Ring of Honor is back! Best in the World is coming at you from scenic North Carolina with, despite a seeming lack of hype, is potentially their best looking in ring lineup the show has put out in quite a long time. Follow along live right here on Wrestling With Words right here for live coverage of the entire show!
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Kamaitachi***1/2
What an opener. This was probably my most anticipated match on the show and I’m fired up. It was nice to see the ROH talent get cheered over the big export for once. Kamaitachi doesn’t seem to have the same level of recognition that the usual New Japan talent does. Kyle took control of the early portion of the match before Kamaitachi finally gets back in control of the match and starts to work the knee. A Japanese talent is flat out getting booed in Ring of Honor. This is certainly something new. Kyle did a good job selling the knee to the point that some of our staff thought he was really injured. That said, this certainly wasn’t the pace to start off the match that was really expected out of these two. Kyle got back into it with a rope hung armbar to turn the pace back in his favor. Kamaitachi looks a little bit off compared to what I’m used to seeing from him but he finally got the crowd on his side with a senton from the top rope to the outside. The match picked up from here pretty well from here. Kamaitachi had to overcome being a total unknown but he won the crowd over as the match went on and the match got quite good. O’Reilly won with a brainbuster into an armbar for the submission in what was an excellent finish. I can’t say I was expecting this match to be filled with a lot of limb selling but it was quite good.
ACH vs. Silas Young**3/4
This is a match based around anime. Silas got instant heel heat by calling anime “cartoons”. I’m sure the internet will never forgive him for this transgression. Silas started the match by calling ACH a “super syon”, this is already great. The crotchety old dad gimmick is fantastic. I hope ROH keeps finding new youth trends for him to hate on. The match itself isn’t quite as exciting as the premise. This was your standard Silas Young match where he controlled it and gave ACH some brief hope spots. Silas didn’t get much reaction while on offense which I’m not sure if it was a silent crowd or a classic ROH bad mic job but it really sucked a lot out of this. ACH did his best to get the crowd back into the match with a fantastic dive and it worked. The crowd really got into this for the finish when ACH hit a midnight star. I hope after losing ACH makes Silas watch Jojo.
Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe****
Roderick Strong is great but Mark Briscoe is the greatest. ROH isn’t going to be the same without Roderick but I can’t feel bad for a man who tries to disrespect our chicken farming hero. Mark Briscoe only has fun matches and that’s what this is. Roddy may think he was Mr. ROH but everyone knows the Briscoes are the true aces of the company. This was a fast paced match throughout and was everything long time fans could expect out of these two. This is really good. When you first think Mark Briscoe you don’t always think of a great worker but he can go. and for someone who is about to leave Roddy really busted his ass to put on a good match. Roderick gave Mark everything he had with a big sick kick but it wasn’t enough. Mark Briscoe won with a fishermans buster. We have a new Mr. ROH and everything is right in the ROH Universe. All hail our king Mark Briscoe. See you later Roderick, you will be missed.
Moose & War Machine vs. Bullet Club**1/4
I would have thought that Adam Cole would be challenging for the title by now after the end of the last PPV. I guess not. This should be pretty good though. The Young Bucks are at their best in these trios matches and even though he is no AJ Styles Adam Cole is pretty damn good in his own right. This is one of the most lopsided tag team matches in a while in terms of weight distribution. If Moose really is gone soon than this is a disappointing PPV sendoff. This match isn’t really bad at all but there’s something about the idea of this bullet club team beating up these big guys that is keeping me from getting super into it. Maybe Jim Cornette was right. Or maybe not and I’m just being a downer. The War Machine/Moose team really should have gotten to work together more, their spots on offense have been fantastic. Maybe the rumors of Moose leaving are true because he got pinned by a Meltzer Driver. This wasn’t a bad match but it really wasn’t as great as a lot of these ROH Bullet Club trios matches in the past and I just failed to ever really get into it at all.
Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Addiction***1/4
This is one of the better builds ROH has done in a while and I’m one of the few left who still finds enjoyment in the Addiction. I’m excited for this. I love non stop tag team action as much as the next guy but the Addiction’s pace works really well with the Machine Guns. These two teams clearly have a strong rapport together and it shows. The crowd didn’t seem super into this which is a real shame because this match is great. This match was going great until Kamaitachi ran out to attack Jay White in the crowd. The Addiction slowing the match down a bit really gave the Machine Guns a chance to shine. Unfortunately the New Japan boys distracted the ref and allowed the Addiction to score a low blow and eventually a Best Meltzer Ever. This didn’t need the interference and it really brought down a great match.
Steve Corino vs. BJ WhitmerLiteral *****
It’s been an entire lifetime in the making but it’s finally here. This is likely the best built match the company has done since the title vs title match at Best in the World last year and I’m unironically excited to finally get to see it unfold. The crowd has been pretty tepid all night but they love this and it’s great. Wrestling is great. Old Men wrestling is even greater. Fuck him up Steve. You’ve earned this one. This is dadfighting at its finest. Commentary tried to compare this match to Steen and Generico but that isn’t fair. This is much better. The crowd seemed to wake up for this match too. Maybe if ROH would build more matches like they did this one the crowd would have been like this for even longer. Corino is a bloody mess but BJ will pay. No tables can save him from this one. Corino has a beer bottle. Do it Steve. You’ve earned this one. Corino cut BJ wide open with a Ponyboy knife and poured rubbing alcohol all over him. Words can not describe how great this match is. There’s blood everywhere. The crowd is right, this is awesome. BJ Whitmer kicked out of a package piledriver. Fuck you BJ Whitmer. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Kevin Sullivan is here and he just spiked our noble hero. Why would you do this. BJ Whitmer has won and god is dead.
ROH World Television Championship: Bobby Fish (c) vs. Dalton Castle***3/4
Podcast hosts collide in this World Television Title Match. Bobby Fish owns. Dalton Castle owns. This should own. These two had a promo fight over brunch. I thought this show peaked at a fight over anime but this rivals it. A lot of wrestlers would have a ton of trouble following up that last match and keeping the crowd involved but Dalton Castle is definitely the right guy for this job. He’s just the right kind of over the top act to make sure they don’t get overly bored during a matchup of these two excellent technical wrestlers. Everyone knows the technical prowess of Fish buy Dalton is an almost underrated wrestler in that regard. This match is very good. These two styles mesh together really well and this match is very good. I had high hopes going in and they’ve more than matched those expectations. Just when the crowd was cooling down a bit they took the fight into the crowd and it paid off. These two wrestled with reactions for the whole match but they pulled everything out possible to save it. The match spilled outside but when Dalton finally got it looked like he had it won with the Bang-a-rang. Unfortunately for Castle Bobby escaped and rolled him up to retain his title. These two worked really hard and overcame a crowd that seemingly had no interest by putting on a great match.
Please shut up ANX.
ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal (c) vs. Jay Briscoe****1/4
All I ask is no Bullet Club interference. Please Lizard Man. I don’t think that’s much to ask. I loved the first Jay vs. Jay. That was a fantastic wrestling match. As long as this one doesn’t have nonsense I have full faith that it will be too. I think I’m the last one left on this train but I still like Jay Lethal. His title reign has gone on a bit too long but I think I’ve enjoyed the actual reign a lot more than most. This match started off pretty fast. They wasted no time to get right at each other and the match went right into dives to get the crowd involved really quickly. I’m not sure why Taeler Hendrix even comes out anymore. They usually just throw her out 10 minutes into the match anyway. I think they just used their main event to set up the YouTube exclusive women’s matches. That felt like a waste of time. All I can do is pray that was the last instance of shenanigans in this match. The match recovered fine though. These two worked a lot quicker than the first time they met. They didn’t waste any time just getting right into beating the shit out each other. The match really went crazy when Jay Briscoe countered a Lethal Injection into… a Lethal Injection and then hit a Jay Driller but it wasn’t enough to regain the championship. God this is great. Briscoe gave him everything he had but Jay Lethal has proven once and for all that he was the better man by pinning him with a Lethal Injection. What a great end.
Best in the World was a pretty damn good show. I loved the two singles title matches and the tag title match was on its way to being great too. The only real issue with the show were the builds going in to it made some of these matches hard to care much about. Going in I compared this to a PWG or EVOLVE show without any trendy buzz to it and I think that is more or less what we got. This was a very good show on most definitions but ROH should be able to do a much better build up to it than they actually did.
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