By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Best in the World
Aired July 11, 2021 on pay-per-view, FITE TV, HonorClub
Live from Baltimore, Maryland at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
ROH Best in the World Free First Hour
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in on commentary and announced that Jay Lethal would replace Tracy Williams in the ROH Tag Title match. Lethal will still face Brody King. The duo ran through the pay-per-view lineup…
1. Demonic Flamita vs. Rey Horus. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise announced a 20-minute time limit for the match. Roughly five minutes into the match, Horus performed a big flip dive onto Flamita on the floor, which popped a guy who was dressed in a full Jushin Liger outfit in the front row. Back inside the ring, Horus performed a leap from the middle rope into a DDT, which led to a near fall.
Flamita came back with a sit-out powerbomb for a good near fall. Horus rallied with a wild DDT and a near fall of his own. Horus went to the ropes, but Flamita cut him off and ended up performing a Muscle Buster onto his knees followed by a superkick for a near fall. Flamita set up for a powerbomb, but Horus rolled him into a pin.
Rey Horus defeated Demonic Flamita in 9:45.
Flamita attacked Horus after the match to get his heat back. Riccaboni said Flamita is a sore loser…
Powell’s POV: A fun opening match. Flamita and Horus can always be counted on for good matches, particularly when they work against one another. It’s hard to tell how many fans are in attendance because of the lighting, but it sure is nice to hear the sound of fans at an ROH event again. Don’t get used to it. The television tapings will be held without fans in attendance. Joe Koff explained in my Pro Wrestling Boom interview that the state of Maryland wouldn’t sign off on having fans present for three straight days. However, the fans will return August 20-21 at the Glory By Honor tapings.
A video package spotlighted the Rush vs. Bandido match for the ROH World Championship… Footage aired of “La Faccino Ingobernable” members Rush, Dragon Lee, Kenny King, and Bestia Del Ring arriving at the venue… A video package aired on the Tony Deppen vs. Dragon Lee match for the ROH TV Title…
Kenny King made his entrance with a mic in hand. King told the crowd that it’s been a long time. The fans cheered. King said he hopes the fans are ready because the men and women on the show are going to blow their doors off. King welcomed the Baltimore fans back to ROH.
King switched into heel mode and said he would not appear in the ring because there were no championship opportunities for him. King said he was playing fortune teller instead and predicted that LFI would run the table and go home with all the gold. King said Tony Deppen has as much of a chance of beating Dragon Lee as the Baltimore Ravens do of beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
King guaranteed that Lee would leave with the title. He said LFI is a weapon. He called Bandido a scrub and a peasant. He said Bandido doesn’t belong in the ring with Rush. King said LFI would become dominant, delivered Rush’s catchphrase, and then headed to the back…
A video package spotlighted the Jay Lethal vs. Brody King match… The Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bennett match for the ROH Pure Title was showcased in a video package…
Matt Taven stood in the ring for a talkshow segment. He had his purple ladder with a neon sign that had his logo on it, along with a table and chairs. Taven’s beard was bushy and he spoke about how everything has been ruined by Vincent, a man he once called a friend a trusted. Taven said he didn’t want to do this, but there seems to be only one way for this to end.
Vincent’s entrance music interrupted Taven. Vincent headed to the ring with Bateman, Vita VonStarr, and Dutch. Vincent was barefoot and danced on the barricade and at ringside while in Charlie Manson mode before entering the ring. Vincent questioned why Taven had a long face and was telling a sob story.
Taven had a contract on the table in front of him. He said ROH isn’t big enough for both men. He said the only way for it to end was to have one final match. Taven said he would leave ROH forever if Vincent agreed to the match for August 21 at 2300 Arena.
Vincent said he didn’t want to take Taven’s career because it doesn’t mean a damn thing to him. He said Taven does have something he wants – his shot at the ROH World Championship. Taven said that if he put his title shot on the line, then Vincent has to agree that it’s a match just between the two of them without Vincent’s goons.
Vincent said he had the keys and would lock them both in a cage. Taven clarified that he would put his title shot on the line and their match would be held inside a steel cage. Vincent agreed to the match. Taven said now that Vincent agreed to the match, he couldn’t get fired for what he was about to do.
