Ring of Honor welcomes back its Honor Nation for the first time in well over a year with their Best in the World PPV live from Baltimore, MD at the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena. SlamWrestling.net’s Amos Mina is on task for the PPV report with a stacked 11-match card and 5 ROH title matches.


PRE-SHOW MATCH #1: DEMONIC FLAMITA versus REY HORUS


A great opener between two luchadors that have history together in their time as Mexiblood. Flamita and Horus worked an energetic match that got the crowd going early. Rey Horus walked out victorious, however, Demonic Flamita was not going to leave without one-upping his former faction member as he attacked Horus after the match.

Winner: Rey Horus

Match rating: 2.5/5


PRE-SHOW SEGMENT: KENNY KING


La Facci√≥n Ingobernable’s Kenny King previewed the night for his faction, predicting LFI will leave Baltimore with gold, something he says the Baltimore Ravens know nothing about. This of course did not sit well with the Baltimore crowd and Kenny King left to a chorus of boos.


PRE-SHOW SEGMENT #2: MATT TAVEN


Matt Taven called out Vincent for a one last match where he would be putting his ROH career on the line. However, Vincent does not want Taven’s career to be over just yet. He wants to take Taven’s world title opportunity. At Glory by Honor Night 2, the main event is scheduled to feature Matt Taven versus Vincent in a steel cage match with the winner gaining a future ROH World Title match. After the segment, The Righteous attacked Taven and put him through his set.


PRE-SHOW MATCH #2: PCO and DANHAUSEN versus THE BOUNCERS


During this match, I encountered some technical difficulties during the concluding moments. However, in what I was able to watch, Danhausen was very popular with the Baltimore crowd, with several visible fans decked out in Danhausen facepaint. Big win for the upstart tag team as they get their first victory together and become a new threat in the tag team title mix.

Winners: PCO and Danhausen

Match rating: N/A (Didn’t watch enough, sadly)


PPV MATCH #1: THE BRISCOES versus BRIAN JOHNSON and PJ BLACK 


The Briscoes were very hyped and all-fired up to see the live Baltimore crowd, not too far from their hometown of Sandy Fork, DE. Most of the match saw The Briscoes working Brian Johnson as they traded shots and blows until they attempted a Doomsday Device which PJ Black was able to stop before it was executed. Not too long after, Jay Briscoe was able to regain momentum in favour of ‘Dem Boys’, as he hit the Jay-Driller on Johnson. Mark then hit his signature Froggy Bow to complement Jay’s maneuver and covered Johnson for the win.

Briscoes are definitely crowd favourites and popular with the Honor Nation.

Winners: The Briscoes

Match rating: 2/5


PPV MATCH #2: EC3 versus FLIP GORDON


The man who wants to restore honor in Ring of Honor, EC3, faces off with Flip Gordon in the second match on the show. EC3 controlled the first half of the match with his considerable size advantage over the much smaller, Flip Gordon. However, as the match progressed, Gordon was able to adapt to EC3’s playbook and began to work on his leg. Gordon’s heel antics did not please the Baltimore crowd as he was booed heavily when he would gloat to the fans. Gordon’ constant attack on EC3’s leg definitely began to show as he was visibly worn out from the leg damage.

EC3 pulled through the pain and told Gordon to keep it coming. This show of defiance threw Gordon off his guard as EC3 caught him with a butterfly suplex and followed up with his signature submission hold: The Purpose.

Post match, EC3 attempted to show respect with a handshake to which Gordon replied by slapping him twice and spitting in his face. Very strong match and good execution with the leg work. I enjoyed the flow and progression from bell to bell.

