ROH Best in the World 2014: I Can’t Think Of A Title But It’s A Good Show

Best in the World 2014
Date: June 22, 2014
Location: Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Attendance: 1000
Commentators: Steve Corino, Kevin Kelly

This company’s fans are loyal if nothing else. I get a lot of requests for ROH shows and this is the latest one that people have been asking for. This was their debut on regular PPV and the show has gotten some rave reviews. I do tend to like ROH when I sit down and watch it and I had a great time at Supercard of Honor. Hopefully this is just as good, though I’m worried it’s going to have issues living up to its praise. Let’s get to it.

We open with a video of various ROH stars and a voiceover talking about how great you have to be in Ring of Honor. Everyone says it’s about being the best and World Champion Adam Cole says “in the world”. Not bad.

Kelly and Corino welcome us to the show.

ACH vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Caprice Coleman vs. BJ Whitmer vs. TaDarius Thomas vs. Watanabe

This is a Six Man Mayhem match, meaning two men in the ring and one at every corner with lucha rules, where someone going to the floor allows someone else to replace him just like a tag. The winner gets a future TV Title shot. Whitmer and Thomas are both part of the Decade stable and have ring boy Adam Page in their corner. Ciampa and ACH get things going with Ciampa getting annoyed at ACH’s nipups. ACH misses a kick to the head but has to avoid a big knee to the head, drawing some applause.

Watanabe comes in without a tag but shoves Ciampa to the floor to make it legal. ACH sends Watanabe outside so Coleman comes in, only to have Thomas tag himself in. Both guys miss kicks until Thomas kicks ACH in the head, earning himself a dropkick to the floor. Whitmer comes in to jump ACH and chop away but ACH heads outside to give us Ciampa vs. Thomas. Tommaso suplexes him to the floor but follows him out, leaving us with Watanabe vs. ACH. This is moving too fast and nothing is having time to build.

Everyone heads outside and ACH loads up a dive but Whitmer breaks it up. The fans are ALL OVER him for stopping their fun. The Decade takes over as things finally slow down a bit. Watanabe pushes the referee for trying to stop him in the corner before going to a claw on ACH. Back to Whitmer who runs into a kick to the face, allowing ACH to tag in Coleman. Thomas comes in with a hurricanrana to Ciampa as everything breaks down.

Coleman hooks a double northern lights suplex on Watanabe and Thomas but Ciampa breaks up the pin. Watanabe and Ciampa do the forearm slugout before Ciampa hits something like White Noise for two. Whitmer breaks it up but ACH nails a double stomp to his back. ACH kicks some people to the floor but Whitmer powerslams him to break up another big dive. Watanabe suplexes Whitmer for two with Coleman making a save. Project Ciampa (powerbomb into a backstabber) plants Coleman and gets two on ACH as the Decade makes another save.

Whitmer and Thomas are legal and BJ is fine with suplexing his stablemate. Coleman comes in off the top with a top rope Rough Ryder, only to have Watanabe nail him with a running clothesline. Ciampa hits a running knee to Watanabe in the corner before diving on everyone not named ACH and Coleman. Now Coleman dives on all of them, leaving ACH to hit a HUGE springboard swanton onto the pile. He pops up and throws former partner Thomas back in for a 450 and the pin.

Rating: C. It’s fun and the big spots at the end were good but there was WAY too much stuff going on here and it was just a huge mess for the sake of having a spotfest. That being said it was entertaining and the kind of fun match it was supposed to be. ACH seems to be a solid in ring guy and more than just flips so there may be some potential there.

We recap Jay Lethal vs. Matt Taven. This is mainly about Lethal’s manager Truth Martini, who took Taven to the TV Title before they split. Martini sided with Lethal and tried to ruin Taven’s career, so Taven did the old “put on a mask and beat the other guy to prove your worth” deal, though the mask came off during the match. Martini will be handcuffed to the post tonight.

