Ring of Honor
Best in the World 2016
June 24, 2016
Cabarrus Arena – Concord, North Carolina

Watch: PPV / ROHWrestling.com

Meet our preview team:

  • Robin Reid (@TheRDouble): Voices of Wrestling’s premiment European wrestling expert and one of the hosts of VOW’s BritWres Roundtable podcast.
  • Joe Gagne (@JoeGagne): You find Joe’s work each and every Friday as he does the Wrestling Podmass, our weekly recap of the best and world in the world of pro wrestling podcasts. He also hosts a delightful YouTube series – Joe Gagne’s Funtime Pro Wrestling Arcade.
  • Sean Sedor (@SASedor2994): The newbie of the group, Sean currently reviews weekly Ring of Honor television and writes columns related to the Ring of Honor promotion.

Moose and War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe) (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Bullet Club (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)

Robin Reid: While, for the most part, this card is fairly well set up with matches having at least a semblance of story this is definitely one for the ‘thrown together’ column. Adam Cole and the rest of the Bullet Club are currently wrapped up in the main event picture, and have flat out said that they’re going to be interfering in the main event of this show, so expect them to pick up a strong win here. The match should be really good though, the Bucks always have super fun matches with larger opponents who throw them around, and they’re up against three of the best big men that there are. This may well end up being Moose’s last weekend with Ring of Honor, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the pin here. Prediction: Bullet Club

Joe Gagne: This should be a pretty fun match centered around big men tossing around smaller men. With the Bullet Club getting a big push right now and Moose seemingly on the way out, the result seems fairly predictable. Prediction: Bullet Club

Sean Sedor: I’m still a little perplexed as to why Adam Cole isn’t in the main event of this PPV, given how Global Wars ended, but as far as this match goes, I echo the thoughts of both Rob Reid & Joe Gagne. This will be a very good match that’s entertaining from start to finish. It’ll be fun to see Moose & War Machine tossing around their much smaller opponents, and The Young Bucks always deliver in this multi-man tags (which has where they’ve been slotted in most of their previous appearance on ROH PPV). I fully expect The Bullet Club to get the win here, especially since it seems likely that Moose is leaving the company very soon. Prediction: Bullet Club

ACH vs. Silas Young

Robin Reid: There’s been a lot of criticism about ROH’s build towards this PPV, but for the most part I think what there has been has been pretty solid. The biggest problem has been how late they left it and this program is a prime example of that. ACH and Young are two characters whom there exists intrinsic animosity between, with Young actively trying to enforce traditional masculine values and attitudes upon his peers and ACH not conforming to these ideals, and so in theory a feud between them should feel natural. However, while what they’ve done has been good, the initiation of the conflict between them felt very forced as if they only realised that they’d be pairing these two together on the PPV a few weeks (of TV) out and then didn’t have time for any nuance or escalation leading into the match. I imagine the two will work well together though, and hopefully this isn’t a one and done feud so that these two get more of a chance to flesh out this built-in rivalry. Perhaps we see Young win slightly underhandedly, or perhaps ACH achieves victory and Young takes defeat poorly. I’ll guess the later. Prediction: ACH

Joe Gagne: I was at a house show that somewhat expanded on the storyline, as Young got on the mic and listed Delirious, Cheeseburger, and ACH as clowns he was going to wipe out (he beat up Delirious and Cheeseburger, leaving ACH as his final target – God forbid any of this gets mentioned on TV). That said, I like this feud. It’s logical and naturally stems from each man’s personalities (of course Silas Young wouldn’t like happy-go-lucky-video-gamer ACH!). I imagine Young wins the first one to prolong the feud, and this should be a solid match. Prediction: Silas Young

Sean Sedor: I’m very happy to see these two getting something of substance to do, instead of being a random match. The built to this match, from what they’ve done on TV and in backstage promos, has been good for it’s spot on the card. In a way, I think it’s similar to the feud Silas Young had with Dalton Castle, in the sense that the characters involved are diametrically opposed to each other. A “real man” like Silas Young would of course be opposed to the video gamer/anime fan in ACH. Speaking of which (in a bit of a nerdy aside), it was very cool that they had voice actors Josh Martin & Chris Rager from Dragon Ball Z (the voices of the various iterations of Buu and Hercule Satan, respectively) make cameo appearances in a recent promo video between ACH & Silas Young, which can be found on YouTube. I feel like this match could go either way, depending on how much longer the feud progresses after this PPV, but I’m hoping ACH wins this one. Prediction: ACH

