Inside Pulse 12

A2Z Analysiz: ROH Best in the World 2015 (Jay Lethal, Jay Briscoe)

BITW 2015

For the full archive of my many Ring of Honor DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews.

Terminal 5 – New York City, NY – Friday, June 19, 2015

Kevin Kelly, King Corino, and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.

~MATCH #1~
Mark Briscoe (w/ ODB) defeats Donovan Dijak (w/ Truth Martini) at 8:57. The younger Briscoe brother is in control early, but Dijak uses his size to cut him off. Of course since it’s Ring of Honor and Mark has the last name Briscoe, he gets to not sell very much and just do his thing. Late in the match Dijak tries Feast Your Eyes but Mark blocks it (sort of?) and hits a brainbuster. One Froggy ‘Bow later and Mark gets the win. I’m struggling to come up with a reason for Mark Briscoe to go over here. Match was okay in spots.
Rating: **¼

~MATCH #2~
The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Adam Page, w/ Colby Corino) defeat Matt Sydal & ACH at 9:08. The main feud here is between Page and ACH, and they brought their partners along for the ride. Page avoids ACH as much as he can, unless ACH is in a compromised position. They follow a pretty standard formula, and Whitmer saves Page from getting pinned after taking an Air Sydal. The ensuing distraction gives Page the opportunity to hit Sydal with the Rite of Passage to get the pin. That’s a good win for Page, and keeping him away from ACH a bit is a good way to build heat on their eventual blowoff. Not a particularly great match or anything, but it was an effective puzzle piece.
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #3~
Dalton Castle (w/ Brandon & Brent) defeats Silas Young at 11:14. Castle starts off hot but Young is able to slow him down and keep him on the mat. They trade control back and forth as The Boys look on from ringside and try to encourage Castle to a victory. This is a heated back and forth affair, with both men doing a great job making the win seem very important. Late in the match Castle is on the top rope and Young pushes referee Todd Sinclair into the ropes to knock Castle down. Sinclair then won’t count the pin cover, which is asinine. While Young argues with him about it, Castle delivers a low blow and then pins Young with a schoolboy rollup. Wow I hate that finish with a passion. The match was going along well, and this feud is a good one because I can see why their characters would be at odds. But that finish just sucked. The referee’s job is to call the action, and if you don’t call a DQ when he pushed you into the ropes you don’t get to not count a pin just because. I’m reminded of my favorite Homicide quote: “what the f*ck, Todd?!”
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #4~
War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) defeat C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander) at 3:33. C&C start the match off hot and aggressive, flying all over the ring. Unfortunately, some miscommunication sees Coleman accidentally kick Alexander in the face. That gives War Machine the opportunity to take over and isolate Coleman in their half of the ring. Alexander goes under the ring and grabs a wrench (just like he recently used on Ring of Honor Wrestling) against Moose), and when Coleman sees it he refuses to tag him in. War Machine hits Coleman with Fallout to get the win. After the match Alexander tells Coleman in no uncertain terms that their team is over. Not much to the match here, but an effective way to turn Alexander heel without the cliché beatdown on former partner.
Rating: **

~MATCH #5~
Roderick Strong defeats Michael Elgin and Moose (w/ Stokely Hathaway & Veda Scott) in a Number One Contender’s Match at 13:02. Kevin Kelly explains that these three men have the best Win-Loss records in ROH for the year 2015, so it makes sense that they would get this opportunity. This is all action from the start, as Kelly announces the winner will get his shot at Death Before Dishonor XIII on July 24. Elgin and Moose both show off their ridiculous power, while Strong tries to divide and conquer. The crowd is into this one, and with the pace they’re going at and with the title shot on the line I don’t blame them. Moose knocks both men to the floor and follows them out with a dive from the top rope. He’s silly athletic. Back in the ring Elgin hits Moose with a pop-powerbomb, and then he pulls him up to hit another one. When he goes for a third powerbomb Strong breaks it up with a Sick Kick, and then hits Elgin with the End of Heartache. Strong then hits Moose with two big knee strikes and a Sick Kick to get the pin. Everybody came out of that looking great and Strong was the best choice to win at this point, so that’s all good by me. The match was non-stop action and everything was on point.
Rating: ***¾

