Ring of Honor
Final Battle 2022
December 10, 2022
College Park Center
Arlington, Texas

Watch: PPV / FITE (Non-US)

Meet our Reviewers

Sean Sedor: Around this time last year, Sean was doing the review for what he thought was going to be the last Final Battle. How things can change in twelve months! You can find Sean on Twitter @SASedor2994. If you’re interested in some of his other escapades, you can watch him play the Formula 1 games on YouTube (just search his name), and you also go to the Be The Booker forums if you’d like to check out his EWR Diary, where he runs WCW (started in 1998, currently in 2001).

Suit Williams: Suit is ready for a matinee wrestling event, and the marquee event of Ring of Honor’s year. It’s Final Battle time baby! Follow me on Twitter @SuitWilliams, and check out my Brockumentary retrospective series here on Voices of Wrestling.

Zero Hour

Jeff Cobb def. Mascara Dorada

Sean: What a match to open things up. Jeff Cobb was a ROH regular for a few years before switching over to New Japan full-time. The opening moments were a showcase of power and speed, as Mascara Dorada used his high-flying offense to attempt to gain the early advantage, but Cobb caught him on a dive attempt and sent him into the post on the floor. Dorada was finally able to fight back with a headscissors, and followed up with a HUGE twisting dive to the floor. After avoiding Tour Of The Islands once, Dorada tried to play some of Cobb’s power game and went for a big lariat, but Cobb didn’t budge. He tried to go back to the ropes, and it was here that Cobb caught him, and hit Tour Of The Islands for the win. A fun clash of styles to kick off the Zero Hour. Cobb getting the win here wasn’t a real shocker, but I do hope that Mascara Dorada sticks around in this new ROH. In the last few years of the SBG era, ROH started to use luchadores more frequently, and Dorada being a ROH regular would certainly continue that trend. ***1/2

Suit: This was a fun clash of styles, with Cobb repeatedly catching Dorada out of the air and hitting power moves. That was actually the finish, with Cobb catching Dorada off the ropes and hitting a pop-up Tour of the Islands for the win. A fun opener, and the crowd was hot for it. Coleman and Riccoboni pushed the fact that Jeff Cobb was never pinned to lose the ROH TV Title back in 2019, and that he never got a rematch for it. Keep an eye on that for later on. ***1/4

The Jericho Appreciation Society (Matt Menard & Angelo Parker) def. Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger & Eli Isom)

Sean: Cheeseburger came out wearing a Delirious mask (a nod to the man who trained him, as Ian Riccaboni mentioned). As for their opponents, the former 2.0 actually did have two previous ROH appearances during the SBG Era (against The Bravado Brothers in October 2012 and against ACH & TaDarius Thomas in July 2013). This one got off to a more lighthearted start until Matt Menard and Angelo Parker isolated Cheeseburger. After a few minutes, Cheeseburger was finally able to make the tag to Eli Isom, who cleaned house. Isom set up Menard so that he could get hit by Cheeseburger Liger-style palm strike, but Parker sent him to the outside, and the two JAS members hit a double-team DDT for the win. A fine little tag team bout here. Isom is someone who has a ton of potential, and presuming that he’s part of this new ROH, I’m curious to see if he’s able to get to that next level. The fact that Menard and Parker were on this show probably means they’re getting involved in either Garcia or Jericho’s match later on, but we’ll see. **1/2

Suit: This was a solid TV squash. It’s always good to see Cheeseburger make his way on these big shows. Menard and Parker won with their Double Impaler DDT. **

Willow Nightingale def. Trish Adora

Sean: Willow Nightingale has appeared on all three ROH PPV events this year. I know she got the All Elite graphic a few months ago, but I wonder if she’ll end up being more ROH centric once they start to run more regularly. She picked up a solid win here over Trish Adora after hitting the Pounce and a Doctor Bomb. A pretty decent contest between these two. Much like I said earlier with Mascara Dorada, I wonder if Trish Adora will be part of ROH going forward. She could be one of these talents that’s already signed to a contract that we don’t know about, but time will tell on that one. She would make a fine addition to the ROH women’s division. ***

Suit: Another quality match on the Zero Hour. Willow is quite over, as the crowd came alive after she hit the Pounce on Adora. The Babe With The Powerbomb followed, giving Willow the win. The announcers hyped her up as the next woman up for the Women’s Title. Adora looked solid here, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of her. ***

Top Flight (Dante Martin & Darius Martin) def. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) (w/ Maria Kanellis)

