As pointed out, Drew Koscelek is at the event live. Here’s a view of what he’s seeing from the second floor:
Also, during the pre-show Nigel McGuinness came out and called out Cary Silkin. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. The locker room came out to greet him as well.
Cary Silkin made a promise in some opening remarks that this will be a great show (Drew and I talked on Ring Rap Audio about how good the card looks in terms of wrestling, so I agree).
The live show starts in about 10 minutes.
Ring of Honor “Final Battle” Pay Per View, Live from Terminal 5 in New York City
They open with a video package that focused on the year as a whole for several different wrestlers. Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and Nigel McGuinness are the commentary team for the night. The three talk about the top matches on tonight’s card. The live crowd chants “Final Battle.”
Match #1 – Mark Briscoe vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Hanson; Four Corners Survival Match
Mark Briscoe gets the streamer treatment. The live crowd chants “man up.” Drew says that the crowd is very pro-Briscoe. The video board above the entrance plays videos for some talent, others are just getting variations of the Final Battle logo.
This is a spotfest where everyone gets their moment to shine. Late in this one, Coleman hits a nice Asai moonsault on Hanson out on the floor. Coleman throws Hanson back in, only to take a spinning heel kick and getting pinned moments later.
Winner – Hanson
Drew is right – I enjoyed the opener and it was obvious on the live broadcast that the fans enjoyed it as well. I thought Hanson as a big guy hitting that cartwheel into a clothesline looked tight and seemed to be a hotter move than the finishing sequence.
I hope you’re checking out the pics that Drew is tweeting so you can decide otherwise if you so choose, but on TV the venue is only coming across as “OK.” It looks fun, but it also looks very small on TV. The “blue” effect on the fans on the hard camera side looks pretty low budget also.
Drew noted that live in the building there was a video package for Adam Page vs. Roderick Strong. In the ring, Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer have a mic and Jacobs says they’ve all had nights where you live or die by your own sword. Whitmer introduces Adam Page as earning his spot with The Decade.
Match #2 – Roderick Strong vs. Adam Page
Good early intensity from these guys. Kelly recaps their story on commentary and says that there won’t be a handshake before or after this one. They fight their way to ringside, and Strong is getting the better of it. Whitmer approaches, and that distracts Strong. Page uses the opening and gets the fight back in the ring.
Later, Strong hits some nice running knees and follows with a backbreaker. Strong hits a gutbuster for a two count. The broadcasters point out that Strong didn’t hook the leg – a rare mistake. Page starts a short comeback but takes a sick kick from Strong for another near fall.
Drew is calling this “an awesome match” so far.
About 12 minutes in, Strong locks Page in a Boston crab and puts his knee behind Page’s head to really cinch it. The referee leans in and checks on Page, and eventually stops this one.
Afterward, Jacobs gets in the ring and shakes hands with Page. Whitmer grabs a headset and rants, saying Page is one of them. Corino gets upset and a minor scuffle breaks out, with him being restrained from going after Whitmer.
Winner – Roderick Strong
Some more live on-site reaction for ya:
Again, I really agree with Drew on this. Page looked great in defeat and has come a long way. Neither man looks bad here because Page gave everything and didn’t quit, while Strong comes off looking like a ring master who is still just “that” much better than the youngster.
We get a video package that sets up our next match, which is Ciampa vs. Elgin
Match #3 – Michael Elgin vs. Tomasso Ciampa
Scattered boos for Elgin when he is introduced. Ciampa has a video wall featuring a skull and he got a nice reaction. Drew mentioned him having the “Stone Cold” walk down.
Some more Twitter fun from the show. It’s confirmed that Michael Elgin hates streamers:
In case you haven’t noticed, this is a very different live coverage report. Having Drew in the building adds a dimension we almost NEVER have, so personally speaking I am THRILLED to have this.
The two shake hands to start. Ciampa holds on to it, and gave Elgin a forearm.
