Ring of Honor: Best in the World 2011

New York City, NY – 6.26.2011

Championship Rundown
ROH World Champion: Eddie Edwards
ROH Television Champion: Christopher Daniels
ROH World Tag Team Champions: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak.

Colt Cabana vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa breas a lock-up on the ropes. Cabana evades some of Ciampa’s punches. He claps Ciampa’s head between his arms. Cabana rolls up Ciampa for two. He trips Ciampa and kicks his hamstring. Ciampa kicks Cabana to the ropes. Cabana grabs his leg, but then gets booted in the side of the head. Cabana comes out of the corner with a Gedo Clutch for two. Cabana steps Prince Nana’s hand. Ciampa hot shots Cabana and dropkicks him in the face for two. Ciampa suplexes Cabana for one. Ciampa stomps on Cabana in the corner. Ciampa delivers a running knee strike for two. Cabana goes for a moonsault, but Ciampa puts his knees up to counter. Cabana snake eyes’ Ciampa and delivers the Flip, Flop and Fly. A flying hip attack gets him two. Ciampa swings Cabana into the ropes and German suplexes him for two. Cabana trips Ciampa into the Billy Goat’s Curse. Ciampa gets the ropes. Ciampa counters the Flying Asshole with a sloppy Project Ciampa 2 for the pin at 7:02. Solid match to kick off the show, though no man did anything out of their ordinary routine. **

Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett

Brutal Bob Evans is in Bennett’s corner. Lethal is all smiles as the fans chant “Randy Savage” at him. Bennett pats Lethal on the face and mocks his Savage shtick. Bennett forearms him in the back. Lethal avoids a leapfrong and chops Bennett. He knocks him down wih a shoulder block, and avoids another leapfrog with a chop. He hip tosses Bennett and then cartwheels into a dropkick. Bennett sends Lethal to the apron. Lethal slingshots into a huracanrana. He dropkicks Bennett to the floor and follows with a suicide dive. The fans chant “you still got it” as if Lethal had ever stopped wrestling, or like he’s not only 26 years old. Evans drops Lethal on the ring frame while Bennett distracts referee Paul Turner. Bennett jumps off the apron with a clothesline. Bennett gets a two count back in the ring. Bennett suplexes Lethal for two. Bennett stretches out Lethal’s back and arms. Lethal avoids a corner attack. He delivers a flying forearm then springboards into a back elbow. Lethal hits a leaping leg lariat for two. Evans catches Lethal on the top rope, allowing Bennett to nail him with a forearm. Bennett superplexes Lethal for two. Bennett misses a flying elbow drop. Lethal delivers a superkick. Lethal hits a flying elbow drop for the pin at 9:42. It’s amazing how much charisma Lethal possesses after his initial ROH reign. He looked excellent in his re-debut and I am happy to see him come back. Evans’ interference aside, this was another solid affair. **1/2

No Holds Barred Barrio Street Fight
Homicide vs. Rhino

Homicide lays in a flurry of punches right away. Rhino nails a shoulder tackle. Homicide sends Rhino to the floor with a headscissors. Homicide follows out with a tope suicida. He only gets a one count because of it. Rhino slams Homicide to the mat and punts him in the ribs. Rhino misses a pescado on the floor. They fight on the ring apron. Rhino backdrops him through the timekeeper’s table. Rhino throws a ladder in the ring. Homicide bits Rhino’s ear and then chases Prince Nana around the ring. Rhio whips Homicide into the barricade. In the ring, Rhino slams the ladder into Homicide’s back. Homicide suplexes Rhino onto the ladder. Rhino hip tosses Homicide into the corner. Rhino press slams Homicide stomach first onto the ladder for two. Homicide slides off Rhino’s shoulders. He drop toe holds Rhino into the corner. Homicide hits a leaping shoulder block for two. Rhino blocks a lariat. He drops Homicide with the Rhino Driver for two. Homicide gets Rhino down. He goes for a splash. Rhino gets his knees up to block. Homicide kicks Rhino to block the Gore. He delivers an ace crusher for two. Rhino brings a table into the ring. Rhino suplexes Homicide right by the table in the corner. Homicide blocks the Gore with a sunset flip for the pin at 10:17. The stipulation helped bring out both guys stronger suits. Sure, nothing crazy happened, but they still put on a solid brawl. **3/4

Nana attacks Homicide after the bell. He fails, but Homicide is distracted long enough for Rhino to Gore him through the table. Multiple students and officials check on him. As of this writing, Homicide has yet to be back in Ring of Honor and this incident is the storyline explanation as to why.

Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs make their way to the ring. Since the last show, ROH officials habe agreed to let Jimmy Jacobs back into ROH to help Corino. Corino has been petitioning for them to let Kevin Steen back as well. ROH said no, but Corino bought him a plane ticket anyways. Corino says he and Jacobs are trying to be become better, less evil people. Corino says somebody else who wants to make a change and earn redemption is Kevin Steen. With that, Corino introduces Kevin Steen who comes in through the crowd. The reaction Steen receives is incredible. Many officials, Cary Silken and Jim Cornette stop Kevin Steen at the guardrail. The fans are begging for them to let Steen into the ring. Steen extends his hand to Cornette. Cornette shakes it, and Steen leaves through the back with no resistance. I wonder what they shook each others hands over. Michael Elgin runs out with Truth Martini at his side. This leads into…

Steve Corino vs. Michael Elgin

Elgin hits a slingshot back elbow. He and Corino trade forearms. Corino drops him with the Colby Shock. He follows with a leg lariat and running corner chop. He hits another running chop, but it has no effect on Elgin. Elgin fires back with shoulder blocks in the corner. Corino suplexes Elgin out of the corner. Elgin stands still in response to Corino’s two clotheslines. Corino puts him in an abdominal stretch and sticks his thumb in Elgin’s bum. Corino sends Elgin to the floor. Elgin catches his suicide dive attempt. Elgin Oklahoms Stampedes Corino on the floor. In the ring, Elgin rams his shoulder into Corino’s stomach. Corino goes for an STO but Elgin rams him back first in the corner. A northern lights suplex gets him two. Corino backdrops Elgin to counter a package piledriver. Elgin puts Corino in a Boston Crab on the second rope. Elgin releases and hits two corner lariats. Corino hits one of his own. Martini trips Corino behind the referee’s back. Jimmy Jacobs catches him. Elgin pulls Jacobs by his hair. Corino rolls Elgin up for two. Corino blasts him with a running knee strike. Elgin drops Corino with a TKO. He superkicks Corino and deadlifts him into a suplex. Elgin powerbombs Corino for two. Elgin buckle bombs Corino, then delivers another powerbomb for the pin at 8:39. I feel bad for Elgin as the Steen angle completely overshadowed his performance here. Elgin makes an awesome monster and I believe he will be a top ROH star by the end of 2012. **1/2

Elgin continues to beat on Corino. Jacobs stops him until Martini blasts Jacobs from behind with the Book of Truth. Elgin powerbombs Jacobs and Corino crawls over to him. Kevin Steen runs into the ring. He and Elgin slug it out. Steen vs. Elgin is a match I’d love to see. Steen powerbombs Elgin. Martini hits Steen with the Book of Truth. Steen fires up and superkicks Martini to the floor. Jim Cornette gets to the apron. Corino says that Steen deserves to talk. Cornette allows Steen to grab the mic. Steen says all he wants is to make things right and to apologize. He says he wants to tell everyone in the building and watching at home…”Fuck Ring of Honor”. He nails Jacobs with the microphone and drops Corino with a Package Piledriver. Steen is swarmed by students and officials. Steen is pushed over the guardrail and carried out of the building, all the while flipping everyone off. Kevin Steen is amazing. Cornette promises Kevin Steen that he will never be seen in Ring of Honor again. The fans hate this decision and Cornette says he’s doesn’t care. God this was great.