Winner: EC3

Match rating: 3/5


PPV MATCH #3: (C) SHANE TAYLOR PROMOTIONS РKAUN, MOSES, AND SHANE TAYLOR Versus DAK DRAPER, DALTON CASTLE and ELI ISOM РROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP


Early on in the match Shane Taylor Promotions were able to gain the upper hand as the team of Draper, Castle, and Isom were unable to get on the same page as a group. Their inception as a team did not originate in a normal manner, as Castle recruited Draper and Isom after they had a series of matches to which he took a liking to them and could challenge for a title with them by his side. Castle acted as a mouthpiece in the match as he celebrated very early on and tried to hype his teammates up. STP couldn’t care less and continued the beatings throughout the match.

The opposing team of Draper, Castle, and Isom’s differences eventually caught up to them as their arguing ultimately cost them the match. Isom was on the top rope but Castle was there as well. Isom then shoved Castle down after which Kaun hit Isom with a jackhammer off the top rope and Shane Taylor finished the job with his finisher to win the match for his team.

Interesting match with an obvious storyline building here between Isom and Castle as those two are primed to feud in the very near future. Good stuff from Shane Taylor Promotions too.

Winners (And still ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions): Shane Taylor Promotions

Match rating: 2.5/5


PPV MATCH #4: JOSH WOODS versus SILAS YOUNG

LAST MAN STANDING MATCH


Silas Young was first to make his way out to the ring but Josh Woods was ready to get it on ASAP as he attacked him from behind. Young and Woods battled it out at ringside until they made it back to the ring where Young hoisted up Woods into the bottom end of the table that was set up in the corner. The two exchanged shots on their knees and Woods was able to secure in his trademark Gorilla Lock on Young. Young was in visible pain and agony reaching for the ropes but that did no good in this Last Man Standing match.

Woods’ submission was not enough so he turned his attention to using tables to finish the job. The Baltimore crowd wanted tables and they got it. They were a little displeased that Woods did not stack the tables. Not too long after, Young attempted a cannonball on Woods as he was outside but Woods countered with a powerbomb on a ladder. This still was not enough to put Young away for the ten count.

The fan favourite tables came into play when Josh Woods hit a German suplex to send both men through the tables to the fan’s pleasure. Both men looked down and out, but it was Josh Woods who came up on top, standing up before the ten count and securing the victory over his ex-mentor in a very fast-paced battle.

Winner: Josh Woods

Match rating: 2.5/5


PPV MATCH #5: BRODY KING versus JAY LETHAL

Violence Unlimited’s Brody King faces off with The Foundation’s Jay Lethal in this next match. The commentary team kept mentioning how important it would be for King to get a big win over a top ROH talent and former 2-time world champion in Lethal.

King worked Lethal with a plethora of stiff shots and chops early on. Great dynamic here between two contrasting styles in the hard-hitting Brody King and the technical Jay Lethal. Lethal and King battle on the outside, where Lethal hit a number of suicide dives on King, but none were able to take down the behemoth King. King hit a Death valley driver on the ring apron that dazed Lethal as he tossed him back into the ring.

Shortly thereafter, the match spilled back to the outside as King looked to use a steel chair, to which the commentary team said it would not be worth it to disqualify himself in such a high-profile match. Instead, he set Lethal up in the chair for a big crossbody into the padded fan barriers. King then brought him back into the ring, where he hit a clothesline and two Gonzo Bombs to pin the ROH legend, Jay Lethal.

Winner: Brody King

Match rating: 3.5/5


PPV MATCH #6: (C) JONATHAN GRESHAM versus MIKE BENNETT

ROH PURE CHAMPIONSHIP 


Former ROH owner and current ambassador, Cary Silkin is on commentary for this match. Mike Bennett got the upper hand early on, as he was able to secure a London Dungeon, causing Gresham to use one of his 3 rope breaks rather quickly. However, the momentum soon shifted towards Gresham as he chose to isolate Bennett’s shoulder and work on damaging that part of his body. All the shoulder work caused Bennett to also use one of his rope breaks. The match spilled to the outside where Gresham locked in a Kimura on Mike Bennett, however, this was kind of pointless for Gresham as he essentially wore himself out applying a submission in circumstances that won’t give him the victory. But, it was effective in further damaging Bennett’s shoulder.

