Well, in what has been a crazy two years for Ring of Honor, their TRUE Final Battle has arrived. Live from the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena from Baltimore, Maryland, Ring of Honor presents Final Battle 2021. Last minute additions to the card, subtractions, and alterations have a lot of people unsure of what to expect but knowing Ring of Honor and all of the talent in the locker room, it will be a show to remember.
Ian Riccaboni announces that the main event will INDEED be for the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Title, however, the ORIGINAL title! Lots of emotions in the pre-show matches, and I’m sure it will continue throughout the night. The full card looks like this:
- Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Title: Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Lethal
- ROH World Tag Team Title: The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) (c) vs. The Briscoe Brothers
- Fight Without Honor: Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor
- ROH Women’s World Title Rok-C (c) vs. Willow
- ROH World Television Title Match: Dalton Castle (c) vs. Joe Hendry vs. Rhett Titus vs. Silas Young
- ROH Pure Title: Josh Woods (c) vs. Brian Johnson
- Violence Unlimited (Brody King, Homicide, Rocky Romero, and Tony Deppen) vs. Tracy Williams, Eli Isom, EC3 and Taylor Rust
- Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus
Coverage starts… now!
Match #1. Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus
Well, this is going to be fast. A hug to start and we’re locking up. Chain wrestling back and forth and Dragon Lee is getting the better of it. Horus dumped to the outside and Lee follows with a suicide dive that takes out Horus and Horus gets dumped over the guard rail. Lee takes control and runs Horus into the steel back first. Spinebuster by Lee and a half crab in the center of the ring. Horus fights out but Lee stays in control, boots in the corner. Horus blocks a corner cannonball and lands a top rope body scissors, causing Lee to take a powder. Horus follows up with a running tope to the outside. Back in, Lee charges at Horus and Horus counters with an overhead belly to belly in the corner. Horus follows up with a spinning lariat in the corner and a single leg dropkick. Two count. Horus charges at Lee and eats a tilt awhirl backbreaker for a two count. Lee with a ripcord… single leg Boston crab? I like that. Horus escapes and now we’re slapping each other in the center of the ring. Lee charges and eats a boot, Horus returns the favor but Lee lands a standing Spanish Fly. Both men are down in the center and the referee starts the count. Lee up top but Horus crotches him on the top turnbuckle. Horus looking for the body scissors driver from the top rope for a very long two count that had everyone fooled! Horus goes up top but loses his footing, taking a little too long, and that allows Lee to get his knees up to block the frog splash. Lee with a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Lee then hits the Incinerator Knee for a two count! Nobody kicks out of that. Lee lowers his knee pad, lands another knee, and another ripcord rising knee for the win! Fast, exciting, and fun opener. Exactly what it needed to be in that situation, and these guys are always fun together.
Winner: Dragon Lee
We get a video from Eddie Edwards thanking Ring of Honor, and saying Ring of Honor has changed the face of professional wrestling forever.
Match #2. ROH World Television Title Match: Dalton Castle (c) vs. Joe Hendry vs. Rhett Titus vs. Silas Young
The crowd is behind Dalton Castle firmly as he jumps into the crowd and walks the barricade. As a side note, and a fan of Ring of Honor, I’m glad to see the crowd has filled in for this occasion. Everyone starts brawling with each other and Silas Young takes Rhett Titus out with a somersault cannonball on the outside. Back in the ring and Silas is clotheslining everyone. Silas gets dumped to the outside and Hendry and Titus are left in the middle. Strong style belly to belly by Titus on Hendry gets a two count. Titus hitting corner Yakuza kicks to both Hendry and Silas until Castle returns and puts a stop to it. Chops from Castle to Titus. Castle with a capture overhead tbone suplex. Titus up top but he’s caught by Hendry, into a fireman’s carry, into a military press slam. Silas is back in and he’s caught by Hendry, who picks up both Titus AND Silas in a fall away slam. Holy cow. Hendry is a monster. Castle swoops in while Hendry is parading around for a two count. Titus throws Castle into Hendry, but Hendry catches Titus with a pop up powerbomb, high stack, for a two count. Referee down! Silas is back in and Castle catches him with a BangARang! Hendry grabs the title and decks Castle! Dak Draper doesn’t approve of that as he runs down to the ring and boots Hendry for his troubles. Silas and Titus in the ring, Silas goes for the Pee Gee Waga Plunge, but Titus gets out of the way! Titus nails his picture perfect dropkick! One, two… three! Rhett Titus is your new Ring of Honor World Television Champion! Fun match that featured a lot of comedy from Castle, and felt like an ode to a bunch of guys that worked really hard for the promotion for a long time. Very happy for Rhett Titus.
