ROH World Title Match: [C] Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards
Davey Richards, one-half of The American Wolves, treated his ROH World Title match as his WrestleMania. Striding to the ring with custom-made silver metallic tights, Richards was greeted with chants of “Next World Champ!” The defending champion Roderick Strong arrogantly entered the Manhattan Center grasping at his title, while avoiding any contact from the wrestling fans. Out of the twenty-four-plus WWE World title defenses, and the twelve-plus TNA World title defenses of 2010, none compared to this ROH World Title defense. They fought in the ring, they fought outside of the ring, and even in the crowds. Davey Richards even forced Strong to tap out to the Cloverleaf, but unfortunately Strong’s spiritual mentor Truth Martini distracted the referee at that exact moment. And throughout the final moments of the match Roderick Strong connected several times with Death by Roderick (Fireman’s carry double knee gutbuster), Gibson Driver (Sitout double underhook powerbomb), and the Boston Crab that eventually granted him the victory. The referee did not call for the bell because Davey Richards tapped out, or even passed out, but because he may have suffered a concussion. The entire ROH staff, including ROH’s commissioner Jim Cornette and Eddie Edwards, the other-half of The American Wolves, rushed to the ring to Davey’s aid. After a few minutes of silence, Richards came-to, and chants of “Thank you, Davey” and “Still Best in the World” erupted in the Manhattan Center.
The Final Battle At Final Battle: Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
The Fight Without Honor match between Kevin Steen and El Generico took place after the ROH World Title was defended. The fight was billed as an unsanctioned bout, with the stipulations, if El Generico loses he will unmask or if Kevin Steen loses he will quit Ring of Honor, still in effect. As for staff and referees, they were paid through outside funding, still keeping Ring of Honor Wrestling out of liability. This was possibly the darkest, sickest, most extreme match in ages. Kevin Steen did everything he could to silence Generico, including hitting him with the barricade steel plates, driving him through chairs, and launching a whole barricade wall towards him. Generico retaliated by slamming Steen, spine-first, into the legs of the ladder, and dropping him through a table set up on top a ladder, which was laid across the ring apron and the top of the barricade. The anger seething between these former tag team partners was unbelievable. Steen had blood gushing through his forehead and Generico’s hair, sticking out of his torn mask, was blood drenched. Even Steve Corino and Colt Cabana made an appearance hoping to have a say in the outcome. In the end, Generico prevailed with a final steel chair shot across the face, after contemplating showing mercy. As per the stipulation, Kevin Steen will no longer compete in Ring of Honor.
Six Man Tag Team Grudge Match: Jay, Mark, and Mike “Papa” Briscoe vs. [C] The Kings of Wrestling and Shane Hagadorn
The Briscoes and The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) are two of the top tag teams in Ring of Honor Wrestling. So when taking into account of the added baggage it depends who has the bigger liability. KOW have Shane Hagadorn while Briscoes have their father. Mike “Papa” Briscoe really stole the match, with his antics and high-flying moves. Accompanying the Kings and Hagadorn was “The Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey, who suffered a romantic altercation with Mr. Briscoe. Yet instead of having Mike disqualified, Del Rey was ejected from ring side. How sexist was that? And for finish, Mike delivered a lariat from the top turnbuckle to Hagadorn and picked up the win. Now that was a Holy S&*t Moment.
Special Attraction: Eddie Edwards vs. Sonjay Dutt
Originally scheduled to appear was Kenny Omega, but an injured ankle kept him away from Final Battle. Omega’s fill in, Sonjay Dutt proved to be an excellent substitute. The former TNA star from Bollywood, India, took the former Television champ Eddie Edwards to the limits. With a blend of technical wrestling and comedy, Edwards and Dutt showed what real sports entertainment should be about. Edwards walked out Final Battle with a submission victory.
ROH Legends Collide: [C] Christopher Daniels vs. Homicide
At the very start of the match an unknown made his way down the ramp with a manager resembling Mickey Goldmill from the Rocky films. Mick grabbed a seat for his wrestler and the two stayed for the following contest.
It was one of those matches that could have been better, but was lessened by Homicide’s friend. A loud mouth who did not understand the concept of being an outside supporter, but instead tried to insert himself as part of the attraction. However, when Homicide distracted the referee to allow his friend to get in a few shots on Christopher Daniels, he blew the spot.
Homicide followed-up with a botched t-shirt maneuver where he would blind his opponents momentarily in order to execute the finisher. Instead the shirt landed on Daniels’ neck. A momentary, unexplained, distraction much like the red “S” Superman throws at ZOD in Superman II.
However, the story of that match rested with the unknown wrestler spectating the match. Who is he? And why does his manager look like Mick?
Women of Honor Tag Team Challenge Match: Daizee Haze and Awesome Kong vs. Sara Del Rey and Serena Deeb
Having heard Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” before at Supercard of Honor V, there was still a shred of hope that Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) would walk through the curtain. But the music signaled the arrival of Sara Del Rey, the student of The American Dragon, and her tag team partner Serena Deeb. Chants of “C.M. Punk” and “You Got Hair Now” were directed to the former Straightedge follower at the start of the match. The other team consisted of the peace-loving Daizee Haze and Awesome Kong. Del Rey and Deeb made sure to cut the ring in half so as not to allow Kong to get tagged in. But with even Kong in, the women did not shy away from the heavyweight. The match ended with Sara Del Rey picking up the victory after delivering two spike pile drivers to Daizee Haze.
Scientific Showdown: Colt Cabana vs. TJ Perkins
Positively the worst match on the card. Not sure whether it was TJ Perkins or Colt Cabana, but the two did not mix. The match did not flow, was not entertaining, and the positions were homo-erotic at best. Almost makes Hornswoggle versus The Eagle sound like a good idea.
Tag Team Challenge Match: The All Night Express vs. Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole
Had no idea who Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole were before tonight, except for an article in PWI written about the rise of Adam Cole in Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) Wrestling Academy. There, Cole still currently reigns as the CZW World Junior Heavyweight Champion. And if there was ever a better connection it would be this: Cole also appeared at Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA)’s Open the Freedom Gate pay-per-view taping on November 28, 2009 on the pre-show, where he wrestled Kyle O’Reilly in a losing effort. Which brings us to his tag team partner at Final Battle, Kyle O’Reilly, who has wrestled in numerous promotions including NWA: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling where he has held the NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Championship on three occasions.
The most impressive of the two was Kyle O’Reilly with a chain of Rolling Butterfly Suplexes that left the NYC fans on the edge of their seats. Trained by Davey Richards, Kyle O’Reilly has a bright wrestling future ahead of him. The duo of Cole and O’Reilly was a nice change of pace from the stale Dark City Fight Club. However, The All Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus) picked up the victory in a fantastic opening contest that had fans chanting “This is Awesome!”
Final Thoughts: The Unsanctioned–Final Battle at Final Battle–Fight Without Honor match was very well executed, from the sad end of days music played before Generico’s entrance, to the final moments of Steen begging for mercy and Generico ridding him from ROH was a fitting conclusion to a year-long feud.
Love the trench coat that El Generico sported to the ring, he resembled Rorschach from Watchmen.
Though Davey Richards did not win the ROH World Title, this was pound-for-pound the best wrestling match this year. WrestleMania could not compare to this bout – sorry Shawn.
Looking forward to seeing Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole more in 2011. Also heard that Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin will be wrestling regularly in Ring of Honor in 2011, so the tag team division has just gotten a boost.