Ring of Honor
Best in the World 2015
Friday, June 19
New York City, New York – Terminal 5
Watch: PPV & ROHWrestling.com


Mark Briscoe vs. Donovan Dijak

Aaron Bentley (@aaron_bentley): In our preview, I said I didn’t see what sense it made to not have Mark put over Dijak here. However, after seeing Dijak’s first attempt at a longer match, it doesn’t appear he is ready for any sort of push. The match was booked to make Dijak look strong but he did not have the ability to execute. The sloppiness ultimately resulted in the finishing stretch being so botched that Kevin Kelly had no idea how to sell Dijak’s failure to connect with Feast Your Eyes. This was fine but I would’ve preferred a hotter opener. **1/4

Larry: Firstly, the new lighting and camera angles really make the show standout from older events. The ring really pops. As for the match, it was a bit of an extended ROHTV type of affair. That isn’t a bad thing at all. Briscoe, has found his niche as an undercard gate keeper type that has really grown as a worker. As a result, he carried Dijak to a decent match. Dijak though, is a bit green and it showed. He has potential as he’s big and clearly athletic. However, he just doesn’t seem confident in his obvious athleticism yet and needs his hand held. Still, an average opener and a good enough start to the show. **1/2

Alex Wendland (@AlexWendland): This was just the opener this show needed. If this is the opener, and things progress as expected, everyone is going to get their $35 worth tonight. Mark Briscoe is a crazy person, but that’s nothing new, and Dijak shows potential even if he doesn’t show excellence yet. I’m willing to overlook a botched finisher counter for the intensity Briscoe brought to the match. ***

Matt Sydal and ACH vs. The Decade (B.J. Whitmer and Adam Page)

Aaron Bentley: Why wasn’t The Decade disqualified when Colby Corino interfered with a pinfall? Why does this feud (seemingly) have to continue? And why can’t the ROH director adequately catch the high spots? Sydal and ACH provided plenty of excitement but I just can’t care about The Decade. If ROH likes Page, and there may be some reason to, I suppose it makes sense to have him get the pin here. But ACH is a star. He should destroy the awful Decade and move on to something more interesting and important. **

Larry:  Gross. If they kept the pace higher, this would have been a better match. However, it was generally a deliberate pace outside of a flurry in the final third of the match, which favored The Decade’s slower style and the match suffered for it. Short and to the point, The Decade is put over and surely, it extends this drab feud. Some poor camera work here really hampered the match, too, as we missed a few big spots. I tap out on this program…enough. It isn’t helping ACH and Adam Page needs to get away from BJ Whitmer if they have big plans for him. **

Alex Wendland: I missed the first half of this match due to some technical difficulties (likely Chromecast related), but the 2nd half was just fine. The Decade, like The Kingdom, does nothing for me, in fact they might be a negative, and I still can’t figure out why ACH isn’t in the title picture. N/A

Silas Young vs. Dalton Castle

Aaron Bentley: Once the bell rang, this was a very good match. These guys really beat the hell out of each other, which I enjoy. But for me, Castle’s gimmick detracts from the way he works. We’re in the middle of a hoss fight and suddenly we have Castle’s “boys” fanning him, etc. I still don’t think Castle or anyone else has explained why the guy with the peacock gimmick also loves to fight and is quite good at it. Anyway, this character clearly wasn’t created for my enjoyment. So aside from that, I ended up really liking this match and not being disappointed that it appears these two will fight again. ***1/4

Larry: In contrast to the Top Prospect Tournament winner, Donovan Dijak, fellow TPT competitor Dalton Castle is far from green and has acclimated himself with ROH rather quickly. While his gimmick is fun and allows his personality to shine, he isn’t made by it as he’s shown consistently over the past month that he can go between the bells and even be an asset to a match because he oozes confidence. This match was much better than I had anticipated going in. There was plenty of hijinks, but Castle and Young really put together a strong match. From bell to bell, this was bordering on a slugfest. ***1/4

Alex Wendland: As you may or may not remember from Global Wars, I’m the Last Real Fan. I’m probably the biggest Silas Young fan not related to Silas Young. Not only is he from the best city in the world, Milwaukee, but he just clicks with me. It doesn’t hurt that he LOOKS like he’s from around these parts too. During Global Wars I instituted the Last Real Bump, a one-star addition to any and all Young matches. Upon further review, that was a bit too much, the Last Real Bump is not half a star. That said, both of these guys are supremely entertaining and both can work, it should come as no surprise that this was a fun one. ***3/4

C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander) vs War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe)

Aaron Bentley: I’m not sure what the point of any of this was. War Machine squashed Coleman, which made sense. But if Coleman is going to turn heel, why not have him do something heelish? This is something that could’ve been done on television. I think ROH is underestimating what they have with War Machine, and especially Ray Rowe.  *

