ROH Final Battle 2017
December 15, 2017
9:00 PM EST
New York City, New York
ROH World Title
“The American Nightmare” Cody (c) vs. Dalton Castle
Cody has been ROH World Champion for almost six months at this point, and he hasn’t exactly had a stellar title run thus far. Will Dalton Castle finally be the one to get a really good match out of him? I’m honestly not sure.
In terms of match quality, I have no idea what to expect from this one. If Cody doesn’t stall for time like he did in his defenses against KUSHIDA and SANADA, then I think it has the potential to be one of his better outings as champion. I can see these two having a good match, but you never know what you’re going to get when Cody is involved. Hopefully they manage to exceed my expectations, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
As for Dalton Castle, this is a big test for him, as he’s in the main event of (what is traditionally) ROH’s flagship event of the year. In my view, with all of the people who’ve left the company over the last eighteen months, Castle needs to be guy that ROH pushes as their next big non-Bullet Club homegrown star, simply because he’s the only real option they have left (again, out of the people who aren’t in Bullet Club already). It does seem like they’re trying to make him a little more serious, as The Boys have been temporarily removed from the equation (Cody took them out).
I want Dalton Castle to win the World Title, and I think he should win the World Title, but unfortunately, Cody will probably retain, especially since a title defense against Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 12 has already been announced. That does put a damper on this main event, making the result a foregone conclusion, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Prediction: Cody
ROH World Tag Team Titles
The Motor City Machine Guns (c) vs. Best Friends
There really isn’t much background to this one, as far as storylines are concerned. Beretta & Chuckie T have quietly established themselves as contenders in the tag team division, and now they’re getting their title shot. Over the past few months, in my previews and reviews of ROH events, I’ve always made a point to mention how cool it was to finally see Chuck Taylor in ROH, but it’s also great to see him teaming with Beretta on a regular basis. In the last several years, ROH has claimed to have the “deepest tag team division in the world” (their words, not mine), and while that was certainly true in 2014, 2015, and even at certain points in 2016, that’s certainly changed in the last eighteen months.
Some teams have either broken up or left the promotion altogether, but the division had grown a little stale, with the same teams fighting each other constantly, despite the fact that the matches are usually really good to great (there have been a number of instances this year where The Young Bucks, when they were holding the ROH World Tag Team Titles, seemingly had no credible challengers). There hadn’t been a significant addition in quite some time, but that changed when Best Friends arrived on the scene. They’re certainly freshened up the division, and it’s great to see them getting a title shot on a major show like Final Battle.
As for the match itself, it probably has the least amount of attention (compared to other bouts on the card), but it has the potential to be very good. Best Friends are coming off a strong showing in New Japan’s World Tag League, and even at this point in their careers, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley can still deliver great performances when the situation calls for it. The result of this one could go either way, and while I feel as though the chances of the Motor City Machine Guns retaining are a little bit stronger, it’s the holiday season, and I’m feeling optimistic, so I’m going with “Dustin & Greg” here. Prediction: Best Friends
ROH World TV Title – Four-Corners Elimination Match
Kenny King (c) vs. Punishment Martinez vs. Silas Young vs. Shane Taylor
This is a title bout that I’m sure some would say encapsules ROH in 2017, particularly when it comes to the mid-card. Although this match didn’t really excite me when it was first announced, it does have some interesting elements to it. One thing that all four of these men have in common is that they’ve seen a lot of success (to varying degrees, of course) in the second half of the year. Kenny King got his first taste of singles gold in the form of the ROH World TV Title after competing on “The Bachelorette”, Silas Young won a heated rivalry with Jay Lethal, Punishment Martinez (in addition to scoring a big singles victory over Will Ospreay) won the 2017 Survival Of The Fittest Tournament, and Shane Taylor has gotten pushed more as a singles competitor following the dissolution of The Rebellion. I’m sure most aren’t looking forward to this match (and I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it disappoints), but I could see being a bit better than people are expecting.
The elimination match is certainly a fascinating twist, but even if it this was just one fall to a finish, I believe Silas Young will win his first championship in ROH. Of the four possible options, Taylor getting the win seems like the least likely scenario, and I don’t think Punishment Martinez really needs this win, since he just won Survival Of The Fittest. If I had to guess, those two probably take each other out in some form or fashion. That just leaves Kenny King and Silas Young. Even though King’s reign is just approaching the three month mark, I’m not sure what more he can do as champion. After his aforementioned feud with Jay Lethal (in which he got the upper hand more often than not), gaining a championship seems like the next logical step for Silas Young, and the ROH World TV Title is perfect for him. I can see him performing very well as the mid-card heel champion in the early months of 2018. I wouldn’t call it a stone cold lock, but Young appears to be the best choice. Prediction: Silas Young
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles – The Bullet Club (The Young Bucks & “The Hangman” Adam Page) (c) vs. Dragon Lee, Flip Gordon, & Titan
Flip Gordon has enlisted a variety of different competitors to assist him in his crusade against The Bullet Club over the last few months. This time, he’ll have Dragon Lee & Titan by his side as he looks to take the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles from this particular Bullet Club trio, known as “The Hung Bucks”. When you look at everything else on the card, there’s a strong possibility that this will be the match of the night. Given who’s involved, this will feature a lot of crazy spots and fast-paced action, with bodies flying all over the place. If you like matches with a ton of “movez and flipz”, then you’ll probably love this one. There’s a chance that this Dragon Lee/Flip Gordon/Titan team wins the titles here (they could easily lose them at the TV Tapings in Philadelphia the next day), but I think that’s highly unlikely. Even with a predictable result, this should still be a lot of fun to watch. Prediction: The Young Bucks & “The Hangman” Adam Page
“The Villain” Marty Scurll vs. Jay Lethal
ROH is classifying this singles encounter as a “Dream Match” which is a…..very liberal usage of that phrase, to say the least. I don’t believe anyone sees this bout as being special enough to warrant that label, but with that being said, I’m fully expecting it to be really solid, at the very least. Both guys have certaining garnered a fair amount of detractors in our “bubble” (some of their criticisms are absolutely vaid), but I still enjoy watching them. Scurll is still an incredibly entertaining performer to watch, despite relying too much on the goofiness on certain occasions, and I would peg him in as a strong World Title contender if another Bullet Club member wasn’t already champion. As for Jay Lethal, while he’s had a better in-ring year than people realize (not anywhere close to “wrestler of the year” by any means, but he’s had several great matches in 2017), he really needs to make a change. He’s been an incredibly stale as a babyface, and I feel like a heel turn could do wonders for him.
