Ring of Honor
Final Battle 2016
December 2, 2016
Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City, New York

Watch: FiteTV / PPV

Meet our previewers:

  • Sean Sedor: While he mainly writes about Ring of Honor for the site, Sean also helps out with a variety of other previews and reviews, including WWE, Evolve, and New Japan (somebody has to watch and review all of those World Tag League shows). You can follow him on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can also check out his wrestling reviews blog, at http://dxvsnwo1994.blogspot.com!
  • Brad Woodling: Brad is co-managing our Honor Roll: ROH’s 50 Greatest Wrestler’s Ever project in a partnership between Place to Be Nation and Voices of Wrestling. He’s the managing director at Place to Be Nation and you can follow him on Twitter @brad21126.
  • John Carroll: Open the Voice Gate co-host and frequent roundtable contributor. Follow them on Twitter @toshanshuinla.
  • Barry Hess: Voices of Wrestling columnist and general lover of the written word and pro wrestling. Follow him on Twitter @BFHess171.

The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) and Donovan Dijak vs. The Cabinet (Rhett Titus, Kenny King and Caprice Coleman)

Sean Sedor: The All-Night Express & Caprice Coleman were known as The Cabinet, but that appeared to change on a recent episode of ROH TV, where they seemed to cutting a “shoot” promo on ROH for “holding them back”. The story with the other team, however, is far more interesting. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin taking on the roles of mentors for the younger talents of ROH is a good idea, and their intentions to help people like Lio Rush & Jay White have come across very well on ROH TV. Here, they’re teaming up with Donovan Dijak, who seems to be splitting from Prince Nana. This should be a fun match (probably the opener), and I would expect the team of Dijak, Sabin, & Shelley to win here, unless Prince Nana becomes involved somehow. A guy like Dijak needs a win here much more than the likes Coleman, King, and Titus Prediction: The Motor City Machine Guns & Donovan Dijak

Brad Woodling: The Cabinet, seemingly at the end of their run, have been regularly on TV this year so it makes sense that they get a slot here on the biggest ROH card of the year. MCMG recruiting an alliance of sorts is pretty fresh, especially if it means a refocused push for Dijak (I still feel there was a lot more mileage with Nana though). It’s really odd to me after the year they’ve had that the Addiction aren’t on the card. It’s also a little surprising they’d do a second trios match in front of the 6-man finals later in the night. Putting those two points together, I’ll go with an audible being called and this becomes a bigger match with Daniels and Kaz (plus a partner – perhaps a Cheeseburger for the pop – as the Addiction have slowly been turning face) joining in. Prediction: MCMG and Dijak

John Carroll: I’m really all-in on anything involving Donovan Dijak these days; he’s been a highlight for me on virtually every ROH show I’ve watched this year. To be quite honest I’d like to see him in a better position than “guy in an opening six-man”, but you can’t feature everyone on every show I guess. The news that the Cabinet might be dropping that silly name and gimmick is good, because I’ve liked some of their stuff in the past but haven’t been into this run this year at all. Shelley and Sabin are basically a nostalgia act at this point, but at least they can still go. This will probably be a pretty fun, if likely forgettable, opener. Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns & Donovan Dijak

Barry Hess: This match is both intriguing and confusing to me. The concept of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin serving as active mentors to the younger members of the ROH roster is a neat idea. Donovan Dijak certainly fits that description, but he’s a heel (I think) which muddies the creative waters a bit. I don’t mind ‘tweener’ characters as much as others do, but the killer persona attached to Dijak doesn’t fit that kind of ambiguous character. As for The Cabinet, I have no emotional investment in the ROH version of a WWE-type gimmick whatsoever (if Bob Backlund shows up to the Hammerstein Ballroom then we can talk). I’m curious to see how this plays out. My gut tells me that Dijak will kill everyone before it’s all said and done. I wouldn’t hate that outcome at all. Prediction: The Motor City Machine Guns & Donovan Dijak

Colt Cabana vs. Dalton Castle

Sean Sedor: So last month, when previewing All-Star Extravaganza VIII, I mentioned that I thought a Colt Cabana/Dalton Castle team could be a solid (long-term) addition to the tag team division. They won that #1 Contender’s Match, but it was all downhill from there. After failing to capture the ROH World Tag Team Titles, and following a number of other losses, Cabana turned heel by attacking Castle, leaving him with a bloody nose. I honestly don’t know what to expect from this match. We’ve rarely seen a heel Colt Cabana, so I’m not sure how that’s going to change how he wrestles, or how the crowd reacts to him as a whole. I’m sure the fans in the Hammerstein Ballroom will go crazy for Dalton Castle. I think the match should be good, but again, I don’t know what I’m getting with a heel Colt Cabana. Regardless, Dalton Castle should win this match. Hopefully this program isn’t an extended feud, and Castle can move on to bigger & better things. Prediction: Dalton Castle

