Ring of Honor: Best in the World 2016 Review

Howdy!
On Friday, Ring of Honor had a PPV. Let’s see how they did.

Ring of Honor – Best in the World 2016

We open up with a video package of Lethal/Briscoe, playing off their (admittedly superior) package from last year, which I frankly thought was one of the best ever produced. This one isn’t quite as slick, but it still works to sell the main. Briscoe tells us that his career is revitalized after his loss to Lethal, while Lethal says that he’ll prove he’s still the best in the world by defeating Briscoe again.

We are LIVE from the Cabarrus Center in Charlotte, North Carolina! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. They run down the title matches and the Fight Without Honor, and send us to the ring to start the show!

Kyle O’Reilly vs Kamaitachi

The announcers mention that Kyle will be getting a World title shot at the tapings after this match; it’s kind of hard to hear them with the insane pop that Kyle is getting….

….from my living room.

Anyway, not knowing anything about Kamaitachi going into this match, I can already say that he’s got a bitchin’ ring coat. Code of Honor is followed as the crowd chants for Kyle, because they are a cultured and knowledgeable group. Quick wrestling sequence ends in a stalemate, but Kamaitachi slaps Kyle’s chest off a break and they start trading strikes. O’Reilly controls early, working the arm and getting some combination strikes, then back to the arm. Kyle’s knee lands funny off a tilt-a-whirl, and now Kamaitachi has a body part to go after. Dragon-screw legwhip puts Kyle down, and he grabs a leghold and starts grinding his fist into the injured knee. Another dragon-screw, then a modified figure-four for Kamaitachi, and Kyle is in a bad way. O’Reilly makes the ropes, but gets dragged back to the center of the ring and hold gets reapplied. Kamaitachi tosses Kyle, but Kyle gets the cross-armbreaker with the ropes to buy some time. Combination ends with a knee to the face for Kyle, but Kamaitachi rolls out to avoid kicks from Kyle. As usual, Kyle’s selling is absolutely god-like; even his brief pauses between kicks to recenter because of his knee being punished are done carefully and with full attention to detail. Kyle follows him out to the floor with more kicks, but goes for one too many and hits the post. Kamaitachi hits a running dropkick from the apron to the floor on Kyle! Kamaitachi signals for the Super Senton, goes up, hits it to Kyle on the floor! Didn’t look like he got all of it, but he got a bit. Kamaitachi has some words for Jay White (Young Lion in NJPW) in the front row as he tosses Kyle back into the ring. Back in, they trade kicks as Kyle kicks the arm of Kamaitachi, while Kamaitachi kicks the leg of Kyle. Kamaitachi charges right into a knee from O’Reilly, but he’s staggering around the ring walking off the leg as much as possible. Ax and Smash from O’Reilly is countered with a German suplex from Kamaitachi. Kicks from Kamaitachi, rebound lariat from Kyle, everyone is down. Kamaitachi counters a brainbuster and gets a belly to belly throw. Coup de Grace misses, but the Pop-up Powerbomb doesn’t, 1,2, Kyle grabbed the arm on the kickout and locks on a triangle! Kamaitachi escapes that and they exchange shots, with Kyle turning a suplex attempt into a brainbuster for two, and he follows that by immediately grabbing the arm for the cross-armbreaker and the submission. (Kyle O’Reilly over Kamaitachi, submission, 13:51)

RATING: ***1/2. Good stuff, as O’Reilly continues to prove that he’s one of, if not the, top technical wrestlers in the world with every passing match. They looked slow to start out there, but it picked up around the 7 or 8 minute mark. It felt almost like a veteran’s version of the Young Lion matches that start off most NJPW PPVs, with strong technical work being the centerpiece. Criticism: their chemistry wasn’t really complete, as the match had a dry sort of background that they didn’t really augment. It was really, really good wrestling, and that’s it.

Post-match, Kyle offers the hand for the Code of Honor, but Kamaitachi spits on it instead.

ACH vs Silas Young

I like both these guys. This feud is really, really stupid. Quick recap:

Young: You play video games backstage! You’re a child and your daddy didn’t teach you nuthin’!
ACH: My daddy always said, you do you! So I do me! Your problem is with you, not me!

Yep. That’s pretty much it.

