“This Sunday Will Be the First Time”: Kevin Kelly Talks ROH’s “Best in the World” PPV Debut

Kevin Kelly

ring of honorI started my wrestling announcing career 23 years ago this past Saturday with the IWF in Orlando, Florida.

But, for the first time in 23 years, this Sunday, I will be calling the play-by-play on live Cable/Satellite Pay-Per-View when Ring of Honor presents “Best in the World” from Nashville, Tennessee.

The older I get, the more reflective I become about my career and what it means to me. Maybe this happens to you as well at your job or school, but when I’m working, I don’t think about “me”. I’m in the moment, calling matches, helping out backstage… as my friend, Danny Cage says “getting sh*t done”. But now, as I’m closer to the end of my career than the beginning, I have started to think about things that should be important to me.

That’s why this Sunday is an important milestone. What will this Sunday mean for Ring of Honor or for any of the wrestlers on the event? I can’t answer those questions, but I do know you only get one chance to make a first impression.

For Adam Cole and Michael Elgin, the key for me in their ROH World Championship match is to remember they are fighting for a title that is bigger than either of them. In my opinion, since Samoa Joe held the ROH World title, the Ring of Honor World Champion is the best wrestler in the world. Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson… all were the best when they wore the belt. And the list goes on and on.

Adam Cole and Michael Elgin must wrestle Sunday to prove they are the best, not that they can do the most. They must wrestle to win and nothing more. Show the pay-per-view audience that Professional Wrestling is at the very core of what Ring of Honor is about. Yes, athleticism is a big part of it but fans will remember a World Championship-caliber wrestling match more than an impressive athletic contest.

For ReDRagon, it’s about asking if they are indeed the best tag team in the world. Young Bucks, Mark and Jay Briscoe and Anderson/Gallows from NJPW are in that conversation but who else is better right now than Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly? Maybe their opponents, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian? First time opponents could lead to something memorable this Sunday.

What does a return to live Sunday night Pay-Per-View mean to Matt Hardy, who teams with Michael Bennett against the previously mentioned Briscoe’s? And for Maria Kanellis, who returns to familiar territory as well, what does it mean for her? Matt Hardy has more “Big Money” experience than anyone on the card at Best in the World but I’m sure he knows how big this is for him and Ring of Honor.

Hardy, Bennett and Kanellis have silenced critics with a simple formula. Hard work and dedication to the craft, applied liberally, makes everyone better.  For Mark and Jay, it’s about showing the world that their high-risk, brawling style is the reason why they are the best. I am really looking forward to calling this one!

For Jay Lethal, Matt Taven and Truth Martini, their World Television title match is about showing a PPV audience that they are main-event players, with dynamic personalities and divisive issues that will make many first-time ROH viewers stand up and take notice. Same thing for Cedric Alexander and Roderick Strong in their Submission Match.

Sleeper match of the night could be Silas Young vs Kevin Steen. Silas has a lot to prove in this, his first time in ROH in a big spot with a big-money man like Steen. This will be one match fans will be talking about on Monday if Young shows what he can do.

For Steve Corino, Nigel McGuinness and me at ringside, we just need to let the action tell the story. Fill in with pertinent information, facts and analysis in an entertaining fashion for nearly three hours and remember to shut up when it’s time. Too many announcers today, both in wrestling and other sports, trample the emotion with an incessant need to regurgitate the obvious.

I know we are the best announce team in the business. No one matches what we deliver.

And this Sunday, for the first time in my 23 year career, I’ll be the lead voice on a live Pay-Per-View, seen via cable systems and satellite providers as Ring of Honor presents “Best in the World”. Go to http://rohwrestling.com to find out more.

And thank you to everyone throughout the years that have helped guide me to this moment.

Thoughts on Best in the World? Tweet away @RealKevinKelly.

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!