Ring of Honor presents
FINAL BATTLE 2018
The Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City
Final Battle opens to a hot crowd and Ian Riccobani and Colt Cabana on commentary. Ian tells us that Ladder War will be the main event tonight, as we see the titles already suspended above the ring. Ian and Colt run down the ROH title match, Daniels/Scurll for the ROH title shot, Bully Ray and Flip Gordon (FINALLY) finishing their feud (I HOPE). But we go to the ring to open the show with…
KENNY KING vs ELI ISOM
King out first, looking more and more like a star in how he carries himself. Isom out next – I’m pretty high on this up and comer based on the past couple of TV outings. Dude has brought a strong ring presence and some hardcore urgency to his work. King grabs a mic and runs down Isom as not deserving to stand across from him in the ring, that he’s nothing more than a commercial for the ROH dojo, and that the new school sucks. King caps it off with a mic shot to the head, and we get the ball and we are off. Kenny’s mic work is getting NUTS. He knows he’s ready
King keeps on the aggression and puts Isom on the apron and then kicks him to ringside, then runs the ropes and takes down Isom with a big tornillo. King beats down Isom outside but misses a clothesline and ends up hitting the ring post. Isom tries to mount a comeback and throw King back in the ring, but King is able to turn around and land a big forearm shot. King finally brings it back into the ring and covers, but Isom kicks out at 1.
Isom gets whipped to the ropes but evades King coming in, the action picks up pace and Isom is able to catch King coming with a high knee and a big dropkick before King bails to ringside. “Eli” chants. Isom looks to fly and hits a no touch tope con hilo beautifully. Isom and King back in, Isom covers but only gets one and looks to ground King. King powers up and gets the advantage back with quick short shots, covers Isom but only 1. Isom fights back but King is able to turn it into a backbreaker, and then a reverse suplex into a stunner (YES), covers but only 2.
Isom fights back and lands a big forearm, evades King and hits some quick shots and an enziguri. Isom gets a big belly to belly on King and kips up, hits a running elbow on King in the corner, King looks to reverse the following one but Isom attempts a deadlift powerbomb instead but cant quite get King up. Isom drops King for the short powerbomb and covers, but King kicks out at 2. King blocks a suplex attempt from Isom but Isom is able to hit the belly to back instead, and then looks to fly. King shoves Paul Turner into the ropes right as Isom is springing to dump Isom, hits a Chin Checker and Be Kind Rewind, covers but pulls Isom up before the 3.
King talks trash to the camera and chops Isom in the corner, talks back to the crowd and sits Isom on the top rope. King looks to superplex but Isom fights him off, but King follows up with a jumping enziguri and hoists Isom for the Royal Flush, but Isom rolls him up for 2! Isom picks up King and lands a Gory Bomb and a rollup but King out again at 2! Isom takes a bit of time to fire up and whips King, but King catches Isom off the leapfrog attempt for the Samoan Driver, cover on Isom and thats the 3 count and the WIN.
Kenny King defeats Eli Isom by pinfall after a Samoan Driver
JAY’S RATING: 2.8 out of 5
This was a fine enough outing from these two, and Isom gave us more reasons to look forward to his developing career, but this was largely about King being a cocky and fairly dominant dick, and to that end the job was done well. King is finding his current role more and more, his mic work is confident in its arrogance, and he knows how to deliver in the ring even if this was a little bit paint-by-numbers for him in my opinion. However, paint by numbers for King is still pretty dang good, so this ended up being a fine, entertaining match to kick off the show, if it could have used a bit more fire.
After the match, King teases the handshake before walking away.
Ring of Honor World Television Championship
HANGMAN PAGE vs JEFF COBB
We get the hype video package, followed by Page’s entrance. Cobb out next to his far-too-generic-in-my-opinion music (though I’m liking the lighting effect for his title pose). Suffice it to say, I am going into this match with VERY high hopes. Page and Cobb are nose to nose from the start. Crowd is off the hook.
The bell rings and Page goes right at Cobb hard who absorbs it and pushes Page off. Page hits 3 big boots off the ropes, but Cobb catches him before getting dumped outside with a Page dropkick. Page looks for the apron shooting star, but Cobb catches Page into a huge belly to belly suplex on the floor seamlessly! “Holy shit” chants. Cobb keeps pounding Page and tosses him back in. Cobb with a big running European uppercut that wipes out Page (seriously, that was some M. Bison Psycho Crusher shit there).
Cobb keeps pounding Page and looks for a suplex, Page is able to counter and takes out Cobb’s knee and follows with a lionsault, covers but Cobb powers out at 2. Page chops Cobb, takes him down and hits a tope atomico. Page lines Cobb up and looks for a moonsault from the top, but Cobb reverses and looks for a top rope German. Page fights Cobb off but eats a jumping dropkick from Cobb.
Cobb climbs again and hoists Page up and stalls on the middle rope…………. and then finally dumps him over! Cover, but Page out at 1, which Cobb replies to with a standing moonsault. Cobb calls for the standing shooting star headbutt but Page moves, and hits Cobb in the corner with a running dropkick. Page puts Cobb on the top rope and looks for a superplex of his own. Cobb counters into a crossbody off the middle rope, but Page rolls through with it to deadlift Cobb, and tosses him with a fallaway slam! The crowd is loving this.
Page hits a clothesline that sends Cobb outside, runs the ropes and takes Cobb down with a big suicide dive. Page then climbs the corner, and lands a moonsault all the way from the top to the floor on Cobb. Colt channels Excalibur with an “UN-BE-LIEVABLE” and Page tosses Cobb back in and hits a standing shooting star and covers but Cobb powers out at 1. Page hits a second one and covers again, but only gets 2.