Code of Honor is declined by a Silas forearm to ACH’s head. They trade the advantage back and forth until an ACH dropkick sends Young to the floor. He looks to fly, but Young necksnaps him on the top to take over. He keeps pounding away as ACH does a flip over the top in the corner, so Silas just double axes him to the floor. ACH finally gets a surge by jumping off the barricade and taking Young down on the outside. Back in and ACH goes for a crossbody, but Silas just backs up and ACH lands on the knees of Young. That looked….awkward. Young back in control now. Match is very methodical and vanilla. Gotta let ACH out of the bottle here. Young keeps beating on ACH for awhile longer, slapping on a bodyscissors. ACH finally makes the comeback, hitting an enzuigiri and a clothesline to wake the crowd up. ACH with a German suplex for two. Young drops ACH on the top rope off a suplex, then a springboard clothesline puts ACH down on the apron. Backbreaker by Silas, but the clothesline across the knee is blocked by an ACH backslide for two. They’re just doing moves out there. No story, no match flow, no working of body parts, nothing. Get Over Here attempt by ACH is blocked and now Silas gets the backbreaker/clothesline combo for two. Young goes up, ACH follows but gets caught as Silas brings him down and powerbombs him, followed by a slingshot twisting neckbreaker for two. Silas is frustrated and goes out for a chair, and that allows ACH to recover and hit an absolutely INSANE Air Jordan; I’m pretty sure that the only reason he came down is because he got blindsided by a 747. He tosses Young back in and misses the Dum-Dum stomp, but hit his head on the middle buckle after a kick out. Young puts him down with a forward roll and goes for the split-legged moonsault, but lands funny after ACH moves. Dropkick in the corner by ACH, Brainbuster, Midnight Star. We’re done here. (ACH over Silas Young, pinfall, 11:09)

RATING: **. There really wasn’t much to this; it was a paint-by-the-numbers Indy match that we’ve all seen a thousand times. And if the story is good enough, we’ll watch it 1,001 times. Not here. The match never seemed to even try to tell a story, to be honest. One guy hit a move, then the other guy did, then the other guy did, etc. No real psychology, and that middle portion of Young control was just death to the crowd. Decent enough ringwork on the execution side, not great otherwise. Right guy went over, though.

Post-match, they replay the Midnight Star and show more of Jay White in the front row, explaining who he is and the fact that he’ll be debuting soon for ROH.

Video package for Strong/Briscoe.

Mark Briscoe vs Roderick Strong

Briscoe has his IWGP Heavyweight tag team belt with him, having won the straps with his brother at Dominion. “Thank you Roddy!” chants are heard from the crowd as Kelly acknowledges that Strong is finishing up with the company this weekend. Code of Honor is declined by Strong with a shove to Mark. He goes to pull his hair, but Briscoe shaved his head and Roddy pulls out a wig! I mean, it was obvious but still funny. Briscoe with a dropkick and the match is on. Mark doesn’t waste any time, hitting a Blockbuster to the floor from the apron on Strong. He beats on Strong on the outside, then back in for a belly to belly throw. They go outside again, and Mark keeps firing at Strong. Strong tries to fight back with a dropkick through the ropes, but Mark moves and Mark gets one of his own. Cactus Jack elbow to the floor is avoided by Strong, and he javelins Briscoe head first to the post to finally get some offense. Strong with a backbreaker across the barricade. “This is my company!” sayeth Strong to the camera. Well, for about another 24 hours or so, Roddy. Back in, Strong controls and cuts off a Briscoe comeback with a jumping kick. They have a great battle over a suplex that Mark finally wins, covering for two. He takes too long afterwards, and Roddy gets an Olympic Slam for two. Both guys go down after they collide in the center of the ring, Briscoe taking over with a Pele and forearm. He sets Strong on the top rope and gets a Driver after a few reversals for two. Overhead Uranage by Mark for two. Rolling Death Valley Driver by Mark and he goes up, but the Froggybow hits the knees of Strong. And now Strong takes over with shots to Strong and an overhead suplex. Double-knee gutbuster attempt is reversed by Mark into a Boston Crab. Strong kicks him to the outside to break, and catches him with a knee when Briscoe goes to the top. Superplex by Strong, but Mark grabs the legs for a pin, 1,2, NO! Gutbuster by Strong, double-underhook powerbomb by Strong, now the Stronghold, but Mark makes the ropes. Strong looks for a backbreaker on the apron, but Briscoe hooks the top rope to stop it and he kicks Strong in the face, followed by a dropkick and the Cactus Jack elbow hits this time. “Bang Bang!” says Mark Briscoe. Bang Bang indeed. Briscoe goes up in the ring, but Strong catches him with a dropkick mid-jump. They slug it out in the center of the ring, but Strong ducks one and comes off the ropes, Sick Kick! Good one, too. 1,2, NO! Kneepad comes down for Strong, but Mark avoids the jumping knee and comes off the ropes with a running kick of his own. Fisherman’s Buster for Briscoe, 1,2, NO! But Mark just picks him up and does it again, and that’ll do it. (Mark Briscoe over Roderick Strong, pinfall, 15:37)

