Pre-Show: Rush def. Flip Gordon
While I was slightly disappointed this was relegated to the pre-show, it ended up being an absolute blast, as expected. Rush has been killing it since coming to Ring of Honor while Gordon can always be counted on for a superb performance. Of course, Rush going over and keeping his undefeated streak intact was the right call and Gordon didn't lose a lot in defeat (especially considering what would happen with him later in the show).
PRe-Show: NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis Revealed Eli Drake as His Partner Against The Briscoes
Colt Cabana was originally supposed to team with Aldis on this show but had to pull out due to an injury. I was genuinely curious who Aldis would name as his partner instead and I liked the tease of it being James Storm since Storm recently neglected to help Aldis against The Briscoes recently on ROH TV. Instead, it was Eli Drake, who is fresh off his firing from IMPACT. I've always been super high on his work and am stoked he has signed with NWA. He cut a strong promo here that served its purpose in selling viewers on the pay-per-view.
Dalton Castle def. Dragon Lee
The only story this had going into the event was that Lee is the brother of Rush, who beat Castle in under 20 seconds at G1 Supercard. Based off Castle's mannerisms in this match, it looks like they're building toward a rematch, which I'd definitely be down for. I think that can be entertaining if given time. This was easily Castle's best singles showing in many months and he finally seems to be finding his footing as a heel. Of course, it helped he had an excellent opponent in Lee, but Castle was back to his old self for the most part and delivered.
The Allure def. WOH World Champion Kelly Klein and Jenny Rose
The Allure are not that very good in the ring, which should surprise no one. And that was without Velvet Sky involved, so imagine how much worse this would have been if she was in there. Props to Klein and Rose for holding this thing together to the best of their ability, but this was a significant step down from the above-average matches we've been getting from the women on ROH pay-per-view over the past year. Angelina Love pinning Klein for the victory made sense as it sets her up for an eventual title shot. Maria Manic's post-match debut also came off really well.
Kenny King def. JAy LEthal in Match #3 in Their Best of Three Series
Between King dominating this Best of Three Series so far and Lethal being advertised for a ROH World Championship match at the New York City tapings next month, I assumed a Lethal win was virtually guaranteed here. However, we didn't get that and I was pleasantly surprised. This was their best outing against each other to date and King specifically shined. He needed the momentum boost more than Lethal and I'm hoping he can take this to the ROH World title picture in the near future. It'll be interesting to see what's next for Lethal now that he has endured another notable loss.
Jonathan Gresham def. Silas Young in a Pure Rules Match
I guess ROH has held matches with "pure rules" before, but I had never heard of such a stipulation until this show. I think it's a cool concept and it was fitting for this feud, but the crowd largely sat on their hands for it until Gresham hit Young with the low blow. I'm not sure what they were going for with that. Maybe Gresham was trying to get even with Young after all the times Young cheated to beat him, but Young didn't attempt to resort to dirty tactics during this bout, so Gresham's nut shot elicited a heel reaction from the crowd and rightfully so. It's possible Gresham is headed for a heel turn, but I don't believe he is. If not, what a weird finish for this matchup.
NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis and Eli Drake vs. The Briscoes Ended in a Double Count-Out
Despite Drake being a Maryland native (and getting a babyface reaction on the pre-show), the crowd was solidly behind The Briscoes during this match. That was an issue seeing as how they were portrayed as the enemy to the NWA leading up to this pay-per-view. Thus, the dynamic was off, but the actual wrestling was decent. I hated the double count-out because it came across as anticlimactic, but it's obvious the feud is far from over based off how The Briscoes put Aldis through a table afterward.
ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor def. Bandido
These two clashed on an episode of ROH TV a month or two ago and their in-ring chemistry was terrific even then, so I knew this was going to be a ton of fun. Sure enough, they went out there and stole the show. Taylor has come a long way in the past two years and I'm looking forward to what of the rest of his reign will bring. Bandido, on the other hand, looked credible before losing and had yet another outstanding performance. This was stellar stuff all around.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises def. Lifeblood and PJ Black
I thought it was odd that this was positioned right before the main event, but it wasn't the filler match I figured it would be. Rather, it was an all-out war between the two trios with plenty of exhilarating action, cool counters and a hot crowd. I was shocked they got as much time as they did, but they definitely made the most of it. As for the post-match angle, it reminded me of when Marty Scurll was introduced as the newest member of Bullet Club in May 2017, replacing Adam Cole. This time, it was Gordon teasing joining Lifeblood only to turn on them and join Villain Enterprises instead. Lifeblood is really struggling to get back on track these days after losing Juice Robinson to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, David Finlay to an injury and Tenille Dashwood to free agency. Plus, they got their asses handed to them again here by Villain Enterprises as well as Bully Ray and Soldiers of Savagery. Poor guys.
ROH World Champion Matt Taven def. Jeff Cobb
Cobb has been undefeated since his arrival in ROH and he actually said in a recent interview that he was hoping to contend for the ROH World Championship while still ROH World Television Champion a la Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6 (which would have been awesome). I was excited to see what these guys could do together, but it wound up being a glorified television main event. Because other matches ran long, this was cut short for time and it felt like they rushed to the finish. Everything beforehand was serviceable but far from pay-per-view main event worthy. Of all the times The Kingdom has interfered to help Taven retain his title, I honestly wish it would have happened here to protect Cobb. Taven somewhat benefits from handing Cobb his first pinfall loss in ROH, but I believe it hurts Cobb more. I realize Taven hasn't reached the three month mark as champion yet, but it would have been a smart idea to change the title here and freshen things up.
I figured Best in the World would be loaded with top-notch wrestling, and in that sense, it was a quality show. Unfortunately, the underwhelming main event left a sour taste in my mouth and hammered home how ROH is still struggling to recover from losing The Elite late last year. It's an enjoyable product, but there's no denying that it has very little buzz at the moment. Nevertheless, the three hours were worthwhile, and although no titles changed hands, Drake debuting as NWA's newest roster member and Gordon joining Villain Enterprises were two newsworthy moments. As far as matches go, I'd recommend checking out Taylor vs. Bandido, the six-man tag title clash, and Lethal vs. King.
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