Cobb gets back up and trades blows with Page, they go back and forth with heavy blows, with neither budging. They go forehead to forehead and Cobb lands some open hand strikes that send Page back, pulls him up and looks for the Sidewinder Suplex. Page tries to fight out, so Cobb flips him around to a tombstone hold… and then sits out with it dumping Page right on his head! OH DEAR GOD! Page’s face sell is amazing. Cobb covers, but Page kicks out at 2! “This is Awesome” chants. That was awesome.
Page tries to fight up but eats a Cobb elbow, but lands on his feet out of a German attempt and lands a superkick, an elbow and a rolling elbow before Cobb cuts him off with a huge headbutt. Cobb runs the ropes but Page hits the Buckshot Lariat and the crowd erupts! Page looks for Rite of Passage but Cobb rolls through, deadlifts Page to a powerbomb, shifts that to a Fireman’s Carry, and then just TOSSES him into an F5. Cover by Cobb, but Page is out at 2!
Cobb calls for the finish as we get dueling chants. Cobb looks for Tour of the Islands but Page turns it into a crucifix cover for a great 2 count. Page looks for another Buckshot but Cobb catches him coming in with Tour of the Islands, picks up Page and hits him with a second one, covers and Cobb gets the WIN and retains the title!
Jeff Cobb defeats Hangman Page by pinfall to retain the ROH TV Title after two Tours of the Islands
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
Yeah that was a great match. I could see these two going head to head again soon, and while I feel like this was a great showing, they left me feeling like they can EASILY push it further if they want to. Keeping the title on Cobb and allowing him to rack up defenses is a good idea, especially in a match like this where Page came off looking once again like the future superstar that he is, regardless of whether he stays in ROH or not and continues to pursue gold. Cobb is without question the future of this company (I’m still putting him and Gresham as my “Future Top Guys” picks for ROH). This was hard hitting, explosive, smartly paced and every bit the match I was hoping it would be. Don’t miss this one, cuz this is the industry right here.
Four Corners Survival Elimination Match
ROH Women of Honor World Championship
KAREN Q vs MADISON RAYNE vs KELLY KLEIN vs SUMIE SAKAI (c)
We get the hype video going in. I feel like if Kelly Klein can work her precision and groundedness just a bit more, I’d love to see her get a run and would be my pick if a title change is on the table – regardless, I’m pulling for her to deliver here. I do think its time for a title change, Sumie has been pretty great in establishing a standard of excellence for the title, but we need some fresh storytelling with the belt.
The bell rings as Klein goes at Rayne as Sumie and Q square off. We get some group spots to begin with everyone getting some licks in, including Rayne getting a 2 count on Q, Sumie hitting a belly to back on Q, and Sumie and Rayne taking both Q and Klein down at ringside with running moves off the apron. Sumie is the first back in the ring along with Rayne, who lock up. Sumie with Mongolian Chops on Rayne, but Rayne is able to land a crossbody for 2.
Rayne looks for a rollup on Sumie to follow but Sumie catches Rayne in a choke before Q breaks it up and locks in a DOUBLE Boston Crab on both Sumie and Rayne! They are finally able to overpower Q, but Klein gets back in and takes them both out again and dumps Sakai. Klein and Q look to double team Rayne, with both hitting good shots in the corner. Rayne tries to fight back, but gets overpowered.
Klein whips Rayne hard in the corner multiple times, then whips her into an Exploder Suplex from Q. Klein holds Rayne for Q but Rayne moves and Q kicks Klein, who goes to the outside. Rayne fires up on Q and lands the Crucifix Bomb, covers but only gets 2. Sumie climbs in the corner but Rayne sees her and interrupts, Q joins Rayne on the middle rope and Klein comes up underneath for what looks like Tower of Doom, but its a double superbomb on Q and Rayne as Sumie doesnt go over. Sumie climbs up and takes out Klein with a big missle dropkick, covers but only gets 2. Klein throws Sumie with a fallaway slam that sends Sumie outside, but turns around into a full nelson slam from Q for a 2 count. Q looks for the Crab, Klein looks to power Q off but Q cartwheels to safety. Klein looks for a backslide, Q rolls through but Klein is able to power her up into K-Power, covers and Q is ELIMINATED.
Rayne in but Klein looks for another K-Power, Rayne gets out of it and hits Klein with a tornado DDT, covers but only 2. Sumie back in with shots to Rayne, Rayne however catches the cutter, covers Sumie but only gets 2. Rayne lands the Rayne Check, covers again but Sumie is still able to kick out at 2. Rayne looks for an enziguri but doesnt quite get it, allowing Sumie to catch her in Smash Mouth, but Klein tosses Sumie off and gets the cover herself to ELIMINATE Rayne!
Sumie and Klein slug it out, Sumie ducks a clothesline and lands a forearm, and then looks for the cross armbar on Klein who tries to keep the hands clasped. Klein powers up Sumie for a short powerbomb but Sumie wont let go, so Klein has to roll to the ropes for the break. Sumie looks for Smash Mouth but Klein powers her off, Sumie looks for it again and catches it and covers Klein, but Klein is able to kick out at 2. “Kelly” chants.
Sumie looks for a rana but Klein catches her, hoists her back and plants her with a nice powerbomb, stacks her up but Sumie kicks out at 2. Klein picks up Sumie in the firemans carry and hits K-Power and covers, but Sumie kicks out again. Klein puts Sumie on the top rope and climbs, and is able to hit an Avalanche K-Power on Sumie! The cover, the 3 count and Kelly Klein gets the WIN and the Women of Honor World Championship!
