Jordan Breen of our sister website Sherdog.com – for all your MMA news and needs (cheap plug!) – was in attendance for this weekend's Ring of Honor vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling "Global Wars" iPPV event. If you haven't seen the massive image gallery he sent us, you need to check out more than 130 photos of AJ Styles, Jushin Liger, Maria Kanellis, Adam Cole, Kevin Steen and all the stars of ROH and NJPW.
Thanks to Jordan for sending along the following detailed live report and review.
"Hot Tips From A Foreigner In a Global War"
I'm not a pro-wrestling writer. As much as I adore the philosophical concept of professional wrestling, it might even be disingenuous to call myself a 'fan' at this point in my life. Outside of the 'Botchamania' series, I throw parties for the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania — I feel an obligation to pop culture — but that's it. Once a year, I might get intoxicated by myself and watch Starrcade '83. But, it's spring, summer or fall, I probably don't know who the champ is. For that, I apologize.
I had the realization that I've seen three roller derby events in the last eight months, but I haven't seen a live pro-wrestling show in years. I can't articulate why it bothered me, but I felt overdue. Imagine my delight when I realized that Ring of Honor was coming to the venerable Ted Reeve Community Arena, a semi-cylindrical multi-purpose shed in Toronto's Danforth neighborhood typically used for minor hockey. My destiny was clear, even if it meant sacrificing what obviously would be (and obviously was) one of the best MMA fights this year in Matt Brown-Erick Silva live. Even if I didn't get to start a “You f—ed up!” chant — more or less, my life's dream — I could say I saw Jushin “Thunder” Liger, my childhood avatar, in person.
I went for the freakshow, the spectacle, and the fact that New Japan co-promotional angle added a novel twist. I also figured that element would ensure the attendees were dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore-as-hell wrasslin' nerds, who could somehow elevate the show for my own entertainment in a way that the suspenseful (or bored) faces of 10-year-olds at a WWE show simply couldn't.
What I saw? To be terse: it was excellent wrestling. If you liked pro-wrestling at any point in your life, even if you didn't get lathery over the J-Cup in the mid-90's, you would vibe to this event. As a pro-wrestling event, I'd rate it “extremely hot and very bangable,” and as a cultural experience, I'd rate it no less than 8 out of 10 La Parka masks.
Obviously, I'm not the guy to do a match-by-match breakdown. I can't tell you how well angles were advanced, or comment on the overall temperature of ROH's booking. I felt like a moron because I kept forgetting Adam Cole's first name (more on this later). Instead, here are my hypercasual, inane thoughts on a great use of a Saturday night in T.O.