ROH Television Championship
Christopher Daniels vs. El Generico

Daniels attacks Generico right at the bell. He hits a leg lariat and digs his boot into Generico’s face. Daniels slams Generico’s face into two turnbuckles. Generico throws Daniels face into the corner. He delivers two armdrags and a toreador. Daniels rolls to the floor. Generico follows out with a baseball slide. Generico whips him into the barricade. Daniels headbutts Generico. Generico hits a moonsault off the barricade. Generico throws Daniels back into the ring. Daniels begs Generico off and asks for a handshake. Generico accepts, but slaps Daniels before Daniels can get in a cheap shot. Daniels rakes Generico eyes to stop his corner punches. Daniels connects with a clothesline. Daniels jumps on Generico’s neck while Generico lay on the middle rope. Daniels delivers a running knee to his throat. Daniels snaps Generico’s throat on the top rope. He teases a slingshot move, but instead lay his knee across Generico’s throat. Generico sunset flips Daniels for two. Daniels bulldogs Generico into the ropes, transitioning into a headscissors in the ropes over and over. Daniels pins Generico for two. Daniels slams Generico and hits an Arabian Press for two. Generico gets whipped to the corner. He fires up with two clotheslines. He sends Daniels to the floor. He hits a tope con hilo. In the ring Generico hits a crossbody for two. Generico drops Daniels with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Daniels drops Generico with an STO and transitions into a Koji Clutch. Generico escapes. Daniels hits a chinbreaker and calls for the Angel’s Wings. Generico backdrops him to escape. Daniels drops Generico with the Last Rites for two. Generico and Daniels trade punches mid-ring. Daniels lays in repeated headbutts. Generico goes for a brainbuster. Daniels blocks. He palm strikes Generico who responds with a yakuza kick. Daniels backs Generico to the corner to block another brainbuster. Generico yakuza kicks Daniels and hits the brainbuster for two. Generico puts Daniels in a tree of woe and connects with a somersault coast-to-coast dropkick. Generico goes for the brainbuster on the apron. Daniels rakes his eyes and shoves Generico into the barricade. Daniels suplexes him on the floor. Generico makes his way back into the ring at the count of 20. Daniels was so confident he was going to win, he put on the ROH Television title. He verbally berates Generico for not staying down. Daniels drops Generico with a uranage. He goes for the Best Moonsault Ever with the belt on. Generico gets his foot up. He delivers a yakuza kick in the corner. Generico hits the top rope brainbuster for the win and the title at 19:30. This was awesome story telling through and through. Daniels targeted Generico’s neck for the entire match to wear him down for a multitude of his finishing moves. Generico would not give up, and finally hit his guaranteed match-ender with the top rope brainbuster to vanquish Daniels and win his first ROH singles title. There are very few negatives to say here. This was Daniels last match in ROH (for now) since signing with TNA, but he can sure as heck be proud of his performance on his way out. ***3/4

ROH Tag Team Championship – Elimination Match
Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)

Titus and Haas square off to start. Haas wins the exchange with a backbreaker. Benjamin and King tag in and receive a “THIS IS RACIST” chant. Wrestling fans are the worst sometimes. Benjamin hits a shoulder block and King delivers a dropkick. After blocking each others’ kicks, Benjamin connects with a springboard crossbody for two. Haas tags in. Claudio blind tags in as Haas hits the ropes. Claudio teases some of his beloved moves, but goes in a different direction. Claudio brings King to the corner and tags in Hero. The Kings hit a double boot. King tags in Titus. Thr ANX double team Hero, but can’t get a pinfall. Claudio tags in. Now Kevin Kelly is reading live tweets during the match. Claudio shoves Titus to the Briscoes corner. The Briscoes beat the crap out of Titus in the corner. We get a series of dives to the floor. The sequence ends with Benjamin double suplexing Claudio and King off the top rope. The Briscoes beat down Benjamin. Amongst the beat down Hero blind tags himself in. Now it’s the Kings who bully Benjamin. Mark gets even by blind tagging Claudio. Benjamin finally gets to tag in Haas. He takes out the Briscoes but then gets tagged out by Titus. Although Titus does well enough fighting both Briscoes by himself at first, he eventually gets thwarted. When King helps out however, he and Titus are able to take out Jay with a knee drop/backbreaker combo to eliminate them at 24:15.

