Ring of Honor: Best in the World 2013
June 22nd, 2013
Review by: Matt Davis
A show of infamy, and it never disappoints. "Best in the World" is an annual show that defines Ring of Honor. The show made it's debut without much fanfare in 2006 in response to many critics claiming the company presented simply "the best wrestling in the world". A decree that has lasted a decade. The main event of the debut show certainly allowed the company to deliver on that promise when the team of KENTA and Naomuchi Marufuji defeated World Champion Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe in a ****1/2 match. A match so good, Bryan Danielson called himself "The Best In the World" for the rest of his tenure in the company as a nod to that match. Another ROH alum has gained noteriety for calling himself that, but the term was first created in 2006, in a small arena in New York City. The event was shelved until 2011 when the company again returned to New York City (for the first time since 2009). The company had just been sold to Sinclair Broadcasting and the event was the first under the Sinclair banner. The entire show was A+, highlighted by a ****1/2, 40 minute four corner elimination tag for the World Tag Team Championships, and a ***** main event between Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards for the ROH World Championship. In 2012 Davey Richards defended the ROH World Championship against Kevin Steen in Toronto in a **** Street Fight. The match was great, and started what many regard as the rebirth of Ring of Honor. But also an event so infamous, it almost killed the company due to many complaints of interruptions during the iPPV broadcast, leading to many fans abandoning the product. Best in the World is a culmination of the summer for Ring of Honor, and it's nothing less than the best.
I understand Ring of Honor isn't for everyone. I hope to make some of you fans, or rejuvenate older fans who have lost touch with the current product. If I can make one person a fan, I will call that a success. I'm going to review the show, share my thoughts, cover highlights, and rate the matches using a five star grade scale.
1) BJ Whitmer vs Mike Bennett (w/ Maria Kanellis & Brutal Bob)
Background: During a triple threat match with these two men and Jay Lethal on ROH Television, Maria accussed Whitmer of grabbing her ass. Bennett and Whitmer brawled, and the grudge match was made for tonight. BJ Whitmer is an ROH legend, and Bennett has spent an entire year making a name for himself by defeating veterans and legends of wrestling.
Whitmer attacks Bennett as the match begins, and throws him to the outside. After a minute, Bennett throws Whitmer into the railing. Bennett with a diving lariat to the outside, flipping Whitmer inside out. Bennett controls Whitmer inside the ring, but misses a dropkick in the corner! Turnbuckle to the groin! Whitmer floors Bennett with hard knife edge chops. Bennett regains control after interferance from Brutal Bob. Bennett works over Bennett, and Whitmer kicks out of multiple pins. Bennett grabs a half clutch chinlock to keep Whitmer on the mat. Bennett with a dropkick, and another kickout. Both men up, and some right hands don't faze Whitmer, as he welcomes them. The fans begin to cheer as Whitmer is impervious to thre closed fists! Multiple clotheslines and a body slam by Whitmer has him back in control! Whitmer with a nice snap suplex followed by northern lights suplex combination into a pin. Bennett kicks out! Bennett trips up Whitmer and tries a powerbomb, but Whitmer reverses with a back body toss! Bennett distracts the referee. Brutal Bob tries a running shoulder, but Whitmer tosses him out of the ring to a cheer! Whitmer with an Exploder Suplex and the pin! Three count at 7:15!
Thoughts: Nothing outstanding. Whitmer is just talent enhancer, working with the young guys at this point in his career. He still has a lot of athletic ability, but his matches are all basic. Both men looked good. Mike Bennett had been on a roll, so the ending to this match shocked me a little bit. I was expecting the per-usual interference and cheap win for Bennett, but it didn't happen. The most entertaining thing about the match was the commentary by Steve Corino (who is wearing a snazzy yellow mustard blazer tonight). Multiple times in eight minutes he made me laugh out loud.
2) The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) vs ACH and Tadarius Thomas
Background: After some big wins for ACH and Tadarius Thomas over the last three months, the team wanted to take on top tier talent, and challenged the most critically acclaimed team in company history. Two former World Champions, who have carried the company in 2013 with a lot of great matches in both tag action and singles action. The Wolves have had two ****1/2 matches with reDragon since Final Battle, and two great matches with The Briscoe Brothers. At "Border Wars" in May, Eddie Edwards defeated the GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion in a **** match. At the same show, Davey Richards defeated a returning Paul London in a ***3/4 match. Richards went "Heel Davey" in that match after the fans turned on Davey after accidentally concussing London during a botched spot.