RATING: ***3/4. All action from bell to bell. A good way to finish up for Strong on his last PPV for ROH, and a very nice surprise. The lack of a strong emotion in the feud held it back a bit for me, along with Roddy doing less of his focused back work than he normally does, but Mark held it together very well and kept the match together. Good stuff.

Post-match, Strong shakes Briscoe’s hand and they hug it out, with the crowd chanting “Thank you Roddy!” the whole time. Nice moment for him.

Video package covering the end of Global Wars and the addition of Adam Cole to the Bullet Club airs ahead of our next match, which of course is…

War Machine & Moose vs Bullet Club (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson)

We’ve been joined by Matt Taven on commentary for this one. Moose and War Machine are in matching face paint and gear; someone was watching some old-school Warlord matches on the Network! If I compare Stokely to Slick, that’s probably racist, right? Okay, won’t do that, then. Dastardly heels Bullet Club get a monster pop, of course.

Kevin Kelly: “Nigel, why aren’t these guys suspended?”
Nigel: “Have you seen what they do in merchandise? Why cost Ring of Honor money?”

Nigel McGuinness, SMARTEST MAN IN WRESTLING (sometimes). Bullet Club gets in the ring and promptly superkicks everyone on the face side before the bell rings, while they’re still clearing streamers away. Funny. Tornado rules, everyone is legal all the time, one fall to a finish. Stereo topes by Bullet Club to Moose and War Machine on the outside. Comeback from War Machine allows Moose to go in and hit a dive over the top onto everyone, which for a dude his size is pretty impressive. They beat on the Bullet Club for awhile, but Moose misses a spear on Cole and spikes the barricade instead. War Machine abuses the Bucks on the stage to my delight, but the double Greco-roman ballshots from the Bucks turns the tide. Double suplex from the Bucks to Hanson on the ramp. And in a holy shit moment, we actually have two guys in the ring, as Rowe and Matt Jackson are….eh, never mind, Rowe just sent Matt outside the ring. Nick and Cole are in now with kicks, and then a triple-team Swanton bomb by the Bullet Club. Moose back in the ring now, and he dominates the entire Club, finishing with a dropkick on Cole. Moose punches are stopped by the Club and reversed into “Suck its!” and “Adam Cole, bay-bay!”, and they finish with a triple superkick. Hanson comes back to the apron, but a double dropkick sends him back to the floor. Matt Taven is being an annoying shit on commentary and annoying me in the process. Rowe back in now, and he breaks up the triple team on Moose, taking out the Bullet Club before being sent to the floor on a charge. Rowe catches both Bucks and looks for a running powerslam, but a superkick from Cole puts a stop to that. Triple team again to Moose, but this time Moose runs the buckles to the top and gets his crazy crossbody to take out all of the Bullet Club. Hanson back in finally, and he runs wild too, taking out both Bucks and sitting on Adam Cole when Cole charges him in the corner. Moose and Rowe back in now, and they triple team Cole in the corner with a Moose splash and some SHOTGUN KNEES~! from Rowe. Matt Jackson tries to make a go of it, but Matt Jackson just goes. Nick in now, and he manages to avoid Rowe and catch a charging Hanson with boots while Rowe is trapped behind him against the buckles. Then, in the coolest move of the match, Moose catches a jumping Nick Jackson and tosses him backwards, right into Rowe’s arms, following with a Moose clothesline into a Rowe German suplex. The entire Bullet Club is outside so Hanson charges and goes splat on the mat when they move out of the way. Superkicks from Cole and Nick, then the Bucks team up and Nick Jackson does a high moonsault onto the faces on the outside. Hanson avoided it, though, and goes up to the top rope for a dive onto everyone on the outside. Cole gets tossed back in and murdered, with a dropkick into a powerbomb into a frogsplash from Hanson. 1,2, the Bucks save it. The Bucks pull War Machine outside the ring and come back in to hit Moose with a double superkick to block the spear. Rowe back in with some knees for the Bucks, Cole answers with a Canadian Destroyer on Ray. Hanson back now, Rikishi Driver on Adam Cole! He goes up, but Cole moves out of the way on the moonsault. Stokely gets up on the apron to try to stop the Bullet Club from triple-teaming Moose, but he eats a triple superkick for his efforts, then Moose does too. Meltzer Driver from the Bucks on Moose and Cole pins him for the 1,2,3. (Bullet Club over Moose & War Machine, pinfall, 13:06)

