This Sunday, June 24th, Ring of Honor Wrestling presents “Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis” live on iPPV from The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City! Last year “Best in the World 2011” saw Davey Richards crowned ROH World Champion while Kevin Steen made his first of many unscheduled, unwanted appearances at an ROH event prior to earning his reinstatement at “Final Battle 2011”. Now the worm has turned and Steen reigns as champion while Richards is in pursuit of reclaiming the title for himself and for Ring of Honor. It’s a hostage crisis situation and it will all go down live on iPPV via ROHWrestling.com! Here’s a look at the complete line-up:
ROH World Championship - ANYTHING GOES! THE PILEDRIVER IS LEGAL!
ROH World Champion Kevin Steen defends against Davey Richards
At “Border Wars” Kevin Steen accomplished the goal he returned to Ring of Honor to accomplish: he claimed the ROH World Title from Davey Richards. It was a struggle nearly a year in the making as Steen had been raising hell since June of 2011 in hopes of getting reinstated following his banishment after “Final Battle 2010”. His opportunity came at “Final Battle 2011” when he bested Steve Corino to officially become part of ROH again and the war of words began. From Steen to Jim Cornette & vice versa, Steen to Davey Richards, Davey to Steen, Kevin to Corino, Kevin to Jimmy Jacobs, no one was safe from a verbal blasting nor was anyone safe from a physical assault. While Davey was successfully defending the ROH World Title against Jay Lethal, Michael Elgin, Adam Cole, Eddie Edwards, and Roderick Strong, Kevin also defeated Cole and Edwards, as well as El Generico, BJ Whitmer, Kenny King, and Jimmy Jacobs; the latter resulting in Jacobs giving into his darker nature and siding with Steen. At “Border Wars”, after much provocation, Kevin finally got his opportunity, his only opportunity Jim Cornette mandated, and made the most of it as Steen captured the championship in front of his countrymen & the world live on iPPV. Not only that, but following the victory, Steve Corino embraced his former protégé & Jacobs, reuniting the force that rained destruction on ROH throughout 2010. A rematch was quickly signed, Davey agreeing to make this his only shot at the title as long as Steen held the belt, and this last week on ROH TV the match was made Anything Goes with the Piledriver being legalized. ROH officials have placed their hopes on Davey Richards shoulders now after Eddie Edwards failed to defeat Steen at “The Nightmare Begins” in Charleston, WV just last Friday. The numbers are not in Richards favor (Steen has beaten him 4 times in ROH singles competition to Davey’s 1 victory), and it is safe to say that Davey has never fought Kevin with this much pressure surrounding him, but with so much at stake, with everything from Davey’s pride to ROH’s future up for grabs, this “hostage crisis” as Kevin called it, may be the most important match in ROH’s history…
ROH World Tag Team Championship
Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) defend vs. The All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King)
It was announced on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV just a few weeks ago, The All Night Express of Rhett Titus & Kenny King getting their much-deserved rematch against Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team for the ROH World Tag Team Titles at “Best in the World 2012”!!!
At “The Battle of Richmond” in May, ANX finally received the tag team title opportunity they had earned in late 2011 when they beat WGTT in a Proving Ground Match. After months of waiting, after waiting out Titus’ knee surgery & rehab, ANX got their chance and were blatantly screwed when Charlie Haas smacked Rhett across the skull with the title belt. That assault drew the second DQ of the night for WGTT as they got themselves disqualified only minutes before in an impromptu title defense against The Bravados.
Now Titus & King will get a second chance on June 24th, and one with a much more level playing field, as per the stipulations levied on Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin following Richmond, should they resort to getting themselves disqualified, the titles will change hands and ANX will be the new World Tag Team Champions! Here’s ANX after their match with WGTT in Richmond and before the big rematch was signed:
Special Challenge Match
"The Belfast Bruiser" Fit Finlay vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini
After a phenomenal outing against ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong at “Border Wars”, “The Belfast Bruiser” Fit Finlay returns to Ring of Honor on June 24th at “Best in the World 2012” airing live on iPPV from The Hammerstein Ballroom! But it looks like his dance with The House of Truth is far from over…
“Fit Finlay”, offered Truth Martini, “You were an impressive specimen in Toronto but not impressive enough to defeat the only Triple Crown champion in ROH history that matters, the current TV Champion, the Messiah of the Backbreaker, the leader of Camp Strong, the hardest chopping man in wrestling, Roderick Strong! You probably thought you were free and clear of the HoT didn’t you? That your life would suddenly get easier now that Roderick had beaten you? Well just like so many men before you Fit Finlay, you are dead wrong. At the biggest iPPV of the summer you will have to face the indomitable will, the untouchable power, and the unimaginable agility, of the Unbreakable Michael Elgin!”
