By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kyle O'Reilly def. Kamaitachi
Kamaitachi's name sounded familiar to me for some reason, and then I realized I watched him wrestle live and even met him just last month at a Northeast Wrestling event. Other than that one interaction, though, I know nothing about the guy aside from him being an excellent athlete because he wasn't established at all on ROH programming. He meshed well with O'Reilly and they produced a very good opening pay-per-view opener despite not having any storyline support behind it. By the way, and maybe I missed something, but at what point did O'Reilly earn another shot at the ROH World Championship? I don't ever recall that being mentioned on ROH TV in recent weeks.
ACH def. Silas Young
I really like the premise of this program with it being a clash of generations. As characters, ACH and Young are polar opposites similar to how Young and Dalton Caste were, and that was a fantastic feud. The crowd was quiet for a majority of the match, but I blame that more on a lousy atmosphere/audience than the workrate of the wrestlers. They told a different story than the previous match with ACH refusing to give in to Young's punishment, but it was befitting of the feud. Hopefully ROH will capitalize off ACH's big win here by continuing to push him as a singles star going forward.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Mark Briscoe def. Roderick Strong
With his head shaved, Mark looks almost identical to his brother Jay. That said, it's a cool change of pace for him. Kevin Kelly played up their storied history on commentary, but the match simply didn't have that "big fight feel" to it (perhaps due to a lack of consistent build). It was a competitive wrestling match based on respect, but with nothing at stake, it didn't come across as a meaningful match outside it being one of Strong's final ROH matches. Of course, it was logical for Strong to do the honors on his way out. He's a hell of a hand in the ring and I'm anticipating what's next for him, hopefully NXT.
The Bullet Club def. Moose and War Machine
Have Moose and War Machine been all that involved with Bullet Club lately? This was more of a showcase for Bullet Club than anything else, not that I'm complaining because they're always entertaining. I'm actually glad they didn't kick off the show with this match because it was a total spotfest and that is typically the type of match ROH puts in the opening slot more often than not. The Bullet Club going over the makeshift trio was a no-brainer, but Moose eating the pinfall loss was intriguing. He is reportedly leaving ROH in the near future as well, so that could have played a factor in the finish. Similar to Strong, Moose would be an excellent addition to the NXT roster.
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction def. The Motor City Machine Guns
These two teams have always had great chemistry together and this was another enjoyable encounter from them. Once again, the crowd wasn't entirely engaged in the action, but the effort was unquestionably there. Sadly, the finish was lousy. It looks like Kamaitachi will be forming some sort of an alliance with The Addiction, but why? Heels cheating to retaining their titles is nothing new, but that interference came completely out of nowhere. On the bright side, I was glad the straps were kept on Addiction because their reign is just getting underway.
BJ Whitmer def. Steve Corino in an Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor
At this stage in their respective careers, I don't know if Whitmer and Corino are even capable of contesting a real wrestling match, so the extreme hardcore stipulation worked to their strengths, especially in Corino's case. They had a bloody brawl where the crowd was the hottest it had been all night. I'm not usually one for these kind of matches, but this long-running rivalry was deserving of a big payoff and this was exactly that. Also, when was this "Prince of Darkness" character introduced in the storyline? Because I can't remember them bringing that up at all, or at least not in a while. Thus, I didn't understand Kevin Sullivan's involvement in this match, but it was certainly surprising to see him. I can't blame ROH for having Whiter win against Corino given he is the active competitor and Corino isn't, but please let this be the end of the rivalry, regardless.
ROH World Television Champion Bobby Fish def. Dalton Castle
This was one instance where I understood why the crowd was so silent. Castle is obviously a beloved babyface, but what is Fish? The last time I checked, he was a face, but there hasn't been a clear indication of what he is supposed to be in this feud. The dynamic of this match was definitely off was a result and the crowd didn't have an incentive to cheer one guy over the other. Furthermore, it never felt like it left first gear before the abrupt finish. I appreciated Castle being protected in defeat via the roll-up, but this was fairly underwhelming.
The Cabinet Addressed the Audience
Is it just me or has All Night Express been a bust since they returned to Ring of Honor? Turning heel was the best thing for them, but they have yet to click with the masses. This "Make Wrestling Great Again" shtick already feels played out and I don't know what Caprice Coleman brings to the act. The Cabinet is unoriginal given JBL and company used the same faction name a decade ago, not to mention this was the worst possible time to hold the segment so late in the show and right before the main event.
ROH Champion Jay Lethal def. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Jay Briscoe
Had ROH done a better job of building up Briscoe and this blockbuster rematch over the last year, this match might have had more of an epic feel to it than it did. But nevertheless, their second match was equally amazing as their first with plenty of suspenseful nearfalls down the stretch and some stellar storytelling based off certain spots from last year's encounter. My only gripe with the match is that I would have loved to have seen it last longer. Was that Cabinet segment necessary? Lethal retains the title yet again as he should have, and I'm interested to see who will be next up to challenge him for the championship.
My excitement for the event wasn't at an all-time high because I wasn't even sure of half the card going in, but it was still a solid three hours of wrestling. Disregarding the awful Cabinet segment, everything was good for the most part, but it was the Fight Without Honor and main event matches that stole the show in my opinion and made it a worthwhile pay-per-view. Meanwhile, Best in the World could have benefited from setting up future feuds in order to give viewers something to look forward to in the weeks to come.
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