ROH Final Battle - December 14, 2018
by Samoa Rowe
From the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Our hosts are Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana.
Kenny King vs. Eli Isom
I am not familiar with Isom, who is in his second year as a pro. King cuts a cheesy promo and clocks Isom with the microphone before the opening bell. King hits a spinning dive in short order. Isom comes back with the type of flippy moves that drive some people crazy. King stomps the foot and sweeps the leg to set up a cocky pin. King delivers an elaborate modified stunner for 2. Isom comes back with punching and throws an overhead belly to belly suplex. Isom canít quite lift King in a deadlift powerbomb and awkwardly drops him from a low height. King uses the ropes to his advantage and hits a springboard blockbuster, but lifts Isom out of the cover. Isom nearly steals it with an inside cradle and delivers the Gory Special for 2. King gets serious and plants Isom with the Michinoku Driver for the victory at 9:00. Isom looks like a fine prospect but he didn't do much to stand out here, **.
Winner: Kenny King
ROH Television Championship:
Jeff Cobb (c) vs. Hangman Page
ROH did well to get Cobb under contract, as the company is due for a youth movement. Page is aggressive at the opening bell and connects with a series of big boots before drop-kicking Cobb to ringside. Cobb counters the SSP off the apron with an overhead belly to belly suplex! Back to the ring, Page absorbs some blows and then barely connects with a Lionsault. Page looks better with a slingshot senton. Cobb answers with a delayed vertical SUPERPLEX! Cobb misses a standing SSP but Page is unable to hit a superplex, but rolls through Cobbís splash and hoists the big man up for a fallaway slam! Suicide dive by Page is good so he follows with a top rope moonsault to the floor! Page hits the standing SSP but Cobb defiantly kicks out at 1, so Page hits another for 2. Cobb wins a strikefest and pulls Page into a piledriver, but Page pridefully kicks out at 1. The crowd is going nuts at this point as Page throws a superkick and Cobb hits a headbutt. Buckshot lariat by Page! Cobb counters with a wild F5 variation but Page counters back with a crucifix pin attempt for a molten hot nearfall. Cobb blocks a lariat and delivers a pair of Tour of the Islands for the win at 13:31! This was a compact mini-classic elevated by the hot crowd and all killer, no filler pacing, ****.
Winner and still ROH TV Champion: Jeff Cobb
Women of Honor Championship:
Sumie Sakai(c) vs. Karen Q vs. Madison Rayne vs. Kelly Klein
This is elimination rules. This Women of Honor title is just dying for a title change as Sakai has not exactly been flourishing as the inaugural champion over the past 8 months. The crowd goes quiet in the early going as Rayne and Sakai clear the ring for a showdown. Karen Q gets them both in a Boston crab but they break out. Kelly and Karen join forces to put a hurting on Rayne. A mistimed Karen big boot sends Klein through the ropes and Rayne punches her way into a comeback. Rayne nearly finishes Karen with a crucifix, and meets Sakai on the top to set up the Tower of Doom (to little reaction). Kelly is up first and finishes Karen with K-Power at 6:50. Rayne blocks K-Power and delivers a tornado DDT for 2. Rayne gets a powerbomb on Sakai for 2, but misses an enziguri. Sakai hits Smash Mouth on Rayne, but Kelly steals the pin at 8:55. Sakai and Klein slug it out for a bit. Sakai applies an armbreaker, but Klein dead lifts her into a slam, but Sakai hangs on until thereís a rope break. Sakai hits Smash Mouth for a nearfall that the fans boo. Klein counters a rana into a powerbomb for a decent false finish. Klein hits K-Power for a flat nearfall. Kleinís top rope K-Power is enough for the win and title at 13:35, and the crowd actually pops for the finish. They tried hard, but the fans did them no favors, and this just felt like an imitation of better spot-fests, * 3/4.
Winner and new Women of Honor Champion: Kelly Klein
Klein and Sakai hug it out, sadly with no cheap shot.