Kyle O’Reilly vs. Kamaitachi

Robin Reid: ROH got a lot of stick for the way they used, or didn’t use more to the point, the man now known as EVIL during his excursion to the US, most of it warranted (although I don’t place the full blame on their doorstep due to the confusion over his initial homebase, and once they began using him they did a good job for his final five months). Thankfully, Kamaitachi has got off to a far better start since transitioning over to the US, being given at least a degree booking respect, getting booked on every show and being placed in a good blend of singles and tag matches with a nice variety of opponents. This PPV singles match with O’Reilly is the prime example of this, and should be a tremendous match that people are probably sleeping on given the calibre of match both men have already put on elsewhere this year. O’Reilly is almost certain to win, coming off a singles loss to Tetsuya Naito on the last PPV and going into a title match against whichever Jay comes out victorious in the main event, but this really could be the match where Kamaitachi breaks out for the ROH audience. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Joe Gagne: This looks like a Best of the Super Juniors b-side that got unearthed. No idea why they’re fighting, but I’m glad they are! O’Reilly is really one of the better workers out there and Kamaitachi will eat hot death for our enjoyment. If Kamaitachi is around for a while he could use a big win, but I see Kyle picking up the W here. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being the match of the night. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Sean Sedor: Here we have a match that was completely thrown together, but it’s a contest that might be one of the most anticipated on the entire card. Even though the winner really isn’t in doubt, I’m really excited for this match!! Kyle O’Reilly is fantastic, and of course, I’ve heard all of the hype about Kamaitachi. I haven’t seen much of his work in ROH as of yet (I’m still catching up on some ROH VOD Live Events), but I have no doubt that this could easily be one of the best matches of the night. For anyone who may have concerns about Kamaitachi possibly getting treated like EVIL/Watanabe, I echo Rob Reid’s sentiments that he has been used much better thus far. Consider this: Kamaitachi has already scored three victories in the first two months in his ROH tenure, which equals the win total of EVIL/Watanabe in his entire two year tenure in ROH (per cagematch). Will Kamaitachi win here? I doubt it, but this match will be great. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Mark Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong

Robin Reid: Like the Young-ACH match, this has been a good feud that should have really had more time to develop on TV. After beating Jay Briscoe on a recent tour show, Strong has been blowing off Mark because ‘he already beat the big brother, why should he bother with the younger one’ with Mark not being happy with this show of disrespect. These are the kind of simple wrestling storylines with clear motivations and easily followable logic that I really enjoy, but unfortunately if you’d only watched the TV you’d barely have been aware of it aside from one recent guest commentary spot. Instead this feud has developed over the overpriced VOD shows (that consequently next to nobody watches) and their YouTube channel, which is a real shame. This match also marks Roderick Strong’s last PPV appearance for the company, which ROH officially announced on their website this week. After nearly thirteen years with the company it’s fitting that he goes out against another of the ROH stalwarts. You have to imagine Strong does his dues on the way out allowing Mark to get his revenge. Prediction: Mark Briscoe

Joe Gagne: See, I didn’t know any of the above — Roddy not respecting Mark came across as a classic case of “telling, not showing” instead of the other way around. Anyway, this should at least be good, and Roddy is enough of a pro where I don’t think he’ll tank it on the way out. You would think Roddy would lose here, since he’s on the way out, but there’s a possibility they’ll save a big loss for the next night. Still, I go with my gut and pick Mark.  Prediction: Mark Briscoe

