17th Dec2018

‘Ring of Honor: Final Battle 2018′ PPV Review

by Nathan Favel

roh-final-battle-2018-header

Welcome to this review of Ring of Honor’s Final Battle, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and this may be the last night of the Elite in ROH, which could result in a huge shift in what ROH looks like. Let’s dive right into all of the great matches and see if Final Battle 2018 was able to be one of the best Ring of Honor cards in the league’s history.

Kenny King defeated Eli Isom

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

Before the opening bell, King grabbed a microphone and talked down to the rookie. King said Isom represents the new ROH Dojo, but he’s old school. King then hit Isom in the head with the microphone. Thanks to that cheap shot, King controlled the match in the opening minutes. King appeared to have the match won after hitting a springboard Blockbuster, but he chose to pick up Isom before the three count so that he could dish out more punishment to the youngster. King’s arrogance nearly came back to bite him, as Isom rallied and scored a couple near falls. King ultimately prevailed, however, as he used a fireman’s carry into a modified Michinoku Driver for the win.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was a good match that was a bit flat in some parts, but it kept the crowd awake and engaged, so it was a success, nonetheless.

Jeff Cobb defeated Adam Page – Ring of Honor TV Title Match

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

Page charged at Cobb and went on the offensive immediately after the opening bell sounded. He quickly went for one of his signature moves — a running Shooting Star Press off the apron — but Cobb caught him and landed an overheard belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. As the match went on it became apparent that Page was able to match strength with Cobb, and Cobb was able to match Page in agility. After Cobb hit a Tombstone Piledriver for a near fall, Page answered with a Buckshot Lariat. Page set up for Rite of Passage, but Cobb rolled through, deadlifted Page and sent him flying across the ring with an F-5. Cobb went for Tour of the Islands, but Page countered with a crucifix for a near fall. Cobb attempted to hit Tour of the Islands again, and this time he was successful. Sensing that Page still had some fight in him, Cobb hit another Tour of the Islands and covered Page for the three count.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – This was an excellent title defense that made both athletes look like a million bucks. There wasn’t any bull-$#!@ or any-thing like that. This is the way a title match is supposed to be presented.

Kelly Klein defeated Sumie Sakai, Madison Rayne and Karen Q – Fatal 4 Way Match For The Ring Of Honor Women Of Honor World Title

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

Klein and Karen surprisingly worked together early in the match, but, not surprisingly, their alliance didn’t last long. Klein scored the first fall by hitting her K-Power finisher on Karen. Later, Rayne scored near falls on both Klein and Sakai, but her momentum was halted when Sakai hit Smash Mouth on her. The opportunistic Klein tossed Sakai aside and pinned Rayne. Now it was down to Sakai and Klein. Sakai hit Smash Mouth, but Klein kicked out. Sakai then kicked out of Klein’s K-Power. Klein finally put away the resilient Sakai with a Super K-Power off the middle rope. Sakai, who had defeated Klein in the finals of the tournament to crown the first champion at Supercard of Honor last April, saw her reign end at 251 days.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was pretty standard until the last few minutes, but it got the job done and felt like a real title match. I would have gone with Madison to have a more known name hold the title for a few months, but it really comes down to who draws the most between the four. I hope Kelly is ready to try and put some asses in the seats and I hope she is a success.

Zack Sabre Jr defeated Jonathan Gresham

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

This matchup of two of the best technical wrestlers in the world began with Sabre slapping Gresham in the face. It set the tone for a match that featured hard strikes, mat wrestling and submissions. After a brutal strike to the face stunned Gresham, Gresham answered with an Enziguri and German suplex for a near fall. Gresham and Sabre continued to go back and forth, with neither of the master technicians able to sustain an advantage. After a series of reversals, Gresham went for a bridge pinning combination, but Sabre rolled over into a bridge of his own for the victory.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – Easily the best match so far and a great contest between two of the best pure wrestlers in the sport, in addition to being fantastic athletes. Every-thing felt like it was from two professionals rather than the bingo hall approach that so many have been able to draw with lately. There was a deft blend of mind and body on display and this match could be one of those that you show to today’s fighters as a demonstration of how far you can push the limits of psychology in modern wrestling.