Brad Woodling: Colt has had a pretty good run of it in Ring of Honor this year, with this being his 20th match for the company in 2016. It may seem forced to go right into a grudge match after two weeks of TV build, but there’s enough story (weaving through Glory by Honor also with their rushed tag title shot) here for me to buy in. And Castle is , and will continue to be, mega over – cementing Colt as an easy heel here for the NYC crowd. Unless there’s a plan to extend this to Castle/Silas feud-heights in terms of longevity, Castle gets a nice win here to avenge his boys. Prediction: Dalton Castle

John Carroll: Obviously this sort of seems like several lifetimes ago now, but Colt Cabana’s very first real ROH run was as a heel. He came in as CM Punk’s partner/abused flunkey in the Second City Saints during Punk’s original heel run, and it was a weird fit even back then. I can picture his entrance at some random ROH show at the RexPlex in Elizabeth in my head, him coming out from the back and shaking his head to indicate he was not allowed to slap any of the fans’ hands per Punk’s orders. Now here we are over a decade later and apparently he’s a heel again, having turned on Dalton Castle. I like Cabana and am interested in what a heel version of him in 2016 will look like, and I think this feud could actually be a great thing for Castle, who is obviously super over and yet often has felt directionless since the Silas Young feud ended. Castle will win the feud in the end, but I think it makes more sense to put Cabana over here and build heat for a rematch. Prediction: Colt Cabana

Barry Hess: I can’t help but get annoyed when I think about the momentum behind Dalton Castle’s character on the heels of his feud with Silas Young as compared to now. His failed bid to dethrone Bobby Fish of the TV title at Best in the World really brought the character’s creative development to a screeching halt. Nevertheless my personal investment in Castle remains strong and I would be disappointed if the powers that be didn’t see anything beyond a serviceable mid-card role for the talented performer. As far as Colt Cabana goes, count me as the guy who doesn’t get it. Sorry, I just don’t. As someone who missed his last run with the promotion and never really saw his work prior to his return match against Jay Lethal earlier this year I was more than a little underwhelmed. That said I’ve enjoyed the chemistry shared between the two as tag partners and as rivals. The outcome of this match may indicate Castle’s trajectory in 2017. A clean win may transition into bigger and better things, but if the story is left open-ended I fear more of the same. Prediction: Dalton Castle

Silas Young vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

Sean Sedor: I find it hilarious that the setup for this match was Silas Young making fun of Ultra Liger. In theory, this should be a good match, as Liger always delivers when he’s in ROH. Then again, back in May, Silas Young had (what I would consider to be) a disappointing match with KUSHIDA, which is really hard to do. Still, I’m going to stay optimistic about this one. Some might see this as a step down for Young, especially after he recently challenged for the ROH World Title, but I honestly don’t see facing a legend like Jushin “Thunder” Liger (who just celebrated his 52nd Birthday on Wednesday!) as a step down at all. As for the result, I’m fully expecting Silas Young to win here. When Liger does have singles matches in ROH, he’s usually losing to someone, and I think that will be the case here. Prediction: Silas Young

Brad Woodling: Pretty busy year for Silas, uneven at times as it was. He impressed against Shibata and his character work was great in feuds with Castle and ACH. Recently elevated to a big TV main event against Lethal and his title shot against Cole (which I honestly felt bad for him with how bad the crowd was in Florida to witness), I think we see Silas end the year on a positive note going into 2017. Prediction: Silas Young

John Carroll: Silas Young’s gimmick of being confused and annoyed at how over all the Japanese wrestlers are in ROH is low-key one of my favorite things going this year. He plays the character really well and is generally hilarious doing it, and it’s resulted in some surprisingly great matches like the one he had with Katsuyori Shibata back at Death Before Dishonor (yes, granted the KUSHIDA match wasn’t very good). There’s not much you can say about Jushin Liger at this point beyond the fact that he’s a true legend and he always works hard when he appears in the States. This could be a sleeper match, in that I think it’ll be a really fun 12 minutes or so that might surprise people who don’t think much of Silas. Prediction: Silas Young

