why this match? Well, one thing that’s true is that there’s not many in New Japan with more pull than Gedo. If there are ideas about having Elgin go to Japan, it’s possible that Gedo wants to get a look himself. If there aren’t, a good showing against Gedo himself might put such ideas in his head. Regardless, this will be an interesting match for Elgin. I believe he’ll be inclined to see this as somewhat of a gimme. I’m sure Gedo is double-tough or he wouldn’t think about stepping in the ring against Elgin but that may not be enough. For Elgin’s part, the question really is how to handle this match. If he’s trying to curry favor, does he go for it full-tilt? Does he play it cool, showing off his skills without trying to drive Gedo through the mat? And remember, this will be at the end of the week, after Elgin’s already endured three tough matches and likely been traveling most of his “off” day. If he plays it with kid gloves there’s every chance that Gedo could surprise him and take the victory. Whatever happens, Gedo is not going to make things easy for Michael Elgin.
  • THE KINGDOM (Michael Bennett & Matt Taven) vs DOC GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON: Despite there being animosity between these two teams as The Kingdom very recently stole the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Gallows & Anderson, and despite Gallows & Anderson not yet having received a rematch, this match is (currently) not set as a title defense. Lots of reasons can be speculated on but what is true for sure is that a lot of pressure is off of The Kingdom’s shoulders. The worst they have to fear is injury, losing Maria to Karl Anderson, and giving up a future title shot to Gallows & Anderson. Speaking of Maria, she provides another focal point in this match as the major distraction which allowed The Kingdom to seize the belts in the first place. The atmosphere in Japan and North America is a bit different on this point — guys on both sides ogle her, but it seems in America everyone’s able to pull their attention away a bit easier — and that means that what worked in Japan may not work in Toronto. Gallows and Anderson are likely to be hot at the chance to get some revenge and, of course, to earn an actual title match in the future. For both of those reasons Anderson will probably be a bit more focused, but you can never tell with the Machine Gun. In my view, if The Kingdom are concerned about increasing their stock in ROH, they stick it out and fight. They will have to be craftier than usual — while this is The Kingdom’s main strength, I think they rely too much on old & established strategies rather than continuing to evolve (one guy who was amazing at this was Mike Mondo) — especially against two bruisers from the Bullet Club. The Kingdom are faster than Gallows & Anderson but not enough to make that the key part of their strategy. A win here for The Kingdom, in front of an ROH crowd, would do a lot to solidify them as a strong tag team stateside. However as I said, this all depends on them being interested in upping their profile. Somehow I think they’ll be more interested in saving their own hides.
  • JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER vs DALTON CASTLE: When I first heard about this match I exploded with pleasure. For a new guy in Dalton Castle’s position this is one of the best matches he could have drawn, especially as this is his only booked appearance this week. Jushin Liger is a larger-than-life character in the most exact sense; when you see him you can’t believe that there is a person like that around. Dalton Castle, well, it is quite hard to believe that a man like him exists, too. I think this one was worth booking just for the entrances. In the ring I don’t really see this as a test, more an exhibition. Liger is not in peak condition these days and though he’s recently been a champion, it was for the much-deprecated NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. He’s not been in real contention for a title in a long while. At the same time, he has always remained dangerous and recently gave Jay Lethal a decent run for the World Television title. Dalton Castle doesn’t come in at the top of the card, having fallen to Ashley Sixx in the first round of the 2015 Top Prospect Tournament and again against Jay Lethal in his proper ROH debut. However, he’s already proven himself to be a tremendous grappler, deceptively powerful, and crafty enough to send even Truth Martini into conniptions. If Dalton Castle loses he shouldn’t be ashamed, but if he wins, he’ll have a hell of a lot to brag about.