Sean Sedor: Here we have another undercard match that’s had a relatively simple build, as Strong has been disrespecting Mark Briscoe, saying that he’ll always be known as “Jay Briscoe’s little brother”, and that he was always meant to be 2nd place. When this match got announced, in the midst of all the rumors surrounding Strong’s future, it screamed to me that Strong was potentially putting over Mark Briscoe on the way out. With the announcement yesterday that Strong will indeed be leaving the company, those feelings seem to be coming to fruition. I fully expect Mark Briscoe to win, but I’m sure Strong will do everything in his power to have a great match here, and I’m sure this will be very good. Prediction: Mark Briscoe

ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (c) vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin)

Robin Reid: I’m still somewhat bitter that after a multi-year build War Machine’s title reign ended so abruptly just as it was starting to gain some momentum, and haven’t been excited about the Addiction as a team for a long time. MCMG haven’t exactly set the world on fire since their reunion either, although I’ve prefered them together to being apart. Both teams generally still have solid matches though, even if they haven’t been holding a candle to their prime work, and from what I’ve seen the two teams appear to work well together so maybe this could be better than I’m expecting. We’ll probably see a title change here to capitalise on the MCMG reunion buzz before that fades. Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Joe Gagne: I like the Addiction as an entertaining mid-card tandem that mainly puts other teams over. As tag team champions, less so. And while I appreciate the MCMG, a lot of the time their matches are never quite as good as they should be. So I’m not looking overly forward to this one. The MCMG winning is clearly the right decision, so I’m picking the Addiction. Prediction: The Addiction

Sean Sedor: When I heard that The Addiction had (inexplicably) won the ROH World Tag Team Titles from War Machine, I immediately had a sneaking suspicion that this would only be a transitional reign that would end with the titles going to The Motor City Machine Guns, who The Addiction had been feuding with. Turns out, that’s exactly the match we’re getting on this PPV. I feel like Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley should win the titles here, but the fact that they’ve beating The Addiction in their two previous encounters does give me some doubts. Still, this match should be good, and I’m hoping Sabin & Shelley do take the titles here. Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Fight Without Honor
B.J. Whitmer vs. Steve Corino

Robin Reid: Well this feud has been going on forever. I usually like a slow build, but when high level performers like Strong and ACH are getting starved for TV time to develop their own feuds yet this storyline revolving around an announcer has received more TV time than anything else over the past year and a half then I can’t help but be annoyed. What they’ve actually done to build this feud over the past few years has generally been pretty good but it has progressed at the pace of a glacier, and the two participants mean I couldn’t possibly care about this match. To give them credit though, it’s usually a fairly over with the live crowds, so you can’t kill them for having this as one of the featured matches on this PPV, even if it’ll get a groan from most of the people reading this site. As for who wins, I really don’t know. You’d usually assume/hope that it’d be the active wrestler (in this case Whitmer), but that would likely lead to a continuation of the feud in some way and I want anything but that. So let’s cross our fingers and hope for Corino and more importantly an end to this seemingly never-ending story. Prediction: Steve Corino

Joe Gagne: This story seems to have been going on since the dawn of time, although to be fair it did get derailed by Corino’s neck injury. Corino’s promos have been good, and the fact that it’s been going on for so long does add some weight to the finale, but it is hard to justify all those hours of BJ Whitmer on TV. As match quality, it’s hard to say, but it will have a lot of blood and drama, and should be different from anything else on the card. If BJ Whitmer wins this I’ll eat corn (I hate corn). I’m picking Corino and thinking this is it for Whitmer in ROH. Prediction: Steve Corino

Sean Sedor: Obviously, this feud has gone on much longer than I think anyone anticipated. Granted, some of that was out of ROH’s control, as they couldn’t do the match at Final Battle last year because Corino needed neck surgery, but still, the complaint stands. I highly doubt this will be one of the better matches of the night, but given the hardcore history these two have, I’m sure they’ll do everything in their power to make it a spectacle. Hopefully Steve Corino wins, and hopefully, this will be the end of BJ Whitmer in ROH (and I won’t be shocked if Coby Corino becomes involved somehow). Prediction: Steve Corino

ROH World Television Championship
Bobby Fish (c) vs. Dalton Castle

Robin Reid: ROH nearly left it too late with Dalton. Nearly. He came in as a hot act and basically lost his way through almost the entirety of his first year with the company. Then just as the buzz about him was beginning to wear off they’ve begun to properly push him and take advantage of the great talent he is. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment towards ROH for timing this push just right, or a complaint that they waited so long, but I’m just glad they’re pushing him now. As for the match itself both guys are very talented but Fish has been consistently underwhelming in singles encounters in ROH for whatever reason. Hopefully this breaks that trend, but I’m keeping my expectations low. Had Fish not only just won the title then I’d have said the logical thing would have been for Castle to win the belt here, but I don’t think they’ll want Fish losing on his first defense. I just hope Castle’s push isn’t a one and done thing, and that even if he loses here that he’ll continue to be presented as being in the upper echelon of the roster. Prediction: Bobby Fish

Joe Gagne: I like both guys, and Fish proved he is certainly adept at working all manner of wrestlers during the Best of the Super Juniors. So this should be fine, but I have the nagging thought in the back of my mind that they won’t mesh well. Winning the TV title would be genuine progression for Castle, and I’m thinking this is the title that changes hands. Prediction: Dalton Castle

Sean Sedor: For the me, this is one match on the card that really feels like something different. Maybe that’s because it’s just a really fresh matchup. This actually might be one of my most anticipated matches on the card. I’ve very intrigued to see how the styles of these two mesh, plus the clash of personalities should be a ton of fun. While it would be really cool to see Castle capture the title here, I just can’t see Fish losing it in his first defense. Prediction: Bobby Fish

ROH World Championship
Jay Lethal (c) vs. Jay Briscoe

Robin Reid: Man this year’s main event feels a hell of a lot less important than last year’s. It’s the exact same combination, but while last year had a tremendous build this one has the opposite. In fact the only real build to this one has been the question over how the Bullet Club will get involved, which is about a big a turnoff as you can attach to a PPV main event for me. Thankfully there are some Jay Briscoe promos released on the ROH YouTube channel, so if you’re planning on watching go watch them and have the best promo in the business get you at least slightly excited for this match. I imagine Lethal wins here since the Briscoes look lined up to feud with the Young Bucks leaving Cole and Lethal to feud over the singles title. Prediction: Jay Lethal

Joe Gagne: I get the reasoning for the match—they headlined last year’s BITW and Jay hasn’t had a title shot since then. But this really feels like a placeholder—they had a PPV and needed a main event, and this was deemed acceptable. I think it’ll be very good—I liked their match last year a lot, but I don’t see Jay winning back the belt. Adam Cole has stated on TV that he won’t interfere, but I would have to guess we see the Bullet Club at some point. Hopefully we’ll get an actual finish this time. Prediction: Jay Lethal

Sean Sedor: As I said in my reviews of ROH TV, I don’t have an issue with the idea of doing the rematch now, but they just haven’t done a good job with the build over the past year. Last year’s match had been building for several months, starting with small teases, before eventually building more & more until the match became a huge deal. This year’s match really only had about a month and a half of lackluster build, after Jay Briscoe had spent pretty much the last year in the tag team division, showing no signs at any point of wanting a rematch until just recently. It just feels like a thrown-together match that’s being done just because it’s the one year anniversary of their first match. With that being said, Briscoe & Lethal have both done a very good job (the former in particular) in their promos leading up to this show. Jay Briscoe is seemingly the master of shocking title wins (as shown by his two World Title victories over Kevin Steen & Michael Elgin), so I can’t 100% rule out a title change here. However, if I had to put money on it, I would go with Jay Lethal, who just recently surpassed one full year as champion, and who now holds the fourth longest ROH World Title reign in history (only behind Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, & Samoa Joe). One reason why I think Lethal wins here is because Adam Cole is seemingly waiting in the wings. I feel like Cole is definitely getting the ROH World Title again in the near future, and I think it would be silly for Jay Briscoe to win the title, only to drop it to Cole a short time later. Now Cole said in a promo on the go-home TV show that The Bullet Club won’t interfere, but I highly doubt that we won’t see The Bullet Club at some point during the main event. Sadly, this feels a little like a WWE PPV main event. The match will be great (and I have no doubt that Briscoe & Lethal will have a great match), but you know the interference is coming. Prediction: Jay Lethal