Sean: The Kingdom came out to the awesome Adam Cole/Michael Bennett mashup theme that the group used during their original run in 2014-2015. While Bennett and Taven shook hands before the bout, they immediately jumped Top Flight as soon as the bell rang. However, after some miscommunication between Bennett and Taven, Darius and Dante managed to go on the offensive. The Kingdom soon regained control after Maria got involved, and worked over Darius for a few minutes until he finally made the tag to Dante. Things picked up in the closing stretch, and we got a series of dives that concluded with another near-death experience for Dante (the same thing happened to Dante in the match with FTR on Dynamite a few weeks ago). After Maria got ejected from ringside, Dante made up for his mistake as he and his brother hit this insane powerbomb/springboard moonsault-into-a-sliced bread that the crowd went absolutely bonkers for. Easily the best match on the kickoff. I feel like a broken record saying this, but I do wonder if we have another case of AEW talents being earmarked for ROH. Again, I guess we’ll have to wait to find out. A very good victory for Top Flight. ***3/4

Suit: CMLL stalwart Matt Taven making his return to ROH proper here. I guess you could call them Honor Some More now. This was a hell of a pre-show main event here. This isn’t New Japan, Maria-focused Kingdom anymore. The Kingdom have developed into a legitimately good tag team that were excellent bases for Top Flight here. Top Flight are quickly developing into an incredibly innovative team that get the crowd in the palm of their hands. A slight botch on Dante’s big dive took the air out of the crowd momentarily, but Maria getting tossed got the crowd right back. The double team Nose Dive got a huge pop, and a surprising win for Top Flight. I hope to see more of both teams on Tony Khan properties. ***3/4

Main Show

AR Fox & Blake Christian def. La Facción Ingobernable (Dralistico & RUSH) (w/ Preston Vance & Jose The Assistant)

Sean: This is the first-ever ROH appearance for AR Fox, which is wild considering how much of a mainstay he was in Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE for so many years. Meanwhile, this is the first time Dralistico has appeared for ROH in the United States (he did wrestle on a couple of New Japan/ROH joint shows in the UK back in 2017 when he was still Mistico). He started things off with Christian, and the two had a fine opening exchange before AR Fox came in and started trading chops with RUSH. After gaining the advantage, RUSH ran wild on the floor and tossed Christian into the barricade multiple times. Meanwhile, Dralistico just dropped AR Fox on the steel steps with a powerbomb.

After LFI worked over Christian for a bit, AR Fox was able to tag in and ran wild with a series of huge dives to the floor. Dralistico responded with a massive springboard Shooting Star Press to the floor! From there, things got really messy. There was a late pin breakup (I think Christian was supposed to break up a pin with a 450, but he was late, and the count got helped up, if I recall correctly). Then, AR Fox hit a move, and Dralistico seemed to get out before the three count, but the referee counted the pin anyway and awarded the win to the babyfaces. LFI was not happy, and they destroyed Christian and Fox on the floor while RUSH threatened the referee. It seems like the wrong team won here, but I’m honestly not sure! I thought this was a lot of fun for the most part, but then it fell apart and got ugly. ***1/2

Suit: This was a mess. Dralistico looked terrible from the jump, on different pages than everybody else in the ring. Then it looked a lot like they blew the finish, with Fox getting a 3 count on a 450 that Dralistico just didn’t kick out of. Then Rush and Dralistico just beat up the faces to get their heat back. That’s the Rush I remember. This wasn’t all bad, as Blake Christian did a good job getting beat up, and AR Fox had the crowd behind him as well. But there was a lot of bad. **1/2

ROH Women’s World Championship: Athena def. Mercedes Martinez (c)

Sean: As was mentioned in the video package hyping up this bout, these two have met before during their SHIMMER days. The crowd, unsurprisingly, was heavily favoring Athena, who’s from Texas. Athena gained control after the opening exchange, and nailed some of the same stiff shots that she’s been using to kill jobbers on Dark: Elevation. Mercedes fought back with a spinebuster, and attempted to hit the Spider German Suplex, but Athena avoided it and hit a powerbomb. The two went back-and-forth (both in the ring and on the floor) with Martinez gaining the advantage. The crowd was really starting to boo the champion at this stage. Athena connected with her non-O Face finish, but only got two after Martinez got the rope. A messy bit involving the turnbuckle pad followed (not nearly as messy as the previous match, but definitely a little awkward), and Athena connected with the O Face and captured the title. Some rough points here and there, but largely a pretty good contest. Some vicious moments throughout as well. Athena going over in this spot was definitely the right move (especially with the crowd reactions), and now that she’s the champion, I’m sure we’ll be getting more of her in ROH going forward. ***1/2 

Suit: On October 12, 2022, Athena was going nowhere as a babyface coming off of a loss to Jade Cargill. Two months later, she stands tall as ROH Women’s Champion. What happened was Tony Khan leaning into the momentum instead of running from a minor non-controversy. The squash of Jody Threat on October 12 got buzz, and they ran with it. It’s one of those organic wrestling things that I love to see, where one match can create something special.