  • HIROSHI TANAHASHI & TETSUYA NAITO vs ACH & MATT SYDAL: Right here we have a battle of the golden boys, fan favorites all, and all able to light the crowd up. There is really no more backstory than that. ACH and Sydal I’m sure would love to pull out what’s got to be considered a king kong upset against Tanahashi and Naito (who I could be convinced are father and son). However, they stand across from two G1 Climax winners, one of whom is New Japan’s most well-known wrestler and the other being desperate for a big win. The Japanese pair are likely to try and slow down the Americans and ground them, prevent them from using their strong aerial assault. Naito can probably keep pace with ACH and Sydal singly but with both across from, trying to beat them at their own game might prove unfeasible. On paper the best strategy for ACH & Sydal would be to isolate Naito who, being lighter, will probably be easier to put down. That said, if Matt Sydal is really looking for a win here I fear that ACH may hold him back. This is a match where ACH’s inexperience can really damage him as not only has he got two veteran opponents to contend with, he has to manage having a tag partner as well. I think Sydal’s aware of this and wants to commit to building a strong team, but until ACH’s sensibilities develop, they’re going to hit very tough matches like this one without a lot of options available.
  • SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs RODERICK STRONG: Right here we have a match that means two hugely different things to both guys and yet where neither one can slouch. Shinsuke Nakamura is a big deal player. Not only is he a former 3-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the man who has established the Intercontinental Championship as one to win, he is perhaps the most popular wrestler on the New Japan roster. Roderick Strong is, in ROH, one of the few that can call himself The Man. Never unrespected, always competitive, always increasing his level. For Roderick, a win here over the IWGP Intercontinental Champion would not only raise his stock in ROH massively, it would almost certainly net him an Intercontinental title shot at some point in the future. For Nakamura, simply being who he is would probably see him into any title match that he desired in ROH and even beating someone as established as Roddy isn’t likely to increase Nakamura’s already huge popularity. But if Nakamura thinks this is an occasion to slouch at the end of a long weekend, he might find that he’ll lose quite a lot in three seconds. As I’ve said, Roddy is always looking for that next level, that next challenge, and I cannot imagine that he’ll be passing up a chance to impress and reach success against a name like Nakamura. As for Nakamura, if he’s smart he’ll put Roddy down; you never want to face Roderick Strong twice if you don’t have to. For once, the crafty guy is coming from New Japan as we get a chance to see if Nakamura’s flash is enough to dull the razor that is Roderick Strong.
  • BULLET CLUB (A.J. Styles, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Rocky Romero, & Baretta): I’m aware of the rivalry between Bullet Club and CHAOS but I can’t really say what’s going on with it now. I’ve always found it tough to follow Japanese wrestling storylines and, even with the huge Anglophone push in New Japan these days, I don’t make enough time to watch New Japan stuff. Mostly what I know is that Bullet Club under Prince Devitt made its name coming up against and battling with CHAOS, eventually supplanting them as the top villainous stable in New Japan. It was only after Devitt left and was replaced with Styles that the Bullet Club cleared its final hurdle and captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Styles is now in his 2nd reign, more established, and still the incumbent with a livid Okada on his heels. In the transformation from young boy in America to “Rainmaker” and two time IWGP champion, it might be forgotten that at 27 Okada is actually the second youngest person in this match (ahead of only Nick Jackson). Styles has played upon that, and their history together in TNA, quite a lot in what I’ve seen and I don’t expect that to change here. Bullet Club has the edge in longevity and cohesion, both as a trio and, of course, with the superstar Young Bucks. That said, CHAOS is very well-decorated, as Romero is a multi-time Jr. Tag champion and currently holds those belts with Baretta. Their team is very, very fresh, though, and that could pose problems against the Bucks who definitely want to get those straps back. With two powerful rivalries going into this match I can see this one breaking down very quickly. Todd Sinclair (or whoever draws the match) had better be on his toes.
  • Other Appearances: Not too much that I can really say here. I’m guessing, despite the lack of Sabin’s announcement, that we’re going to see more of the KRD angle developing on this taping. Jay Lethal not being listed as well does surprise me, but Donovan Dijak’s involvement makes me think there’ll still be movement on the Briscoe vs Lethal front. If there is to be some impromptu match I’d guess it’ll involve either Chris Sabin or Donovan Dijak. Also guessing we’ll see more movement with The Decade/Corinos angle though I’m not sure what form that’ll take.