The match returned to the ring, as Gresham continued to apply the Kimura and Bennett used a second rope break to end the strain on his already damaged shoulder. Bennett was able to secure a second London Dungeon on Gresham as he sort of baited him to use his second rope break. Bennett’s hurt shoulder caught up to him when he attempted a piledriver, but was unsuccessful due to the continued abuse. Gresham was able to counter most of Bennett’s offensive output, including more piledriver attempts.

Towards the end of the match, Bennett used his final rope break and Gresham used his final rope break as he escaped from what the fans and commentary team thought to be the finish, after Bennett hit a trio combination of a power bomb, clothesline, and his signature piledriver. Gresham looked to roll Bennett up for the win, but Bennett resisted by sitting on him. However, the crafty Gresham used this opportunity to lock in an ankle lock for the win.

Winner (And still ROH Pure Champion): Jonathan Gresham

Match rating: 4/5


PPV MATCH #7: (C) TONY DEPPPEN versus DRAGON LEE

ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP 


This match got off to a very fast start as the two men exchanged forearm shots, slaps, and chops. Very similar to the Brody King-Jay Lethal match from earlier in the night. Deppen hit a suicide dive into a flip piledriver on the outside to Dragon Lee. Insane spot here by Deppen and Lee’s head did not look like it was in a comfortable position when it hit the outside floor.

Deppen hit Lee with a forearm to the back of the head to a near fall count of 2. Lee was able to hit his own offence with a running boot to the head of Deppen in the corner. Lee also executed a double footstep to a vulnerable Deppen who was hanging on the apron. The match continued with more stiff exchanges and maneuvers as the momentum was like a teeter-totter between the two wrestlers. Both Deppen and Lee hit their own fair share of German suplexes, until they realized that wasn’t going to finish the job. More forearms and chops later, Dragon Lee hit his Dragon Driver in what seemed to be the finish, but Deppen survived by the skin of his teeth.

Deppen did not look like his was stepping down easy, so he came back with slaps of his own, despite Lee’s constant efforts to take him down. Finally, Lee had enough and set Deppen up for his maneuver, Incinaration, which took Deppen out cold for the 3 count.

Winner (And new ROH World Television Champion): Dragon Lee

Match rating: 4/5


PPV MATCH #8: (C) THE FOUNDATION – JONATHAN GRESHAM and RHETT TITUS versus VIOLENCE UNLIMITED – HOMICIDE and CHRIS DICKINSON – ROH Tag Team Championship Match


I was a little unclear on what this match stipulation was as some called it a Fight without Honor while others did not. The match definitely had no disqualifications and everything seemed to be legal, however, this was not specified by the commentary team. The two teams just went to war, that’s it. Tracy Williams was originally supposed to be in this match for The Foundation, however, the commission did not clear him to wrestle as he was involved in a car accident not too long ago. Jay Lethal was supposed to replace him. He was also very damaged from the beating he took at the hands of Brody King a few matches ago. Hence, Jonathan Gresham is here to pull double-duty for another title match.

This match was extremely fast-paced also as have the last couple matches with Rhett Titus executing a successful falcon arrow through a table on Homicide while he was outside the ring. The two teams were able to bring the action back into the ring where Dickinson and Gresham battled it out. Every man soon involved themselves in the ring after Titus attempted a pinball on Homicide, but Dickinson came in to stop it. All four men were soon down but they all got up and began to engage in a nasty brawl once again.

Tables were brought into the ring, where Dickinson hit a Border Toss on Titus that sent him through a table. Homicide soon followed up his attack on Titus with Da Gringo Killa, which had Titus in no man’s land, as he pinned him for the 3 count.

Winners (And new ROH Tag Team Champions): Violence Unlimited – Homicide & Chris Dickinson

Match rating: 2.5/5


PPV SEGMENT: WOMEN’S DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT BRACKET


The First Lady of ROH, Maria Kanellis-Bennett, is out here to talk about the Women’s Division Championship tournament that begins at the end of the month, playing out through episodes of Ring of Honor TV.

