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ROH: Final Battle
by Doc Allen
December 15, 2023
Live from the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 1,729, and the lights are turned down waaay low. This event is available on HonorClub for the ten dollar monthly fee, rather than a full price PPV on Bleacher Report. These are not positive signs for ROH's current success as a brand. I feel like this is the 3rd or 4th time I've watched a Final Battle event genuinely concerned that it could be the last. Anyways, our hosts are Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.
AAA Mega Championship:
El Hijo Del Vikingo © vs. Black Taurus
Taurus rejects the Code of Honor and smacks the face. Taurus shakes off Vikingo's rana and then headbutts the champ out of the air. Vikingo tries a somersault senton but Taurus catches him for a powerbomb onto the floor. Taurus nails a power slam for 2. Taurus grabs Vikingo by the throat and shoves him over the ropes. Taurus nails a ridiculous corkscrew tope! Taurus nails a crucifix driver and pop-up Samoan drop, but Vikingo kicks out! Vikingo dodges a flying senton and mounts a brave comeback despite an apparent back injury. Vikingo hits a SSP into a rana and follows with a flurry of insane spots too complicated to describe in time. Vikingo teases some more flying, hesitates to sell his back, and then nails a springboard moonsault outside. Shotgun dropkick by Vikingo, but Taurus pops up to tackle the champ into the buckles. Vikingo hits an avalanche Frankensteiner. They stop to sell and catch their breaths, Vikingo then hits an escalator powerbomb onto the ring frame. Cue the "This is awesome!" chants. Vikingo hits a twisting 450 from the second rope for 2. Springboard missile dropkick by Vikingo, but Taurus pops up again to throw the champ into the buckles. Taurus nails an avalanche press slam! The late cover only gets 2. Vikingo musters a crucifix driver, but Taurus answers with a spear. Fans reward them by chanting "Fight forever!" Vikingo absorbs a headbutt and hits a tightrope walk 630 outside! Taurus responds with a torture rack back breaker. Powerbomb onto the spine and lariat by Taurus gets another 2 count. Vikingo counters into a crucifix driver. Rana, running meteora, and 630 splash gets the win for Vikingo at 16:30. If you can accept that this was an unapologetic back and forth lucha battle, then this is for you, ****.
Winner and still AAA Mega Champion: El Hijo Del Vikingo
ROH World Six-man Tag Team Championship:
The Mogul Embassy © (Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Bishop Kaun, with Prince Nana) vs. TMDK (Bad Dude Tito, Shane Haste, and Kosei Fujita)
Fujita locks up with Kaun. Fujita is technically proficient, but the Gates of Agony are bigger and overwhelm him with quick tags. Fujita survives with a leg lariat, Tito gets an early hot tag. Haste helps with fast dropkicks and pauses to flex. Haste slams Fujita onto Kaun for 2. Kaun's clothesline allows a tag to Cage, who is itching to beat up Fujita. Cage curls Fujita, slams him, and flexes his suspiciously large muscles. Desperation German suplex by Fujita allows a hot tag to Tito, who gets the fans on his side with quick flying attacks. Satellite DDT by Tito gets a nearfall. Haste blind tags in and kicks Liona in the face for a decent 2 count. Uranage by Liona, Tito breaks up the finisher. Liona spears Haste, Tito breaks the cover. The match totally breaks down until Kaun and Fujita find themselves alone for a slugfest. Shotgun dropkick by Kaun sets Fujita up for Cage's high elevation vertical suplex. Match breaks down again, Fujita finds himself alone against The Embassy. A pendulum sitout powerbomb finishes Fujita at 12:06. Much better than I was expecting, the Embassy's power game against the various styles of TMDK made for an interesting and exciting bout, ***½.
Winners and still ROH World Six-man Tag Team Champions: The Mogul Embassy
"I Quit" Match:
Tony Nese (with Smart Mark Sterling) vs. Ethan Page
Sterling refuses to be handcuffed, so out comes Mark Henry to force the issue. Nese capitalizes with a sneak attack for the early advantage. Page is fueled by hatred and gets right back into the fight. Ethan finds time to menace Sterling, which allows Nese to hit a plancha. Sterling brings out a special jug of Nese protein powder, but inadvertently blinds Nese. I feel like that spot should have been a turning point late in the match, but hey, let's do it now for giggles. Nese comes right back and bloodies Page with a chain. Page refuses to quit, so Nese knees his head into the steps. Nese tries to cave Ethan's head in with a weight, settles for a hard Irish whip into the rails. Nese whips with a cable, but Page steals it to return the favor. Nese pretends to quit, but knocks the mic into Page and hits a dive. Nese jump ropes with the cable and fetches some tables. The crowd didn't even have to demand them. Page hits a slingshot stunner onto the top rope and follows with a cutter through the tables! Nese counters with a super rana that misses a pair of standing chairs. The fans are pretty forgiving of that botch. Nese steals a key from Bobby Cruise and shoves the ref away to uncuff Sterling. Ethan suffers a 2 on 1 beatdown but won't quit. They threaten to smash Ethan's head in with a 45 pound weight and mail the footage to his daughter. Scorpio Sky makes a timely distraction. Ethan stomps the weight into Nese's fingers and nails a DDT. Sterling takes a DDT and Ego's Edge. Sky removes Sterling, but Nese manages to cuff Ethan. Ethan gives an emphatic FU and makes a comeback despite being cuffed. The ref frees Ethan, but Nese scores some body shots. Ethan hits a vicious chair shot and chokes Nese with the chain until he quits at 20:06. Big pop for that finish. This had the same pacing issues of most I Quit matches, but the fans were invested. The late shenanigans also provided a boost, ***.
