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This Saturday and Sunday, June 22nd and 23rd, Ring of Honor returns to The Du Burns Arena in Baltimore for TWO huge live events that just may be the most important ones since the day ROH was born in February of 2002. First up on Saturday it's “Best in the World 2013” live on iPPV featuring all three ROH titles up for grabs as Mark Briscoe attempts to dethrone his older brother Jay in the World Title bout, Jay Lethal & Jimmy Jacobs both look to claim the TV Title from Matt Taven, and C&C Wrestle Factory as well as Rhett Titus & Cliff Compton hope to end the World Tag Team Title reign of reDRagon! Also Kevin Steen in action against Matt Hardy, Ciampa vs. Elgin, and more!
Then on Sunday it is the biggest TV Tapings we have ever had with undoubtedly the most important match that has ever aired on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV in Steel Cage Warfare III between Team ROH and S.C.U.M. In addition, Matt Hardy will challenge for the World Title, Eddie Edwards will challenge for the TV Title, and more!
Let's look at what brought us to the dance:
“Best in the World 2013” iPPV
June 22, 2013
The Du Burns Arena
5:00pm Bell Time
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH
Jay Briscoe(c) defends vs. Mark Briscoe
On a recent edition of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV, ROH Match Maker Nigel McGuinness laid out the championship future of Jay Briscoe by declaring multiple men deserving of title opportunities starting with “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin and also including Adam Cole, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards.
The World Champion interrupted to tell Nigel that it really didn't matter who he lined up because there wasn't a man alive who could beat him, that he would “whoop all their asses”. Surprisingly it was Mark who in turn interrupted his older brother, telling him he had heard enough from Jay, that all Jay talks about is how he can whoop everybody’s ass.
Mark reminded Jay of two things, that they were brought up to be humble and that Mark had his first match in Ring of Honor when he beat Jay's ass. The back-and-forth between the brothers escalated with Jay saying that he wanted the match made for “Best in the World 2013” and since Baltimore is just down the road from Sandy Fork, they can bring the family to watch.
“Jay and Mark gave me something to think about.” said Nigel McGuinness to ROHWrestling.com shortly thereafter, “I look at 'Best in the World' and I see an event that should showcase why Ring of Honor is the best wrestling on the planet. Two years ago it did just that with Davey and Eddie's epic scrap and last year, even though it was Kevin Steen as champion, he and Davey demonstrated why our World Title is the most important one there is with how hard they fought. So this year, well what better way to celebrate honor than with a good old fashioned family feud between two of our founding fathers? Any time we've seen Jay and Mark go at it there's no holding back and that is just what I want to see at 'Best in the World'! Mark Briscoe versus Jay Briscoe will happen on June 22nd and if Jay makes it past both Davey and Eddie as champion in the next few weeks, then the World Title WILL be on the line!”
Not only did Jay make it past both Davey and Eddie in their respective challenges, but he has also racked up a very impressive championship resume with title victories over Adam Cole and BJ Whitmer as well. Of all the things, the only place where Jay has suffered in the ring since capturing the World Title has been in tag team encounters. He ended up on the receiving end of a Gore in NYC while teaming with Adam Cole, lost to reDRagon in a World Tag Team Title rematch at “Dragon's Reign”, and for the first time in their lengthy rivalry, Jay and Mark were defeated by The American Wolves in Toronto. With the World Title now between them, the most dominant team in ROH history is beginning to crack...but it's not the first time the brothers have been on opposite sides of the ring in ROH.
In 2002, when Mark was too young to compete in the state of Pennsylvania, the pair battled it out at “Honor Invades Boston” where Mark actually defeated his older brother. When ROH returned to MA for “Scramble Madness”, the younger brother aligned with The Prophecy's Christopher Daniels to defeat Jay & The Amazing Red. It wasn't until the “One Year Anniversary” in Queens when Jay finally got the better of Mark but it took a series of Rolling Jay Drillers to put him down for a three count.