Kelly Klein defeats Sumie Sakai in the final fall by pinfall to win the WOH World Title for the first time after an Avalanche K-Power
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a good match overall, with 4 very different talents performing their roles well. Q is getting better with each and every outing, and Rayne is becoming one of the more “you know they can deliver” talents around these days. You could feel that the crowd disengaged a bit for this match, only getting a bit fired up again at the end, and I feel like its in part due to a need for something fresh in the division. Which is why I think the title change is the right call here, and Klein is the right choice as the 2nd champion. She brings a strong style approach to the title which can be fun, and it further shows an investment in ROH talent that I respect. I do think Klein still needs to work on losing momentum and urgency as the match goes on, and she still has a couple of nagging execution issues in-ring. But she feels hungry to me, and I think long term this is a great choice to button a really solid title match that saw Sumie go out strong after a dominant reign.
After the match, Klein and Sumie hug.
JONATHAN GRESHAM vs ZACK SABRE, JR
We get a Gresham interview before his entrance. LOVE ZSJ’s ROH entrance theme and style – it feels EXACTLY him. The crowd is going NUTS for ZSJ. The way they are talking about ZSJ, it sounds like he’s going to be around ROH more… soooo yeah, Cobb/Gresham/Page/ZSJ as Next Gen ROH Top Guys for sure.) ZSJ poses for a second, then walks right up to Gresham and pie faces him, pissing off Gresham. ZSJ chants are dominant, but the crowd splits as we get the bell and the lock up.
ZSJ and Gresham start with fast paced ground wrestling, with Gresham looking a bit dominant until they go face to face and ZSJ keeps pie facing him. They lock up again with ZSJ looking for the arms and getting a FANTASTIC surfboard, transitions that to another hold as Gresham tries to overpower ZSJ which he finally does. Gresham looks for wrist and arm control but then transitions to the leg, as both talents keep things grounded and joint-manipulation oriented.
ZSJ looks to quicken the pace but Gresham shows that he can go just as fast, which backs off ZSJ. (Nice.) They go back to fast ground work again, with ZSJ getting a headscissors. Gresham looks to work out of it, but ZSJ is able to counterwrestle into maintaining it. Gresham finally gets out of it, but ZSJ turns Gresham right back into it.
Gresham continues to look for the escape and finally ties up ZSJ’s ankles as he kneels on them and flips off ZSJ. ZSJ says bring it. Gresham slaps ZSJ. ZSJ slaps Gresham. They slap each other more until Gresham looks for a headlock, which ZSJ looks to turn into a headscissors, but Gresham gets out of it, more counter wrestling from both, bow and arrow attempt by ZSJ which Gresham rolls out of onto ZSJ to cover but only gets 2 and the two both get up and face off. Gresham looks confident and ZSJ looks spooked. GREAT STORYTELLING.
They go to lock up but ZSJ hits a Euro. Another Euro from Gresham, rocking him back. Third one from ZSJ but Gresham drops him with a dropkick. Gresham works the legs, transitions that into a headlock and then goes for the wrists. ZSJ tries to escape but Gresham is able to maintain control. They keep things grounded, with Gresham looking for covers but ZSJ bridging out each time.
ZSJ finally escapes and overpowers Gresham, countering a hiptoss into an abdominal stretch. Gresham counters that into a submission of his own, and each jockeys for the submission advantage with ZSJ getting the better of it until Gresham gets to the ropes. ZSJ finally breaks but kicks at Greshams legs and plays to intimidate him. Euro to Gresham, but Gresham asks for more. ZSJ obliges and Gresham comes back with a big chop.
ZSJ puts Gresham down and works the arm but Gresham fires back and they trade fast shots. ZSJ lands some HUGE slaps but Gresham hits an enziguri and bridging German for a 2 count. ZSJ is on his knees and Gresham hits the ropes and bounces back with a HUGE right hand shot! Cover by Gresham but ZSJ kicks out at 2. Gresham tries to keep the momentum, Euro from ZSJ but Gresham snatches the single leg crab.
ZSJ rolls over and gets the triangle choke instead. Gresham might be passing out, with the arm dropping twice but Gresham is still alive, cartwheels out and kicks at ZSJ’s arm. Gresham climbs ZSJ and looks to lock in the Octopus, but ZSJ uses his size to counter into an ankle lock. Gresham counters into an ankle lock of his own, ZSJ looks to counter but Gresham catches a rollup for a nice 2 count. ZSJ up first and lands a HUGE PK and covers, but Gresham is out at 2, and both are down. “This is Awesome” chants.
ZSJ looks for another PK but Gresham catches the leg, ZSJ answers with open hand strikes. ZSJ runs the ropes but Gresham criss crosses and lands a springboard standing moonsault and a knee drop to the arm! Gresham looks for a rollup, but ZSJ counters into the European Clutch and gets the 3 count and the WIN in his ROH official debut!
Zack Sabre, Jr defeats Jonathan Gresham by pinfall after a European Clutch
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
I loved this one. I love both of their styles, as similar as they are, and they used those similarities to their advantage, mixing the “I can do anything you can do” with Gresham’s shoulder-chip and ZSJ’s cocky prickishness to great effect. Gresham has been looking hot lately, so giving ZSJ the win in his debut makes sense for me, and Gresham looked FANTASTIC here. He’s so smooth, so precise, and you can feel just how much he loves what he does. Its infectious. The same could be said of ZSJ, who might be on my personal Top 5 Male/Masc wrestlers in the World list, and this gave me no reason to question that thought. I am so excited for ROH in 2019 from a pure talent potential POV – just keep the timelines in check y’all! This is definitely one to catch.
DALTON CASTLE vs MATT TAVEN
We get the package before the entrances. Castle out with The Boys. Taven out with TK O’Ryan who bullies Bobby Cruise. Taven is out with both the ROH 6-Man belt and his “REAL” ROH World Championship. Turner holds up the belt at Taven’s request, and apparently this match is now for Taven’s “REAL” World Title. I sort of love this, for what it does story-wise. If he defends it successfully, it builds actual prestige for the belt and adds further proof to the thought that he CAN be champ, his belief that he SHOULD be champ notwithstanding. I like it.