Taven picked up the chair and rammed Vincent with it. Dutch and Bateman tried to help, but he cleared them to ringside and then tossed VonStarr onto them. Vincent hit Taven with an object, then instructed Bateman and Dutch, who ran Taven through the neon Taven logo sign…
Powell’s POV: This was fine aside from the lowering of the stakes. Why have Taven say that he would leave the company regardless of the match outcome if that wasn’t going to be the stipulation? It made for a bit of a letdown when Vincent opted for the title shot instead.
A video package aired on EC3 vs. Flip Gordon match… The Josh Woods vs. Silas Young feud was recapped in a video package…
Powell’s POV: The highlight of the second video package was the Joe Exotic style terrible button-up shirt that Woods wore.
Quinn McKay made her entrance and stood on the stage. After working in some plugs for different ROH shows, McKay spoke about the ROH Women’s Championship tournament and said the brackets would be revealed…
2. PCO and Danhausen vs. “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas (w/Ken Dixon). Brian Zane sat in on commentary for the match. There were some fans in the crowd who wore Danhausen face paint. The Bouncers isolated Danhausen early on. PCO eventually tagged in and hit some of his signature spots, including cannonballs on both opponents.
Danhausen tried and failed to chokeslam Bruiser, but PCO helped him perform a double chokeslam. PCO did his malfunctioning bit and chased after Danhausen, who moved, causing PCO to perform a cannonball on Bruiser against the barricade. Sledge came out at some point and stared down PCO.
Milonas performed a spot from the apron that the production crew missed. Bruiser performed a splash from the middle rope onto PCO on the floor. A short time later, Danhausen headbutted Bruiser and then poured his jar of teeth into his mouth. Danhausen kicked Bruiser and went for a GTS that failed. Danhausen performed a Death Valley Driver onto the teeth. PCO went up top and performed a moonsault onto Bruiser and scored the pin.
PCO and Danhausen beat “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas in 9:10.
After the match, Danhausen acted surprised that he won. PCO went to ringside and had a staredown with Sledge. Danhausen got between them and eventually headed to the back with PCO… The broadcast team wrapped up the free portion of the show…
Powell’s POV: This was chaotic and even sloppy at times, and the production team had a tough time keeping up, but it was still entertaining and the live crowd seemed to enjoy it.
ROH Best in the World Main Card
A Best in the World video package aired… Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in on commentary…
3. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. PJ Black and Brian Johnson. Johnson came out with a mic in hand and pumped up the crowd for a moment before turning on them. Johnson insulted the fan in the Liger costume, Cary Silkin, and the Briscoes and their family.
Johnson barked at Jay roughly five minutes into the match and they traded punches. Jay got the better of it. Mark set up for Redneck Boogie, but Black broke it up. Jay accidentally hit Mark. Riccaboni said it would be a true test for the Briscoes to see if they could get past this. They set up for their Doomsday finisher on Johnson, but Black broke it up.
Black and Johnson isolated Jay. Black hit a nice springboard flip dive on Jay for a near fall. Mark roughed up both opponents and performed a Blockbuster from the apron on Black, then performed the Cactus Jack elbow on Johnson. Back inside the ring, Jay clotheslined Black and hit him with a Jay Driller. Mark performed a top rope elbow drop on Black, then Jay covered him for the win…
Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated PJ Black and Brian Johnson in 8:10.
Powell’s POV: Fans who grumble about the lack of rule enforcement of AEW tag team matches would not be fans of this match. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining Briscoes style match and they gave up some offense to Johnson and Black before going over. The only thing surprising about the outcome is that Black took the pin for his team.
4. EC3 vs. Flip Gordon. Gordon didn’t get much of a reaction during his entrance. EC3 was jacked and Riccaboni gushed over his physique on commentary. The referee called for the Code of Honor. EC3 offered his hand, and Gordon accepted, then immediately applied a headlock to start the match. Gordon chop blocked EC3’s knee and targeted it. Late in the match, EC3 performed a butterfly style piledriver and then applied a submission hold for the win.
