Breaking Down the 1st Round of the ROH Bracket of Honor (Part 2)

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ROH bracket of honor
Credit: Ring of Honor

The ROH Bracket of Honor tournament is underway and following up on our part one breakdown, here is the bracketology report on part two, which focuses on the right side of the ROH bracket. Make sure to read part one for the full ROH bracket breakdown and make your picks by March 26th at 10 AM ET. Without further ado, here is the part two ROH bracket breakdown.

ROH Bracket of Honor Matchups – Upper Bracket (Part B)

Jay Lethal vs Jerry Lynn

Time for this side of the ROH bracket #16/#1 seeded matchup as few men have carved the ROH legacy that Jay Lethal has and given he’s still a contracted performer with the company, that legacy still has chapters left to be written. Debuting with the company in 2002, Lethal’s first run (03-06) was largely forgettable, though he did win the Pure Championship in that time. However, when Lethal returned to Ring of Honor in 2011, he was a brand new competitor, ready to completely dominate. And that’s exactly what he did. In his most recent run, Lethal has captured five titles, including the tag titles which he currently holds with Jonathan Gresham. Winner of Survival of the Fittest in 2012, Lethal’s biggest accomplishment came during 2014-16, when he held a title uninterrupted. During this two-plus year span, Lethal held the television title for a record 567 days and the world title for 427 days. He became the first man to hold both titles simultaneously and is one of few grand slam champs in company history. Upon his second world title reign at 280 days, Lethal passed Samoa Joe for longest time combined with the world title.

A veteran of the industry by the time he debuted in ROH in 2002, Jerry Lynn‘s impact on the promotion wouldn’t come until later, when he joined the company on a more fulltime basis from 2008-10. In that time, Lynn became ROH world champion, successfully defending the title seven times in his just 71-day reign in 2009, which was named by Pro Wrestling Illustrated as the “Comeback of the Year.”

Matt Taven vs Dalton Castle

For many, Matt Taven‘s purple belt was a hideous sight because as far as world champs went, he was not one’s favorite choice. But that didn’t make his reign any less impressive. With ROH since 2009, just his second year on the wrestling scene, Taven has become a vital part of the company. First finding success in 2013, Taven won the Top Prospect Tournament as well as the world television championship that year, holding the belt for 287 days. In 2015, as a member of the Kingdom, Taven won the tag titles alongside Michael Bennett. Now a three-time world six-man champ with his remade Kingdom, Taven won the world title in 2019 making him a grand slam champ in ROH.

Joining ROH in 2013, Dalton Castle, like Taven, is still with the company. A finalist in the 2016 Survival of the Fittest tournament, Dalton’s first big moment came in 2017 when, alongside his Boys, he won the world six-man titles. Not long after, Castle was pushed into the world title scene where he held the championship for 197 days.

PCO vs Michael Elgin

PCO has spent parts of just three years with ROH but in that time, he has more than established himself as someone not to be trifled with. PCO debuted alongside Villain Enterprises in December 2018 and didn’t lose his first match of any kind until three months later. His first singles loss came against Matt Taven in a world title match. In September of that year, PCO won the #1 contendership tournament and used that to catapult to world title glory. It was PCO’s third title, having already enjoyed reigns with the tag team championships alongside Brody King and the world six-man with the rest of Villain Enterprises.

First debuting for ROH in 2007, Michael Elgin spent parts of the next nine years with the company, establishing himself as one of the top hosses in the process. Winner of the 2011 and 2015 Survival of the Fittest tournament, Elgin spent time as a member of the House of Truth before ultimately turning on the faction in order to pursue the world title. After several unsuccessful attempts, Elgin finally gained gold in 2014, holding the belt for 76 days.

Jay Briscoe vs Kyle O’Reilly

Jay and brother Mark Briscoe have the distinction of being with Ring of Honor from the beginning. On the company’s inaugural card, Jay Briscoe wrestled and ever since then, he’s been a staple within the company. Briscoe’s accolades speak for themselves. A two-time Survival of the Fittest finalist, Briscoe has won a total of 14 titles during his 18-year career with the company. This includes 11 tag titles (with reigns totaling over 1,000 combined days) alongside his brother, a mark that stands far and above what any other tag has done in the company. They are not just one of the best teams in ROH but best tag teams to ever wrestle period. But Briscoe enjoyed singles success as well. In 2013, Jay Briscoe won his first world title and followed that up with a second reign, this time of 286 days. Briscoe is also a one-time six-man champ alongside Mark and Bully Ray. In many ways, Jay Briscoe has an ROH overall legacy that is unmatched.

From 2009-16, Kyle O’Reilly was a ROH star, accomplishing successes both as a tag wrestler and a singles wrestler. First finding success in the company alongside Adam Cole as Future Shock, O’Reilly has been part of several notable teams including Team Ambition with Davey Richards and most well-known, reDRagon with Bobby Fish. But it was truly his feud/friendship with Cole that was the underlying characteristic of his time in ROH. A 3x tag champ with Fish, O’Reilly’s first and only singles title with the promotion came in 2016 when he briefly captured the world title from Cole despite the latter’s promise that as long as he was in ROH, O’Reilly would never be world champ. O’Reilly held the belt just 33 days, dropping it back to Cole at Wrestle Kingdom 11. He left the promotion shortly after.

