Ring of Honor Wrestling
Final Battle 2015
2300 Arena – Philadelphia, PA
#1 Contendership Match
Young Bucks vs. All Night Xpress vs. The Briscoes
Mark Briscoe looks more like Captain Caveman every time I see him. This match started off as any regular triangle tag match, but soon devolved into a crazy threeway with a bunch of people doing a bunch of moves. Kenny King even did a tornillo to the outside. Crowd were completely in favor of both Young Bucks and the Briscoes, who did great tandem work in this match as well. Briscoes went for a doomsday device but the Bucks started their superkick party by smacking him in the face. Bucks did the Meltzer Driver but Mark Briscoe broke it up. Bucks were going for the More Bang for Your buck but the ANX came back and after a scuffle with the Briscoes, pinned Mark after a One Night Stand from the top rope. I know people didn’t like this finish, but hey it injects some new-ish blood into the tag team title scene. Really fun opener. ***¼
Dalton Castle vs. Silas Young
The crowd totally wanted The Boys to reunite with Dalton, and that drove much of the match and the crowd reactions. The Boys showed good body language in not helping Silas, but not getting in his way either. The match was fine, just lacked something. The Boys did interfere for the finish, helping Silas by grabbing his hands. He dragged one of them in the ring and Dalton accidentally attacked him. Young used the distraction to land a TKO he calls Misery for the win. **3/4
Silas brought the boys back into the ring to lay out Dalton with steel chairs when he refused to say that Silas is a man. Dalton stopped them and said okay, Silas, you’re a man. But you’re a foolish man. The Boys turned on Silas and the happy ending everyone wanted happened as The Boys reunited with Dalton and they posed. It doesn’t make sense why they were involved in the finish of the match, but I guess they were going to turn either way is my guess.
Michael Elgin vs. Moose
This was a nice back and forth match. They did a cool spot where Elgin held the delayed vertical suplex well over 30 seconds, landed, then Moose got right back up and no sold it. Moose is slowly improving and shows great agility for someone his size, pulling off a quality dropkick from the top rope that sent Elgin crashing to the floor. Elgin followed that by doing a corkscrew moonsault, a deadlift powerbomb, then another for good measure but it still wasn’t enough as Moose kicked out. Moose went to jump on the top rope but Elgin caught him, called out Jay Lethal, then pinned Moose with a Burning Hammer. They made Moose look like a million bucks in losing and put over Elgin strong before his match at Wrestle Kingdom 10 ***½
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole
The promo Adam Cole cut here before the match was really good. He has a presence to him and carries himself in a way not many in ROH have right now, and barring politics he’d be a top name anywhere he goes. By the way, I do like that a grudge match starts with, you know, people going to blows as is the case here. O’Reilly dominated from the start but Cole shoved him off the top rope and fell to the floor as he started to work him over. There was a cool spot where O’Reilly kicked him, Cole gave him the finger which O’Reilly responded by sinking in an armbar. O’Reilly kept working on the arm. O’Reilly went for a waistlock sleeper on the outside but Cole countered with a neckbreaker on his knee a la Hirooki Goto. Great back and forth flurry towards the end. O’Reilly went for a triangle but Cole jumped on the middle rope and got the pin. Didn’t like this finish. If you’re doing a blow off grudge match, there needs to be a cleaner finish than that. It’s a finish that gets no one over in the end, and far too cutesy for a match like this. Aside from that, this was one hell of a match with the right heat, emotion, and work ethic. ****¼
O’Reilly was pissed after the match and refused to let go of the armbar. He finally did and let him go as Cole was helped to the back.
ACH, Matt Sydal and Alex Shelley vs. The Addiction and Chris Sabin
There was a Star Wars theme as the babyfaces wore various gear like they were part of the Force and the heels wore black and red like they were Sith lords. ACH’s gear was also Dragon Ball Z inspired so this was a full on geek party (not that there’s anything wrong with that as I like both Star Wars and DBZ). Prince Nana was on commentary and largely said nothing other than building up his envelope gimmick. Sabin and Shelley were in the ring at one point but Sabin tagged out before doing anything.