EC3 beat Flip Gordon in 11:15.
After the match, EC3 offered a handshake, but Gordon slapped his face. EC3 offered his hand again and took another slap from Gordon. EC3 offered his hand a third time, which led to a loud “one more time” chant. Gordon spat in EC3’s face and left the ring…
Powell’s POV: Gordon taking a submission loss is the perfect way to build up Gordon for his ROH Championship match next month! Wait, what? Anyway, it was a well worked match, but the live crowd was noticeably quiet compared to the first three matches. Flip Gordon continues to feel miscast as a heel. He has a military background, a good look, and a flashy moveset. So why is he a heel? I’ve never understood it. Imagine what the crowd reaction to this match would have been if EC3 were playing his elitist heel character to Gordon’s babyface persona. EC3’s “Control Your Narrative” gimmick was initially intriguing, but it doesn’t seem like there’s anything more to it.
5. Shane Taylor, Moses, and Kaun (w/O’Shay Edwards) vs. Dalton Castle, Dak Draper, and Eli Isom for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Castle made his entrance with a group of Boys (but not the real Boys). The teams adhered to the Code of Honor. Castle was over the top in playing to the fans on the barricade, and then once he returned to the ring. Taylor blasted him with a punch. Castle tagged out.
Later, Castle and Isom ended up bickering. Isom shoved Castle down, then Draper shoved Isom to the mat. Moses worked over Draper, then flipped over the ropes and performed a senton splash onto Castle and Isom from the apron in a fun spot that got a rise out of the crowd. Draper showed off his strength by performing a Colorado Stampede on Moses, who wasn’t the legal man, so the referee didn’t count the pin.
Taylor worked over Draper and had him pinned, but Isom broke it up and rolled Draper to ringside. Isom powered up Taylor onto his shoulders and slammed him down. Isom played to the crowd while Riccaboni screamed at him to go for the cover. Isom went to the ropes, but Castle climbed up with him. Isom shoved Castle away.
Kaun cut off Isom and slammed him into the ring. Castle suplexed Kaun. Moses took out Castle. Draper took out Moses. Taylor blasted Draper with a knee to the head and then performed Welcome to The Land on Draper and pinned him…
Shane Taylor, Moses, and Kaun defeated Dalton Castle, Dak Draper, and Eli Isom in 10:50 to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: I don’t understand why the Isom and Draper characters agreed to team with Castle, who has interfered in two of their matches and low-blowed both men. There was no explanation on the weekly television show, but maybe something played out in an online video? If nothing else, at least Castle and Isom had issues during the match weren’t magically on the same page. The right team went over.
An ad aired for Honor Pals pillow toys. After the ad, Riccaboni and Coleman were smashing two toys together while pretending to bicker about who would win the main event…
6. Josh Woods vs. Silas Young in a Last Man Standing match. Young made his entrance first and was attacked from behind by Woods, which apparently was the start of the match. Young got some offense in. Woods eventually picked him up at ringside and ran him groin first into the ring post. Young got up to beat the referee’s count.
Back inside the ring, Woods worked over Young and hit him with a high knee in the corner. Young came right back by driving Woods through a table that was set up in a corner of the ring. Woods rallied and put Young in a submission hold. Young was hanging over the apron and tapped repeatedly, but there are no submissions in this type of match. Woods released the hold and Young fell to ringside.
Woods followed Young to the floor and set up two tables side by side. The fans booed because they thought he was going to stack one one top of the other. Woods grabbed Young from behind and Young kicked him below the belt. Young charged at Woods, who was seated on a chair. Woods caught him and slammed him into a ladder that was leaning against the ring.
Woods pulled a bunch of chairs out from underneath the ring and tossed them inside the ring. Woods rolled Young back inside the ring and followed, but Young drove him into the corner and hit him with several shoulder blocks. Young slammed a chair over Woods’ back and then suplexed him. Young performed a variation of his Misery finisher onto some of the chairs. Woods rolled to the floor and landed on his feet to break the ref’s count.
