ROH, NJPW Team Up For 4th War Of The Worlds Tour

The beginning of May in the professional wrestling world is that time once again when 2 of the premier companies in the world, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro […]

The beginning of May in the professional wrestling world is that time once again when 2 of the premier companies in the world, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, come together to put on a tour of supershows through North America.

The tour’s four events are scheduled to take place on May 7 at the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto, Ontario, May 10 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, Michigan, May 12 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and May 14 at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The third night will air live on pay-per-view, while the fourth night will be taped for future episodes of ROH’s weekly television program, Ring of Honor Wrestling. 2017 will be the fourth year in which ROH and NJPW co-produce events under the War of the Worlds name.

The unfortunate news about this tour is that there will be no IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, who has crammed a year’s worth of Match of the Year candidate matches with the likes of Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, and Katsuyori Shibata, into 4 months. He’ll still be in Japan where he has a major defense of his title against Bullet Club member Bad Luck Fale at New Japan’s Wrestling Dontaku on May 3rd. There will also be no Kenny Omega on the U.S. portion of the tour again. He has had visa issues in the past and that has limited him to only performing on the Toronto portion of the event and this year will be no different.

What I’m focusing on today is the main events of the War of the Worlds Night 3 show which will be on pay-per-view. It is a card that is filled with international dream matches and a whole lot of intrigue.

Right off the bat, look at the top of the card, the main event with ROH World Champion Christopher Daniels defending his title in a triple-threat match against former ROH champ Jay Lethal and Cody. Daniels is obviously a sentimental favorite having spent 15 years with ROH and just finally reaching the mountaintop of the company by defeating Adam Cole at their 15th Anniversary Show in March. Lethal held that title for 427 days between June 2015 and August 2016. Cody is a major wild card. After his WWE departure, he has been touring the world to much fanfare. The rumors have been swirling that Cody has signed full-time with ROH. If this is true, and with Adam Cole being a free agent as of May 1st, it might be the time to make Cody the ROH World Champion and the leader of the Bullet Club in the United States. For myself, that whole caveat makes the difference in me making a prediction for this match. If Cody hasn’t signed full-time with ROH, I can see Daniels retaining and keeping the title until the late-summer months.

Right below the main event is an intriguing international dream matchup. Adam Cole, leader of the Bullet Club, 3-time former ROH World champion and free agent (for now) will be taking on the “Ace” of New Japan, a 7-time former IWGP Heavyweight champion and future hall of famer, Hiroshi Tanahashi. They have never fought one-on-one before and with Cole’s future hanging a cloud above ROH, this might be the only time they do. Both are in a weird place in their careers. Will Cole go where everyone is predicting he will go, to the WWE or spurn them and stay in ROH where he has done just about everything he could do? Is this the beginning of a swan song of sorts for the man known in Japan as “100 Nen ni 1-ri no Itsuzai”, Japanese for “Once in a Century Talent”? Tanahashi is 40 and has been relegated to being in mid-card multiple man matches, but his singles match at Wrestle Kingdom versus Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental title was classic Tanahashi. I expect Tanahashi to go over Cole as Cole goes on his way out of ROH’s door to the WWE.

The World Television title, as well as the ROH World Tag Team title will be defended on May 12th in New York City as well. TV Champion Marty Scurll, holder of the belt for 7 months now and defending it all over the globe, has a title defense against a returning Matt Sydal. Sydal has been absent from the U.S. wrestling scene for nearly a year. Scurll has been on a monster run defeating everybody in his path. Sydal is a free-lancer who isn’t with ROH full-time while Scurll has been a great champion. Expect Scurll to come out on top, and who knows when his TV title reign will come to an end.

The bout for the ROH World Tag Team titles could be a match of the night candidate. The champions, The Young Bucks, are the hottest tag team in the world today. They cemented themselves as that after beating The Hardy Boyz at Supercard of Honor WrestleMania weekend, the night before the Hardys made the jump to WWE on WrestleMania night and claimed the RAW version of the tag team titles.  They will be taking on 2 members of the wildly popular “Los Ingobernables de Japon” faction, IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito and, making his United States debut, former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Bushi.  Bushi is a personal favorite of mine as he always dresses in a suit, with his luchador style mask and spits green mist out of his mouth to incapacitate his opponents.  The Bucks are the most popular team in the world, the highest paid performers in Ring of Honor, I don’t see them dropping the titles, no matter if it’s LIJ.

While ROH/NJPW swap talents and share spots on shows throughout the year, it’s their War of the Worlds shows in May that are always the highlights of their joint operation.  If you ever get a chance to see on of these shows, they are a must see.