 

GLOBAL WARS MATCH PREDICTIONS
NIGHT ONE

  • ROH All-Stars vs Bullet Club: This one is pretty tough to call but home field advantage is going to be the deciding factor. Winners: ROH All-Stars.
  • Jay Lethal© vs Tetsuya Naito [ROH World Television Championship]: Naito is good, he’s on the rise, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be stopping Jay Lethal’s roll. Winner: Jay Lethal.
  • The Kingdom vs Matt Sydal & Jushin Thunder Liger: Sydal and Liger are two great junior heavyweights but they’re not a team. The Kingdom is united and they’re hungry to keep adding to their resume. Winners: The Kingdom.
  • Chris Sabin vs. KUSHIDA: This being Chris Sabin’s re-debut in ROH, I can’t see he’ll want anything more than a victory here. Beating his former partner’s current partner is just icing. Winner: Chris Sabin.
  • Gedo & Moose vs Watanabe & Silas Young: Gedo is a ring general and Moose just needs to be directed. I feel like Young will get frustrated with Watanabe before long. Winners: Gedo & Moose.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs ACH: This one will be electric for sure. But, as usual with ACH, he’s in over his head here. Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura.
  • The Addiction vs RPG Vice vs reDRagon vs The Decade [Four Corner Tag Survival]: Each team has a burning interest in winning this match but there can be only one. Tough to call but I have a sneaking feeling RPG Vice will be extra motivated. Winners: RPG Vice.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Michael Elgin: Elgin is going to throw almost all he’s got in this one, but Tanahashi will surprise him and take it away. Predicting at least 3 Sling Blades in this one. Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi.

NIGHT TWO

  • Bullet Club vs CHAOS: Right now Okada’s got Styles right in his sights and he wants nothing better than to beat him at every chance. However, stateside? Fan support will sway things a lot. Winners: Bullet Club.
  • KUSHIDA vs Will Ferrara: This’ll be a spirited match, but if KUSHIDA stays focused I don’t see much chance for Ferrara. Winner: KUSHIDA.
  • Michael Elgin vs Gedo: In this one I’m not quite sure of what to expect excpt the result. Winner: Michael Elgin.
  • The Kingdom vs Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson: Gallows and Anderson have 1000 times more reason to want to win this than The Kingdom, who’ve got every reason to scatter. Winners: Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson.
  • Jushin Thunder Liger vs Dalton Castle: This is a real chance for Dalton Castle to prove himself but he’s got a steep mountain against the legendary flyer. Winner: Jushin Thunder Liger.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito vs ACH & Matt Sydal: As much as I know ACH would love to score a win this weekend, I think he’s gonna come up short again here. Maybe if he’d drawn Watanabe or KUSHIDA. Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs Roderick Strong: Out of this whole week this match is the toughest one to call. There could very well be an upset here, but I’m gonna stick with my gut. Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura.
Styles, Okada, & Elgin

Preview – ROH vs. NJPW: War of the Worlds ’15

Coming up in mid-May, Ring of Honor will be hosting New Japan Pro Wrestling all-stars in a series of four shows. The first two are branded War of the Worlds and take place in Philly, the second pair are the Global Wars shows in Toronto. If you’re a fan of pro wrestling with your eye outside the WWE Universe, these shows are where all the attention is right now. NJPW’s product has never been hotter stateside and ROH has never had as big an audience as it does now. Not to mention, in my eyes, both companies have been producing A+ wrestling for the past several years. We’ve had ROH/NJPW shows in the past but I think this is the first time where we’re really getting extended interplay between the two rosters. New Japan has not skimped on the names, as the wildly popular IC champ Shinsuke Nakamura, “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada, and Hiroshi Tanahashi — probably NJPW’s three biggest draws — are all coming to face the best that ROH has to offer.

These matches provide a lot of interesting pairings, especially since for a lot of these wrestlers these will be fresh meetings. On the one hand, that means a lot of them are going to be rather cold story-wise, at best being high-level exhibitions. On the other, they won’t have worn out all their weaponry and we’ll probably see some great new chemistry developing. Ring of Honor will certainly be lacking somewhat in the size department, though NJPW’s roster has been slimming down recently and they haven’t brought any of their bigger guys over. More than anything this will be a chance for Ring of Honor to prove that its guys can hang not just one-on-one with the world-renowned, as they’ve done when guys like Alberto del Rio or Kenta Kobashi or the late Eddie Guerrero appeared alone on their shows, but that their roster is of a caliber that can keep up with the exceptional New Japan quality.

The link here will be Bullet Club. Over with both audiences, not unstoppable but still dominant, opposition to them is going to be the main way that ROH and NJPW relate match-wise. They’re the ones who are most going to be able to engage the US audience, and their rivalry with the NJPW factions means that they already bring that heat with them into these events. And among their number is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion A.J. Styles.

