Wednesday, April 22, 2015

War of the Worlds Night Two Card Has Been Revealed

The Young Bucks and Adam Cole won't be as friendly in the main event of War of the Worlds Night Two
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Yesterday, Ring of Honor illuminated the card for the second of its joint New Japan Pro Wrestling show on May 13 at the ECW Arena. The show will feature more survival and tag matches, a ROH vs. ROH match for the World Heavyweight Championship, and an all-gaijin trios main event that will pit NJPW's most prominent stable against the most successful visitors from ROH. It looks like another solid card despite the lack of showcase singles matches for Kazuchika Okada and Shinsuke Nakamura.

The main event will pit the Bullet Club against the Kingdom in trios action. The Bullet Club team will feature IWGP World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles teaming up with the Young Bucks, while the Kingdom squad will have the IWGP World Tag Team Champions Mike Bennett and Matt Taven along with their spiritual leader the returning Adam Cole. Bennett and Taven have business with the Club, as they yoinked those aforementioned tag straps from the group's resident roughnecks Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Of the visitors from NJPW, Gallows and Anderson are the only ones not booked for either Philadelphia show, but in all honesty, I would much rather see the Bucks in this setting. This trios match ought to be a raucous affair between two rudo-leaning squads with arrogance to spare. The extra added wrinkle? Bennett and the Bucks once were on the same side of the ring as 2012 Chikara King of Trios finalists. INTRIGUE.

The sub-main event will be a ROH World Championship match pitting the Champ, Jay Briscoe, against the only man who has pinned him in over two years in ROH, Bobby Fish. Fish scored a pinfall over Briscoe in a tag match with his regular reDRagon partner Kyle O'Reilly in March of 2013, and he has been campaigning for a title match for months now. He'll get his opportunity at the ECW Arena in what should be a heck of a match.

Okada and Nakamura, like on night one, will not be involved in straight up singles matches. Okada gets another tag, this time with CHAOS stablemate Gedo against the reigning and defending ROH Tag Team Champions The Addiction, or Bad Influence, or just plain ol' Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian if you will in a non-title match. The initial disappointment of Okada being shoved away in tags for both nights aside, this match should be a dandy as well, although not on the level of him and Nakamura going up against the Briscoe Bros. Speaking of Nakamura and Mark Briscoe, they will be dropped in a four-corner survival match along with ROH Television Champion Jay Lethal and the legendary Jushin "Thunder" Liger. Honestly, I was disappointed to see this match announced because it'll throw Nakamura into chaos (no pun intended) rather than giving him a showcase against a singular opponent. The bright side is that it'll give Liger a chance to be in a big time match without having to go long in a singles bout, and this kind of match suits the absolute batshit craziness of the younger Briscoe brother.

Although Nakamura and Okada will not be getting straight up singles matches, three other NJPW regulars will. KUSHIDA gets the nod to take on Michael Elgin. The Japanese half of the Time Splitters will go up against his second heavyweight of the tour, as he'll get Roderick Strong night one. I find this to be a curious decision, but the way the cards have shaken out, none of the marquee singles junior heavyweights seem to be appearing in Philadelphia. My guess is KUSHIDA's big fireworks displays will happen at the Global Wars duo of shows in Toronto, well, that is if ACH, Matt Sydal, Chris Sabin, and Cedric Alexander are booked for those cards. While in Philly, KUSHIDA may be getting an audition for Gedo to get a bigger singles role back in Japan with the heavier opposition.

Speaking of Strong, he'll be getting Hiroshi Tanahashi in a rematch of TNA's version of the infamous John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan Velocity match. Tanahashi and Strong battled on an episode of XPlosion in 2006. Of course, Strong had not become "Mr. ROH" just yet (snicker) and Tanahashi was still about a half-year away from his first IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. But the match happened, and this one is technically a rematch. To be honest, I'm not looking forward to this one as Strong in ROH induces yawns, and Tanahashi seems like a bad fit for him. However, it's happening, so who knows, it could be decent.

The other marquee singles match signed pits Fish's tag team partner Kyle O'Reilly against Tetsuya Naito. Both O'Reilly and Naito seem to be in similar places right now. Both are on the cusp of a main event run, and both have arguably had more success in tags than singles in their careers. While not my cup of tea, this match seems like a logical booking for the midcard of a show like this. The other match that has been announced could steal the show if given time. Takaaki Watanabe, who has been on excursion for the longest time, will battle Adam Page. Both guys are solid and probably better than their billing, and they could go out in the opening match and surprisingly raise the bar as a way of saying that they're ready for bigger and better things in their home promotions. Also, Moose will be making an appearance, although his role has not been announced just yet.

Admittedly, I think the night one card is slightly better, but once one gets past the sticker shock of Naito and Tanahashi being given highlight one-on-one matches over Okada and Nakamura, the card settles nicely into place. The trios main event should be hot, as all six competitors are built to please, and the World Title match should have as much pageantry and personality as it does MOVEZ.

Also, I will be attending this particular card, so if you happen to see me, say hello!