Ring of Honor Wrestling returned to the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, New York for their 2012 Best in the World: HOSTAGE CRISIS internet pay-per-view event. The following are results and quick thoughts on each match throughout the night.
Tag Team Match:
Jay & Mark Briscoe defeated the Guardians of Truth via roll-up.
Thoughts: A very disappointing match overall. Besides the fact that the ropes were really loose, the match never was able to get out of first gear. The Guardians of Truth just being random masked men killed the crowd excitement (and my interest as well). The finish came very quickly, and clearly had to be revised because the loose ropes prevented the Briscoes from being able to use the Springboard Doomsday Device.
Homicide defeated Eddie Edwards via Gringo Killer.
Thoughts: Although not a technical masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, this still was more fun than I expected. Eddie works well against full-fledged heels, and Homicide plays a heel pretty well. The ending was really shocking since Homicide isn’t seen on many ROH shows. Hopefully this will lead to some sort of long-term storyline for Eddie, who seems to be a bit directionless in ROH at the moment.
Hybrid Fighting Rules:
Adam Cole defeated Kyle O’Reilly via Figure 4 Leg Lock. After match, Cole extended his hand to O’Reilly, but O’Reilly slapped him.
Thoughts: After the match, Nigel said “a star is born” on commentary, and I couldn’t agree more. The gimmick for this match was poorly designed, and I know a lot of people were not looking forward to this match. Fortunately, the gimmick had very little impact on the match, and they ended up simply having an awesome submissions-style match. The storytelling seen in this match was honestly some of the best I’ve seen in ROH this year. Adam Cole was bleeding buckets from his mouth (its still unclear if he legitimately lost any teeth or not), and he looked great continuing to fight back through the injury. Awesome match.
Michael Elgin defeated Fit Finlay via Spinning Sit-Out Powerbomb. After the match, Elgin shook Finlay’s hand despite Truth Martini telling him not to.
Thoughts: This match felt like it could have taken place in 1984; it had a very methodical pace. In my opinion, it was a very solid match, and Finlay had way more chemistry with Elgin than he did with Roderick at Border Wars. Unfortunately, some of the crowd was really not into the match, and at times were downright obnoxious, which did hurt the match. I really enjoyed the slow style of the match, but I know some people won’t. This did a good job of continuing Elgin’s build as well.
Impromptu Singles Match:
Mike Mondo defeated Mike Bennett via roll-up.
Thoughts: I don’t think this segment did anything to help either guy. They used the fact that Bennett is from Boston and Mondo is from New York to try to get the crowd behind Mondo, but ultimately, I don’t think the crowd really cared, and Mondo didn’t look very good coming out of this segment. The “match” wasn’t really a full-on wrestling match, so there’s not much to judge there. I will say, however, I was completely disgusted by the final line of Mondo’s promo, in which he basically threatened to rape Maria after he beats Bennett. For a babyface to say anything like that, even to a woman who is playing a heel, is completely inappropriate, and really rubbed me the wrong way.
ROH Television Championship 3 Way Elimination Match:
Roderick Strong (c) defeated Jay Lethal and Tommasso Ciampa via backbreaker.
Thoughts: A very fun, high energy match-up that continued the storyline between The Embassy and The House of Truth well. I don’t think this feud is over yet, and I am OK with that. These three men have created a great feud surrounding the TV Title. The match was great from an in-ring standpoint as well. Ciampa continues to look better and better each month, and hopefully he takes home the TV Title soon.
ROH Tag Team Championship Match:
All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King) defeated Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) to win the titles.
Thoughts: Even though the fans don’t really like WGTT’s matches, I think at this point they have become invaluable to ROH as great heels who have huge heat. The title change came at the right time, even if the match didn’t make them look very strong. The match definitely went too long, and should have been about 7 minutes shorter, but it was still pretty good. There were some decent spots, and without all the padding, this would have been really great. The crowd reaction to WGTT’s stalling is so strong, though, I can understand why ROH wouldn’t change anything.
ROH Championship Anything Goes Match:
Kevin Steen (c) defeated Davey Richards to retain his title after a Package Piledriver. The match saw interference from Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Corino, and Jim Cornette, and before the match Kyle O’Reilly explained why he won’t stand in Richards’ corner.
Thoughts: This was a great main event, and a great way to (presumably) close out the Steen/Richards feud. It was filled with a ton of big spots as expected, but didn’t lose sight of telling a good story at the same time. I thought it was better than their Border Wars match, and besides Richards Vs. Elgin, probably the best ROH match this year. Steen’s promo following the match, in which he trashed on the hypocrisy of the ROH fans, was BRILLIANT, and the fact that the crowd was cheering him on even after he cursed them off made his point even more clear. This may not be on the same level as Punk’s promo following his title win at Death Before Dishonor III, but it was damn close.
Overall Show Thoughts: ROH has been pretty consistent with the overall quality of each of their iPPVs this year, and I think this show lived up to them. Granted, we have not yet seen a show this year on the level of “Honor Takes Center Stage Ch. 1″ in 2011, “Death Before Dishonor 8″ in 2010, or “Glory By Honor 8″ in 2009, but that doesn’t mean the shows haven’t delivered. This show saw a lot of different styles of matches, which I think makes it a good sampler of what ROH has been about this year, and would be an easy recommendation on that front. The title match was excellent, we saw a star making turn from Adam Cole, and every other match delivered on some level for me except the opener. I know some people won’t enjoy Elgin/Finlay, and plenty of current ROH fans have made up their mind about the quality of a WGTT match before even watching it, but I found both of those shows to have some good things as well. If you weren’t able to watch the show live, I’d recommend the replay or the DVD when it becomes available.