6/22 Powell's ROH "Best in the World" results and review: Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin for the ROH Title, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian for the ROH Tag Titles, Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young
By Jason Powell
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Ring of Honor Best in the World 2014
Aired live on pay-per-view
Nashville, Tennessee at Tennessee State Fairgrounds/Expo
The show opening video featured footage of ROH stars from the past including C.M. Punk, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, as well as shots of today's ROH stars saying "the best"... Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino checked in as the commentary team from ringside...
Powell's POV: The entrance set and big screens look really good. I like the lighting they are using on the stage. The building looks small on television, but it appears to be full and the fans seem fired up.
1. ACH vs. Takaaki Watanabe vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Tadarius Thomas vs. BJ Whitmer (w/Adam Page) vs. Tommaso Ciampa in a six-men mayhem match for a future ROH TV Title shot. Ciampa was the final entrant and drew the biggest ovation. Corino noted a couple of times that Ciampa was his pick. Kelly explained the rules of the match and there were handshakes from the wrestlers beforehand. Tags were allowed and when wrestlers left the ring additional wrestlers could declare themselves legal to take their place. Ciampa performed an impressive crucifix into a submission hold early on. He was the early star, as he also threw a couple of impressive suplexes.
Whitmer entering the match was greeted with a quick "BJ sucks" chant. The action slowed down a bit while Whitmer was in the ring. Coleman had an impressive run and a pin attempt was broken up by Ciampa. Watanabe and Ciampa stood in the middle of the ring and traded blows. Ciampa had a bloody mouth from the exchange. Watanabe performed a wicked suplex on Whitmer at 9:25.
Ciampa hit Project Ciampa on a couple of opponents but his pin attempts were broken up. At 11:15, Ciampa performed a big dive onto other wrestlers on the floor, drawing an ROH chant. ACH performed a crazy dive of his own onto wrestlers at ringside, then followed up with a 450 splash onto Thomas and scored the clean pin. After the match, ACH and Ciampa shook hands, then Corino and Whitmer ended up shoving one another on the floor...
ACH won a six-way mayhem match to earn a future ROH TV Title shot.
Powell's POV: The rules of the match appeared to go out the window about five minutes in and then it was just a six-way spot-fest. There was plenty of good action and the live crowd was into it. The lighting of the ring is still filled with shadows and we've had some early camera shots into the lights, but it's passable.
A video package set up the ROH TV Title match...
2. Jay Lethal (w/female bodyguard, Truth Martini handcuffed to the ring post) vs. Matt Taven for the ROH TV Title. Taven didn't get much of a reaction from the live crowd. Truth tried to flee before he was eventually handcuffed to the post per match stipulations. Taven wanted to get to Truth, but the woman stayed in the way. Later, Taven hit Crash and Burn on Lethal, then hit it on Lethal and his female bodyguard.
Taven turned his focus to getting to Martini, who handed money to the ROH head of security, who then stood in front of Martini. Taven tried to hit the security guard with a chair, but he blocked it awkwardly. Taven went for a superkick, but the guy blocked that. Taven finally connected. The bodyguard broke the handcuffs at ringside. Truth ended up hitting the Lethal Combination for the win...
Jay Lethal defeated Matt Taven in 10:10.
Powell's POV: A quality match minus the silliness with the security guard at the end. What the hell was that?
A video package set up Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander. The video included comments from Strong, Jimmy Jacobs, and B.J. Whitmer, and then Alexander...
3. Roderick Strong (w/Adam Page, Tadarius Thomas) vs. Cedric Alexander in a submission match. Streamers were thrown into the ring beforehand. At 4:00, Strong backdropped Alexander into the edge of the ring apron. Wow. At 6:45, Strong applied a Camel Clutch and nodded Alexander's head. There were dueling chants for the two wrestlers and the Strong side clearly won out.
