Ring Of Honor
Final Battle 2020
December 18, 2020
UMBC Event Center
Baltimore, Maryland

Watch: PPV, Honor Club, & FITE

Meet our reviewers:

Sean Sedor: Voices of Wrestling’s resident ROH expert is back to review the first (and last) ROH PPV of 2020! You can follow me on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can check out my YouTube channel (just search my name) for some F1 video game content.

Jeff Andrews: I haven’t had interest in the ROH product since 2006 so why not drop in for a review! You can follow my ramblings on Twitter @Jeff_Andrews21.

Four-Way #1 Contender’s Match for the ROH World Television Championship: Tony Deppen def. Dak Draper, Josh Woods, & LSG

Sean: Of course, the winner of this match will challenge Dragon Lee for the ROH World TV Title on the PPV. This was basically a combination of ROH’s traditional Four-Corner Survival (where it’s basically worked like a tag team match) with Lucha Rules (the other two can enter the ring if one guy falls out, with no tag needed). The first half of this was mainly a showcase for Draper, as he grappled on the mat with Woods and later beat up on Deppen. Once the other three broke up Draper’s dominance, it became a more even affair down the stretch, and Tony Deppen got the win after catching LSG with a (sloppy) rollup. I’m actually happy that I called that result in my predictions! Very excited to see Deppen challenge Dragon Lee. As for this four-way, I was actually surprised at how much time this got (not that I’m necessarily complaining). All four guys got moments to shine, and the back-half of the match ended up being very solid. ***1/4 

Jeff: Not a fan of the format but the work is fine so far! The match was a lot of moves and fun leading up to the end, and I think Deppen was probably the right choice to win this match at the end of the day even if I think the ending rollup was an affront to God.  ***

Pure Rules Tag Team Match: The Foundation (Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus) def. Fred Yehi & Wheeler Yuta

Sean: This was a match that I was really looking forward to, just to see how the Pure Rules would work in a tag team setting. After the initial opening exchange with Yehi and WIlliams, Titus got dominated for a bit (using a rope break in the process) before finally making the tag to Williams. The Foundation gained the edge for a bit, but they lost that momentum after they didn’t make a proper tag. We then got both teams using up a rope break via breaking up a pin or submission in the ring. There was some good back and forth action in the second half, with the different aspects of the rules being showcased at various points. Ultimately, after Yehi used up his team’s last rope break when he broke up a submission, Williams submitted Yuta in the ropes with a crossface. I really liked this match. All four guys worked pretty hard, the action was solid from start to finish, and they did a very solid job showing off the different aspects of the Pure Rules Tag Team Match. The result was what I expected. I guess the only surprise is that didn’t have Titus (the newest member of The Foundation) get the win here. I hope we keep seeing more of Yehi and Yuta in ROH. ***1/2 

Jeff: Williams and Titus used up their rope breaks roughly 5 minutes into the match for no apparent reason which really detracts from the drama for a match like this. Fred Yehi is far and away the best worker in this match and seems to be a great hot tag. Using the “Well actually it was his own partner” schtick is a lame way to circumvent the rope break rules, but that’s wrestling in 2020. Great near fall from Yuta that I really wish would’ve just ended the match. I think the wrong team won this match, and it got into moves for the sake of moves by the end. Seemed like the match ran out of ideas. *** 

ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Foundation (Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham) (c) def. Mark Briscoe & PCO

Sean: I was a little surprised to see this match kick off the PPV, but I guess one of Gresham’s title matches was bound to go on early. Lethal and Gresham won the ROH World Tag Team Title from The Briscoes at last year’s Final Battle, but Lethal also has a history in PCO, as he broke his arm in a match with him on a ROH show in the UK last year. After a solid exchange with Lethal and Mark to start, we got PCO locking Lethal in an armbar after proclaiming that he was going to break Lethal’s arm again. This led to Gresham and PCO going at it, which has to be one of the weirdest clash of styles you’ll ever see. That exchange ended with PCO just picking Gresham up and tossing him clear over the top rope and straight to the floor! That was insane.

