ROH Best In The World 2018
June 29th, 2018
9:00 PM EDT
UMBC Event Center
Baltimore, Maryland

Watch: Traditional PPV, Honor Club (, FITE app, Playstation 4 (Live Events Viewer)

ROH World Championship
Dalton Castle vs. Cody vs. Marty Scurll

Dalton Castle has been the ROH World Champion for just over six months, but there’s no question that his reign is in serious jeopardy at Best In The World, as he defends against two Bullet Club members in a Triple Threat Match. Now the big story coming into this bout is that Cody and Marty Scurll haven’t exactly been getting along as a late (which is interesting, since Scurll was previously a Cody ally in the “Bullet Club Civil War”). What’s also interesting about that story is that it plays into the larger fan narrative surrounding Dalton Castle. At the moment, many view him as the forgotten ROH World Champion that’s been completely overshadowed by The Bullet Club, and there’s also the belief that the Dalton Castle title reign has been a “failed experiment” (a term that was originally used by Cody in a recent interview). In some ways, I totally agree with those sentiments. Castle is certainly one of the most popular talents on the roster, but even as ROH World Champion, you’re bound to get overshadowed by The Bullet Club eventually, if you’re not already in the group (Christopher Daniels suffered a similar issue when he held the title last year). At the same time, however, I feel that the “failed experiment” claims are a bit overstated. In my view, a lot of people are basing this sentiment on what’s happened during the second half of Castle’s title reign. The defense against Marty Scurll in New Orleans was generally regarded as a disappointment (for a variety of reasons), which sucks for Castle because that was easily his highest profile defense. Then there’s the fact that Castle has missed a lot of time as of late due to injury. He missed two title defenses against Matt Taven and Ultimo Guerrero, while his defense against EVIL in the UK was probably hampered due to injury (coupled with poor booking).

If you look at the first few months of Dalton Castle’s title reign, he actually got off to a very solid start. His defense against Punishment Martinez on ROH TV, and the Triple Threat Match at Honor Rising against Beretta & The Beer City Bruiser were both pretty good, while his defense against Jay Lethal at the 16th Anniversary Show was arguably the best ROH World Title bout in the last two years (I feel pretty comfortable making that statement). His reign was a success in those first few months, but the underwhelming match with Marty Scurll in New Orleans was really a big turning point. He was overshadowed by The Bullet Club on that night (Cody vs. Kenny Omega), and from there, Castle’s barely been seen on shows as of late due to his various injuries (aside from ROH’s UK Tour, he hasn’t worked any matches since the end of April). Has he been overshadowed by The Bullet Club? Absolutely, but there are others factors involved, and thus, I believe that “failed experiment” might be a little too strong (but that’s just my view).

As for this PPV main event (apologies for the mini-tangent), I feel like there’s a strong chance of a title change here. Castle’s simply been the forgotten third wheel in this Cody/Marty Scurll story, plus he probably needs time off so he can fully recover from his injuries. In the match itself, I imagine Cody and Scurll will work together initially, but you know that partnership will break down at some point. I doubt this is going to be the best match on the card, but it should be pretty good. As far as the winner is concerned, you really can’t go wrong with either Cody or Marty Scurll. Personally, I really want Scurll to win this title (he’d be a much better champion from an in-ring standpoint), but the pessimist in me is leaning heavily towards Cody, so I’m going to go with him here. Prediction: Cody

ROH World Tag Team Championships
The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks

The Briscoes have been pretty much unstoppable since their heel turn late last year. They beat The Motor City Machine Guns to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the ninth time at the 16th Anniversary Show back in March, and have racked up a number of successful defenses during their reign. The Briscoes did have a title defense against The Young Bucks on ROH TV several weeks back, but they got themselves disqualified as it looked like they were about to lose. Now I know a lot of people have been down on The Briscoes this year (some have even said they’re bad), but much like the Dalton Castle “failed experiment” argument, I feel like that’s going a little too far. “Underwhelming” and “underperforming” are more appropriate terms, in my view. The Briscoes have had good matches this year, but they really haven’t had the great matches that we’re used to seeing from them. Fortunately, I feel like that’s going to change with this upcoming title defense. The Briscoes and The Young Bucks always put together great tag team bouts (aside from one particular encounter in NYC during the Cornette era where The Briscoes won what was basically an elongated squash match), and I expect this one to be no different, especially considering the incredible year The Young Bucks have had thus far. As for who comes out on top, I’m going to say that The Briscoes retain. In some of the buildup, ROH has pushed the record between these two teams over the course of their rivalry. While the series is 7-5 (according to ROH) with The Briscoes in the lead, The Young Bucks have won the last three and four of the last five (again, according to ROH). While they’ve certainly had The Briscoe’s number in their most recent engagements, I feel like the champions will retain. That being said, a title change wouldn’t shock me. Prediction: The Briscoes