At 7:40, Strong told Cedric to stay down. Cedric responded by spitting at Strong, then came back by pressing Strong into the air and kicking him on the way down. The fans were nice enough to inform everyone that "this is wrestling" in case they were confused. Alexander dropkicked Strong to the floor, then Page and Thomas were there to towel him off. Cedric performed a great flip over the top rope that connected with Page and Thomas, while Strong ducked out of the way.
At 13:10, Strong was setting up for a superplex when a fan threw a streamer. The other fans booed and a "kick him out" chant started. Strong performed the move successfully. Strong performed running knees on Cedric in the corner, but Alexander caught him in what was essentially a reverse version of the full nelson. Strong reached the bottom rope with his foot to break the hold.
At 16:00, Alexander dropped Strong back first onto the top rope and then targeted the back with another move. Alexander applied the Strong Hold submission hold and Strong quickly tapped out. Alexander looked as shocked as anyone based on his facial expression. Afterward, Alexander offered his hand. Strong approached him, but chose to walk away instead...
Cedric Alexander defeated Roderick Strong in 16:30.
Powell's POV: Best match of the night so far. Strong appears to be in the best shape of his life and WWE would be crazy not to bring him into the developmental fold. Even if they don't like his mic work, I see him as a guy who could carry the working end of a tag team if they found him the right partner. Alexander continues to improve with each outing. His first win over Strong should have felt more emotional than it was. I guess I don't understand why ROH chose Nashville for their first live pay-per-view rather than going with one of their hotbed towns with a bigger number of passionate fans who follow their storylines closely.
A video package set up the next match...
4. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. Matt Hardy (w/Nick Searcy) and Michael Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis). The broadcast team noted that Searcy is a Peabody Award winner from the show "Justified" that airs on FX. Corino did his comical over the top cheering for Hardy during the entrances. There was a good chant for The Briscoes before the match.
The Briscoes were dominating Hardy when Bennett hit the Jay with the Iconic Title that Hardy carries with him. The referee called for the DQ and that was announced as the finish, which led to a "bullshit" chant from the fans.
The Briscoes defeated Matt Hardy and Michael Bennett by DQ in 6:00.
Jay took the mic and agreed with the fans. He called for Nigel McGuinness to give the fans what they want to see. Nigel walked out and called for another referee and named it a No DQ match...
5. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. Matt Hardy (w/Nick Searcy) and Michael Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis) in a No DQ match. The Briscoes started throwing chairs into the ring and the crowd came to life. Nigel joined the broadcast team. The crowd chanted for tables. Hardy brought out a ladder and struck Jay with it. Bennett threw a table at Mark's head. The fans chanted "this is awesome."
Hardy whipped Jay into the ladder that was set up in the corner of the ring. Hardy leaned the ladder against the top rope and then set up two chairs. Jay recovered and drove Hardy through the chairs. Jay followed up by sending Hardy crashing onto the ladder. Mark performed a Cactus Jack dive onto Hardy on the floor next to a table that was set up. The fans chanted "Man Up" loudly.
Bennett speared Mark on the ring apron, then pulled him back onto the apron and set up for a piledriver. Jay broke up the piledriver and put Bennett on his shoulders, and then the Briscoes performed a Doomsday Device on the floor at 14:10. The actor entered the ring and jawed with Mark, who had his award. Jay kicked the actor and then Mark dropped a top rope elbow onto him.
Off a distraction by Maria, Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Jay for a good near fall. Hardy slammed a chair over the back of Jay a couple times while Bennett slid a table inside the ring and set it up. Hardy set up a tall ladder. The heels went for a double suplex on Jay, but Mark broke it up. Mark ended up performing a frogsplash into an elbow drop off the top rope that drove Bennett through a table on the floor.
Inside the ring, Hardy put Jay on the table and then climbed the big ladder. Mark recovered and sprayed fire extinguisher into Hardy's eyes. Jay climbed the ladder and met Hardy at the top and then superplexed him through the table below. Jay hit the Jay Driller on Hardy and pinned him clean...