From that point on their tag team was in full-effect and they did not battle it out in the ring again until 2007 at the “5th Year Festival: Finale” event. That night, after losing the World Tag Team Titles on their very first defense, Jay & Mark decided to toughen each other up with a hard-hitting battle that ended in a draw when neither brother could continue the fight. It wasn't until 2010 when they would meet again, this time during the inaugural Pick 6 rankings on the 1/18/10 episode of “ROH on HDNet”; a match that went in favor of Jay by the way.
In all of those meetings, and likely in the numerous other fights outside of Ring of Honor Jay and Mark have had in their lifetimes, it is doubtful that anything as important as the ROH World Title has ever been at stake. It is something Jay currently holds that symbolizes the eleven years of blood and sacrifice he has poured into Ring of Honor both alongside his brother and on his own. For Mark it also represents those things, but it also stands as a message to Jay about their relationship.
There is no more big brother/little brother, they are both men who can take care of themselves, and if Mark has to whoop Jay all over Baltimore to remind him of that, then that is just what “Chicken” is going to do. If Jay has to bust his brother upside the head over and over again to remind Mark that he will always be the little brother, well then that is what the World Champion will have to do. At the end of the night, regardless of who wins the battle, everyone in attendance will certainly be able to attest that nobody fights like family....
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) defend vs. S.C.U.M (Rhett Titus & Cliff Compton) vs. C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander)
The 6/1 edition of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV kicked off with a #1 Contender's Match for the World Tag Team Titles pitting RD Evans & QT Marshall against ACH & Tadarius Thomas and C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander). The action was fast-paced, showcasing the tremendous athleticism of the men involved, and, based on how hard all six men fought for the victory, demonstrating just how desired an opportunity at the tag titles is here in ROH. In the end, after RD & QT were wiped out on the floor by ACH, it was C&C who picked up the victory by pinning Tadarius Thomas and earned their shot at the World Tag Team titles currently held by Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish, collectively known as reDRagon.
“The American Wolves.” said Bobby Fish shortly after the bout, “Alabama Attitude, The Briscoes...twice; that is what the championship resume of myself and Kyle O'Reilly looks like right now. Caprice, Cedric, you two are amazing athletes, I would be lying to you if I didn't admit that and Bobby Fish is certainly no liar. You have impressed against The Wolves, against Jay and Mark but unfortunately all you did was impress. See the difference between the two of you and me and Kyle is that we didn't just impress, we won, we beat those teams while you just gave them a run for their money. We became champions by beating the most decorated team in ROH history while the two of you still dream of the day that you can become champions. That day will not be June 22nd, that day will never come as long as reDRagon remains champions, and trust me that we plan on holding these titles for a very long time. In mixed martial arts, every once in awhile you get a fighter that is so good that he is referred to as, in a positive sense mind you, he is called a division killer because he has defeated everyone there is to beat, forcing match makers to find new competition constantly. That will be reDRagon.”
The traditional tag team bout was set for “Best in the World 2013” but, thanks to Steve Corino, a wrinkle was thrown into the match on the 6/8 edition of ROH TV when he more or less threatened Nigel McGuinness into adding S.C.U.M into the mix. In part it was based on the fact that Titus & Compton had beaten C&C in the recent past, but it was also based on the fact that McGuinness put his hands on Corino at “Border Wars 2013” when Steve got involved in the World Title bout.
Now S.C.U.M stands on the precipice of holding the tag titles once again if Titus & Compton are successful but the level of competition the duo will have to contend with to make Corino's dream a reality is something else. reDRagon has been utterly dominant in their time as champions while C&C have been this close to breaking through for sometime and a title victory is just the thing they need to ascend to the upper echelon of tag team wrestling. Just because Steve Corino got his way, does not mean success is guaranteed...
ROH WORLD TV CHAMPIONSHIP
Matt Taven w/ Truth Martini defends vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jay Lethal
Also part of that June 1st episode, Jay Lethal was victorious in a Triple Threat Match with Mike Bennett and BJ Whitmer and as a result earned himself this championship bout against TV Title holder Matt Taven. It's a title Lethal has held before, one he was somewhat robbed of at “Showdown in the Sun” weekend last year, and one he would love to reclaim; a victory by the way that would make him the first ever 2-Time TV Champion.
