Please note: there are spoilers regarding a match change, but as with all my wrestling reviews the winners are not revealed.
It was three years ago that Ring of Honor presented it’s first live pay per view, and it returns to live television one more time as Ring of Honor (ROH) wrestling presents Best in the World. Coming live from the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts, the main event will see Christopher Daniels, the veteran champion, defend his ROH World Championship against Cody, just weeks before Cody faces the top guy in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Kazuchika Okada. With the opportunity of a title vs title match for Cody, rather than coming off a debilitating loss, both men will be looking to give this their all. The ROH Television championship will also be defended in a huge rematch from the War of the Worlds tour as new champion KUSHIDA defends against the former champ Marty Scurll. These two were in separate brackets through the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in NJPW, which KUSHIDA won, so this match is sure to be wild, with both competitors looking to let out some frustration on the other. The tag team titles are also on the line as the Young Bucks, brothers Matt and Nick Jackson, go up against the mammoth team of War Machine, Raymond Rowe and Hanson. All this, and much more, as ROH presents Best in the World.
+ Christopher Daniels (c) vs Cody (ROH World Championship): a busted lip early on cemeted this as a real hard hitting affair between two men with no respect for each other. Cody hasn’t exactly been on the roll I think he would have wanted as of late, but this match certainly helped him find his stride as a bad guy, including one hell of a message to upcoming opponent Kazuchika Okada. Some mid match shenanigans, as there always is, were fun to see, as well as a throwback to a sorely missed wrestler from the past. A reall fun final stretch had me on the edge of my seat, even if the ending wasn’t what I was personally hoping for. This was a good, but not great, but still well worth watching
+ KUSHIDA (c) vs Marty Scurll (ROH World Television Championship): it is no secret I am a huge fan of Scurll and KUSHIDA, so this had far and away my highest expectations. Keeping these two away from each other in the BOSJ (and, coincidentally, having KUSHIDA defeat Takahashi, whilst Takahashi and Scurll were in the same block) was a good idea, and really built hype for this, and potentially even a Junior Heavyweight title match between the two down the line. A slowish build, before some fantastic chain wrestling, soon turned into a re-run of sorts of their first match. The ending stretch was fantastic, and some little subversions of what I expected was great to see. This was a great match
+ Bully Ray and The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) (c) vs Dalton Castle and The Boys (Brandon & Brent) (ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships): it was #demboys vs The Boys, and boy oh boy this was great. The peacock posturing between Castle and Bully Ray was some of the best stuff I’ve seen, before there was a real chance that Jay Briscoe might have actually straight up murdered The Boys. This was far more fun than I thought it would be, with some fantastic storytelling
+ Jay Lethal vs Silas Young (w/ The Beer City Bruiser): this was a really solid match. Nothing fancy, outside of both men’s fantastic athleticism, but a hard hits, power moves, back and forth action and a raucous crowd made for a great watch, from bell to bell. Some post-match shenanigans added to the affair, and left a really good impression on me
+ The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs Best Friends (Trent? & Chucky T) (ROH World Tag Team Championships): this change to a triple threat tornado tag match whipped the crowd into a frenzy. A series of eccalating dives from the small Bucks, the medium Friends and the huge War Machine were crazy to see, and you just know there was always going to be a lot of SUPERKICKS. THings did eventually devolve to choreography even I couldn’t get behind, but for the most part this was a very good match
+ Hangman Page vs Frankie Kazarian (Strap Match): I don’t think I could care any less about a pair of competitors, but damn if I don’t feel bad for them slapping the hell out of each other with the straps. The welts on each man’s back as the match went on made me feel more for them than any pre-match promo ever could, and by the time this match was over I was a bit more of a fan of both guys
+ The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) (w/ TK O’Ryan) vs El Terrible & Ultimo Guerrero: The Kingdom’s entrance was so over the top, it is hard not to love it, even if you arne’t a fan of the performers themselves. The team of Lucha legends were able to work the crowd into a frenzy early, and even Matt Taven showed off some spectacular mid air abilities. This was a really good opening match
– Search and Destroy (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay White & Jonathan Gresham) vs The Rebellion (Caprice Coleman, Kenny King, Rhett Titus & Shane Taylor): with the stipulation stating the losing team must disband, there was (supposedly) high drama in this match, but I never felt it. Search and Destroy never really made a big enough splash to warrant this kind of attention, in my opinion, due to numerous injuries, and Jay White is a fantastic singles competitor anyway. White and Kenny King were the MVPs for the match, though Taylor has improved a lot since his debut, thanks in part to the loss of a lot of weight. Either way, this match never clicked for me, and I didn’t really care for either the winner or loser in the end
> some highlights of the pre-taped match between Kris Wolf & Sumie Sakai vs Deonna Purrazzo & Mandy Leon in a Women of Honor match were shown, and they were basically what you’d expect. The full match will be put onto ROH’s Youtube channel in the coming week
Should you watch this event: I wasn’t sure what to think of this card as I read through it, but it delivered more than I ever thought. With only one match not doing it for me (the eight man “loser must disband match”) this was a really good show to watch. All four title matches were worth watching, for their own reasons, and the winners all made sense.