The fans support both teams as dual chants cross the arena with streamers. Corino points out that the event was named after Davey Richards (a nice story, but dismissed earlier) and now he's wrestling in the second match. Respect is shown between both teams, as ACH and Richards get tangled up. They break at an agreed count of three, and Richards spin kicks ACH in the ribs as half the crowd cheers and the other half boos. Tag to Edwards, as he floors ACH with a hard chop! Tag to Richards, as ACH gets sent in the corner. Richards misses a splash, and ACH with a springboard back elbow! Leglock triangle hold grounds Richards, and a tag to Thomas who dropkicks Richards in the head. Thomas with a back headstand kick to Edwards. Ridiculous fast paced kick combo by Thomas! Hard kick right to the face! EDWARDS MIGHT BE OUT! Crowd on their feet! Two count! Chops in the corner by Thomas, slap to the face by Edwards. Blind tag by Richards, Edwards trips Thomas, and Richards with a diving headbutt! Thomas kicks out of a pin. Richards with a kick to the back of the knee followed by a trailer hitch submission. ACH breaks the hold to save his partner. The Wolves double team Thomas in the corner with a multide of kicks to the chest! Over and over! Edwards knocks ACH off the ring apron! Wolves standing tall.
Richards with a unique takedown into a variation of the STF into a cloverleaf. ACH tries to break the submission, but the referee stops him. Edwards in behind the referees back to add extra leverage to a high angle cloverleaf! Thomas is almost broken in half. Thomas reverses a lockup, and lands on his feet out of a german suplex. Richards misses a clothesline, CAPUWARA KICK! Thomas crawls and makes a hot tag to ACH. Diving crossbody to Edwards, two count! Richards in, and takes down both ACH and Thomas with kicks. Richards tries a running punt, but Thomas rolls out of the way, kicks up, and lays Richards out with another ridiculous athletic kick to the chest! Edwards caught in the middle of ACH and Thomas. Enzuguiri by Thomas, springboard cutter by ACH, followed by a kick to the head by Thomas. Pin, and Edwards kicks out at two and a half! Edwards stops a double team. Superkicks to both men! Alarm Clock Kick combo! Superkick into a german suplex combination by the Wolves into a roll up by Edwards! ACH KICKS OUT! Richards beats doen ACH with over ten kicks to the chest and head in the corner as the crowd chants "YES YES YES" after every kick. Richards lifts him to the turnbuckle, as ACH fights out with headbutts! EDWARDS WITH A RUNNING ENZUGURI TO ACH! Thomas with a save, but Edwards tries a hurricanrana. Thomas lands on his feet, followed by a nice running clothesline. Top rope dropkick from Richards to Thomas! Everyone down. Thomas tries a moonsault to the outside on Edwards, but misses. Edwards with a superkick! ACH with a crazy diving splash to Edwards! He climbs to the top rope as Richards is out in the ring, and tries a 450 Splash, but lands on Richards knees! Richards with a roll up- Three count around 10:00!
Thoughts: Every single time the Wolves have a match, it feels so exciting. Couldn't believe this match clocked in at only ten minutes. Action never stopped. ACH and Thomas earned some respect in this match, looking brilliant and athletic against a top team. Thomas is very fast paced and fluid with his arsenal, and ACH flies with the best of them. The team gives so much effort, and even though they lost they looked like serious contenders to the Tag Titles. Fun match. This new team of ACH and Thomas carries so much personality and excitement that I want to see more after this. The Wolves continue to roll, and continue to deliver.
After the match Richards says the Wolves are coming for reDragon and the titles, and put over Thomas and ACH to a standing ovation.
3) Roderick Strong vs Adam Cole
Background: At a live event on June 1st in Houston, Texas, Strong defeated Cole after a spectacular match. Strong offered his hand after the match, and Cole turned him down, frustrated with the loss. The crowd booed. The next week at a television taping, Cole apologized said his emotions got the better of him. Cole said they would have a rematch at Best in the World and said the best man would win. At "Border Wars" in May, Adam Cole challenged Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Championship, but lost after Corino distracted Cole with a "SCUM" shirt, promising him opportunity and a future title match. In 2011, Cole defeated Roderick Strong for the Television Championship.
Roderick Strong gets buried by streamers during his entrance as the fans embrace one of the companys greatest wrestlers. Both men shake hands as the bell sounds. Corino said Cole lost to Jay Briscoe due to interference from Nigel McGuinness and that he is Cole's friend even though Cole doesn't answer his text messages. Both men exchange lockups and grapples. Both men look very equal this far. Strong snaps and begins to twist and turn on Cole's injured shoulder. The announcers say Cole injured the arm a couple weeks ago. Cole reverses a Stronghold. Strong ties Cole upside down the corner, and slams him with a hard running knee! Strong in control. Roddy with an inverted backbreaker submission. Corino says the move doesn't have a name. Strong with a quick school boy, quick kick out! HARD CHOP in the corner! Cole catches Strong with a firemans carry, into a flipping neckbreaker across the knee! Cole with a snap suplex. Pin, and Strong kicks out! Both men exchange reversals and Cole sends Strong to the apron, followed by an enzuguiri and a diving splash through the ropes! Cole slides his opponent back in the ring and targets the knee. Cole tries to climb the turnbuckle, but Strong stops him. The exchange blows up high. Cole knocks Strong off, and tries a crossbody, but Strong with a dropkick to the chest! Both men down! Strong landed awkwardly on his leg. Chops by Strong, running forearm, and high knee in the corner! Bulldog out of the corner! Strong with a release suplex over the top rope, dropping Cole abdomen first over the ropes. Both men exchange reversals, followed by two enzuguiris by Cole! Pin, and Strong kicks out! Both men down.
