Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of ROH Best in the World from the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, Maryland in ROH’s first show in front of a live audience since the pandemic began.
The announcers are Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.
*One-Hour Pre-Show: Rey Horus over Demonic Flamita
*One-Hour Pre-Show: PCO & Danhausen over The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas)
*The Briscoe Brothers over PJ Black & Brian Johnson in 8:12
*EC3 over Flip Gordon in 11:12
*ROH Six-Man Tag Championship: Shane Taylor, Kaun & Moses (champions) over Dalton Castle, Dak Draper & Eli Isom in 10:54
*Last Man Standing Match: Josh Woods over Silas Young in 14:07
*Brody King over Jay Lethal in 10:43
*ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham (champion) over Mike Bennett in 19:20
*ROH Television Championship: Dragon Lee over Tony Deppen (champion) in 10:16
*ROH Tag Team Championship, Fight Without Honor: Chris Dickinson & Homicide over Rhett Titus & Jonathan Gresham (champions) in 11:02
*ROH World Championship: Bandido over Rush (champion) in 16:06
PJ Black & Brian Johnson vs. The Briscoe Brothers
Brian “The Mecca” Johnson came out with Black and cut a promo on the crowd, called Cary Silkin “a relic” and mocked The Briscoes and insulted Papa & Mama Briscoe. Johnson was very good with his microphone time.
This was the reunion of The Briscoes following the ‘Fight on the Farm’ that aired last weekend. After the four brawled on the floor, Mark Briscoe leaped off a chair and dove onto Johnson on the floor.
Jay Briscoe and Johnson went nose-to-nose with Jay hitting a reverse neck breaker.
They had one spot where they teased problems when Jay accidentally struck his brother but they continue without any problems. The heels got a near-fall after Johnson hit the Spike Eskin (Tower of London) to Jay followed by Black’s springboard 450 splash and Jay kicked out.
The Briscoes made the come back after Mark hit the Bang, Bang elbow off the apron. The finishing sequence featured Jay hitting the Jay Driller, Mark with Froggy Bow, and Jay pinned Black.
WINNERS: The Briscoe Brothers in 8 minutes and 12 seconds
It was a decent opener and the audience was lively for the pay-per-view opener. The story was that neither team was ranked in the top five and it was designed as a reset for The Briscoes now they are back on the same page.
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman announced that Jay Lethal would replace Tracy Williams in the Fight Without Honor for the ROH Tag Team Championship tonight.
EC3 vs. Flip Gordon
This was long and plodding and didn’t seem to engage the audience whatsoever.
Gordon attacked EC3’s knee for the whole match with chop blocks, wrapping it around the post, and using a kneebar – but still lost.
EC3 hit a superplex, was selling the effects of the knee attack but connected with a butterfly facebuster and applied his crossface called “Looking for a Purpose” and Gordon submitted.
WINNER: EC3 in 11 minutes and 12 seconds
Gordon is challenging for the ROH title next month, so in theory, this places EC3 into the title mix and could face the winner of the championship match at Glory by Honor. EC3 offered his hand and twice Gordon slapped him, on the third offer Gordon spit in his face. That must set a record for a company coming back from a global pandemic to already be doing angles where guys spit in each other’s face. Sanitary.
ROH Six-Man Tag Championship: Shane Taylor, Kaun & Moses (champions) vs. Dalton Castle, Dak Draper & Eli Isom
Castle was in his jumpsuit and returned with The Boys after going a more serious route since ROH began running their empty arena shows.
This was an entertaining six-man tag with Shane Taylor Promotions working well off the dysfunctional team of Castle, Isom & Draper.
Castle pulled the rope down sending Moses to the floor celebrated like he had won the world championship again.
After a pin attempt by Isom, Castle lectured him with Draper shoving Isom to the floor. Moses was tagged and hit a senton off the apron to Castle and Isom as the audience chanted “STP”.
Taylor hit the Marcus Garvey Driver on Draper but Isom saved. Isom rallied against Taylor and hit his version of the Kryptonite Krunch, climbed to the top, and Castle got involved with Isom shoving Castle off. Kaun caught Isom off guard with a jackhammer off the turnbuckle and Taylor delivered a knee strike to Draper and finished him with Welcome to The Land.
WINNERS: Shane Taylor, Kaun & Moses in 10 minutes and 54 seconds to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Championship
It was a good match with some creative high flying from Shane Taylor Promotions especially Moses. The three are a very good group and Taylor has come a long way over the past few years. Isom and Draper had their moments to shine in the match.
Last Man Standing: Silas Young vs. Josh Woods
Woods jumped Young on his way to the ring. The said this was Young’s match as he is 3-0 in Last Man Standing matches. The loser is the one that cannot answer the count of ten.
These two had a solid match and the best on the show, so far.