ROH World TV Championship
Baltimore Street Fight
Punishment Martinez vs. Adam Page

It’s fair to say that the ROH World TV Title picture has been incredibly chaotic over the course of the last several months. Silas Young and Kenny King had been trading the title back and forth since the end of the last year, and it looked like we were going to be seeing a Triple Threat Match for the title featuring those two, plus Austin Aries. That all changed during a ROH live event in Dallas, Texas about two weeks ago, when Punishment Martinez won the title from Silas Young after earning his shot in an Instant Reward Proving Ground Match that took place on the same night. With this result, the ROH World TV Title has now become part of an ongoing feud between Punishment Martinez and Adam Page. I wasn’t expecting this change at all, but it’s nice to see it on someone other than Kenny King or Silas Young (though where does this leave the “Austin Aries belt collector” story?). Now the feud between Martinez and Page has been an interesting one, because we’ve haven’t actually gotten a singles bout between the two. They were scheduled to face each other a couple of times in the last few months, but each time, the two got into a big brawl before the bell rang, and the matches never got started. There were also some altercations between the two on the recent War Of The Worlds event in Toronto back in May, as they cost each other title matches on that show (Martinez was challenging Jay White for the IWGP United States Title, while Page was challenging Silas Young for the ROH World TV Title). This has certainly been presented as an intense rivalry, and I’m really looking forward to this Baltimore Street Fight, as it has the potential to steal the show. Both men have shown in the past they thrive in this environment, and I’m sure they’re going to be working super hard. When it comes to the winner, it would be a bad move to take the title off Martinez after he just won it a few weeks ago, though I could see Page winning this if it’s the end of the feud. It could go either way (especially given the “hot potato” nature of the ROH World TV Title in 2018), but I’m going to go with Martinez here, in what should be a brutal affair. Prediction: Punishment Martinez

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships
The Kingdom vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA)

This is a very big weekend for the New Japan roster, as most of them are spread out in three different locations across the world. Some of them are the in UK for the Strong Style Evolved events, while others are on Kenny Omega’s show at CEO 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Of course, the third location is this ROH PPV, and three of the New Japan talents being featured are BUSHI, EVIL, and SANADA, representing Los Ingobernables de Japon. On this event, they’re going to be challenging The Kingdom for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. Now The Kingdom recaptured the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles from SoCal Uncensored at the World Of The Worlds event in Lowell, Massachusetts last month, and they’re making their fifth defense here. The result of this one is pretty obvious (as Joe Lanza mentioned during a recent edition of the VOW Flagship Podcast, BUSHI just screams “pin me”), though the match itself should still be pretty solid. I know there are a lot of people who don’t like The Kingdom, but in the two year that they’ve been around, the one positive thing you can say about them is that they’re usually pretty consistent when it comes to trios matches. While they’re never really outstanding, they far from bad. For me, it seems like they always hover around the ***-***¼ range. They are going up against a trio that’s been very successful in New Japan (this particular LIJ team has held the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles three times, and hold the record for the longest title reign). Again, The Kingdom retaining is pretty much a lock, but I believe this match will surprise people. There’s a chance that SoCal Uncensored will interfere, as they’ve been feuding with The Kingdom (and they aren’t anywhere on this card), but if we don’t see that, then this should be very solid. Prediction: The Kingdom

Jay Lethal vs. KUSHIDA

In promo videos leading up to this match, Jay Lethal has proclaimed that this is a battle to determine who is truly the “Best In The World”. We all know Lethal is just trying to hype up this singles encounter (while also working in the title of the PPV), but nobody thinks that these two are the best wrestlers in the world (though both are certainly great performers). This actually has a couple of different stories behind it. These have faced each on twice previous occasions, and as it stands, the series is 1-1. Lethal (then part of The House Of Truth) successfully defended his ROH World TV Title against KUSHIDA on the first War Of The Worlds event in 2014, while KUSHIDA defeated Lethal on a War Of The Worlds event in Toronto back in May 2017. The other story coming into this one is that Lethal has recently been on a personal “path of redemption”, as he attempts to avenge previous losses from the past year. KUSHIDA is the last person he has to get through before he gets back into the ROH World Title picture. Now I mentioned earlier in this preview that Adam Page vs. Punishment Martinez has the potential to steal the show. This match also has the potential to be the best bout of the night. KUSHIDA is always awesome, and Lethal never fails to deliver in a big PPV bout. Considering the storyline coming in, Lethal will probably come out on top, as he gets ready for another shot at the ROH World Title. Prediction: Jay Lethal

Austin Aries vs. Kenny King

I never would’ve thought that we’d be seeing the Impact Wrestling World Champion on a ROH PPV in 2018, yet here we are. Given what’s he’s done during the recent appearances he’s made, I figured Austin Aries was going to be on a really big show at some point. However, this wasn’t exactly what I imagined. As I alluded to earlier, all singles seemed to be point towards a Triple Threat Match for the ROH World TV Title involving Silas Young, Kenny King, and Austin Aries, who returned to the company with the intent of adding this title to his collection (since he’s never held it before). This was further reinforced when a match on ROH TV between Silas Young and Austin Aries for the title ended in controversial fashion after Kenny King got himself involved. Of course, everything changed when Punishment Martinez won the title in Dallas, Texas a few weeks ago, and now we’re getting Aries vs. King in a singles bout. Of course, these two have a long history that goes beyond that aforementioned title match that took place on ROH TV. Kenny King was a protege/lackey of Austin Aries (along with Rhett Titus) during his second reign as ROH World Champion in 2009-2010, and it was that relationship which helped elevate the All-Night Express on the card. If this match goes through without any hiccups, then it should be fairly solid, and I would expect Austin Aries to win (if his “belt collector” story keeps going, despite the recent title change). At the same time, with Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser nowhere to be seen on this card, I would be shocked if they interfere straight away and turn this into a tag team match. Prediction: Austin Aries

Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon

Look, nobody’s happy to see Bully Ray back for more matches in ROH. He was barely tolerable during his run as a babyface in 2017 (being involved in a trio with The Briscoes for most of the year was the best use of him), and this current heel run got off to a poor start with an insufferable segment at Supercard Of Honor XII in New Orleans. That being said, I guess one thing you can say (in a positive light) is that his segments and sneak attacks over the past few months have gotten A TON of legitimate heat. After first going after Cheeseburger, Bully Ray then targeted Flip Gordon, and thus, we have a match at the PPV. Another positive to all of this Bully Ray insanity is that it’s at least leading to a singles bout against a rising star in Flip Gordon. I have no idea what to expect from the match itself, but as far as the result goes, anything other than Flip Gordon winning would be a massive mistake. If all of this ends with Bully Ray putting a younger talent over, then it could be considered a net positive. Hopefully Gordon comes out on top, and sends Bully Ray packing. I dread the possibility of a “this feud must continue finish”, but I pray that this ends here. Prediction: Flip Gordon

Women Of Honor Champion
Sumie Sakai, Jenny Rose, Mayu Iwatani & Tenille Dashwood vs. Kelly Klein & Oedo Tai (Kimura, Hazuki & Kagetsu)

We’re actually getting a women’s match on a ROH PPV! Yes, you read that correctly. This isn’t going to be on a Facebook Live Pre-show. They’re getting a spot on the PPV itself, and on paper, it looks like a pretty cool match, especially with four competitors from Stardom involved. I’m sure this will be a good eight-women tag, considering who’s involved, but you can go a bunch of different ways with the winner. Kelly Klein and Tenille Dashwood are going to be in a Four-Way Match at the TV Tapings the next day (also involving Karen Q and Madison Rayne) for a shot at the Women Of Honor Title, so one of them could easily pick up the win. At the same time, Hazuki is challenging Sumie Sakai for the Women Of Honor Title at the TV Tapings, so her getting a pinfall victory here is also an option. There isn’t a wrong choice, in this particular case, but I’m going to go with the heel side here, since I see the latter option I mentioned as the strong possibility. Prediction: Kelly Klein & Oedo Tai (Hana Kimura, Hazuki, & Kagetsu)