Winner: Ethan Page
Nyla Rose vs. Vertvixen
Rose gets a hot start with clubbing offense. Big splash by Rose, Vertvixen blocks the Beast Bomb. Rose chop blocks the throat, but misses a head of steam. Vertvixen hits a slingshot double stomp to the spine. Rose counters a springboard with a chokeslam. Rose voluntarily breaks her pinfall, and hits the draping flying knee. Beast Bomb finishes at 2:42. Competitive little squash match, Nyla is still pretty over despite not being featured in a long while. 2019 nostalgia is real.
Winner: Nyla Rose
ROH TV Championship - Survival of the Fittest:
Dalton Castle (with The Boys) vs. Lee Moriarty vs. Kyle Fletcher vs. Lee Johnson vs. Bryant Keith vs. Komander (with Alex Abrahantes)
Code of Honor for Castle and Moriarty, but Fletcher tags himself in and throws Castle out. Luckily for Castle, The Boys are here to fan him back to life. Moriarty and Fletcher wrestle to a stalemate, Castle tries to interfere but needs more fan therapy from The Boys. Johnson forces a tag and locks up with Moriarty for the Battle of the Lees. Castle's interference backfires again, but this time The Boys don't help. Komander tags in for a head scissor takedown on Johnson. Castle gets thrown out for a third time, Komander and Keith square off. Keith removes a charging Castle again, but Fletcher ambushes with stiff blows. Castle earns a big pop when he finally manages to toss Fletcher. The moment is fleeting, a sequence of dives designed to anger Jim Cornette ensues. Komander cartwheels on the top rope over Fletcher and then returns for a super rana. A breakdown leads to Moriarty hitting Johnson with an impaler DDT and Border City Stretch for the first elimination at 8:45! The Boys warm up Castle's legs, giving him the strength to fight Moriarty. Castle takes everyone to Suplex City. Johnny TV runs in, attacks The Boys, and distracts Castle. Moriarty gives Castle the Impaler DDT to pin him at 11:21! Fans HATE this. The remaining four men slug it out. Komander gives Keith a DDT, but Fletcher throws him out. They all gather for a super satisfying Tower of Doom! Fans chant "Holy sh!t!" Keith slams Moriarity onto his knee for a dramatic 1 count! Keith gives Moriarty a Tiger Driver to send him packing at 15:40! Fletcher tries to pick up the pieces, but Keith gives him a Saito Suplex. Fletcher blocks the Tiger Driver and piledrives Keith to pin him at 16:51! We're down to Komander vs. Fletcher in singles action. Komander nails an amazing springboard poison rana! Fletcher blocks a dive and hits a devastating Tombstone piledriver on the ring frame. Komander almost gets counted out, Fletcher hits a Brainbuster for a great nearfall. Komander gives Fletcher's knees a 619 and hits a springboard destroyer but FLETCHER KICKS OUT! Fans chant "This is awesome!" Komander targets the neck and hits a tightrope 450 splash onto the ring frame! Fans chant "holy sh!t!" Komander hits a proper 450 splash but FLETCHER KICKS OUT AGAIN! Komander wobbles on the top rope, so Fletcher enziguris the knees and nails a Brainbuster onto the top buckle! KOMANDER KICKS OUT! Fletcher hits a quick spinning Tombstone to finally pin Komander at 25:56! This way over delivered! The eliminations were very well paced, Castle provided some comic relief, and the final showdown between Komander and Fletcher was epic. The fans bought in and treated this like a big deal, so it felt like a big deal. This one is worth checking out, ****¼.