A table and ladder were introduced early. Ian Riccaboni was great during this match, explaining why they have a ladder under the ring – so they can set up the lighting rig. Then, we spoke about Dory Funk Sr. being the master of the Texas Deathmatch, similar to a Last Man Standing match, and even got a Bill Longson reference on the air in 2021.
They worked really hard and never overused the weapons. Woods applied the Gorilla Lock, which is like an inverted figure-four with an ankle lock, Young tapped but that meant nothing in this type of match.
Woods was sitting on a chair on the floor, caught Young, and powerbombed him on the ladder leaning against the ring.
Two tables were set up side-by-side on the floor, so Woods teased a German suplex off the apron and actually hit with both crashing through the tables. Woods got to his feet first and won.
WINNER: Josh Woods in 14 minutes and 7 seconds
A great effort from both and felt like a notable victory for Woods after establishing Young’s previous success in this stipulation match. Woods is a solid talent and this match played to a lot of Young’s strengths and I thought each performed very well.
Quinn McKay asked Matt Taven for an update after an attack by Vincent. The two will have a Steel Cage match next month at Glory by Honor. Taven said Vincent has attacked him with an axe and broken into his house and will leave scars on Vincent that will last the rest of his life (which is how scars work).
Jay Lethal vs. Brody King
Tracy Williams was in Lethal’s corner (Lethal is taking his spot in the ROH Tag Team Championship match later tonight). They explained how Williams was hit by a car last month in a hit-and-run situation.
Caprice Coleman explained this had a “main event feel” and then leaped into the hyperbole stratosphere adding, “like Hogan and Andre”.
Lethal hit the Lethal Injection immediately and only got a one-count. Lethal followed with four topes but King never went down on the floor.
Lethal hit a powerbomb out of the corner and went for the figure-four but King defended and landed a piledriver with Lethal rolling to the floor.
King hit a running crossbody to Lethal, who was seated in a chair against the barricade. King continued with a Death Valley Driver on the edge of the apron with Lethal kicking out at two. Lethal sold the beating very effectively.
After several attempts, King hit the Gonzo Bomb and hit a second one for the win.
WINNER: Brody King in 10 minutes and 43 seconds
This was a strong win for King with the idea that he decimated a former ROH Champion and dominated the match. Lethal hit King with his best moves and King walked through them. I really like when promotions take the gamble and go this route with an established commodity such as Lethal. It makes the win feel more important because it’s a devastating loss for Lethal and you have an instant story of how he responds while you’ve elevated King as a big monster.
The medical staff checked on Lethal after the match.
Lethal is also scheduled to come back and wrestle in the ROH Tag Team Championship match teaming with Rhett Titus.
ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham (champion) vs. Mike Bennett
Cary Silkin joined Riccaboni and Coleman on commentary for this match.
Gresham is 10-0 in the ROH Pure division and Bennett is 3-0.
After Gresham used the first rope break, he worked on the arm of Bennett and focused his offense on the left arm and shoulder. Bennett tried to break free and immediately took an arm drag. Just a simple shoulder block off the ropes was effective with Bennett displaying the pain.
Bennett caught Gresham’s pescado but Gresham went to the kimura on the injured shoulder and forced Bennett back into the ring with the submission applied.
Bennett applied London Dungeon forcing Gresham to use his second rope break.
Gresham snaps the arm with his feet, uses La Magistral Cradle for a two-count, and then kicked the arm of Bennett.
Gresham landed several more kicks to the arm. During one sequence he went from La Magistral into a European Clutch that was tremendous, this guy is a special talent. Gresham attempted an abdominal stretch where Bennett used his third and final rope break.
Bennett fired up with a powerbomb, Gresham transitioned and applied a crossface with Bennett out of rope breaks. Bennett broke free by flipping Gresham into the turnbuckle.
Bennett hit a piledriver and the referee counted three, but Gresham’s foot was under the bottom rope. It is ruled as Gresham’s final rope break.
Gresham clipped the knee, kicked the arm, and then rolled Bennett’s ankle into a submission with his legs forcing Bennett to tap.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 19 minutes and 20 seconds to retain the ROH Pure Championship
This was great and Gresham is seriously one of the most underrated world-class wrestlers out there.
Bennett sold the shoulder well, but this was all about Gresham, who is so smooth, and this style is tailor-made for him. There were several sequences and counters that were just spectacular, and Gresham makes it look effortless. If you’re into the Pure matches, this one was really great and had an amazing near-fall with Gresham’s foot under the rope and adding the drama of the champion using up all his rope breaks.
Rhett Titus and Tracy Williams are backstage and are recruiting Jonathan Gresham to replace Jay Lethal in the tag title match.
ROH Television Championship: Tony Deppen vs. Dragon Lee w/ Bestia
Kenny King is on commentary with Riccaboni and Coleman.
