ROH Best in the World 2018 (6/29/2018)- Baltimore, MD
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Kingdom(c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & Sanada)- 5.75/10
FLIP GORDON vs. BULLY RAY- 4/10
Bully came out of the crowd and tried to attack Flip from behind but Flip saw him coming and dominated Bully with a combination of hard strikes and cool high-flying moves and it felt like the babyface getting revenge on the heel in a proper blow-off. Then Bully Ray cut Flip off with this vicious body block and he went up for a Vader Bomb but missed and the match was actually good… and then Flip went for some kind of move and Bully just kicked him in the nuts for the DQ.
THIS IS A F*CKING PAY-PER-VIEW! I did not spend months watching Bully come out and hit people in the nuts on basically every show for the past two and a half months just to see it happen again on a PPV.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Bully starts to destroy Flip Gordon with weapons. Cheeseburger and a jobber named Eli Isum tried to make the save but got destroyed, too. Finally Colt Cabana got off of his ass and actually made the save for someone instead of just saying “someone has to stop this guy!” every show and just watching it happen.
Ian Riccaboni made a tearful plea to Joe Koff to please do something about Bully Ray. Dude… Joe Koff clearly doesn’t give a sh*t. If he did, he would have done something about this at some point in the past three months. Bully threatened to not only get the biggest show in ROH history shut down by the state athletic commission but also to MURDER CHEESEBURGER right in front of Joe Koff- who Bully also insulted many times- and Joe Koff didn’t do a damn thing about it.
MAYU IWATANI, TENILLE DASHWOOD, SUMIE SAKAI, & JENNY ROSE vs. KELLY KLEIN & ODEO TAI (Hana Kimura, Kagtetsu, & Hazuki)- 7/10
The idea of starting off with champion vs. champion was cool, but the problem is that… well… the Women of Honor Champion isn’t anyone cool. It’s just Sumie Sakai. Her work with Kagetsu was smooth but she doesn’t feel like anything close to being a star. As if someone decided we need a physical manifestation of the whole problem with Sumie Sakai as champion, Kagestu tagged in Hana Kimura, who got in the ring and was now face-to-face with the woman who is not just the Women of Honor Champion but also the woman who scored an upset victory over her in the first round of the tournament to crown the first Women of Honor Champion… and brushed right past her and demanded to wrestle F.K.A. Emma instead.
The match continued from there in a back-and-forth fashion. The joshis looked great, Tenille looked great, Kelly Klein looked great, Sumie was fine when she was selling but otherwise looked totally outclassed, and Jenny Rose… may have just walked to the back at some point. I remember her throwing one clothesline and that is literally all I remember her doing. I’d love to see the STARDOM ladies come back, either for singles matches or bringing along some of their coworkers for more great tag matches like this one. Just so long as the tag matches aren’t on PPV.
KENNY KING vs. AUSTIN ARIES- 7.25/10
These guys told a very good story- both with the issue of friendship and Aries working over Kenny’s neck), had some great false finished, and even shocked the world by giving us a clean finish. The finish (Aries had convinced Kenny not to hit him with his finisher on the outside by appealing to their friendship, but then didn’t return the favor later, and Aries was able to capitalize on that damage to get the win) even sets up for another match, hopefully after Aries loses the TNA World Heavyweight Title so Kenny can get his win back and go over in the end and use the big win over Aries to get to the next level.
JAY LETHAL vs. KUSHIDA- 8.25/10
KUSHIDA refused the handshake at the beginning of the match. Not cool, dude. Speaking of things that aren’t cool, can the announcers please stop reading people’s inane prattle off of Twitter?
Lethal worked KUSHIDA’s leg while KUSHIDA worked Lethal’s arm, but KUSHIDA’s heelishness gave this match a nasty little edge to it that really helped. KUSHIDA’s selling could have been better, but Cabana at least tried to cover for him. The last few minutes of this match were AWESOME!
STREET FIGHT FOR THE ROH TV TITLE: Punishment Martinez(c) vs. Adam Page- 8.25/10
These two guys have never not delivered in weapons matches, it should be no surprise that they delivered together in a brutal no DQs match. Martinez fell down in a very goofy manner on the finish, like he was purposely trying to make sure his own shoulders were down as well and I was horrified that we were about to get some sort of bullsh*t double-pin finish even though Martinez had just chokeslammed Page through a table and Page had done nothing to Martinez, but Tod Sinclair didn’t make anything of it and Bobby Cruise just announced Martinez as the winner. Former champion Silas Young joined Colt and Ian on commentary, and was very good.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Briscoes(c) vs. The Young Bucks- 8.75/10
This is probably the best match these two teams have ever had together. It rocked. It was an excellent clash of personalities, plus your expected MOVEZ plus some excellent babyface vs. heel stuff, culminating in all of the Briscoes’ cheating at the end.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- odd
The Briscoes attacked the Bucks after the match. SoCal Uncensored came out and it looked like they were going to join in on the beat-down but, after teasing attacking the Bucks, they attacked the Briscoes instead. This sounds like a Russo swerve, but there are storyline explanations for why they would do this, and the tease of attacking the Bucks was clearly to get the Briscoes’ guard down.
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Dalton Castle(c) (w/the Boys) vs. Marty Scurll vs. Cody Rhodes (w/Brandi Rhodes & Bernard the Business Bear)- 7/10
The bear was immediately sent away from ringside, making me quite happy. At some point later, Nick Aldis materialized in a chair at the table with Bobby Cruise and Cary Silkin. That made me very much not happy, because I knew it meant we were going to get some pointless overbooking… and get it we did. It hurt the match, but thankfully not too much. The story they told was mostly about Marty and Cody and I did like it, but so much of this Bullet Club crap hasn’t actually changed the status quo that I have no doubt that they’ll just go back to being friends again afterwards. After giving the main events TONS of time on the previous two big shows, Delirious reverted to his old habits for this one, giving this main event only about fourteen minutes. Between that and the overbooking, I’m thankful these guys were able to plan out such an exciting final few minutes that we were still able to get something that at least hits my minimum requirement for a main event (though I do like to see more out of ROH).
This was an awesome show from ROH. It was one of the best shows they have put on over the past few years, and almost certainly the best PPV they’ve had since Final Battle 2016, if not longer. This was the first PPV in a very long time that felt Delirious did a good job of timing the matches out, and if you had done the Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon match at tomorrow night’s TV tapings instead and gave that time to the main event, I would have said it was probably the best timing job in ROH live PPV history other than maybe the first live PPV. Hopefully we get a lot more PPVs like this in the future. Check this show out.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Ian Riccaboni tried to draw a contrast between the way Bully Ray has been bullying the younger wrestlers and the conduct of other veterans, saying “We have guys in the locker room like Christopher Daniels, we have guys like Frankie Kazarian, like Cody, who take young guys like Flip Gordon and try and guide them.”
Not only have we never once seen any of this on screen- with Flip or any other youngster- but everything we’ve seen on screen has been the exact opposite of this, as all three of the men Ian named have been heels for years, Ian and Kevin Kelly used to constantly accuse Daniels & Kazarian of picking on Cheeseburger, and IN JUST THE PAST SIX MONTHS, ALL THREE OF THE MEN IAN NAMED HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ANGLES WHERE THEY WERE PICKING ON FLIP! In fact, in the combined fourteen and a half years the these three have been in ROH, the closest we have EVER seen to ANY of them giving guidance to ANY young wrestler, was the few months in 2002 where Christopher Daniels convinced a then seventeen-year-old Mark Briscoe to join the Prophecy, during which even Daniels flat out admitted that he was more interested in controlling Mark than helping him.
Meanwhile, ROH has actually had a stable in the past few years that was about veterans trying to help young guys that Ian could have brought up. It was called Search & Destroy, one of the youngsters (Gresham) and both of the veterans involved (MCMG) are still on the roster. But of course Ian didn’t even think of them, and why should he? It’s not like he called every single one of their matches, including a big match at this very PPV one year ago or something.
I am continually flabbergasted that Ian Riccaboni has not been replaced yet. When you listen to promotions like PROGRESS, wXw, every single one of the WWN promotions, Defiant, CHIKARA, etc. the announcers are able to call up results and the histories of factions and stuff like that without any problem, but Ian Riccaboni can’t even remember sh*t he himself has called! I don’t know if he just has zero memory or he doesn’t put any preparation into his announcing (research, etc.) but if you want to feel like a big-league wrestling promotion, you can’t have an announcer who constantly gets dates, histories, and storylines wrong.
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