By Graham "GSM" Matthews
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito def. Moose (Non-title)
The commentators were right on when they mentioned how far Moose has come in the ring since his debut two years ago. I remember watching his debut at the 2014 Best in the World pay-per-view and thinking he was green as grass. He truly has improved immensely and that showed in his impressive outing versus Naito. To have a strong showing against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion speaks volumes, and he came out of this contest looking excellent. Naito was awesome per usual and scored the win as he should have, but Ring of Honor will be losing a major player if Moose decides to sign with WWE once his contract expires soon.
All Night Express def. Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Cheeseburger
Cheeseburger was always the fun underutilized enhancement talent in ROH, so it's cool that he's getting something of a push in the tag team ranks in Japan alongside the seasoned Liger. They make for a delightful duo and produced a good match with All Night Express here. All Night Express are in the midst of a "making wrestling great again" campaign, so it was logical for them to win this match. Liger and Cheeseburger are so beloved that they lost nothing in defeat.
ACH Attacked Silas Young
As I've noted before, I'm happy ROH continues to use Young coming out his fantastic feud with Dalton Castle, and he has transitioned quite nicely into this program with ACH. It actually makes perfect sense from a storyline standpoint with "the real man" going after the face of the new generation. He cut a solid promo here hyping up their match for Best in the World and the crowd popped huge for ACH coming out and taking the fight to him. That should be a blast of a bout at the pending pay-per-view.
Kyle O'Reilly def. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida (Non-title)
I didn't catch their first encounter from last year, so I can't compare this contest to that one, but this was an exceptional match in of itself. Kushida hasn't been positioned as a big deal during his various appearances in ROH, but I loved the story they told with O'Reilly wanting to avenge his loss to him and how it has haunted him ever since. They put on a wrestling clinic, received great time and delivered a fantastic final few minutes. That armbar on the outside was insane! Hopefully O'Reilly can continue to build momentum as a singles star coming off this big victory.
I have been as critical of ROH as anyone when it comes to them not properly promoting their pay-per-views, but that so far hasn't been the case with Best in the World. The past two weeks have been dedicated to building up the card, and although some of the matches didn't have direct implications on that event, they were still very well-wrestled and highly enjoyable. The main event for Best in the World makes zero sense to me because Jay Briscoe hasn't done anything to deserve another title shot, but next week's go-home show featuring The Briscoes, Roderick Strong and Jay Lethal vs. The Bullet Club should be interesting to say the least.
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