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Ring of Honor’s Jay Lethal: The best World Champion in Pro Wrestling today

Jay Lethal (Ring of Honor)

Jay Lethal (Ring of Honor)

Ring of Honor Wrestling just finished their Best in the World PPV series. World Champion Jay Lethal beat two of the companies best (Jay Briscoe and *reportedly* Kyle O’Reilly) to retain the ROH World Title. Not only did he defy the odds, but he also continued the amazing run that he has been on since returning to the company in 2011.

What a long way Lethal has come since his days in TNA as “Black Machismo” (a “Macho Man” Randy Savage impersonator). For years he was stuck as he just couldn’t get momentum, and many were questioning if he could be a major player again. Once he left TNA, he proved critics wrong in full force. Lethal came back to the place he wrestled for in 2003. He won and held the ROH World TV Title for an astonishing 567 days. During that time he won the ROH World Title at Best in the World 2015, which he has now held for over a year (sadly, he no longer has the World TV Title).


On June 19th, 2015 he won the World Title to become a double champion. On August 15th, 2015 WWE Champion Seth Rollins beat John Cena for the United States Title, also becoming a double champion. Not only did Lethal grab the accomplishment first, but in my opinion he did a much better job with his reign (sorry Seth). Maybe its because he had more defenses, or it could be because he announced himself as the true World Champion while he was the World TV Champion. That confidence, which he has built up over time, helped give him an edge.

What makes Lethal a great champion is the flexibility of his defenses. It’s not just in Ring of Honor where Lethal has defended the ROH World Title. Here are a few of his 24 title defenses (so far), with the company the opponent represented:

–        Mark Briscoe (Ring of Honor)

–        Roderick Strong (ROH)

–        Kyle O’Reilly (ROH) (and Bobby Fish on the same night for the ROH World TV Title)

–        A.J. Styles (ROH)

–        Adam Cole (ROH)

–        Hirooki Goto (New Japan Pro Wrestling)

–        Colt Cabana (technically) (ROH)

–        Noam Dar (Preston City Wrestling- England)

–        Joey Hayes (Preston City Wrestling)

–        Doug Williams (Preston City Wrestling)

–        Michael Elgin (NJPW)

–        Mark Haskins (Revolution Pro Wrestling- England)

–        Tomoaki Honma (NJPW)

One would have to go back to the old NWA days to recall a champion with multiple defenses in places and with people not within his current promotion. The opportunities are giving Ring of Honor credibility, while also proving a point that Lethal is the best champion in professional wrestling today. He hasn’t just schlepped around with the title. All of his matches have been top-notch. I can imagine whoever ends up defeating him for the title (if that ever happens) would have big shoes to fill. It would also be treated as a huge moment as it would be an end of a historic era.

At only 31-years old, Jay Lethal is changing the landscape of professional wrestling one day at a time. Ring of Honor struck gold with him as champion. With The House of Truth (Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix) by his side, the sky is the limit for Mr. Lethal. Here’s to a few more title defenses for the self-proclaimed “Greatest First Generation Wrestler (in the World)”. The real champ is here!

Now… hit his music!


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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.

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