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Andrew’s Ratings & Review: ROH Best In The World 2018

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Well if you’ve heard any podcasts I’m on, I’m not a huge fan of ROH. Usually the wrestling and presentation feels like the minor leagues for New Japan since most of the major players, we see over there anyway. Honestly, my only interest is the main event, but might as well watch the whole thing while I’m at it. Long passed are the days when ROH would stand on it’s own, but maybe we could see a change tonight?

Three of the title matches involve Bullet Club members, and I’m assuming 75% of the audience will have on Bullet Club merch. Does ROH cave to the fans like they have for the last few years? Or do we finally see them try to keep some legitimacy with their roster?

 

ROH Six Man Titles: EVIL, SANADA & Bushi vs The Kingdom (c)

Taven and O’Ryan gang up on EVIL early, but a few well placed Shoulder Tackles put an end to that. Then Taven tags in, as does SANADA, and we get to see a Moonsault, a bunch of standing switches and then SANADA flips out of a back drop, into a casual tag by Bushi, who calls out Vinny. Snapmare from Vinny and he immediately goes for Bushi’s mask, to a bunch of boos, and then a big scrum from all six men. Taven feigns a big dive to the outside but does Naito’s Tranquilo pose, and SANADA takes offense and goes after them. LIJ chants fill the crowd as EVIL gets tagged in, hitting a Senton for 2.

Vinny back in legal after a tandem move, tags back to O’Ryan for tandem chops into a near fall. The Kingdom keeps control of EVIL in their corner as tags rotate between Vinny and O’Ryan. Spinebuster/Flying Headbutt combination for The Kingdom lead to another 2 count, EVIL desperately needs a tag. EVIL fires up a bit knocking down the outside Kingdom members, blocks a few strike attempts and tags in SANADA to go against Taven. Beautiful dropkicks over and over by SANADA, as he then catches Taven’s foot and puts him in the Paradise Lock. O’Ryan tries to do it to SANADA but instead ends up putting himself into the move. Double Dropkicks to the butts of Taven and O’Ryan break the Paradise Locks.

Vinny pops a balloon in SANADA’s ear, they go for a big tandem move, but the rest of the LIJ members stop it, and then Taven stops the Magic Killer. So a lot of timely counters, as Taven hits a Shining Wizard for only 2. Taven tweaks his knee, SANADA hits a low dropkick and tags in Bushi. Bushi hits a Missile Dropkick, does a Bushirooni and O’Ryan comes in to try and stop things, but fails. EVIL slides in and LIJ hits some nice combination moves to keep advantage.

But The Kingdom make the save and start some nice combinations on Bushi, but EVIL breaks it up. Bushi tries to mist Taven, but misses and hits Vinny, however O’Ryan and Taven hit Rockstar Supernova for the win.

Winner: The Kingdom via Rockstar Supernova

Rating: ** 1/2

 

Bully Ray vs Flip Gordon

Two quick Superkicks and then a spear into some ground and pound has Flip start off fast. Flip hits a Plancha to the outside and Bully keeps reeling. Another outside dive, Tope con Hilo, onto Bully. Bully tries to move away, but a Springboard Bodysplash still catches Bully anyway, and Flip continues the pressure and keeps wailing on Bully.
Finally brings him back in the ring for Samoan Pop, Standing Shooting Star Press, into corner Moonsault, for 2. Bully still has yet to land an offensive move, but catches Flip with a sudden and heavy lariat. Pulls him to the corner for a Vader Bomb, but misses.

Flip went for the Star Spangled Stunner, came up short and Bully catches him between the uprights. Todd Sinclair ends the match.

Winner: Flip via DQ

Rating: * 3/4

 

WOH 8 Woman Tag: Kagetsu, Hana Kimura, Hazuki & Kelly Klein vs Sumie Sakai, Tenille Dashwood, Mayu Iwatani & Jenny Rose

Kagetsu and Sumie start off, but it’s kinda awkward, slow and telegraphed. Hana tags in, calls out Tenille and mocks her with the “All about me” line.

Jenny Rose comes in, gets a near fall on Hana, but Hana manages to land a drop kick and tag in Kelly Klein. Kelly hits the Klein Line, for 2, and then there’s some sloppy roll up attempts and we get tags for the women who haven’t been in yet. Mayu hits a Slingblade and tags in Sumie, and then the match devolves to all of them in the ring. Hazuki and Kagetsu have a beautiful tandem round kick into senton combination. Then we get the Oedo Tai signature three foot pose on Sumie’s face while Hana seems to add a little bit of a twerk to her pose.