Both men exchange roll up pins, and Cole locks in the FIGURE FOUR! Strong gets to the ropes! STRONGHOLD OUT OF NO WHERE! Cole escapes. Cole with a superkickkk!! Sick! BRAINBUSTER ACROSS THE KNEE! Strong kicks out at two and a half!! Corino shouts encouragment to Cole. Both men on the apron, and Strong chops Cole's chest red and raw! COLE WITH A SUPERKICK! Strong is out and falls through Cary Silkin's table at ringside! Holy shit! Crowd is on their feet! Cole checks on Strong, and tries to pick him up. Corino tells Cole he's an idiot! Adam Cole slams Roderick's face off a chair in the debris, and slides in the ring. The referee counts Roderick Strong out at 12:51, as Cole crawls on the mat with a shit eating grin. As Strong is counted out, Cole throws his arms up and smirks as the crowd boos. Steve Corino praises the tactic that you must win any means necessary.
Thoughts: I knew this match would be good. Both men came into the match as fan favorites and only one left with admiration. Adam Cole's slow turn has been done beautifully, starting with him being named #1 contender way back in April. Match had a great pace with hard hitting action that both men have been known for. Crowd was on their feet throughout the second half. There were some near falls and close calls, but in the end Cole steals a big time win.
After the match, Corino chases Cole up the ramp, celebrating the cheap tactic. Cole doesn't fully embrace Corino, questioning why he's behind him as they walk through the curtain. RD Evans joins the commentary booth replacing Corino
4) "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs "The Sicilian Psychopath" Tommasso Ciampa
Background: Tommasso Ciampa debuted in ROH in 2011, as part of the Embassy Limited, with Prince Nana and RD Evans in his corner. Ciampa feuded with Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong over the Television Championship and was undefeated, before Nana made a business deal with Truth Martini and screwedd Ciampa. RD Evans took control of Ciampa and the Embassy, chasing Nana from the company. Shortly after, Ciampa legitimately tore his ACL and RD Evans disbanded the Embassy, and Ciampa disappeared from the company as well. At "Border Wars", Ciampa made his return to Ring of Honor, and attacked RD Evans who replaced Ciampa with QT Marshall. During a television taping, Ciampa again attacked Evans and Marshall, laying out Evans with the Project Ciampa, and confronting Michael Elgin in the ring. Ciampa would taunt Elgin weeks afterwards during his matches. Elgin said he welcomed the challenge and the match was made. Elgin has had two ****1/2 matches since late 2012.
Holy shit is Ciampa's entrance music annoying as fuck. But his entrance is still pretty cool. Crowd loves him. He was on the fast track to stardom before his injury. He gets covered by a lot of streamers, which is impressive for a guy who is generally new (missed a year of action). Crowd absolutely loves him. Elgin makes his entrance and also gets a streamer shower. Handshake. Staredown. Crowd with dual chants.
Huge blows to start by both men. Test of strength by the powerhouses. Elgin gains the advantage. ED Evans says Ciampa has tendinitis in his injured knee, as it's a common side effect of the surgery. Both men colliding in the ring. Headbutts by Elgin. Elgin tries a powerplex, but Ciampa escapes and lifts Elgin with his own! NO ONE HAS PICKED UP ELGIN IN OVER A YEAR! Wow! Ciampa holds him in the air for a long time and drops him to an ovation. Ciampa looks to have hurt his injured knee. Elgin on the attack, BLACK HOLE SLAM! Pin, Ciampa kicks out! CROSSFACE BY ELGIN! SO quick! Ciampa rolls into a pin. Kickout. Death Valley Driver by Elgin! Pin, and Ciampa kicks out. Dual chants for both men again. Ciampa blocks a suplex, but Elgin beats him down. Elgin gets the powerplex as he holds Ciampa in the air to a count of 60!!! A FULL MINUTE! Crowd is on their feet! So impressive! Elgin with a pin, but Ciampa barely gets the shoulder up!