Winner and NEW Ring of Honor World Television Champion: Rhett Titus
“Hangman” Adam Page is the next wrestler to leave an ode to ROH, and says that he learned a lot in ROH, got the chance to travel the world, and hopes the future holds the best for Ring of Honor.
Match #3. ROH Pure Title: Josh Woods (c) vs. Brian Johnson
“The Mecca” Brian Johnson tells Seth Rollins, CM Punk, and Bryan Danielson to “get bent” and man I appreciate his consistency. Josh Woods gets the takedown and immediately Johnson gets to the ropes, that’s his first of only three rope breaks, as per the PURE rules here. Woods gets the waist lock and Johnson back to the ropes. That’s his second. Johnson back and firing on Woods in the corner, but Woods reverses and delivers some knees, and a rear naked choke over the ropes. Johnson with a jawbreaker over the ropes and dives on to Woods on the outside. Back inside and Johnson delivers a clothesline from the top rope. Woods kicks out at two and is able to lock in another rear naked choke, but Johnson breaks free in the corner. Johnson mocks the fans and then Allen Iverson’s himself over Woods. A fist drop from Johnson followed by some more smack talk. Johnson drags Woods outside and drapes him off the apron and nails a Tower of London on the outside! Johnson hurt himself in the process too, and they’re both back in the ring. Johnson goes up top, but Woods runs up and catches him, tosses him off, and then lands a spear. Deadlift German suplex by Woods and Woods is looking for an overhead belly to belly. Johnson responds with an overhand right that drops Woods. Both men are down and they’re fighting for the vertical suplex, but both men wind up suplexing each other to the outside. Woods and Johnson are trading punches and elbows on the outside until they realize they’re both about to get counted out, at which point they roll in the ring and continue slugging away. Johnson with a knee and some open hand chops to the throat, which makes Woods smile. Woods locks in an arm triangle choke but Johnson gets to the ropes, enlisting the help of his third rope break. G.O.A.T. referee Todd Sinclair turns around to signal the break, and Johnson goes low on Woods and nails Trust the Process for a two count. Johnson gets the belt but Sinclair takes it away, and while Johnson is undoing the turnbuckle, Woods hits Chaos Theory for a two count. Johnson has the knucks, nails Woods! One, two.. no! “What’s Johnson going to do, take out a gun and shoot him?! – Ian Riccaboni, ladies and gentlemen. Johnson puts Woods on the top rope, but Woods catches him in the arm triangle choke! Woods is literally choking Johnson in mid-air! Johnson is limp! Todd Sinclair calls it and Josh Woods retains! Another really fun match, and Brian Johnson using nefarious means in a PURE rules match is just perfect. Josh Woods has really developed into a complete professional wrestler.
Winner: Josh Woods
Jimmy Jacobs is our next alumni to talk about Ring of Honor, saying how his hotel room was the “scrub room”, including the likes of Tyler Black, Kevin Steen, El Generico, and the Young Bucks staying up until 6am talking about professional wrestling.
