Ring of Honor's annual Best in the World came to Baltimore last night in what was one of the promotions weaker cards this year.
It was a show in which I decided to pass on last night, and only got around to watching today via some free website. I'm normally someone who purchases ROH iPPVs, having done so since Death Before Dishonor VIII in 2010. But having spent roughly €100 on PPVs from them since then (which I only noticed last week) I decided to leave this one, which really, I didn’t feel was worth my money going into it.
Anyway, enough of me unintentional promotion of pirating shows from company's that need the money – here's my review for Best in the World 2013.
BJ Whitmer vs. Mike Bennett
Probably not the best choice for an opener, because even the surprisingly loud Baltimore crowd quickly went quiet throughout this match. I've never been a fan of either guy to be honest. BJ Whitmer, ROH's version of Drake Younger, hasn't really been able to get back to his best, while the 'Prodigy' Mike Bennett just seems to be waiting for WWE to sign him up already.
Honestly, there wasn't a whole lot wrong with the match. There were some decent moments throughout, and neither man exactly made any mistakes, but overall there still wasn't a whole lot to get excited about it. 2/5
American Wolves vs. Adrenaline Rush
An extremely fun match here which really showcased Tadarius Thomas and ACH especially as two bright prospects for Ring of Honor in the future.
It had a good mixture of the Wolves showing their experience against the hungry opponents, while also showing moments of both teams being evenly matched. It did have some weak moments here and there, most noticeably coming from Tadarius, who I feel relies too much on his unique kicks at times, but overall there was a lot to like about this match. 3.5/5
Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong
A real hit and miss match between Cole and Strong. I liked the chain wrestling at the start, and there was some pretty exciting action throughout, but the ending to the match just didn't work for me.
Simply put, there's nothing wrong with leaving your opponent on the outside and hoping for a count out victory. The way Cole dropped Strong and went back into the ring with a menacing and opportunistic smile on his face looked good, but the idea that such an act is considered heel is just silly. They seem to be going from one extreme to another with Cole's slow heel turn here.
Another thing which I would have liked was a bit more focus on Cole's inured elbow. It was highlighted at the start, and Roddy did go after it for a few minutes, but it soon became nothing in regards to the match. Granted, this gave way for a more back and forth match, which suited the face vs. face dynamic quite well, but a bit more focus on that injured elbow would have made the pacing a lot better. Both men are capable of more. 2.5/5
Michael Elgin vs. Tomasso Ciampa
A great return match for Tomasso Ciampa here. It's been a while since ROH have done a powerhouse vs. powerhouse match, the last I can recall being between Elgin and Steen last year at Glory By Honor X, and both guys here did an extremely good match at it here.
This match had incredible feats of strength, back and forth action, and high drama in the final few minutes of the match. It took a while for Ciampa to finally show his full potential in ROH, but I think this will be the match people will look back on when they think of how far he's come. He stood toe-to-toe with arguably the most exciting wrestler on the independent scene and helped put on a really enjoyable match. I'm really looking forward to the rest of these guys' stuff this year. 4/5
ROH TV Championship
Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Jacobs
So much fun up until a certain point. A really good effort from all three guys, who put on a fast paced match with some choice moments throughout.
In was only in the last few minutes when things started to go off. Jay Lethal accidentally stripping one of the Hoopla's was pretty funny, albeit not at all surprising considering some of the controversial stuff that's happened in Taven's title defences. It was after that which I had a problem with though. I may sound like a hypocrite here after saying that I liked the stripping part, but Jay Superkicking the other hoopla is just something I hate to see in wrestling, more so when a face does it (Honor lives, eh?). I simply don't see how that makes Lethal the good guy in this match, and because of that all the hard work before that seems worthless.
It was almost like Cole/Strong in that it was a match of two halves, and the last few moments of this match just kind of ruined it for me. 2/5
ROH World Tag Team Championship
reDRagon vs. C&C Wrestle Factory vs. S.C.U.M.
Man, ROH has some awful tag team names... anyway, onto the match, which was actually as bad as the names of all three tag teams.
The action at the start of the match was actually fine, but it never fully got going. O'Reilly and Fish were the only team to show some good stuff, and the other two were slowly getting into it (more so C&C), but then it just ended. It wouldn't have been so bad if that kick at the end of the match were a signature move of Fish, but he does so many kicks in a match (as well as 70% of Indie wrestlers) that fans have no reason to believe that it'll finish an opponent off. Strange match. 1.5/5
Kevin Steen vs. Matt Hardy
Definitely Hardy's best match in ROH, and all thanks to Kevin Steen as well. He's been the only person so far to help us hate S.C.U.M, and the only person to look like he really wants to inflict punishment on them. With only a little bit of hype in this feud between these two men there was already a really good grudge-like feel to it.
The match had some good hardcore moments throughout, and also told a good story of each S.C.U.M member getting involved and Kevin Steen losing through his own request for a No DQ match. Corino's group haven't looked threatening a whole lot since forming, but they did here thanks for Kevin Steen. 3.5/5
ROH World Championship
Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
A really enjoyable match which perfectly showcased the brother vs. brother dynamic. The opening exchanges were really nice with both men showing their knowledge of each other, and the pacing for the rest of the match was pretty spot on.
I didn't think the ending could have been better however, as Jay Briscoe got back into the match far too easily. After all the work Mark was doing on him I felt more could have been done for Jay's comeback and eventual victory. Still though, this was an entertaining main event which exceeded my expectations. 3.5/5