Ciampa tries to break a sidelock, and gets it. Off the ropes and both guys collide into each other! Elgin roars! Stereo forearms! Ciampa spills both men to the outside. Both men exchange chops on the outside. Ciampa lifts Elgin and runs with him into the barricade!! Elgin with knees to the gut, and rolls Ciampa inside. Dropkick to the knee keeps Elgin on the outside. Elgin peels the protective mat off the ground to expose the concrete below. Ciampa tries a dive through the middle rope, and Elgin with a hard punch knocks Ciampa loopy on the ropes! Elgin grabs Ciampa and drops him back first on the concrete with a hard suplex!!! OUCH! RD Evans says he loves to watch both men kill each other. Elgin inside to a count of 15, before growing bored and going to the outside. He grabs a dazed Ciampa and POWERBOMBS HIM INTO THE STEEL BARRICADE! Ciampa is folded in half! Crowd is on their feet! Elgin rolls his opponent inside, and nails the corkscrew senton! Pin and CIAMPA JUST KICKS OUT! Elgin with the BuckleBomb! Ciampa reverses a powerbomb into a Kryponite Krunch! Pin, and Elgin kicks out! Fans chant "This is awesome". Ciampa buries Elgin in the corner with fists and boots. Ciampa lifts Elgin on the turnbuckle and DROPS HIM ON HIS HEAD WITH A SUPER KRYPONITE KRUNCH! Pin and Elgin kicks out at TWO AND THREE QUARTERS! I thought that was three. Crowd chants "that was three". Dual chants for both men. Ciampa up, Elgin down. Ciampa with a hard slap to the face!! Ciampa tries a running knee into the corner, but Elgin drives him to the mat with a hard side slam!! Elgin drops Ciampa with a suplex into a side slam combination! Pin, and Ciampa kicks out! Ciampa crawls to the apron, knee by Ciampa, SPINNING BACK FIST! Elgin lifts Ciampa from the apron with a deadlift superplex. Ciampa reverses into a AVALANCHE PROJECT CIAMPA!! PIN--ELGIN GETS HIS FEET ON THE ROPES!! WOW! Wow!
Ciampa can't believe it. He's in shock. Fans absolutely can not believe it. Everyone is on their feet. And everyone in the arena is chanting loud. Ciampa drops Elgin with a Kryponite Krunch on the apron!!! Elgin reverses two powerbombs with back tosses. Elgin picks Ciampa off the mat with pure strength, and drops him into the corner with a hard Bucklebomb! ELGIN BOMB!!! Pin. Ciampa kicks out! Ciampa locks in a Triangle Choke in the middle of the ring. Elgin with a powerbomb, but it doesn't break the hold. Elgin picks Ciampa up again. Bucklebomb! Ciampa rolls through an Elginbomb, RUNNING KNEE! Elgin kicks out at one! Elgin with a hard lariat! Spinning back fist! Again! And again! HARD LARIAAAATTTT! Elgin with the pin, and gets the three count at 17:00! Holy shit. What a war. What a match!!
Thoughts: I felt the ending sequence went on a little too long. The crucifix Project Ciampa should have been the end of the match. Crowd thought it over there. That would have a landmark victory for Ciampa, but they continued to beat the living hell out of each other for another five minutes. While I didn't think Elgin would submit in the choke, it felt very exciting to watch, not once, but twice. Ciampa countered everything Elgin had, unlike anyone Elgin has faced previously. Tommasso Ciampa looked like a star here. Great match. Another hard hitting brawl for Elgin. Ciampa's best match since joining the company. This is the best wrestling company in the world.
After the match, referees and doctors check on both men. Ciampa and Elgin get to their feet, and give each other a handshake. Elgin signals for the championship. v
5) ROH TV Champion Matt Taven (w/ Truth Martini & Hoopla Hottie) vs Jay Lethal vs Jimmy Jacobs
ROH Television Championship
Background: Jay Lethal defeated BJ Whitmer and Mike Bennett in a triple threat contenders match on ROH Television. Jacobs was added to the match from influence from Corino claiming McGuinness abused his power as Authority Match-maker by keeping SCUM out of title opportunities. McGuiness said it's Jacob's only title opportunity and if he loses, he won't get another one. Before the match, Truth Martini introduces Taven and says Taven is the greatest champion in ROH. The Hoopla Hottie asks if it's time to take her pants off. Taven smirks and Martini laughs. The match was originally scheduled as a triple threat elimination, but was changed to one fall by Nigel McGuiness before the match. Jay Lethal is a former ROH TV Champion, and Jimmy Jacobs had a 20 minute ***3/4 match with former TV Champion Adam Cole in January.
Bell sounds and Lethal superkicks Jacobs! Jacobs rolls to the outside, and Lethal takes chase. Brillaint. Taven splashes into Jacobs and Lethal on the outside! Taven smashes Jacobs face first into the barricade. Lethal targets Jacobs, as his war with SCUM continues. Lethal with a running dropkick to Jacobs face on the outside! Taven with a clothesline to Lethal, and targets the maimed Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs trips the champion face first into the ring apron, followed by a jumping dropkick! Jacobs slams both opponents heads together. Jacobs on the apron, tries to kick Martini, and dives on Taven, who powerslams Jacobs on the outside! Lethal and Taven on the inside. Taven misses a clothesline. Cartwheel dropkick from Lethal! Missle dropkick from Lethal! Death valley driver! Pin, and Taven kicks out! Jacobs tries a double axe handle, but Lethal kicks him in the stomach. Lethal tries to slam Taven, but Jaccobs with a neckbreaker to both men! Taven tries to skin the cat, but Jacobs dropkicks him to the floor. Lethal slams Jacobs, and tries an elbow drop, but Jacobs counters into a FRANKENSTEINER to Lethal! Martini distracts Jacobs, as Taven takes control of both men. Jacobs misses a clothesline, Taven with a somersault backflip into an enzuguiri to Jacobs! Butterfly slam by Taven sandwiches Jacobs into Lethal. Pinned Jacobs and Jimmy kicks out. Jawbreaker by Jacobs and he throws the champion to the outside. Jacobs misses a springboard splash to the outside, and Taven rolls him in and tries a pin, and Jacobs kicks out.
