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Ring of Honor “Best in the World” Live PPV Report
June 24, 2016
Concord (Charlotte), N.C.
Aired Live on PPV
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The PPV started with a video package focusing on Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe going back-and-forth about being the best. Last year, Lethal beat Briscoe for the ROH World Title. One year later, Lethal attempts to go one full year as ROH World champion against Briscoe. Who is the Best in the World?
Live from Charlotte, Kevin Kelly introduced the PPV at the Cabarrus Center. Kelly was joined by Nigel McGuinness for commentary since Steve Corino faces B.J. Whitmer tonight. Kelly & Nigel broke down the PPV line-up before the opening match.
In-ring: Kyle O’Reilly was introduced first for the opening match. Before challenging for the ROH World Title at tomorrow night’s TV tapings, O’Reilly faces New Japan’s Kamaitachi. Kamaitachi slowly walked down to the ring playing a cocky heel with bright-red hair, like Taeler Hendrix.
1 — KYLE O’REILLY vs. KAMAITACHI
Clean start, then Kamaitachi cheap-shotted O’Reilly, who responded with a take down into an armbar. Kama made the ropes for a break, though. O’Reilly followed with a slap into a kneelift and legsweep to knock down Kamaitachi. Suddenly, O’Reilly’s left knee buckled and Kamaitachi immediately capitalized with kicks. The crowd booed. Kamaitachi followed with a Dragon legscrew, then wore down the knee. Lots of leg work trying to force a submission.
Kamaitachi followed with a giant spear sending O’Reilly flying off the ring apron to the floor. Kama tried to follow up, but O’Reilly trapped him in the ropes for a cross arm-breaker, utilizing a five-second. So, Kama was selling a left elbow injury and O’Reilly was selling a left knee injury.
On the floor, O’Reilly nailed two kick strikes to the chest, but missed a third and crashed into the ringpost. Kamaitachi followed with a running pump kick off the ring apron. He followed with a flying senton that hurt both men. ROH then showed Jay White sitting on the front row watching the match after leaving New Japan for a U.S. excursion to ROH.
Back in the ring, Kamaitachi and O’Reilly traded blows selling their respective injuries. Kama nailed consecutive thrust kicks, but the second one sent O’Reilly bouncing off the ropes to nail a rebound lariat. Both men sold on the mat, then O’Reilly tried a brainbuster, but Kama blocked and nailed an overhead suplex.
Kamaitachi wanted a top-rope double knee smash, but O’Reilly moved, only to run into a powerbomb. Kamaitachi covered, but O’Reilly kicked out and transitioned to a leg vice submission. Kama kicked free, though. Massive mid-ring battle, then O’Reilly nailed a brainbuster in the center of the ring. Kama kicked out just before three, and O’Reilly immediately grabbed Kama for an armbar submission. O’Reilly pulled tight on the hold and Kamaitachi was forced to tap out.
Post-match, both men sold their respective injuries, then came to their feet. O’Reilly extended his hand, but Kamaitachi spit in his hand and jumped out of the ring.
WINNER: O’Reilly via submission at 13:45. Very physical opening match. The result was not in doubt with O’Reilly challenging for the ROH Title tomorrow night, but Kamaitachi made this really interesting with a strong showing. (***)
Video Package: A.C.H. vs. Silas Young feud.
2 — A.C.H. vs. SILAS YOUNG
According to the Tale of the Tape, Young had the advantage in experience, weight, and size. A.C.H. tried to adhere to the Code of Honor, but Young smacked him in the face. A.C.H. responded with a dropkick sending Young to the outside, but Young blocked an attempted high-flying follow-up.
Silas slowed the pace trying to wear down A.C.H. and keep him out of the air to inflict damage. Silas ducked his head on a back drop attempt, allowing A.C.H. to nail a step-up kick to get some breathing room. Discus lariat in the corner, then a running clothesline. A.C.H. followed with a German Suplex with a bridge for a two count.
