Tonight, Ring of Honor wraps up their pay per view calendar for 2016 with their biggest event of the year, Final Battle. The event will happen live on pay per view and be broadcast from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, New York starting at 9PM EST. This is one of their strongest cards on paper and promises to be a great show. The lineup is as follows:
- Adam Cole (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly; Ring of Honor Championship
- Marty Scurll (c) vs. Will Ospreay vs. Bobby Fish vs. Dragon Lee; Ring of Honor Television Championship
- The Young Bucks (c) vs. The Briscoes; Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship
- Lio Rush, Jay White, and Kushida vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Reily and Vinny Marseglia); Finals of the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship Tourmanent
- Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal
- Jushin Liger vs. Silas Young
- Colt Cabana vs. Dalton Castle
- The Motor City Machine Guns and Donovan Dijak vs. The Cabinet (Caprice Coleman, Rhett Titus, and Kenny King)
Ring of Honor “Final Battle,” Live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, NY
They opened with a pre-taped Adam Cole segment. Cole sat on a chair surrounded by some objects including the Ring of Honor title belt. He called it “story time” and told a story about two knights. He said he was the good knight, while Kyle O’Reilly was the stupid, ugly knight. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino checked in for the call. They were located away from ringside, and Kelly noted that the Ballroom was sold out. They ran down the card.
Match #1 – The Motor City Machine Guns and Donovan Dijak vs. The Cabinet (Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Caprice Coleman);
Winner: Coleman, King, and Titus
Reax: The heel team won when Titus hit a splash on Sabin, then King kept Dijak from breaking up the pin. I still called them “The Cabinet” here but apparently the heels have ditched that gimmick, and even blamed the company for saddling them with the gimmick. Maybe that happened on a show I didn’t watch over the past month due to work commitments and such. Anyhow, a great reaction from the live crowd for the Guns early. This is a hot crowd, and while the heels going over deflated them a little they were into this opener, which was good. It seems like Dijak might have ditched Prince Nana, and I’m good with that. It was an odd pairing that made little sense.
They aired a recap of the Silas Young angle where he yelled at a fan (plant, perhaps?) who was dressed as Jushin Liger.
Match #2 – Jushin Liger vs. Silas Young (w/Beer City Bruiser);
Winner: Silas Young
Reax: The finish to this came when Liger went for a splash, only to eat the knees of Young. Young hit Misery to win. I have to admit, Liger is some sort of freak of nature and did some things in this match that I would not expect to see from a 52 year old man. This was good, and while it won’t be match of the night it will definitely be remembered for some of the moves that Liger pulled out. I felt like Liger would win this match, but I hope this is a sign that they plan to do more with Young than they have been. He had two good matches with Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole, both who are in the title picture.
They recapped Colt Cabana turning on Dalton Castle. Castle commented, asking if this was Cabana’s plan all along. “I would never put my hands on another man’s boys.”
Match #3 – Colt Cabana vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys);
Winner: Dalton Castle
The Reax: Worth noting that Castle had his original Boys along for his entrance, with some additional Boys as well. He was led to the stage on a chariot also. Late in this one, they jockeyed for position on the ropes, then ended up back in the ring. Cabana avoided Castle’s finish at first, but Castle hit Bang-A-Rang to win.
This was disappointing, though. I wanted to hear from Cabana prior to the match, but we didn’t get that. His turn on TV was very well done, but they didn’t follow up well. With the loss, I’m not sure where they go from here and the heel turn seems to have lost some impact here. I would loved to have seen heel Cabana develop a bit more than what we got. The work was fine, but the storytelling was off.
Jay Lethal hyped his match with Cody Rhodes, and he said they were both trying to prove they’re the best wrestler in the world. Lethal said he proves it every time he gets in the ring.
They showed Brandi Rhodes, who gave Cody’s introduction. In a technical gaffe, her mic was not on for the first sentence or so. Rhodes got the streamer treatment and a loud Cody chant from the live crowd. Lethal got his entrance and Kelly put him over as the best first generation wrestler in history.
After, Daniels and Kazarian came to the ring in street clothes. Kaz said it’s the biggest show of the year and asked whether fans really thought they wouldn’t make their presence known. The fans chanted back at them to “shut the f**k up.” They said they wanted to watch Rhodes and Lethal wrestle. Daniels noted that it was Cody’s debut and Lethal is the greatest champ that ROH has ever had.
Daniels noted growing up in North Carolina and watching Dusty Rhodes and how he inspired him. Daniels said the business needs people like Cody and said he has to prove himself in ROH. Daniels put over the fans then said they would take over commentary for the match. They tell Lethal and Cody to tear it up. Kelly just sort of acknowledged it and said “well, ok.”
