Tonight, Ring of Honor Wrestling returned to New York City for Final Battle at the world’s famous Hammerstein Ballroom. The year-end event, which as Kevin Steen pointed out in September, always takes place in New York City. Perhaps it’s because New York houses some of the most passionate – explicit – wrestling fans in the world.
Final Battle 2011 featured a main event worthy of the name as Eddie Edwards embarked on his rematch clause against the defending ROH World champion Davey Richards. The story behind these two American Wolves is they first met on opposite sides to crown Ring of Honor’s first Television champion. Though many believed Richards would get the win, Edwards not only surprised the ROH hopefuls, but Richards as well when he walked out the Television champion. Months afterwards, at last year’s Final Battle, Richards failed in his bid for the World Title against then-champion Roderick Strong. Three months after his failed bid, Edwards defeated Strong for the World Title — that Richards had been striving for — in his first World Title opportunity. That’s when things started to heat up and ROH producer Jim Cornette goaded Richards and Edwards to compete against one another at Best in the World. Richards refused, but Edwards demanded the match and vowed he would relinquish the World Title if he did not get his match. Best in the World saw these two wolves go one on one for a second time, but this time Richards came out on top as the new ROH World Champion.
Fast-forward to tonight, Edwards was so set on regaining his championship that he enlisted the services of UFC Hall of Fame legend Dan Severen. Well into the match, after both had taken hellacious beatings from the other, Edwards applied Severen’s Beast Choker (Dragon sleeper with body scissors). The Richards loyalists held on as their champion was fading into unconsciousness, but Richards reversed the hold into the ankle lock. Both men seemed to have the other’s number throughout the course of the match. Edwards proving his resiliency to the point Richards on two back-to-back situations was more than willing to accept a count-out victory. But in the end, it was a series of effective shoot kicks to the head of Edwards that secured Richards his World championship.
However, aside from Richards pointing out the obvious to the Hammerstein crowd, Edwards is tough as hell and has a lot of heart because he proved it in the ring, Kevin Steen reminded New York that Final Battle marked his return to Ring of Honor, and that in 2012, he will become the World champion and take Ring of Honor hostage. In a No-disqualification bout against former friend/mentor Steve Corino, Kevin Steen was reinstated to Ring of Honor by way of steel chairs, steel barricades, some broken tables, and a package piledriver. With his return brought out his old nemesis, the man who drove Steen out of Ring of Honor at last year’s Final Battle, “The Generic Luchador” El Generico. The two former tag team partners shared some closed fists, but Steen drove Generico onto the broadcast table with a package piledriver.
In a strange turn of events, Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) turned heel by the Hammerstein crowd filled with Briscoe Brothers sympathizers. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark) released a YouTube blog entitled “Cosmetically Pleasing” [watch] in which they discussed WWE’s way of hiring talents. Dem Boys were well on their way to getting signed and being paid millions, until they received a notice from John Laurinaitis stating that they would not be hired because they were not cosmetically pleasing enough. Jay and Mark have busted their asses throughout the independents, setting up rings, and setting up chairs. And they posed the question, what have WGTT done to pay their dues? Granted, Haas and Benjamin took ROH by storm at Glory By Honor IX, and went on to win the World Tag Team titles at Honor Takes Center Stage, but The Briscoes have been in Ring of Honor since Day One [watch]. After a hellacious prematch beating from Haas and Benjamin, The Briscoes went through with the match and left New York with their seventh ROH World Tag Team titles.
As for Jay and Mark’s first challengers, The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) earned a future opportunity at the tag gold after winning a tag team gauntlet tournament defeating both Future Shock (Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole) and The All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King).
Jay Lethal successfully defended his World Television championship in a three-way elimination match against former TV champ El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett — who was accompanied by his manager “Brutal” Bob Evans and former WWE Diva/Playboy covergirl Maria Kanellis. PSA – Maria [watch]. Mike Bennett attempted a sound heel strategy of “let the two babyfaces tire themselves out and then go in for the easy kill,” but Lethal and Generico did manage to work together at the start before the temptation of being Television champion became too much.
Other matches at Final Battle included Michael Elgin defeating TJ Perkins … Tommaso Ciampa defeating Jimmy Rave … and Roderick Strong pinning Chris Hero.
That’s it for this post, feel free to check us out on YouTube – WTX Video Podcast. My buddies and I perform a wrestling video podcast where we talk wrestling, which then leads us into crazy comedy sketches. Support us on YouTube, like us on Facebook at WTXVideoPodcast, and follow me on the twitter @WrestlingTimesX.