RATING: **3/4. It was only better than ACH/Young because they hit their spots more, but this was just nonsense, spot-rest-spot stuff. All showcase triple teams with a bunch of choreographed moves and about a thousand times they could have ended the match stuffed in there, this was the Bucks at their showiest and most annoying. They were going for that type of trainwreck vibe and failed miserably. Remember at the 14th Anniversary show, where the Bucks and Omega had a ****+ 6-man tag match with ACH, Sydal, and KUSHIDA? This wasn’t that match by any stretch of the imagination.

Post-match, Nick Jackson gets in Kevin Kelly’s ear: “Hey Meltzer, that’s what you call a 5-star match!” No, Nick. No it wasn’t. Not even close.

Video package for the Machine Guns against The Addiction.

The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) vs The Addiction (C) (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels) – Ring of Honor World Tag Team Title match

I have something to say about this angle when we get to the end. The Addiction attacks as soon as the intros are done; we’ll call that ‘declining’ the Code of Honor. The Guns quickly turn the tables and clear the ring. They double team Kaz first, then Daniels. We finally get the match started proper with Kaz and Sabin, and Daniels helps Frankie take over with a kick to the back of Sabin’s head. Heel beatdown for a few minutes, but Sabin makes the comeback and tags in Alex. Shelley dominates both Addiction members, then Sabin comes back in and the Guns go wild. Daniels drops Sabin face first on the apron and gets a blind tag to Frankie to take over on Alex again. They cut the ring in half and merrily choke away. Best moonsault ever gets two. Kaz pulls Alex out and holds him up, Daniels goes for a split-legged moonsault, but he hits Frankie, allowing Shelley to tag Sabin back in. Sabin comes in and dominates. The Addiction gets tossed and Sabin follows them out with a tope onto both Addiction members. The Guns double team for a two count, but Shelley gets pulled out of the ring by Daniels and sent to the post. Powerbomb/Neckbreaker combo gets two for the Addiction. Shelley gets a crucifix on Frankie that Sabin turns into a pin for two before Daniels breaks it up. All 4 wrestlers in now, Shelley gets Sliced Bread #2 on Daniels, but Kaz Flatlines him to put everyone down again. And now Kamaitachi comes out and attacks Jay White in the front row, pulling him over the barricade. Que? They end up battling into the ring as the announcers try to figure out why this is happening, allowing Daniels to get a low blow on Shelley. Sabin makes a go of it, but the Addiction hits the Best Meltzer Driver ever, and Frankie pins Chris while Daniels holds back Alex from making the save. 1,2,3, The Addiction retains the titles. (The Addiction over The Motor City Machine Guns, pinfall, 12:12)

RATING: ***. Paint by the numbers ROH tag match, which is to say good but not great. Okay, so here’s where I have a hard time figuring out ROH booking. They teased out the KRD thing for months while Sabin was still aligned with Daniels and Kaz. Shelley is revealed, and Sabin decides to turn on the Addiction to reform the Guns. But instead of doing a slow burn up to this match, they immediately blew it off on TV instead of forcing everyone to wait and give this one more emotional stakes and a better story. I don’t know if they hadn’t decided that Daniels and Kaz were getting the straps back at that point, but imagine how much more heat this match would have gotten if the Guns were finally getting their shot at the Addiction after you have Daniels and Kaz duck them for ages. Sometimes, angles are red-hot and need an immediate payoff and sometimes a slow burn would serve them better. This one is the latter.

Post-match, Kamaitachi comes out to the ramp and raises the Addiction’s hands in victory, because apparently he’s aligned with them.

