ROH World Champion Cody just celebrated his one-year anniversary in Ring of Honor, and what a year it’s been. Next up for the Bullet Club star is a huge title defense against No. 1 contender Dalton Castle on Dec. 15 at the Final Battle pay-per-view. Here’s a look at Cody’s five greatest victories in ROH heading into that match:
5. VS. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS IN A TEXAS DEATH MATCH (Survival of the Fittest, Nov. 18, 2017)
A fierce rivalry that had begun six months prior came to a violent conclusion in this match, which took place in Dallas during Survival of the Fittest weekend. Daniels, determined to win back the ROH World Title he had lost to Cody, pulled out all the stops. In the end, however, Daniels’ quest went up in flames -- literally -- as Cody powerbombed him through a flaming table and Daniels was unable to answer the 10 count.
4. VS. KUSHIDA (Global Wars: Columbus, Oct. 14, 2017)
KUSHIDA had a sensational 2017, as he won the ROH World Television Title, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title (for the fifth time) and the Best of the Super Juniors (for the second time). The New Japan Pro-Wrestling star was at the top of his game when he faced Cody for the ROH World Title, but Cody was up for the challenge. KUSHIDA went for his Back to the Future finisher, but Cody countered it and hit Cross Rhodes to retain his championship.
3. VS. MINORU SUZUKI (Death Before Dishonor, Sept. 22, 2017)
When Cody issued an open challenge for his ROH World Title, he never suspected NEVER Openweight Champion Suzuki, who has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous men, would step up to accept it. In the Japanese legend’s first match on American soil in 25 years, he assaulted Cody with an assortment of strikes and submission maneuvers, but the world champion proved resilient. After a series of reversals, Cody caught Suzuki with Cross Rhodes and pinned him.
2. VS. JAY LETHAL (Final Battle, Dec. 2, 2016)
In Cody’s first match in ROH, the second-generation competitor faced one of the most-decorated pro wrestlers to ever grace an ROH ring in Lethal, the former ROH World Champion and “The Greatest First Generation Wrestler.” The two stars adhered to the Code of Honor at the start of the match and then engaged in a hard-fought but clean back-and-forth contest. However, when the referee went down after inadvertently bumping heads with Lethal, Cody nailed Lethal with a low blow and followed up with Cross Rhodes for the victory. Before leaving the ring, Cody directed an obscene gesture at the fallen Lethal. Cody’s actions sent a message to every competitor and fan in ROH that he would win at all costs and make no apologies for doing so.
1. VS. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS (Best in the World, June 23, 2017)
“The American Nightmare” achieved his dream of becoming world champion when he defeated Daniels to win the ROH World Title. Cody suffered a split lip just minutes into the match, but tasting his own blood only seemed to make him more determined. Although Daniels put up a strong fight, Cody would not be denied, and he went on to pin Daniels after hitting Cross Rhodes for a second time. With Cody’s victory, he and his father -- legendary, three-time world heavyweight champion Dusty Rhodes -- joined an extremely short list of fathers and sons who won world titles.
Will Cody add a victory over Dalton Castle at Final Battle to his impressive list of triumphs? There’s no question that Cody is riding high, but Castle is arguably the ROH World Champion’s toughest challenger yet. The question will be answered when they square off in front of a sold-out crowd in New York City on Friday, Dec. 15. Watch it LIVE on pay-per-view!