Just when it looks like the All Nights and Kings are going to tear into each other, Hero slaps Benjamin to tag him in. The All Nights and Kings decide to team up and isolate Benjamin once more. Benjamin impressively escapes Claudio’s Camel Clutch with an electric chair drop. Hero kicks Haas off the apron to keep Benjamin in the ring. Benjamin spinwheel kicks Claudio. Hero yanks Haas to the floor right as Benjamin and Haas’ hands are about to touch. Benjamin rolls under a double clothesline and tags in King. King drops Hero with an STO and hits a standing moonsault for two. King suplexes Hero after disposing of Claudio for two. Hero elbows Titus for two. Titus escapes the Ricola Bomb. Sara Del Rey distracts the referee as the All Nights hit a blockbuster/powerbomb combo. Hero clobbers Titus with his golden elbow pad for the pin at 34:32. Haas throws the elbow pad into the crowd and punches Shane Hagadorn. Hero elbows Haas for two. Claudio boots Haas down in the corner. Hero misses an elbow. Haas drops Hero with a German suplex. Benjamin tags in. He suplexes Hero and splashes him in the corner. Benjamin delivers a bulldog and Claudio breaks the pin. Benjamin DDT’s both Kings simultaneously. Hero gets caught with the Broken Arrow. Haas drops him with the Angle Slam for two. Hero nails Haas with the Cyclone Kick. Claudio pins him for two. Claudio spins him in the UFO. Benjamin breaks the pin. The Kings deliver the Kings Swing to Haas for two. Haas fights out of the KRS-1, sending Hero into Claudio. Claudio gets sent to the floor. The WGTT drop Hero with a double Alabama Slam for the pin at 40:09. I actually liked this more than a lot of people it seems. Sure, it didn’t need to go forty minutes and the order of eliminations could have better. But I never got bored, and I thought all four teams put in a very good effort. I think I had the advantage of knowing ahead of time that this match would go long. Trim down the time of this match by 15 minutes and pace it better and this would have been a lot better. As it was, it was still an above average bout. Oh, the finish stunk too. ***1/2

The Briscoes batter Haas and Benjamin with chairs. The Kings of Wrestling look on in approval. Multiple officials and students come out, but nobody has the guts to stop The Briscoes. The All Night Express finally make their way out and chase The Briscoes and Kings away.

ROH World Championship
Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards

Richards converted back to panties, so he’s totally winning the title. Both men break a lock-up cleanly. Edwards blocks Richards kick attempt. They each go for each others ankles but reach a stalemate. A wristlock battle ends with Richards kicking Edwards in the spine. Edwards retaliates in kind. They trade forearms. Richards kicks Edwards in the back and chest. Richards locks Edwards in an arm-capture grapevine stretch. Edwards escapes and rolls up Richards for two. He drops Richards on his stomach and face for two. Edwards grabs Richards arm. Richards gets the ropes before any damage can be done. Edwards boots Richards for one. Edwards gets in a few strikes to the corners. Richards sends Edwards to the floor and punts him from the apron. Richards follows with a suicide dive. Richards hits a few kicks back in the ring for two. Edwards hits the backpack chinbreaker. Richards no sells and grabs a cross armbreaker. He turns into a Fujiwara armbar. A Northern Lights suplex gets him two. He puts on the 14:59 submission move. Edwards escapes, so Richards kicks him in the corner. Both guys exchange headbutts on the top rope. Richards ultimately wins the exchange and superplexes Edwards. He rolls into a Falcon Arrow, transitioning into a cross armbreaker. Edwards escapes into the Achilles Lock. Richards rolls back into the armbreaker. Edwards rolls him up for two. Edwards blocks the Damage Reflex with a suplex into a facebuster. Edwards blocks the Alarm Clock with a fisherman’s buster for two. Edwards catches Richards with a Code Breaker. Richards rolls Edwards into a cross armbreaker. Edwards stomps on Richards’ face, but Richards doesn’t sell that and slaps the armbreaker back on. Edwards stomps his way free. Edwards kicks Richards to the floor. He moonsaults onto him, hitting the guardrail in the process. Edwards connects with a top rope dropkick back in the ring. Edwards Tiger suplexes Richards for two. Richards and Edwards trade strikes. After Richards lights him up with forearms, Edwards knocks him down with a running kick to the chest. They fight on the apron. Edwards gives Richards a 2k1 Bomb on the apron. Once recovering, Edwards doublestomps Richards through the timekeeper’s table. The fans are so enraptured they still make sure to chant “Twinkies” while counting Richards and Edwards out. Edwards doublestomps Richards in the ring. Richards gives Edwards a dragonscrew in the ropes and a doublestomp. Edwards had to beg Richards to do so, because Richards is his partner. Richards applies an ankle lock. Edwards breaks with an enzuigiri. Richards headbutts Edwards on the top rope. Richards German superplexes him off the top. Richards German suplexes him for two. Richards powerbombs Edwards for two. He rolls Edwards into an ankle lock. Edwards rolls into an ankle lock of his own and legscissors him. Richards turns it over. Edwards gets the rope. Once again they fight it out on the apron. Richards kicks the ring post by accident. They fight to the top rope. Richards goes for a powerbomb but Edwards turns it into a huracanrana. Edwards powerbombs Richards and hits a lariat for two. Edwards delivers the 2k1 Bomb for two. Edwards turns Richards into the Achilles Lock. Edwards stomps Richards in the head and turns into a cloverleaf. He sits down on the move for two. They each hit a Saito suplex for no reason. They exchange strikes and kicks some more. Richards kicks Edwards in the head for two. He kicks him some more for two. Richards hits a running kick to the chest for the pin at 36:00.

