Metalhead’s Riff: Best of the World 2015 (ROH, The Kingdom vs Bullet Club, Jay Lethal vs Jay Briscoe, Champion vs Champion)

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As a writer (sort of) for a wrestling site, you sometimes find yourself in a bit of a conundrum when trying to figure out what to write about. The Tough Enough Special wasn’t special enough to devote a column to (it was basically a one-hour sneak peek). Besides I plan of reviewing the series anyway. Another rant about WWE? Hell no. Write about Lucha Wrestling? Grainbelt Jones is already doing that much better than I ever could. Write about Japanese Wrestling? That’s usually my go-to solution but I’m going to write about little else from next week-end on until half August. Write about my cats? Well I can fill a lifetime worth of columns with that particular subject but that might be just a little off-topic.

Luckily for me there was ROH’s Best of the World week-end, which, aside from giving me something to watch also gave me something to write about. Taking place at Terminal 5, New York on July 19, the big selling point was, of course, the long-awaited Champion vs Champion match between Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe. So let’s see how the boys from ROH did.

Marc Briscoe (with ODB) vs Donovan Dijak (with Truth Martini)

Marc Briscoe seems to have found a new rule in ROH, as the guy younger wrestlers somehow have to beat in order to get ahead. So pre-match, many expected Briscoe to put Dijak over. I myself would have found that a logical way to go. Until I saw the match. Dijak has some potential, no doubt about that, but also still has a long way to go. When he doesn’t have someone around to take his lead from he looks lost out there. Mark Briscoe had his work cut out for him then and did well in carrying Dijak to a decent opener. Some impressive spots from Dijak though, but someone needs to tell him that what happens in-between is important too. FroggyBow from Briscoe to take the pin, Logical result given how green Dijak looked at times.

Decent opener, which achieved its goal of entertaining the crowd.

ACH and Matt Sydal vs The Decade (B.J. Whitmer and Adam Page)

In the ongoing feud between ACH and Adam Page (and by extension The Decade), this match felt like little more than more passing of the time before the long overdue conclusion. Some very good stuff from Sydal and ACH of course, Page wasn’t bad either but he still doesn’t seem very comfortable (or believable) at times. Whitmer simply brings too little to the mix and seemed to be holding the others back at times. The Decade in itself does little for me as it seems Page and Whitmer don’t have much chemistry. Everybody agrees ACH needs to be pushed into the main event level, but apparently he needs to vanquish Page first, for some reason. Add to that some Indie-level camera work (missing some of the spots) and this simply wasn’t the match ACH fans were waiting for. This feud needs to be over quickly, it’s not doing anyone any favors. Page pinned Sydal after the Rite of Passage.

Generic tag match, feud is losing momentum, that can’t be good.

Dalton Castle vs Silas Young

Contrary to Donovan Dijak, Dalton Castle, another recent ROH addition, seems to have adapted quite well already and carries his somewhat over-the-top gimmick with gusto and confidence. And that was my only (minor) complaint in what otherwise was a good match. When you’re going for a slug-fest, don’t let the gimmick distract from it too much, it just breaks the rhythm of the match. Young lost to a Castle low blow and roll-up and gained some measure of revenge by destroying one of Castle’s Boys after the bell. Good stuff from both, Castle is definitely going somewhere, he just has to be careful not to let that gimmick kill him.

Fun, I liked it.

War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe) vs C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander)

I can’t help it, I just like gimmicks and teams such as War machine. Simple but effective and entertaining if used correctly. Unfortunately I can’t say this was the case here, as this match was just a set-up for the (almost) definitive Alexander heel turn. This could have happened on TV, on a big card this was just a waste of War Machine’s potential. Do better with those two next time ROH, you might have something there.

Too short and pointless to really judge.

Roderick Strong vs Michael Elgin vs Moose

If there is one thing ROH does consistently good it’s Three-Way matches, this one was no exception. Elgin did well here and I can’t wait to see him mix it up with the Japanese stars at the G1 Climax I really think it will be good for him on all levels to be away from ROH for awhile. And Strong was really on top of his art here. Only minor complaints would be some awkward spots, usually involving Moose. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is improving, but he still needs to be carried as was clearly demonstrated here. A much deserved win for Strong who is now firmly placed as the number 1 contender. Post-match Cedric Alexander came back and aligned himself with Veda Scott (who had just booted Moose) for some reason. She even got to play with his wrench. OK gonna stop here because this is going downwards quickly.

Good and fun match, watch for Strong’s performance.

The Kingdom (Adam Cole, Michael Bennett and Matt Taven) vs. Bullet Club (A.J. Styles, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)

Let’s be fair here, the NJPW feud between The Kingdom and Anderson and Gallows from the Bullet Club hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. In fact many doubt Kingdom’s ability to cut it and have  decent matches on a regular base. This match both confirmed and denied that. This was probably The Kingdom’s best match ever. of course, it was also against what could be called the Bullet Club’s A-team. I mean Styles and the Young Bucks could probably have a great match against the team of Giant Gonzales, Great Khali and Kurrgan. This was patterned after a Young Bucks match and, it must be said, kudos to The Kingdom for keeping up with that.  Maria’s customary annoying interference ended on a high note for once, when she took a triple superkick from the BC boys, everybody worked well together and BC got their win back from WotW. Very enjoyable stuff.

Great, watch this, it’s worth it.

ROH World Tag Team Championship – No Disqualification
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (c) vs ReDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly)

Tough spot for The Addiction and ReDragon. As much as I like both teams, even I was still a bit overwhelmed by the previous match, making this one seem less important (it wasn’t of course). But Kudos to all four for working hard, and getting everybody (including me) back in on the action. The Sabin interference actually distracted from what was shaping to be a great finish, but I gues they want this feud to continue, only now in a 3 on 3 scenario. Which starts the speculations about who will be the third man on ReDragon’s team. Good stuff but this was anticipated by many as the blowoff to this feud. Nothing really wrong with the fact that it wasn’t but they need to be careful with that sort of booking. Fail to deliver too many times and people might start thinking they’re watching WWE.

ROH World Championship vs ROH World Television Championship
Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal (with House of Truth)

See these kind of matches is why I still love wrestling. You have two guys, both pretending to be the best, who are on collision course, put it all on the line and go all out to prove they are exactly what they say they are. Was it the best match of the year? No, the felling out process lasted for too long for that, but the second part was an extremely enjoyable tour de force with both throwing everything they got at each-other . Very smart booking from ROH too, who saw first J. Diesel and Dijak being removed from the equation and then truth martini himself, leaving Lethal to shine on his own. And shine he did. This whole feud stands as an example on how such feuds should be booked and the match, again while not truly great, was the rewarding culmination of all that. Lethal hit first Briscoe’s own finisher and then the Lethal Injection to take it all and do exactly what he said he was gonna do. Great story-telling.

 

Best of the World 2015 was a very good effort from ROH. Only the first few matches and one or the other segment felt slightly out of place, but with a good effort from Castle and Young, a great Three way, an amazing BC vs the Kingdom match, a good tag team title match and a awesome (storytelling-wise) main event, it delivered the kind of show and ending that leaves every viewer not only satisfied but also wanting even more. Gets a definite thumbs up, no question about it.

 

After all this I was still in the mood for more Briscoe fun so I decided to go with the Briscoe’s vs The Hardyz at OMEGA’s Chaos in Cameron event. Super-fun stuff from all 4, they were there to entertain and succeeded admirably. Enjoy!

 

 

That’s all from me this week, see you all soon (Wednesday, normally, for my first Tough Enough review) and have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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