Silas got desperate and left the ring to grab a chair, drawing out referee Todd Sinclair to reprimand him. While Silas argued with the ref, A.C.H. came flying over the rope with a flip dive crashing onto Young. Back in the ring, A.C.H. smashed Young with double knees in the corner. Suplex followed, then A.C.H. climbed to the top to nail a 450 Splash – Midnight Star. A.C.H. covered for the win.
WINNER: A.C.H. at 11:09. Fine undercard singles match giving A.C.H. a PPV singles victory. It’s time to start moving A.C.H. up the card to some important items after going through the gatekeeper. (**1/2)
Ringside: ROH showed Jay White on the front row taking in the show.
Video Package: Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe. It’s Night 1 of Strong’s exit from ROH.
3 — MARK BRISCOE vs. RODERICK STRONG
Before the opening bell, Strong refused to adhere to the Code of Honor, shoving Mark in the face. The bell sounded, then Strong yanked on Briscoe’s hair. Except, he found a handful of a wig. Say what? Briscoe removed his bandana to reveal he completely shaved his head. Mark went nuts on Roddy, kicking him around the ring, throwing him to the floor, chucking him into the guardrail and nailing a double foot dropkick. Mark wanted a Cactus Jack running elbow off the ring apron, but Strong moved and then shoved Mark into the ringpost.
Back in the ring, Strong slowed the pace wearing down Mark. Strong wanted a suplex, but Mark blocked. Strong blocked. Mark blocked. Strong blocked. Mark blocked. Mark eventually flipped over Strong into a suplex for a two count. “Man up!” chants from the crowd. Great sequence. Strong then nailed a suplex of his own for a two count.
Mark fought back again with a neck-tie suplex for a two count. He tried to follow with a fireman’s carry, but Strong elbowed out, only to take a suplex for a two count. Mark said it’s over, bah-bay. He nailed a DVD before bouncing to the top turnbuckle looking for Froggy Bow, but Strong got his knees up to block. Both men seemed to be hurt by the blockage.
After they both recovered, Strong came up flying with repeated running elbow strikes rocking Mark on his feet. Strong tried a backbreaker, but Mark blocked and countered with a full Boston Crab. Strong tried getting to the ropes, then just kicked Mark away to the ring apron. Strong came back with the double knee gutbuster into a Gibson Driver into his own Boston Crab – the Stronghold. But, Mark reached the bottom rope for a break.
Reset at 12:30 with both men selling exhaustion. The fight moved to the ring apron, where Mark smashed Strong down to the floor. Mark then nailed a running Bang Bang Cactus Jack elbow to the chest. Back in the ring, Roddy intercepted a flying Briscoe with a mid-air dropkick.
They came face-to-face in the middle of the ring fighting and slapping and punching. Strong then nailed the Sick Kick for a close two count. He tried a running knee, but Mark avoided and nailed a brainbuster suplex for a close two count. Mark then hit a Fisherman Buster and Strong was too exhausted to kick out, giving Mark the win.
Post-match, Strong turned down a post-match ice pack and stood up to shake hands with Mark Briscoe. Mark bowed to Strong, who left the ring to loud “Thank you, Roddy” chants. Strong took a victory lap around ringside.
WINNER: Briscoe at 15:37. That was really good. Mark looked rejuvenated after shaving his hair, wrestling like a fighter rather than a bit of a gimmick character with the wild hair covering his entire face. Strong put in a very nice pre-farewell effort, too. (***1/2)
Video Package: ROH went to the end of ROH’s last PPV, Global Wars, when Bullet Club ended the Jay Lethal vs. Colt Cabana ROH World Title main event and took over the PPV.
In-ring: War Machine in the form of Hanson & Ray Rowe were introduced first, followed by Moose with Stokely Hathaway. The shoulder-padded Road Warriors marched down to the ring together as injured star Matt Taven joined commentary to heel on the trio’s ring gear. Bullet Club’s theme music then played to a big reaction to bring out Adam Cole and the Young Bucks. The Bucks had the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles and NEVER Openweight Six-man Tag Title belts. Kelly wanted to know why they are not suspended. Nigel said everyone in the locker room told him not to suspend the Bullet Club because they want a piece of them. Plus, Nigel argued they bring in a lot of merch money.
4 — BULLET CLUB (ADAM COLE & YOUNG BUCKS – NICK & MATT JACKSON) vs. MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) & WAR MACHINE (HANSON & RAY ROWE) — six-man Texas Tornado tag match
Before the bell sounded, Bullet Club quickly slid into the ring and nailed triple superkicks to all three opponents. They followed with stereo suicide dives on the outside. Moose was grazed by the attack, so he returned to the ring and splashed all three Bullet Club members on the floor with a Flying Moose attack. Moose and War Machine then blasted the Bullet Club all over the ringside area.
The Young Bucks tried to run away to the top of the stage, where War Machine grabbed them and lawn-darted them into each other. The Bucks cheap-shotted Hanson, though, and suplexed him back-first into the entrance stage.
Bullet Club moved their attack to Ray Rowe on the ring apron, hitting a triple splash as Rowe was draped across the ring apron. The Bucks went after Moose, who nailed a textbook dropkick then hit “Moose” jabs to each Bullet Club’er. But, he wanted a big discus lariat, only to take a triple superkick.
Rowe recovered and landed offense before putting both Bucks on his shoulder looking for a double ringpost lawndart, but Cole intercepted with a superkick right to Rowe’s jaw. Bullet Club returned to the ring thinking they had this match under control, but Moose came flying off the top rope with a big splash to all three Club members.
Suddenly, Hanson returned to the ring, told the Bucks to suck it, and smashed them to the mat. War Moose Machine then took out all three Club’ers with power offense. Moose then tossed Nick Jackson in the air, Rowe caught him, and Moose kicked him right out of the air. Hanson wanted a flying splash to the floor, but the Club moved and Hanson absolutely ate the ring padding. On the outside, the Bucks superkicked Hanson and Rowe.
Back in the ring, Matt sent Nick flying over the top rope with a moonsault onto the War Moosers. Suddenly, Hanson was alive and hit a top-rope splash from the top rope. Back in the ring, Cole was all alone with the face trio. Dropkick/powerbomb combo into a top-rope splash from Hanson, but the Bucks broke up a pin.
Chaos broke out in the ring before Hanson tried a top-rope moonsault on Cole, but the Bucks intercepted with a mid-air dropkick. Suddenly, Hathaway found himself on the ring apron. Triple Superkick. Another triple to Moose. Back in the ring, the Bucks set up Moose for a springboard spike Tombstone. Moose got the win with the Bucks allowing Cole to get the pin. On commentary, Taven heeled on his former tag partner in The Kingdom, Adam Cole, for taking all the glory and doing none of the work.
WINNERS: Bullet Club at 12:59. Strong, now Moose taking falls in back-to-back matches on the way out. That was a wild tag match with some really good action throughout, but not a lot of selling. The story was also soft with Moose & War Machine representing “The Locker Room” wanting to fight the Club after how the last PPV ended. They needed Colt Cabana to really get across that message. (***1/4)
Video Package: ROH Tag Title feud between The Addiction and Motor City Machineguns, who have not won the ROH Tag Titles before.
Prior to the Tag Title match, Bobby Cruise handled formal ring introductions to enhance the match.
5 — ROH tag champions THE ADDICTION (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & KAZARIAN) vs. MOTOR CITY MACHINEGUNS (ALEX SHELLEY & CHRIS SABIN) — ROH Tag Title match
Back-and-forth start with the teams trading control until The Addiction cheated to take control. The tag champs isolated Shelley for a while, then a hot tag was made to Sabin, who smashed Kaz with a top-rope dropkick. Step-up kick to Daniels’s head, then a running knee strike. Flying elbow to Kaz, then Sabin flew through Shelley’s open ropes to splash Daniels and Kaz on the outside.
Back in the ring, The Addiction took over on Sabin. They wanted Celebrity Rehab on Sabin, but Shelley broke it up. Close nearfall for the Guns. Sliced Bread from Shelley to Daniels, but Kaz grabbed Shelley for a spinning facebuster. Everyone was down and out.
Suddenly, Kamaitachi ran down to the ring and attacked Jay White on the front row. Kama and White brawled into the ring, then around ringside as the heels cheated back in the ring. Shelley was taken out, leaving Sabin alone to take the Best Moonsault Tombstone Piledriver Ever. Cover on Sabin for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Jay White helped Sabin recover while Shelley also checked on his teammate. Kamaitachi then joined The Addiction on the stage to signal a new alliance.
WINNERS: Addiction at 12:11 to retain the ROH Tag Titles. It was inevitable they would come up with a silly finish at some point tonight. And here it was. Disappointing match with the Guns seeking their first Tag Title victory in ROH. (**)
Ringside: Nigel McGuinness said he has washed his hands of the B.J. Whitmer vs. Steve Corino Fight Without Honor. He said this is not his issue anymore.
Video Package: Corino vs. Whitmer.
In-ring: Bobby Cruise said the following match is a fight without honor and both men have released Ring of Honor of any liability. Cruise closed that viewer discretion is advised.
Steve Corino was introduced first wearing all-white to signal the contrast to his dark soul turning evil for this fight. Corino was followed by ROH ring crew, who tossed chairs into the ring as Corino removed a beanie to reveal his old blonde hair-do. B.J. Whitmer was out next also wearing white. And the fight was on with Ian Riccaboni replacing Nigel on commentary with Kevin Kelly.
6 — STEVE CORINO vs. B.J. WHITMER — Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor
Corino quickly set up a ringside table, but Whitmer slammed his arm/wrist into the ringpost. Corino and Whitmer brawled into the ring, where Whitmer landed a spinebuster. The announcers noted Corino wanted nothing to do with this, but Whitmer sucked him back into the wrestling ring. And Whitmer promptly dropped Corino with a hangman’s neckbreaker, targeting the surgically-repaired neck.
Whitmer wanted a piledriver on the ring apron, but Corino blocked and slammed Whitmer onto the edge of the ring. Corino then smashed Whitmer’s surgically-repaired knee with a chair. Corino followed with chair shots to the knee. Corino tried to end Whitmer by placing his knee into the chair and smashing it with another chair.
Whitmer got desperate and punched Corino right in the face five or six times. Corino came up bleeding from the face, prompting the ringside doctor to check on him. Meanwhile, Whitmer set up a table in the corner. Whitmer kicked Corino in the gut, then wanted an exploder suplex through the table, but Corino blocked. Whitmer tried again and this time Corino went face-first into the table, not breaking it. Whitmer then delivered a second exploder, sending Corino crashing through the wood this time. Whitmer covered Corino, who kicked out at one, going strong style on Whitmer.
Corino crawled across the ring with blood pouring from his forehead. Whitmer smashed table shards across Corino’s head, but Corino no-sold and nailed a left-arm lariat for a two count. Corino left the ring to grab a beer bottle brought to ringside by Matt Taven earlier in the show. Corino then smashed it over Whitmer’s face. Corino was left holding the broken handle, which he drove into Whitmer’s head as ROH was on a replay.
Whitmer came up bleeding from the forehead, then Corino kicked the ringside doctor away. Corino went into the doctor’s bag looking for more items to use. No scissors. How about rubbing alcohol? Corino opened the bottle and poured it over Whitmer’s blood-soaked head. “E-C-Dub” chant from the crowd.
Corino was not done torturing Whitmer. He untied his right boot, removed his sock, and put a bunch of coins into the sock. Corino swung the coin-sock over and over, but Whitmer had an object in his hand that he smashed Corino in the head with. Cover, and a two count. They came to their feet trading blows until smacking each other over and over again. Corino then nailed a Package Piledriver in the middle of the ring. Corino sat on top of Whitmer to cover him, but Whitmer kicked out.
Suddenly, the lights went out in the building. They stayed off for a while. The lights came back on to reveal “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan standing in the middle of the ring. Sullivan approached Whitmer with his golden spike, which of course meant he was going to use it on Corino. Sullivan spiked Corino in the head, then Whitmer dropped Corino with an exploder suplex for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Kelly sold extreme concern on commentary. Kelly asked for word to be sent to Corino’s wife that he is okay. Kelly freaked out about Sullivan bringing out the darkness in both men’s hearts. Ian tried to talk, but Kelly was too overwhelmed to listen.
WINNER: Whitmer at 14:59. That was nuts and a rarity for today’s mainstream pro wrestling with a war like that. It was about as safe as possible for a match like that, too. (***)
Video Package: Dalton Castle challenges for the ROH TV Title held by Bobby Fish.
Announcers: Nigel McGuinness rejoined commentary to try to help Kelly transition to the semi-main event title match.
In-ring: Dalton Castle strutted down to the ring joined by a group of “boys” carrying him down to the ring. Castle posed alone in the ring as the boys disappeared to the back. Bobby Fish was out next to defend the ROH TV Title for the first time since capturing the title from New Japan’s Tomohiro Ishii at Global Wars.
7 — ROH TV champion BOBBY FISH vs. DALTON CASTLE — ROH TV Title match
Code of Honor, then the bell sounded. Fish controlled early on, forcing Castle to the mat with a submission trying to get an early win, but Castle made the ropes for a break. Meanwhile, Kelly relayed an update on the previous match that both Whitmer and Corino are going to the hospital.
Castle took over for a while as the crowd acted unsure about which wrestler to get behind. Castle then showed off his strength with a deadlift German Suplex for a one count when he could not complete the bridge. A dueling chant broke out to wake up the crowd. Castle then walked into a kneebar, but Castle made it to the ropes for a break.
The match moved to the floor, where Fish blocked a head scissors and sent Castle crashing into the guardrail. Castle then caught Fish flying at him from the ring apron and suplexed him over the guardrail into the front row, taking out some ROH stagehands. Castle then went flying off a chair splashing Fish as he recovered on the floor. And there’s Bruce Mitchell in the red shirt live on pay-per-view watching the proceedings at his feet.
The match returned to ringside at 17, both men hit the ring apron at 18, and they made it back into the ring before the 20-count. Castle then dropped Fish on his head. He tried to capitalize with the Bang-A-Rang, but Fish spun around down Castle’s back and rolled him for a quick three count to win, stunning Castle.
Post-match, Fish sold a neck injury from being dropped on his head. Fish required medical attention as he left with possession of the title.
WINNER: Fish at 16:50 to retain the ROH TV Title. Okay match in a tough spot after the wild brawl and without a strong issue between them. The crowd wasn’t sure who to get behind or why they should invest. (**1/2)
Announcers: Kelly and Nigel started to hype the main event when patriotic music interrupted. Various people walked out on-stage to stand next to a podium. All Night Express and Caprice Coleman prepared to make a speech while Kelly asked Nigel what he thinks about Brexit.
Suddenly, Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Caprice Coleman began talking. Caprice noted ANX won the ROH Tag Titles at Best in the World 2012 and never lost them. They want the titles back. Caprice noted they will be known as The Cabinet from now on.
Rhett spoke next, wondering when was the last time you saw a pro wrestler look like a pro wrestler. He said he’s been watching the show from the back and he sees a bunch of young punk kids flipping and flopping around. He said they are here to put a Headlock on Highspots. Rhett said it pains him to live in a day where the World champ doesn’t have pecs on him. And where the tag champs have no abs. Titus removed his dress shirt and heeled on the Young Bucks.
King spoke next that he is here to dismiss the naysayers. ROH cut back to Kelly and Nigel selling annoyance with this segment. King said there is an Olympic Gold Medalist out there selling t-shirts with their concept of “Making Wrestling Great Again.” King, Caprice, and Rhett closed their speech before the patriotic music played again. Kelly said there are no deleted emails or controversies about hotels with this campaign.