Match #4: Fight Without Honor: Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor
Tables, ladders and other weapons are around ringside. King spits water in Taylor’s face as they slug it out and immediately go to the outside. Taylor sends King into the barricades and gets a backdrop on the floor. Back in, King gets an enzuigiri and climbs the turnbuckle, getting a blockbuster to the outside through two tables. They both recover and have a duel with kendo sticks, won by King. A Greco-Roman thumb to the eye followed by a trash can to the head stuns Taylor. Taylor turns the tide and gets his kendo stick swings in. Outside Taylor knocks King’s lights out, sets him up on a table and follows through with a splash off the apron crashing through King. Both men crawl in and somehow King gets a DVD through a table set up in the corner for a good two count. King sets up a ladder from the barricade to the apron and attacks Taylor with more kendo stick shots. King sets up a ladder on the inside, allowing Taylor to take him out with another kendo stick. Taylor sets up his own smaller ladder inside and then another ladder as a bridge between the two. King lays Taylor on the ladder bridge, climbs the big ladder and splashes through Taylor for a close two count. Kenny charges and get caught with two right hands and Welcome to the Land only gets two for Taylor. To the outside, both men stand on the ladder set up on the barricade earlier and duke it out. Package piledriver through the ladder results in a nasty bump by King. Taylor rolls him in and only gets two off that. Taylor grabs a chair, thinks about it for a moment, but clocks Kenny in the head, hits the package piledriver to finally put King away.
Winner: Shane Taylor
CM Punk (aka PG Punk) sends his thoughts on ROH via video.
Match #5: ROH Women’s Championship: Rok-C (c) vs. Willow
Quinn McKay joins commentary. They do some chain wrestling to start which ends with a cartwheel from Willow. Willow counters a lot of Rok-C’s moves and slingshots Rok-C into the corner, but Rok-C counters that into a headscissor takedown. Willow gets Rok-C down into the corner and hits a cannonball. Three amigo suplexes by Willow but she can’t get the third. Olympic Slam by Willow gets two. Rok-C with an open hand chop and hurricanrana, followed by a Thesz Press. Side Russian legsweep and moonsault knees get two. Rok Lock is countered into a pin attempt by Willow for two. Pounce by Willow gets a good reaction from the crowd and a two count. It’s a chop fight now and a Code Red by Rok-C is countered by Willow for a two count. Willow climbs the turnbuckle, but Rok-C meets her up there and gets most of a powerbomb for two. It’s Rok-C now who climbs, and Willow catches her up there for a superplex, followed by a top rope moonsault for a close two. Superkick by Willow is caught and Rok-C gets Code Rok for the pin. They tried hard but it was clunky in a few spots.
Post-match Deonna Purrazzo enters and challenges Rok-C for the ROH Women’s Championship in a Winner Take All match (already assuming she beats Mickie James for the Knockouts Championship).
Adam Cole sends his ROH memories via video.
Match #6: 8 Man Tag Match: VLNCE UNLTD vs. Williams, Isom, Rust and EC3
Rocky and Hot sauce start with some technical wrestling. Rocky gets a couple of Forever Clotheslines and a quick submission attempt. Deppen and Rust in next with some more excellent mat wrestling and a scissor kick by Rust. Hot Sauce tags back in but Deppen manages to fight off both he and Rust and tags in Homicide. EC3 in now for a slugfest with Homicide. Brody enters for some double team moves and a one count. Isom tags in and grabs a sleeper and a dropkick. A charge goes poorly however and Brody gets a senton for two. Deppen back in and traps Isom’s leg quickly before Isom tags EC3 back in to throw his weight around. EC3 catches Deppen’s suicide dive attempt and suplexes him. Homicide follows with his own dive and a series of others to the outside, culminating in a tope suicida from Brody King onto everybody. Piledriver by King onto EC3 and Homicide jumps in for a two count pinfall attempt. Rust tosses Rocky onto a set of chairs outside and Homicide has a fork now, which he uses on EC3. This referee has lost all control, Monsoon. Isom and King in next and King gets a Musclebuster. But EC3 gets a piledriver on King and things break down again. Rocky gets Sliced Bread on Rust and Tracey gets a rebound clothesline (a la Nigel) and Cattle Mutilation. Deppen gets a double stomp to break up that, and Isom hits a Helluva Kick and top rope brainbuster in a tribute to Generico. Isom and Homicide to battle and Homicide gets the Cop Killer for a close two. King tags in and Isom collapses under a clothesline, but not a second attempt and King hits the Ganso Bomb for the win. Fun match and the series of tribute moves was a nice touch.
Winners: VLNCE UNLTD
EC3 then cuts a promo seemingly for a pep talk with Dak Draper, Brian Johnson and Eli Isom. Wesley Blake, (someone I can’t make out) and Adam Scherr (fka Braun Strowman) then clear the ring in support of EC3.