Barry Hess: Silas Young is my leading candidate for most underrated wrestler of 2016. His character is consistent, his in-ring psychology is great and his athletic ability is right up there with some of the more prominent names in the business; a combination that makes for one hell of a pro wrestler. I find myself comparing this match to the Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin Thunder Liger match that took place back at NXT Brooklyn last year but the situations are obviously quite different. Six months ago I would have never considered a scenario where Young walked out victorious based on the inter-promotional booking patterns of matches involving New Japan talent. Thankfully that trend has finally started to shift. Prediction: Silas Young

Jay Lethal vs. Cody Rhodes

Sean Sedor: Jay Lethal has a very strange relationship with Final Battle. He’s been involved in big titles matches the last two years, but prior to that, he was in matches just because he really didn’t have anything going on. This match certainly falls into the latter category, as he takes on the debuting Cody Rhodes, or (I guess) just Cody. It’ll be interesting to see how this match plays out. The only Cody Rhodes matches I’ve seen since he left WWE are the matches he’s had in Evolve. While none of those were spectacular, I thought they were all relatively good. I feel like he’s capable of having a match that’s closing in on being great if he’s in there with the right guy. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if Jay Lethal is that guy. It feels like Lethal has really lost something since he got his head shaved and lost the ROH World Title. He’s just not the same guy he was during those long title reigns. This could be good, but I won’t be shocked if this match turns out to be incredibly average. As far as a winner is concerned, I think this could go either way. It would be odd for Cody Rhodes to lose his first match in ROH, but at the same title, should he really be beating a guy like Jay Lethal right out of the gate? I’m going with Cody Rhodes here, but Jay Lethal winning wouldn’t shock me. Prediction: Cody Rhodes

Brad Woodling: While the bloom is off the rose with Cody on the independents, I’d imagine a solid group of the ROH base has not seen him since his WWE days. And while he wasn’t needed (though he was announced) to move tickets, I can’t dismiss the potential that he sways in some last minute buys. I think what hurt here a bit was Lethal’s rematch in the UK, and having to hold off announcing this match until very recently. So with no story, outside of this being the first in Cody’s 10-match run in ROH, we get an exhibition with the guy who I would name ROH’s MVP for 2016, Jay Lethal. Lethal’s slow manifestation into a babyface was excellently done after a great first half of the year, and now post-title, he’s got a win over Naito to show he’s still the top tier in ROH. This one is the hardest to project. Do you put over the new part-timer who you’re using to advertise return dates for ROH shows in early 2017 or your 2016 MVP who will be gunning for the title shot at the 15th anniversary show? I’m going to say we get Lethal winning here, with a lot of respect thrown Cody’s way after. Prediction: Jay Lethal

John Carroll: Lethal is sort of not doing much of anything right now, but that’s probably to be expected after a couple years of being a major focus of the booking (first as TV and then World champion). Like Barry I’ve only seen Cody in BOLA since he left WWE, but he was pretty damn fun that weekend so I’m excited to see more. You’re never really sure what you’re going to get when you have two guys who have never wrestled each other before, but on paper the methodical styles of Lethal & Rhodes could easily click and produce something really good here. Then again, they could also just result in a meandering mid-card match. Neither would surprise me. Not sure why you would job Cody in his first appearance, so pretty safe to assume he gets the win here. Prediction: Cody Rhodes

Barry Hess: I’ve gone on record as being a Jay Lethal guy; perhaps even the Jay Lethal guy. He is largely the reason I chose to invest in Ring of Honor’s product on a consistent basis after almost a decade of ambivalence. Cody Rhodes’ performance at BOLA was the only opportunity I’ve had to see him work since leaving WWE; an experience that was as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. I would like to have seen some sort of prologue to this match play out on television, but I also understand why that didn’t occur. It’s always difficult to predict how a match will play out when the competitors have no previous experience working together (at least that I’m aware of). That said my respect for both workers allows me to have high hopes for this match. I’m very interested to see what direction Lethal is headed post-title run, though I’m not sure this match will provide any clues. Prediction: Jay Lethal

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship
KUSHIDA, Lio Rush and Jay White vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia)

