A View From Ringside – An Invasion Attack Leads to Global Wars


By Kevin Kelly
KK View from Ringside

When Hiroshi Tanahashi walked up to Steve Corino and me and said “Welcome to Japan!” we knew it was going to be a great day at Invasion Attack! The 7-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion is an incredible ambassador not only for NJPW but for all of Professional Wrestling. Now, Steve and I will get to return the favor when Tanahashi and the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling return to North America for our annual Global Wars event. Here are some thoughts from the most recent big event seen on NJPWWorld.com. The Third Generation still can go! Not only did Jushin Thunder Liger look great in six-man tag action but he was extremely confident challenging KUSHIDA to a future IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Speaking of KUSHIDA, he publicly challenged Jay Lethal during Invasion Attack and wants to become the ROH World Champion! NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata has many challenges ahead but he is a top guy, no doubt. He had tears in his eyes when he signed his contract in March and is ready to lead the company. One of many NJPW stars who are stepping up in the aftermath of some roster shakeups. Not to make excuses for the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega but there were distracted when Cody Hall got banged up during the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team title match. Focus is critical for champions but these were extraordinary circumstances. And congrats to Michael Elgin for winning his first NJPW title! Is Rocky Romero one of the greatest of this generation? Already a three-time former ROH World Tag Team Champion and now a six-time holder of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, it’s hard to argue with Romero’s track record and consistency. Far from a “compiler”, Romero is constantly innovating and pushing forward. But the MVP for Roppongi Vice’s championship win over Matt Sydal and Ricochet was Beretta, who fought through a ribcage injury to be there in the end as he and Romero regained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. The Guerrillas of Destiny not only make their ROH debut at Global Wars but they will do after having captured the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles. Tama Tonga and his brother, Tanga Loa made a huge statement at Invasion Attack and both men are perfectly suited to jump in the deep end of the tag team pool here in ROH. Invasion Attack was all about who would step up in a time of turmoil and change and no one stepped up more that Tetsuya Naito. Not only did Naito finally break through what he perceived to be the “glass ceiling” but he did so against the wrestler that Naito believed had been handpicked for the spot in Kazuchika Okada. Upset at being passed over for the main event at Wrestle Kingdom 8, Naito was the petulant child in my eyes but he is starting to really connect with the people and I applaud his outspoken nature, unafraid to push buttons. The more Naito talks, the more attention he draws and that is a good thing. But don’t think the now 3-time former IWGP Champion Okada will go quietly to the sidelines. Now that ROH and NJPW will join forces once again at Global Wars, Sunday May 8th on PPV, will there be a collegial nature, as there was in 2014 or a more combative one that we saw at “Honor Rising” this past February? While we know that Colt Cabana will challenge Jay Lethal for the Ring of Honor World Championship at Global Wars, will someone from New Japan Pro Wrestling step up to challenge the winner? Who will step up at Global Wars? Yours in Sport,KK

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