ROH Honorable Mention: ROH Best in the World Preview
This Friday, Ring of Honor presents Best in the World at 9pm. The show is headlined by Christopher Daniels defending the ROH World Heavyweight title against Cody Rhodes.
The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) vs. CMLL’S Ultimo Guerrero & El Terrible
To the uninitiated, this seems like a bit of a random match. However, upon his return from his knee injury, Matt Taven traveled down to CMLL and developed a rivalry with Ultimo Guerrero. On this past week’s episode of television, Taven delivered Guerrero’s finisher as a message ahead of their tag team encounter at the PPV. The two will be wrestling in a singles match the next night, so it would not be shocking to see Taven and Marseglia win by underhanded means, only for Guerrero to exact his revenge the next night. Whereas some international pairings, specifically ones from CMLL, are nothing more for the spectacle, it’s refreshing to see one that is founded in a smidge of history.
The Rebellion (Caprice Coleman, Kenny King, Shane Taylor, & Rhett Titus) vs.
Search and Destroy (Jonathan Gresham, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, & Jay White)
In some ways, this is one of the most important matches on the night. Both sides feature new talent, mainly Shane Taylor, Jay White and Jonathan Gresham, who have associated with their respective groups as a way to establish themselves within the company. On the other hand, long time teams like the Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, as well as the All-Night Express, Kenny King and Rhett Titus, are looking at the possibility of having to change course at the end of the night. The Rebellion has operated more as a unit than their opponents have and would have more to lose from the split. This seems set up for the good guys to pull out a win, but look for the Rebellion to win by any means necessary.
Hangman Page vs. Frankie Kazarian
Leading up to his partner Christopher Daniels’s title win at the 15th anniversary show, Frankie Kazarian seemed to abandon his longtime friend to join the Bullet Club. In the end, he was never truly aligned with wrestling’s hottest faction and the subterfuge raised the ire of one Hangman Adam Page. After a parking lot attack from Page leading up to their match at the War of the Worlds NYC show, the Hangman was able to use the ropes to walk away the winner against Kazarian. The issues between the two were by no means over and after Page’s continued disrespect, Kazarian challenged the Bullet Club’s enforcer to a strap match. The two have convincingly portrayed their hatred for one another and this match, despite being an undercard bout, will no doubt impress.
Silas Young vs. Jay Lethal
This is a match that I’m really looking forward to because of the history between these two men. Last year during the Honor Rumble in Buffalo, NY Lethal and Young entered the match as the first two participants and made it to the end, with Young winning the match and earning a title shot against then champion Adam Cole. Although Young ultimately walked away empty handed he has been exceptional in any role the company has used him, whether that be commentary, tag team matches and singles action as well. Lethal’s in ring work has never been better, but his best matches have been against Young, as they seem to bring out the best in each other. Young has had Lethal and Fish’s number as of late, so it almost feels as Lethal could walk away the winner here, especially heading into the IWGP United States championship tournament that NJPW is running next weekend, but in terms of what is best for the company, Young should stand tall in victory at the end of the match.
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship Match
Bully Ray & The Briscoes vs. Dalton Castle & The Boys
The build to this match has been interesting, because in theory, only Jay Briscoe has had any issue with Castle and the Boys. During match on the War of the Worlds tour, Castle’s Boys shoved him out of the way as Bushi was about to unleash his mist. Jay ended up taking the full brunt of the attack, allowing Naito to roll him up for the victory. Despite their best efforts to keep him calm, Mark and Bully Ray were unable to keep Jay from showing his frustration, even getting involved in a trios match Castle and the Boys had with the Rebellion. Jay has been hell bent on making sure the Boys get their comeuppance. This X-factor of Jay’s anger could cost his team the titles, as it would not be surprising if he lost sight of holding the titles on his warpath. Either way, the issues between these sides will continue after this match, possibly setting up a program between Castle and Jay moving forward this summer.
ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe)
Since the departure of the Hardys, the Young Bucks have lacked a true challenge to their title belts. That’s not to say that the tag division lacks talent, but no one has been positioned in a way that appeared to be a team that could wrest away the titles. War Machine has been working in NJPW and recently won the IWGP Heavyweight tag teams titles. Despite losing the titles to the Guerrillas of Destiny, War Machine has returned to Ring of Honor with a renewed sense of purpose. Although it would be surprising for the titles to switch hands immediately, this is a program that bears watching, as it will certainly elevate the division as a whole to have a team like War Machine challenging for the tag team championship.
ROH World Television Championship
KUSHIDA vs. Marty Scurll
Scurll’s run with the title was important, as it immediately made him a major player in ROH, almost immediately after his signing. His challengers have not been as convincing as he has, and the rag tag line of wrestler on their way out of ROH or those who were simply appearing once or twice prevented the reign from being more meaningful. In what seemed to be another defense that would be unlikely to provide any real threat to his title, Scurll dropped to belt to KUSHIDA due to interference from Adam Cole, who Scurll helped oust from the Bullet Club. The victory added to KUSHIDA’s return to greatness in NJPW, so it doesn’t feel like he needs it, but I don’t see Scurll winning it right back. Look for KUSHIDA to retain for the time being.
ROH World Championship Match
Christopher Daniels vs. Cody Rhodes
Daniels retaining at the War of the Worlds PPV against Cody and Lethal was surprising, but followed the narrative that he is the smartest man in the room, one that finds a way to win and it worked well. Building off of that, Cody immediately went full conspiracy theory, claiming that he had won the match. He went on to say that ROH board of directors does not want a free agent like himself to be walking around with the ROH title. That really gave this feud legs and Cody’s subsequent title shot at NJPW’s G1 show next weekend makes this all that much more interesting. If Cody were to win, he would be challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight title as the ROH champion in NJPW’s foray into the United States. All of this makes for a very intriguing match with an outcome that will be significant and could very well single a huge change for the company. Despite all signs pointing to Cody being crowned champion, I see Daniels retaining and carrying the belt through the summer.