Lethal tries a sunset flip over the top rope, but accidentally pulls down Taven's pants! Lethal drops both opponents with a beautiful double takedown facebuster/DDT. All three men are down. All three men comes to blows in the middle of the ring. Taven tries the armtrap DDT, but Jacobs interferes and drops the champion with the Contra Code! Lethal with an airplane spin on Jacobs but Jacobs reverses with a headscissors takeover. Lethal with a wheelbarrow slam! Lethal Combination to Jacobs! Flying splash from the top by Taven to both men , Taven pins Lethal, and Lethal kicks out! Lethal escapes the armtrap DDT with a back kick. Lethal with a high angle neckbreaker! Lethal climbs the ropes to a chant of "RANDY SAVAGE". I love that. HAIL TO THE KING connects! Jacobs breaks the pinfall. Jacobs tries the Contra Code, but Lethal drops Jacobs to the outside. Dropkick to Taven keeps the champ on the outside. Diving splash to Jacobs! Scarlett, the Hoopla Hottie gets in the ring and slaps Lethal! She tries to run, but Lethal grabs her top and it COMES OFF! Titties! The referee grabs a towel and covers her up as the crowd chants "YES YES YES YES". Martini argues with Lethal in the ring, as Jacobs spears Lethal! Martini applauds Jacobs, but Jacobs turns on Martini, as Taven's other valet gets in the ring and stands between Martini and Jacobs. She slaps Jacobs hard! SHE LIFTS JACOBS IN AN EMERALD FUSION BUT LETHAL SUPERKICKS HER HEAD OFF! WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON?!?! HOLY SHIT! Jacobs drops Lethal with a springboard cutter! Taven throws Jacobs to the outside, and Taven pins Lethal and gets three at 12:58!
Thoughts: This match was really fun. Good triple threat action, good story. You had the heel champion who everyone hates, you had a “cool heel” challenger, who everyone loves to hate, and you had a face challenger who everyone loves. Great dynamic there. Not done enough in wrestling. Lethal went right after Jacobs as the bell sounded. The match was a little congested at times, I feel Taven needs less involvement from his entourage and more time to show off his technical ability, which we know he has. I marked out throughout the second half of that match unlike I ever have before watching wrestling. There were titties from beautiful women, and superkicks to womens faces, and an all around fun finish which saw Taven escape one more time with the gold.
-One more note. I enjoy that Jacobs doesn't mind taking offense from women. It harkens back to 2005-2006 when he feuded with a couple guys (notable BJ Whitmer and Colt Cabana) over Lacey, leading to the infamous “Jimmy Loves Lacy” angle. Jacobs spent a majority of that feud putting over women like Daizee Haze, MsChif, and Sarah del Ray. I can really appreciate that.
6) ROH World Tag Team Champions reDragon (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander) vs SCUM (Rhett Titus and Cliff Compton)
ROH World Tag Team Championships Triple Threat
Background: C&C Wrestle Factory defeated two other teams in a triple threat tag contenders match on ROH Television. Titus and Compton were added to the match from influence from Corino claiming McGuinness abused his power as Authority Match-maker by keeping SCUM out of title opportunities, and that Titus and Compton already beat Coleman and Alexander multiple times. McGuinness agreed and added them to the match. reDragon have absolutely owned the tag team division since Final Battle, as they have been featured in the best tag team wrestling I have ever seen since then. They have had ****1/2 matches with the American Wolves (twice) and the Briscoe Brothers. The match was originally scheduled as a triple threat elimination, but was changed to one fall by Nigel McGuiness before the match.