Woods and Young traded punches on the apron. Young got the better of it, but Woods regrouped and performed a belly to back suplex that put Young through the two tables on the floor. A “holy shit” chant broke out. Woods got to his feet while Young was still down when the ref’s count reached ten…
Josh Woods beat Silas Young in 13:45 in a Last Man Standing match.
Powell’s POV: Hard work from both men in what was essentially a hardcore I Quit match. This was another case of the right guy going over. This really should be the end of the feud and Woods should move on to bigger and better things.
Highlights aired from the pre-show of the Matt Taven and Vincent angle…
Backstage, Quinn McKay entered Matt Taven’s dressing room where he was selling his injuries from the Vincent angle. She asked if he was sure he wanted to face Vincent in a cage match. Taven said he wants the match more than anything. He thought it was going to be the worst day of his life, but he’s getting what he wants. Taven promised to leave Vincent with scars that will last the rest of his life…
7. Brody King vs. Jay Lethal. King made his entrance to one of his band’s songs. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Lethal wore his new singlet and lowered the straps to start. Lethal picked up an early near fall. King rolled to ringside. Lethal performed a suicide dive and then followed up with three more.
King returned to the ring and backdropped Lethal over the top rope to the floor. King took offensive control. Back at ringside, Lethal ended up on a chair next to the barricade. King got a running start and splashed him. Back inside the ring, King hit a pair of Gonzo Bombs and scored the clean pin…
Brody King beat Jay Lethal in 10:45.
After the match, Tracy Williams entered the ring and checked on Lethal. King reached down and shook Lethal’s hand while he was still out, then left the ring. Trainers checked on Lethal…
Powell’s POV: I was actually hoping that King would squash Lethal in a brief match to shock viewers, but they accomplished what they needed to by putting him over strong. Lethal has done a fair amount of jobs lately to help elevate others, but it still packs a punch for King to beat him as decisively as he did. This is also good for Lethal in the sense that it gives him something to battle back from (and hopefully he’ll ditch what looks like an old man singlet when the time is right). Well done.
A video package set up the ROH Pure Championship match…
8. Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bennett for the ROH Pure Championship. A graphic noted that Bennett is 6-1 in his last seven matches and that he beat Gresham in a tag match in a previous meeting. Cary Silkin sat in on commentary. There were dueling chants for the wrestlers with the Gresham side winning out. Bennett forced Gresham to use one of his three rope breaks by using an armbar just under three minutes into the match.
Gresham went after Bennett’s left arm and forced Bennett to use his first rope break just before the eight minute mark. Bennett caught Gresham at ringside, but Gresham put him in a Kimura lock. Bennett tapped, but it didn’t count on the floor. Gresham maintained the hold as they walked around the ring and reentered the ring, but the referee forced Gresham to break the hold and counted it as Bennett’s second rope break.
Bennett caught Gresham in an arm lock, which led to Gresham using his second rope break at the ten minute mark. Bennett hit a Death Valley Driver for a two count, then applied another arm lock. Gresham escaped by rolling into a pin for a one count, then got up and ate a clothesline. Bennett set up for a piledriver, but he ended up selling his arm. Bennett regrouped and tried again, but Gresham powered into a backdrop to avoid it.
Gresham threw an enzuigiri kick and then got up and ate another clothesline that led to a two count for Bennett. Gresham came back with a La Magistral for a near fall. Gresham performed a flashy sequence of offense and got a two count, then blasted Bennett with a knee. Bennett ended up using his final rope break. A short time later, Gresham went for a springboard move and was caught with a superkick. Bennett followed up with a couple of near falls and was then hooked into a pin for a two count.
Gresham caught Bennett in a Crossface. Bennett reached for the ropes even though he was out of rope breaks. Bennett got to his feet and Gresham put him in a sleeper, which Bennett broke by running across the ring and doing a rolling senton into the corner. Bennett followed up with a clothesline, powerbomb, and a piledriver and scored the pin.
The referee called off the pin while ruling that Grehsam’s foot was under the bottom rope. This was Gresham’s final rope break. Gresham ended up hooking Bennett into a leg lock and got the submission win.
Jonathan Gresham defeated Mike Bennett in 19:21 to retain the Pure Rules Championship.