The Briscoes defeated Matt Hardy and Michael Bennett in 18:35.
Powell's POV: A crazy spot fest brawl, which is exactly what the live crowd was looking for. You had to figure Hardy would be losing here since he's working TNA later this week, but I would have pegged him as the loser even if TNA wasn't in the picture simply because he can absorb the loss much more than Bennett can. I guess Nigel is hanging around on commentary.
Footage aired of Adam Cole cutting and shaving the hair of Michael Elgin at a recent event. Cole also applied the Figure Four on MsChif, who Kelly noted is married to Elgin.
Powell's POV: Does that make her MrsChif? I'm sure I'm not the first person to tell that lame joke. Believe it or not, the haircut was not a babyface turn for Cole.
The broadcast team turned things over to Larry Mercer, who interviewed "the newest ROH signee" Moose. Mercer noted that Moose attended Syracuse and played for the Atlanta Falcons. He asked Moose what the future holds for him. Moose said he was just there to enjoy the show. He said he accomplished a lot in seven years in the NFL. He said he's willing to work his butt off from the bottom to get to the top.
Mandy Leon was standing by and started to ask him a question when Veda Scott interrupted. She mentioned the 122-0 winning streak of R.D. Evans. Veda told Moose he didn't have to worry about working his way up from the bottom when she could take him straight to the top. He told her he was just enjoying the show and they could talk about it later...
Powell's POV: Now that was a bush league segment. I like Veda and I still think ROH blew it by turning her heel because she was very likable as a broadcast team member and a female wrestler. She sounded really over the top and unbelievable here. Moose showed Steve Blackman-like charisma. I think Blackman is in my head tonight because the security guard who helped Truth Martini looked like Blackman.
A video package set up Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young...
6. Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young. "What a miserable human being," Corino said of Young. Steen offered his hand to Young before the match, but Young declined. Steen attacked Young once the bell rang and was the aggressor to start the match. At 2:10, Steen went for a powerbomb on the floor, but Young grabbed the top rope to break it up, then kicked Steen into the ringside barricade.
After Young was on the offensive for a couple minutes, Steen came back with a powerbomb. Young regained control and had Steen seated on the top rope when he used the middle rope as a springboard and clotheslined him. Steen came back with a Swanton for a two count. Young started mouthing off at Steen in the corner, and Steen knocked him back with a shot. Young regained control, but then mouthed off again while they were both on the ropes. Steen headbutted Young and then performed the package piledriver for the win...
Kevin Steen pinned Silas Young in 12:15.
After the match, Steen told Young that he said a lot of things about him leading up to the match, but one thing he can't say is that he did not beat him. Steen recalled saying a lot of things about Young, but he said that after tonight one thing he can't say about him is that he is not an exceptional professional wrestler.
Steen noted that his ROH contract is coming up and he doesn't have many more matches left with the company. He said he's looking forward to the matches he has with the company for the next month and a half or so, but he's happy he got to have that match with Young on this stage. Steen said he hopes Young now respects him and will shake his hand. Young shook Steen's hand and then left the ring. Young left the ring and then Steen started to talk to the fans again. Young returned and clipped the knee of Steen from behind. Referees hit the ring to pull Young off...
Powell's POV: A good match that the crowd enjoyed. I had my hopes up for something special and while it was good, there was nothing particularly memorable about it. Young has a good heel personality, but he didn't play to the crowd for heat. The issue between the two didn't seem to be intense enough going in, and even the post match angle didn't seem to get them there. That said, Young has breakout star potential for ROH as a top heel and eventually as a badass babyface.
Footage aired of a Fish Tank episode featuring the tag champions discussing their challengers...
7. Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian for the ROH Tag Titles. The fans popped big for the artists formerly known as Bad Influence and they were mobbed with streamers in the ring. Bobby Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions for the championship match. There was some miscommunication around 3:15 as Fish ran the ropes and Kazarian stood there. It was hard to tell who was at fault, but they recovered quickly.
