Jeff Cobb Will Be Next ROH World Champ; Briscoes Have Right To Be Angry; Believe In PJ Black

By Kevin Eck

Here are my takes on recent happenings in ROH:

If Ring of Honor World Champion Matt Taven is reading this, I’m sure he’ll call me a Melvin (again) and claim that I’m in on some type of conspiracy against him, but I’m expecting to see a new champion crowned when Jeff Cobb challenges Taven for the title at the Best in the World pay-per-view on June 28 in Baltimore.

As good as Taven is -- and make no mistake about it, he’s really good -- how can anyone bet against Cobb at this point? Since making his debut in ROH nine months ago, “The Hawaiian Juggernaut” is undefeated in one-on-one competition and still has yet to be pinned or forced to submit inside an ROH ring.

Taven’s supporters undoubtedly will point out that Taven defied the odds by beating the previously undefeated PCO last month at War of the Worlds in Toronto, but the champion needed interference from fellow Kingdom members TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia and the use of both an ax and a metal spike to escape with the title.

Such chicanery won’t happen at Best in the World, as O’Ryan and Marseglia have been banned from ringside for the match (and all of Taven’s title defenses going forward if he gets past Cobb). …

Whether you love the Briscoes or hate them, on some level you have to respect that they don’t make idle threats. Jay and Mark Briscoe weren’t blowing smoke when they declared war on the NWA after feeling they were shafted in the promotion’s Crockett Cup tournament. The 10-time former ROH World Tag Team Champions also felt disrespected by NWA officials for having to win a qualifying match to gain entry into the tournament.

I’m not condoning the Briscoes’ recent attack on NWA National Champion Colt Cabana and NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis, but I do think they are somewhat justified in their anger. 

They were disqualified in their semifinal match against Villain Enterprises’ PCO and Brody King -- who went on to win the tournament and the vacant NWA Tag Team Championship -- for Mark Briscoe hitting King with a chair, but PCO actually hit Jay with a chair first. The referee did not see PCO use the chair, but he did catch Jay. Arguably, the Briscoes could be the NWA Tag Team Champions right now.

As determined as the Briscoes are to wreak havoc on the NWA, however, they have lit a fire under Cabana and Aldis, who will be looking to exact revenge and defend the honor of the NWA when they face the Briscoes at the Best in the World pay-per-view. …

In addition to their war on the NWA, the Briscoes also are engaged in a heated  rivalry with ROH World Tag Team Champions The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa). That feud hopefully will be settled once and for all when the two highly decorated teams meet in a New York City Street Fight at the Manhattan Mayhem international television taping at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom on July 20.

Whichever team comes out of that match with the ROH World Tag Team Titles will defend them against The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser and Brawler Milonas) at a date to be determined. The Bouncers, who earned the title shot by winning a gauntlet match at State of the Art in Portland, Ore., a couple weeks ago, will be the underdogs regardless of which team they face, but it wouldn’t shock me if they pulled an upset and won the titles.

For one thing, neither G.O.D. nor the Briscoes will escape the street fight unscathed, so they could be ripe for the picking. The Bouncers should not be taken lightly -- no pun intended -- by any team, even ones as accomplished as G.O.D. and the Briscoes.

Beer City Bruiser and Milonas are like a modern-day version of Dick The Bruiser and The Crusher. Like the two legendary wrestlers, BCB and Milonas are good with their fists and love drinking beer and smoking cigars. The difference between the two teams is that The Bouncers are bigger and more agile. That’s a scary combination. …

I was skeptical when PJ Black said a couple months ago that he had realized the error of his ways and would compete with honor and respect going forward, but his recent actions convinced me. 

A week after telling LifeBlood’s Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams that he liked what they were doing and would watch their backs if they needed someone to do so while the group isn’t at full strength, he put his money where his mouth is.

On this past weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” Bully Ray, ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor and the Soldiers of Savagery were delivering a beatdown to Haskins and Williams when Black entered the ring wielding a chair.

Black got in a few shots, but he soon fell victim to the numbers game and ended up getting powerbombed through a table by Bully Ray. Black knew he was putting himself in a dangerous, no-win situation, but he had Haskins and Williams’ backs, just like he said he would. Things could have ended much worse for Haskins and Williams, but they will live to fight another day thanks to Black. …

Speaking of Haskins and Williams, they’ve been doing an outstanding job of carrying the banner for LifeBlood while Juice Robinson and Bandido have been in Japan and David Finlay has been out with an injury. Haskins and Williams have opened the eyes of ROH fans and officials with their performances in the ring and on the microphone. ...

One thing that stood out to me during the beatdown of Haskins, Williams and Black was how Taylor seized control of the situation. It was his brutal headbutt that subdued Black. Then Taylor began directing traffic. He ripped a chair out of SOS member Moses’ hand and instructed SOS and Bully Ray to put Black through the table. We’re so used to hearing Bully bark, “D-Von, get the tables,” that it was jarring to see Bully taking direction from someone. It’s obvious that winning the ROH World Television Title has made Tayor more assertive and vicious. ...

It wasn’t all that long ago that two-time Women of Honor World Champion Kelly Klein and Jenny Rose were bitter enemies, but they have put their past differences aside for the common goal of taking down The Allure. On this coming weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” Klein and Rose face Angelina Love and Mandy Leon (accompanied by Velvet Sky), as The Allure finally make their in-ring debut after making their first appearance in ROH at G1 Supercard in early April.

Klein and Rose may never be besties, but they do respect each other, and they’re both smart enough to know they have to be on the same page when they face The Allure. …

It’s great to see that Sumie Sakai is returning to the ring in a couple weeks after suffering a broken orbital bone in the six-woman tag match that took place at Madison Square Garden prior to the start of G1 Supercard. The former WOH World Champion will face Karissa Rivera at the Best in the World international television taping in Philadelphia on June 29. 

WOH just hasn’t been the same without Sakai, who has been the heart and soul of the division for years. The landscape has changed since Sakai last competed, with Klein -- who beat Sakai at Final Battle in December to win the title the first time -- becoming a fan favorite and the face of the division and The Allure bursting onto the scene. …

If you’re not watching PCO and Destro’s insane videos every Monday night, you should be. It will be the most entertaining pro wrestling content you’ll see on Mondays. PCO really nailed it on this week’s offering. …

Silas Young, who now calls himself  “The Technician of Honor” in addition to “The Last Real Man in Pro Wrestling,” continues to make a mockery of technical wrestling. On this past weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” Young forced The Squid (an unknown wrestler wearing a silly-looking squid mask) to tap out to an abdominal stretch, which Young applied while smoking a cigarette.

Obviously, The Squid nonsense was Young’s latest attempt to get under the skin of “The Octopus” Jonathan Gresham, who will face Young in a Pure Rules Match at the Best in the World pay-per-view on June 28 in Baltimore.

On a side note, I’ve heard that several members of pro wrestling’s aquatic community are quite upset with Young for his disrespectful treatment of The Squid, including Shark Boy and former ROH star Bobby Fish. I think that’s an example of what my daughters refer to as a dad joke.

Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining