Ring of Honor is about to celebrate their 16th anniversary as a company and that's pretty goddamn awesome. They've launched a streaming service finally, and while it's missing the first eleven years it's good for the current era and I'm hoping they'll be bringing the older stuff into it eventually. Their youtube channel has been interviewing wrestlers with their best moments as a reflection on their past so I figure that would be a good idea myself considering I started watching Ring of Honor only a couple of months after they started and caught up pretty quickly.
Generation Next – I was looking forward to the tournament and the fact that the show got moved out of the building and into a tent and then it got taken over by the guys in the tournament thinking that competing for a contract was bullshit made it so much better. This whole show I awesome because of this. It helps that Alex Shelley and Roderick Strong are two of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Plus they were against Jimmy Jacobs who is still one of my favorites. Austin Aries and the Briscoes being involved was awesome at the time although now I know they're pretty garbage people, but at the time this was jam packed with awesome wrestlers and the story was perfectly told and culminated in a great eight man tag match.
James Gibson beats CM Punk – The whole Summer of Punk storyline was really well done. From the start with Punk signing his WWE contract on the RoH title belt, to Mick Foley saying he couldn't leave until he lost the belt it was all great. Every title defense had the extra level of investment as you waited to see who would win the belt, and he just kept retaining the belt in hard fought matches. This felt especially good after seeing Gibson having to play the redneck on WWE tv and not get to showcase what he could do in the ring.
Kenta Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe – Pro Wrestling NOAH had sent over their junior heavyweight guys before to RoH and sometimes the US would get a young lion from NJPW or AJPW wrestling over here, but since WCW's demise it was pretty minimal. Then one of the biggest names in Japanese wrestling came over for a tour and this singles match in RoH was fucking awesome. The match is really good, but just the awesome feeling of seeing a Kobashi match in America was excellent on its own. Just good hard hitting action from these two men when Samoa Joe was at the top of his game.
Christopher Daniels finally follows the Code of Honor – For years Daniels had refused to follow the code of honor in RoH. No handshakes, cheating, and attacking refs, whatever it took for him to win with the Prophecy and by himself after their dissolution. Finally on the 100th RoH show he finally shook the hand of Claudio Castagnoli. On its own a memorable moment, but made even better by the fact that later that night with CZW invading Castagnoli betrayed RoH and helped his CZW partner Chris Hero beat up the RoH guys. Just the perfect way to cap off Daniels finally deciding to follow the Code.
The Ballad of Lacey – This is the best wrestling related song bar none. Everything about the Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs storyline was really well done, although it helps that both of them were basically my favorites even before that started. This video and song is just so good. Jacobs just puts everything into every angle and it really shows in this video and the whole persona he used during this storyline and how it turned him into the dark leader of Age of the Fall.
CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe – The first of their encounters that went to a one hour time limit and the desperation Punk had to get the win and the belt is so good. He throws everything he has at Joe and can't beat him. The game plan is wear Joe down by taking the match slow and going long and it doesn't work. Joe really shows how good he is because you don't expect a dude his size to keep going and last a whole hour. This is one of those broadway matches that doesn't feel as long as it is and really makes the time limit draw work.
Paul London's Shooting Star Press off the Ladder – The creation of the “Please Don't Die” chant comes from this spot and when I saw it on DVD it was, and still is, one of my favorite spots in wrestling. This whole hardcore match between London and Shane is incredible and also includes London running up the ladder in the corner and jumping to the outside onto Shane with a plancha. This match cemented London as my favorite performer in the company and the moment was surreal.
Chuck Taylor Debuts – This isn't really fair because I was there live when Trent? brought him in to be the third member of his team and it was fucking awesome. The crowd popped huge, I popped huge and the Best Friends reuniting in RoH and Rocky Romero being jealous was a ton of fun.
I could keep naming matches and spots that stick in my memory, but these are the best moments for me in Ring of Honor's history and I'm hoping they can return to how good they were once again and start delivering the best wrestling and the most memorable moments.