Kelly lays in a few strikes and gets a near fall on Sumie. Vertical Suplex into Northern Lights attempt from Kelly, but Sumie hits a counter DDT. Tenille gets the hot tag and she clears Oedo Tai off the ring and hits a Neckbreaker on Kelly. Hana and Kagetsu try a double team, but Tenille counters them, stacks them up in the corner for a double Taste of Tenille and the camera man falls down. Flying Crossbody from Tenille, for 2 as Kelly makes a desperation tag to Hana after Kagetsu interferes.

Mayu gets tagged in, landing a Splitlegged Dropkick. Tenille Butterfly Suplexes Hana, Mayu with a Frog Splash, but Hazuki and Kagetsu break it up. Hana goes for a Brainbuster but Mayu sinks in a Guillotine, but Hana powers through and stalls into a Brainbuster for a dramatic near fall. Kagetsu tries to hit Mayu with their sign, but hits Hana instead, then we have more of a breakdown where everyone attacks each other. Mayu takes advantage of all the chaos and Hana being hit with the sign, so she lands her Dragon Suplex Hold for the victory.

Sloppy, but the energy picked up and it managed to stay entertaining throughout some of the hiccups.

Winner: Iwatani via Dragon Suplex Hold

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Austin Aries vs Kenny King

Collar and Elbow tie up, moves to the ropes with a fairly clean break from Aries, rinse and repeat from Kenny. Test of Strength attempt, but Aries takes the short cut and stays on King with a front facelock. A little jawwing and grand standing, until Aries chops him and goes off the ropes for something, but both men start countering each other’s moves. King finally lands a backbreaker into a lariat. A leg sweep sends Aries crashing on his face, and King does it again at the behest of the crowd.

He bows to the crowd, Aries goes for the Roll Up, Kenny kicks out and hits another leg sweep.Going to the outside, Aries stalks King thinking he has the advantage, but again, another leg sweep. Aries tries to slide in and out of the ring for space, walks over to him, for a sweep again. I guess some find that funny, but it just seems stupid to get caught with the same move 5 times in the course of 2 minutes. Kenny goes for a Springboard from outside in, but Aries dropkicks the rope to send King flying, and then a Triangle Forearm smash, finally gives Austin a small bit of momentum. Rolling King back in the ring, Aries hits the Slingshot Senton for 2.

Aries hits a multitude of his signature moves for a few different near falls, but nothing seems to land hard enough for anything significant. Austin tries to send Kenny out of the ring, it looks awkward, I’m not sure what goes wrong, but a Springboard Blockbuster, into a Hip Attack followed by a T-Bone Suplex from Kenny makes the botch irrelevant.

Royal Flush attempt gets countered and Aries sinks in the Last Chancery. King gets to the ropes, and then they tease a lot of stuff on the apron. Austin his a Neckbreaker into the middle rope, sending Kenny reeling to the outside.

Low-pe attempt from Aries, gets met with a King Enzuigiri. Seems like Aries is out, but he pie faces King and then spits on him, pissing off Kenny. King is about to do something on the outside, but Aries screams “I’m your friend” and it stops Kenny and he rolls him in. Kenny playing conflicted face, while Aries is taking any angle possible to try and get an advantage.

Royal Flush lands, Aries grabs the bottom rope then tries to take his belts and walk away. King lands a big Corckscrew Plancha into Aries and walks around with the Impact Wrestling World Title. Kenny doesn’t hit him with the belt, and gets caught with a Brainbuster on the outside.

“You Killed Kenny, You Bastard” chant starts. Aries rolls in King, King tries a quick rollup, but Austin kicks out and then lands a Discus Forearm and one more Brainbuster for the win.

Winner: Aries via Brainbuster

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Jay Lethal vs Kushida

Kushida opts not to shake hands at the beginning of the match, which is odd since he’s usually a happy babyface. Lethal controls the first exchange with a top wrist lock, as Kushida then chain a few moves together, before they both pop up and stare each other down. After bumping off eachother with mirrored shoulder tackles, Lethal hits a single leg takedown, and then Lethal locks in a front facelock and holds it for a little bit. Lethal went for Kushida’s hip toss/cartwheel dropkick combo, but misses, Kushida hits one of his own and takes the advantage.

Then we see Kushida mimic Lethal a little by going for 3 Tope con Hilos in a row, as he then comes down with a Double Axe Handle from 3 corners and even poses similarly to how Lethal does it. So this is defintely a match to prove they know each other well and Kushida being a little more heelish is interesting. Both men try to lift the other for Vertical Suplexes, way too many times. Kushida slides out of one and then tries for a Lethal Injection, but Jay kicks the hands out from under Kushida and starts working over Kushida’s knee.

Jay continues the knee breakers, and Kushida lands a few desperate chops, but it’s all Lethal at the moment.Lethal drives Kushida’s knee into the top turnbuckle and gets a fairly long 2. Lethal then just sits on Kushida with some odd Cloverleaf kind of submission. Jay keeps slamming Kushida’s knee into his own, hyper extending and smashing the knee joint. Another pin attempts gets 2, and then an uppercut leads to a Figure Four attempt, but Kushida kicks off. Lehtal keeps the advantage, Triangle Dropkick to send Kushida to the ouside, and then we get Lethal’s Triple Suicide Dives. But Lethal gets caught on the third by Kushida into a Fujiwara Armbar.