This match was more of the same with Athena, where she beat the hell out of her opponent. Mercedes Martinez was more than willing to swing back, and gave her share of shots as well. The crowd was flipped for this one, with Athena being a Texas woman, so Mercedes played into it enough for the match to work. The finish was Athena sending Martinez into an exposed turnbuckle before hitting the O Face to win. Good stuff. ***

Swerve In Our Glory (Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee) def. Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor and JD Griffey)

Sean: Of course, the build here (at least between Keith Lee and Shane Taylor) goes all the way back to 2016. They made their debut as a tag team in ROH a year earlier, and were featured in a notable feud with War Machine for a good chunk of 2016. However, 2017 rolled around, and Keith Lee made the jump to EVOLVE as a singles star, leaving Shane Taylor by himself back in ROH. Combine that with the story with Swerve In Our Glory, and there’s a lot going on here in terms of the backstory (don’t listen to the corncobs out there). This was my first time seeing JD Griffey, and he had a nice opening exchange with Swerve before Lee (who the crowd was very much behind) tagged in.

“We want Shane” chants broke out, and we were about to see Lee and Taylor go at it until Swerve ruined it by tagging back in. The two had a solid exchange before Swerve got DESTROYED with an apron leg drop. Swerve had enough after that, and tagged out so we could finally get the Lee/Taylor confrontation. They traded shots before Lee CAUGHT TAYLOR ON A DIVE and that was insane. We got some more back-and-forth before Lee broke up a Griffey submission on Swerve with a second rope moonsault. Another set of exchanges between the two teams, and we get another major moment of miscommunication as Lee nails Swerve by accident. Taylor only gets two after hitting Welcome To The Land, and as Lee is trying to recover, Swerve walks out on Lee. Things look bleak for Lee, but after Taylor and Griffey accidentally collide, Lee hits the Ground Zero and wins the match anyway. Again, another match that wasn’t totally smooth, but for the most part, this was a really good tag (with some great crowd reactions) that furthered the Swerve In Our Glory story once again. Swerve walked out on Lee this time, but unlike Full Gear, Lee still managed to win. I would definitely like to see a singles match between Lee and Taylor at one point. As for Griffey, he showed some promise for sure, though he was clearly the fourth best person in this match. ***3/4

Suit: They aired a video package for the people who couldn’t hear Shane Taylor clearly explain his issues with Keith Lee when he showed up on screen. The crowd was hot for Taylor, popping huge for his faceoffs with Lee. Griffey is a different look here, going for the full MMA fighter look. He better hope someone from NOAH gets eyes on him, he may have a GHC Title run in his future.

This match was red hot, and full of story that even the dumbest of us can understand. Swerve and Lee had issues throughout, but they came together to work well through the body of the match. But they crossed wires one too many times, with Swerve eating an elbow from Lee that was meant for Griffey. Swerve bailed, leaving Lee on his own against STP. Unlike Swerve at Full Gear though, Lee was able to overcome the 2-on-1 and pin Griffey with the Big Bang Catastrophe. A great match. If only they told us who Shane Taylor was beforehand. ****

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Embassy [Brian Cage and Gates of Agony (Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona)] (w/ Prince Nana) def. Dalton Castle and The Boys (Brandon Tate and Brent Tate) (c)

Sean: It’s so great to have Prince Nana and The Embassy back. Such a massive upgrade over Tully Blanchard and Tully Blanchard Enterprises. The three monsters from The Embassy totally dominated this one early, with Cage and Liona manhandling The Boys on the floor while Kaun (not Quan with a Q, which Dave Meltzer continues to mistakenly call him) got his shots in on Dalton Castle. While Castle and The Boys had their moments in this one, including Castle hitting a BIG German Suplex on Liona, The Embassy largely dominated this one, and captured the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. A fun match while it lasted. ***1/4

Suit: This was a good bit of fun. This had WCW Main Event energy, where the big guys threw around the two small guys before the pushed babyface got a little shine in. The Embassy got the win with a pendulum powerbomb. Fun stuff, and I do want to see how well the Embassy can develop and gel as a team. ***1/2

ROH Pure Championship: Wheeler Yuta def. Daniel Garcia (c)