Gresham and Bennett shook hands after the match…
Powell’s POV: My favorite match of the night. I’m not sure if the live crowd agreed with me because they were fairly subdued during the match. I bit on the false finish, though some of that could be having a laptop in front of me while watching the show. The story seems to be that Bennett earned the respect of Gresham. It will be interesting to see if Bennett accepts the false finish or if that leads to him turning to turn this into a program rather than just a one-off.
Quinn McKay hosted an ROH merch ad… Kenny King joined the broadcast team. Riccaboni cut him off and said he understood that there was another change in the ROH Tag Title match…
Backstage, Rhett Titus told Jonathan Gresham that Jay Lethal was injured and could not wrestle in the tag title match. He asked Gresham to team with him. They acted like the tag title match was happening now, but then entrances for the ROH TV Title match took place…
9. Tony Deppen vs. Dragon Lee (w/Bestia Del Ring) for the ROH TV Title. Kenny King was on commentary. Deppen performed an early suicide dive leap into a Destroyer on Lee at ringside. Wow. Back inside the ring, Lee came right back with a dropkick on a seated Deppen in the corner. Lee tied up Deppen in the ropes and then performed a top rope double stomp onto him.
Deppen and Lee took turns no-selling German suplexes. Eventually, Deppen turned Lee inside out with a clothesline, which popped the crowd and elicited a “this is awesome” chant. A short time later, Lee suplexed Deppen on his head and he sold this one. Lee blasted Deppen with a running knee and pinned him clean…
Dragon Lee beat Tony Deppen in 10:10 to win the ROH TV Title.
After the match, King and Del Ring joined Lee in celebration. Homicide and Chris Dickinson ran out to protect Deppen. Jonathan Gresham and Rhett Titus ran out and started the tag title match…
Powell’s POV: There were some wild spots in that match. I’m not a big fan of no-selling German suplexes, but the live crowd definitely popped for it. Lee regained the title back that he never lost. I don’t know if the quick entrances for the tag match were planned or done impromptu style to save time.
10. Jonathan Gresham and Rhett Titus vs. Chris Dickinson and Homicide in a Fight Without Honor for the ROH Tag Titles. Chairs were quickly introduced and Titus performed a couple of moves that drove Homicide face first onto a chair inside the ring. At ringside, Titus ended up performing a falcon arrow that drove Homicide through a table.
In the ring, Dickinson suplexed Gresham and covered him for a one count. Dickinson choked Gresham with his t-shirt. Later, Titus performed a belly to belly suplex with a chair behind Homicide and picked up a near fall. Gresham put Homicide in a an Octopus hold and pounded on him, but Dickinson picked up Titus and threw him into both men to break the hold.
Dickinson held Gresham while Homicide performed a running dropkick (that missed by six inches). Dickinson put Gresham in a chinlock. Homicide slid a table inside the ring and then picked up a fork and yelled that he was going to cut “this motherf—er.” Homicide was going to jab Gresham with, but Titus stopped him and suplexed him. Titus dropkicked Dickinson to break the hold he had on Gresham.
Moments later, Dickinson performed a Razor’s Edge from the second rope that put Titus through a table in the ring. Homicide hit the Gringo Killer on Gresham and pinned him to win the titles…
Homicide and Chris Dickinson defeated Jonathan Gresham and Rhett Titus in 11:45 in a Fight Without Honor to win the ROH Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Everyone involved worked very hard and took a lot of punishment. I was especially surprised to see Homicide taking some of the bumps that he did at this point in his career. The title change was good in terms of moving the tag titles to a Violence Unlimited team after Deppen dropped the ROH TV Title. Plus, Gresham has an obvious out for losing having worked earlier in the show.
An Honor Pals ad aired with The Briscoes and a punch of kids inside the ring on their farm… Quinn McKay hyped the ROH Week By Week online show… Brody King was featured in a merch ad…
Maria Kanellis stood on the stage and introduced Lenny Leonard. They stood next to the ROH Women’s Championship belt and unveiled the tournament brackets. They noted that Vita VonStarr was out due to her actions.