Larry: Short and to the point, this match was used less as a jumping board for War Machine, and more to get the new Alexander over for the obvious post-match breakup of C&C Wrestle Factory. This would have done more for me if Alexander put the wrench to Caprice’s dome, but whatcha gonna do? *1/2

Alex Wendland: What a waste of War Machine on a big card. Great, so this was all so we could know that Cedric is fully breaking bad. I’m just disappointed we don’t get more War Machine. *1/2

ROH World Championship #1 Contendership
Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin vs. Moose

Aaron Bentley: This was a lot of fun! There wasn’t a ton of internal psychology but everyone honestly looked great. There was very little of the one guy rests while the other two guys work and then switch off that usually weighs down triple threats. The only real flaw in the match was the occasional timing snafu when all three guys had to be involved in a particular spot. But none of those minor issues were enough to lessen my overall enjoyment of the contest. I believe each VOW previewer predicted that Roddy Strong would be the victor here but I, for one, did not see Moose taking the fall. Moose has now lost twice in one week and you have to wonder where they go from here with him. I am happy to see him get rid of Veda Scott. I can’t imagine she’ll do much more for Cedric Alexander. Anyway, this was my favorite match of the night so far.  ***3/4

Larry: Moose is Titus O’Neil after taxes. Despite Roddy and Elgin putting in work, they just couldn’t get around having to carry the big guy and the result was a lot of cringey spots. He’s got a lot to work with, but asking him to work at the level you’re seeing from Strong and Elgin is asking way too much. Hopefully they simmer down on the Moose push and let him mature by putting him in some mid-card feuds with guys who can work. Anyway, any interaction between Elgin and Strong shone brightly here. Elgin had some great strength spots. Roddy’s manic flurries are the best spots in wrestling. Strong is a much deserving winner here and I can’t wait to his match at Death Before Dishonor. Post-match, Alexander officially turns heel after a run-in and aligns himself with Veda Scott. I don’t see her as a heat magnet, so I am not sure what she does for Alexander, but we’ll see, I suppose. Either way, the match was good, and at times fun, but there was some slop in there that definitely took away from the overall quality. ***

Alex Wendland: I don’t think there’s another promotion doing consistently great three-man matches other than ROH, and even fewer doing them with Veda Scott at ringside. Moose is improving by leaps and bounds and, as always, I like Elgin’s work more than most. As expected, however, Strong was the glue that held everything together and, given his work throughout the year, he deserves to be heading to a title shot. After the match, it was almost like C&C/War Machine never ended and now Scott has moved onto Cedric Alexander. Good for those two crazy kids. Hope it works out. ****

The Kingdom (Adam Cole, Michael Bennett, and Matt Taven) vs. Bullet Club (A.J. Styles, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)

Aaron Bentley: My previous favorite match of the night was quickly displaced. If you like Young Bucks matches, and I do, this had everything you would expect and want. Amazingly, the Bucks and Styles were even able to find a way to neutralize The Kingdom’s normal ability to ruin everything. This match was just awesome. I had fun the whole way through. And they even worked in a little story with Taven and Bennett going down and Cole trying to make a comeback on his own before he came up just short. If it becomes an issue, I had no problem with Maria taking the triple superkick. She always gets involved in these matches and it seems reasonable for her to receive some comeuppance eventually. Plus the spot was super safe. I was much more concerned with Steve Corino’s “joke” that it’s only OK for men to hit ugly women. Yikes.  ****1/4

Larry:  This was a PWG six-man style match, which means…MAYHEM. A souped up version of their War of the Worlds – Night 2 match, it added a ton of new, while hitting some call backs and ultimately giving the Biz Cliz their win back. Cole looked very strong throughout the match, especially in the go-home. The Bullet Club ultimately gets their win back, they look like millions of dollars doing so, and in this Ring of Honor setting they look like legitimate superstars. Easily the best Kingdom match I’ve seen yet. ****1/4-

Alex Wendland: By far the most fun I’ve ever had watching a Kingdom match. I don’t know what it is, I like Matt Taven and Adam Cole’s work (sorry Michael Bennett), but The Kingdom’s schtick is just kind of boring. Conversely, this match had all of the Young Bucks fun times we’ve come to expect and the Bullet Club STILL isn’t boring.* Despite starting and maturing in New Japan, the Bullet Club always feels more at home in ROH to me. Cole’s not-quite-comeback in the final third was exceptionally mapped out and proved, once again, that Cole has much bigger things coming than The Kingdom.

I’m be interested to see how the internet reacts to Maria getting kicked in the face by three guys, but I’m more interested to see the talent-share between ROH and NJPW continue. ****

*Bullet Club isn’t boring in ROH, they’re starting to get tiresome in NJPW.