TV Title: Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal

Lethal is defending of course and has some chick named Seleziya Sparx in his corner. It takes forever to get Truth handcuffed. We finally get going with Taven nailing some chops to put the champion down. Taven tries to go after Martini but Lethal makes a quick save. Back in and Lethal totally misses an enziguri but Matt goes outside anyway. They chop it out on the floor before heading back inside for something resembling a Blue Thunder Bomb from Taven.

Matt goes after Martini again, allowing Lethal to nail him with a baseball slide for two. The champion puts on the chinlock until Taven comes back with an enziguri (actually connecting) of his own. A backbreaker gets two more for Matt but his bulldog driver is countered into the Lethal Combination.

Lethal follows up with a Macho Elbow for two but Taven escapes the Lethal Injection and nails another enziguri. A brainbuster gets two and Lethal hits the floor for three straight suicide dives. Taven picks up a chair and goes after Martini but Truth hands the head of security a wad of cash. That earns the security guy a superkick but Sparx breaks Martini’s handcuffs, allowing him to escape. Back in and the Lethal Injection retains Jay’s title.

Rating: C-. This was more about the manager than anything else but we didn’t get the payoff just yet. I still don’t care for Lethal all that much and the Injection is one of the dumbest looking moves I’ve seen in years. Taven isn’t much either but the match was exciting enough, mainly due to keeping things moving like they did.

We recap Cedric Alexander vs. Roderick Strong. This is a feud over respect with the Decade not caring for Alexander standing up to them. They’ve beaten him down time after time but Alexander won’t quit. Therefore, tonight we have a submission match. Cedric is very weak on the mic and made me feel like he was scared of Strong.

Cedric Alexander vs. Roderick Strong

Submission match. Strong, with Page and Thomas from earlier, is aggressive to start but Cedric is able to keep up with him on the mat, sending us to a standoff. Alexander nails a hard dropkick, only to have Strong put a knee in his ribs. A clothesline puts Strong on the floor and Cedric mostly misses a suicide dive. Cedric hammers away but gets backdropped onto the apron in a sick looking landing.

Back in and Strong puts on a reverse chinlock to stay on the spine. That goes nowhere because it’s a reverse chinlock so Strong plants him with a suplex. Alexander gets all fired up and puts Strong in a fireman’s carry before throwing him into the air for a kick to the head. A series of headbutts and a dropkick send Strong outside and Cedric follows with a dive but only hits the ring boys.

Back in and a springboard DDT sets up a guillotine choke on Roderick but he makes a rope. They trade enziguris with Alexander getting the better of it. He hits a few running dropkicks in the corner to set up a dragon sleeper and Strong is in trouble. Page has the towel ready but Strong saves himself with knees to the head. A superplex plants Alexander again and Strong goes nuts with forearms to the head. He loads up his fireman’s carry backbreaker but Alexander counters into a double underhook neck crank.

Cedric has him in big trouble….so he lets go of the hold for some reason. Both guys go up and fall out to the floor and it’s Strong up first. Alexander kicks away from the Strong Hold (Boston crab) so Strong tries a top rope Pedigree. Cedric counters that into a backbreaker onto the top turnbuckle and a quick Strong Hold makes Roderick tap.

Rating: C+. This was a hard hitting brawl with both guys playing their rolls well enough. The story works with Strong being cocky by going with the same stuff he’s always used and Alexander never giving up and using Strong’s own move against him. Solid stuff here and probably the best match of the night so far.

Strong still won’t shake Alexander’s hand.

We recap Matt Hardy/Mike Bennett vs. the Briscoe Brothers. Hardy and Bennett cost Jay Briscoe the World Title at Supercard of Honor, so Cole gave Hardy Briscoe’s custom title. Matt put his picture on the belt and named it the Iconic Title. Tonight is the showdown with Jay’s brother Mark helping his family.

