The Lowell Memorial Auditorium hosted yet another historic night of professional wrestling as Cody Rhodes dethroned Christopher Daniels to become the ROH World Champion on Friday night. ROH’s ‘Best in the World’ was a fun pay-per-view event that your boy got to experience first-hand.
Excited fans in long lines and I mean loooong lines, encapsulated the enthusiasm people had for the show. Standing in said lines didn’t do any favors for my knee, but it was worth it thanks to Christopher Daniels.
Daniels, along with Frankie Kazarian, were signing copies of their newest comic book published by Aw Yeah Comics. My eager eyes were fixed on the dwindling stack of comic books. I got halfway through the line when the final book had been sold.
Daniels walked by me holding the very belt he would lose later in the evening and he gave me the bad news when I asked him if he had any more comics left. “Nah, sorry man. We’re sold out” said the squared circle veteran. I eventually got to the front of the merchandise line and as I was about to check out, a familiar voice said “Hey, man. I found one more copy if you’re interested”?
It was Daniels holding a newly discovered copy of the comic book. I agreed, he signed, and he even tried and find Kazarian, who had left once the books were sold out, but it didn’t matter. It was super cool of Daniels to not only remember but to go the extra mile to hunt me down and hook me up.
Next, I stood in the meet and greet line where I got immediate access to IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion and ROH Television Champion, KUSHIDA. I couldn’t believe that no one was waiting in line for this guy. He’s one of the best workers in the world. I shook his hand, smiled, held my New Japan banner and said “cheese”!
Now, the next line was really long and ridiculously slow. This was not surprising considering that it was the line for The Young Bucks, who are probably the most popular wrestlers outside of WWE. I like the Bucks, but not enough to pay for a pen stroke.
My boy, Todd, on the other hand, threw down the green to get that “Too Sweet” photo-op. I decided to roll with him and wait it out. We missed the dark matches, but it was fun cracking jokes about how two cruiserweights could move so slow when signing autographs.
The building was almost sold out, which was a better turn out than the last time, nine months ago, that ROH ran in Lowell for a PPV. The atmosphere inside the Auditorium was electric and filled with a sea of Bullet Club t-shirts. Matches involving Bullet Club members were met with overwhelming adulation for the black and white homage to the nWo.
Frankie Kazarian made Hangman Page tap out in a strap match that was more like a country whipping match. Both men had leather straps tied to their wrist and were allowed to whip each other at will, opposed to being tied together by one strap and trying to touch all four corner turnbuckles to win. I liked how both men avoided being whipped, which added emphasis to how much it hurts. Once Kazarian got the first shot, the leather flew fast and hard.
Jay Lethal won the battle against Silas Young but lost the war. The former world champion was blindsided from behind, only for Young’s crony, Beer City Bruiser to climb to the top rope and splashed Lethal through a table onto the floor. Bruiser is a big guy with size akin to Bam Bam Bigelow, which made the sport even more unbelievable.
Dalton Castle and The Boys defeated Bully Ray and The Briscoes to become the ROH Six Man Tag Team Champions when Castle rolled up Mark Briscoe for the 1-2-3. Dalton Castle’s Vegas showroom peacock gimmick is amazing and needs to be seen. In my opinion, Castle is the best professional wrestler to see live. This was also Castle’s first championship in ROH.
KUSHIDA retained the TV title against Marty Scrull in a rather boring match. Yes, that sounds insane considering the two wrestlers involved. Both men worked hard, but the audience didn’t react to anything except for Scrull’s broken fingers spot.
If you like insane action that never stops, The Young Bucks vs. War Machine vs. Chuck Taylor & Trent Baretta triple threat match will tickle your fancy. The Young Bucks were super over in the building and everyone popped for every move they did.
Taylor and Baretta were last minute additions to the match, which was a nice surprise since I’ve never seen Taylor work before. The dude has game, no doubt about it. Good wrestler and character. Color me impressed.
Now, it’s main event time! This crowd was hot for one thing and one thing only: seeing Cody win the title. Any other ending would have caused a near riot. There was a loud “Daniels Sucks” chant, which surprised me considering how over Daniels’ world title victory was just a few months back.
There was some good back and forth action but it was obvious that they were rushed for time since the match started at 11:37 pm and had to finish before midnight otherwise the pay-per-view satellite feed would have cut out.
The audience was quiet for a good portion of the match but popped during the key moments, such as Scrull’s appearance at ringside. Frankie Kazarian came out to intercept Scrull and the fans sat on their hands as they brawled to the locker room.
Cody got the win when he rolled through a cradle attempt by Daniels and hit Crossroads. Cody cut a great post-match promo, which only the live crowd got to hear. “I was born a prince in this industry, and tonight, the prince became the king!” Rhodes concluded with a message for Kazuchika Okada, who he wrestles this Sunday for the IWGP Heavyweight title. “In eight days, I plan on teaching that coddled young boy a lesson.”
Ring of Honor is really good at giving the fans what they want. The Bullet Club is super, super over and Cody winning the world title was the only way to go. My only criticism would be the placement of The Young Bucks match. ROH fans are more enthusiastic than most wrestling fans, however, the audience was drained afterward, leaving little juice for the main event.
Overall, this was a fun show but not a great show in terms of standout matches or moments. Still, I had a good enough time and will come back for ROH’s next visit to Lowell. The relationship between New Japan and ROH really shined here as Cody’s win sets him up for the possibility of another big title win at the G-1 special on Sunday. Cross brand storytelling is something that you never see in the WWE.
- ROH ‘Best in the World’ Quick Results
- Ultimo Guerrero & El Terrible defeated The Kingdom when Guerrero pinned Vinny Marseglia
- Frankie Kazarian made Hangman Page tap out in a Strap Match.
- Search and Destroy (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay White, & Jonathan Gresham) defeated The Rebellion (Kenny King, Rhett Titus, Caprice Coleman, & Shane Taylor)
- Jay Lethal pinned Silas Young.
- Dalton Castle and The Boys defeated Bully Ray and The Briscoes to become the ROH Six Man Tag Team Champions
- KUSHIDA defeated “The Villain” Marty Scrull to retain the ROH Television Title
- The Young Bucks defeated War Machine and Chuck Taylor & Trent Baretta to retain the ROH Tag Team Titles.
- “The American Nightmare” Cody defeated Christopher Daniels to become the new ROH World Champion.