The “REAL” Ring of Honor World Championship
DALTON CASTLE vs MATT TAVEN
Taven slaps Castle to start, Castle returns fire and we are off. They scrap to start, the action spills outside and Taven spits at Castle. They slug it out until Taven shoves Castle into the rail and heads back in. Castle follows and they slug some more. Taven lands a knee and puts Castle in the corner, but Castle fights back. They evade each other over and over again in the corner for a funny spot that leads to a nice peacock from Castle. Taven gets in his face and says that HEEEEEEE’S MATT T… but then gets slapped.
Castle puts Taven in the corner and slows things down. He scoops Taven but Taven goes behind, puts Castle on the apron and hits a triangle enziguri, but Castle is caught by The Boys and supported back into the ring! Taven doesnt know that Castle is behind him, and Castle drops Taven with a double leg takedown, and follows up with a big overhead suplex. Castle chops Taven in the corner, whips him to the opposite and follows in with a high knee and another suplex, looks to cover but Taven grabs the ropes right away.
Castle stays on Taven and looks for another shot in the corner but TK moves Taven out of the way and Castle goes outside. Taven follows with a baseball slide, then a suicide dive, and then goes for a no touch suicide tope and OH MY GOD HE JUST LANDED ON NOTHING BUT BARRICADE! I genuinely could not tell if he was able to totally catch himself there, but I guess he did cuz he’s still moving, or at least was before he eats a Castle knee off the apron.
Castle picks up Taven and looks for a slam but Taven pushes him into the ring apron and then throws him into the stairs that lead down from the entryway. Taven back in the ring, and TK throws in Castle. The Boys fan Castle as Taven keeps working over the back and midsection of Castle, gets a nearfall and then just puts knees into the back. Taven chops Castle in the corner and then whips him across hard, which drops Castle upon impact.
Taven looks for a Camel Clutch, but Castle reverses it into a Shankly Gates of sorts, which Taven is able to (almost) reverse into a Bret Hart cover for a 2 count. Castle catches Taven coming in with a suplex, and both combatants are down. Taven mounts some quick offense and a DDT, covers but Castle is out at 2. Taven looks for Climax, but Castle hits some big strikes and a kneeling DDT of his own, but Castle cant quite follow up right away, so Taven is up first.
Castle fights off Taven, who gets Turner’s attention allowing TK to get a shot in on Castle. The Boys then intervene and take TK off the apron, dump Taven to the outside as he rushes them and follow through with a dive that wipes out TK at ringside. The red balloons get released from under the ring and Vinny emerges from under the ring behind the Boys and downs each of them with a reverse DDT, then drags Boy 1 under the ring. TK distracts Turner while Taven nails Castle with a belt shot, Taven covers but Castle kicks out at 2! “Dalton Castle” chants.
Castle gets a rollup on Taven for 2, then looks for another one but Taven rolls out of it and takes out a seated Castle with Just The Tip. Taven gets back to his feet and looks to climb, but Castle takes him out to drape him over the corner, heads to the apron and hits a nice knee. Taven looks to throw Castle back in the ring but Castle turns it around into a rana, catches TK with a lariat and then hoists up Taven and Bang-A-Rang’s him into the ringpost!
Castle works to get Taven back into the ring and hits a Gut Wrench Bomb on Taven and covers, but TK picks up Boy 2 and just throws him through the ropes into Castle to break it up. WHAT! With that, Turner ejects TK from ringside. “Nah nah nah nah good bye” chants. Taven looks to mount offense but Castle reverses and hits Bang-A-Rang, covers but Taven is able to reach the ropes at 2. Castle with unrelenting knees in the corner to Taven, looks for Bang-A-Rang again but Taven gets out of hit and gets Just The Tip, and is able to follow that up with Climax and covers for the 3 count and the WIN.
Matt Taven defeats Dalton Castle by pinfall to “retain” the “REAL” ROH World Title after Climax
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a super enjoyable match, with Taven now adding a “title defense” aspect to the story of his belt, coming out of a hard fought battle on top and still holding “his championship” high. Taven’s dive spot on the guardrail scared the hell out of me, especially as I was watching when TK broke his leg on a barricade. Taven has the potential of taking the top heel spot, and that could be super interesting. The Kingdom continues to intrigue me as a presence within the ROH universe. Castle is also starting to get his step back, definitely still adapting to his collection of recovering injuries but focusing on – and succeeding in – focusing on keeping his sense of urgency up. It really paid off, with his charisma carrying the day, focusing on some “make-it-count” spots and reminding everyone why we should care that he’s back and in the title conversation. Nice work all around.
Title Shot for the ROH World Championship On The Line
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs MARTY SCURLL (shot holder)
Hype package before the entrances. LOVE Marty’s outfit. LONG LIVE THE VILLAIN. Lots of crowd love for Marty, but a decent amount for Daniels as well with “Fallen Angel” chants.
Marty and Daniels go nose to nose talking trash to begin. We get the bell and a standoff. Marty shoves Daniels. Daniels shoves back. They lock up, Marty gets a tackle and a one count, and they trade headlocks. Daniels gets a tackle of his own and a takeover, Marty replies with one of his own and pats Daniels on the head. Daniels doesnt take it and takes down Marty for wrist control. Marty spins out and gets the ground advantage and a pose. Daniels replies with ground and arm work of his own. Even match thus far.
Marty and Daniels continue the hold-trade until Marty gets Daniels into the corner and lands a series of strikes. Daniels gets Marty into the opposite corner and returns fire, and catches Marty with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a cover for 1. Daniels slams Marty and hits and outside in slingshot elbow drop and another cover, this time getting 2. Daniels stays on Marty but eats a European that sends Daniels outside. Marty looks to follow with the apron superkick, but Daniels evades and faceplants Marty on the apron, and follows with a perfect Arabian Moonsault to the floor.
