Welcome to Best in the World, Part One. Ring of Honor showcased several fantastic matches from this outstanding show.
Roll the opening Montage.
Tonight’s show was a perfect birthday present for this old man. My thanks to everyone who sent best wishes through Facebook and e-mails.
The show opened with a highlight reel from the Hammerstein Ballroom.
Kushida vs Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini)
World TV Title Match
Kushida is ½ of the Time Splitters with Alex Shelley. Truth and Lethal talked about their opponent, Kushida. Jay mocked Kushida for not being able to speak English. Truth said he made mistakes, in the past, with his choices of men to manage. Jay was better than all the others. Lethal expects a big favor returned when RoH goes to Japan. On to the introductions.
Jay mocked the Code of Honor Handshake. Kushida wiped off his hand on the top turnbuckle (a huge insult to Lethal). Push Off into the Shoulder Tackle by Kushida. Cartwheel by Kushida. Both men went for Backspring Elbows but did not connect. The fans loved it. Lethal went to the floor.
Collar and Elbow. They went around the ropes until the ref made them break it up. Lethal with vicious stomps to Kushida. Springboard Dropkick by Lethal. Wicked Dropkick by Kushida off the Universal. Kushida went to the floor and chased Truth. Suicide Dive by Lethal. Baseball Slide Dropkick by Lethal. Kushida may have a broken nose.
Back in the ring, Lethal flipped Kushida onto the top rope. Kushida got trapped in the ropes. Truth took a photo of the carnage. Time for a break.
Scoop Backbreaker by Kushida. Kushida went for the Moonsault but Jay got the knees up. Kushida fought out of the Lethal Combination. Lethal went for the Backspring but took a Dropkick to the mid-section. Truth screamed at his charge. Kushida with a Flip Dive off the top turnbuckle! Huge “Ku-Shi-da” chant. Steve Corino got a Japanese Holy **** in which slid past the censors. I only know one actual phrase in Japanese Hena **** which means “Weird ****”. .(Slaps fingers to be a good boy).
Running Dropkick by Kushida. Tilt-a-Whirl DDT by Kushida but Truth pulled the ref out of the ring. The ref banished Truth Martini from ringside. German Suplex, by Kushida, for a two. Lethal barely escaped. Ax Bomber by Kushida. Kushida fought out of the Lethal Combination. Standing Switches. Lethal with the Lethal Combination. 1-2-no. Lethal went up top but got caught. The two men fought on the top rope. Kushida tripped and crotched Lethal. Super-Hurancanrana for a two! Seriously? “This is Awesome!” erupted from the tans. The two men threw wild Elbows. Thrust Kick by Lethal. Roaring Elbow by Kushida but Lethal with the Enziguri. Knife Edge Chop by Lethal. Backspring Elbow missed. Lethal with a Thrust Kick. Lethal Injection (Backspring Ace Crusher).
Your Winner: Jay Lethal
Honor Roll Ranking: 4.0 out of a possible 5
Matt Taven, ACH and Tommaso Ciampa vs Rocky Romero and Alex Kozlov and Takaaki Watanabe
RoH vs New Japan Six Man Tag Team Match
Code of Honor all around. Ciampa worked over Kozlov’s arm. Taven with a tag. Romero also came in. The fans cut loose with a huge “Rocky” chant. Taven took over on Romero’s arm. Dropkick and Eddie Shimmy. Whip by Taven. Missile Dropkick by Taven for a two. Romero caught Taven with a hard Forearm. Step-Up Enziguri by Taven. Tag to ACH. Ax Bomber by ACH. Romero went to the eyes. Watanabe tagged in. and got hit with a wild Dropkick. ACH nailed Dropkicks all around. The fight went out to the floor. Watanabe choked ACH. Tag to Romero. Scoop Slam and tag to Koslov. 2 count off the Springboard Body Press. Koslov got his Russian Hat. Kossack Kicks to ACH’s face. Double Stomp that drove ACH’s head into the ring canvas.
Tag to Watanabe. Scoop Slam into a 2 count for Watanabe. Whip by Romero. Corner Clotheslines by Romero. ACH pulled Romero into the turnbuckles. Tag to Ciampa. Wild knee strikes to all of the New Japan guys. Rolling German Suplex by Ciampa. Ciampa pulled Romero off the ropes and hit a series of Running Knee Strikes. Ciampa caught Koslov with a variation of White Noise. .
Tag to Taven. Spinning Enziguri by Kozlov. Watanabe and then Romero was sent into Taven. Triple Team including a Watanabe Spin Slam. It turned into a Mosh Pit. ACH dodged the Enziguri but took a boot. Watanabe with a Brogue Kick to Ciampa. ACH with the Warrior’s Way and an incredible Crash and Burn Flip Dive!
Raven with a wicked Climax to take out Watanabe.
Your Winners: Matt Taven, Tommaso Ciampa and ACH
Honor Roll Ranking: 3.5
Up next were two men that I have had the honor for working with, several times, The Young Bucks (formerly known as Generation Me).
Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)
RoH World Tag Team Title Match
Ring of Honor showed how the Bucks beat reDRagon for the tag belts.
Tom Lawler, an MMA trainer, was there to aid the reDRagon team. No, he is not a cousin to Jerry Lawler (according to Steve Corino). The Bucks got a huge pop from the crowd.
Matt and Nick are part of New Japan’s Bullet Club organization. The Bucks are double champs, ROH and New Japan Junior Tag Champs.
The rope was kicked up into Lawler’s nethers. Double Team on Kyle. Wow! Bobby was whipped into Kyle. Back Rake to Bobby and then Kyle. The Bucks kept reDRagon on the floor. Lawler shook the ropes to trip Nick Jackson. Bobby tagged back in. Break time.
Whip by Kyle. Low Bridge sent a charging Fish up and over the top. Kyle with the Regal Plex to Matt. Nick was down on the floor. Double Whip. Fish was flipped over the top. Spin Cutter by Matt. These kids are my wife, Dianna’s, favorite tag team. Tag to Nick. Back Elbow by Nick to Fish. Jumping Enziguri to Fish and a Tornado DDT off the apron to Kyle. Springboard X-Factor by Nick for a two count. Nick with Haymakers. Fish reversed a Whip and Nick with a Low Bridge. Nick missed a Moonsault but nailed a Spear. Superkick to a flying Kyle.
More Bang for the Buck variation to Fish. Matt tagged back in. Running Buckle Bomb/Enziguri combo. Fish prevented the Springboard Tombstone. Kicks and Knees by all parties. The Bucks put Fish on Kyule’s shoulder. They then Superkicked the knees to make Kyle hit a Tombstone Piledriver. That was freakin’ amazing!
Kyle saved Fish from a Double Superkick and then set up a Chain Reaction Dragon Screw Leg Whip. Kyle flew off the apron to nail one of the Bucks. Fish with a Super Falcon Arrow! 2 count. The Bucks avoided Chasing the Dragon. Monster kicks in all directions. The Bucks wanted the Buckle Enziguri. Kyle slapped on the Guillotine after Fish tripped. Matt with a Top Rope Leg Drop. How the Heck did he kick out of that? Tope Suicida to the floor. The Bucks went for the More Bang For your Buck wit Kyle with the Triangle Choke. Kyle with wild kicks and the Brainbuster. 1-2-no. Chasing the Dragon! No. Cross Armbreaker by Kyle. Tap Out!
Your Winners (and NEW RoH World Tag Team Champions): reDRagon
Honor Roll Ranking: 4.5
That was an incredible night of action. This is why the Big Boys should be worried about the competition. They provided the best, in the past, and they have the top next generation superstars in the organization.