Mark and PCO had the edge after some brawling on the outside, but PCO missing an apron swanton saw The Foundation isolate Mark for a bit. PCO evened up the odds with a hot tag. Lethal and Gresham nearly had PCO beat after a Doomsday Device and a Shooting Star Press from Gresham, but some miscommunication between PCO and Mark led to Gresham rolling up PCO for the win. While I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this, it ended up pretty good! Granted, I’m giving an extra quarter start for that insane Gresham bump, but there was some pretty good action throughout, and we never got any dull moments. I don’t think PCO has much else to offer in ROH at this point. However, if you’re going to use him, I guess a tag team setting is probably the best spot for him at this point. ***1/2 

Jeff: I have never been a Briscoe guy, but I am a fan of Gresham and Lethal. Seeing Gresham in the ring with PCO really drives home that the man is in fact small as shit. I’m sure PCO is a nice guy but I have no use for his shenanigans in ring. I think Gresham deserves better than this match, free my short grappling man. PCO just killed himself for some reason and then there was a great double team around the ten minute mark from Gresham and Lethal, a drop kick into a German that has rekindled my interest in the match. 

The commentary for this match I should note is dangerously bad. Great Doomsday into splash finish that was fucked up and then kicked out of for some inexplicable reason. Match was fine and should’ve ended at the Doomsday. ***1/4 

Rey Horus def. Dalton Castle

Sean: This was one of the late addictions to the Final Battle card. Castle must’ve never fully recovered from that back injury, as he continues to wear that back brace over two years later. After the initial exchange, Castle tried working over the back of Horus, but Horus fought back with a big dive to the floor. They continued to brawl on the outside after that dive, and that led to a spot where Horus avoided a Castle charge at full speed, which led to Castle flying on the barricade. That gave the edge to Horus, as Castle hurt his knee on that failed charge. Castle was able to recover, but Horus was able to score the win with a Tornado Driver (or at least that’s what I think Ian Riccaboni called it). A very solid match between these two. Nothing outstanding, but very enjoyable while it lasted. ***1/4 

Jeff: So I am a big Dalton Castle stan. I think the gimmick is unnecessary but his in ring work tickles my every itch, his amateur background shows up in almost every movement he makes and that always appeals to me. Ideally, this match should be a ten minute squash but I could be underestimating Horus. Dalton controlled the early portion of the match with mat work before Horus took over. I’ve never seen Horus look this good, and I doubt I will again. A brutal German mid match from Dalton and- oh a sunset flip power bomb ends it. Can’t say I agree with the result but the work was good! ***1/2

The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) def. The Righteous (Vincent & Bateman with Vita VonStarr)

Sean: They gave the pre-match video package the epic music treatment. The two teams started brawling before the bell even rang, which wasn’t much of a shock. It was at this point that I remembered that the last time Bennett and Taven teamed was at Final Battle 2015, where Taven fucked up his knee when they lost the ROH World Tag Team Titles to War Machine (remember those guys?). The Kingdom ran wild early, but a distraction from Vita VonStarr gave Vincent and Bateman the advantage. They worked on Bennett for a bit until Taven was able to tag in and make the comeback. He was a little too laser-focused on Vincent for his own good at points, but they managed to fight back effectively. Bateman and Bennett both took big bumps on the apron and floor, which meant the bout came down to Taven vs. Vincent. Bennett was able to recover before Vincent, and he held Vincent as Taven nailed a HUGE splash from the top rope to the floor (clearly taking inspiration from Barbaro Cavernario). This led to Taven and Bennett hitting a double team move in the ring on Vincent for the win. The action from start to finish was pretty solid, but the match did get a little long in the tooth at points for sure. Despite the match going a little long, the effort was clearly there, and all four guys worked hard. We then got a long post-match angle where The Righteous beat up The Kingdom, and they did the same thing to Bennett’s ankles that they did to Taven’s ankles at last year’s Final Battle. ***1/2

Jeff: So Vincent and Bateman look like shit, mostly Vincent if I’m being honest. Bennett should never do rapid-fire chops again and he should be taken behind a shed and flogged if he tries. So far this is a fine little brawl that I’ve got very little interest in. The work in this match has been surprisingly good, with Taven in particular looking really good. Not sure how the non-legal man is allowed to walk in and choke out the legal man , relaxed rules sounds like an excuse for nonsense but so far the match has exceeded my expectations. A decent brawl leads to a hell of a straight kick by Taven to knock Vincent on his ass. Spike piledriver should’ve been the finish, would’ve been a perfect time to go home but instead they’ve decided to use it as a.. transition. (Do I sound like Cornette tonight?)

Taven has looked excellent tonight, really out-shining everyone else in the ring and in the spirit of fairness, Vincent has held up his end. DISGUSTING cross body to the outside crushes Vincent, genuinely great spot. Great double team finish and I actually really enjoyed that match. Surprisingly, going ****

This ending angle on the other hand is the drizzling shits and is running way too long. What the fuck is this, this is so bad. This didn’t give anyone their heat back and was genuinely unnecessary. 

