Four championships were on the line at the Best in the World pay-per-view June 23 before a packed house at Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Mass., and two of them changed hands during a show filled with memorable moments and amazing athleticism.
In the opening contest, CMLL legends Ultimo Guerrero and El Terrible defeated The Kingdom’s Matt Taven and Vinny Marseglia in a fast-paced match that was contested under Lucha rules. There seemed to be miscommunication at times between Taven and Marseglia, while Guerrero and Terrible were firmly on the same page. As Marseglia tried to prevent Taven from being pulled out of the ring by Terrible, Guerrero got behind Marseglia and rolled him up for the three count.
The bitter feud between Frankie Kazarian and Bullet Club’s Hangman Page was escalated in a brutal strap match that saw Kazarian give Page a dose of his own medicine by hanging him over the bottom rope, leaving Page no choice but to tap out. During the brutal battle, Page introduced a strap with nails and tacks in it and used it on Kazarian, but Kazarian eventually gained possession of the modified strap and returned the favor, leaving both men with open wounds on their backs.
In an eight-man tag match in which the losing team must disband, Search and Destroy (Jonathan Gresham, Jay White, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defeated The Rebellion (Kenny King, Rhett Titus, Caprice Coleman and Shane Taylor). Gresham scored the win for his team when he forced Titus to tap out to The Octopus. Just like that, The Rebellion is no more. Search and Destroy had no time to savor their victory, however, as Punishment Martinez hit the ring and laid out his nemesis, White.
Jay Lethal avenged his defeat to Silas Young at ROH Unauthorized in April by scoring a pinfall victory over “Pro Wrestling’s Last Real Man,” but Lethal looked like anything but a winner afterward. Young and Beer City Bruiser delivered a brutal beat-down on Lethal using Bruiser’s keg as a weapon. First, Young hit Misery on Lethal onto the keg. Then Bruiser splashed Lethal three times in the corner onto the keg. As if that wasn’t enough, Lethal was placed on a table outside the ring, and Bruiser put him through the table with a frog splash off the top. A battered Lethal clutched his ribs as he was helped to the back. He was taken from the arena to a local medical facility.
In an upset of epic proportions, Dalton Castle and The Boys won the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship from Bully Ray and Jay and Mark Briscoe. Bully and the Briscoes appeared to be on their way to successfully defending their title when Jay Briscoe -- who was intense to the point he was unfocused during the match -- went into business for himself and unloaded on The Boys outside the ring. As Bully tried to get Jay under control, Castle took advantage of the distraction and secured a pinfall on Mark.
KUSHIDA, coming off his big win in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament earlier this month, remained on a roll by successfully defending his ROH World Television Title against former champion “The Villain” Marty Scurll in a hard-hitting bout that could’ve gone either way. Scurll dished out a lot of punishment and came close to regaining the title on several occasions, but KUSHIDA rallied and pinned the Bullet Club star after hitting Back to the Future.
Just as the match between ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and War Machine (Ray Rowe and Hanson) was about to begin, The Best Friends (Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor) came out and challenged The Young Bucks to include them in the match and make it a three-way tornado match. The Young Bucks accepted, and the match was underway. After a non-stop flurry of spectacular high-flying and hard-hitting maneuvers by all three teams, The Young Bucks scored the winning pinfall on Taylor to retain the title.
In the main event, “The American Nightmare” Cody realized his dream of becoming world champion when he defeated Christopher Daniels to win the ROH World Title. Cody suffered a split lip in the opening minutes of the match, but tasting his own blood only seemed to make him more determined to win by any means necessary. After referee Todd Sinclair was temporarily incapacitated, Cody called out Bullet Club stablemate Scurll to assist him, but Daniels’ best friend and tag team partner Kazarian evened the odds. After Scurll and Kazarian fought to the back, the match continued. Daniels put up a strong fight, but after Cody hit Cross Rhodes for the second time, Daniels’ magical reign as world champion came to an end.
After the match, an emotional Cody celebrated in the ring with fellow Bullet Club members Scurll and The Young Bucks. Given Cody’s free-agent status and repeated refusal to sign an ROH contract, what does the future hold for the ROH World Title? Stay tuned.