Back in the ring and Daniels climbs but Marty crotches him and lands a big superplex. Daniels goes out, so Marty follows him to the apron and lands the superkick. Marty stays on Daniels, whipping him to the barricade. He sits Daniels in the corner, and nails another superkick, then puts Daniels back in the ring and slingshot guillotines him under the bottom rope. Daniels looks to fight back and they trade shots, but Marty lands a big neckbreaker and covers for 2.
Shots from Marty keep Daniels down, Daniels fights back but Marty hits him from behind with a middle rope dropkick and covers for 2. Marty with a cravate, Daniels fights back and gets an armdrag, but Marty hits a huge half and half suplex on Daniels. Daniels up fast though before Marty can hit a lariat and catches him in a huge Blue Thunder Bomb and both are down!
Daniels fires up and lands the STO to take control. Elbow in the corner and a big wheelbarrow facebuster on Marty, Daniels covers but only gets 2. Marty chops Daniels, but Daniels gets a slam and a lionsault, covers but Marty up at 2. Daniels looks to break the fingers of Marty and mocks his shtick, Marty fires back and they trade chops. Daniels fires up but Marty gets Just Kidding and a rolling elbow, looks for a suplex but Daniels looks for a counter into Angels Wings, Marty counters to a Graduation attempt but Daniels backdrops him into a cover but we get the bridge spot from Marty into the Scurll Driver, cover by Marty but only 2.
Marty calls for Chickenwing, Daniels tries to reverse, Marty counters the reversal but Daniels turns that into a rollup for 2. Daniels with a HUGE burning hammer on Marty, covers but Marty is able to kick out at 2! Daniels looks for Angels Wings but Marty picks him up and gets the tombstone, does the Taker cover, Daniels kicks out but Marty snaps the fingers! WHAT A VILLAIN! Marty grabs Daniels and rolls him through looking for Chickenwing, Daniels fights but gets more fingers snapped! WHAT A VILLAIN!!!
Daniels reverse momentum into another Angels Wings attempt but cant lift because of THE FINGERS! Marty takes advantage but Daniels counters and finally lands Angels Wings, covers but Marty is out at 2! Daniels looks for BME but Marty gets the knees up and takes Daniels down with a big strong style lariat.
Marty looks for Graduation but Daniels fights back and gets a rollup for 2 but eats a pair of kneeling superkicks. Marty hits Graduation and covers, but Daniels powers out at 2! Marty puts the boots to Daniels and looks for the Chickenwing Crossface again, finally powering him down. Daniels fights through the pain, but can’t move and finally gives in and taps out giving Marty the WIN.
Marty Scurll defeats Christopher Daniels by submission to retain his ROH World Title shot after the Chickenwing Crossface
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a very good match between two rock solid stars of different generations. This was also the most dramatically interesting choice in my opinion, as Scurll is a future main eventer for sure if he sticks around ROH, but with the speculation re: The Elite, who knows what this means for his title shot? In the meantime, Daniels losing could point to hanging up the boots or going more part time, or it could be fodder for a new chapter in his ROH story, which I honestly would be super interested to see. At the end of the day, however, a really entertaining match by two utter ring masters.
After the match, big “Thank You Daniels” chants. Daniels poses for the crowd, but BULLY RAY sneaks up from behind him and low blows him to ruin the moment. Let’s see whats next for Daniels. I can see him retiring… but I dont know that he’s done yet… and Bully low-blowing him is maybe a sign that there could be more to come?
Bully Ray takes the mic and calls out Flip Gordon. Flip obliges.
“I Quit” Match
BULLY RAY vs FLIP GORDON
Bully calls out Flip but the entrance ramp is empty, the camera shifts and we see Flip waving tactical gear and waving an American Flag in the mezzanine of the arena. Flip makes his way down. This is a really great way to do the entrance here, and has this feeling like a, ahem, FINAL BATTLE.
Flip starts hot taking down Bully with a springboard clothesline and a huge superkick that puts Bully in the corner. Flip hits a dropkick on Bully and unloads big shots to the head. Bully shoves Flip off but Flip answers with a spear, which leads Bully outside. Flip follows and keeps the fight on, hitting a gut shot with the chair and a Van Daminator. “RVD” chants. Flip sends Bully into the barricade, gets some distance and lands a flying forearm on Bully against the barricade.
Bully goes for Flip’s eyes to take advantage at ringside, reaches over the barricade and beats Flip’s ass with a garbage can. “ECW” chants. Bully goes under the ring and pulls out A TABLE. He sets it up and takes the fight back to Flip, looks to powerbomb him through the table but Flip drops behind and lands a superkick to Bully. Flip goes under and pulls out ANOTHER TABLE and puts it in the ring.
Bully tries to fight back but Flip hits some Flip Flop and Fly on Bully, and both find their way back in the ring. Flip sets up the table and charges Bully but he gets backdropped over the top rope all the way to the floor. Bully follows out and see the timekeepers table, and grabs the chain which he wraps around his fist and drives right into Flip’s face. Bully starts yelling at Cary Silkin, but Bobby Cruise gets in Bully’s face, telling him to stop! Bully pushes Bobby into the barricade, but Todd Sinclair gets in Bully’s face next – and he gets shoved too!
Bully pulls out a kendo stick from under the ring and goes to hit Silkin, but Christopher Daniels is out and takes the bullet for Silkin! Well, that could answer some stuff. Bully takes out Daniels but Flip is back in the ring and flies over the top taking out Bully. Flip is busted open and checks on Silkin, then rushes Bully but gets backdropped OVER the table and lands hard on the floor! Todd asks Flip if he quits, but Flip says no.