Jonathan Gresham promo. He feels that he's been the best professional wrestler in the world over the past 8 years, but has had to start at the bottom of every company heís worked for. Pretty cookie cutter stuff, but his strength lies between the ropes.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
The crowd likes Gresham well enough, but they LOVE ZSJ. Sabre slaps Greshamís face while fans are still throwing streamers. Bell rings and Gresham gets a takedown and goes for the back. Sabre escapes and palms the face, as he's arrogantly aware of his height advantage. They engage in some innovative chain wrestling that Iím not smart enough to properly recap. Gresham rolls out of a head scissors and flips the bird before pummeling ZSJ in the face. ZSJ goes for a bow and arrow but Gresham flips out into a body press and they come to a stalemate. This is simply tremendous thus far. ZSJ throws uppercuts and Gresham defiantly asks for more and then hits a big drop-kick. They resume chain wrestling with Gresham on offense. They get a break and ZSJ bumps his chest into Greshamís face to remind him of how short he is. The match turns ugly as they unload stiff strikes until Gresham throws a German suplex for 2. Gresham applies a half crab but ZSJ counters into a triangle choke! Gresham escapes and maneuvers into an Octopus, ZSJ counters into an ankle lock, but Gresham reverses! They sprint through a flurry of counters until ZSJ catches Gresham in a European clutch (with his arms folded) for the win at 12:05! Just an incredible display of technical wrestling and a picture perfect debut for Sabre, ****1/4.
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
ROH Television Championship:
Matt Taven © (with TK O'Ryan) vs. Dalton Castle (with The Boys)
TK bullies ring announcer Bobby Cruise into introducing Taven as the "World Champion." They get a hot start with aggressive slapping and brawling at ringside. They comically take turns ducking punches until Castle hits a slam with authority. Taven kicks Castle off the apron but The Boys make a timely save. Castle gets the surprise upper hand, throwing a wild back suplex. Taven answers with a suicide dive, but misses a second dive and takes a DISGUSTING chest-first spill onto the barricade! Seriously, I hope Taven is alright, and he must be, as Castle hits a flying knee strike off the apron. Taven shakes it off and throws Castle into the entrance steps! Taven is briefly in control before Castle starts throwing desperation suplexes. Big time DDT by Taven gets a 2 count. Castle answers with his own DDT but is too slow for a cover. TK interferes, prompting The Boys to take him out with stereo dives. Vinny Marseglia emerges from under the ring and drops the Boys with DDTís, and then abducts them into the abyss. Meanwhile, Taven clocks Castle with the belt for a nearfall. The crowd is going nuts at this point. Castle knees Taven off the turnbuckles and delivers a hurricanrana off the apron. Bangarang by Castle, into the ring post! Castleís Doctor Bomb would have ended it, but TK breaks the cover by throwing a Boy onto them! This is the sort of overbooked nonsense that I love. The ref ejects TK, and the fans play along with the Goodbye Song. Castle hits Bangarang but Taven gets a rope break! Taven blocks another Bangarang and nails the Climax for the win at 15:45! This was awesome for completely different reasons than the other great matches on this card, just full of chaos and guilty pleasure overbooking, ****.
Winner and still ROH Television Champion: Matt Taven
ROH World Championship #1 Contenders Match:
Christopher Daniels vs. Marty Scurll
Thereís an angle at play that Daniels will not have his ROH contract renewed unless heís a champion or #1 contender. In real life, Daniels may be leaving for the upstart All Elite Wrestling, so thereís a lot of intrigue here. They exchange holds and Scurll mockingly pats Danielsí bald head. Daniels aggressively controls a chain wrestling sequence. They exchange chops and Daniels hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Daniels continues to roll with an Arabian moonsault! Scurll answers with a superplex. Scurll knocks the hat off a fan while beating Daniels up at ringside. Daniels takes a prolonged beating until he counters with a Blue Thunder Bomb! Daniels mounts a big time babyface comeback, which the fans donít fully get behind. Danielsí springboard moonsault gets 2. Scurll wins a strikefest with a roaring elbow and counters into the Scurll Driver for a solid false finish. Daniels answers with a Burning Hammer for a good nearfall! Scurll counters Angels Wings into a Tombstone Piledriver! Scurll snaps the fingers in disgusting fashion, which prevents Daniels from using Angels Wings. Daniels butterflies Scurll into an Angels Wings anway for a heartbreakingly close nearfall! Scurll blocks the Best Moonsault Ever and overwhelms the Fallen Angel with superkicks and the Graduation for 2! Scurll locks on the chickenwing and Daniels has no choice but to tap at 17:30. What a fantastic effort by these guys. If this turns out to be Danielsí final ride in ROH, he can be proud of the way he went out. The crowd showers him with a "Thank you, Daniels" chant and I feel all the feels. Daniels turned back the clock here for a great ****ľ match.