“Hot Mess” Chelsea Green made her entrance with a cast o her left arm. “So this is what freedom looks like, huh?” Green said. She announced that she is in Ring of Honor. She said she spent two and a half years being deemed unworthy while waiting for opportunity after opportunity.
Green said she was going to do things differently by coming after everything they said she couldn’t have. She said she came to win the title with a broken arm and all. Green said the Maryland State Athletic Commission deemed her unfit to compete. Green said she was going to sit at ringside and watch every match while studying all of the women.
Green said she would show the world what she can do once she’s healthy. Green told Maria to start the clock. She said she didn’t need to wait 90 days. She said the cast would come off in one month and she would take ROH to the forefront of women’s wrestling…
Powell’s POV: A nice surprise for ROH. I could do without the cliche “I was wronged by WWE” promo that we’ve all heard a million times, but she is a really good get for the ROH women’s division.
A video package set up the ROH World Championship match…
11. Rush vs. Bandido for the ROH World Championship. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The bell rang and Rush attacked Bandido and hit him with his Bull’s Horns finisher in the corner. Rush teased pinning him, but he opted against doing so. Rush took Bandido to ringside and choked him with a cord at one point before eventually rolling him back inside the ring. “Enjoy me,” Rush told the fans at ringside. Rush continued to dominate Bandido and worked him over at ringside again. Rush threw Bandido inside the ring and then played to the fans. When Rush turned around, Bandido dove onto him for his first offensive move.
Bandido followed up with a corkscrew dive over the top rope onto Rush at ringside again. Bandido rolled Rush back inside the ring and then went up top and performed a shooting star press for a near fall. A short time later, there was an awkward spot where Rush appeared to have Bandido covered for a three count, but the referee stopped counting. The fans weren’t all over the ref about it, so it’s possible that something was missed due to the camera angle.
Rush sent Bandido to ringside and performed a flip dive onto him. Rush set up a pair of tables next to one another at ringside. Rush set up for a move on the apron that Bandido blocked. Bandido superkicked Rush and then backed up and got a running start. Rush appeared to suplex him and both men crashed through the tables for a “holy shit” chant. The broadcast team acted like Bandido put Rush through the table, but Riccaboni added that he didn’t know who got the better of it. Rush returned to the ring. Bandido returned after the referee’s count reached nineteen.
Rush and Bandido took turns no-selling suplexes (why is that a thing tonight?). After some back and forth, Rush knocked Bandido down with a superkick and both men remained on the mat for a bit. A short time later, Bandido hit his 21 Plex finisher for a near fall. Coleman said he’s never seen anyone kick out of the 21 Plex. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Bandido charged Rush, who gave him an overhead suplex into the corner. Rush ripped at the mask off Bandido and tore it. Bandido hooked Rush in a pin and got the three count.
Bandido defeated Rush in 16:00 to win the ROH World Championship.
After the match, Rush tossed referee Todd Sinclair out of the ring. Bandido looked into the camera and said he’s the champion. Kenny King, Dragon Lee, and Bestia Del Ring ran out and attacked Bandido. Rush hit Bandido with the ROH World Championship belt and then draped it over him. The La Faccion Ingobernable members struck their pose while standing over Bandido while Riccaboni rushed to close out the show with roughly a minute left before the top of the hour…
Powell’s POV: I like the idea of going with Bandido as the champion. ROH needs to create new stars and he’s a guy that I’ve been openly begging to see the company do more with. But it felt like they tried too hard to protect Rush by having him kick out of Bandido’s finisher instead of just taking it and losing clean. He also appeared to have his shoulder up when Bandido actually did score the pin, so we’ll see if that becomes part of the story going forward. I also don’t like that the LFI attack deprived viewers of a show-closing feel good celebration to go along with the title change. This should have felt like a huge moment, but instead they rushed to put heat on LFI, which they could have done on the next television show.
Overall, it was a mostly rough first half of the show, but things picked up nicely with King vs. Lethal and the title matches that followed. Throw in the surprise of Chelsea Green appearing and this was a passable show. I will have more to say in my same night audio review coming up shortly for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it and voting for the best match below in our post event polls.