At 4:50, Fish pulled Kazarian's arm into the ring post, then struck it with a chair. O'Reilly rolled him inside the ring and targeted the arm. The tag champions isolated Kazarian. There was a nice spot when he was going for a tag, but Fish pulled Daniels off the apron before he could tag.
Daniels took the hot tag at 9:45 and worked over O'Reilly. Daniels performed a urinage, but he couldn't follow up with the Best Moonsault Ever. Fish and O'Reilly doubled up on Daniels, but he kicked out following a double team move at 10:40 that the fans didn't really buy into as a possible finish. Kazarian continued to sell his arm. At 11:30, Daniels pulled O'Reilly into the ring and into an RKO from Kazarian for a two count.
Daniels went for the Best Moonsault Ever on Fish, but Fish moved and Daniels landed on his feet. Fish got the better of an exchange and went for a moonsault of his own, but he also landed on his feet when Daniels moved. Kazarian hit a DDT on Fish and came up holding his arm again. The fans chanted "this is awesome" around 13:20.
At 14:10, Daniels hit an Angel's Wings suplex and went for a cover on Fish, but O'Reilly broke it up. O'Reilly threw a kick at Daniels and went for a second, but Daniels caught that one and performed a dragon screw leg whip. Daniels missed a moonsault attempt on the floor. Fish picked him up and ran him into the barricade, then O'Reilly dove into Daniels with a dropkick.
At 15:30, Kazarian went for the Flux Capascitor on O'Reilly. Kazarian came up selling the arm again. He eventually went for a cover, but Fish pulled the referee out of the ring before he could make the third count. O'Reilly rolled up Kazarian and held the tights, but he only got a two count.
Later, O'Reilly hit a series of strikes on Kazarian, then Red Dragon hit their finisher. Kazarian kicked out, but O'Reilly immediately put him in a submission hold and got the tapout win. After the match, there was a tense round of handshakes between the two teams...
Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly beat Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian to retain the ROH Tag Titles in 17:10.
Powell's POV: A good tag title match that lived up to expectations. I really like the way Kazarian sold the arm consistently throughout the match and it ultimately played into the finish. The scary thing is that these teams should get even better with more experience together.
A video package set up the main event...
8. Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin for the ROH Championship. There were three referees involved. Nigel said he wanted to make sure there was a clearcut winner and loser. There was a tense and quick handshake. Elgin, who looked much better with shorter hair, tackled Cole and threw punches at him to start the match. At one point, the broadcast team spoke about how good it was to see Jerry Lynn earlier in the day.
Elgin remained the aggressor early on, but Cole came back with a neckbreaker. Corino brought up that Cole, Fish, O'Reilly, and Bennett would be going to New Japan Pro Wrestling. He questioned whether Elgin felt slighted. Kelly said he should use it was motivation. Nigel said Elgin should have been one of those guys.
There were loud dueling chants for Cole and Elgin. As the wrestlers traded offense, Corino noted that the company has been around for 12 years and only 19 men have held the ROH Championship. At 8:00, Elgin hoisted up Cole for a standing suplex. Cole blasted Elgin with knees above his head and broke it up. The broadcast team continued to put over the championship. Corino spoke about feeling the weight of ECW on his shoulders when he won the ECW Championship, and Nigel chimed in about his time as ROH Champion and mentioned the names of some of the past notable champions.
Elgin hit a broken arrow suplex off the second rope for a two count. Cole came back and missed a kick, then hopped up on Elgin's shoulders and hit a reverse huracanrana. Cole hit Florida Keys and Elgin kicked out at the last possible second for a great near fall that should have popped the crowd. Instead, there was a bit of a lull and then the crowd chanted "this is awesome."
At 11:35, Cole missed a move off the second rope and Elgin booted him in the face. Cole went for a uperkick, but Elgin moved and Cole blasted referee Todd Sinclair. Cole checked on the referee. Elgin grabbed him and performed the Buckle Bomb and another powerbomb for a visual pinfall, but the referee was out. Nigel stood up. Apparently, the other two referees were only there for the pre-match festivities.
Matt Hardy and Michael Bennett ran out with Maria. Hardy and Bennett attacked Elgin, who quickly recovered and performed an impressive power move on both men. Elgin worked over Cole and threw him over the top rope powerbomb style onto Hardy and Bennett, which popped the crowd at 14:00.
The fans stomped their feet. Maria distracted Elgin and then screamed for mercy. He teased hitting her, but he stopped. Maria slapped Elgin across the face. Elgin went to the floor and chased after her, but he was cut off by Bennett. Hardy ended up striking Elgin with a title belt, and then Cole back suplexed Elgin on the floor. War Machine and Raymond Rowe ran out and brawled with Hardy and Bennett to the back.
Referee Todd Sinclair recovered and started to count out Elgin, but he made it back to the ring before the 20 count. The fans chanted "this is awesome" again. Maria tossed the belt to Cole and distracted the referee. MsChif ran out and sprayed green mist into the face of Maria. Cole missed with the title belt swing. Elgin performed a buckle bomb and a sit-out power bomb. The crowd counted along with the referee's count, but Cole kicked out even as streamers littered the ring. A guy at ringside made his best shocked Undertaker match guy face. The fans chanted "we f---ed up." Funny.
Elgin placed Cole on the ropes, but Cole raked the eyes of Elgin and sent him back into the ring. Cole performed a missile dropkick onto the knee of Elgin. Cole got back to his feet and went for the Figure Four. Elgin rolled him up for a two count. Cole got back to his feet and Elgin applied the Crossface. Cole punched at the knee of Elgin to break it up at 20:20.
Elgin went to his corner and held up his hand for a move, but his knee gave out when he tried to charge at Cole in the other corner. Cole kicked Elgin in the face, then hit the Canadian Destroyer off the ropes for another strong near fall. Cole flashed a look of shock after failing to get the three count.
Cole went back to the ropes and yelled that he would break Elgin. Cole went for a similar move again, but turned it into a sunset flip. Elgin rolled through it and grabbed Cole and slammed him down with three consecutive powerbombs for the win. The crowd threw streamers into the ring. Former ROH owner Cary Silkin entered the ring and hugged Elgin. Confetti flew around the ringside area as Elgin sat in the ring and clutched the ROH Championship. The fans chanted ROH as Elgin got to his feet. Elgin climbed up to the second rope and held up the title for a nice round of applause...
Michael Elgin defeated Adam Cole to win the ROH Title in 22:10.
A video package recapped the event to close the show...
Powell's POV: A damn fine main event. I was really down on the idea of Cole dropping the title to Elgin going into the show, but the match was so entertaining and had so many good near falls that it really came off well. I still like the idea of Cole as the young heel champion, but Elgin looks a million times better with the haircut and had the fans behind him here. The first live ROH pay-per-view closed on a high note, as that match stole the show. I can't say that the rest of the show felt like it built to the main event, but I also didn't feel like Cole and Elgin had to overcome a crowd that was killed from watching one of those shows where everyone went balls to the wall from start to finish, so it worked out nicely in that respect.
I really wish ROH would have gone with the Hammerstein Ballroom for their first live pay-per-view event. They made the Nashville venue look as good as they could with the set that they had, but it looked really minor league to have a few rows a fans at ringside. I didn't get the feeling that the crowd was mic'd particularly well either. Overall, though, an enjoyable show and a nice step forward for ROH as a company. The big question I have now is... now what? More on that in tonight's Dot Net Member Exclusive audio review tonight, and in the ROH BITW Hit List on Monday. Thanks for watching along with me.
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