As evident in Toronto, Fit Finlay loves to fight and is willing to throw down with any man put into the ring across from him, it’s what he has been doing for years, and doing quite well at that. Yet even with as world traveled as Finlay is, one has to wonder if he has ever crossed paths with a man such as Michael Elgin. He is a rare combination of power and speed, of strength and agility wrapped up in the iron-clad will of body built like a tank.
Yet, even with those attributes and with the high-level of competition he has faced since joining ROH, it is doubtful that Elgin has squared off with any man with the level of experience & knowledge of a man like Finlay. “Unbreakable” has faced serious competition in his ROH tenure, men like Chris Hero, Steve Corino, Eddie Edwards, and Davey Richards, and either defeated them or forced them to dig to new depths to win, but none of those men have the resume of Fit Finlay. World Title challenge aside, this is the biggest test Elgin has faced in his wrestling career….
3 Way Elimination Match for the ROH World TV Championship
ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong defends against former champion Jay Lethal & "The Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa
Jay Lethal held the ROH World TV Title for 231 days, from August 13, 2011 until March 31, 2012 at “Showdown in the Sun – Day 2” when it appeared that The House of Truth & The Embassy LTD conspired to rob him of the championship AFTER The Embassy’s own Tommaso Ciampa goaded Lethal into putting the title on the line against The HoT’s Roderick Strong.
Seated at ringside throughout the bout, promising to shake Lethal’s hand if he put the title on the line and retained it, Ciampa waited for the most opportune moment, and when the referee was distracted and Lethal was right in front of him, “The Dominant Male” slammed the champion into the corner post, leaving him ripe for the pickings. Strong was crowned the new TV champion, also becoming only the 2nd Triple Crown Winner in ROH history, while Lethal was left scratching his head as to what just happened.
“I knew that night that something was not right.” said the former TV champion, “I knew that The House and The Embassy had just screwed me, that apparently it wasn’t my title that was of interest to Nana’s crew, it was only my pride. Ciampa, Nana, RD Evans, their only goal was to humiliate me at every step it seemed. Well I think I can safely say that they got a little of their own served right back in Toronto…”
At “Border Wars” on May 12th, Lethal & Ciampa squared off in singles competition and it would prove to be the most embarrassing night in Tommaso’s Ring of Honor career as Jay finally ended the year-plus unbeaten streak of “The Dominant Male”. In some ways, that loss was more devastating for Ciampa than Lethal’s loss of the TV Title…
“As much as it sucked to lose the TV Title, especially the way I did, I can always work to reclaim that championship. Ciampa can never get back that first loss; it will haunt him every single time he has to look at me across the ring. Every time he sees me in the locker room he has to remember that I was the first man to beat him, every time he hears my name it’s a reminder that Jay Lethal beat him. I can once again become champion; Tommaso can never be undefeated again.”
As for Roderick, since taking possession of the TV Title he has successfully defended in on two occasions, the first against Adam Cole on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV and the second also at “Border Wars” against the veteran “Belfast Bruiser” Fit Finlay. Now, he faces the toughest challenge of his title reign as he must defend against BOTH Jay Lethal & Tommaso Ciampa at “Best in the World 2012” on Sunday June 24th live on iPPV! Lethal knows that feeling…
“Last year at Final Battle 2011, I was the man defending against two challengers, Mike Bennett and El Generico, and I managed to survive with the title still in my possession. It was certainly the most difficult title defense I had, having to keep watch on two wrestlers at a time until the first elimination evened the playing field. I know the position you’re in now Roderick, and I don’t envy it. The question is how will you choose to defend your title? Will it be honorably and like the true sportsman you think you are? Or will you use Truth or Elgin or cut another deal with The Embassy to make sure I’m taken out of the picture? I don’t expect this to be a fair fight; I don’t think either Roderick or Tommaso are capable...”