Up next, Whitmer/Corino. Nigel makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with this match and leaves while the video package airs. And it’s a pretty good one too, putting BJ over as pretty much the biggest douche on earth. Not a stretch. This feud really has been pretty decent, even though I’m not a fan of either guy; Whitmer destroying Corino’s son in front of him while Corino couldn’t do anything to stop it was pretty awesome.

Steve Corino vs BJ Whitmer – Fight Without Honor

Corino has dyed his hair platinum blonde for the match, along with wearing all white. We are gonna see some BLOOD, folks. He gets chairs raised as he walks the aisle like knights raising their swords, and the chairs are tossed in the ring. Whitmer comes to the ring, and he’s also wearing white; we’re gonna see a LOT of blood, folks. Corino attacks in the aisle and we’re underway. They destroy each other at ringside and Corino loses a tooth after he gets pulled into the post. Back in the ring and they go at it in the middle, with Corino slapping BJ after some forearms by Whitmer, BJ responds with a spinebuster. Whitmer puts Steve in the Tree of Woe and hits a neckbreaker out of it. Corino responds with an STO on the apron to counter a piledriver. Corino throws a chair at BJ’s knee, then smashes him across the knee with a chair, following that by Pillman-izing the knee. BJ gets back up and throws some shitty punches, but they do the job and Corino is busted open. Supposedly the ‘doctor’ is advising the match be stopped, but COME ON, it’s a little bit of blood so far when they’ve promised a bloodbath. That doesn’t happen and Whitmer sets up a table. First Exploder on the table doesn’t break it, but the second one does. Corino kicks out at one, bleeding like a stuck pig. Corino comes back with a few superkicks and a lariat for two. Corino grabs a beer bottle from ringside and smashes it over Whitmer’s head and BJ blades on camera. Corino jams the broken bottleneck into Whitmer’s forehead, and we’ve got ourselves a double gusher. The ‘doctor’ looks to stop the match, but Steve takes away his medical bag and grabs a pair of scissors out of it to use as a weapon, which is pretty clever. He changes his mind, though, when he finds a bottle of rubbing alcohol instead. Fucking OUCH. He douses BJ in that while the fans chant for ECW. Steve takes off his sock and fills it with quarters, but Whitmer already has a roll of quarters in his hand and decks Corino with it for two. They both get back up and slug it out, Steve gets the Package Piledriver! 1,2, NO! And….the lights go out. When they come back on, KEVIN FUCKING SULLIVAN, of all people, is in the ring now, and he stabs Corino with his golden spike. Pimping purple robes there, Kev. One Exploder later, and we have a winner. (BJ Whitmer over Steve Corino, pinfall, 15:02)

RATING: *1/2. This was 15 minutes of guys hitting each other with weapons in a big garbage brawl that was an absolutely pale imitation of what ECW used to do when they did it well. Yes, there was blood; so what? You want that crap, CZW is still running shows. I thought for a minute when Corino started working BJ’s knee that we might have something interesting, but then it just degenerated from there. Disappointing; they tried hard, but the limitations of the wrestlers plus the inherent promises that the match couldn’t deliver left me cold about it. I think that a lot of love for this match that I’ve seen is that it was so different from what ROH normally does, but different and good are not synonyms. There are good ways to do these types of matches, and this wasn’t one of them. So what, the feud must continue? With Kevin Sullivan involved? If ever there was a ‘one-match resolution’ needed for a feud, this was it.

Post-match, Sullivan and Whitmer leave together while Corino gets taken care of in the ring. Kevin Kelly wonders if this is only the beginning. Is that a promise or a warning, Kev? Kelly is distraught by the violence, but he throws it to the video package for Castle/Fish while the fans chant for Corino.

Bobby Fish (C) vs Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) – World TV Title match