This was another strong match and they went all out for the ten minutes they had.
Deppen went for a suicide dive but ended with a Canadian Destroyer that was incredible.
King left the commentary area to try and distract Deppen but it failed.
The two got into an exchange of German suplexes with each continually popping up. Lee hit the poison ‘rana and Deppen responded with a lariat as the audience applauded when both collapsed.
We had a huge chop exchange ending with a Dragon Driver and Deppen kicked out at one.
Lee hit the Desnucadora and Incineration knee striker for the win.
WINNER: Dragon Lee in 10 minutes and 16 seconds to win the ROH Television Championship
Another great match and this show has really hit its stride. I thought this was excellent for the time they had.
Chris Dickinson and Homicide ran down to save Deppen.
The Foundation’s Rhett Titus and Jonathan Gresham ran down and it immediately went into the Fight Without Honor match for the tag titles.
ROH Tag Team Championship, Fight Without Honor: Rhett Titus & Jonathan Gresham (champions) vs. Chris Dickinson & Homicide
The match started abruptly and immediately became a brawl. Titus was a big focus of the match hitting a Falcon Arrow to Homicide and putting him through a table.
Titus returned to the ring dropkicking a chair into Dickinson and hitting a belly-to-belly on Homicide with a chair on his back.
Gresham applied the Octopus to Homicide and Dickinson powerslammed Titus to break the submission.
While Dickinson had Gresham in an STF, Homicide grabbed a fork to use on Gresham but Titus saved.
The match concluded after Dickinson low-blowed Titus and sent him off the turnbuckle with a Border Toss through a table, Homicide hit the 187 on Gresham and pinned Gresham.
WINNERS: Homicide & Chris Dickinson in 11 minutes and 2 seconds to win the ROH Tag Team Championship
It was a fast-paced, Fight Without Honor that felt a bit repetitive from the Last Man Standing match earlier with the requisite weapons.
It was interesting that it was Gresham taking the fall and should open the door for something whacky like Homicide going for the Pure Championship.
The four worked hard and they had a strong pace throughout the match with the second title match on the show.
Maria Kanellis and Lenny Leonard previewed the Women’s Championship Tournament with the finals taking place in September at Death Before Dishonor.
The final entrant in the tournament to replace Vita VonStar is Chelsea Green.
Green came out and said, “So, this is what freedom looks like?” and said that after seven years, Chelsea Green is finally in Ring of Honor. She was deemed “unworthy” for the past 2 ½ years and is going to do things differently and needs to prove that she is enough.
The Maryland commission has deemed her unfit to compete due to her injury, so instead, she will sit ringside for every match and study. The scars under her cast are a reminder that she is unstoppable. Green said in one month when her cast is off, she will join these women and will take the ROH women’s division to the forefront of wrestling.
ROH World Championship: Rush (champion) vs. Bandido
Rush immediately hit the Bull’s Horns but wouldn’t cover him. Instead, he took Bandido to the floor and shut the barricade door on him.
Rush took over and teased another Bull’s Horns but pulled up short to pose and toy with Bandido and angering the audience.
Rush is blatantly breaking the rules because he knows referee Todd Sinclair doesn’t want to end the match and cost Bandido his title opportunity.
Bandido comes back with a tope to the floor and a shooting star press. Bandido went for a springboard and was caught with a dropkick from Rush, who followed with a tope con giro on Bandido.
Rush set up a pair of tables on the floor, Bandido dove at Rush and sent both crashing through the tables. They beat the count of twenty into the ring.
Bandido attempted a pop-up cutter that wasn’t timed properly.
Bandido stopped Rush on the top turnbuckle and hit the moonsault fallaway slam and followed with the 21 Plex, which Rush kicked out of.
Rush hit an overhead suplex and tore Bandido’s mask, then out of nowhere, Bandido rolled him up and caught Rush for the three-count.
WINNER: Bandido in 16 minutes and 6 seconds to win the ROH World Championship
Kenny King, Dragon Lee, and Bestia stormed the ring and attacked Bandido. Rush nailed him with a belt shot as they stood on top of Bandido and posed. They quickly ended the show.
If there was a complaint, it was that the title change was given zero time to breathe and let the audience go wild for the new champion. Instead, they shot the angle so quickly that it almost made the title switch feel secondary and overshadowed.
It was a fine main event with some timing issues between them, but it was a fun, fast-paced match and the audience provided a lot of heat for Rush especially from the early stages of the match.
Overall, I’d say this was a pretty entertaining show, especially from the Last Man Standing match onward. The Pure Championship match was very solid especially the work of Jonathan Gresham with Dragon Lee and Tony Deppen tearing it up with their title match.
From a news perspective, Chelsea Green debuted and cut a good promo and felt like a big deal on her first night in the company.