So far, the full War of the Worlds cards have been released, as has Global Wars night 1. Global Wars night 2 has several matches announced for it, but since I haven’t seen a confirmed main event, I’ll leave that open. I’ve picked up my scattered thoughts about the matches for War of the World and put them together into something that’s hopefully coherent. Once Global Wars night 2 is finalized, I’ll post my thoughts about those matches as well.

ROH TV storyline spoilers ahead!


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ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds, Night 1
12 May 2015 • Philadelphia, PA

  • DELIRIOUS vs. GEDO: Expecting to see a fun exhibition here. Neither one of them is really gunning for a title right now, more occupied with back office stuff. Not as familiar with Gedo as an in-ring guy so I can’t make too many comments on his work. Mildly interested in this one but it’s mostly a topping.
  • JAY LETHAL vs. WATANABE: Watanabe came over from New Japan to work an American excursion, but he really only spent the first few weeks in Ring of Honor. He’s got a nice style, somewhat basic but definitely serviceable, and certainly tough. That said, he’s coming back in against Jay Lethal who has been eating absolutely everybody up. His claims of overall dominance are a bit undercut by the fact that he hasn’t defended the belt against the caliber of challengers that Briscoe has, but Watanabe would have to be in that class for him to start posing Lethal a problem. I think we’ll have a spirited effort from Watanabe here but this’ll mostly be a Lethal showcase.
  • RODERICK STRONG vs. KUSHIDA: This one will probably be right in the classic Ring of Honor style: fast-paced, hard-hitting, stop-me-if-you-can action. Kushida’s had a fair few showings in ROH so far and the crowd seems to like him. He’s not quite my style of guy but he can certainly perform in the ring. Roderick Strong is one of the reasons I got hooked on ROH to begin with and I think he always brings a good fight. There are times he needs a good foil and I’m not sure how Kushida will play in that role. This one feels like the pace-setter of the evening.
  • THE ADDICTION (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. THE KINGDOM (Michael Bennett & Matt Taven) vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson): This is one I’m not looking forward to, and the main reason for that is that it’s a triple tag. I really don’t go for multi-side matches in the first place, multi-team matches are hell to follow. That said, the Young Bucks’ electric style certainly plays best in these kinds of matches, and the Addiction have the charisma chops to fill in the gaps. The Kingdom I’m always gonna be a bit down on, I feel. Both capable guys, they can get the job done, but that’s about it. I’m not sure what I want to see out of them to make me change my opinion on them. Style-wise I can see this one being a little lopsided. Usually I’d expect total fireworks but that’s not what The Kingdom bring to the table. No idea what’ll happen, either. Both The Addiction and The Kingdom are coming off of title wins and could certainly keep that rolling, but the Bucks are always popular and always hard to bet against.
  • MICHAEL ELGIN vs. TETSUYA NAITO: Right now I think Elgin is one of the best acts going in Ring of Honor. Naito I’m less glowing about. I find him a bit annoying, never really bought into his schtick. However, he is highly regarded by New Japan and lots of fans, and this match will certainly be a tough one. If I’m remembering correctly Naito has a sort of heavy junior style, very fast but relying more on impact than on aerial superiority (Kota Ibushi’s a good example of an “air superiority” guy, always interested in protecting and utilizing his platforms). That might make for a more straightforward type of match than you’d get from the typical strongman/flyguy pairing. Could be one to watch for sure.
  • REDRAGON (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI & JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER: On paper this is an underwhelming match for me, especially considering that reDRagon presumably has a title hunt to get back in, but it’s also somewhat tough to call. I’m assuming that reDRagon aren’t getting the belts right back, so they’re not necessarily going to need to retain all their heat. Tanahashi could certainly use a win (sort of guy you can always feed a win to) and the KRD might stick their noses in. Work-wise, I’m sure it’ll be fine but, again, it doesn’t light me up. I like Tanahashi but he’s nowhere near my favorite, and I don’t know if Liger is up to the pace that reDRagon would keep against, say, the Young Bucks. A win here doesn’t do much for either side’s title aspirations, unless perhaps Tanahashi & Liger have the NWA Tag Team Championship in their sights for some reason. So to sum it up I can see this one being entertaining but I’m not expecting the world out of it.
  • A.J. STYLES vs. ????: If I had to guess, this will be Chris Sabin. However, the mystery may be someone like Moose. Not a lot of options I can see, unless New Japan has brought over someone secret that they haven’t booked on any other shows. No one else at the facing-A.J.-Styles level is unbooked at War of the Worlds but Sabin. Moose is a long, long shot, but let’s face it: sometimes mystery opponents are used so people’s hopes don’t get too high. I’m not saying it’d be a bad match, but the reason to bring Moose out would be “he’s a phenom look at this guy can he beat AJ Styles?” not because you want a match that fans are gonna talk about. Either way, there’s no chance that Styles drops this one. More than that is imposible to say.
  • THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA: This one should be a lot of fun. Set-up wise it’s very similar to the reDRagon match, but the ROH tag icons standing across the ring from two of New Japan’s aces should add a lot of tension to the match. On top of that, Nakamura is the IWGP Intercontinental Champion — a young title with a hell of a lot of regard, most of it conferred by Nakamura’s four reigns — and Okada wants every shred of momentum for his next challenge against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles. Plus, for me, the match has three of my favorite wrestlers in Jay Briscoe, Okada, and Nakamura. These guys have a lot to live up for and a lot to prove in this one, I think they’ll go all out to do it.

