ROH BEST IN THE WORLD 2018 [Review]: RohDemption!
– Six Man Tag Team Title: The Kingdom v LIJ – 3/5 (This was a fun opener that set the stage for, arguably, the best ROH PPV of the year. The crowd came out super pumped for ROH; there was no awkward interlude and the show was a crisp 3-hours. While EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI didn’t exactly show all their goods, this helped solidify The Kingdom as the best 3-man faction on the brand. And, hey, whaddya know–we had NJPW wrestlers putting over ROH talent!)
– Flip Gordon v Bully Ray – 2.25/5 (The only real mishap on the entire card. This actually started off good, with Flip hitting every flip in the book on Bully, and the crowd really reacted when Colt Cabana stood up for all the “young boys” after the expected DQ finish and Bully “bullying” his way through them. But, yeah, same ol’ song and dance…)
– Sumie Sakai, Jenny Rose, Mayu Iwatani, and Tenille Dashwood v Kelly Klein, Kagetsu, Hana Kimura, and Hazuki – 3.25/5 (A tale of two matches, with the first 5-minutes being dreadful — can we NOT see Jenny Rose anymore? — and the last 5-minutes actually being great, thanks to Iwatani and the women of STARDOM. That said, this majority of the WoH division is a mess.)
– Austin Aries v Kenny King – 3.5/5 (Leave it to ROH to just make Aries look like “another guy”; that said, the crowd went back ‘n forth on who they wanted and King got way more pop than usual. I should probably tell you: the Baltimore crowd last night was very nice. Shame this match wasn’t for the TV title or pushed a little stronger. Despite the win, and a cool story of.. friendship?.. within the match, I’m just not sure where “The Belt Collector”, Aires, goes from here in ROH…)
– Jay Lethal v KUSHIDA – 3.75/5 (Two great talents having a terrific match, but I just didn’t care enough about the outcome — despite the redemption story for Lethal. Glad to see New Japan talent finally losing in Ring of Honor, but does this mean yet another title run for Lethal?)
– ROH TV Title Street Fight: Punishment Martinez v Adam Page – 4/5 (Excellent hardcore match. Adam Page is now a certifiable star, finally having his own “Titantron” and entance music. These guys really went all out both in and out of the ring with lots of dangerous spots. Highly recommended brawl!)
– ROH Tag Team Title: The Briscoes v The Young Bucks – 4.5/5 (Definitely the best ROH tag team match of the year, and one of the best tag matches of the year period! These 4 guys, together, can do no wrong. Absolutely the best Briscoes match of the year, too; these are them boys that I fuckin’ loved. Of course, Matt and Nick helped them get there.. but all four guys has great synergy and did a zillion spots while still making this look like a real fight with real stakes. This was awesome.)
– ROH World Title: Dalton Castle v Cody v Marty Scurll – 3.5/5 (While not technically the most exciting match in the world, this was a very solid main event and watching Marty battle Cody was a treat! Dalton was also more active than his last few appearances, but still nowhere near #worldchampstatus that he should’ve been. But, while hurt, Castle certainly gave it his all and didn’t hurt the match; Cody didn’t attempt the usual highspots he’s done recently in matches with Ibushi and others; and Scurll — with a sea of Villain Club T’s spotted in the crowd — appeared the clear-cut star here. The Cody/Aldis “All In” stipulations now get stranger, and Cody can’t make the ROH title look secondary when he loses to Kenny next weekend at the G1 Special. I liked this a lot, but it shouldn’t have gone on last.)
Overall = 3.5/5 Bibles.
This was easily the most consistent night of Ring of Honor action of 2018. While the 16th Anniversary show had all the great peaks and valleys, pretty much everything here was enjoyable to watch from the start. It would’ve been nice to have the Briscoes and Bucks finish off the show, seeing how excellent the match turned out — as we all expected — and how the stakes laid out were a contest between IWGP v. ROH tag champs. The main event had plenty of exciting moments but felt flat when the injured/not-as-over-as-before Castle won, and the triple threat had a hard time following up the greatness of the previous two or three matches. Either way, Best in the World was a definite improvement than the months of trash ROH has had since their Vegas show. Bravo, ROH! now it’s time to clean up that main event spot to get the casuals back on board.