Sean Sedor: One of these teams has undergone a ton of drama over the last few months. It was originally going to be ACH/Lio Rush/Jay Whie, but Lio Rush went to wrestle in Europe for a month or two, so we ended up getting ACH/KUSHIDA/Jay White, with KUSHIDA being the replacement. ACH then left ROH, and Lio Rush (who was originally on the team to begin with), was added back onto this team for the finals of this tournament. None of that drama really matters, though, as I believe it’s pretty obvious that The Kingdom are winning these titles. This new variation of The Kingdom has been solid in their first two outing as a trio, but they haven’t put together a truly impressive match yet. Considering who they’re going up against, this could be their chance. I’m sure this will be a fun six-man tag, and it’ll be cool to see new champions crowned, but as I said, the result really isn’t in question. Prediction: The Kingdom

Brad Woodling: I expect we’ll see these 6-man titles swapped much more frequently than usual in ROH (this is not a controversial hot take mind you), and while I think Jay White and Lio Rush will eventually hold the belts in some capacity, this tournament is to re-affirm Matt Taven and crew. There is plenty of excitement on the babyface side here, but in the end The Kingdom goes into the new year with the newly minted belts. Prediction: The Kingdom

John Carroll: I have no idea who two of the three people in The New Kingdom are. Literally reading their names on this screen was the first time I’ve ever seen them. Googling TK O’Ryan brings up his very helpful Pro Wrestling Wiki page, of which the entirety of is “TK O’Ryan is an American professional wrestler.” Thanks, guys, that’s helpful. Anyway, hopefully he and his partner are good because it seems pretty obvious they’re winning here. Prediction: The Kingdom

Barry Hess: No other match on the card is as predictable as this one (talk about setting yourself up to look like an idiot!). KUSHIDA, Lio Rush and Jay White will do what they do best and we will love them for it. The Kingdom will be heels and we will hate them accordingly. The action will be fast-paced and entertaining; just when our heroes appear to be on the cusp of victory the carpet will be pulled out from underneath them. We will boo. The Kingdom will laugh in our faces. Eh. Despite my deep love of tag team wrestling six-man tag divisions have never been my cup of tea. The new Kingdom brand will look strong as the inaugural champions so I will reserve judgment until I see how the title reign plays out. Prediction: The Kingdom

ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) (c) vs. The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe)

Sean Sedor: Out of all the matches on this card, I might be looking forward to this one the most. These two teams have always produced consistently great matches over the years. That being said, I don’t think they’ve ever had that one truly spectacular match together. With being such a big show, in ROH’s return to the Hammerstein Ballroom, I’m sure these two teams will be looking to steal the show (It should be noted that the last time ROH was in this building, The Young Bucks had that incredible match with reDRagon, which was one of the best matches of 2014). As far as the result goes, I believe a lot of people will make their pick based on what they believe the future of The Young Bucks will be. It was reported recently by Pro Wrestling Sheet that The Young Bucks had been offered new multi-year contracts with ROH. Regardless of whether they do end up signing these new deals with ROH or not, I still think they’re losing the titles here to The Briscoes. I don’t know why, but I just have a hunch that The Briscoes are going to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the 9th time. It would be a total downer for this second title reign of The Young Bucks, who just won the titles at the last PPV less than three months ago, to end so soon (plus, they had zero defences in their first title reign), but I just have a feeling. Prediction: The Briscoes

Brad Woodling: This is a nice little hedge politically if there is a contract impasse with the Bucks. And the Briscoes have been set up with a solid chase and have ROH history with them if there is a change. That said, while I typically don’t believe the Bucks need any kind of title to be a top act in ROH, I do think it’s a bit premature in their run to have them switch things back to the Briscoes. This is a chance for a nice feather in the Bucks’ caps going into, hopefully, a two year stint in Ring of Honor. This could potentially steal the show, even with that four-way earlier in the evening. Prediction: The Young Bucks

John Carroll: For as much flack as ROH booking gets sometimes (which is often deserved), this is a pretty big match that they’ve done a good job building up to. They ran a hot angle at the ballpark show earlier this year, did the match in New Japan first when it was heavyweight tag vs. jr. heavyweight tag champions that saw the Briscoes come out on top, and now after the Bucks won the ROH tag belts in the latest edition of Ladder War it makes perfect sense to come back to the match here. It feels like this is set up for the Bucks to get their win back and go on to have the nice long ROH tag team title reign they’ve somehow never had before (their only other tag title reign came back in 2014 and lasted for just two months), but the Bucks’ uncertain contract status is obviously a factor here. There’s still a little time for them to get that wrapped up of course, but in the meantime it probably makes sense to put the titles on the Briscoes. Either way, this will likely be a fantastic match, maybe match of the night. Prediction: The Briscoes