reDRagon gets a couple streamers during their introduction. Nice appreciation shown for their matches this year. C&C brawl with SCUM as the bell sounds. The champions stand and watch. We're told the match will be structured that two teams will be legal at a time, which means one team will be on the apron. Very peculiar, but it keeps the action fresh instead of having a third wheel. With both members of SCUM on the outside, Coleman tries a splash, and O'Reilly holds down the top rope telling him to fly, but Fish with a roundhouse kick! O'Reilly smirks as the feint worked. KOR with a kick to the back of the head, followed by a running kick by Fish. O'Reilly fakes the running punt, only to slap Coleman in the face! Alexander takes down both champions with a missle dropkick to both men! Kicks from C&C to Fish, followed by an inverted legsweep/kick combo! Titus and Compton break up a double team, and Compton shoves Alexander off the top rope hard to the floor! SCUM beats down Coleman, and Compton drops a hard legdrop. Champions are on the outside knowing they could lose the titles without being involved. Titus with a HARD boot that flattens Coleman! Ow! Coleman knocks both men down with a dropkick, and tags Alexander. Bobby Fish makes a blind tag to Compton who stumbled near their corner. Awesome sequence. Alexander with a corkscrew enzuguuri to Fish, full nelson facebuster to O'Reilly! Pin and Compton breaks it up. Alexander lifts Compton up, followed by a leg lariat combo by C&C! Titus tries a charge, but is thrown over the top by Coleman and Alexander. C&C nail their finishing double team Overtime on a prone O'Reilly, but Alexander can't make the cover, and SCUM drags O'Reilly out of the ring to save the match! Coleman with a splash on SCUM on the outside! Alexander with a brainbuster to O'Reilly! Fish comes out of nowhere with a hard kick to Alexanders head. He drags O'Reilly on top, and O'Reilly pins Alexander at 6:53
Thoughts: I was really enjoying that match until it finished suddenly. They deserved so much better. This felt like the triple threat match at Final Battle, also involving SCUM members and C&C Wrestle Factory where there was good action, and the finish came out of no where it under 10 minutes. With the capabilities of reDRagon this match should have been so much better. O'Reilly may still be hurting, which is why they didn't defend the titles at Border Wars, but this was a disappointment. If I didn't want to complain about how much that match sucked, I could compliment how fast the finish came quickly playing up the triple threat atmosphere. If you could get one thing from this match, it's that wrinkle.
7) Kevin Steen vs Matt Hardy
Background: This is just one more chapter in the long book that is the career of Kevin Steen. After losing the championship at Supercard of Honor VII, the next night Steve Corino told Steen he was no longer valuable to SCUM. Steen said he never saw eye to eye with Corino and that they have a difference of opinion on Matt Hardy, who joined SCUM at 11th Anniversary. Steen reminded Corino that Steen formed SCUM to kill Ring of Honor. Corino told Steen that he was being removed from SCUM, as the group jumped Steen, followed by a Twist of Fate from Hardy. Steen was gone from the company for a month. At Border Wars, SCUM was facing Elgin and Lethal in a match with the stipulation that if SCUM were to win, they would receive a ROH World Championship opportunity at a later date. Lethal was injured during the match, and Steen ran from the crowd and asked Nigel McGuinness to add him to the match. With the crowd about to explode, McGuinness agreed and the Canadian crowd errupted. Steen demolished the SCUM team, but was rolled up by Jimmy Jacobs and SCUM won. After the match, McGuinness questioned where Steen's alliegances were. McGuinness pointed out that because Steen was beaten so quickly, and SCUM gained a ROH World Championship match, McGuinness wondered if Steen was still working with SCUM. Steen put those doubts to rest when he said he loved Ring of Honor and was willing to beat every member of SCUM to prove it. He defeated Jimmy Jacobs and Rhett Titus on ROH Television.
After Hardy made his entrance, Corino serenaded the crowd with a ridiculous promo about Matt Hardy. The crowd was booing, and throwing trash and toilet paper in the ring the entire time. Hardy threw his shirt into the crowd, and the crowd threw it back to a cheer. Corino introduced Hardy as “slim, trimmed, and jacked” and the next ROH World Champion. (To his credit, Matt Hardy looks to be in GREAT shape. Truly. Best shape he's been in, in seven months). “Unsettling Differences” rips, as the crowd explodes. This is the moment everyone has been waiting for. Streamers. Streamers EVERYWHERE. Steen asks the match be made a no disqualification match, because SCUM doesn't play by the rules and he doesn't want the match to end in a DQ. McGuinness agrees. It's No Disqualification!
As the match begins, McGuinness calls Corino “Colonel Mustard”. Hah! Bell sounds as both men come to blows! Steen beats down Hardy as the crowd chants “Kill Steen Kill!” Hardy clips Steens leg. Crowd chants “You suck d*ck” at Matt. Hardy is still working the leg on the ropes. Hardy tries a hurricanrana, but Steen buries him with a powerbomb! On the outside, Steen with a hard chop! Steen yells into the crowd, and chops Hardy again! Corino wants a disqualification, but McGuinness reminds him it's No DQ! Steen grabs a crutch from a fan and destroys it over Hardy's back! Steen throws Hardy crotch first into the turnbuckle. Crowd has been chanting “Steen Steen Steen!” since the beginning of the match. Another crotch to the turnbuckle! Steen says “There will never be any little Hardys running around, you're welcome”. Zing! Thank you Steen! Hardy trips Steen with a takedown HARD into the barricade. Hardy slams the back of Steens head into the barricade over and over! Ouch! Corino throws a trash can into the ring and Hardy dents it over Steens back. Hardy with a neckbreaker. Hardy with another neckbreaker. He climbs to the top rope, and misses a moonsault! That looked nice! STEEN WITH A CANNONBALL in the corner! He flattens Hardy! Steen puts the trash can in Hardys face. ANOTHER CANNONBALL! The trash can is completely flat! Steen tries a pin, and Hardy gets the shoulder up. Steen chases Corino around the ring, and sets a table up on the outside to a cheer. Kevin Kelly mentions how both Steen and Hardy used to be tag team specialists. Rhett Titus runs in the ring and gets a PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Side Effect by Hardy! Pin, and Steen kicks out.
Another Side Effect! Crowd chants “Same old sh*t”. Announcers tell us that chant really makes Matt mad. Both men on the apron, and Hardy tries a Side Effect through the table, but Steen blocks it. Steen tries a Package Piledriver, but Jimmy Jacobs runs through the crowd and flips the the table. Steen gets a powerbomb across the ring apron! Another one! Jacobs is hurting! Steen with a powerbomb across the apron to Matt Hardy! Cliff Compton with a steel chair across Steens back!And again! Hardy beats Steen with a small ladder. Steen with a facebuster with the knee across the ladder! Steen to his feet as the crowd chants “OLE! OLE OLE OLE!” Corino distracts Steen, and Hardy with a Twist of Fate! Pin, and Steen kicks out! Steen reverses a Twist of Fate and hits a low blow!! Crowd cheers! F-CINQ! MATT HARDY KICKS OUT! Steen tries a Package Piledriver but Hardy with a low blow now. Side Effect across the ladder! Pin, and Steen kicks out! Compton and Corino slide chairs into the ring, and Matt Hardy with a Twist of Fate through two chairs to Kevin Steen! Hardy with the pin and gets the win at 14:13
Thoughts: While the match wasn't disappointing, it wasn't great. The added stipulation of the No Disqualification stipulation made it a messy affair, but allowed Matt to rely on the use of weapons instead of wrestling. Good bandaide decision by the booking team. Steen took a beating, and no one bothered to help him which added more fuel to the fire between Kevin Steen and the company he tried to kill for two years. He teased a Package Piledriver, but was denied multiple times. In the end, the numbers were too much and Matt Hardy got a win. As the next challenger for the ROH World Championship, it was the right decision, but not one I, or any fan, wanted to see.
After the match, all the members of SCUM beat down Kevin Steen, and choke him with a chair. Security and referees get in the ring to clear the ring. SCUM stands unified with hands raised in the ring as the crowd boos.
8) ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe vs Mark Briscoe
ROH World Championship
Background: The Briscoe Brothers are Ring of Honor originals, making their debuts at the first show in 2002. Jay Briscoe lost to the Amazing Red in a big spotfest. Mark was only 17, so he was not cleared to wrestle in Pennsylvania at the time. When Mark turned 18, his first match was against his big brother Jay, a match he won for bragging rights. In November 2002, Mark Briscoe joined Christopher Daniels “Prophecy” faction, leading to a brief feud between the brothers. At the First Anniversary Show, Jay beat Mark to end the feud, and the brothers united, winning the ROH World Tag Team Championships for the first of a record eight times in November 2003. After Mark Briscoe suffered some injuries, the Briscoe Brothers disappeared for a year, and returned to win the Tag Titles once again in 2004. During their run they feuded with the companys top tag teams, earning the reputation as the best tag team in wrestling. But in 2007, the team couldn't win, and the brothers decided it was time to “Man Up” and face each other once again. In Liverpool, England at the Fifth Anniversary Show, the brothers almost killed each other in a match that went over 25 minutes and ended when neither man could finish the match. So the all-time rivalry stands tied between them. One more match. In a match billed “No One Fights Like Family” it carried ten years of history, and a lifetime of love and hate as only brothers can create. Jay Briscoe comes in the ROH World Champion, and a brother. What will he leave as?
Jay Briscoe walks out, never taking his eyes off Mark in the ring. He climbs through the ring, and gets covered with streamers. The annoucers question whether Jay wants Mark to beat him for the championship because of the dynamic that if anyone were to beat him, would he be happy if it was his brother? The crowd chants “Man Up”.