Winner: Marty Scull
Christopher Daniels is enjoying his moment with the fans when Bully Ray crashes the party with an ambush! BOO THIS MAN!
"I Quit" Match:
Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon
Flip appears in the balcony wielding the American flag. He storms the ring with a springboard clothesline and drops Ray with a thrust kick. Gordon sucks up to the fans with a Van Daminator. Bully Ray gets his hands on a trash can and smashes it over Gordon. Ray sets a table up in front of Flipís girlfriend but Gordon fights back, bringing a second table into the ring. Ray hits a backdrop over the ropes and punishes Gordon with a chain. Ray throws some verbal abuse at Cary Silken, prompting Bobby Cruise to step in. Ray shoves down Cruise, and referee Todd Sinclair. Ray threatens Silken with a kendo stick but Christopher Daniels dives in and takes a shot for the old boss! A bloody Gordon dives onto Ray but gets backdropped over the table! Ray grabs Flipís girlfriend and threatens to powerbomb her through the table unless Flip quits, but Silken makes the save with the kendo stick! Flipís lady low blows Bully and Flip lays a kiss on her. Who says romance is dead? Flip cracks the U.S. flag over the skull of Bully Ray and the crowd is LOVING THIS. A flag assisted crossface might have ended this, but Silas Young interferes, putting Flip down with Misery. Young pours lighter fluid on the table before Cheeseburger runs in, but Young puts him down with Misery. Colt Cabana leaves commentary to take Young out with a chair. Bully Ray saves Silas, who hits Colt with a low blow. Silas is going to light the table on fire when the lights go out and come back to reveal THE SANDMAN! The crowd is in a total frenzy as Sandman unleashes kendo shots on Silas and duels with Bully Ray! Flip capitalizes with a Star Spangled Stunner on Ray and unloads kendo shots until he quits at 14:25. I donít care if you think Iím overrating this, but I loved this match from start to finish. It was the most purely entertaining, different match Iíve seen in a long time. Just absolute chaos, packed with twists and turns, and a cathartic finish, ****ľ.
Winner: Flip Gordon
Caprice Coleman replaces Colt Cabana on commentary. They speculate that we may not see Bully Ray again for a long time.