Winner and new ROH TV Champion: Kyle Fletcher
ROH Pure Championship:
Wheeler Yuta © vs. Filthy Tom Lawlor
They start with some friendly chain wrestling. Yuta is forced to quickly use his first rope break. Yuta angrily responds with a back senton. They exchange chops, and sneak closed fists when the ref's back is turned. The ref catches Lawlor in the act, and Yuta takes control attacking the legs. Lawlor uses his first rope break to survive a half crab. Chops are exchanged, Lawlor nails a vicious spear. Lawlor hits a running shoulder block and suplex for 2. Yuta traps the knee for a Dragon screw. Yuta applies an Octopus, switches to a Cobra twist. Lawlor counters with a waistlock slam. Yuta returns to the half crab, Lawlor inventively escapes with a monkey flip. Hammerlock piledriver by Lawlor only gets 2. Lawlor grabs a double wristlock, Yuta burns his second rope break. Yuta uses a closed fist in full view of the ref, Lawlor answers with an avalanche hammerlock suplex! Yuta uses his last rope break to escape a brutal wristlock. Lawlor grabs a mean armbar, Yuta reverses into an ankle lock. German suplex by Yuta, but Lawlor rolls into a tight hammerlock. Yuta counters a Chicken Wing and grabs the ropes to pin Lawlor at 13:32! Super fun match, the Pure rules were well utilized and made the various submission attempts all the more dramatic, ***½.
Winner and still ROH Pure Champion: Wheeler Yuta
Lawlor extends his hand, but Yuta knees him in his manhood. Hook arrives for the save, but Yuta ambushes him with another low blow. Yuta gives Hook a DDT. Well, this did Hook absolutely no favors, but Yuta looks like a cerebral killer.
Shane Taylor vs. Keith Lee
The fans are ready for this one. They have a tentative start and lock knuckles. Taylor punches the pec and they lock up again. They trade shoulder blocks, Taylor gets knocked down. Fans chant "Keith is awesome!" Lee nails a slingshot shoulder block for 1. Taylor counters into the Tower of London and then hits a big splash for 2. Lee survives a chinlock but loses a slugfest. Lee tries another comeback, but Taylor hits a Uranage. Top rope splash by Taylor gets 2. Lee tries to come back again and this time throws Taylor for a good nearfall. Lee seems poised for victory when Lee Moriarty shows up uninvited. Lee gives Moriarty a sitout powerbomb, but Taylor knees the back of the head for 2. They battle on the top rope until Taylor hits a messy, yet still somehow awesome SUPER DESTROYER for a hot nearfall. Lee answers with a big slam to win at 14:41. Kind of a meandering hoss fight with some impressive high spots thrown in here and there. I felt oddly disconnected to this, even while the fans tried to will this into something special. That top rope Destroyer was fire though, ***.
Winner: Keith Lee
Lee shows Taylor some respect in the aftermath.
Tony Shiavone chats with Keith Bryant backstage. Even though he lost Survival of the Fittest, he feels that he proved himself to be championship material. AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy saunters in and challenges him to a title match on Collision. That was charitable of Cassidy, losers earning title matches feels like a very mid 2010's WWE thing to do.
Jay Briscoe Tribute Match:
FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) and Mark Briscoe vs. The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Claudio Castagnoli)
Dax and Mox tangle up. Mox dares Dax to hit him, so he does. Quick tag to Claudio, he trades stiff blows with Dax. Danielson tags in and lights Dax up. Quick tag to Cash, he slugs it out with Bryan. The BCC cut Cash off in their corner. Cash blocks Claudi's giant swing and Mark charges in on an early hot tag. The BCC use the ring post and rails to take control of Dax. The BCC are playing subtle heels, but the fans still pop for Claudio's Giant Swing. Mox hurts his shoulder on a missed head of steam, Dax gives Claudio a German suplex, and Mark brings the Redneck Kung Fu on a hot tag. Mark suplexes Danielson, and powerbombs him into Cash's cutter for only 2. Danielson regains control with YES kicks but can't pin Dax. Harwood superplexes Danielson into place for Cash' flying splash and Mark's Froggy Elbow. Bryan blocks a Doomsday Device, Mark catches Claudio with a flying clothesline instead. The match breaks down until everyone is down for a round of applause. Mox is bleeding, because of course he is. Everyone stumbles up, battle lines are drawn, and a brawl erupts. Mark gets thrown into Claudio's uppercut. Mark kicks out of the Neutralizer! Mark tries to clean house, but Claudio dishes out a major beatdown. FTR return for a triple team Shatter Machine, but Claudio kicks out! Mox and Danielson return to stop a J-Driller and the BCC triple team Mark. FTR return to clean house. Everyone is counted out at 19:00. Fans hate that finish and chant "Let them fight!" Briscoe thinks the ref must have bumped his f'n head and demands the match be restarted. He gets his wish and dives off the stage onto Claudio. Meanwhile, Mox smashes a coffee cup into Wheeler's face. Back in the ring, Claudio bonks Mark into the buckles, which only fires Mark up. Claudio hits a bulldog onto a chair, Mark pops up and leaps off the chair for a somersault senton! FTR set up a table and Mark pulls barbed wire and thumb tacks out of a bucket. Mark fetches a wired ladder to smash over Claudio. Meanwhile, Mox carves Dax with a fork. Mark props Claudio on the ladder, but Mox shoves him off the post and through the ladder. Mox curb stomps Dax onto a chair and takes the fork to Cash's bloody forehead. Danielson has lost his eye patch but returns with chair shots. Mox and Danielson use the wire for a modified LeBell lock on Cash. We get a triple submission spot, Dax drops Bryan onto Mox. The BCC regain the upper hand and fill the ring with chairs. Cash desperately spears Claudio through a table at ringside. Dax piledrives Mox through another table! Bryan gives Mark some NO kicks, but misses the running knee. Mark hits a J-Driller onto a pile of chairs and pins Bryan at 29:48! This was the right kind of epic, over-the-top, stunt show to honor the late Jay. Cathartic and just what the show needed, ****¼.