Jay tries to get a single leg on Kushida, but he continues to move his leg and kick Lethal in time. But the Lethal Combination slows things down and gives Lethal a chance to catch his breath. Figure Four attempt number two, is stopped because now Lethal wants a Macho Man style elbow drop. Lethal seesm to be stuck between all of his old gimmicks. Flair, Black Machismo, Heel and himself.

An inverted Torture Rack, gives Lethal the opening to go for the Elbow Drop again, but Kushida catches him in the Triangle Armbar. Lethal manages to counter it into a pin attempt and then slaps on the Figure Four, but Kushida gets to the ropes. Fighting spirit moment as both men tell the other to strike the injured areas. Kushida gets the best of the exchange, Paintbrushes Lethal and then shakes his hand while he’s dazed. Pump Kick from Lethal, Pele from Kushida, another Pump Kick from Lethal leads to an attempted Lethal Injection. Kushida catches him into a Hoverboard Lock, but Lethal works out of it, Back to the Future attempt, into locomotion cradles and counters.

Both men struggle to get up, but Lethal finally hits the Lethal Injection, for pinfall victory.

Winner: Jay Lethal via Lethal Injection

Rating: **** 1/4

 

World TV Championship Street Fight: Punishment Martinez (c) vs Hangman Page

Page goes after Martinez quickly, almost takes out Bobby Cruise in the process. They roll to the outside, Punishment rolls Page back in, but Page hits a Suicide Dive immediately and then whips him around the outside into the barricades. Hangman starts looking under the ring for something, but doesn’t find it fast enough and Martinez catches him, but then Page finds a chair and throws it into Punishment’s face. Back into the ring, Page wedges the chair in the corner and flings Martinez back first into the chair.

Then we see Hangman prop a table against the ring post and go back to trading strikes with Martinez. Shooting Star Shoulder Tackle was missed, Apron Powerbomb took a while to actually hit, as Martinez then Chokeslams Page into the guardrail. Punishment throws Page into the guardrail and sets up a few chairs. Hangman recovers, and manages to fight away from the assortment of chairs, before Punishment throws him into the guardrail again. Punishment misses a Big Boot over the guardrail, so Page hits a Superplex onto the outside mats. Page lands a few big strikes in the corner, before Martinez rocks him with a lariat and goes to get a chair. Page counters a Tombstone on the chair, into his own Cradle Piledriver into the chair, for a 2 count.

Rite of Passage attempt on the apron is counter by Martinez and he keeps trying to drive Page’s head into a chair. Punishment finds a zip tie and ties up Hangman’s hands. Page tries to fight back, but with the tied up hands, he can’t block the Curb Stomp into the chair, but still kicks out at 2. Martinez sets up a table, Page spits in his face and manages to break the zip ties and spear him sloppily on the outside. That whole going to the outside sequence was awkward or sloppy.

Now we see Page go for his Moonsault, and hits it decently on Martinez. But when he poses on the apron, Martinez kicks him into the chairs from earlier. Instead of going for the finish, Martinez finds a bag of tacks and he lays them out. Attempted powerbomb onto the tacks gets countered into a Back Body Drop from Hangman. Page tries to Rite of Passage him into the tacks, but Martinez counters into South of Heaven chokeslam through the table.

Sloppy, oddly paced, clunky at best match.

Winner: Punishment via South of Heaven Chokeslam

Rating: ** 1/2

 

ROH Tag Team Titles: The Young Bucks vs The Briscoes (c)

Nick hits the Lucha Style Arm Drag and Twist, and keeps his momentum going through tandem attempts from the Briscoes. All four men get in the ring, attempt tandem moves and then just square up and talk shit to each other. Bricoes get a little momentum and then get caught by stereo Superkicks, followed by the over head toss split legged drop kick, as the Young Bucks look strong. Bucks look to continue their advantage, but get caught by Jay Briscoe and a Redneck Boogie, nearly ends the match right there.
Marc takes the opening finally to lay into Matt, as he tags in Jay and we see the Briscoes finally lay in their more deliberate strikes. Sliding Dropkick from Jay gets a 2 count as they keep Matt in their corner. Matt slides out of the ring, acts like he’s going to Nick, just to Superkick Jay. Miscommunication on the Biscoes as Jay manages to pull out Matt, but gets Dropkiced by Marc. Matt hits an Apron Blockbuster to give him the opening to tag in Nick for his Triangle Corkscrew Splash.