Match #4 – Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal;
Winner: Cody Rhodes
The Finish: Late in this one, Lethal bumped heads with the official, which let Cody hit an intentional low blow while the referee was down. Rhodes smiled then hit CrossRhodes to win. Afterward, Cody offered his hand, smiled, then flipped Lethal off. Daniels and Kazarian got in the ring and Cody went to ringside. The fans reacted by chanting “F**k you Cody.” Rhodes shoved the official, and threw a drink at a fan. Kelly called it shameful as Corino rejoined him. Rhodes shoved Corino as well, then exited.
The Reax: This was a really good match, as was expected, with the unexpected element of the heel turn for Rhodes. Since leaving WWE, Rhodes has been the ultimate good guy in his other appearances, so this was from out in left field but I liked it. If he’s staying around with ROH, he could be a very strong heel for the company. Kevin Kelly did a great job of selling the low blow and being outraged by it as well.
They recapped how the finalists of the six-man tag tournament got to the championship match.
Match #5 – Lio Rush, Jay White, and Kushida vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia); Winner becomes the first ever ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions
Winner: The Kingdom to win the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship
The Reax: Late, Taven told Rush to pin O’Ryan, but Marseglia used the opportunity to dive on the official. Taven used a stick to hit Rush, then the Kingdom hit their finish on Rush to win. This was a spot-fest six-man tag, and the Kingdom going over was no real surprise. Kushida is not a regular (he’s NJPW), so it wouldn’t have made sense to put the titles on the faces here. They could have dropped them back at Sunday’s TV taping (by the way, we’re looking for correspondents for that), but it wouldn’t have made sense.
Kelly narrated the footage of the ROH TV Championship changing hands in England between Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll.
Match #6 – Marty Scurll (c) vs. Will Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee; Ring of Honor Television Championship
Winner: Marty Scurll to retain the Ring of Honor Television Championship
The Reax: The commentary team noted that Fish had to deal with a very personal situation, which Corino seemed to indicate was a death in the family. They wished him the best. The fans chanted “we want Bobby” as the match got underway. In the end, Ospreay hit a really nice spin kick on Lee and hit a springboard stunner (way better than Cena ever did…lol). Scurll dumped Ospreay to ringside then locked on the chicken wing on Lee to get the submission win.
First, my condolences to Bobby Fish and hope all is well with him. The match was great, and was the best of the night so far. The fans were into this and were standing for several minutes at a time throughout. Scurll and Ospreay made great first impressions for fans who didn’t know who they were going into the night. I like Dragon Lee too, and he continues to shine as well. Great stuff here.
They showed a promo from the Briscoes.
Match #7 – The Young Bucks (c) vs. The Briscoes; Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship
Winner: The Young Bucks to retain the ROH Tag Team Championship
The Finish: Late in this one the Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on Mark, but Jay broke the pin up. The Bucks followed with several superkicks on the kneeling Briscoes, who spat back at them and said f**k you. The Bucks followed with rapid superkicks and covered for the win.
After, the lights went out and the crowd gasped. Broken Matt Hardy appeared on the screen. A brief technical glitch kept the audio off but it came back quickly. He said he and Brother Nero have been mandated to become the greatest tag team in all of time and space. He said they would make the rednecks and spot monkeys obsolete. He said once he and Brother Nero come to the Honorable Ring, they will delete, delete, delete. The crowd chanted “delete” then “holy shit” while the Bucks looked shocked.
The Reax: This was one hell of a spotfest match and it was followed up with some HUGE news. I’m not sure if this means the Hardys are coming to ROH, or if this means the Bucks will appear in the Apocalypto match that is coming up on Impact. Either way you slice it, that’s a big deal and a fun surprise for all of us.
They set up the main event with a video package, then we got the entrances. Bobby Cruise gave us the introductions.
Match #8 – Adam Cole (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly; Ring of Honor Championship;
Winner: Kyle O’Reilly to win the ROH Championship
The Reax: The finish saw Cole slam O’Reilly into thumbtacks (this was a no DQ match). O’Reilly regrouped and hit a brainbuster then went for the Cross Arm Breaker. Cole blocked it initially, but O’Reilly threw kicks until Cole gave up the arm and he locked the hold on. Cole tapped out. Cary Silkin, the former ROH owner, entered the ring and presented the title to O’Reilly. He posed and celebrated and the commentary team ran highlights.
This was an outstanding main event. They switched gears out of the spot fest mode into a different type of psychology and it worked. The hardcore elements didn’t NEED to be involved in this match, but it’s logical for where the two were in the story. Initially, O’Reilly didn’t get a big reaction for winning but once he had the title and such they responded to him.
Overall Thoughts: This was a solid pay per view from top to bottom, and they did it without being buoyed by New Japan talent on their roster. ROH has great talent on their own roster, and when the pay per view lights are on they deliver – and they did on this show. Now, the test will be whether they can deliver on television. The weekly program is hit and miss, with some weeks being great, and other weeks are missable. We shall see.
There were some contractual questions among O’Reilly, the Bucks, and a few others, so the finishes tonight make you wonder if those issues are resolved or not. We shall see about that as well.
If you were at tonight’s show and want to contribute your in-person perspective, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thanks for checking in tonight.