As for Matt Taven, since he captured the TV Title from Adam Cole at the “11th Anniversary Event”, he has, for better or worse, been a fighting champion. Be it in Proving Ground bouts, or in actual title defense, Taven has been in positions where his championship could potentially at stake and more often than not he has succeeded. He successfully retained his title over both Matt Hardy and Adam Cole in a Triple Threat Match at “Supercard of Honor VII”. He dropped a Proving Ground to ACH but when it came time to defend the belt on ROH TV, Taven stepped up to the plate and beat him. Mark Briscoe came up on the losing end in a championship bout, Tadarius Thomas and Pepper Parks both fell short in Proving Ground fights, and just a few short weeks ago Taven took the fight to Eddie Edwards in another Proving Ground battle but was unable to defeat the first ever Triple Crown champion in ROH history. Some will point fingers at Truth Martini's involvement in some of those bouts but Taven has stepped it up even when the HoT is not there to get involved and shown he can hang with the best.
But what about Jimmy Jacobs? Just like Cliff Compton & Rhett Titus, he has found himself in an enviable position due to the aforementioned Corino/McGuinness incident as well as the fact that he also holds recent victories over Jay Lethal. In 2013, most notably at “The Hunt For Gold” in his battle with Adam Cole, Jacobs has shown the type of fire and motivation that leads men to championships but one can safely assume that, with the S.C.U.M co-founder's addition to the match, Lethal is looking for revenge just as much as the championship.
And lest we forget, because it's a guarantee that Taven has not, the current TV Champion was the first victim of Jay Lethal's new-found killer instinct when he was on the hunt for Kevin Steen and the World Title last year. Check out the 9/1/12 edition of ROH TV if you want a refresher....
"Mr Wrestling" Kevin Steen vs. Matt Hardy
The day after Kevin Steen lost the title (as seen on the April 20th edition of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV) his world changed. As the former World Champion attempted to address the crowd, Steve Corino hit the ring and cut him off, proclaiming that the mission to destroy ROH was still intact despite Kevin losing the championship. Steen retorted that he was no longer on board with that mission and that all that mattered was reclaiming the championship.
The conversation between the two men grew increasingly heated and the various members of S.C.U.M circled the ring while Kevin stated how he had followed Steve with every part of his plan, even the parts of it he didn't understand he would get behind. Yet, in Kevin's own words as he pointed at “The Self-Proclaimed Icon” Matt Hardy, “There’s one part of your plan I can’t get behind and it’s this m*****f*****!”
That set off the complete demolition of Steen at the hands of the group he once led and all under the direction of a man he once called his best friend and mentor in Corino. Hardy had become the chosen one for Steve, the favored son, and Kevin fell victim to a Twist of Fate at the culmination of S.C.U.M's vicious beating.
All the proof you need that Hardy is the man Corino aims to led to the World Championship is stated in his recent blog:
“It has been written, by me, that Matt Hardy will the next and LAST World champion in the 11 year history of Ring of Honor.... 100 years from now, fans will never remember Ki, Xavier, Joe, Aries, Punk, Gibson, Danielson, Homicide, Morishima, Lynn, Black, Strong, Edwards, Richards, Steen, and especially Nigel McGuinness. They will only remember the man that has 750,000 Twitter followers, a man that created his own match, and a man that a whole era was named after-Matt Hardy.”
For Steen's part, he has taken every opportunity since the night S.C.U.M assaulted him to decimate the group piece-by-piece. Kevin took down Rhett Titus at “Dragon's Reign” on May 11th, defeated Jimmy Jacobs in Richmond on the 18th, continued that mission on June 8th in Columbus when he beat Rhino, but was thwarted in making a clean-sweep when he was bested by Cliff Compton in an impromptu Empty Arena bout. Sadly the first blemish on his record may be the most critical because it was the pin fall loss he took at “Border Wars 2013” that has put Matt Hardy in a position to become ROH World Champion on June 23rd.