The Young Bucks are next to give their shout out video to ROH.
Match #7: ROH Tag Team Championships: The OGK vs. The Briscoes
Jay and Taven lock up. They get to a stalemate and tag Bennett and Mark. OGK hit a double team ending in a missile dropkick from Taven. Jay comes in and hits a corner boot and clothesline on Matt as this match starts at a frantic pace. To the outside as Taven gets a series of dives, with the last one only hitting Bennett. Mark gets a chair assisted tope con hilo as the Briscoes take over. OGK hit a double team however and get two on Jay. Bennett stays in as things start to settle down. Bodyslam and elbow drop get two. Mark comes in after a tag and takes on both OGK members ending with Redneck Boogie for two on Taven. Somehow in the midst of all this Jay is busted open. Iconoclasm from Mark gets two on Taven. Taven counters a Jay Driller into a rollup for two. Bennett in with a brainbuster on Jay. I take back what I said about things settling down. Bennett holds Jay off the apron while Taven hits a ridiculously high frog splash to the floor and Bennett gets two off that. All four men are in and Taven gets the Climax on Jay to finally put everyone down. Bennett and Mark go to the outside as Jay gets a rana and tope suicida. Mark with the Blockbuster on Bennett to the outside. Mark sends Taven in, gets a Spiccoli Driver and the Froggy Bow, but Maria pulls out the ref at two. On the apron, Bennett accidentally spears Maria, but gets a piledriver on Jay on the floor. Bennett holds Mark on his shoulders as Taven completes a Doomsday Device on the floor for only two. As Butt-Head would say, that was cool. Proton Pack gets two. Spike piledriver but Jay breaks up the pin at two. Jay Driller on Bennett, but Taven gets Just the Tip on Mark and goes up, but a frog splash gets knees. Jay Driller only gets two! Doomsday Device gets two. Another Jay Driller on Taven, and Froggy Bow wins the Briscoes their 12th tag team titles. Literally non stop action from bell to bell.
Winners: The Briscoes
Jay cuts a promo after the match challenging anyone, the lights go out and it’s…FTR!
Bryan Danielson sends a video of his ROH memories and well wishes.
Match #8: Jon Gresham vs. Jay Lethal
This is for the original ROH World Title, with Bandido the current champion off the show. Wristlock exchange and stalemate begins the match. Jay gets some two counts off knuckle locks, but Gresham counters out and hits a hesitation dropkick sending Lethal outside. Gresham goes to the mat, but Lethal manages to escape and hit a low dropkick of his own. Lethal with some chops and pump kicks sending Gresham outside. He follows with a tope suicida and tosses Gresham back in. Lethal catches a powerslam but gets hooked in a small package for two. Inverted flapjack by Lethal but he can’t get the Lethal Injection. Figure Four attempt by Lethal but Gresham counters that with multiple pin attempts for two. Gresham goes to work on the left arm of Lethal and it’s a chop fight won by Lethal. Quick powerslam by Lethal and he goes to the top, but Gresham rolls to the other corner, luring Lethal in. Lethal can’t get a top rope elbow or figure four but does get a pin attempt for two. Jay gets a torture rack and rolls through, then gets the top rope elbow. Lethal Injection but the arm fails him. Moonsault by Gresham and hooks in a crossface chicken-wing, which Jay eventually counters with a cutter and both men are down. The ROH locker room now comes out and surrounds the ring. Lethal and Gresham slug it out and Gresham gets a bridging German for two. Forearms by Gresham, but Lethal manages to knock him down. Lethal Injection countered for two. Octopus locked in and some hard looking elbows give Gresham the win and the original ROH title. Great match to close it out.
Winner: Jon Gresham
Final Rating: 8 out of 10. ROH closes out this era with a memorable show. While the future seems cloudy (although there was a brief promo for the relaunch in April 2022) it was nice to see some of the former ROH stars pay tribute to the company on a clearly emotional night for everyone involved. The final two matches more than delivered, and throw in a few surprises and you’ve got a good show to close out the year as ROH goes on hiatus.