 

wotw15rotor

ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds, Night 2
13 May 2015 • Philadelphia, PA

  • ADAM PAGE vs. WATANABE: After all the degradation, the wars within The Decade, the suffering at the hands of everyone who had a problem with them, Adam Page is now about to break out and catch some big wins. Standing in his way is Watanabe who also wants a big Ring of Honor win. More than anything, though, Page wants to put in a good showing here to keep building his star, especially if he wants to get over the Chance Getter himself, ACH. This one will probably be a bit messy, I think, as neither guy has a wealth of experience. However, Page has had a lot of fun matches and this could be a surprise.
  • MICHAEL ELGIN vs. KUSHIDA: The script for this match is probably going to be your standard Elgin vs. Pilot, with Elgin playing a rock trying to grind down his nimble opponent. This will probably be less competitive than the Naito match, especially as I feel each has less on the line here; a loss against a heavyweight isn’t really going to damage Kushida and Kushida’s not on enough of a roll that this would be a major feather in Elgin’s cap, while on the other hand Elgin’s presence in Japan isn’t great so Kushida getting the win doesn’t boost him too much. Could be fun, I expect we’ll see a good number of nearfalls as they try and protect their pride, but not expecting a standout.
  • KYLE O’REILLY vs. TETSUYA NAITO: Style-wise, I think this is one of the best matches Naito could have drawn in ROH. O’Reilly is sort of heavy junior from the other side; whereas Naito feels like he’s weighted down a flying style, O’Reilly is more a ground guy who adopted a lot of flying assault. So while they’ve got a similar pace, I think the style clash could be interesting. Plus, both guys are in a similar enough position and are known enough to both audiences that a win for either is meaningful. Maybe this’ll be where my opinion on Naito finally changes (but I doubt it).
  • THE ADDICTION (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA & GEDO: Again, I’m seeing a bit of a gimme in this match. I don’t really see a situation where Gedo doesn’t take the fall. Seeing as this one doesn’t have a ton of implications in it, I’m a bit disappointed with it on paper, though I’m sure it will turn out fine. I think we’ll see Okada clean house and keep control a lot throughout this match, but the Addiction have proven they’re not above playing the sneaky game, so I’m guessing they’ll steal it from under Okada’s nose.
  • Four Corner Survival – SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. MARK BRISCOE vs. JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER vs. JAY LETHAL: Ultimately I think this one comes down to the two champions, Nakamura and Lethal. Mark Briscoe and Liger are going to serve a similar purpose, well-known dressing to help spots a long, but I can’t see anyone really securing the win but the titleholders. That said, I feel like we’re going to see a comedy match here for the most part, with Lethal playing straight man for all the rest. I’m not sure about the pace in this one as none of them are your typical fireworks guys, so hopefully they work out enough interesting spots beforehand that take advantage of the extra bodies.
  • RODERICK STRONG vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI: Here’s a bout between two guys who I think are trying to be pitched as in equivalent roles. Tanahashi is your standard-bearer babyface, known as a champion, associated with the NJPW. Roderick Strong has been around forever and won all the titles there are in ROH. Tanahashi’s your fading ace and Roddy’s a staple top player. Basically, this should be a match that really pits the character of both companies against one another. I think certainly Roddy’s going to want to show that he can get it done against Tanahashi and, if nothing else, that’s going to make Tanahashi work to keep up. It’ll be nice to see Roddy working from underneath for a change as well, as against Tanahashi’s power I can’t see him taking charge. This will most likely be he-can-change-gears-just-like-that Roddy against the stronger and steadier Japanese superstar.
  • THE KINGDOM (Adam Cole, Michael Bennett, & Matt Taven) vs. BULLET CLUB (A.J. Styles, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson): Much like Strong vs. Tanahashi, this one is setting up two roughly equivalent groups to do battle. This time, it’s the rogue factions. The Kingdom have not had the success that Bullet Club has, and unlike Bullet Club, their popularity isn’t in the group but entirely in Adam Cole. The Young Bucks are one of the most well-known and well-regarded tag teams in the industry. Bennett and Taven have secured the IWGP Tag Team titles but they have a lot to do in order to reach the Bucks’ position. Styles is a bonafide legend in the sport and Adam Cole is a madly rising star who certainly wants to avenge past losses against Styles and, more than that, get a return win with both ROH and New Japan officials watching. I’m not predicting anything excellent here, both because of Bennett & Taven’s involvement and because the fact that Cole isn’t booked for any of the other NJPW week shows makes me think he’s not completely healthy yet. Could definitely be a fun match, though.
  • ROH World Championship – JAY BRISCOE© vs. BOBBY FISH: The outcome of this one I feel like can be seen a mile away, but the match itself should be pretty fun. Fish has a great ground game which should be interesting if he employs it against Briscoe here. Thing is that Briscoe does love to brawl and a lot of his matches become that, probably because he’s taking control. I think the story of this one will be how well Bobby Fish makes Briscoe play his game; or, more likely, how well Bobby Fish can avoid playing Briscoe’s game. Should have an electric finishing stretch here and I think both guys will come out looking great.