Briscoes vs. Mike Bennett/Matt Hardy

Maria, basically wearing a swimsuit, is with Bennett and Hardy. For some reason, actor Nick Searcy comes out with Hardy as well. Corino is a HUGE Hardy fan, almost to the point of being an MF’er. Mark and Mike get things going and the brothers quickly stomp Bennett down in the corner. Mike finally comes back with a dropkick and tags in Matt. The heels start working on Mark’s arm and a double suplex gets two. Mark dives over to make the tag off to Jay. He finally gets his hands on Hardy and everything breaks down.

Jay hammers on Matt outside but Searcy gets in a cheap shot on Briscoe from behind. Unfortunately Searcy isn’t the biggest guy in the world but it’s enough to get Matt a breather. Back in and Jay pounds in right hands to Hardy’s head before nailing a few neckbreakers. With Matt in trouble, Bennett comes in with the Iconic Title to Jay’s head for the lame DQ.

No rating yet as the Briscoes listen to the fans and want to restart the match. Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness comes out and says let’s keep this going with No DQ. The Briscoes couldn’t be happier and the chairs start coming into the ring. McGuinness comes in on commentary as the brothers are cleaning house. Mark drop toeholds Bennett face first into a chair but Maria trips Mark up, allowing Mike to hit him in the head with a chair.

Bennett pelts the chair at Mark’s head and collapses from exhaustion. Matt brings out a ladder and the fans think this is awesome. Bennett hits a Side Effect on Mark on the floor as Jay hits an AA on Matt, driving him through two chairs in the ring. A suplex sends Matt into the ladder against the ropes to put him on the floor. Mark drops the Cactus Jack elbow and everyone is down. The Briscoes are up first and hit a Doomsday Device to Bennett on the floor. Nice twist on the move there.

Back in and Matt hits Jay with Searcy’s Peabody Award for two. Mark goes after Searcy and ends him with a Froggy Bow (frog splash elbow). The Briscoes aren’t done yet and load up the Doomsday Device, only to have Maria make a save. Matt hits the Twist of Fate for two on Jay before setting up a table and ladder in the ring. Mark takes Bennett to the floor and drives him through a table with another Froggy Bow. Back in the ring Matt is climbing the ladder but Mark sprays him with a fire extinguisher, allowing Jay to superplex him through a table. The Jay Driller is enough to pin the unconscious Hardy.

Rating: B-. This was basically a TLC match minus the title to pull down. They did the big spots well enough and the crowd was WAY into it. The superplex was a good spot, but there wasn’t anything in there that hasn’t been topped before. It was entertaining, but not a masterpiece of any sort.

Maria takes the Iconic Title when Jay isn’t looking.

We look at Adam Cole and the Kingdom (Cole, Maria, Hardy and Bennett) cutting Elgin’s hair at a recent show. Elgin’s wife, wrestler Mschif, came out to beg for her husband, earning her a figure four from Cole.

I’m assuming we’re at intermission now as an interviewer talks to an NFL player that has signed to ROH. The player, now known as Moose, willing to work hard but Veda Scott interrupts and says she’ll handle the interviewer. See, they should have been talking about RD Evans’ New Streak, now at 122-0. Evans is in Osaka, Japan to collect more wins tonight but Scott is here to recruit Moose. He says they can talk about this later.

We recap Silas Young vs. Kevin Steen. Silas isn’t happy with Steen for “stepping away” (read as going to WWE) because Silas is a REAL MAN and he doesn’t like Steen leaving like a coward.

Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young

Steen hits him at the bell but Young bails outside before Steen can try his Cannonball in the corner. He sends Young hard into the barricade a few times but Silas comes back with forearms to the jaw. Back in and a big chop sends Young to the floor again but he counters an apron powerbomb. Steen gets kicked into the barricade and Young takes over with a clothesline to the back of his head.