Sean: Before this match, we got a brawl between Top Flight and the JAS (Menard and Parker), which led to a promo from the latter where they declared that Claudio Castagnoli would be in a tag team with Jake Hager called The Hat Trick when he loses to Chris Jericho. They got chased off by Wheeler Yuta, and that led us right into this title bout. Garcia and Yuta started trading shots immediately, and that exchange resulted in both men using their one closed fist. Garcia took firm control after a backdrop driver on the floor, and later forced Yuta to use two straight rope breaks while having Yuta tied up in various submissions. Yuta attempted a comeback, but Garcia cut him off quickly, and forced Yuta to use his final rope break after locking in the Dragon Sleeper. Yuta finally finds an opening, and starts going on the offensive after avoiding the Dragon Slayer multiple times.

Garcia gets his knees up after a big splash attempt from Yuta and hits a piledriver. Yuta was able to counter a piledriver on the apron, hit a leg-trap piledriver in the ring, and continued to elbow Garcia until he was knocked out. Wheeler Yuta is the first-ever two time ROH Pure Champion. This was a pretty great match, though I don’t think it was their very best encounter, out of the three they’ve now had. I really enjoyed how they worked in the Pure Rules here, with Garcia forcing Yuta to use up all of his rope breaks, while Yuta came back and won, without forcing Garcia to use any of his. Garcia kicked the belt out of Yuta’s hand afterwards, but handed it to him anyway. That makes three new champions crowned on this card thus far. ****

Suit: This was a nice conclusion to this Pure series of matches. Garcia did a thing I haven’t ever seen in a Pure match, which was wrapping Yuta in the ropes and literally forcing him to use two of his rope breaks. Yuta used his third one shortly after, meaning he had to fight for the rest of the match. If you remember the Death Before Dishonor match, Garcia had used up all of his rope breaks in that match and lost. Unlike Garcia, Yuta was able to overcome the disadvantage and knock Garcia out with hammer and anvil elbows. A smartly worked match that firmly puts Yuta in the position of the premier technician in ROH. ***1/2

ROH World Tag Team Championship – Double Dog Collar Match: The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe) def. FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) (c)

Sean: Very surprised this is going on at this stage of the card, though I guess Samoa Joe vs. Juice Robinson will serve as the buffer between this and the World Title match. Dax Harwood is attached to Jay Briscoe, while Cash Wheeler is attached to Mark Briscoe. They spill out to the floor almost immediately and Mark is busted open within the first minute. Cash and Mark brawl on the floor while Dax and Jay go into the crowd. Mark came back with a big dive off the stage while Dax and Jay traded German Suplexes in the ring. Dueling “Top Guys”/”Dem Boys” chants as Dax is now busted open. Dax fights back and sends Jay into a chair, which busts him wide open. Jay Briscoe is really an underrated bleeder. Moxley has gotten all the attention in recent years when it comes to bleeding, but it’s easy to forget that Jay loves to have that crimson mask.

Cash tried to choke out Mark with the dog collar while in the Gory Special, which was a wild visual. The brawl continues and all four men are bleeding buckets. We even got to see referee Mike Posey get busted open after Jay ducked a chain shot from Dax. The Briscoes try for a Doomsday Device, but Cash uses the chain to pull Mark off the top rope, sending him crashing onto a pile of chairs on the floor!! That was insane!! A Jay Driller on Dax only gets two. Dax returns the favor with a piledriver on a chair, but that only gets two. Dax tries a super piledriver onto a pile of chairs in the ring, but Jay avoids it and hits a superplex onto the chairs in another wild spot!! Jay locks in a submission with the chain, but Cash is unable to make the save as Mark pulls him back. Dax taps, and The Briscoes are now thirteen time ROH World Tag Team Champions. Also marks the fourth straight title change on this card. This was nothing short of amazing. Beautiful violence from start to finish. These four men bled buckets and left it all in the ring, giving us another Match Of The Year Contender right before the calendar turns to 2023. Just an incredible bout from start to finish. An attack by The Gunns on FTR followed, so that feud is still going, but the point to take away from this one is that The Briscoes and FTR did it again. *****

Suit: As thoughtful as the Pure Title match was, this was the polar opposite. If the Pure Title match was human chess, this match was barbarism. And it was absolutely incredible. They didn’t try to subvert expectations, or do anything more than this stipulation required. This was four sharks hunting for blood, and they got buckets of it. We had referees bleeding, we had Harwood wrapping a chain around his own head to do a diving headbutt. After the epic first encounter at Supercard of Honor, and the classic tag team battle at Death Before Dishonor, this was the bloody and violent conclusion. FTR vs. The Briscoes will go down as the defining rivalry of 2022.