ACH tried to do this cool move where he sprinted to the other side of the ring to attack Sabin on the outside, swung around the ring post and proceeded to completely miss whatever he was going for. Oops. ACH and Shelley hit stereo crossbodies as Sydal tried for a shooting star press but Kazarian got the knees up. Sydal eventually did get the SSP, pinning Sabin. Weird finish considering they’re building up Sabin and Shelley. ***
ROH Television Championship
Roderick Strong © vs. Bobby Fish
Strong hopped over Fish but he grabbed his leg and went for a leglock, only for Strong to escape it briefly. Fish sinked in the leglock again, but this time Strong tapped… only for the ref not to see it. Fish celebrated like he had won the title, but the ref said it’s not over. I never like it when they do this finish. Unless the bell has rung, you haven’t won anything. Why would you celebrate if the match hasn’t officially ended? He argued with the referee as Strong came back and nailed Fish with a knee strike, pinning him. That was such a weak finish. Even the crowd groaned when it was over. I guess it’s to set up a Strong heel turn but there were better ways of doing it. WWE has done these kind of finishes so many times, the last thing for any promotion to do is to borrow them. You want to do the opposite of WWE booking in this day and age, not the exact same thing. ***
Veda Scott and Cedric Alexander showed up at the announcer’s table to talk. The crowd said for them to be quiet in a very rude way. Scott said no, you want to hear this. Apparently she and Alexander have been in a legal battle with ROH recently over unsafe working conditions, and she’s here to announce that a settlement has been reached. The announcers implied that the new watch Cedric was wearing was a part of that settlement. Well, good for them, but I don’t see how this gets Alexander over as a heel.
ROH Tag Team Championship
The Kingdom © vs. War Machine
Kingdom attacked War Machine before the bell and hit them with the belts. They followed that with a spike piledriver to the floor. Taven’s left knee buckled as he came down and was limping the rest of the match. Hanson powerbombed Bennett into the guardrail then pinned him with their finish, the Fallout. I don’t know if it was because Taven blew out his knee and this was supposed to be a longer match, or if it was just the way the match was booked, but I would have given War Machine a far more dominant-looking win than what they did here. NR
Two guest announcers were coming for the main event, so Mr. Wrestling III made his exit. No sooner did he leave when suddenly BJ Whitmer appeared and grabbed a headset. He made the startling revelation that Mr. Wrestling III was none other than Steve Corino. Kevin Kelly didn’t buy this. Maybe he thought The Midnight Rider and Mr. America were real too. Whitmer wanted to call the main event, but security took him away.
ROH World Championship
Jay Lethal © vs. AJ Styles
For someone with a serious back injury, AJ Styles worked like there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. This match did not do his back any favors as he took a bunch of crazy bumps, including moves on the apron, being thrown over the barricade and taking a huge bump to the floor back first. With that said, this was an awesome match that proved even when he’s hurt, AJ Styles is awesome. Lethal is no slouch either and carries himself well as a main event level performer. Lethal went for the Lethal Injection but AJ countered with the pele kick and hit the Bloody Sunday. He went for the Styles Clash but Lethal got out of it and threw AJ to the floor and through a table in a crazy spot. They did a New Japan count out tease here but AJ got in at 19. Lethal followed that with another Lethal Injection but AJ kicked out. Lethal laid him out with a cradle piledriver (to taunt Jerry Lynn, who was at ringside) then hit one more Lethal Injection for the win. Excellent match. ****¼
Jerry Lynn didn’t look happy at ringside as Lethal celebrated his win with Truth Martini and Tayler Hendrix as the show closed. Why would they build a feud between Lethal and Lynn when the latter just retired PLUS has a bunch of medical issues? That’s something weird to build towards, but let’s see how it plays out.
Final Thoughts: A good show highlighted by two great matches. There’s some weird booking going on with ROH, but everyone on the show worked hard and the match quality was pretty high for the most part.