ROH held its first show in front of a live audience in 15 months with Best in the World from Baltimore, Maryland. Five title matches headlined by RUSH defending the World Championship against Bandido. This is the first time two Mexican wrestlers have main evented an American pay-per-view in many years.
Rey Horus defeated Demonic Flamita
The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser & Brawler Milonas) defeated PCO & Danhausen.
The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) over PJ Black & Brian Johnson: The match put some much-needed steam in the tag team ranks with the GOATs of the division, The Briscoes getting a hard-fought victory.
EC3 pinned Flip Gordon: This was a methodically worked match that looked good and kept my interest from start to finish. EC3 has done an excellent job keeping his name hot after being released from WWE last year.
Six-Man Tag Team Championship – Shane Taylor, Moses & Kaun defeated Dalton Castle, Dak Draper & Eli Isom to retain the titles: Dalton Castle is a genuine performer. He is a treat to see live and permeates the screen. The challengers could never get on the same page. Castle kept screaming at his partners, “Hurry up, I have things to do.” Shane Taylor Promotions took advantage in a well-worked match that highlighted all six wrestlers.
Josh Woods over Silas Young in a Last Man Standing Match: The student taught the teacher a lesson in a hard-hitting affair. The finish saw Woods German Suplex Young off the apron through two tables on the floor. Woods is a good wrestler with a bland personality. Hopefully, he’ll find a character/gimmick that suits him.
Brody King beat Jay Lethal: The leaders of VLNCE UNLTD and The Foundation squared off. King dominated Lethal at nearly every turn. It was surreal seeing Lethal in this role. At this point, he’s in the same position as a 1999 Shane Douglas in ECW. Lethal has done it all, on multiple occasions, in ROH. There is nothing else for him to accomplish. However, he served the promotion well by putting over King the way he did. King has to be next in line for the world title.
Jonathan Gresham submitted Mike Bennett to retain the ROH Pure Championship: Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman earned their money on commentary. They got over the nuances of Bennett needing to hit a piledriver, but Gresham made it increasingly difficult to do so by working over his arm. Wrestlers are only allowed three rope breaks in Pure Division matches.
Bennett used all three of his rope breaks and drilled Gresham with a powerbomb followed by a piledriver for a three count. Bennett thought he won the title, but Gresham’s foot was under the bottom rope. Gresham snuck up on Bennett to apply a leglock. With no rope breaks left, Bennett tapped out.
Dragon Lee defeated Tony Deppen to win the ROH Television Championship: This match felt like it was simply to right the ship and get the title back on Dragon. Nothing more
Fight Without Honor for the Tag Team Championship – Chris Dickinson & Homicide defeated Rhett Titus & Jonathan Gresham to become the new champions: Gresham, who was banged up from his fight with Bennett, took the place of Jay Lethal, who Brody King injured. Lot’s of brawling outside the ring with two table bumps.
Chelsea Green debuts: Maria Kanellis Bennett revealed the bracket for the ROH Women’s Championship Tournament, unveiled the new championship belt, and introduced Green as the final participant in the tournament. Green, recently released by WWE, threw some shade at her former employer for good measure.
ROH World Championship: Bandido defeated RUSH to become the new champion: Unfortunately, the main event was rushed with only 20 minutes left before the show went off the air. RUSH dominated the first five minutes without Bandido getting in anything. Not even a punch. The fast-paced action told the story of Bandido fighting from behind. RUSH ripped off the top half of Bandido’s mask in frustration and pushed the referee. Bandido took advantage of the distraction and rolled up RUSH for the win.
Final Thoughts: I primarily ordered the event to see Mike Bennett walk away with the Pure Title. While he was unsuccessful in beating Jonathan Gresham, the two delivered the best match of the night. EC3/Gordon earned the silver medal, and Lethal/King took home the bronze for good storytelling.
I felt bad for Bandido and RUSH the moment ROH expedited the ring introductions. Bandido lost most of it, won the title out of nowhere, and was immediately beat down by La Faction Ingobernables as the show ended at 10:57 PM. The show must have gone long in some areas for the main event to be such a victim of circumstance. It all made Bandido look like he was lucky to be there, much less a world champion.
It was refreshing to watch a pay-per-view event with good wrestling from top to bottom. WWE currently operates under the same tedious pattern of matches and storytelling. New Japan is trying to get its footing back from the shutdown, and AEW hits as much as it misses.
The in-ring action was crisp, intense, and felt like a slew of athletic contests. For a show I didn’t plan on watching until the last minute, I’m happy I did.