Dalton has himself a few new Boys, as he gets carried to the ring. Code of Honor is followed. Nice bit of chain wrestling to start resulting in Castle grabbing the ropes to prevent an early kneebar by Fish. More nice work and Castle works the mat and goes for a gutwrench suplex, but Fish gets out and we have another stalemate. Castle works the arm, but Fish kicks him in the knee to take over. In and Out Senton by Bobby hits the knee, on purpose mind you, to continue to work the body part. Castle comes back and hits a knee strike to Fish on the top rope. Deadlift gutwrench suplex from Dalton. Fish comes back with knees and an exploder into the buckles. This one is back and forth. Dragon-screw legwhip by Fish. He keeps at it, but Castle ducks a few kicks and gets the deadlift German suplex. Dalton’s on and off selling of the knee is gonna bother me for sure in this match if he keeps it up. Dalton with a few big kicks and a strike, then a clothesline. Castle with strikes in the corner, Bobby stuns him with a boot and goes up, but Dalton catches him and tries an overhead belly to belly. Bobby manages a sunset flip attempt into a trip for the kneebar. They slug it out on the apron and Dalton manages to send Bobby to the floor, but Fish counters by sweeping Castle’s legs out from under him. They fight outside the ring and Fish sends Castle to the barricade. He dives at Dalton, but Castle catches him and belly to bellys him into the crowd! Dalton waits a few seconds, then leaps the barricade and goes into the crowd himself! The Boys fan off a few ringside security guys who were taken out in a funny bit. Back over the barricade, Castle charges Fish but gets tossed over head into the ringpost. Both guys make it into the ring at 19. Castle catches Fish’s foot and gets a waistlock throw. German Suplex by Castle. Then, in the scariest spot of the night, Castle goes for a Regalplex and drops Bobby on his HEAD, straight down. That was terrifying. Bobby catches Castle with a knee when Dalton charges, but almost gets caught in a Bangarang until he turns it into a rollup. 1,2,3! Fish retains! (Bobby Fish over Dalton Castle, pinfall, 16:51)

RATING: ***3/4. Probably the best match of Castle’s career, Fish gave him a ton of offense and sold for him the whole time. Dalton kept up very nicely with Bobby, and the result was an excellent match except for the potential paralysis thing. Castle’s selling was a little spotty, but nothing major, and this was quite enjoyable. Well done. The ending should leave Dalton up for a rematch.

Post-match, Castle looks despondent as the refs help Fish to the back. I can’t help but wonder if Bobby was really hurt there.

Nigel and Kevin are ready to throw it to the main event, but “Hail to the Chief” plays as the ANX sets up a podium on top of the ramp, along with Caprice Coleman and some admirers. Coleman grabs the mic and continues the whole ‘ANX never lost the titles’ shtick that they’ve been doing, and this thing just drags on. Gist of it is that Coleman is joining forces with ANX and they’ll now be known as ‘The Cabinet’. Titus runs down the ‘young kids flip-flopping around’, and this whole thing could have just been put on ROH TV, because it sure as SHIT didn’t need to be here. I hope that this was worth cutting 5 minutes off of Lethal/Briscoe.

Video package airs for Lethal/Briscoe. Both of them have to win, just like last year.

Jay Lethal (C) (w/ Taeler Hendrix) vs Jay Briscoe – ROH World Title match

As usual, Taeler Hendrix looks like a Tim Burton drawing. Code of Honor is followed. Briscoe with a shoulderblock, Lethal comes back with a hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick. Lethal gets control but runs into a back elbow from Briscoe. Lethal tosses Briscoe and dropkicks him from the apron to the floor. Two topes by Lethal, but Briscoe slides back in the third and boots Lethal to the floor, two topes from Briscoe now. He somersaults over the top onto Lethal to put him down, and Hendrix attacks Briscoe, so the ref tosses her from ringside. That didn’t take long. She attacks Mandy at ringside, which I can always sympathize with, and they need to be separated. Back in the ring, Lethal gets the Lethal Combination for two. He keeps working for the pin, but Briscoe keeps kicking out. They trade strikes and Briscoe levels Lethal with a forearm. Jaydriller attempt is countered, but Briscoe still manages to powerbomb Lethal and stack him up for two. Beautiful Death Valley Driver for two. Lethal rolls out and Briscoe tries to go after him, but Lethal grabs him and hits a cutter from the apron to the floor! Great spot. Lethal puts Briscoe on the top and tries to ‘rana him, but Briscoe hangs onto the ropes. Briscoe now looking for a second rope Jaydriller, which would probably kill Lethal dead, but Lethal counters mid-air into a ‘rana in another great spot. Hail to the King elbow gets two for Lethal, and he goes to a figure-four leglock on Briscoe. Briscoe escapes and Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection, Briscoe avoids it but eats a superkick, Lethal goes for it again but this time Briscoe avoids it and gets a kick, then goes for a Jaydriller. Lethal blocks it, so Briscoe hits a Lethal Injection instead! Jaydriller by Briscoe! 1,2, NO!!! Crowd thinks this is awesome, and the crowd is very much correct. Briscoe sets Lethal on the top, and looks for a Jaydriller off the top rope through the table at ringside, but Lethal saves his own life by bringing Briscoe back in with a top rope cutter! Lethal Injection! 1,2,…3? (Jay Lethal over Jay Briscoe, pinfall, 12:55)