Video Package: ROH World Title feud between Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe.
In-ring: Jay Briscoe was introduced to the ring wearing the IWGP World Tag Title won last weekend at New Japan’s “Dominion” PPV. Jay Lethal then made his slow, methodical march to the ring with Taeler Hendrix to make everyone soak in the champion’s presence. Bobby Cruise handled formal ring intros before the bell sounded 19 minutes before the top of the hour.
8 — ROH World champion JAY LETHAL (w/Taeler Hendrix) vs. JAY BRISCOE — ROH World Title match
Champ and Challenger met in the middle of the ring for a handshake to adhere to the Code of Honor. Respect for the title and main event to start with a clean lock-up. The humorous “Let’s Go Jay” chant broke out before the crowd settled in to watch Lethal and Briscoe trade one-ups.
Lethal then knocked Briscoe to the floor and nailed a suicide dive. He got the one-up there, and gloated for a while with Hendrix. But, Briscoe responded with a suicide dive of his own. And a second splash, then a third splash, owning the one-up sequence.
Suddenly, Hendrix jumped onto Briscoe, trying to attack him. Briscoe flung her off, then ref Todd Sinclair sent her packing from ringside. Taeler lost her mind at ringside, taking a swipe at Nigel McGuinness, then mixing it up with ringside timekeeper Mandy Leon. Taeler and Mandy had to be separated as a Women of Honor angle broke out in the middle of the main event.
Things settled down with Briscoe controlling the match. Suddenly, Lethal grabbed Briscoe and dragged him off the ring apron with a cutter onto the ringside floor. Ouch. Lethal rolled Briscoe back into the ring to take control. Lethal took Briscoe to the top, where Briscoe blocked and wanted a Super JayDriller, but Lethal countered in mid-air with a head scissors. Figure-four applied. But, Briscoe escaped.
Lethal tried to follow up with a rope attack, but Briscoe sprung off the ropes with Lethal’s own Lethal Injection finisher. Briscoe immediately hit the JayDriller, Nigel freaked out to cover him, Kelly said it’s over, and Lethal scored a close two count only. Briscoe just held his head in his hands selling disbelief as the crowd went mental.
Briscoe tried to figure out his next move. He thought about putting Lethal through a ringside table, but Lethal blocked and nailed a super cutter from the top turnbuckle. Lethal then nailed the Lethal Injection in the middle of the ring. Cover, and a three count.
WINNER: Lethal at 12:55 to retain the ROH World Title. That was really good for 13 minutes. Unfortunately, they were only given 13 minutes. ROH really took away from this being a special match with the pre-match “buffer segment” cutting into the main event’s time. If given a full 20-25 minutes, this could have lived up to the pre-match hype of “greatest re-match of all-time.” Lethal and Briscoe have such great chemistry and this match had the energy & feel of something big-time. Just when it got really good, though, it ended. The other item is Lethal now officially not a heel. He’s not really a babyface, but he’s not a heel completing a one-year journey as ROH champ and doing so in clean fashion without outside interference. It’s that strange gray area that makes it difficult for a deep emotional investment in someone dethroning Lethal as champion since this is no longer a “reign of terror.” (***1/2)
Post-match, Lethal received the ROH Title belt as he knelt down next to Briscoe. Briscoe knelt in front of him as they showed respect to each other. Handshake in the middle of the ring. Briscoe bowed as Lethal held his neck to sell the effects of the battle. “Both these guys” chant from the crowd. ROH replayed some of the high points of the match as the crowd chanted “Best in the World.”
Lethal and Briscoe came to their feet and shook hands on their feet. Long handshake, then Lethal held up the ROH Title belt still the champion.
The PPV signed off at 11:58 EST with a plug for ROH’s next PPV when ROH and New Japan get together again for “Death Before Dishonor” the weekend of Summerslam on Friday, August 19.
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