ROH World Championship:
Jay Lethal © vs. Cody (with Brandi Rhodes)
Lethal is closing in on breaking the records of most ROH title defenses and most overall time spent as ROH champion. This is billed as Cody's last night in ROH as he's leaving to form his own company, All Elite Wrestling. Cody heels it up on the crowd beforehand, rubbing it in that he wonít be at the MSG show. Lethal retorts that ROH is "his frickiní company, jack-ass." They lock up with a sense or urgency and the crowd is with them. Cody fakes a knee injury early to gain a cheap shot but gets carried away flaunting his brilliance. Lethal takes control with a powerslam on the floor and suplex in the ring. Lethalís hot streak ends with a Cody powerslam. Cody dishes out an old school beatdown, but Lethal chop blocks Codyís recently injured knee. Lethal methodically picks apart the knee. Lethal gets a visual pinfall while Brandi distracts the ref. Brandi sneakily hits Lethal with a spear and Cody nails Cross Rhodes for a startling nearfall. Lethal imitates Goldust but the ref stops a Golden Globes, and Brandiís interference backfires as she hits her husband with a spear! Lethal drops Brandi with the Lethal Combination, but Cody drops him with Cross Rhodes for a red hot false finish. Cody works a Figure Four and Hangman Page rings the bell to cause some confusion. Lethal steals the Cross Rhodes for 2. Cody counters Lethalís flying elbow and throws Dusty jabs. Lethal hits six consecutive suicide dives before Cody finally cuts him off and hits a Vertebreaker for 2. The ref takes a bump, allowing Lethal to clock Cody with the title and flip him the bird. A ton of superkicks and Lethal Injection is good! Lethalís Figure Four forces Cody to submit at 23:45! This was a really solid and entertaining match that was elevated by a hot crowd, ***Ĺ.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Jay Lethal
Lethal doesnít get much of a chance to celebrate as Marty Scurll gets into his face. NWA World Champion Nick Aldis and a woman who is NOT his wife show up too to send a message but quickly depart. Scurll rips the ROH title away from Lethal before tossing it back. Man, if this is the MSG main event, Iím sold.
ROH Tag Team Championship (Ladder War):
SCU © (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark) vs. The Young Nicks (Nick and Matt Jackson)
The Briscoes are portrayed more like the Wyatt Family these days than the redneck asskicking heroes of the past. The Young Bucks are the sentimental crowd favorites as this is likely their final ROH event for the near future. This is a prestigious spot for SCU, with Sky making his Final Battle debut in none other than the main event. The Briscoes throw chairs in and lurk at ringside. The Bucks take the fight to SCU and lay the Briscoes out with SUPERKICKS!!! The Briscoes weather the storm and set a table up on the floor. Matt hits a somersault cutter but the Briscoes decimate him with a chair, and find time to put Sky through the table with a double stomp. The Briscoes dominate with weapons and donít seem too eager to climb any ladders. Nick powerbombs Jay into a ladder! Matt drops Sky with an inverted Code Red! The Bucks go supernova, clearing the ring! SCU and the Bucks square off with both teams attempting to sprint up the ladder. Kazarian is bleeding but manages to springboard into a codebreaker on Nick off the ladder! The Briscoes return with chairs and retake control. Kazarian seems to ruin his ankle with a backdrop onto a propped ladder. Nick catches Jay in a headscissors for Matt to throw a chair at his skull. Nick dives to the floor again, which honestly never gets old. Jay backdrops Matt into a table. Kazarian low blows Jay and SCU put Jay through a table with a cutter! Matt gets a sledgehammer and a bloody Jay Briscoe dares him to hit him. Matt settles for a SUPERKICK instead. The Bucks pop Jay up for a spear. Sky returns to drop Nick onto a ladder, but Matt then flies to catapult it back into his face. Matt climbs towards the belt but Jay slams him onto a standing chair! Nick facebusters Jay onto a chair, but Kazarian DDT's him on the floor. The Bucks look for a Meltzer Driver but Mark cuts them off with a cutter off the ladder. The Briscoes desperately hit a J-Driller and everyone is down for a standing ovation. The Briscoes bridge a big ladder with an even bigger ladder, but Kazarian counters Jay into a Styles Clash onto a chair! Kazarian and Mark meet at the top and Mark takes a bump through the bridged ladder (which the camera misses). Nick sprints up a second ladder but Jay tips it over and Nick takes a sick bump through a ringside table! Mark throws a chair at Kazarian who falls backwards through a table. That leaves Jay alone at the top and he retrieves the titles for the win at 22:40! The Briscoes are now 10x tag team champions! This was a brutal, sometimes dangerous stunt show that ended the show on a hot note, ****Ĺ.
Winners and new ROH Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes
Final Thoughts: Man, this was an all-timer. I know a lot of the talent are leaving, but many of the key performers tonight are sticking around. One of the best ROH shows of all time and maybe the best wrestling PPV of 2018. Big time Thumbs Up!
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