Danhausen def. Brian Johnson via DQ

Sean: No offense to Brian Johnson or Danhausen, but I was VERY surprised that this match got bumped up to the PPV. Of course, if Danhausen wins here, he gets to keep his ROH contract. Danhausen nearly shocked Johnson with a quick boot at the start, but he managed to stay in control for the first two minutes or so. Johnson got into a bit of an altercation with the referee, and that led to Danhausen slipping off the top rope. At this point, Johnson started beating up Danhausen while cutting a promo on him with one of the mics. Danhausen was able to fight back, and in the end, we got the Eddie Guerrero finish, as Danhausen faked getting hit with Johnson’s mic to get the victory by DQ. I am shocked that this went nearly ten minutes. Danhausen wins as expected, but this should’ve been kept to the pre-show. You’re telling me that THIS got on the PPV over both of the matches on the pre-show? That’s insane. *

Jeff: All offense to Danhausen, never get in a ring again you fucking geek. I’ve been dreading this all day and have a feeling this will sour me on the rest of the show if I pay too much attention to it. So far this match has been pretty mediocre, Johnson looks to at least have some potential but I never want to see a Danhausen match again. Johnson counts for himself, apparently telegraphing his inevitable loss here which is unfortunate. Some stupid contrived microphone gimmick here while Danhausen pulls the fake being hit by an object schtick that’s been done to death, and shades of Eddie Guerrero this was not. Never wanna see this geek again as long as I live. Johnson, you deserved better. *

ROH World Television Championship: Dragon Lee (c) def. Tony Deppen

Sean: I’m still relishing the fact that I correctly called Tony Deppen as the winner of the Four-Way Match in my Final Battle predictions. After the opening exchange, Lee took control with a big dive to the floor, and nearly killed Deppen with a double stomp where it looked he caught Deppen in the throat. Deppen fought back with a big dive of his own, but Lee quickly regained control. Then things really kicked into high gear in the second half, as these two just went off on each other. Open hand strikes and several big moves were exchanged, with Deppen getting a couple of really close nearfalls. Dragon Lee was able to retain his title with the Incineration Knee Strike, but he had to empty nearly his entire arsenal to put Tony Deppen away. Awesome match! Ring rust apparently doesn’t apply to Dragon Lee, as he killed it in his first bout since February. Meanwhile, Deppen had an incredible performance in his own right, and I hope he sticks around in ROH. As for the result, we’ll see what happens over the course of the next several TV episodes, but Lee retaining was an interesting sign given the recent rumors surrounding his future. ****

Jeff: Everything Dragon Lee does on this show looks grossly out of place because he is significantly better than everyone else on the card. That’s no indictment of the ROH talent, he’s just genuinely a top ten wrestler in the world and for my money the best Luchador since Mysterio. Dragon Lee is dominating this match, which scares me cause that might mean Deppen actually wins this match. Please don’t let Deppen win this match, it will physically harm me. I can’t explain all the sequences in this match but I can honestly say they’re pretty good. The double stomp from the top rope looked sickening, and the pace of this match has been great. Finishing stretch sees Dragon Lee decide to murderize Deppen, and I was more than here for it. Dragon Lee is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world, and I really hope we don’t lose him to reti- I mean the WWE. I’ll go ****1/4 on this, I was pretty into it. 

Shane Taylor def. Jay Briscoe

Sean: This was the second late-addition to the card. Honestly, Jay Briscoe vs. Shane Taylor is a huge upgrade from Jay Briscoe vs. EC3. These two went back and forth with strikes early, but Taylor was able to land the first major blow with a big punch that just dropped Jay. Their brawl spilled to the outside, and again, Taylor nailed Briscoe with a big punch. Jay fought back with a big boot for his first major blow of the match, before they finally got back in the ring. After nearly getting knocked out in the ring by Taylor, Jay was able to lock on a choke, and almost put Taylor out. However, Taylor was able to survive that (and a later onslaught from Jay), and finally put Jay away after a Package Piledriver and Welcome To The Land. These two had a really good bout here. It was different from everything else on the show in that it felt like a fight. Jay did everything he could to try to take Taylor down, but Taylor’s strikes proved to be a decisive factor. A big win for Taylor on PPV. ***1/2 

Jeff: While certainly an upgrade over Jay vs EC3, I kind of think we could’ve gone without this match in its entirety. This is not the Jay Briscoe I remember and he’s clearly being cycled down the card with his brother. After some pretty average brawling Mark has made his way out to ring side, and that has sparked my curiosity beyond anything else happening in the ring right now. Choke spot from Jay was great and in general he’s done a good job of working over the bigger man, I just think Taylor is pretty uninspiring to this point. Taylor wins a pretty uninspiring match that went too long. I’ll go ***

ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham (c) def. Flip Gordon via Referee Stoppage

Sean: I’m going to take this opportunity to note that ROH is now selling versions of Jonathan Gresham’s AWESOME octopus mask (expensive, but very cool). Gresham forces Flip Gordon to use a rope break very early in the match during their initial exchange. Gresham then forces Gordon to use another rope break a minute or two later, so Gordon used two rope breaks in the first four minutes of the bout. Then Gresham began to target the previously injured arm of Gordon. It looked as though Gordon finally caught a break by pushing Gresham into the ropes, but because Gresham had him in a hold, that counted as Gordon’s third and final rope break.

Gordon finally managed to mount some offense against Gresham. He forced Gresham to use his first rope break, and then began targeting Gresham’s knee after he missed a crossbody attempt. Gresham got some offense in during the stretch, but Gordon forced him to use his final two rope breaks. They got into a strike exchange at around the twenty minute mark, and Gordon uses a blatant closed fist. Eventually, Gresham nailed Gordon with a series of running forearm strikes, and it got to the point where the referee called the bout off, which gave Gresham the win via referee stoppage. I’m very mixed on this match. The wrestling throughout was very solid, and I thought they told a good story with the limp work and the finish, but the length of this one REALLY took it down a couple of notices for me. If you cut several minutes from this, it’s a much better bout, in my view. Afterwards, Flip Gordon pulled a Christopher Daniels by refusing to adhere to the Code of Honor in the post-match. ***1/4 

Jeff: I’ve decided that I’ll vote this my match of the year if Gresham rips Flips spine out and uses his pelt as a flag. Good chain wrestling early with Gresham forcing the early rope break before holding up a one to Flip. Yet again Flip is coerced into a second rope break and he sells his disappointment through his expressions quite well. As I mentioned earlier, Gresham is silky smooth and I’m very into him as an in-ring performer. 7 minutes in Flip is mounting his first bits of genuine offense which is unfortunate, because prior to that I was really feeling pretty good about this match. As per the usual when Flip takes control on offense the sequences feel a bit contrived and choreographed for my tastes but I’m sure some people enjoy that kind of thing. Flips leg work has really slowed this match down and made it boring, and I can feel my match of the year hopes slipping away every time Gresham grabs for his knee. With that being said, Gresham’s selling is surprisingly good here and is really helping to keep my interest in this match. At 18:30 Gresham has used all 3 of his rope breaks as well and this match went too long roughly 5 minutes ago. Hot little sequence where Gresham drags Flip out of the ring to avoid a submission but this match really needs to end here. Cool finish, mixed bag but I liked it on the whole. Gonna go ***3/4

ROH World Championship: RUSH (c) def. Brody King

Sean: The last ROH show that RUSH appeared on before the shutdown was the event where he won the World Title back from PCO. That feels like ages ago. Anyway, these two went right after each other at the opening bell, and it quickly spilled to the floor. The first big moment of the match saw King slam RUSH onto a pile of chairs, and he was able to dominate the champion for a few minutes. RUSH managed to fight back, and nailed a big dive to the floor as the bout went back to the floor. He slammed King’s head in one of the barricade doors and used camera cables to both whip and choke King. It finally got back in the ring, and RUSH was showboating every chance he got. The latter portion of this bout saw some really good back and forth between the two. King looked to have the match won, but Dragon Lee ran down to distract the referee. This allowed RUSH and Dragon Lee’s father, La Bestia del Ring, to come in and give King a chair shot to the head. That set up King perfectly for the Bull’s Horns, and RUSH retained the ROH World Title. Despite the interference at the end, this was a really good bout. Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but they had a pretty entertaining brawl that played to their strengths. The fact that RUSH and Dragon Lee both retained their titles on this PPV seems to be a good sign for their contract negotiations with ROH, but we’ll see what happens on ROH TV in the coming weeks. ***1/2 

Jeff: Hot start tells me maybe this needs to go off the air some point pretty soon. These two are tearing right into one another and as a contrast to the last match? I’m here for it! Brody’s offense in the early portions of this match is tremendous and I’m beginning to see why people have been so excited for him. I like Rush a lot but I sometimes wonder if his offense isn’t maybe a bit demeaning to his opponent. Hated the finish, felt like Brody King got jobbed out pretty hard here and didn’t get his shine. A deflating finish to an otherwise good show. ***1/4