One night prior to that title bout though, Steen will have the opportunity to rectify that mistake to the best of his ability when, as part of the “Best in the World 2013” iPPV extravaganza, he will go one-on-one with Matt Hardy! And this match isn't happening just because Kevin wants it, it was also the most wanted ROH match according to your texts to T-O-D-A-Y from our recent promotion on TV for Novation Capital.
“Kevin was a good man for a long time.” Corino offered to ROHWrestling.com unsolicited, “He was my shining star and a beacon of all that was right with the world of professional wrestling. Now that light has died and Kevin is being swallowed up once again by the darkness that is Ring of Honor. Matt Hardy though, he is the light, the true north and he has suffered more than enough for all of us during his decades in wrestling. Matt Hardy is the way for Ring of Honor, the only way, and he will do to ROH what Kevin should have done when he had the chance...scorch it like Sodom and Gomorrah. You have no chance at Best in the World Kevin we all know that in our hearts, and the next day you, and the rest of the world, will have to sit back and watch Matt Hardy ascend to his throne as the new and LAST ROH World Champion!”
RETURN MATCH FROM HONOR IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole
The original Code of Honor was established on February 23, 2002 at the very first Ring of Honor event and was the foundation upon which ROH was built. It set certain expectation upon the athletes competing inside the ROH ring thus when “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels refused the post-match handshake after his battle with Low Ki & Bryan Danielson at “The Era of Honor Begins” it was taken as a huge sign of disrespect.
In the years that followed since ROH's inception, the Code has been reshaped, remolded, and eventually, as the company evolved, faded away into the history books. Still, there has always been one part of that Code that endures to this day, over eleven years since that first night in South Philly:
...You must shake hands before and after every match
That handshake has become synonymous with Ring of Honor and symbolic of a match fought with integrity and respect for your opponent. Sure there are some for whom the handshake is a sarcastic statement, but by and large it should represent all of the best aspects of ROH. So last Saturday night in San Antonio, when a man who has followed that Code since the day he first stepped in the ROH ring turned his back on Roderick Strong's handshake following a loss, it turned the heads of all those in attendance while those who were only able to read about it questioned just what was going on in Adam Cole's head.
“Adam Cole I have been here a damn long time now.” said Roderick Strong to ROHWrestling.com via e-mail shortly after their Texas bout, “I know I've been guilty of spitting on the handshake, hell starting Generation Next was basically the four of us doing just that bro. I've done it, it's been done to me, but generally man, you know when and where someone is going to deny you that respect. So in San Antonio when YOU bailed bro, when you walked away rather than shake my hand, it shocked the hell out of me. That was one I did not see coming. You've been a stand-up dude since the day you got here, I say that despite you being the guy who took my TV Title. I don't know if this is a S.C.U.M thing or what, cause I know Steve Corino has been trying to get you lately, but honestly man, do you want to get on that bandwagon and kill ROH? See I don't call myself Mr. ROH out of ego...that's a lie, it's some ego...but I also say it because up or down, after everything I've been through the last nine years, I would do anything for ROH. So if that's where your head is at Adam, then someone needs to knock some sense back into you and after the way you disrespected me in Texas bro, I am more than happy to be that guy!”
ROHWrestling.com was contacted by Match Maker Nigel McGuinness shortly after San Antonio and he confirmed that as part of the “Best in the World 2013” iPPV event, it will be Roderick Strong versus Adam Cole!! It must be noted that after the match announcement, at “Live and Let Die” in Columbus, Cole did attempt to make up for his disrespect of Strong when he came to the ring following Roderick's bout with QT Marshall and apologized as well as shook Strong's hand.
Regardless of that apology, the bout will go down this Saturday and these two have fought their hearts out over championships in the past but this one is all about respect and honor!
SPECIAL CHALLENGE MATCH
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa
The June 1st edition of ROH TV was a busy one as also on the episode, Match Maker Nigel McGuinness came to the ring with two men who were supposed to battle it out that night in Paul London and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin. Unfortunately a concussion suffered during his “Border Wars 2013” fight with Davey Richards forced London to pull out of the bout but Nigel said that Paul proved he can hang with the best and that Paul has a spot for life in Ring of Honor. Nigel stated Paul has to take care of his concussion and that the match between Elgin & London will take place when Paul is healthy.
The two men shook hands but before London could say a word he was interrupted by RD Evans & QT Marshall. Evans took the microphone and whined about the tag team division, how Nigel should just hand the tag belts to him and QT since reDRagon were not in attendance (due to an injury to O'Reilly).
Evans then insulted Paul London by telling him that it is his time to go away to which Elgin, who had had enough, drilled Evans with a back fist while Marshall escaped to the floor. Except that escape was short-lived as Tommaso Ciampa stopped the escape as drilled QT into the ramp with an Air Raid Crash.
Ciampa then made his way to the ring while Elgin held Evans for Ciampa who then laid out The Barrister with Project Ciampa in the ring. Ciampa and Elgin then went nose-to-nose but officials got between them before anything physical went down.
As a result of those events and apparently at the request of both individuals, it will be “The Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa versus “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin at “Best in the World 2013”!!! Twice in 2011 these men were involved in multi-man scraps, including the first and thus far only Double Danger Scramble at “Revolution: Canada”, but this will mark the very first time they have collided one-on-one! It is certainly the biggest test for Ciampa since his return at “Border Wars 2013” and, considering Elgin's status as a top contender for the World Title due to his “SoH VII” victory over Jay Lethal, it could also be the biggest win of Ciampa's ROH career if he is victorious!
TAG TEAM ATTRACTION
The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & Tadarius Thomas)
Both of these teams have one thing in common: a desire to become World Tag Team Champions. For The Wolves it is a feat that has already been achieved but 2009 was a long time ago and the landscape of the division was quite different. Since that reign, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards have each gone onto singles successes. Eddie became the first TV Champion, later a World Champion, effectively making him also the first ever Triple Crown champion in ROH's history. Davey, after a long battle to achieve his dream finally captured the World Title at “Best in the World 2011” albeit Eddie's expense. Yet through twists and turns and various ups and downs, at “Final Battle 2012” the duo returned to their tag team roots in dominant fashion with a victory over reDRagon. Since that night in December, their hunt to become 2-Time Tag Team champions has been renewed but has also been stifled with losses to both The Briscoes and reDRagon in championship bouts...
For the duo of ACH & Tadarius Thomas, or Adrenaline RUSH as they would like to be known, they are only beginning their trek towards tag team success and it too has been a frustrating one. Their only victories have come over the pairings of RD Evans & QT Marshall at “Supercard of Honor VII” and Mike Sydal & Adam Page on ROH TV, but they have impressed against C&C Wrestle Factory, reDRagon, and even The American Wolves in a prior meeting on ROH TV earlier this year. This is a win that Adrenaline RUSH needs now more than ever and upsetting The American Wolves at “Best in the World 2013” is the opportune platform to pull off just such a feat!
BJ Whitmer vs. "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis
Also on the 6/1/13 episode of ROH TV, in a match to determine the #1 Contender for the World TV Title at “BITW '13”, Jay Lethal went to battle with both “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett and BJ Whitmer. It too was a hard fought contender's battle with both Bennett & Whitmer nearly capturing the victory on several occasions but, after Lethal knocked Bennett to the floor, it came down to BJ getting caught with a Lethal Injection which allowed the former TV Champion to pick up the win and earn himself a chance at becoming a two-time champion on June 22nd in Baltimore when he goes one-on-one with current World TV Champion Matt Taven.
Then, in the aftermath of the battle, some words were exchanged between BJ Whitmer and Maria who was seated at the announcers table with Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino. Those words led to a brawl erupting between Mike Bennett and Whitmer that security had to break apart and, because of that dust-up, Nigel McGuinness has also signed Whitmer and Bennett to go head-to-head on 6/22 at The Du Burns Arena!
And prior to the start of the event, their will be a special autograph signing held with S.C.U.M including Steve Corino, Matt Hardy, Jimmy Jacobs, Rhett Titus, and Cliff Compton so make sure you're there early if you want to meet the members of the group looking to tear Ring of Honor down.