Matt Taven defeated Dalton Castle

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

Before the match began, Taven made it known that his “real world title” championship belt was on the line. Just a few minutes into the match, Taven attempted a dive over the top rope, but Castle moved out of the way and Taven landed hard, ribs-first, on the guardrail. Somehow he managed to avoid a serious injury and was able to continue. Taven went on the attack and targeted Castle’s ailing back throughout the match. The Boys, O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia (who had been lurking under the ring) eventually all got involved in the action behind the referee’s back. Castle, meanwhile, hit a Bang-A-Rang outside the ring that sent Taven into the ring post. Back inside the ring, Castle hit a Doctor Bomb and went for a cover, but O’Ryan threw one of The Boys into the ring and onto Castle to break up the pin. The referee had seen enough and he ejected everyone from ringside. Castle hit Bang-A-Rang, but Taven grabbed the bottom rope to break up the pin. Castle went for his finisher again, but Taven avoided it, hit the Just the Tip knee strike and followed with Climax for an impressive win.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was not as good as I was hoping for, but it served its function of getting Taven over. I hope Castle is still being figured into the World Title plans for 2019, but at least he was able to end 2018 with a marquee match.

Marty Scurll defeated Christopher Daniels

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

The stipulation for the match was that if Daniels won, he would get the ROH World Title shot Scurll had earned by winning Survival of the Fittest. A loss here would likely mean that Daniels is finished in ROH, as ROH COO Joe Koff said back in January that Daniels’ contract would not be renewed after Final Battle. Scurll targeted Daniels’ neck, which is still less than a hundred percent after he was on the receiving end of Jay Briscoe’s Jay Driller on the stage recently. Scurll hit a Tombstone Piledriver for a near fall and then did the finger break move on both of Daniels’ hands. Daniels rallied and scored a couple near falls of his own, but Scurll eventually locked on the Chicken Wing, and Daniels tapped out. After the match, the crowd chanted, “Thank you, Daniels.” As an emotional Daniels took it all in, Bully Ray suddenly hit the ring and nailed Daniels with a low blow. Bully demanded that his I Quit Match with Flip Gordon start now.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – I really liked this. This was paced very well and the crowd really appreciated this whole thing. It’s nice to see sound wrestling more than once on a wrestling card. This felt like a big match and kept feeling that way long after the finish. Scurll may have won, but Daniels was the star and has been Ring of Honor’s answer to Chris Jericho over the past few years. I could go for more of this.

Flip Gordon defeated Bully Ray – I Quit Match

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

Gordon was all over Bully right from the start. After the fight spilled to the floor, Bully grabbed a chain and nailed Gordon in the face with it. The blow busted Gordon open. Bully then shoved ring announcer Bobby Cruise and referee Todd Sinclair and threatened ROH ambassador Cary Silkin with a kendo stick. Just as Bully was about to blast Silkin with the weapon, Christopher Daniels ran out and threw his body over Silkin to absorb the kendo stick shot. Daniels then clotheslined Bully with the kendo stick. After Bully recovered, his next target was Gordon’s girlfriend, who was seated in the front row. Bully pulled her over the guardrail and got her in position for a powerbomb. Gordon pleaded with Bully not to do it as Bully demanded that Gordon say, “I quit.” Silkin then hit Bully with the kendo stick, and Bully released Gordon’s girlfriend. As Bully threatened Silkin, Gordon’s girlfriend came up behind Bully and delivered a low blow.