Winners: Mark Briscoe and FTR
Proving Ground Match:
ROH World Champion Eddie Kingston vs. Anthony Henry
If Henry can win or last 10 minutes with Eddie, he'll get the first shot at the Continental Classic winner. Feels a bit weird to have the World Champion in the comedown match before the main event, but I digress. They spar, Eddie overwhelms with body shots. Henry bursts into a running knee in the guard rail corners and hits a flying double knee to the face. Henry goes to work on the neck Eddie strikes his way back into the fight. Enzugri by Henry, and a German suplex gets 2. They exchange more stiff shots, Henry hits a piledriver for 2. Eddie answer with a spinning back fist, suplex, and Dragon sleeper to win at 5:37. Spirited and brutal short match, **½.
Winner: Eddie Kingston
Daniel Garcia comes out to stare Kingston down. He has a chance to eliminate him from the Continental Classic and guarantee he won't hold on to the ROH title.
ROH Women's Championship:
Athena © vs. Billie Starkz
Athena scores some points for cosplaying as Bane in her entrance. Billie has come a long way from the plucky high school student working GCW pre-show matches. The announcers keep saying this is the first time the ROH Women's title has main evented an ROH PPV, but Athena just main evented Death Before Dishonor as champion in July. I know that and I wasn't even paying attention then. Anyways, Billie fires the first shots with forearms. Athena blocks a head scissors, so Billie nails a dropkick. Fans chant "Women's Wrestling!" Billie tries a tope, but Athena thrashes her into the barricades. Billie gets busted open in the midst of the onslaught. Athena piles it on with a Uranage onto the ring frame. Billie escapes a Tree of Woe and suplexes Athena into the buckles. They dodge wild kicks and Billie nails a nasty Dragon suplex for 2. Headbutt by Athena, aided by her protective mask. Athena seemed to reinjure her broken nose. Billie awkwardly flips over into a spear. Billie rips Athena's mask off and unloads on her broken nose. Billie knees Athena in the face and lands a Swanton Bomb for 2. Fans chant "This is awesome!" Tope by Billie, she then tosses Athena into the rails. Billie misses a running knee into the rails and takes a vicious shotgun dropkick. Billie reverses a suplex from the announce table to the floor! Fans chant "holy sh!t" Billie hits another suplex outside and gets 2 on a late cover. Athena answers with a weird bulldog off of the railing. Athena nails an AVALANCHE GERMAN SUPLEX but BILLIE KICKS OUT! Fans chant "fight forever!" Starkz kicks Athena in the ref, Athena bounces up for a lariat and a visual pinfall. Athena demands that ring announcer, Lexi Nair, bring her the title belt. Lexi hedges, and Billie dropkicks Athena's skull in the belt. Billie hits the Starkz End for a red hot nearfall. Starkz counters into a package powerbomb onto the ring frame! Billie misses a Swanton Bomb, Athena nails a KO shot but is too hurt to cover. They brawl to their feet, Athena hits Despicable Knee for only 1! They trade rapid counters until Athena wraps Billie up like a pretzel any which way to win at 28:29. That's a heartbreaking conclusion for Starkz. I have to say, I didn't think this was particularly main event worthy at the start, but the fans were on their side throughout, and this became pretty compelling when it extended about 15 minutes longer than I thought it would. It wasn't all that well executed, but they got it over through pure force of will and many surprising high spots. Overall, I'd peg this for ***½.
Winner and still ROH Women's Champion: Athena
Starkz shows frustration in the aftermath, but extends her hand anyway. Athena rejects the offer and demands that Billie be her minion. Starkz accepts a high five and gives Athena a big hug. That's certainly some odd booking, kind of diminishes Billie's big performance.
This show completely ruled all the way through the Jay Briscoe tribute and then kind of quieted down for the final hour. Still, no bad matches, and many that greatly surpassed my expectations. And it was only 10 dollars! I'd say this is worth a month of HonorClub, go check it out.
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