RATING: ***3/4. Uh….that was trending towards some top level MOTYC stuff, and then it just ended. 13 minutes for an ROH World title match? Between Lethal and Briscoe? Nope, nope, nope. It was a great match, it really was, but I just can’t go higher due to the length and the pacing of the match, which felt like they mis-timed the PPV and had to bring it home quickly, so I really hope that the ANX segment was worth it. I know it’s weird to call a ***3/4 match ‘disappointing’, but considering who was in the ring and the match from last year they had to live up to, this was severely lacking. The finishing sequence was pretty great, though.

Post-match, Code of Honor is followed as Briscoe and Lethal shake hands, with an ad for Death Before Dishonor on August 19th. And we’re out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Thumbs in the middle, leaning up. Nothing was actively bad or anything; even though I didn’t like the Corino/Whitmer match, it had its own macabre appeal to some, I suppose.

Here’s the problem.

ROH has some severe booking problems that need addressing. Let’s start with the main event scene, Jay Lethal specifically. What exactly was the point of the Global Wars finish? It was meant to create a new top faction and challenger for Lethal, but the Bullet Club ended up mired in a mediocre undercard match against guys they had zero issues with. What a devastating impact those guys made, right? Instead of interfering in every match they could find until they got what they wanted, instead of being big-time heels and forcing their will on people, they just meekly went to a random six-man tag. Bottom line is that there are some angles that are worth a slow burn, and some that should be hotshot as quickly as possible while they’re still scorching. Instead, we get Lethal going over Briscoe in less than 13 minutes in the ‘biggest rematch in Ring of Honor history’. Bullshit. THAT should have been a slow burn angle, with Lethal ducking Briscoe at every opportunity until he was forced into it one year later, either through overconfidence or because Nigel made him. I would assume that Cole gets his shot at Death Before Dishonor, but what possible reason was there to wait? You sacrificed an entire PPV main event to get these guys over as main eventers! The undercard didn’t set the world on fire either; two matches that had less than a month of build-up (ACH/Young & Briscoe/Strong), two matches that were just sort of there (O’Reilly/Kamaitachi & the 6-Man); this doesn’t make for the strongest build in the world.

Factions. There are a zillion of them in ROH apparently. Prince Nana has a new Embassy (although you wouldn’t know that due to his non-appearance on the PPV), apparently ANX has the Cabinet, there’s the House of Truth, Taven is promising a new Kingdom, and of course there’s the Bullet Club. Enough. Just enough. 2, maybe 3 factions is really all they need, because they’re not giving anyone enough time to get over anyway.

Timing was atrocious. Lethal/Briscoe was, by my calculation, the third-shortest match on the entire card. And it was the MAIN EVENT! The match they sold basically the entire card on, because they sure as SHIT didn’t sell any PPVs based on someone wanting to see the resolution of the 3 week feuds between ACH and Silas Young or between Mark Briscoe and Roderick Strong. So with that in mind, how do you give the main less than 13 minutes??? Especially when you let ANX go out there right beforehand and kill 5-7 minutes of that time for a promo that means nothing, that could have been left for the TV show?

I’m really, really stingy with star ratings, that’s one of the reasons that I rarely use them. But I can’t remember the last ROH PPV that didn’t have at least one **** match on it, yet I didn’t see one here. And a big part of that isn’t on the wrestlers, it’s on the guys in charge. The ringwork was all very decent tonight outside of a few exceptions, but time given and build-up for the feuds are out of the wrestlers’ hands.

I love ROH. I’m genuinely their biggest cheerleader. I watch and recap the show week in and week out because of how much I want more people to watch the fed and see some of the great things that I see. But I can’t just shut up when they put on a mediocre show, either, and the hosannas that are being given to this one from some corners of the net are undeserved. This was a decent to good show, but in an era where the consumer is conditioned to set the price point of televised wrestling at $9.99, this isn’t going to cut it, especially when you’re being asked to pay 4.5 times that much. You need to blow people away, and ROH isn’t doing that right now.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter