With Best in the World right around the corner, episode 353 was filled with some of the best matches in recent weeks, especially the main event as Punishment Martinez teamed up with The Briscoes to face Adam Page and The Young Bucks. We also saw Jay Lethal try to avenge his loss at the hands of Chuckie T, and a few video highlights of some of the big feuds going into BITW.
First up though, the Hammersmith Ballroom in New York City was graced with the presence of current ROH Champion Dalton Castle. Accompanied by The Boys, Castle stepped into the ring and told the world how much the belt meant to him, and how he wasn’t going to be losing it anytime soon. He reminded the fans that it was at the Hammersmith Ballroom he won the championship, and since then he had done everything in his power to keep it. He also said he’s been asked, “Why two members of the Bullet Club?” He replied with “why the hell not?” It’s clear he’s fired up and ready for the main event at BITW, and neither Cody or Marty Scurll were going to take that belt away from him.
Just before Jay Lethal’s match we saw a VT of how he feels lost without gold around his waist, how he needs to avenge every loss he’s ever had, and how he needs some more victories to get another chance at the title, be it the ROH TV Title or the World Title. Ending the promo, Lethal ended with the line “I am lost right now, but that’s about to change,” making sure we all know exactly where his mind’s at going into his fight with Kushida at BITW.
The Jay Lethal and Chuckie T match was filled with some great moments, with both guys putting up one hell of a performance. There were a lot of missed opportunities to start with, but Lethal’s time to take over came when he landed three suicide dives to Chuckie outside the ring, at the will of the crowd. Although Chuckie T managed to hit Soul Food, things started to go Lethal’s way once again with a Lethal Injection outside the ring. After a bit more back and forth, a Lethal Combination followed by a snap piledriver from Chuckie T, it was all over when Jay Lethal delivered a pinpoint Lethal Injection, covering Chuckie for the win.
A couple more videos followed, starting with a brief recap of the road both Bully Ray and Flip Gordon have taken leading up to their match at BITW. Then we got a run-down of the Best in the World matchups featuring short vignettes from some of the competitors, such as Flip Gordon, Adam Page, Cody, and The Briscoes.
If you thought the 10-man tag match from last week was one of the best matches to feature on Ring of Honor Wrestling, you may very well want to rethink after the main event. It was filled with some fantastic fight choreography on both sides, and also highlighted what we should expect when BITW gets underway. Punishment Martinez and The Briscoes vs Adam Page and The Young Bucks was by far the match of the night for all the right reasons, and as usual The Young Bucks gave the stand out performance once again.
The match started off just as you’d expect, with both teams pulling out all the stops to get an advantage. Control changed between both teams for a while. The Briscoes have been unhinged recently, more than usual, and it wasn’t long before they grabbed some chairs from under the ring and a table, which got set up at ringside. When the referee got distracted, Mark hit Nick with a chair and Jay launched himself towards Matt who was lying on the table, destroying him with an almighty elbow drop. It wasn’t long before both The Young Bucks and Adam Page went flying; Nick took out The Briscoes by diving over the top rope, and Page hit a moonsault on The Briscoes and Punishment Martinez. More moonsaults followed as The Young Bucks hit a frog splash and a standing moonsault at the same time, with Page connecting with a running moonsault shortly after.
The Young Bucks continued to capitalise with a double sharpshooter, but Martinez attempted a double chokeslam, at least until Page broke it up and hit a Buckshot Lariat. One of the best moves of the night happened when the momentum shifted in The Briscoes and Martinez’s favour. Mark set up for a Doomsday Device, but instead of his brother connecting off the top rope, Punishment Martinez hit a spinning heel kick. Martinez continued the punishment with a psychodriver and a stomp on Matt Jackson, but the Bullet Club came back with a triple superkick on Jay.
After a failed 5-Star Meltzer Driver, Mark Briscoe hit a cutter on Nick, and the ever aggressive Jay hit Matt with the Jay Driller. On the outside of the ring, Adam Page powerbombed Martinez through the table, but The Briscoes looked as though they were going to get the win when they set Matt up to be the victim of the Doomsday Device. Then, out of nowhere Matt Jackson managed to roll Jay Briscoe up for the win. It was a remarkable match, and every wrestler put on an incredible performance, and with Cody coming to assist the other members of The Bullet Club after the match, the unity within the club may lead some to believe they’re actually OK. I guess we’ll get to see at Best in the World, but for now you need to watch episode 353 for the incredible main event.