Bully starts eying Flip’s girlfriend who is sitting at ringside, then he reaches over the barricade and pulls her over and looks to powerbomb her through the table! Bully threatens to do it unless Flip quits, Flip begs him not to… and then Silkin hits Bully from behind with a kendo stick to take his focus off of Flip’s girlfriend! Bully grabs the kendo stick… AND THEN FLIP’S GIRLFRIEND LOW BLOWS BULLY! She and Flip kiss, Flip grabs the flag which is ALSO A KENDO STICK and hits Bully off the top with it, flooring him. “USA” chants.
Flip gets a crossface with the flag, Sinclair asks Bully if he quits, but Silas Young interferes and hits Flip with the full nelson knee and then Misery. Silas pulls out lighter fluid and douses the table, but Cheeseburger is out next and looks for SHOTEI! on Silas, but Silas catches him in Misery and dumps Burger. Suddenly COLT LEAVES THE BROADCAST POSITION and runs down with a chair, which he lays into Silas and Bully. Colt sidesteps Silas into Bully, but Silas reverses a suplex into a low blow to Colt, who gets dumpeed next.
Bully takes Flip to the corner and Silas goes to light the table to set up a flaming superbomb, and then suddenly the lights go out… AND THE SANDMAN IS IN THE RING! He’s holding the cane high, “ECW” chants, and he hits some big cane shots on Silas. Bully has his cane and the ECW OGs stand off, with Sandman spitting beer in Bully’s face. Flip is back in and gets a superkick and Star Spangled Stunner on Bully. Sandman hands Flip the cane, Flip picks up Bully’s too and just waylays Bully! Sinclair asks him, and Bully quits giving Flip the WIN.
Flip Gordon defeats Bully Ray by submission after beating his ass with two kendo sticks
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
Look, this thing was booked within an inch of its life. And normally, I dont know if that would work for me. But this whole feud has gone on SO long, and has had so many side bits with Colt and Silas etc, that in a way this became the perfect way to end it. Its had gotten so convoluted that it just needed to explode, and thats exactly what happened here. As a result, I found myself THOROUGHLY entertained by this, which is nice because I went in a bit concerned. But the right person won, the feud can end and everyone can move on, it was hard hitting extreme wrestling with some melodrama woven throughout to make just a batshit affair. And I think thats what this feud needed to stick the landing. One gripe, I don’t know if I buy someone with the track record of Bully Ray saying “I Quit” to the kendo stick shots… but cest la vie.
After the match, Sandman shares a beer and a hug with Flip. He then gets handed the flag by Colt.
Caprice Coleman replaces Colt on commentary, but his headset takes a minute to kick in.
Ring of Honor World Championship
CODY vs JAY LETHAL (c)
Hype package takes us to entrances. Lethal is out to new music… not sure how I feel about it, I feel like the other one felt more specific to me, whereas this feels a bit more “generic rock underscoring” to me. Cody takes the mic and says it sounds like the crowd loves him. He says he thinks he loves them too, but then goes heel and says they can all kiss his ass. Jay takes the mic and says two things. One, this is his fricking company, jackass. And two, the shiny new toy in the company will be dull and gone.
We get the bell and they start off fast, lots of counter wrestling back to squaring off. They lock up again with Jay getting the arm, but Cody takes the leg and we get another standoff. Lock up again, they run the ropes and Cody looks to slide but grabs his knee in pain. Jay covers but Cody kicks out at 2, they go to headlock and Cody sells the leg, Sinclair begs Jay off but Cody hops back up and cheap shots Jay, then heads outside to celebrate with Brandi. Cody slows things down by messing with the crowd.
Cody looks to get back in the ring but Jay kicks him back out and follows to ringside. Chops to Cody, a slam on the floor by Jay and then Jay tosses Cody back inside. Jay with a running chop on Cody in the corner and a nice suplex, covers but only gets 2. Jay stays on Cody who fights back, but eats the cartwheel dropkick from Jay, cover by Jay but only a 2 count. Jay with big shots in the corner to Cody, looks for the Lethal Combination but Cody fights out of it and lands the snap powerslam, but only gets 1 on the cover.
Cody beats down Jay and moves him into the corner, working over the arm. He locks Jay in the hammerlock/chinlock and keeeps Jay grounded, doing pushups to mock him. Cody maintains control and lifts Jay for a stalling suplex, but goes forward with it into a gourdbuster. Beautiful Disaster misses and Jay follows up with a chop block to Cody’s injured knee. Jay keeps the pressure on, stomping the knee on the apron and just dominating Cody.
Cody slides away from Jay in the ring, so Jay follows and keeps Cody grounded so Cody looks to escape. Jay follows again and wraps the knee around the ringpost, then traps the knee and hits a running dropkick with Cody’s knee against the post. Jay back in, kneebreaker and a kick to Cody’s knee follows as Jay keeps working over the leg, covers Cody but only gets 2. More knee work by Jay, Cody tries to fight back but Jay gets another nearfall and continues to work on the leg, hitting a Flair-style drop to the draped leg. Another nearfall for Jay.
Jay briefly trades words with Brandi but looks for the Figure Four, Cody out of it but Jay gets a rollup while Sinclair is distracted by Brandi. Jay is able to maintain control until Cody fights back, Jay almost sends Cody into Sinclair and then almost superkicks the ref too, Sinclair ducks for cover which allows Brandi to hit a spear by Brandi (the announcers discuss her “bionic shoulder” following her surgery), Cody follows up with Cross Rhodes and covers but Jay is out at 2.
Cody puts Jay in the corner and lays into him, Jay reverses and goes back to Cody’s knee. Jay sets him up for a bit of Shattered Dreams perhaps, goes full Goldust taunt, but Sinclair cuts Jay off. Cody takes the opportunity to distract Sinclair so Brandi can hit another spear, but Jay sidesteps and Brandi wipes out Cody! (Also, holy crap Brandi’s spear isnt half bad!)
