Ring of Honor (ROH) returned to internet pay-per-view (iPPV) last night and like anything the promotion does nowadays, it was a mixed bag.
Their last iPPV -- Border Wars -- was marred by technical difficulties which left just about everyone ordering the show out in the cold. It led to the company giving away last night's show, Best in the World 2012, away for free to anyone who ordered the previous show but was unable to see it live.
A stand-up effort from the company, for sure, but their offering wasn't on par with some of the better shows -- Death Before Dishonor IX, Showdown in the Sun -- they've held.
The Brisocoe Brothers took on a mystery tag team in the opener, former world champions Eddie Edwards and Homicide collided and the past took on the future as Fit Finlay stepped inside the ring with five star match recipient Michael Elgin.
Speaking of the future, former partners Kyle O'Reilly and Adam Cole (pictured) went toe-to-toe in a match which left Cole busted open and bloody.
We also saw a tag team title change in a largely forgettable match and another one-on-one battle between Kevin Steen and Davey Richards which saw the champion playing more to Richards' strengths than his own.
Overall, it was a decent show but several things took away from it.
- The tag team division in ROH is just as bad as the one in WWE. The Briscoe Brothers are great, Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team is serviceable and The All Night Express is decent but that's it. It seems those three teams have been stuck in a revolving feud for the past two years and I'm tired of it. Titus and King won the belts last night but suffered a post-match beatdown which means their feud with WGTT will only continue. Great.
- Homicide and Edwards had a great match together which saw the "Notorious 187" pick up the win. If this means he's back on the roster full-time, fantastic. Otherwise, a pointless booking decision.
- I was taken away a few times from the iPPV due to fatherly issues and the match between Cole and O'Reilly was one of those times. It was a "hybrid rules" match which essentially led to a Japan-style chop-fest and match. The crowd was hot for it but I know these two are capable of a lot more and was disappointed to see a pale Misawa/Kawada imitation.
- Speaking of disappointment, Finlay and Elgin's match ranks high up there. When ROH announced Finlay was going to start wrestling for them, I immediately clamored for a match-up with "Unbreakable." Seeing it unfold, though, was something else. Finlay spent the entire match working over submissions, trying to force the younger wrestler to submit but Elgin refused to tap. He eventually hit a bucklebomb/spinning powerbomb combo for the win which seemed forced and rushed. I understand the story behind the match but the execution left me wanting.
- The next match was an impromptu match between Mike Mondo and Mike Bennett. Again, I was pulled away from the screen and missed a Chris Benoit chant from the NYC audience after a diving headbutt from Mondo. I'm glad I did because I likely would have turned the show off right then and there. This might have been the worst crowd in wrestling history but more on that later.
- The three-way TV title match was good and saw Strong retain. They heavily played up an agreement between The Embassy and Truth Martini which saw the former keeping Ciampa away from the strap while Roderick Strong holds it. Well executed match which saw the main storyline advance.
- The tag team title match was next. The All Night Express won but I honestly couldn't have cared less.
- And the main event saw Steen retain the title over Richards in a spot-heavy, overbooked mess. After the match, Steen put over Richards saying he truly was one of the best and then proceeded to rip into the NYC audience. Their reaction? To cheer and get themselves over. Ugh. The match was serviceable but the post-fight stuff left an awful taste in my mouth combined with what I now know of the Bennett/Mondo match.M
Maybe I'm being too harsh. Cagesiders, what did you think?