On Sunday, May 8, 2016, myself and my partner Bea attended the Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling joint event Global Wars. It was a moderate yet overcast Mother’s Day in Chicago Ridge, IL, and despite the lines for stuff being crazy, we got in with plenty of time to spare. Once inside, we had an impromptu meet and greet with ROH’s COO Joe Koff by the front door. We met up with my friend JB Roe (whom you can hopefully hear in the accompanying audio piece I’ve sent with this report), his partner Stevie, and a few of his other friends.
We went to the merch table, and there was… very little in the way of NJPW swag. Bullet Club shirts and Okada money was about it. I wanted an Ingobernables hoodie, dammit. We bought some Okada money. I also talked to Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian for a few minutes, as we have something in common – writing for Aw Yeah Comics! In my civilian life, I write comic books, you see.
We made our way into the maul that was the autograph lines. I managed to get in to pay in cash, while a few others were handing credit cards to Joe Koff because they didn’t have the foresight to hit the ATM before going to the Frontier Fieldhouse. Retrieving my tickets, I get in line to talk to Tetsuya Naito and hopefully get my silver skull mask autographed. While there, Bea points out Gedo not doing much of anything, so I get his attention and we compare beards. Seriously, mine’s a bit epic. Once the line takes me to Naito, Naito is VERY CHUFFED to see me wearing the CMLL Ingobernables shirt with him on it. He also takes much glee in signing my mask. He lets me pose with him, with the IWGP Heavyweight title belt, and MY GOD IS THAT THING HEAVY. Seriously it weighs a ton. Naito was probably, truly, the nicest person in the building that night.
I next got to meet Kazuchika Okada, whom my wonderful partner gave a gift certificate for an ice cream joint called “Muchi Muchi” (A Japanese term, for chubby, basically). I asked Okada if he remembered something he said in a match in 2007 against Josh Prohibition, before he joined NJPW (“FUCK YOU, JOSH! YOU! ASS HOLE!”). Another posed picture taken, and then a brief word with Gedo about beard care. Okada signed one of the Okada-dollars too.
We got in our seats, which would become an issue. The seats had a GREAT view of the ring, but the layout was such there was NO ROOM TO MOVE AT ALL. Seriously, ROH needs to consider the size of its venues, the size of its audience, as well as, perhaps, the size of the some of the members of its audience. For a promotion that wants to be a contender in this market, plastic folding chairs with 6-inches of movement between rows isn’t going to cut it. And sadly, the people who sandwiched us were rather large, and I could tell they were feeling bad about that, which they shouldn’t have to. Everyone at a show should be able to feel comfortable. Squeezing people in like sardines wasn’t pretty. Bea and I would end up having to walk away for a bit at least once in order to not feel pain in our seats we dropped Stupid Money for.
Anyway, here are the basic results, courtesy of my own blog:
Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling: Global Wars
– 5/8/2016, Frontier Fieldhouse, Chicago Ridge, IL
* Women of Honor Pre-Show Match: Kelly Klein d. Crazy Mary Dobson
* Pre-Show Triple Threat Tag Team Match: Juice Robinson & Kamaitachi d. Kenny King & Rhett Titus and Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser (Kamaitachi > Bruiser)
* ROH World Television Championship #1 Contenders 4-Corners Match: Dalton Castle d. Roderick Strong, ACH & Adam Page (Castle used Bangarang on Strong, onto Page, Castle pinned Page)
* Jushin Thunder Liger & Cheeseburger d. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian (Cheeseburger > Daniels, roll-up)
* ROH World Tag Team Championship: Hanson & Raymond Rowe © d. Jay & Mark Briscoe (Rowe > Mark Briscoe, Fallout)
– War Machine succeed their 6th defense
* Tetsuya Naito d. Kyle O’Reilly (Destino)
* Kazuchika Okada & Moose d. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin (Okada > Elgin, Rainmaker)
* ROH World Television Championship: Bobby Fish d. Tomihiro Ishii © (Rear-naked choke)
– Ishii fails his 4th defense
– Bobby Fish is the 12th champion
* Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa [Bullet Club] d. Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA & Matt Sydal (Nick Jackson > Shelley, Indytaker)
* ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal © NC Colt Cabana (Match thrown out after attacks from Adam Cole and the Bullet Club)
The biggest news to emerge from this is the newest member of the Bullet Club, ROH’s Adam Cole. Cole was not on the card, nor has he been booked for any other matches on this War of the Worlds tour. He was introduced in a lights-out fashion during the main event, much in the same way Cole was introduced in PWG as the newest member of Mount Rushmore, which also feature the Young Bucks. So maybe this isn’t the hugest shock that ROH put Cole and the Bucks together as well. Cole, the Bucks and Guerrillas of Destiny basically attacked anyone and everyone, including announcers Kevin Kelley and “Mr. Wrestling 3” (Steve Corino), and the Young Bucks’ father. They also zip-tied Jay Lethal to the ropes, while Cole superkicked him so much he rubbed his thigh raw from slapping it (for effect) and was noticably bleeding from it. The crowd was very pro-Bullet Club, so good luck getting them over as heels, ROH. Honestly, the fuck-finish irritated me, and I’ve seen quite a few other folks saying it was reminiscent of 1996-97 WCW, and that isn’t wrong at all. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of the show as a whole, but it was a shittastic way of wrapping up the show. At least let the goddamned match finish first. After that, everything’s cool, but non-finishes just irk me.
Bobby Fish defeated Tomohiro Ishii for the ROH TV title that maybe should have been his all along but for some bad booking. Seriously, I’ve ranted and raved about this a number of times on my own blog and podcast. Tomohiro Ishhii being TV champion was POORLY THOUGHT OUT ON THE FLY BOOKING THAT FUCKED UP A RUNNING PROGRAM. Dalton Castle is now the #1 contender to that title. Castle and Fish also do a podcast together.
Naito kicked O’Reilly in the junk post-match, and threw the IWGP title belt down once again. Okada/Moose v. Tanahashi/Elgin was a fantastic match as well. There was some goofy refereeing in the ROH World Tag Team match. Seemed like there was a three-count for the Briscoes, but there wasn’t, and War Machine won, but Todd Sinclair didn’t call for the bell quickly enough. There were a few times when the bell couldn’t be heard throughout the show.
The biggest and best surprise, for me, personally, was Juice Robinson and Kamaitachi, both of whom were unannounced, actually being a pretty good tag team, so I hope that keeps up.
After the show, NJPW wrestlers came out again, so this time I got to get a picture with KUSHIDA and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title belt, as well as just say howdy to Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii. We also bumped into some other friends of mine, Bunches and Dion Wells, fellow wrestling podcasters from Indianapolis. One big happy family.
We drove off into the night for tacos and camarones rellenos at Arturo’s in the city of Chicago proper. We made our bellies as full as our hearts. For real, if you’re in Chicago, go to Arturo’s, you won’t regret it.
We had a great time, even with the gawdawful throwback non-finish to the main event. 8/10 for the show, and the experience. And the memories made at such an event.