A bit later, Elgin hits a nice somersault leg drop from the second rope. The battle spills to ringside where Ciampa throws Elgin into the safety railing. Ciampa gets a start and Elgin recovered to throw him into the railing. There’s a table set up, and Elgin looks for the powerbomb. Ciampa avoids it. Back in the ring, Elgin hits a spinning powerbomb for a good two.
Elgin and Ciampa fight on the apron and teas a table spot. Elgin hits a suplex off the top, drops his knee brace then plays to the crowd. Elgin tries a running knee, but Ciampa catches his leg. Elgin gets the better of this next exchange with some spinning back fists.
Elgin runs the ropes only to take a lariat from Ciampa, who scores a two count. He hits a buckle bomb then tries another clothesline. Elgin ducks and Ciampa takes out the referee. Ciampa shows remorse as he looks toward Nigel, who is on commentary. Ciampa pleads with Nigel, who sent for another official.
Elgin attacks, putting Ciampa down with a clothesline. The referee recovers and Elgin gets one out of it. Elgin follows with a DDT to grab the win. Afterward, Ciampa looks pained as the commentary team puts over that he might be fired tonight.
Winner – Michael Elgin
These guys worked hard in a physical exchange. Ciampa took a lot of power moves here – more than I have seen of his work anyhow. I would rather have seen the clean finish, but there’s a story there to work with Nigel and the zero tolerance policy toward officials. That seems to be where it’s headed.
Also, the live crowd might have had a bit of a letdown…
The announcers tell us that ROH will be on pay per view again on March 1, 2015 for the 13th Anniversary show from Las Vegas, NV.
Match #4 – The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and Cedric Alexander vs. The Young Bucks and ACH
Drew notes a big crowd pop for The Addiction. Yeah, he’s right on that as it came across that way on TV also. The Bucks and ACH are wearing Bullet Club t-shirts. Kevin Kelly points out that ACH is not a part of the faction, and Corino mentions that it’s his 27th birthday.
Early in, Daniels hits a moonsault onto the Bucks out on the floor. ACH tries a follow up springboard flip but his foot gets caught. He did make contact, but he landed hard on the padded floor.
They run a rapid-fire set of moves a bit later that ends up with all six men selling in the ring. Later, the Bucks come back with a double superkick on Alexander and then hit a pretty bad (as in good) looking tag team piledriver spot from the ropes. ACH hits a 540 splash on Alexander and pins him for the win.
Winners – Young Bucks and ACH
Let’s start this with the live reaction, shall we:
This was a bit of a train wreck match that had a lot of the familiar high spots from all the guys involved, especially the Bucks. The live crowd ate that up and loved the Bucks. I think Daniels and Kaz vs. Young Bucks and Alexander vs. ACH are more marketable and meaningful matches and they probably should have gone that route, but this was still a fun match to watch.
They set up the next match, which is Moose vs. RD Evans, with a video package. Stokely Hathaway says that Prince Nana gave him full permission to end Evans’ career. Love me some Prince Nana.
Match #5 – Moose (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. RD Evans
Moose got a few chants, but this is definitely a come-down match. Corino says it feels like it’s a new Evans in that he is “fun-loving and entertaining as heck.” Kelly noted that Veda Scott did not accompany Evans to the ring.
Moose dominates the early going. He grabs Evans by the legs and whips him repeatedly into the guardrail. Veda Scott appears now, and the announcers say she has tears in her eyes. Kelly admits that he hasn’t always seen eye to eye with Evans but feels bad for Scott.
Evans tries to springboard into the ring and fails. He looks at the crowd and tries a third time and fails again. He gets taunted and groaned at for that one. Evans gets a leg log on when Hathaway slides a chair in. The official sees that and chases Hathaway to the back.
The official argues with Nana and Hathaway on the ramp, for what reason I don’t know. Veda gets in the ring and tries to talk with Moose. She consoles Evans, then drops to a knee and low blows him. Moose hits a spear and pins Evans. Nana says afterward that karma is a bitch.