ROH World Tag Team Championship – No Disqualification
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (c) vs. reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly)

Aaron Bentley: These teams got a really tough spot on the card, trying to follow the Bullet Club/Kingdom match. I was pretty numb to the high spots and mostly ready for the main event to start. But all four guys worked so hard that I was getting back into the match. Unfortunately, that was ruined with the Sabin interference, especially considering we’d already seen the pull the ref out of the ring spot. My mistake in the preview was thinking this was the blowoff for this feud. Clearly, it wasn’t and these teams will go at it at least once more. That’s not a bad thing because they can do better than they did here.  ***

Larry: As expected, there would be some shenanigans to lead to an Addiction win here. It wasn’t bad nor did it exceed expectations, it was just good, which, considering the two teams is a bit of a disappointment, I suppose. It was pretty fun though, throughout. Some good spots and some dangerous looking offense with all of the toys in the ring helped, but it just wasn’t quite the match it could have been. This program clearly isn’t over, but it looks like the next step isn’t a blow off, but a six-man. ***1/2

Alex Wendland: “Where’d he get a straight razor from?” Steve Corino asking the tough questions. Obviously Chris Sabin’s interference was meant to be the turd in the punch bowl, but this was a really fun punch bowl! It made that turd way more upsetting! It works fine, storyline wise, but it felt out of place in a match of this level. To their credit, these teams worked a match different enough (and of a high enough quality) to stand out from the awesomeness that preceded it. These two teams clearly aren’t finished, but I’m interested in seeing who reDRagon will add as their third man for the inevitable six-man match. ***1/2

Title vs. Title – ROH World Championship & ROH World Television Championship
Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal

Aaron Bentley: The conspiracy theory I floated in this week’s ROH TV review played out, whether intended or not, as a victorious Jay Lethal was not left in the awkward place of lifting above his head a title adorned with the Confederate flag. The match itself was not an in-ring classic. It felt like it took a long time for it to get going. Briscoe and Lethal appeared to just be trading offense for the large majority of the bout. Things did not kick into gear until Briscoe sent Lethal through a ringside table with a Jay Driller. However, despite the slow start, a story was being crafted. Piece by piece, anything that could lessen Lethal’s eventual win was being removed from the equation. Once Jay Diesel, Donovan Dijak, and Truth Martini were gone, it was time for Lethal to put on a show. Briscoe remained protected as Lethal only kicked out of one Jay Driller and the kickout came after a 17-count on the outside. Briscoe also kicked out of Lethal’s finisher once. But even while protecting Briscoe, ROH booked Lethal as strongly as possible. There was no interference, no controversy, and in no way did Lethal luck into this win. He took everything Briscoe had to give and never backed down. On top of that, he hit Briscoe with the man’s own finisher before hitting a second Lethal Injection for the pinfall and the ROH World Championship. The match itself wasn’t great. But the finish, the culmination of a brilliantly built feud, and what it all means going forward resulted in a great moment.  ****

Larry: Overall, Best In The World 2015 was a successful show. The main event delivered and felt like a special. There was a four-star-plus undercard six-man. Nothing felt out of place on a major event with several good matches. As for the main event, it was a methodically paced, world-building, main event style match that equaled expectations. There was a legitimate anxiety throughout Terminal 5 during the entire match, especially during the go-home. The booking here was legitimately strong. It was definitive. It was good business. ROH finally established the top flight heel they’ve struggled to in the past few years. Post-match, it was emotional to see Lethal hold back tears from what he just accomplished with “YOU DESERVE IT” raining down from the mezzanine levels. I’m #TeamLethal, so I’m clearly a mark for the match and result. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. ****1/2

Alex Wendland: The first two-thirds of this match felt a little too much like a big time boxing or UFC prizefight. Too much feeling out the opponent’s offense and building up faux fatigue, but the final third – starting at the Jay Driller through the table – was the stuff of classics. The final stretch was hard-hitting, back-and-forth and wonderfully tense. I honestly had no idea who was going to win.

For the majority of his career, Lethal has been the pro wrestling equivalent of a character actor. He was doing impressions for awhile there, forchristsake. The past year with Lethal as the TV Champion, however, has been a revelation. I don’t think it goes too far to say that Lethal has been to the ROH midcard what Nakamura has been to NJPW’s. It is high time Lethal gets the recognition he rightfully deserves and he now sits clearly atop the mountain at ROH. Setting up the Lethal Injection with a Jay Driller of his own was a perfect Jay Lethal-y way to win, too.

Based on the early going of the match, I don’t think this will perform exceptionally in June’s Match of the Month voting, but this might prove to be one of the most important matches for ROH as a company since the Summer of Punk. ****1/4