The ROH World TV Title will be on the line as Roderick Strong makes his 3rd defense against former champion Jay Lethal & “The Dominant Male” Tommaso Ciampa in a 3-Way Elimination Bout! It goes down on June 24th at “Best in the World 2012” live on iPPV from the heart of NYC! Can Roderick walk out of NYC with the title still in the HoT camp? Will it be Lethal who becomes a 2-Time Champ? Or will Ciampa rebound strong from his first loss and claim his first ROH championship? And one huge question still up in the air, especially after how Tommaso lost his ROH World TV Title match against Strong on the last episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV, is the relationship between Martini & Nana…
Former ROH World Champions Do Battle for the First Time in NYC
"Die Hard" Eddie Edwards vs. "Notorious 187" Homicide
Following his return to the United States after competing in the Global Tag League in Pro Wrestling NOAH, “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards made a simple request to ROH officials: bring me the best. When asked to elaborate Edwards stated that he wanted to fight former champions, the best men that have set foot in an ROH ring, with the purpose of staying on point, of keeping his fighting game at its absolute peak in preparation for a future title shot. He has done so with victories over Rhino at “Border Wars” and Davey Richards on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV albeit the former in part due to the involvement of Jimmy Jacobs thus leading to ROH officials declaring it a No Contest at Edwards’ request.
Once it was announced Edwards was receiving the title opportunity against Kevin Steen in Charleston, WV he contacted ROH officials once more via e-mail. Here is an excerpt from that:
“Thank you for putting your faith in me to stop Kevin’s title run before it really gets started. It means the world you’re putting that on my shoulders first and I promise I will not let you down. But it doesn’t change a thing about what I requested when I got back from Japan. I still want to face the former champions, the prime athletes, the best wrestlers who ever competed in ROH because that is the only way I will stay at my absolute best. So regardless of what happens when Kevin and I meet, whether it’s New York or Chicago or the Carolinas, I still expect to see the best opponents you can find for me standing across that ring….”
Unfortunately Eddie did not accomplish his mission of dethroning Steen in Charleston, WV on June 15th, that task now falls on Davey Richards’ shoulders but Eddie is still getting his wish to face the former champions as on June 24th as at “Best in the World 2012”, live on iPPV from The Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, he will go one-on-one with former ROH World Champion, one of the founding fathers, “The Notorious 187” Homicide!!!
‘Cide hasn’t seen ROH competition since his loss to “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett at the “10th Anniversary Event” but has been in constant contact with ROH officials, itching for the right time to get back in the mix. Well now he gets his opportunity right in his hometown as he goes toe-to-toe with Edwards! What a return it would be for Homicide to defeat a recent champion & ROH’s 1st Triple Crown Winner!
Grudge Tag Team Match
Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Guardians of Truth w/ Truth Martini
First it was announced that Truth Martini was sending Rhino & Michael Elgin after The Briscoes on June 30th in Pittsburgh. Then, just a few days later, it became evident that Martini was just getting started with the former 7-Time ROH World Tag Team Champions as ROH officials received a phone call from Truth Martini demanding that The House of Truth take on Jay & Mark on June 24th when Ring of Honor returns to NYC for “Best in the World: Hostage Crisis”. While ROH officials pointed out that both Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin were already involved in other matches and that Rhino was not scheduled to be in attendance, Martini insisted that it did not matter because he was not talking about any of those three men.
Truth said he had another team to represent the HoT and then offered this quote:
“These two men have been around the block and are not afraid to get nasty and do my dirty work. There is no need to identify these men because who they are is not important. What is important is that they work for ME and will do as I say! They will guard me, the Book, and bring me anything that I want. I already have the TV Champion Roderick Strong, the future World Champion Michael Elgin, my mercenary Rhino is paid to take out anybody that I please, and now the Guardians of Truth will bring the House of Truth the Tag Team Championships and guard yours truly. When they bring me the Tag Team Championships it is up to me which members of the HoT will wear the gold!”
Truth continued on to say that The Briscoes had to pay for humiliating him, and that this team is loyal to the teachings of the House (unlike Rhino who is there strictly for the money). Martini stated they will guard him with their lives and bring anything that he wants to him, than reiterated that the team will remain a mystery for now and BEYOND because it is not about them! It is about Truth and Truth getting what he wants!
Truth Martini, deep down, has to know that the HoT is in a volatile position right now with tensions obviously building between Strong and Elgin. It would seem Martini is doing his best to keep the unity between the two but obviously this has not stopped him from bringing in a team that has apparently been all over the world. It seems his goal is to have these…Guardians of Truth… begin by taking out the Briscoes and end by bringing the HoT the Tag Team Titles.
Hybrid Fighting Rules
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly
Their future was bright, tag team dominance was surely in their future, but emotion, jealousy, and bitterness seemingly got in the way as Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly, the team known as Future Shock, permanently split ways after Cole pinned Davey Richards in the “Young Wolves Rising” tag match that main-evented the “10th Anniversary Event” in March.
Very shortly thereafter, at “Showdown in the Sun – Day 2” as a matter of fact, the two former partners collided in a singles bout that came to a conclusion when O’Reilly rolled through a flying top rope cross body, the same move Cole used to pin Richards, and turned it into a pinfall victory…hooking the tights to insure his win.
O’Reilly was content with his victory regardless of the means and it seemed he was also content to leave Cole in his past. After some tension between Richards & O’Reilly after their “Unity” tag team bout, all was put to rest and Kyle was set to be in the Davey’s corner at “Border Wars” for his ROH World Title defense against Kevin Steen.
“That was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life for several reasons.” Kyle told ROHWrestling.com, “Not only could I not stand in Davey’s corner during his biggest title match, but I also had to contend with a family emergency that I’d rather not get into the details about. Still I was able to watch the match, and man, I hated what happened, I felt like I could have done something to turn the tide. But something else that night really bugged me man, something earlier on when Adam and Michael Elgin had their match. Kevin Kelly and Nigel called them the breakout stars? Really, Adam Cole is a breakout star? The guy I beat in Florida is the breakout star? The guy who lost that match is a breakout star? Man I must not know what words means, or maybe there’s a different meaning in English, because a loser is not a breakout star!”
Kyle continued to rant on about how Cole is too one-dimensional to be a breakout star, much less the future of Ring of Honor; about how he’s a pretty face with some flashy moves but no knowledge of Jiu Jitsu, no kickboxing, no ground game or submission skills. Kyle pointed out that the dumber fans like those moves but the more intelligent, discerning, sophisticated fans appreciate the hybrid of styles that O’Reilly utilizes and appreciate the effort he puts into his training.
“I know Adam can’t go at the higher levels of competition like me or Davey, but I’m offering him a chance to prove it, and to get me back for Florida since I’ve been hearing he thinks I cheated my way to that win. Let’s call it the Hybrid Fighting Rules challenge…”
O’Reilly provided ROH officials with a detailed listing of what he was looking for and while it’s obvious that his goal is to attempt and embarrass Cole, Adam looked over the rules and has accepted the challenge. He also informed ROH officials, and suggested we pass the word onto Kyle, that ever since the fight with Davey in Dayton at “Rising Above 2012” he has started to focus more on his submission training and stand-up and will double up that training in order to prepare for this bout. He said Kyle should expect Adam to come into this contest with a couple of new tricks up his sleeve.
So on June 24th in NYC, it will be Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a “Hybrid Fighting Rules Challenge”! No pinfalls in this one; it can only end in a knockout, TKO, submission, DQ, or 15 minute time limit draw. The rules are elaborated on below, and while on paper this seems to favor O’Reilly, you can never discount the fight Adam Cole brings to the table. It all happens at “Best in the World 2012” live on iPPV Sunday 6/24/12!
Hybrid Fighting Rules
* Occurs when one competitor falls to the canvas and is unable to rise to his feet within 10 seconds.
* Occurs when one competitor taps out or vocally gives up.
- TKO (Technical Knockout)
* Occurs when the referee rules it impossible for a competitor to continue the match.
* Occurs when the 15 minute time limit expires
- Disqualification by Fouls
* A loss due to a critical foul or when a participant accumulates 3 total fouls (see below for details)
Critical Foul – Cause for immediate disqualification
* Deliberate eye-gouging, groin attacks, biting, and pulling the opponent's hair.
* Use of foreign object
* Outside interference
* Physical abuse to official
Foul – When a competitor accumulates 3 of these fouls he will be disqualified.
* Deliberately going out of the ring or throwing an opponent out of the ring.
* Deliberately holding and utilizing the ring ropes during the match for an advantage.
* Accidental eye-gouging and groin attacks.
* Holding or pulling the opponent's outfit.
Live Prodigy Service Announcement with “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett & Maria Kanellis
Plus Steve Corino has petitioned ROH officials to let him color commentate on the World Title Match with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness!
In addition to all this action, there will also be a Special Autograph Signing with Maria Kanellis, Fit Finlay, Nigel McGuinness & ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong prior to the start of the event so make sure you are there in plenty of time to take advantage!
“Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis” takes place this Sunday in NYC and will also be broadcast live on iPPV via ROHWrestling.com! Tickets are still available for purchase right here or you can pick them up at the door on the day of the event. If you can’t be there live and are looking to order the iPPV broadcast, click here and scroll down to read more details. In just a few days the future of ROH will take shape; will it be the face of Kevin Steen or the face of Davey Richards that leads us into the coming months?