ROHWorld.com are delighted to announce our 2011 awards results! The staff members of the website voted on all of the following categories. Be sure to share your thoughts in the Fan Awards too! The deadline for voting ends this Saturday, January 7th. To vote, simply head to our forum!
Edwards has firmly stepped out of the shadow of his former American Wolves team-mate Davey Richards. “Die Hard” has a great 2010 but 2011 was even better. Eddie became the first ever Triple Crown winner in ROH history. Despite losing the ROH World TV Title towards the end of 2010, Edwards used the title shot he had earned at ‘Survival of the Fittest 2010’ to face Roderick Strong for the World Title. At ‘Manhattan Mayhem IV’, Edwards shocked the World by defeating Strong. Edwards would go on to successfully defend the belt against the likes of Chris Hero, Christopher Daniels and Strong. After holding the belt for three months, Edwards lost it to a fellow wolf – Davey Richards – at ‘Best In The World 2011’. Despite that, Edwards has continued to put on great matches including the Ringmaster’s Challenge against Strong at ‘Death Before Dishonor IX’ and an unsuccessful rematch for the World Title at ‘Final Battle 2011’. If 2012 is anywhere near as good for Edwards as 2011 was, we might just see the second ever 2-time ROH World Champion.
The Briscoe Brothers will be quick to remind you that they’ve been in ROH since day one. When you think of Ring of Honor, one of the first names that comes to mind is the Briscoes. The brothers came into 2011 hoping to claim their seventh World Tag Team Title reign but the Kings of Wrestling would keep the belts for some time. They eventually lost the straps to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team but while that was happening, the Briscoes were involved in a bitter, bloody feud with the All Night Express. The Briscoes, despite losing Ladder War III at ‘Death Before Dishonor IX’, would come out of the feud on top and earned a title shot at WGTT at ‘Final Battle 2011’. Despite taking a huge amount of damage before the match had even started, the Briscoes overcame WGTT to become the seven time ROH World Tag Team Champions. 2011 proved that the Briscoes are just as good, if not better, than ever.
Michael Elgin was the missing piece of the puzzle for the Truth Martini. The ‘life intervention expert’ had Roderick Strong but really needed a powerhouse to back up the then-ROH World Champion. Look no further than Elgin. He made his debut towards the end of the ROH on HDNet run and since then has impressed ROH fans worldwide with his sheer strength inside the squared circle. Elgin has not only put on great matches with the best ROH has to offer, but he has also won big matches too. He came out on top in the annual ‘Survival of the Fittest’ tournament which now means he has a shot at the ROH World Title. Even though ‘Unbreakable’ Michael Elgin is still relatively new to ROH, you wouldn’t bet against him being a champion in 2012.
The All Night Express have always been an entertaining team both inside and outside of the ring. The only thing that was holding them back, was themselves. ANX seemed to take things too lightly and were more than happy to lose big matches if it meant they could go out partying afterwards. However, 2011 signalled a change for ANX. The Briscoes seemed to get under their skin and following an epic encounter at ‘Manhattan Mayhem IV’, things changed. ANX were no longer a great, but comedic, tag team. They were legitimate contenders and following an unsuccessful Tag Team title match against the Kings of Wrestling at the ‘9th Anniversary Show’ they got serious. Since then, they had numerous vicious battles with the Briscoes and won ‘Ladder War III’ to go down in the Ring of Honor history books. After beating WGTT on ROH TV, they have a future shot at the Tag Team Titles. With Rhett Titus out indefinitely, recovering from a knee operation, their shot will have to wait, but the only thing that is now missing from ANX is those tag team belts.
It just goes to show how much of a deal Kevin Steen is in Ring of Honor. He had one match in the company during 2011 and was arguably the most talked about man among fans. Steen is a genius both in and out of the ring and after losing to El Generico at ‘Final Battle 2010’, he was gone from ROH. Throughout the early months of 2011, fans chanted for his return but they had to wait until ‘Best In The World 2011’ to see him in an ROH ring again. Steen claimed he was a changed man and former mentor Steve Corino managed to get him into the ring and gave him a microphone. Unfortunately for Corino and the rest of ROH, Steen had been lying all along and attacked Corino and his sponsor Jimmy Jacobs after saying ‘I’m Kevin Steen… and f*ck Ring of Honor!’. He later made brief appearances at ‘Death Before Dishonor IX’ and ‘Glory By Honor X’. This led to a match at ‘Final Battle 2011’ between Steen and Corino. ‘Mr Wrestling’ won the violent match and was therefore re-instated to ROH. What lies ahead for Steen and ROH is anybody’s guess, all we know that Kevin Steen is definitely an evil person.
Show of the Year is always hard to choose when it comes to ROH. There are never a short supply of contenders but ‘Best In The World 2011’ had everything you could wish for. It had fans excited weeks in advance and more than delivered with a packed card from top to bottom. The show was headlined by Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards who put on an epic match which will be remembered among the best in ROH history. The other titles were also defended as WGTT cemented their title reign with a win in a four way match against ANX, the Briscoes and the Kings of Wrestling. El Generico finally captured his first ever singles title in ROH with a victory over the departing Christopher Daniels in a great match and Kevin Steen made his first appearance in ROH for over six months following Steve Corino’s loss to Michael Elgin. All that plus great undercard matches featuring the return of Jay Lethal who defeated Mike Bennett, and one of Colt Cabana’s last ROH matches in a losing effort against the undefeated Tommaso Ciampa. All in all, this was the best show of the year and wouldn’t look out of place among the best shows in ROH history for both in-ring action and sheer emotion and passion surrounding the event.
The aforementioned ‘Best In The World 2011′ was voted Show of the Year so it’s only fitting that the main event of that show should be considered the Match of the Year. Edwards had only been champion for three months but needed to prove to himself that he could beat Davey Richards in what would be Richards’ last shot at the World Title if he lost. These two American Wolves put on one hell of a match full of hard-hitting action, fast paced spots and amazing drama. A 2K1 bomb on the apron and a double foot stomp through a table from Edwards was not enough to keep Richards down. Both men began to tire and submission holds from both men took their toll. It would be Richards who would overcome his brother this time though. After a flurry of kicks to the face, Richards hit a vicious running kick to Edwards’ head that would make him champion. Following the match, Richards delivered an emotional promo thanking his training partners Kyle O’Reilly and Tony Kozina. Edwards put over his American Wolves team-mate in what was one of the most emotional moments in ROH history
Moment of the Year was always going to be a tough category to decide upon. There were so many great moments to choose from. Kevin Steen’s appearances and especially the infamous line he delivered at ‘Best In The World 2011’ could have won. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team finally ending the Kings of Wrestling’s Tag Team title run also would have been a good choice. But the one moment that stood out among all others was Eddie Edwards winning the ROH World Title. Edwards vs. Roderick Strong at ‘Manhattan Mayhem IV’ looked like a good match on paper. Two of the best wrestlers not only in the company, but in the world, facing off. But nobody really thought Edwards would win. Strong was getting even better and his title run looked like it would continue for some time. But despite that, Edwards put on a great show and eventually won with a rollup, becoming the first ever Triple Crown champion in ROH history. ROH fans worldwide went crazy and Edwards even trended worldwide on Twitter – the first ever ROH wrestler to do so. Despite losing the title a few months later, that night in New York will live long in people’s memories.