Sinclair looks to call the match off but Jay stops him, as he doesnt want to win that way. Cody is back up and Jay looks for a sidekick, Cody ducks but Lethal is able to set up a Lethal Injection, BUT HITS IT ON BRANDI! (Also, did Cody pull her into the line of fire there? HMMM…) Brandi rolls out, Jay is concerned but Cody comes behind and hits another Cross Rhodes! Covers, but Jay is able to kick out at 2!
Cody fires up and looks for the Figure Four on Jay, and gets it locked in mid-ring… AND WE HEAR THE BELL! Sinclair looks confused, and it looks like it was Hangman Page ringing the bell, as he then hands the belt to Cody. Sinclair takes the belt away as Jay looks to Figure Four Cody, Cody snatches a rollup for 2 but Jay follows with a Cross Rhodes of his own, covers but Cody out at 2.
Jay climbs up and goes for Hail to the King, but Cody gets the knees up to block and Flip Flop and Flies Jay to a nice pop. Jay gets a clothesline over the top rope on Cody and looks for the suicide dives, hits his usual trifecta, then a fourth and a fifth and a sixth, looks for seven but Cody spits in his face to break the momentum and set up for Din’s Fire, lands it and covers but Jay is still able to kick out at 2.
Cody barks at Jay to get up, then pulls him up just to lay shots in, Jay fights back and sends Cody into Sinclair, and then Jay takes the title belt and hits a shot to Cody’s knee! Jay flips off Cody, hits 2 kneeling superkicks and a huge Lethal Injection. Then Jay picks Cody up and hits two more kneeling superkicks, looks for Lethal Injection, Cody blocks but Jay is able to lock in the Figure Four mid ring! Cody reaches for the ropes, but Jay pulls him back and wrenches, and Cody taps to give Jay the WIN!
Jay Lethal defeats Cody by submission to retain the ROH World Title after the Figure Four Leglock
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a fun title match with solid momentum throughout. It was Cody, so shenanigans were expected, and this was definitely a moment where I think they overplayed it a bit. Not to the point where it really had a huge negative impact, but enough that it kept this from feeling quite like the epic ROH title matches I love. I also, however, dont know that many can do what Cody does as well as Cody does it, because even with the circus approach he is always so dropped in, always working with purpose and so he is innately magnetic as a performer. So is it a 4+ star affair? No – but it also does work, with Cody effectively continuing his shtick and proving a threat to a world title in advance of some big question marks, while Jay comes off strong and looking amazing as always. The end sequence was particularly great – I don’t know if they are going full heel turn, but aggressive Lethal can be a FUN Lethal. Nice work here.
After the match, Marty Scurll comes to the ring to face down Lethal. Marty looks sqaurely at the belt. As Cody leaves, Nick Aldis appears in the entrance way carrying his NWA World Heavyweight Championship, as the camera gives us a shot of the ROH Title. Well. This could be fun from a story perspective, if they can play it right.
Aldis leaves, and Marty grabs the belt from Jay, then tosses it back to him, the challenge made. These two work so well together, I cant wait for the next outing.
Triple Threat Ladder War
Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions
THE BRISCOES vs THE YOUNG BUCKS vs SO-CAL UNCENSORED (c)
Lots of love for the Bucks. Big match feel for sure. Briscoes drop to the outside to start and throw chairs into the ring. The Bucks and SCU start to face off and the Briscoes look ready to jump. The action starts fast with SCU and the Bucks until the Briscoes pull the Bucks outside. The Bucks fend off the Briscoes, and the Kaz comes over the top with a rana that sends Matt into Jay Briscoe. The spots keep coming with a Nick PK, a Sky cutter on the apron, and a running blockbuster on the floor from Mark. YES.
Mark gets a table from under the ring and sets it up ringside and puts Sky on it. Matt gets Mark in a flipping cutter on the floor and sends him inside. Briscoes get the double team on Matt and get him with a chair to the head, as Jay jumps over the top rope into a double stomp that puts Sky through the table. Mark throws the chair at Kaz and gets Matt in the gut, and Jay hits Nick and Kaz with a trash can. The Briscoes are running wild.
Double team trash can shot on Kaz, and a big one on Nick from Mark. Jay beats down Matt as Mark tosses Sky and Kaz in along with a ladder. Mark goes old school with the ladder around his neck, and he takes out Sky with it. Kaz is already busted open when Jay sends him into it. The Bucks hit the double superkick though, before getting taken out by Jay. Jay props the ladder in the corner and dumps Nick, but Matt hoists Jay and hits the running powerbomb into the corner ladder!
Sky comes in but gets cut short with the wheelbarrow pancake driver from Matt. Bucks double team backflip dropkick on Kaz, followed by double suicide dives on the Briscoes. The Bucks hit the ring… AND GIVE A TOO SWEET. Well. Interpret that how you will. GAH. The Bucks get the ladder as SCU gets back into it and dumps Nick. Double team seated corner dropkick on Matt, and SCU keeps the Briscoes down on the outside.
SCU looks to set up the ladder and each start to climb, but the Bucks pull them down and go for a dual whip to the ropes, but SCU rebounds at the ladder and quick climb to the top! Bucks pull them down again, but SCU gets the advantage and whips Nick, but Matt elevates Nick up the ladder! SCU in to cut them off, Matt gets dumped but Nick tries to fight back but he gets pulled down. Nick hits some of his comeback sequence and tries to the use the ladder on Kaz, they push it back and forth at each other, Matt comes in fast and runs through the ladder to down Kaz with a spear! GREAT sequence.
