Wrestling Review: ROH Final Battle (2018)

The biggest PPV event of the Ring of Honor calendar, Final Battle, takes the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom to the extreme. For only the seventh time in the history of the company, the main event of this show will be Ladder War VII, as SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) defend their ROH Tag Team Championships against two teams, The Young Bucks Matt and Nick Jackson) in their final ROH event, and the dangerous redneck brother, the Briscoes (Mark and Jay Briscoe). THe ROH World Championship will be on the line in the semi-main event, as Jay Lethal looks to keep the title in ROH against Cody, who has made no secret of the fact he is not re-signing with Ring of Honor. If Cody wins, what consequences will Lethal face? If Lethal can retain, how will Cody fair in his future endeavours? The ROH Television Championship will also be on the line when Jeff Cobb defends against Hangman Page, and the WOH World Championship will be defended in a four woman elimination match. All of this and much more at ROH Final Battle.

+ SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) (Ladder War VII for the ROH Tag Team Championships): this was bloody, raw and dangerous, and I loved it. The Bucks, win lose or draw, were going out in style, and both the teams of the Briscoes and SCU were willing to go all out to make sure it was special. Kazarian and one of the Briscoes were bleeding heavily early, and at least one of the Bucks were seemingly one step from killing themselves at several times. As I was watching, I was thinking to myself there were no real high spots, but once the match was over, it dawned on me that the whole match was a high spot. This was phenomenal
+ Christopher Daniels vs Marty Scurll: this was really good. Despite Scurll hardly being a newcomer, this was one of the better ‘veteran vs rookie’ matches I’ve seen in a long time, helped tremendously by just how damn good Daniels is. This could have gone either way, with the real-life story of Daniels potentially leaving ROH played to perfectly. Scurll is a perennial fan favourite, despite his bad-guy antics here, but it all fit together into one hell of a match
+ Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) vs Matt Taven (w/ The Kingdom): Castle has always been great, though I have never seen the big deal about Matt Taven, even as he has moved onwards and upwards across the wrestling globe. Nonetheless, this was a pretty damn good match, with enjoyable but never overplayed shenanigans on the outside with the respective seconds. I enjoyed this, but I can’t believe Taven didn’t kill himself with one of his big moves
+ Jeff Cobb (c) vs Adam “Hangman” Page (ROH Television Championship): holy smokes, this was incredible. The ungodly strength of both men was on full display, and the crowd was on their feet by the end of it. One very minor stumble right at the finish line was noticeable, but this was still a fantastic match between two warriors I always enjoy

Jay Lethal (c) vs Cody (ROH World Championship): this was frustrating, not just because it was far too slow. The story, essentially Cody’s version of the Summer of Punk story from several years ago, just never felt like a big deal, because as much of an indie/Japan star as he is, Cody is still considered an ex-WWE guy by many. Jay Lethal is good, perhaps even great, but something about him in his current run is just not clicking with me
Bully Ray vs Flip Gordon (I Quit Match): this wasn’t much of a match, as far as technical ability or even ‘moves’ go, but there was a lot of shenanigans to keep the crowd hyped up. The final surprise was a bit lackluster, when it was all said and done, and you’ll remember more what didn’t happen in the match compared to what did
Jonathan Gresham vs Zack Sabre Jr.: this was the most technical battle on the show (obviously, just look at the two involved), and it certainly stood out. For whatever reason, this just never quite felt like the special match it was, being Sabre’s ROH debut. This was not disappointing, in any regard, it was just a little bit too tame for the final ROH show of the year
Sumie Sakai (c) vs Karen Q vs Madison Rayne vs Kelly Klein (4 Corners Elimination for the WOH World Championship): I was never entirely behind Sakai being the inaugural WOH Champion, but she has been really good, I can say I was wrong. This match was technically fine, but never great, but especially in terms of order of eliminations I have to say I was left underwhelmed
Kenny King vs Eli Isom: this was disappointing, and when it was over didn’t seem particularly necessary. The same outcome could have been reached if the K-I-N-G King had just cut a promo in the middle of the show

Should you watch this event: This was a show of ups and downs, but overall it was worth a watch. Page/Cobb, Scurll/Daniels and the Ladder War are all definitely worth watching, and they are spaced out enough through the card that it never dragged.

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