Bulldog/Dropkick combination from Nick on the outside, as he and Matt hit their stereo dives, and Nick throws Jay back in. Marc pulled down Nick with a Chokehold and then takes out Matt with a running Blockbuster. Froggy Elbow from Marc allows Jay to pin Nick for a very close 2 count. Avalanche Redneck Boogie countered by the Bucks and Matt comes in, knocking Marc Briscoe down multiple times. Jay comes in to break things up, and somehow just powers through a double clothesline. Matt keeps running and gets caught with a Spicoli Driver while everyone slowly gets back up. Jay stomps on Matt’s head, but eats a Superkick. Then the Briscoes hit two Superkicks, the Bucks hit Superkicks, and the Briscoes land flying lariats.

Jay Driller lands flush on Matt, but Nick manages to break it up. Doomsday Device attempt, Springboard Cutter and Victory Roll nearly win the match for the Bucks. The Bucks hit a Springboard Doomsday Device for a near fall. More Bang for Your Buck on Jay, but Marc lands the Froggy Elbow on the referee. The Bucks Superkick Marc, and look to Meltzer Driver Jay, but Marc breaks up the pin. Melzter Driver attempt two, but Marc throws a chair at Nick, Jay Driller on Matt one more time on the chair, for only 2 again.

Avalanche Redneck Boogie, finally puts away Matt Jackson. So the Briscoes retain!

Winner: Briscoes via Avalanche Redneck Boogie

Rating: **** 1/2

 

ROH World Heavyweight Championship: Cody vs Dalton Castle (c) vs Marty Scurll

Cody tells Burnard to leave, Marty clips Cody immediately, Cody then Rhodes’ Uppercuts Marty and Disaster Kick’s Castle to the outside. After a little bit of jawing, Marty and Cody both go after Dalton. Throwing Cody into the guardrail, then a twisting Frankensteiner on Marty gives Dalton the advantage. Near fall on Marty, then Scurll and Cody try to work together, but the Springboard Dropkick misses Castle and hits Marty.

Marty with the apron Superkick on Castle, followed by a Tornado DDT onto Cody to give Marty a moment to shine. Cody begs off Marty, Marty signals to the crowd to break his fingers, but instead there’s a strike exchange between the two. Front Facelock Release Suplex by Cody onto Marty, gives Castle a small opening. Dalton manages to land strikes on both other men, until Cody catches his foot and slams him face first into the mat. But Dalton catches Cody going to the top rope and hits an Avalanche throw for a near fall. Chicken Wing and Indian Deathlock simultaneously on Castle, but he doesn’t tap out. Cody and Marty face off, Cody goes for the Powerslam, but Marty anticipates it and makes Cody look dumb.

Cody goes for a low blow after distracting Sinclair, but Marty catches him. And sets up Cody for a Shattered Dreams even with the Goldust breath in pose. Brandi causes a distraction, Cody kicks Marty in the balls and gets the near fall. Brandi gives Cody the ring, Cody makes Marty kiss the ring, but Marty breaks Cody’s fingers and takes the ring. Dalton hits a Bang-a-Rang from nowhere, but Nick Aldis pulls out the ref. Cody dives onto Aldis, but Brandi and Cody both pull out Sinclair after Marty hits Dalton with the title belt. Sinclair then kicks everyone out. Makes you wonder if Burnard will play a role, since he wasn’t kicked out by Sinclair since Cody sent him home early. All three begin trading strikes, rollup attempts and everyone ends up down at some point.

Cody gets baby powder, but Marty hits it into Cody’s face. Cody hits Crossroads on Marty, Dalton dumps out Cody for the pin, but Marty kicks out. Bang-a-Rang number two gets countered and Marty sinks in the Chicken Wing.  Cody tries to Crossroads Marty, but gets it countered. Dalton then hits Bang-a-Rang on Marty for the pinfall victory. Dalton Castle retains.

Winner: Castle via Bang-a-Rang

Rating: *** 1/2

Thoughts:

The first thing that sticks out to me about this show, is that Bullet Club went 0-3 in their matches. Bucks failed, Page failed and Cody went into tonight expecting a Triple Crown run, but now because he lost this match, he no longer gets an NWA Championship match at All In. Also it seems like Tenille made a motion to challenge for the WOH title, Jay Lethal was insinuated to be the next number 1 contender for the World Title and SoCal Uncensored came out to help the Young Bucks, reasons not exactly clear. So we did see title pictures continue to expand out, and with mostly ROH talent.

I’m not sure if this is just a crossroads for the popular Bullet Club members, or if ROH is finally putting stock in their more exclusive talent. As for the show, it, much like Bullet Club, was fine. A lot of the matches lacked fluidity, spots just seemed strung together or rushed and the story telling was really only relevant in the two matches I ranked highest.

The better matches were positioned later, so at least the card build kind of made sense. Still nothing extremely special, just an okay, solid enough show.


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