 

WAR OF THE WORLDS MATCH PREDICTIONS
NIGHT ONE

  • Delirious vs. Gedo: Exhibition comedy match here. I think Delirious will be a good host. Winner: Gedo.
  • Roderick Strong vs. Kushida: Likely fast paced and tough but Roddy’s momentum is hard to beat. Winner: Roderick Strong.
  • Jay Lethal vs. Watanabe: Lethal is absolutely dominant these days. Winner: Jay Lethal.
  • The Addiction vs. The Kingdom vs. The Young Bucks: Tough to call, but given that The Addiction have just taken the belts I think their roll’s gonna keep going. Winners: The Addiction.
  • Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito: I can sense a very hard-fought match here but I think the power of Elgin’s going to prove decisive. Winner: Michael Elgin.
  • reDRagon vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger: Tough to call because of the New Japan team, but I feel reDRagon’s really going to want to get back on the path here. Winners: reDRagon.
  • The Briscoes vs. Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura: Another very tough one to call, but I think home field advantage and experience as a team will tip the scales towards Dem Boys. Winners: The Briscoes.
  • AJ Styles vs. ????: Will probably be Chris Sabin. Regardless, no one mystery is gonna cut Styles’s roll. Winner: AJ Styles.

 

NIGHT TWO

  • Jay Briscoe© vs. Bobby Fish [ROH World Championship]: Just coming off of a tag title loss, I don’t think Fish is in any shape for a full-on challenge here. Winner: Jay Briscoe.
  • Adam Page vs. Watanabe: Watanabe has a lot to prove but Adam Page has a lot more to prove and big words to back up. Don’t think he wants to be shut down here. Winner: Adam Page.
  • Michael Elgin vs. Kushida: I bet that Kushida will give it a good run but Elgin’s going to put him in the ground. Winner: Michael Elgin.
  • Kyle O’Reilly vs. Tetsuya Naito: For similar reasons as Fish I think that O’Reilly will drop it here, especially against an aspirational guy like Naito. Winner: Tetsuya Naito.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Jay Lethal [Four Corner Survival]: This’ll be a bit hectic but I think Nakamura’s going to get the last word in this one. Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura.
  • Roderick Strong vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: When it’s all said and done I think this is going to come down to an exchange of bombs. Don’t think Roddy will handle the whole assault. Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi.
  • The Addiction vs. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo: Okada is a big name and a great talent, which is all the more reason that The Addiction are going to want to steal that win. Winners: The Addiction.
  • The Kingdom vs. Bullet Club: I think all told, The Kingdom is fielding a weaker team than Bullet Club and doesn’t have enough of a grudge to make up the gap. Winners: Bullet Club.