Winner – Moose
So, here’s some live “as it happened” reaction for you…
But it’s also worth noting…
As for the match, it was pretty bad and we said it would be in audio. Evans is a manager type, even though it’s not a good time for them right now. He could be something special though as a manager. This was weak and overbooked amateur garbage, so it’s not all on Evans. Something isn’t clicking for me with him as a wrestler.
We get a video package to set up the TV Title Match
Match #6 – Jay Lethal (c, w/Truth Martini and J. Diesel) vs. Matt Sydal; ROH Television Championship
Sydal got a nice reaction that came across on my TV as positive, but not what you would expect if you heard Evan Bourne would be on an ROH pay per view event. Here’s a live shot of his return:
About 13 minutes in, Sydal hits Air Bourne (his moonsault splash from WWE – not sure what he’s calling it these days) and has the cover. Martini pulls the referee out of the ring. Sydal gives chase and takes out J. Diesel with a knee. Bourne sets up to hit his finish on Martini, but Lethal ends up catching him with a stunner. Lethal follows up with the Lethal Combination to grab the win.
Winner – Jay Lethal to retain the ROH Television Championship
Here’s Drew’s live reaction to what he witnessed:
I enjoyed this, though it doesn’t seem like the live crowd was as engaged as I expected. If you’ve been looking at the pictures, Drew’s seats have been OK but not great, and the earliest shot he posted was pretty awkward. Hard to get into a show when you can’t see what’s going on. I’ll see if I can get a live tweet from Drew on the crowd situation. I am hoping we get clean finishes the rest of the way tonight, by the way.
Match #7 – reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, c) vs. The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and Kushida); ROH Tag Team Championship
I think Drew is marking out a little bit for this one:
The Time Splitters and reDRagon got good reactions from the live crowd. Dragon brought both the ROH and IWGP tag titles to the ring with them, and Kevin Kelly notes on commentary that they are double champions. Corino points out that reDRagon got booed the last time but they have developed an appreciation for how god they are.
O’Reilly goes after Kushida’s arm to start, but Kushida avoids the submission. Fish and Shelley check in, and there’s competing chants for each of the wrestlers.
About 9 minutes in, Fish is crotched on the top rope. Shelley kicks O’Reilly into the ropes and knocks Fish down. Kushida takes the tag and goes on a run and tries to get the crowd back into it. Awesome spot where Kushida hits an Okada roll on Fish, then a German suplex on O’Reilly and has both men pinned for two. Really cool.
A little bit after that, Shelley hits a diving O’Reilly with a superkick at ringside. Kushida goes up and hits a dive on both rEDragon members that draws an ROH chant. Kushida hits a missile drop kick on O’Reilly, who is perched on Shelley’s shoulders. O’Reilly takes the bump as if he were hit with the Doomsday Device and that nets the Splitters a two count. rEDragon comes back with a high-low tag move to get a two of their own.
O’Reilly locks on a guillotine and wraps his legs around Kushida. Shelley breaks it up. A bit later, the Splitters hit this neat spot where Shelley wrenches on Fish’s neck, and Kushida hits a drop kick to the face. Fish then took a neckbreaker from Shelley off of Kushida’s shoulders, but rEDragon fights back to break up the pin attempt.
O’Reilly catches Kushida in a triangle. Fish follows with a headbutt while Kushida is in the move. Shelley hits a top rope stomp. rEDragon comes back with Demolition. Kushida hits a superkick that sends O’Reilly’s mouthguard flying. Fish hits this neat spot where he flips over the turnbuckle and follows with a dive onto Shelley. The champs hit their finish, but Kushida kicks out. O’Reilly follows with a cross arm breaker and gets the submission win.
Winner – reDRagon to retain the ROH Tag Team Championship
This was the match of the night and it’s not close. The guys did a nice job of playing to the fans to get them into it as well. This was a lot of fun – now just imagine how much MORE fun it’s going to be when you add the Young Bucks and Forever Hooligans at Wrestle Kingdom 9 on January 4. Yeah. Wrestlegasm.