ROH Bracket of Honor Matchups – Lower Bracket (Part B)

Nigel McGuinness vs Xavier

Injuries cut short what could have and likely would have been an all-time career for Nigel McGuinness in ROH. That said, in his six years with the company, McGuinness carved a nice legacy for himself in the business. Debuting in 2004, McGuinness’ ROH career can be summed up by two lengthy title runs, his first coming as ROH Pure Champion in 2005-06. While Bryan Danielson was technically the last Pure champ given he unified the Pure and world titles, it was McGuinness who was the last man to hold and defend the belt and one who is regarded as the best such titleholder in its short history. With McGuinness as champ, the Pure title enjoyed some great matches across his 18 defenses, and legitimacy as a top belt as well. A year or so later, McGuinness would win the world title and in his 2nd longest-ever reign of 545 days, he defended the belt successfully a record 39 times.

Debuting at The Era of Honor Begins, Xavier was one of ROH’s first stars outside of the Founding Fathers. With the company until 2007, Xavier was part of the Prophecy and later the Embassy in his time in ROH. He won his first and only title with the promotion in September 2002 when he captured the world title from Low Ki, holding the belt for 182 days and making him just the second-ever top champion in the company.

Cody vs Tyler Black

Cody Rhodes is known for many things in wrestling but his underrated run in Ring of Honor may not be one of them. That said, as the world champ with the literal ring of honor, Cody led the promotion at a time where it needed a top star. In the midst of his free agency world tour, Cody first came in ROH in 2016, defeating Jay Lethal in his debut at Final Battle. He didn’t lose his first singles match until April 2017. In ROH, Cody led the U.S. contingent of the Bullet Club stable and two months after his first loss, he had won his first title in the company, capturing the world championship from Christopher Daniels. Cody held the belt for 175 days. His second ROH title came a year later as alongside the Young Bucks he won the six-man belts.

Currently working as a Messiah, Tyler Black, WWE‘s Seth Rollins, experienced his first major career success with Ring of Honor, a company he was with from 2007-10. And there, Black was anything but a savior. Black’s debut came alongside Jimmy Jacobs and Necro Butcher in an angle so controversial, ROH removed the footage from its PPV. The trio was named Age of the Fall and in 2008, they won a tournament to determine the #1 contenders to the tag titles. This led to Black accruing his first of two tag title reigns alongside Jacobs. Winner of the 2009 Survival of the Fittest tournament, Black was ousted from AOTF and embarked on his singles career. A year later, he won the world title, successfully defending it eight times over his 210-day reign.

RUSH vs Christopher Daniels

It’s the right half of the ROH bracket toughest matchup to call when ROH legend Christopher Daniels faces off against ROH’s current ace, RUSH. Few if any have had the instant success RUSH did ever since he joined ROH in 2018. RUSH won his first 19 head-to-head singles matches, his first such loss coming in December 2019, nearly a year after his debut. That loss was one of just two singles losses RUSH has sustained in his career, both of which came against PCO. The current leader of La Faccion Ingobernable, ROH’s branch of RUSH’s Los Ingobernables group he founded in CMLL, RUSH is the current ROH World Champion, now in his second reign.

One of the best indie wrestlers to ever step foot in a ring, Christopher Daniels’ ROH career is legendary. Taking part in the company’s first-ever main event, Daniels is a Founding Father, wrestling for ROH from 2002-07, 2010-11 and for his iconic run that resulted in him becoming world champion in 2014-18. A finalist from the 2015 Survival of the Fittest tournament, Daniels’ crowning moment came in 2017, when he won the Decade of Excellence. This win granted Daniels an opportunity to capture the top title in the company. A 4x tag champ and one-time TV titleholder at the time, Daniels defeated Adam Cole at 15th Anniversary to capture the belt that had alluded him for so long. Daniels successfully defended the title eight times before dropping it to Cody after a 105-day reign. Daniels capped his ROH career with a run with the world six-man belts, thus making him one of very few grand slam champs in company history.

CM Punk vs Takeshi Morishima

CM Punk was only with Ring of Honor for parts of four years, but in that time, he became one of the most impactful guys to ever wrestle for the promotion. Debuting in 2003, Punk found instant fame thanks to his feud with Raven, after which the Chicago native began to rise to prominence in ROH. He reached the finals of the first-ever Pure tournament, losing to AJ Styles, and was named the company’s first-ever head trainer of the ROH wrestling school as well. He won the tag titles twice, both alongside Colt Cabana as the Second City Saints in 2004. After losing the tag titles, Punk moved into the main event scene, wrestling a series of absolute classics with Samoa Joe. In June 2005, Punk defeated Austin Aries to capture the belt and while he only held the title for 55 days, it was the “Summer of Punk” storyline had commanded the wrestling world’s attention. Punk had signed with WWE just prior to his win and from June to August, he threatened taking the ROH belt with him, even signing his WWE contract on top of it. It was a huge angle for ROH and one that is still talked about today.

A Japanese legend, Takeshi Morishima came to ROH thanks to a partnership between the company and his home promotion, Pro Wrestling NOAH. He wrestled just 35 matches with the promotion in his two-year stint in 2007-08, but 20 of those such matches were successful title defenses. Morishima won the title from Homicide in February 2007 and held it for 231 days. Morishima’s list of victories includes against KENTA, Nigel McGuinness, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Bryan Danielson, Jay Briscoe and Kevin Steen. Impressive.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Make sure to vote in the ROH Bracket of Honor tournament at rohwrestling.com.

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