Last week was an overall solid show, with the chaos after the main event leading to a decision this week by matchmaker Nigel McGuinness.
McGuinness announced during this week’s show that The Young Bucks, The Briscoes and The All Night Express will square off in a Number One Contender’s Tag Team Triple Threat Match at Final Battle, this Friday, December 18.
Kevin Kelly announced that “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin will face Moose at Final Battle and ACH, Matt Sydal and Alex Shelley will face The Addiction and Chris Sabin at Final Battle as well.
As the go-home show for Final Battle, this is their last chance to get the fans invested in what should be a very good PPV.
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.
Adam Cole vs. Corey Hollis
In case you don’t remember who Corey Hollis is, he competed in ROH’s 2014 Top Prospect Tournament. This was mostly a slow and methodical match, with Cole in control for 85% of the time. Cole was over with the crowd from the very beginning, but did employ one heel tactic that I found to be very enjoyable. While Cole and Hollis were on the outside of the ring, and with Cole in full control, he ordered the ringside fans to move away from the barricade. He teased a barricade spot and then just threw Hollis back into the ring. I loved it. The days of real heels in wrestling appear to be long gone, but this was a nice touch, and I’d like to see more of it.
Hollis did manage to work in a nice counter while in the vertical suplex position for Cole’s signature neckbreaker, reversing it into a stunner. Lightning didn’t strike twice however, as Cole landed the move on his second attempt for the pinfall victory in what was about a five minute match.
After the match Cole grabbed a microphone for an impromptu Storytime with Adam Cole, BAY BAY. Cole says at Final Battle, he promises to end Kyle O’Reilly from Ring of Honor once and for all.
This is what an opening match to a wrestling show should be; relatively quick, and a couple of nice spots without going overboard. I love the idea of matches like this that are essentially squashes because it’s a great way to build credibility before going into a big match on PPV, which is the case here.
Cole’s charisma has continued to improve over time, and picking up a catchphrase has worked out very well for him, BAY BAY. His entrance music is also one of my favorites in wrestling today. I have no doubt that his match with Kyle O’Reilly at Final Battle will deliver in a big way.
War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs. The Washington Bullets (Jon and Trey)
This was a classic, physical squash match, with the crowd into War Machine the entire match. Lasting only two minutes, if you went to the bathroom, checked Twitter, or opened a cold, adult beverage, you would have missed this one.
Hanson and Rowe took turns beating Jon and Trey. Rowe landed a stiff superman forearm, and Hanson, who appears to be the better worker of the two, hit a second rope splash, a JBL-like clothesline, and they finished them off with their fallout finisher for the pinfall victory.
ROH has done a great job of making War Machine look like a championship threat, and personally I enjoy the old school tag teams like War Machine. Who would you rather piss off in person, these guys or The Young Bucks? Again, the squash match concept worked very well here. I expect a solid, physical match at Final Battle, when they face The Kingdom for the ROH World Tag Team Championships.
Dalton Castle vs. Mike Posey
Posey, who prefers to be called PDOG (and I shall respect those wishes), hails from the ghetto backwood streets of Trussville, Alabama. In the ring PDOG, who reminds me of Jamie Kennedy’s character in Malibu’s Most Wanted, begins beatboxing and rapping the worst lines ever. It was really, really bad, which is the point, of course. PDOG calls out Dalton Castle, who interrupts him, and comes out to the ring.
Castle, still sans The Boys, looks angry and determined. He beats Posey down, manages to knock a couple of his entourage members silly as they jump on the apron, and then lands the bangarang on him for the pinfall victory, in a two minute squash match.
After the match, Castle grabs a microphone, and says inside the ring he is the Aurora Borealis. He refers to the fans as ‘Planet Peacock,’ which the crowd loudly pops for. He describes himself as handsome and majestic, but says one thing he’s not is patient. He calls Silas Young out so he can kick his ass. Instead of Young, The Boys comes out and climb onto the apron. With Castle confused and his attention diverted, Young appears out of nowhere from behind and hits his misery finisher on Castle. The Boys raise Young’s arms and they leave the ring, while Castle lays motionless.