We get a video package to hype up the main event.
Match #8 – Jay Briscoe (c) vs. Adam Cole; ROH World Championship in a Fight Without Honor
They show empty chairs that were reserved fro Mr. and Mrs. Briscoe. Kelly reminds us that Cole kicked Papa Briscoe in a TV episode. Cole flips off Briscoe, and Jay returns with the Jay Driller for an early near fall. Kelly says that was almost the quickest title defense in ROH history.
Jay continues the onslaught, putting Cole on a table and double stomping him off the apron. Briscoe grabs a stapler, but Cole hits him with a chairshot to the head. Ouch. Corino points out that it was the chair reserved for Jay’s dad. Cole staples the “Mr. Briscoe” sign to Jay’s head. The crowd calls Cole “you sick f**k.” Might have been better used for the chair shot. Cole pulls Briscoe to the post and slams his knee off of it a few times.
Briscoe manages to use his legs to pull Cole into the post. Cole put his head under the ring and comes up bloody. Briscoe gets the match back in the ring and the fight commission steps in to clean up Cole. Kelly explains that it’s protocol, but NYC fans aren’t liking this one. Briscoe takes charge once Cole is cleaned up and the match moves on.
Cole hits a superkick that sends Briscoe from the second rope to the floor. Cole grabs the title belt and brings it to the ring, then beats on Briscoe’s head with it. Cole covers for two. Cole comes back with Florida Keys for a near fall.
Briscoe catches Cole coming off the rope and hits him with a Death Valley Driver that sends Cole through a table set up in the corner of the ring. Briscoe goes to ringside and brings a bag in the ring, and dumps out thumbtacks.
Cole hits a low blow, then looks at the tacks. He picks them up, puts them in Briscoe’s mouth then hits a superkick. Cole covers but only gets two. Another “you sick f**k” chant gets going. Cole sets up for Florida Keys into the tacks but Briscoe counters. He kicks Cole twice, and he nearly lands on the tacks. Cole dodges a third, but Jay hits him with a backdrop that sends Cole into the tacks. Jay follows with the Jay Driller for a good near fall.
Briscoe still has tacks in his mouth, so he spits them out. He gets to his feet and watches Cole, who is on his knees and looking at the belt. Cole looks up at Briscoe, who loads him for the Jay Driller one more time, this time onto the belt, to get the win.
To close the show, they air a teaser for the March 1 pay per view 13th Anniversary event from Las Vegas.
Winner – Jay Briscoe to retain the ROH World Championship
Drew is heading out of Terminal 5 right now, so let’s toss up one more tweet from him:
There was a lot of buzz around ROH that Cole would be taking the title tonight, so this is a surprise finish. The idea of a garbage match doesn’t excite me that much anymore, but this was good. It fit into the story very well because the feud between these men had reached that point. And the quality of the match, for a garbage match, was actually very good. They didn’t need the unprotected chair shot to the head – not at all. Not sure if Jay just wasn’t ready, or that was planned.
I will let Drew speak to the atmosphere in the building in detail later this week, but it came across on TV at times very good, and at times very bad. Normally, ROH runs this show in the Hammerstein, but it wasn’t available this trip around. They could have picked a better venue because it looked somewhat low budget and small-time on TV. I think back to the Nashville show, and they looked so professional there – and for a big event like this, they just didn’t look the same.
Overall, I thought the wrestling on this show was good, but the matches didn’t seem to have the importance behind them and it made it feel a little bit flat. The Moose/RD Evans stuff was just amateur hour nonsense, but it came at a point where it was needed so I won’t complain too much. The tag title match and the main event were great, and kept this show out of “worst of the year” territory.
Drew and I will talk about this show in more detail later this week in RingRap Audio. Thanks for following along tonight!