I have to start by saying it is tremendous for us wrestling fans to have Ring of Honor on pay-per-view. Whether you believe this part of the industry is a dying aspect or not, for ROH to secure a deal to further their awareness is awesome. Wrestling fans really have a large amount of options with WWE, TNA, ROH, and New Japan. And if you're more of an addict than I am, all of the Mexican companies and indies as well.
There are so many options, that we really need to quit complaining.
Nonetheless, I was hoping for ROH to deliver a show that not only stayed true to who they were, but also provided a platform to bring casual fans or intrigued buyers up to speed on the product. After all, Best in the World had a very little buzz going as the dial hit 8:00PM Eastern Time.
Also, let's be honest, with ROH on PPV, and all of the discussion about "Whose the real number two company", there is a certain bar the company must hit tonight. No more excuses or "ifs". Time to deliver.
With that said, let's jump into some quick thoughts:
- Right off the bat, it was hard not to notice ROH's work in dressing up the old and outdated Fairgrounds in Nashville. The blue lights and the big screen opposite the hard camera was a unique look. It really looked good for the building they were working with. Glass half full. However, again, the production for ROH desperately lacks if we're talking and comparing. You know, that "whose number two" talk. It's laughable to to compare this part of the product to TNA, and we won't even attempt to compare it to the WWE's flawless machine. Glass half empty.
Every likes to get on TNA, but on a night like this, I think ROH does a poor job of introducing some of these guys to casuals.
— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) June 23, 2014
- The opening six-man mayhem match was fun. I loved the fast-paced action it provided, and it really showed off some of the athleticism of the guys involved, particularly ACH. Although, ROH really missed an opportunity to introduce some of these guys to casual fans. Something they missed all night long.
- I thought it was a nice touch in following up the six-man mayhem match which was for a shot at the Television Championship with well, a Television championship match! This was a solid match with some unique gimmick additions of Truth Martini being handcuffed. Though, it's obvious that since leaving the House of Truth and that cocky young gimmick he portrayed so well, Matt Taven has seemed lost, and really, really bland.
- Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander was my selection heading into this for the match of the night. It definitely delivered as Cedric Alexander slowly continues his climb, especially with a huge tap-out victory over Strong. You have to wonder if that was indeed Strong's final match with the company. But again, a back story video package on this would have helped. May be even play up Strong's tenure in the company as Mr. ROH. Wrestling is a tremendous aspect to have, but fans still need to have a connection to care.
- Once upon a time the Briscoes impressed me. I don't mind them, but the troubling thought that they have remained in ROH this long without any interest from the big boys, in my opinion, speaks volumes. Plus, I find their act to be a bit over the top. If ROH plans to truly ht mainstream television, I feel the Briscoes' act, especially Jay, will need to be toned down. Especially, the need for cursing and foul language. That sort of stuff just is just so played out. It screams low brow, and again, ROH is better than that.
Nonetheless, both men are great athletes and delivered a great no-DQ match along with Bennett and Hardy. The running elbow off the apron to he floor by Mark was really cool and of course, that superplex off the top of the ladder by Jay putting Matt through the table was amazing. Or so we thought...more on that in a bit.
- I know ROH fans are loyal, and they have every right to be proud of their product. But it seems rather odd for the company to mention WWE, Wrestlemania, and other WWE-related things during the commentary. It doesn't bother me, but it's just perplexing.
- The introduction of Moose was classic "ROH Glass Half Empty" at it's finest. This segment was awful. Talking, promos, and flair for the dramatic aren't what ROH does best. This segment showed the holes in the product. This has to improve. Can you imagine if this same segment aired on Raw, Smackdown, or Impact?
- Luckily, Steen and Silas followed it up. An okay match, with a fallout of Silas attacking Steen yet again. Silas has a unique look and gimmick which really can translate to an interesting heel, or one days as a fun, yet badass, babyface. Silas is one of the rare ROH wrestlers who stands out because of this look and gimmick. Again, glass half full - tremendous wrestling and wrestlers. Glass half empty - they all seem so cookie cutter in personality and appearance.
- This crowd has done some serious damage to this show. It's not bad, but it feels like they are burned out. Maybe it's the region, the building, or possibly the pacing of the show. There have been tons of dives, flips, and other high spots that quite possibly can desensitize an audience rather quickly.
- Oh, Bad Influence...I'm glad you found a home that we all can still see you perform, but I have to admit, your presence in ROH really lacks. I'm not sure what it is, but it just didn't feel like a big deal. Especially coming off the hype videos.
reDragon continues to impress (I hate having to type their name with the silly capitalization). This was a good match, and it was a good story, especially with Kaz tapping out. I'm sure many were also thinking "if TNA debuted a hot new signing and they lost via tap-out, the internet would probably break", right? I was too. And you're definitely right.
It's time we stop with the double standards...
- Speaking of double standards, how about the main event? That seemed chaotic. As someone that doesn't get wrapped up in the whole "overbooked" concept, I believe if it tells a good story and is entertaining it works, so be it. However, this felt a bit too much. Not a lot, but just a bit. As much as I like Adam Cole, a clean win by Elgin would have been awesome.
Getting back to the superplex by Jay Briscoe onto Hardy, it bothered me to see Hardy back out there in the main event and doing so without any ill, selling, or issues. Honestly, it just cheapened the spot from earlier that night. Again, something WWE and TNA would get killed for.
I don't know what the future holds for Cole, but it's very bright. And I'm not sure it'll be with #ROH. Hopefully, it is.
— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) June 23, 2014
Nonetheless, I was fine with the match. Especially that super kick by Cole onto Sinclair. WOW!
On the topic of Adam Cole, in this fan's opinion, he is the best overall wrestler in ROH. And usually, those guys don't stick around the company very long. For the sake of all promotions, here is hoping that he does.
As for Elgin, he should make a good champion, especially now that he's lost that ridiculous mullet. Who thought that was a good idea? I'm curious about where they go now. Rematch with Cole? That's very much likely.
Nonetheless, Best in the World was enjoyable. Nothing crazy. Solid. It's very easy to fall into rooting for ROH as the underdog and internet darling of pro wrestling, but now that it's on PPV, and on the same level as the other two, or is aspiring to be, we need to treat it as such.
ROH is still a great product. That didn't change tonight. However, if this company is looking to really be number two (Bless your heart if you think it is right now, and yes, irony intended), then it needs to start tightening things up such as production, wrestler's appearances, and of course, that dreaded phrase in pro wrestling, "appealing to the masses."
With that said, again, the solid show tonight by Ring of Honor. Wrestling fans, this is looking really good for all of us!