We hit the chinlock on Steen for a bit before a neckbreaker gets two for Silas. Kevin fights up and hits a powerbomb out of nowhere to put both guys down. Silas comes back with a hard clothesline but ducks his head. Steen’s package piledriver attempt is countered with a good crotching for two. Something out of a fireman’s carry (WAY too popular of a move) is countered and Steen sends him into the buckle for the Cannonball. Even with a bad neck, Steen connects with a Swanton Bomb for two.

Young kicks him in the head and hits a rolling fireman’s carry but Steen avoids a springboard elbow drop. Another shot to the head has Steen in the corner for some quality trash talking, followed by another knee shot. Steen is in big trouble in the corner but he counters a superplex into something like a spinning superplex of his own. Silas is done but Steen Package Piledrives him anyway for the pin.

Rating: D+. This didn’t do it for me actually as we’ve done the physical stuff already. I get that it’s Steen’s style, but it’s coming right after the No DQ tag match and this was nowhere near as violent. The head injury stuff was fine but it only became a big issue for a few moments at the end. Not bad but it wasn’t the best.

Post match Steen praises Young and says he doesn’t have many matches left in this company. He’s looking forward to every minute he gets to spend here in the next month and a half, but he’s very happy that he got to wrestle Young on this stage. Young shakes his hand and leaves peacefully. Fans: “Please don’t go!” Steen: “He has to go. I’m not done yet!” Steen thanks the fans but Young comes in and decks him like a true villain should.

We go to the Fish Tank where Tag Team Champions Red Dragon talk about how much they love Appletinis and don’t like ROH bringing in old people to take their titles from them. Fish talks about his great great granddaddy fighting a war with a musket because he’s kind of out there.

Tag Team Titles: Christopher Daniels/Frankie Kazarian vs. Red Dragon

The champions are Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Kyle and Daniels get things going with the fans behind the Fallen Angel. They start on the mat with neither guy able to sustain an advantage. Kyle nails him in the back of the head but Daniels smacks him in the face to come back. A leg lariat puts O’Reilly down and brings in Kazarian for a double stomp and a near fall. Frankie armdrags Fish a few times and puts on an armbar to slow things back down.

Kaz drops a legdrop to the back of the head and brings Daniels back in for a gorgeous Lionsault. Fish finally gets in a right hand for a breather but Kyle walks right into a front facelock from Kaz. The champions finally get a breather though as Kazarian misses a charge into the post. Kyle immediately puts on an armbar before it’s back to Fish for the forearm exchange.

Back to the armbar for a bit before Kyle misses a knee drop. Fish’s distraction lets Kyle hook a standing guillotine, only to have Kazarian drop him down into a spinebuster. Bobby sprints around the ring to pull Daniels down to the floor to keep the champions in control. Fish stays on the arm but doesn’t stay on it well enough to prevent a tag to Daniels. Christopher cleans part of the house and everything breaks down.

A middle rope stomp to the chest puts Kyle down on the floor, setting up a big suicide dive. Daniels hits a slingshot Diamond Cutter on Fish but Bobby avoids the BME. There’s a Samoan drop to Daniels but he avoids a BME from Fish. Kaz comes back in with the slingshot DDT on Bobby but Kyle sweeps his legs out. Daniels hits a quick Blue Thunder Bomb on Kyle and Angel’s Wings on Fish but O’Reilly makes a last second save.

The champions send Daniels to the floor and into a chair next to the barricade, setting up back to back dropkicks from the apron in a brutal looking spot. Back in and Kazarian kicks Kyle in the head and nails the Flux Capacitor (top rope C4) but he lands on the arm. Fish pulls the referee out at the delayed two and the fans aren’t pleased. Chasing the Dragon (brainbuster with a kick to the head) gets two on Kazarian but a cross armbreaker makes Kaz tap.

Rating: B. This was a good but not great match. I still don’t get the massive appeal of Red Dragon though I do like their promos. Bad Influence wasn’t Bad Influence here and it brought things down a little bit. They went with a different style here and it worked, though not at the level people were hoping they would hit.