That’s part of the reason why I’m picking Marty Scurll to win here. Lethal doesn’t have much of a chance anyway (there’s no way that the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion is losing less than a month before Wrestle Kingdom), but another high profile loss, after being on the losing end of his feud with Silas Young, could push Lethal to his breaking point. Prediction: “The Villain” Marty Scurll
New York City Street Fight – The Briscoes vs. Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer
Tommy Dreamer….in a ROH ring….in 2017. I don’t think I would’ve called that back in January, but it’s happening. You know what else is pretty crazy? Out of all of the matches on this card, it probably has the longest build.
Of course, Bully Ray formed a partnership with The Briscoes shortly after his debut, and they soon captured the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. However, over the summer months, Jay Briscoe started to become more and more unhinged, and a number of key losses seemed to push him closer and closer to his breaking point. He finally turned heel at Death Before Dishonor XV back in September, and seemingly sent Bully Ray into “retirement”.
Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of sitting through several “retirement speeches” from Bully Ray, and the aforementioned Tommy Dreamer soon got involved. After Mark Briscoe turned heel and assisted his brother in a big beatdown of both Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer, the brothers from Sandy Fork were soon confronted by….Joe Koff (who’s made a number of appearances on ROH TV as of late), who booked them in this hardcore match against the ECW originals. This is going to be a huge brawl that will probably involved a ton of weapons, blood, and possibly even fire. I’m not sure what to expect here, in terms of how “good” it’ll end up being, but The Briscoes have proven countless times over the years that they can excel in this type of environment. They’re probably the only team I’d trust to have this kind of match with Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer in 2017.
While I don’t think it’s an absolute lock, since the ECW originals are “going for revenge” here, The Briscoes should definitely win here, and I’m guessing this will set up a big heel run for the two of them going into 2018. It’s been over six years (2011 to be exact) since The Briscoes were full-fledged heels in ROH, and I’m very intrigued to see where they go from here. Prediction: The Briscoes
Matt Taven vs. Will Ospreay
In November of last year, ROH announced that they had signed both Will Ospreay & Marty Scurll to “exclusive” contracts. Of course, Scurll has been a regular with the promotion since that announcement. Ospreay on the other hand? Not so much. If you take away his appearances on shows that were billed as ROH/NJPW joint shows, Ospreay has only appeared on a regular ROH event THREE TIMES in 2017 (per cagematch). Now obviously, Ospreay is a very busy man, but I just think it’s funny that ROH supposedly “signed” him (and makes a big deal out of it) yet he’s been rarely seen on a standalone ROH event this year.
Anyway, he’s taking on Matt Taven here in singles competition. Even though Taven’s not the most exciting choice as an opponent for Ospreay, this should still be a very good, dare I say great, match. We all know that Ospreay is an incredible performer, who rarely has a subpar performance, but I also think this’ll be a big chance for Taven to step up. If we don’t get any outside interference from The Kingdom (to be honest, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t any), this could potentially be a dark horse for match of the night. Taven has a ton of detractors, but honestly, I’ve enjoyed most of his ROH work (please don’t construe that as “Sean Sedor thinks Matt Taven is awesome!”, because that’s not what I’m saying). He’s been a very solid mid-card hand over the years, and again, if Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan don’t get involved, then he could have one of his best performances of the year against the “Aerial Assassin”.
As for the result, I could see Taven winning if there is interference from The Kingdom, but Ospreay is involved in a big Fatal Four-Way for the Jr. Heavyweight Title at Wrestle Kingdom. It could go either way, but I’ll go with Ospreay (now watch Taven win). Prediction: Will Ospreay
The Addiction vs. War Machine
This seems like a random tag team match, but there’s actually more a story to it. Ever since Christopher Daniels lost the ROH World Title, The Addiction have been looking to cause chaos everywhere they go. They soon decided to target War Machine, and at one point, cost them a chance to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles on an episode of ROH TV after….spraying silly string on them. In a brawl that occured on a later episode, a “fan” was accidentally taken out in the melee. This resulted in Ray Rowe being “suspended” for a few weeks. I’m not expecting a ton from this one, to be completely honest, but considering the teams involved, it should still be a very solid tag team bout. Since there always seems to be continuous talk of War Machine moving to “greener pastures” (haven’t those rumors been around for a year or so at this point?), I would expect The Addiction to pick up the victory here. Again, I don’t think this will be outstanding by any means, but it’ll be a fun undercard tag team botu. Prediction: The Addiction
I should also note that there will be two pre-show matches that will be taped as internet exclusives at 8:30 PM (Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods plus Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara vs. Cheeseburger & a mystery partner), along with a “major announcement” of some kind regarding Women of Honor.