Lenny Leonard is also back in ROH, for the first time in over 12 years, to do commentary for this Women’s tournament. Kanellis-Bennett talks about how Vita cost herself a spot in the tournament, but she had the perfect replacement to join the fray.

Enter “The Hot Mess” Chelsea Green. Green talks about how she’s been clawing at an opportunity to show what she is capable of and even wanted to wrestle in the tournament ASAP. However, she’s been deemed injured and unable to compete. Instead, Green will be closely monitoring the tournament. Chelsea Green put the women in ROH on notice.


PPV MATCH #9: (C) RUSH vs. BANDIDO – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH


Match starts and Rush immediately pounces on Bandido with attacks in the corner, hitting his Running of the Bulls maneuver. Rush attempts a standing pinfall over Bandido, which he quickly retracts, as it looks like he wants to inflict as much damage and hurt on Bandido as possible. Rush is clearly the dominant force early on in the match, as he tosses a helpless Bandido into the padded fan barriers, multiple times.

Rush is not over with the crowd, as some are seen flipping him off and yelling obscenities to the champion. Rush is more than happy to destroy the beloved Bandido in front of this Baltimore crowd. Rush begins attacking Bandido with a steel chair, which is illegal and should warrant a DQ, but referee Todd Sinclair knows this is what Rush wants. Rush has clearly found a target in Bandido’s leg and continues to work on it, much like Flip Gordon did earlier with EC3.

Rush throws him back into the ring, but before he even notices, Bandido comes flying to the outside. The match is now shifting towards Bandido’s favour. Bandido then hit a shooting star press on Rush in the ring, but this only got a 2 count. Bandido is super over with this crowd. They’re roaring. Rush soon gets up and disgustingly grabs at Bandido’s groin.

The match continued to go back and forth between Rush and Bandido, where Rush was also able to get his own high-flying offence in with a flying senton to Bandido on the outside. Rush soon went for tables, which we got a lot of tonight, and set two up seemingly to inflict more damage to his opponent. Nonetheless, Bandido outsmarted Rush and was able to send him and himself through both tables. Both men were visibly incapacitated but they were able to make the count. Bandido hit his signature 21 Plex on Rush, but this also got a 2 count. The fans were livid. This seemed to be it.

Rush got up and ripped the top half of Bandido’s mask, exposing his eyes to the crowd and camera. Rush was not here to play games and he shoved referee Todd Sinclair, when he came to confront him. During this altercation, Bandido once again outsmarted Rush and for the final time, as he rolled him up for the 3 count and the victory. Ring of Honor has a new world champion to finish the PPV!

This celebration for Bandido didn’t even begin, as La Facci√≥n Ingobernable came out to attack the new champion, and they did their signature pose on top of a lifeless Bandido. The commentary says this is the new world Bandido will live in. Kind of a poor way to sell your new champion, but I guess they’re going to play this feud out for a few more matches. Also, I did not necessarily like how this match used a lot of the same elements seen earlier in the night, such as the tables, working the leg, match spilling out to ringside, etc. A bit repetitive if you ask me, which takes away from the match’s unique qualities.

Winner (And new ROH World Champion): Bandido

Match rating: 3/5

 

TOP PHOTO: ROH Best in the World 2021 PPV logo. Photo courtesy of RING OF HONOR.

 

ROH Best in the World
3.5

Summary

The overall show was pretty solid from top to bottom. The first half of the PPV was definitely stronger than the second half, as most of the matches seemed rushed in a sense and a bit repetitive like I mentioned. However, this comes with the 4-ish hour duration of the PPV and pre-show combined, so not every match is going to be a banger. But for what it was, it was enjoyable and there were some decent matches all around. Three title changes to end the night, but I can definitely say the ending was a little lacklustre, with the camera panning out to a shot of their company’s new champion already on the short end of the stick. Gotta make Bandido look like a million bucks sometime in the near future. We’ll see what happens from here.