Countdown to ROH Best in the World
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Ring of Honor comes live tonight on pay-per-view for the first time in the medium, and while the anticipation isn't quite as big as it was for ECW back in the day, there's still a lot to be hopeful for.
iPPV has only had a limited reach for the company and this is even more exposure than they have on television today. The results could be very positive, or, alternately, this could be a bomb for the company, dependent on how they fair beyond the hardcore audience that knows them well.
Now the interesting thing about tonight is the moniker chosen: Best in the World. Whether intentional or not, the name does tease CM Punk, and given how Punk has always called himself an ROH alumn proudly, it honestly wouldn't shock me if, even in a non-wrestling capacity, CM did make an appearance to pop news.
Unfortunately, someone who won't be there is AJ Styles, one of the more recognizable names that ROH has on its roster. Styles was otherwise committed long ago and is not on the card for tonight. Who is, however, is Christopher Daniels, along with Frankie Kazarian. If ever Daniels is going to win a World title, now's the time for him to be pushed up the card, given the belt as a commemoration (a la Tommy Dreamer in ECW) and then putting over a young buck.
Here's the lineup for Best in the World:
ROH World Championship - Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin - This is the opportunity to establish Cole to a bigger audience as the champ. I don't see the title changing hands.
ROH Tag Team Championship - Bad Influence vs. Redragon - Redrumredrumredrumredrum. Ok joking aside I'm hopeful that BI won't just be expected to put over younger talent off the getgo. Give them the belts!
ROH TV Championship - Jay Lethal vs. Matt Taven - Take Taven to retain.
Matt Hardy/Michael Bennett vs. The Briscoes - Briscoes have toiled with ROH for ages. I don't see them losing on this special night.
Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young - Steen's contract situation will tell the story. Don't be surprised if Silas wins.
Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander - Roderick is another one like the Briscoes that has been an ROH mainstay; however, I can't see him taking the contest here.
6 Man Mayhem - I've often thought of BJ Whitmer as the Tommy Dreamer of ROH, so giving him the victory here, in that sense, would be another honor spot. However, I can't really see ROH doing that multiple times over. I'll pick Watanabe.
Enjoy the show tonight!