To me, professional wrestling is a performance and should be judged on that level. In that sense, Richards and Edwards completely failed. Essentially, the match was hollow. I think this match can be summed up by its ending: after Richards kicks Edwards in the head multiple times and fails to get a win, a running kick to the chest does him in. To me this was a “highlight reel” match, where the moves and strikes looked cool, but what came in between didn’t matter. Then again, this is the kind of wrestling ROH has conditioned it’s fans to expect from their main event matches. I think the worst part is that Edwards’ title reign, which was going very well up until this point, because ROH booked themselves into a corner where he had to lose. Like I said, this didn’t completely lack a story, and the fans bought many of the pins and submissions throughout the match and went crazy quite often. For that, this can’t be considered a total calamity. ***1/4

After both men gain their bearings, they embrace. Richards gets the title put around his waist. He thanks his wrestling family (including some random dude I’ve never heard of). Edwards thanks Richards for all he has done for him in his wrestling career. Richards continues to celebrate as the show draws to a close.

Bonus Content

Pre-Show Match
Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)

O’Reilly and Nick start off quickly. O’Reilly lands a few icks and sweeps Nick’s leg. Cole tags in. O’Reilly snapmares Nick into a back kick and Cole delivers a low dropkick. Matt tags in. He sends O’Reilly to the apron. O’Reilly sends Nick to the floor and Cole clotheslines Matt out as well. Cole suicide dives onto Matt and O’Reilly hits Nick with a missile dropkick into the barricade. In the ring, Cole catches Matt with a crossbody for two. Matt trips Cole as Cole hits the ropes, allowing Nick to hit him with a dropkick to the floor. The Bucks isolate O’Reilly in their corner. Cole ducks a double clothesline and drops Nick with a chinbreaker. He ducks Matt and tags in O’Reilly. O’Reilly kicks Nick off the apron. He kicks both Bucks in the chest and delivers an enzuigiri to Matt. He sets them up for a double dragonscrew legwhip. O’Reilly dropkicks them from the top simultaneously for two. Cole blind tags in. O’Reilly gives Matt two butterfly suplexes. He DDT’s Matt into a German suplex from Cole. Nick breaks the pin. O’Reilly pitches Nick to the floor. Matt catches O’Reilly with a tumbleweed ace crusher for two. Nick superkicks Cole to the floor. Nick hits a slingshot ace crusher on O’Reilly, then back flips to the apron and delivers a moonsault to Cole. Matt hits O’Reilly with a 450 splash for two. Nick accidentally hits Matt with a knee strike. Cole sends Nick to the floor. O’Reilly drops Matt with a tornado DDT. Cole superkicks Matt into a brainbuster from O’Reilly. O’Reilly applies a guillotine choke. Cole then applies one to Nick. The Bravado Bros. hit the ring to end the bout in a no contest at 7:12. This was an incredibly fun sprint from bell to bell. Lame finish aside (though it’s obvious why it went down that way) it was maybe the best seven minute match you will see. ***

The Bucks and Cole/ O’Reilly dispose of the Bravados and shake each others hands.

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