Gordon punished Bully with a kendo stick, but Silas Young came out and attacked Gordon. Young poured lighter fluid on a table in the ring. Cheeseburger and Colt Cabana (who had been on commentary) both ran in to thwart Young, but they were overpowered by Young and Bully.  Young pulled out a lighter, but before he could set the table ablaze, the lights went out. When they came back on, ECW icon The Sandman — a recent ally of Gordon’s — was in the ring. Gordon hit the Star-Spangled Stunner on Bully and then was handed a kendo stick from Sandman. With a kendo stick in each hand, Gordon nailed Bully with one shot after another. When the referee asked Bully if he quit, Bully screamed, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” After the match, the triumphant Gordon shared a beer with Sandman.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – This was a wild fight that gave the Flip/Ray feud a proper ending. It was a bit tongue and cheek in some spots, but it made the match more intense, so that actually worked out fine. Flip looked really good here and Ray was a great foil for a man who is likely to be a big part of ROH’s title picture in 2019.

Jay Lethal defeated Cody – Ring Of Honor World Heavyweight Title Match

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

It’s no secret that Cody has been dealing with an injured left knee, and Lethal focused his attack on it. Sensing that her husband was in serious jeopardy, Brandi entered the ring while the referee was distracted and speared Lethal. Cody then hit Cross Rhodes for a near fall. Brandi went for another spear, but this time Lethal moved and she speared Cody. The referee wanted to disqualify Cody for Brandi’s interference, but Lethal, not wanting to win by DQ, talked him out of it. Lethal set up for Lethal Injection, but Cody pulled Brandi in front of him and she ended up on the receiving end of the move. Cody hit Cross Rhodes again for a near fall. Cody then put Lethal in the figure-four leglock. The bell rang even though Lethal didn’t submit. It was Adam Page who rang the bell, and then Page handed the ROH World Title belt Cody. Of course, the referee waved it off and ordered the match to continue. After several more minutes of back-and-forth action, Lethal nailed Cody’s bad knee with the title belt while the referee was temporarily incapacitated. He followed up with two superkicks, Lethal Injection, and two more superkicks. Then he applied the figure-four leglock and Cody tapped out. After the match, Marty Scurll entered the ring. Meanwhile, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis came out to the stage, applauded Lethal and left. Scurll snatched the ROH World Title belt away from Lethal and then tossed it back to him.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – This was a great match that was one of Cody’s best matches in his Ring Of Honor career. The wrestling was smart and worthy of a World Title match. Lethal did a fine job as champion and felt like a force to be reckoned with, while Cody was at his best here. Over-all, this is another example of how to book and perform a World Title match.

The Briscoes defeated The Young Bucks and SoCal Uncensored – Ladder War Match For The Ring Of Honor World Tag Team Titles

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

This match was 22 minutes of non-stop action and chaos. The Briscoes set the tone for the violent affair from the outset and continually raised the violence quotient in a battle that featured countless insane moves and the repeated use of ladders, chairs, tables and trash cans as weapons. Before it was over, Jay and Mark Briscoe and Kazarian were all bleeding profusely. Near the latter stages of the match, Nick Jackson climbed one of the ladders, but Jay Briscoe pushed over the ladder, sending Nick Jackson soaring over the top rope and crashing through a table outside the ring. As Kazarian and Jay Briscoe slugged it out on top of a ladder, Mark Briscoe threw a chair at Kazarian. The chair shot knocked Kazarian off the ladder and through a table. That allowed Jay Briscoe to unhook the title belts hanging above the ring to give the Briscoes the win and their 10th ROH World Tag Team Title reign.

My Take: 4.5 out of 5 – This thing was like riding in a corvette at 100 miles an hour into a mine-field. These guys tried to kill each other and almost succeeded, with one harrowing stunt after another. I’m always hesitant to give a stunt-show a good rating, but this one was one of the best of its kind. All three teams worked hard here and all deserve the credit for making this spectacle into some-thing special.

News Of The Night:

  1. Bully Ray and Christopher Daniels may be involved in a feud for 2019, thanks to Ray giving Daniels a low-blow after the latter’s match against Marty Scurll.

Final Verdict: 4.5/5

This was better than the sum of its parts, many of which were fantastic. This was a great show that was booked and promoted properly. The wrestlers looked like they had a great time and were able to help make one of the best events in Sinclair’s ownership of Ring Of Honor.

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