Nick looks to climb, Sky climbs the other side, their partners break it up and the Bucks hit dual superkicks. Bucks climb, but SCU cuts them off again, with Kaz hitting a springboard lungblower off the ladder on Nick! Kaz sets the ladder up and climb but the Briscoes are in with chairs. Kaz jumps rungs to avoid a shot but gets hit by a thrown chair instead and drops. Sky eats chair as well, and the Briscoes break down the ladder and put it in the corner before suplexing Nick into it.
Kaz fights back with a chair, but Jay backdrops him toward the ladder, but only his ankle hits, which Kaz sells. Mark with boots to Kaz and a chair shot to Sky. Briscoes with perfect spot-picking. Chair gets set up in the corner, another wedged in another, Jay tries to throw Sky into the wedged one but Sky reverses. Mark in with shots to Sky, but Sky gets a great double stomp to the back, Mark retreats to the apron and the Bucks throw a chair of their own and nail him in the head.
Mark down at ringside and Sky hits a huge tope, wiping him out. Nick follows with that crazy corkscrew shit he does. Matt runs the ropes but Jay backdrops him over the top on the other side, sending him through a table! Jay is busted wide open, and picks up a staple gun. Kaz back in the ring, who spits in Jay’s face. Jay looks for the staple shot but Kaz drops and low blows him! Mark in to boot Kaz, but Kaz gets the draped leg drop while on the apron, and Kaz hits an assisted inside-out slingshot cutter putting Mark through the other table!
Matt in the ring weilding a sledgehammer as Jay is back in too. Jay screams at Matt to hit him, but he tosses the hammer out and superkicks Jay instead. Sky in and catches the superkick, but Bucks catch Sky in a pop-up spear. Nick brings another ladder in and it gets draped over the middle rope, creating a surface they lay Sky on. Sky fights off the Bucks and gets the jumping rana on Nick right onto the ladder! Sky looks to grab the ladder, but Matt goes up and over hitting the end of the ladder, smashing Sky in the face!
Matt back in to set up the ladder and starts to climb, but Jay cuts him off with the chair once again, and then hits a backbreaker on the chair that just crushes it. Nick comes in with a facebuster on the chair and looks for the apron moonsault on on SCU, but SCU is able to get an assisted tornado DDT on Nick on the floor. Mark takes out SCU though by throwing the ladder over the top rope on top of them!
Mark back in setting up a ladder, followed by SCU. Mark sets up a ladder to climb in the corner and slams Sky, climbs but Sky climbs the other side and cuts him off. Matt uses Kaz to jump off of into a spear on Sky, he sets up Jay for Meltzer but Mark catches Nick off the springboard in a cutter as Jay hits Jay Driller on Matt! This has been non-stop carnage and the crowd is eating it up. “Fight forever” chants.
Jay and Kaz are bleeding profusely as they get back in the ring. Jay with a headbutt to Kaz as Mark puts a ladder in the ring. Jay sets another ladder up, but Mark’s is taller so he sets that up under the belts. Mark then asks Paul Turner to hand him an even bigger ladder, which Mark bridges between the corner and the one under the titles. Mark picks up Kaz for Redneck Boogie on the bridge, but Kaz fights out and puts Mark face first into the ladder, Jay looks to climb but Kaz gets chair shots, pulls Jay off and lands a Styles Clash on a chair (and shoots an AJ hand signal after!)!
Kaz goes for a quick climb for the belts, but Mark climbs the other side. They trade shots under the belts, Kaz gets the final shot and Mark drops back first on the bridged ladder, bending the hell out of it! Nick downs Sky at ringside and climbs to interrupt Kaz on a ladder of his own, looks to reach, but Jay Briscoe is in and pushes over Nick’s ladder sending Nick over the top rope to the floor through only one of two tables that were set up (which means the landing was UG.LY.)! HOLY SHIT.
Kaz is still on the ladder with hands on the belts, Jay climbs the other side, they trade shots but Mark comes in and throws the chair, hitting Kaz straight on which drops Kaz through the table behind him! Jay is at the top, pulls down the titles and The Briscoes WIN the ROH Tag Titles for the 10th time!!!
The Briscoes defeat SCU & The Young Bucks in Ladder War to win the ROH Tag Team Titles for the 10th Time
JAY’S RATING: 4.5 out of 5
Ladder War is always a bit of a spot fest, and others have had more compelling dramatic stories inherently driving them, but this was still a stellar match on every level, with everyone working their asses off. It also leaves us with more questions than answers regarding both SCU and the Bucks and their respective contracts. Plus, no one is gonna complain about the Briscoes getting another run with the title – they are so freaking good, and continue to evolve their game as they go while keeping their big spots. They liked playing with the audience here as well, with the Too Sweet, the AJ reference and so on, which only adds further intrigue to the “Whats Next?” aspect of the match. This was a ton and a half of heart and passion left in the ring by 6 people who genuinely give a damn, and that carried this match to incredible heights. Everyone here is a superstar.
This was an OUTSTANDING event to close out the year for ROH, and one that has me extremely excited for 2019. I’ve been making a big deal about their booking and TV planning lately, and I stand firmly by those opinions and my reasoning for them. However, there is equally no question that ROH has one of the strongest overall rosters its had in some time, with a ton of potential top players ready to rise and fill some spots that seem to be opening up beyond the ones that already have over the past couple of years. These are exciting times for this company, and ROH has the potential to make 2019 a breakout year. My hopes are that they invest in dramaturgs and really try to think long-term and high impact in how they present their content. Not counting certain Elite members who I’m curious about (Page, Scurll who still holds a title shot), this company has some real anchors in Lethal, Castle and Young, a burgeoning women’s division, some next gen leaders in Gresham, Cobb, King, Taven, Gordon, ZSJ and even Tracy Williams, exciting folks on the horizon like PCO, some cool tag team options like Best Friends and am exciting future on the horizon with Eli Isom. I deeply want them to run with the ball here, and if they do, I can’t wait to see what happens.
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