This was a stunning display of violence as these two teams brawled all across the building and drenched the canvas in blood. We had kickouts of the Doomsday Device and the Jay Driller, but FTR never had a chance to hit the Big Rig. Harwood hit a piledriver on a chair for a nearfall, so he went to the top for a piledriver on a stack of chairs. Jay flipped position and hit a superplex off the top, then choked Harwood out with the chain while Mark held Wheeler back on the floor. They fought until someone couldn’t fight anymore, and in matches like that, nobody gets the better of Dem Boys. The Briscoes hit lucky number 13 in ROH title reigns. The post match picking of the bones by the Gunn Club was such an excellent way to get heat on that feud and pivot FTR to their new direction. This was masterful work all around from everyone involved. *****

ROH World Television Championship: Samoa Joe (c) def. Juice Robinson

Sean: I do not envy Samoa Joe and Juice Robinson right now. They’re in a VERY tough spot having to follow that Double Dog Collar Match. Juice nails some jabs after the opening exchange and hits a backdrop suplex. Joe countered a senton attempt into the Coquina Clutch as Tony Deppen was shown sitting at ringside. Juice connected with a cannonball on the floor, but Joe would retort with a big Uranage followed by a dive to the floor. After some more back and forth, Joe is eventually able to hit the Muscle Buster for the win. Certainly not on the same level as Joe’s match with Darby Allin from a few nights ago, but still a relatively solid match on the whole. Not much else to say beyond that. ***1/4 

Suit: I legitimately forgot this match was happening until the graphic came up. God bless these two, but I would not be running to follow that match up. This was…fine. It was a solid match that I have no strong thoughts on. Juice did some hard work and looked good. The crowd was into Joe. Joe won with the Muscle Buster. Two professionals doing professional wrestling. ***

ROH World Championship – If Castagnoli loses, he will have to join the Jericho Appreciation Society: Claudio Castagnoli def. Chris Jericho (c)

Sean: Imagine going back in time and telling someone a year ago that Chris Jericho would be defending the ROH World Title in the main event of Final Battle. Pretty wild. The match gets started and Jericho immediately goes after Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman. This left him wide open to get blindsided by Claudio, who followed up with The Neutralizer and nearly won the title in record time. Jericho finally starts putting up a fight, and we get the same rana counter off the second that we saw in the match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. They eventually end up on the apron, and Jericho hits the suplex to the floor that’s become one of his favorite spots in 2022.

After both men recovered from a double clothesline, Jericho managed to counter the Giant Swing (while in mid-swing) into the Walls Of Jericho. That counter was beautiful. Claudio fights out of it, and this leads to Matt Menard and Angelo Parker coming down. They give Jericho the bat, and he uses it, but Claudio kicks out! Claudio avoids the Judas Effect and sends Jericho spinning with the Giant Swing, and he did it for about thirty rotations or so before Jericho tapped out!! That was certainly a super unique finish. A great match on the whole as Claudio regains the ROH World Title, marking the fifth title change on the night. I’d say it was on par with the match from Arthur Ashe back in September. Really solid action throughout, though I’d be lying if I said that I would’ve preferred Briscoes/FTR III in this main event spot. The fact that they put this in the main event was a tipoff that Claudio was getting the title back, so the result ultimately didn’t surprise me in that regard. It did serve as a fine conclusion to the feud between the Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society though, with both Claudio and Yuta regaining both of their respective titles. The two celebrated with Jerry Lynn as the show came to a close. ****

Suit: The match itself was solid. Jericho avoided the Giant Swing a couple of times, including a gorgeous spinout reversal into a Walls of Jericho. After Claudio got out, 2.0 came down so Jericho could use the bat, but Claudio kicked out. Finally, Claudio got the Giant Swing in, and to the shock of everyone, Jericho tapped out in the Swing after 30 seconds of spinning. A unique finish that I loved, and everyone went home happy. Claudio, Yuta, and Jerry Lynn celebrated as the confetti fell. 

This was a nice close to the JAS/BCC story that has been going on since Vince McMahon was a part of the wrestling business. Chris Jericho spit on the legacy and meaning of Ring Of Honor throughout the year. He dumped on pro wrestling, attacked announcers, and beat former champions to hold the ROH Title hostage. Claudio defended pro wrestling throughout, never wavered, and was able to beat Chris Jericho and win the big one in the main event of the biggest show of the year. A good main event to a great show. ***1/2