ROH Honorable Mention: Road to Best in the World Preview
This Friday, June 27th, will be Ring of Honor‘s Best in the World PPV. After last month’s joint ROH/NJPW PPV Global Wars, the company final returns to a night featuring only their stars. Last year’s event led to important shift in the company as Jay Lethal won the World title from Jay Briscoe, carrying both singles straps as the night ended. As this year’s iteration looms, Lethal and Briscoe will meet in a rematch from last year, with Briscoe looking to dethrone last year’s challenger.
Kamaitachi vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Kamaitachi is a former NJPW and CMLL wrestler who most recently held the CMLL World Lightweight Championship. His hybrid strong Japanese and lucha style makes him a good fit for Ring of Honor as it looks to develop new stars. Kyle O’Reilly’s redDragon partner is defending the Television title, leaving him without a real feud right now, so this is a good spot for him against a talented performer. Although the result of this match will be rather inconsequential, the match should be fast-paced and allow for two artists to do what both do extremely well: wrestle.
Silas Young vs. ACH
The two men involved in this bout have gone back and forth for the last few weeks, either in the ring or in backstage segments that has added a layer of intrigue to this match. No matter who comes out of this match as the winner, look for these two to continue their issues. They have no squared off against each other since this feud has been brewing, as they have mostly just jawing at each other, especially Silas Young. The interaction between the two has allowed ACH to develop his personality as Young has derided him for his juvenile behavior. Look for Young to win the match using questionable tactics, furthering this feud.
ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Dalton Castle with the Boys vs. Bobby Fish (c)
Bobby Fish consistently does what is asked of him, whether it be as a singles competitor, a tag team wrestler or even at the commentary table. This match should be Dalton Castle’s to win. He has worked his way up the card with a unique presentation and excellent execution in terms of physicality and psychology. Fish just wrestled the ROH Television title from Ishii only recently, but unless these men are going to be embroiled in a long term feud that culminates in Castle being crowned, Dalton needs to win at Best in the World.
Moose and War Machine (Rowe & Hanson) vs. Adam Cole and The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)
This is a meaningless match that is packed with stars. Adam Cole and The Young Bucks should really have their own matches on this card and it smacks of just having them in the building as a way to get them involved in the main event. Cole has cut short promos on ROH programming stating that he does not plan to interfere in the main event title bout and instead wait until the two men have weaken each other, allowing him to win the title after the dust has settled. The Bullet Club will win this one to continue looking like a strong force that is in opposition with the ROH roster.
Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe
Roderick Strong has been working effectively as a heel as of late and this feud with Mark Briscoe has been well thought out. With his brother vying for the World title later in the night, having Mark be part of a meaningful match shows that ROH is focusing on its stars after the Global Wars tour. Roddy has been believably obnoxious and arrogant in all of his interaction with Mark and that makes this match far more interesting that something thrown together without substance. With the news that Mr. ROH is leaving the company of his nick-namesake, look for Mark to pick up the win over the departing Strong.
Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor
Steve Corino vs. BJ Whitmer
It’s finally here. Due to injuries, this has been put off for what feels like decades, with nary a bodyslam between the two. Essentially, over the course of a few years, BJ Whitmer has hounded Steve Corino, trying to provoke him by manipulating Corino’s son Colby and stalking his wife and newborn child. Corino could not take it anymore and with the threat of being fired, he attacked Whitmer. Donning a mask and purporting to me Mr. Wrestling III, Corino was privy to Whitmer’s continued familial assault. Now that both men are healthy the blow off to this feud will finally take place, putting an end to the soul-sucking promos the two have subjected the audience to in recent months. Corino has to win this match, as he has been so abused by Whitmer that it would be inconceivable for him not to gain a modicum of vengeance.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) vs. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) (c)
Since their reunion, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin have strung together a number of victories and have been on the rise in the tag ranks of ROH. While War Machine held the titles it seemed unlikely that the Motor City Machine Guns would be winning the titles, but with the switch of the titles to the heel team of the Addiction, it would see that the titles are MCMG’s to win on Friday night. A recent tag team tournament saw Silas Young and the Beer City Bruiser win the right to a title shot the next night. If Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian retain, that match seems like an odd one, especially considering that Young is feuding with ACH. Look for MCMG to win the titles and defend those belts succesfully 24 hours later.
ROH World Championship
Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal (c) with Taeler Hendrix
The main event rematch from last year has added a few wrinkles that has made the build interesting and appealing. Jay Lethal has come off as a dominant champion, defeating everyone on the roster, by hook or by crook, and keeping the title all year long. However, Jay Briscoe made it clear that he purposely stayed away from Lethal, allowing him time to enjoy being the champion before taking back what belongs to him.
Normally, ROH would allow that to be enough of a story, but recently the Bullet Club has inserted itself into Lethal’s matches. Briscoe and Lethal have both shown brand allegiance comes before their own issues and have stood together against the Bullet Club’s shenanigans. Although Adam Cole professed to stay out of the match, watch from some sort of interference to allow Lethal to keep the title, as he continues his face turn and eventually takes Cole head on.
Best in the World 2016 has a solid card, with almost every match working further either characters or feuds, using the event as a springboard into the summer, as opposed to seeing the end of feuds. Having the event on Friday night was a questionable move by the company, which may factor into overall buys for the event. Nevertheless, this will be a sight for sore eyes as everything about this card represents what is best for ROH moving forward. With the announcement that ROH will be available on the FITE TV app every Monday at 7pm starting June 27th, ROH’s platform will reach more viewers and the loss of a stalwart like Roddy Strong will force the company to create new stars and this event should be the jump start the company needs right now.