Analysis: This was a picture perfect way to showcase how angry Dalton Castle is without his boys, and that he’s not just a flamboyant pretty boy, but an ass kicker too. When you look at the entire impressive ROH roster, Dalton Castle stands out the most to me. ROH has plenty of great workers, but ask yourself how many have the unique look and character of Dalton Castle. He’s different in a very good way. He takes you so far deep into his character that you may even be surprised to learn that he has a wife in real life. That’s a true testament to the work he’s done. He’s got the total package (sorry Lex); good timing, good in-ring work, a great character, good psychology, great facial expressions, decent on the microphone, and a good look.
Jerry Lynn In-Ring Interview
Kevin Kelly is in the ring, and touts Lynn as a former ROH World Champion, an all-time great and introduces him to a respectable pop from the crowd.
Lynn looks far different than he did during his prime ECW and ROH days, looking older and very clean cut.
Kelly mentions that Lynn’s recent surgery went great, and Lynn thanks everyone who has supported him over the years.
Kelly asks Lynn who will win in the main event of Final Battle between Jay Lethal and AJ Styles for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship. Lynn says it’s difficult to say, and won’t name a winner. Kelly presses Lynn for an answer, but before he has that chance The House of Truth come to out to the ring.
Lethal tells Lynn to turn up the hearing aid and answer the question. Lynn tells Lethal he isn’t the person he knew back then, he’s an arrogant prick (RIP Brad Maddox), and he picks AJ Styles to win, as we get a dueling “AJ Styles, Jay Lethal” chant from the crowd. Lethal threatens to kick his ass and Lynn uses his relationship with Lethal’s parents as leverage to prevent that from happening. Lethal says he’s not going to put Lynn down because he wants him healthy to console AJ Styles after Final Battle.
Analysis: This segment fell short for me. They were trying to use an ROH legend to build heat on the champion going into his main event match at Final Battle, but I don’t think that was accomplished here. It felt forced, and it didn’t seem to make sense. With AJ Styles schedule and injury, I understand you have to be creative, but the only way that segment was going to work was if Lethal beat Lynn down badly. The better option was Styles appearing on the show in a confrontation with Lethal, obviously.
Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta) vs. ACH & “Reborn” Matt Sydal
Alex Shelley joins Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness on commentary for this match.
Sydal does his feet-first, running slide under the ring, which his very cool. Much cooler than his man bun anyway. Baretta, who’s tall, but not overly tall (at least not to me at 6’6 anyway), looks like the land of the giants in this match, which reminded me of how he didn’t look nearly this tall in WWE by comparison.
This was a very good, back and forth athletic match. I definitely prefer this style of match over the style of match last week between The Young Bucks and The Briscoes. You can just tell that Rocky is an experienced, skilled worker.
Baretta levelled Sydal with a running knee for a two count, as the crowd chanted “This is awesome.” Roppongi Vice went for strong zero on Sydal, it was broken up by ACH, and Sydal flipped Beretta over for the pinfall victory.
Analysis: This was a very solid main event match, which featured great athleticism and selling. The main event slot may have been best utilized by putting talent wrestling in singles action at Final Battle in a tag team match together to sell some of those other matches on the card, but I digress. If you’re a fan of Roppongi Vice, ACH, or Matt Sydal, make sure to check out this match.
Ring of Honor Final Battle Card
At the end of the show Kevin Kelly runs down the card for Final Battle, live on PPV on Friday, December 18 at 9:00 PM ET.
The matches are as follows:
- ROH World Championship Match – Jay Lethal (champion) vs. “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles (challenger)
- ROH World Tag Team Championship Match – The Kingdom (champions) vs. War Machine (challengers)
- #1 Contenders Tag Team Triple Threat Match – The Young Bucks vs. The Briscoes vs. The All Night Express
- ROH World TV Championship Match – Roderick Strong (champion) vs. Bobby Fish (challenger)
- Grudge Match – Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole
- Moose vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin
- Dalton Castle vs. “The Last Real Man” Silas Young
- ACH, Matt Sydal & Alex Shelly vs. The Addiction (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels) & Chris Sabin
Final Thoughts: Overall this was a good show, and a decent go home show. I really enjoyed how they used the squash match concept to build specific wrestlers heading into Final Battle. It’s certainly hard to get everyone involved in an hour’s time to build for an eight match PPV, but I felt like they could’ve done more either backstage or with video packages. This should be a very good PPV, better than WWE TLC I would imagine by the card and talent on it alone.