|Nakamura will figure big into the first night of War of the Worlds|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
First up was Ring of Honor, which spread its big news out all during the day. The full card for the first night of War of the Worlds, taking place at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, PA on Tuesday May 12, was released starting early in the morning and concluding ALL LATE IN THE EVENING. During the work day, the following matches were announced:
- Gedo vs. Delirious
- KUSHIDA vs. Roderick Strong
- Takaaki Watanbe vs. Jay Lethal
- Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. reDRagon (Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Michael Elgin
- The Young Bucks vs. The Addiction (Bad Influence/Daniels and Kazarian) vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett)
Strong seems like a weird first choice for KUSHIDA, but hey, it could be worse. Watanabe/Lethal ought to be straight fire though. I'm glad Tanahashi's being stuffed in a tag match, although really, I have the same sort of dilemma with the Tana/Liger team as I do with reDRagon. They're both teams with one guy I absolutely love (Liger, Fish) and one guy I can take only in small doses (Tana, O'Reilly). Naito/Elgin is a total piss-break match for me, although I do see that match being a draw for some folks out there. The three-way tag match ought to be big fun.
The last two announcements came during RAW. Firstly, AJ Styles will be competing against a mystery opponent. Well, it WAS a mystery opponent except that ROH accidentally spoiled the payoff in the article describing the main event of the show as Adam Cole. Cole/Styles seems like a waste of a match since Styles is a ROH regular at this point. It should be a perfectly cromulent match to be sure, but way to blow the surprise. And that aforementioned main event ought to be a doozy. CHAOS, the aforementioned stablemates of Gedo of Nakamura and Okada, will do battle with hash-tag Dem Boys, the Briscoe Bros. All four wrestlers are amazing in the ring, and it's probably the best possible main event to put on for the first of the four shows that doesn't involve the ROH World, IWGP World, or the IWGP Intercontinental Championships.
Global Force Wrestling's big announcement wasn't the signing of a wrestler, but that of a summer minor league ballpark tour. The Grand Slam Tour will begin in June 12 at The Ballpark in Jackson, TN, and will make stops "from Florida to California and everywhere in between." A full list of dates has not been posted yet, but the highlight tour stops in the press release are Clinton, IA, Knoxville, TN, and Richmond, VA. The tour will be utilized to stoke the fires for the first set of television tapings to take place in Las Vegas, NV on July 24. GFW hasn't found a television outlet for what's to be produced at those tapings, but they're currently in SECRET negotiations.
Anyway, ROH, TNA, and Northeast Wrestling have all tread the minor league baseball stadium path before, but to come right out of the chute with the baseball stadium route is bold, especially without naming any signees to the roster. Perhaps Jeff Jarrett is banking on the novelty of a new promotion doing the minor league baseball park thing will bring in enough tickets right now, but the smarter money is having a big-time signing announced before the tickets go on sale.
Finally, WWE joined in the fun by announcing on The Network the official return of Tough Enough. The series return was announced previously, but the official word came down yesterday at noon. It will be in a "reimagined format" with "live elements," which is a big corporate vaguespeak way of saying it's not going to be like when Bill DeMott spent half the show yelling at people. The biggest new wrinkle is the genpop submission process. You, yes, you can submit your own video to the site and angle for a shot to be on the show, which starts June 23 on USA Network. I don't know about you, but I think that has all the makings of a giant hilarious clusterfuck.
And of course, not to be outdone by the big roster, NXT announced its next big road trip during RAW, and it happened to be in the city where RAW was located last night. NXT will be making a trip to Albany, NY at the Washington Avenue Armory on May 16. Tickets will go on sale on May 1. The show presumably kicks off NXT's touring slate as its own brand. Rumors were abound that the first date would be at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, but the hold WWE put on the building was allowed to elapse because of the demand from the Ohio and San Jose shows. WWE currently is looking into booking the Liacouras Center, which is the house arena on Temple University's campus. That venue has hosted pro wrestling before, as it was TNA's home base in America. But New York's capital will be the next place to host NXT outside of Florida.
Anyway, Monday had an awful lot of news this week, more than should have been allowed by law. Then again, when wrestling companies want to get the drop on each other...