We recap Cole vs. Elgin. They met in the finals of the World Title tournament last September where Elgin had him pinned but the referee was down. Cole then turned heel and feuded with Jay Brisco for awhile before we could get back to this big showdown. Elgin wants to be remembered as one of the greatest ever and he has to win the title to do that.

ROH World Title: Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole

Cole hasn’t done much for me yet but he’s growing on me. He charges at Elgin to start but gets taken down and hammered on the mat. The champ bails to the floor to make Michael chase him, allowing Cole to send him back to the floor. Adam loads up a dive but Elgin does the Samoa Joe step to the side. I love that. Michael blocks a chair shot and pops Cole with a right hand. He follows up with a running release powerslam on the ramp before taking the champion back inside.

Cole comes back with a jumping reverse neckbreaker (think an RKO with Elgin’s back to Cole) but takes too time going up. Elgin is slammed off the middle rope for two and we hit the chinlock. It doesn’t last long so Cole goes to the middle rope for a headscissors, only to get caught in a gutbuster for a nice counter. Elgin tries a string of power moves but can only hit a tiger suplex for two. A few kicks to the head get two for Adam but Elgin is able to lift him up from the mat into a suplex. Cole knees out of that in a great counter and suplexes Elgin onto his knee for two.

Elgin comes right back with a Crossface but Cole rolls him over for a cover to escape. The Cesaro dead lift superplex into a falcon’s arrow gets two on the champion. Cole counters the Elgin Bomb and tries a hurricanrana but has to counter a super Elgin Bomb to get it. The Florida Keys (arm tap German suplex) get a very close two for Cole. Michael is in trouble so he just kicks Cole in the face. Adam comes back with a superkick but it nails the referee instead.

A buckle bomb followed by the Elgin Bomb should have Cole beaten but there’s no referee. The Kingdom hits the ring for a beatdown but Michael picks them up for a Samoan drop/fall away slam at the same time. The smile on Elgin’s face made that even better. Elgin powerbombs Cole onto the Kingdom in a cool visual, sending Maria’s eyes bugging out of her head.

Maria slaps Elgin in the face, allowing Cole to try a Canadian Destroyer from the apron. Elgin counters that but Bennett hits him with the belt, allowing Cole to hit a German suplex on the floor. The tag team War Machine comes out to fight the Kingdom to the back and Michael barely beats the count back in. Maria throws the belt in, earning her some green mist from Elgin’s wife MsChif. The buckle and Elgin Bombs give us a near fall so close that the streamers come flying into the ring. Fans: “WE F’D UP!”

Cole comes back with a missile dropkick to the knee and wraps it around the post. There’s a Hart Breaker on the leg and Elgin is in trouble. Back in and Elgin rolls through a rollup into the Crossface but Cole hits him in the leg. Elgin’s leg is so banged up that he can’t charge for a clothesline. The middle rope Canadian Destroyer only gets two and the look on Cole’s face is great. He loads up another Destroyer but tries a sunset flip for a surprise. Elgin is ready for it though and counters into a triple powerbomb for the pin and the title.

Rating: B+. This was the kind of match they needed to make the show feel like a big deal, even though the ending was pretty clear about halfway through. They were following a classic formula here of throwing EVERYTHING at Elgin but having him hang through it all. I wasn’t wild about his knee being strong enough for three powerbombs at the end but I can live with it. Cole looked good too as he’s got a higher flying Bobby Roode style working for him right now. Really good match here.

Elgin celebrates to take us out.

Overall Rating: B-. I liked the show but it wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen from ROH. The main event is worth checking out but nothing else was really a blowaway match. There was good stuff on the show though, if nothing else due to the absence of a lot of ROH’s bad habits. The no selling and forearms were almost nowhere to be seen on this show and it made the show far less annoying. It’s a good show and a good first effort on PPV.

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