Before we get to the action at Ring of Honor Final Battle, I think it’s important to make a few big observations about the production. For starters, Terminal 5 was an absolutely awesome venue for the show. It looked pretty killer on camera. Also, while I read that some felt the lighting looked terrible for this show, I thought it looked head and shoulders above almost anything ROH has EVER done. The company finally spent a little bit of money on a lighting rig, and I thought it showed…enough that I mentioned this fact to Nick multiple times throughout the broadcast.
What do I know? I only work in television, with a college degree in television production, with 20-plus years of watching wrestling on TV. I guess I don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re right, internet. You’re right.
Four Corner Survival Match
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Hanson
This was a really fun opener. Everyone got to get their shit in, but it was pretty clear that the big man, Hanson, was being showcased here. This was just enough without going too long, making everyone look good in the process.
My gripe with matches like this is that nothing is on the line, so it never really seems like the guys have anything to gain or lose by winning. Who really gives a shit about the result when nothing’s on the line?
Roderick Strong vs. Adam Page
This was one of those classic student-vs-teacher stories. Strong wins via ref stoppage, when he locks Page in a Strong Hold. It looked absolutely devastating, like an old school Liontamer. Strong also hit some really awesome-looking jumping knees to the face, that made Nick and I drop our jaws. Page definitely held his own, and looked strong in defeat.
Michael Elgin vs Tommaso Ciampa
Story of this match was the ending sequence. Ciampa accidently knocks the ref out, which is a problem, since ROH has a zero-tolerance policy on hitting the refs. Nigel McGuinness leaves ringside, and the announcers spend the rest of the fucking night pontificating over whether Ciampa will be fired. Elgin wins with a brutal elevated double-arm DDT that has to be seen to be believed. A solid brawl, but not much else. While good, this was a huge step down for Elgin, who won the ROH Championship in the company’s last PPV show.
The Young Bucks & ACH vs. The Addiction & Cedric Alexander
If you know the Young Bucks, ACH, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian…you know exactly what this was. It was awesome. The superkick party was strong in this one. Bucks win it with a Meltzer Driver, which continues to be my favorite move for anything, ever.
R.D. Evans vs. Moose
This match almost made me regret how much I put Evans over to Nick. This match probably should have been left off the show entirely. Evans sold a lot, ate a really-obvious low-blow from Veda Scott, and got KILLED TO DEATH by a spear, which was about the only thing Moose did that looked better than okay.
This would have been perfectly acceptable for TV, but I’m not happy that I spent money for this.
ROH Television Championship
Jay Lethal vs. Matt Sydal
Sydal is the former Evan Bourne, who’s back on the indies, having awesome matches. Jay Lethal is the former Black Randy Savage, who is really impressive in the ring, but continues to lack an actual personality of his own. Lethal is a great Macho Man, a great Ric Flair…but really makes me wonder when he’ll be the best Jay Lethal. Finish saw Lethal counter the Shooting Star Press into a cutter, followed by the Lethal Injection for the pin. Very good match, even if I’m not totally enamored with Jay Lethal.
ROH Tag Team Championship
reDRagon vs. Time Splitters
The highlight of the night, to this point, was seeing Alex Shelley back in a ROH ring. How TNA managed to fuck it up with this guy, I’ll never know.
This match was solid, and probably the best of the night. Awesome spots, awesome story-telling, a few awesome false finishes… just awesome. This match by itself was worth my $24.99. These guys put it all out there, while also making me want to see their four-team match on next month’s New Japan show. Job well done, boys.
Ring of Honor World Championship
Fight Without Honor
Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole
Straight up, these two guys beat the shit out of one another. Period. Nick and I really enjoyed this, minus a few unprotected chairshots to the head because, really, it’s 2014 and we all fucking know better.
Spot of the match for me saw Briscoe dump a bag of thumbtacks in the ring. Cole saw the tacks, grabs a handful…shoves them in Briscoe’s mouth, and superkicks the shit out of him, causing Briscoe to do a massive thumbtack spit take. It was a crazy visual, to say the very least. I wouldn’t be surprised to see guys on the indies rip that spot off, and probably hurt themselves in the process.
Finish sees Briscoe hit a Jay Driller, followed by a second Jay Driller on the title. Very satisfying finish to an absolutely brutal match.
Overall, a pretty fun show…with one big dud sandwiched in the middle. Sorry, R.D. Evans, but even you can’t save Moose on live pay-per-view.