Barry Hess: As predictable as the outcome of the six-man tag match is in my eyes, this match for the ROH Tag Team titles is equally unpredictable. It feels like The Briscoes have been destined to reclaim the titles since Jay lost the ROH World title last year (particularly when they challenged War Machine at Global Wars this past May), but it has yet to take place. I’m not necessarily complaining, I think the Briscoes have been booked well and I’ve enjoyed following Dem Boys’ journey this year. The Young Bucks, on the other hand, just won the titles at All-Star Extravaganza VIII and dropping them in their first big defense doesn’t seem all that beneficial – though the loss would hardly hurt them creatively speaking. My enjoyment of the Bucks shifts based on who they work with. In this case, naturally, I’m 100% onboard. I expect the action in this one to shake the Hammerstein Ballroom’s very foundation on more than one occasion…okay sorry I slipped into Kevin Kelly mode there for a moment. But seriously, this will likely compete for Match of the Night honors and I would be incredibly surprised if it doesn’t deliver a big time moment or two. Prediction: The Briscoes

ROH World Television Championship – Four Corner Survival
Marty Scurll (c) vs. Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay vs. Bobby Fish

Sean Sedor: In terms of the actual result, I think this match is incredible easy to predict. Despite the recent title switches in the UK, I can’t see Marty Scurll losing the title this soon. With regards to match quality, I honestly don’t know what to expect. In theory, this match should be awesome, when you consider all of the talents involved. For some reason, however, I just feel like there’s a chance that this match ends up disappointing us, for one reason or another (maybe because it’s a multi-man match?).. Hopefully I’m wrong, because I want this match to be awesome, and again, when you look at all of the great talents in this match, it has every right to be. Prediction: Marty Scurll

Brad Woodling: If there were two guys that could pull off quick title changes around the TV title it was Ospreay and Scurll. I’m glad the predictable kneejerk reaction of “you’re devaluing the title!” is shouted down with praise for the unpredictability of it all. And there’s plenty of time for high-profile singles matches between these guys in 2017. This should be fantastic, with Fish (another guy in the running for 2016 MVP) being the glue that keeps it all together. This isn’t a knock by any means on Scurll, but Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay don’t need a ROH belt. Let Marty carry it through the first half of 2017. Prediction:Marty Scurll

John Carroll: Count me in the group that thought the Will Ospreay/Marty Scurll quickie title switch thing in the UK was actually kind of brilliant. It got people talking about a title that had faded to the background following Jay Lethal dropping it to Roderick Strong last year and also immediately introduced two outstanding new wrestlers to the ROH fanbase in a big way. Yes, I get the criticism that quickie changes can devalue a title, but this is one of those things internet wrestling fans can be a little pedantic on. Like many things in wrestling, doing quickie title changes all the time isn’t good and ultimately results in a title meaning nothing, but that’s not the case here given that the last four reigns prior to Ospreay’s were 567, 119, 79, and 194 days, respectively. It’s okay to do one of these once in the proverbial blue moon, in other words. So sticking to that theme, I highly doubt Scurll is losing the belt already here. Given the sheer amount of talent in this match it could end up being something really special, unless it just ends up being a cluster. Prediction: Marty Scurll

Barry Hess: This is the match I’m most looking forward to watching. Quite frankly, this is the match that is forcing me to reach into my pocket and buy the show. Bobby Fish’s TV title reign has been one of my favorite stories ROH told this year; Marty Scurll has been my favorite overall performer of 2016; Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay never cease to amaze me when they step into the ring. My giddy anticipation for matches like this, even at the age of 33, serves as a pleasant reminder why I love pro wrestling as much as I do and is a real testament to the talent consistently exhibited by each of the four men involved. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t voice my displeasure at the way this match came about. As I said, Fish’s title reign has been among my favorite stories to follow this year. To fully invest in that story only to have major chapters take place off television really pissed me off. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the television title storyline unfold, you know, on television. Okay, now that I’ve gotten those feelings off my chest it’s back to enthusiastic positivity. I wouldn’t be surprised (or disappointed) by any direction this match takes in terms of a winner, nor would I be surprised if Fish and one of the other participants carries a storyline over into next year. Prediction: Marty Scurll