~MATCH #6~
BULLET CLUB (AJ Styles & The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)) defeat The Kingdom (Adam Cole, Matt Taven & Michael Bennett, w/ Maria Kanellis) at 14:57. Bennett and Taven are the IWGP Tag Team Champions, and Styles is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, so New Japan is well represented here. It’s all BULLET CLUB in the early going, as they dominate the Kingdom and send them all to the floor. Maria has to interfere to help her trio take the advantage. The action is non-stop from both sides, as both groups want to be the dominant faction in ROH. Late in the match everything breaks down into chaos, with all six men coming and going seemingly at will. When the BULLET CLUB takes a commanding advantage, Maria tries to interfere again but she gets a double superkick/Pele combination for her troubles. Finally, with Cole all on his own (Bennett and Taven were taken out with a simultaneous spiked Tombstone), the Bucks hit him with a spiked Tombstone Piledriver, and Styles follows with the Styles Clash to get the pin. This was basically a scramble match, and a great one at that. The crowd was into everything they did and it helped the chaotic atmosphere a great deal.
Rating: ****

~MATCH #7~
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) defeat reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) at 15:35 in a No Disqualification Match to retain the titles. Daniels and Kazarian have been the Champions since 4.4.15, and this is their second defense. It doesn’t take long for this one to spill to the floor, since the challengers felt very cheated by the way they lost the titles. Plenty of weapons get involved, including chairs and ladders, which the Champions use expertly. I like this because they’re really doing it as more of a brawl/fight than their previous matches, so it feels very different. The Champions are able to tape Fish to the ropes and the isolate on O’Reilly for quite a while. Eventually though, Fish is able to free himself and he’s a house afire. When it looks like reDRagon are about to regain the titles, Chris Sabin makes his way out and saves his boys. O’Reilly gets knocked to the floor, and Kazarian drills Fish with a kick to the junk. One Celebrity Rehab later and the champs retain. I have no problem with rampant cheating in a No-DQ match, so Sabin’s interference was fine here. This was a good garbage brawl and a good time to get reDRagon away from the Tag Team Titles for a little bit.
Rating: ***½

~MATCH #8~
ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal (w/ Truth Martini) defeats ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe at 27:27 to retain and win the title. Briscoe has been the Champion since 9.6.14, and this is his thirteenth defense. Lethal has been the Champion since 4.4.14, and this is his thirty-first defense. Both men are cautious in the early going, which makes perfect sense given how much is at stake here. They battle both in and out of the ring, trading control back and forth frequently. Late in the match the Jays are fighting on the ring apron, and when Briscoe goes for a Jay Driller, Truth gets up on the ring apron to distract the referee, allowing Lethal to hit a low blow. Nigel McGuinness leaves his commentary post to throw Truth out of the match (of course he would have to get involved), and moments later Briscoe connects on the Jay Driller off the apron and through a table! Back in the ring Briscoe covers but Lethal actually kicks out! Briscoe lands a couple of more big shots but Lethal won’t stay down. Lethal battles back and hits the Lethal Injection but Briscoe kicks out! He reverses a Jay Driller and hits one of his own, and follows with one more Lethal Injection to get the pin and win the ROH World Championship. Lethal is now the only man in ROH history to win all three singles titles in ROH – the World, TV, and Pure Titles. I rag on Jay Briscoe a lot, but he really made Jay Lethal look like a million bucks here, which is necessary for the man now carrying both active singles belts. This started off a bit slow but they picked it up when they needed to and built to a really strong finish. Lethal will make a great Champion.
Rating: ****

A2Z Analysiz
This is a pretty strong show from top to bottom, as the lowest rated match was less than four minutes long and was effective for character development, so that’s an impressive percentage. The last four matches all delivered to varying degrees, and Lethal winning the title felt like a big moment, and rightfully so. This show gets an easy recommendation.

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