Jay refuses to shake hands with his brother, to a flurry of boos. Jay looks very serious as the circle around each other. Lock up and neither man gets an advantage. Mark flips Jay over, but both men up again. Dual chants of “Mark” and “Jay” as the circle around each other. Reverals of back tieups, and Mark with a takedown into a headlock. Mark with a unorthodox flipping slam. Neither man can get a real advantage. The exchange side headlock takeovers. Spin wheel kick by Mark! Mark extends his hand, and Jay accepts acknowledging his brothers ability. Grapples, and a double legtakedown by Jay. Jay misses a clothesline. Mark misses a clothesline. Jay misses a clothesline, and Mark rolls to his feet. Both men on par through out. Mark asks for another handshake, and pulls his hand away to a cheer. Jay gets pissed and tries a running boot, but Mark dodges! Off the ropes, Death valley driver by Mark! After another tieup, Mark trips Jay through the ropes, and jumps through the ropes with a dropkick! Mark pounds Jay around the ring. Mark turns his attention for just a second and Jay with a hard boot to the face! Mark reverses and drops his brother with a suplex across the ring apron. Mark with a jab and a chop, but Jay knocks his brother down with a hard punch. Hard clothesline by the champion! The announcers call it a tactical battle, with neither man going for a pin or submission. Another boot to the head by the champ! Mark lands on his feet out of a back body drop, and Jay with a hard superkick! Spinning forearm and Mark is down. Mark misses a diving chop, and Jay drops his brother face first into the turnbuckles. Mark tries a monkeyflip out of the corner, Jay kicks him away. Jay misses a superkick, enzuguiri by Mark! Suplex, followed by a sideslam! Pin, and Jay kicks out.
Jay rolls to the outside and pulls a table from under the ring. Jay asks his brother for help setting it up. Mark agrees. The announcers tell us that “chicken farm mentality” with both men doing their fair share. Both men on the turnbuckle above the table as the crowd chants “Please dont die!” JAY BRISCOE THROWS MARK OFF THE TOP OF THE TURNBUCKLE TO THE FLOOR! Wow! In the ring, Jay with a running boot to the face! Hard neckbreaker! Jay tries a pin and Mark kicks out. Mark fights out of a Jay Driller, and counters into a t-bone suplex! Mule dropkick by Mark into the corner! Some chops and slaps by Mark on the top, and Mark throws Jay off the top into the ring with a crossarm monkey flip! Pin, and Jay JUST kicks out! Both men on the apron near the table. Punches and headbutts. Jay tries a firemans carry, but Mark escapes. Flying splash by Mark flattens Jay on the outside. Mark rolls Jay onto the table. Mark climbs the turnbuckle- DIVING FROGGY ELBOW THROUGH THE TABLE!! Both men down in debris and destruction and pieces of table. Mark rolls his brother in the ring and climbs the turnbuckle again. Mark with ANOTHER Froggy Elbow! Pin.. and Jay kicks out!! Mark with chops to the head. Jay blocks an enzuguiri as both men struggle to their feet. Jay misses a boot, enzuguiri by Mark! INVERTED DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Jay lands on his head!! Mark with a pin, and Jay kicks out again! Mark tries another inverted driver, but Jay thumbs his brothers eye. Both men exchanging blows as the spit flies. Hard chops and forearms by Mark. Punches by Jay! Knee to the gut, JAY DRILLER!!!!! Pin, and Mark kicks out! LARIATTTTT!!! Another JAY DRILLER! Pin, and Mark kicks out at one! Mark up, Jay can't believe it. Superkick by Jay. Another superkick! Another Jay Driller! Jay pins Mark and gets three to retain the World Championship at 21:10!
Thoughts: The brother vs brother storyline has been told many times in wrestling. Most can recall the Bret/Owen rivalry in the 90s. This feels different. We know the Briscoe Brothers. We've watched them grow up together in front of our eyes. We've watched them win the Tag Team Championships eight times. We've watch them bleed, and get broken. Every time they have a match, they hurt each other for the thrill of the battle, for the love of a fight, regardless that they're brothers. There was a lot of equal footing in this match, both men looked good. Jay kind of rolled with it and the match was driven by Mark. The ending felt rushed, but it was a good match. I didn't think Mark Briscoe would win, but the company has done stranger, so I kept that in the back of my mind. Jay Briscoe proves he is the “better” brother, as he now prepares to defend against Matt Hardy.
Show Rating: C
Thoughts: The show had a lot to live up to, and I felt it came up short of my expectations. The card was stacked, but the matches felt flat. The match of the night was Michael Elgin/Tommaso Ciampa. Michael Elgin is making a habit of this, with show stealing mid-card matches in 2013. The show was less about wrestling (which 11th Anniversary and Supercard featured) and more about storytelling and emotion. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. This show definitely gave us a lot of think about, and desire. It didn't anger me like Final Battle where I felt they needed to conclude feuds, but the matches could have been a little better. The tag match was garbage, and the opener didn't let the crowd get hot. I hope Ring of Honor looks at what didn't work with this show and learn from their mistakes. Please, no more triple threats. Between Supercard and this show, you can tell the formula doesn't work. With an advertised Steel Cage Warfare match coming up, this show wasn't about the end of anything, but an action packed middle chapter in a fun book. With the matches not clicking, I can at least look back at this show and think “yeah, that' where the climax started” as we lead for the culmination of some of these stories. I need to thank everyone involved for a good show. Nothing wrong with a “good” show. Well worth the $15 I paid for it.
If you liked what you read, please go to ROHWrestling.com, and buy the DVD.