ROH World Championship
Adam Cole © vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Sean Sedor: I think it’s awesome that these two are fighting over the ROH World Title in the same building where they had their famous Hybrid Fighting Rules Match nearly four and a half years ago. I have no doubt that this match is going to be awesome. They had a fantastic match last year at Final Battle (even though it had a finish that hurt the match slightly), and I’m sure these two will do everything they can to have as great of a match as possible, knowing they’re in the main event of ROH’s biggest show of the year. The big question, however, is who walks out of the Hammerstein Ballroom with the title? We know that Adam Cole will be in ROH for a least the first quarter of 2017, but Kyle O’Reilly’s status with the company is very much in question. If he’s not staying, then he shouldn’t win the title. Then again, they’ve been building to this final encounter between these two so much that it would feel weird for O’Reilly to just lose to Cole. Plus, Bobby Fish winning Survival of the Fittest last month leads me to believe that an O’Reilly/Fish match for the ROH World Title is a strong possibility for 2017. There are a lot of variables to consider going into this match, and honestly, regardless of what happens with O’Reilly, I definitely think it adds more drama to the match, because we really don’t know what’s going to happen here. I’m hoping that O’Reilly wins the title here. It would such a cool moment to close the show with, but then again, if he’s not staying, then he probably won’t win. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Brad Woodling: Who says long-term storytelling is dead? The history of Cole and O’Reilly has plenty of callbacks and easy tales to tell, but I really like the way they’ve booked these two to weave in and out of each other’s paths for the last 15 months. Cole ditches the Kingdom, takes the fall in the 14th Anniversary main event, and ultimately loses to O’Reilly, ending their feud in April. *But* the Bullet Club makeover was a refresher and his character work made it easy to move on from those early losses. With a new group of buddies in tow, they take out O’Reilly post Best in the World, crippling his chances for the title against Lethal. That shoulder injury is still being used as a storytelling device in his matches. Cole wins the belt, but right away these guys are hot again at each other, with different stakes than earlier this year. Really well done. O’Reilly has asked to make the match No DQ and I’m conflicted on this. Even if there was suspected interference before, it’s really called out with the No DQ stip. And what happens is people sitting on their hands watching the entrance ramp versus being fully engaged on the in-ring action. On the other hand, Kyle defeated Cole in a No DQ match earlier this year and he wants revenge for the summer injury. The purported culmination of Kyle O’Reilly, in what is the biggest show of the year, is a moment we don’t see as much in pro-wrestling nowadays. Last year we fretted over how Jay Lethal could defeat a NJPW bullet-proof AJ Styles. Scores are settled at Final Battle, but this is potentially a first-time champ being crowned to close the show. It’s a big deal and a match that sells the show. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

John Carroll: It’s good to have goals in mind when doing your booking and it was clear from the moment Adam Cole won the ROH World Title from Jay Lethal a few months back this was the ultimate goal: Cole and O’Reilly, two guys with a ton of history, meeting in the main event of one of ROH’s biggest shows of the year for the championship. This is almost certain to have that elusive “big match feel” that can add a lot to a match, and when you combine that with how well these two always work with each other there’s little reason to believe this won’t be great. Exactly how great it ends up being is important, because if you’re ROH you want to end your year with a real classic match here. 2016 has been a turbulent year for Ring of Honor, all things considered. They’ve done some good things and some really headscratching ones too. They’re facing more competition than ever before for hardcore wrestling fan attention, when you factor in WWE’s cruiserweight division getting its own show, the continued existence of NXT (even though we’re clearly now past the peak of that brand), and the very recent emergence of FloSlam. Flo has already announced plans to expand their offerings in 2017, with the addition of FIP and the new Style Battle concept, among others (with more still likely to come). Given that level of competition, it’s important for ROH to make a good final impression for the year and keep them relevant to the hardcore fanbase at large. This match needs to be really good, in another words, but I have a feeling it will be. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Barry Hess: Well, we’ve officially come full-circle as we enter the main event portion of the card. The year-long build between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly has hit all the right notes since the two met at last year’s edition of Final Battle. Both men enter the match in stride; Cole with his swarmy heel champion persona enhanced by his recently acquired Bullet Club swagger, and O’Reilly as the fiery babyface looking to administer a stiff dose of justice for all the wrongs Cole committed against him this year. The story is a simple as it is compelling and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it plays out. The direct nature of the story leaves me to believe the outcome will take a similar shape. As someone who cares far less about what takes place behind the curtain as compared to the average VOW reader I must admit the secondary story looming over these two performers has me more interested than normal. One of these two men will leave Final Battle as ROH World Champion, but it’s possible (though not likely) that neither will be ROH employees by the time Final Battle 2017 rolls around. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly