ROH Final Battle 2012 Review: Unsettling Differences
Ring of Honor: Final Battle 2012
December 16th, 2012
Review by: Matt Davis
It's that time of the year, where all acquaintances be forgot, because it's time for Final Battle! This is Ring of Honor's most anticipated show every year, annually held in December. I understand Ring of Honor isn't for everyone. I'm going to review the show, share my thoughts, cover highlights, and rate the matches using a five star grade scale. I hope to make some of you fans, or rejuvenate older fans who have lost touch with the current product. If I can make one person a fan, I will call that success. I would like everyone to buy the show regardless by either streaming on their website, or buying the DVD and watch it. (You can do so by visiting ROHWrestling.com)
"Final Battle" has always been held in high regard for the amazing matches and stories that are told at the yearly event. For those unfamiliar with the promotion, let me revisit some of the incredible highlights of the last ten years. In 2002, Bryan Danielson, Low Ki, Samoa Joe, and Steve Corino fought to a 45 minute time limit draw for the ROH #1 contendership. In 2004, Austin Aries ended the 18 month reign of Samoa Joe as ROH Champion. 2005 gave us one of the greatest matches in the promotions history when Japanese star and GHC Jr Heavyweight Champion KENTA defeated Low Ki to retain the championship. In 2008, Austin Aries defeated Tyler Black in a ****1/2 match that made Tyler Black a star. 2009 saw Austin Aries defend the ROH Championship against Tyler Black in a return match from the previous years show-stealer, and they fought to a one hour draw with Aries barely surviving and retaining. In 2011, Davey Richards defeated his best friend Eddie Edwards in a ****1/2 match to retain the ROH Championship, after feuding with Edwards over the championship the entire year.
Noteworthy, Final Battle 2009 also saw the end of Kevin Steens career- or so we all thought. The match was advertised as Kevin Steens final match in Ring of Honor, and at the conclusion of the match, Steen low blowed his best friend and long time tag partner, El Generico. At the 2010 event, Kevin Steen and El Generico finally met in a long awaited match, after Steen bated Generico to fight him the entire year. Steen offered to put his career on the line, if Generico put his mask on the line. Both men destroyed one another, as well as tables, ladders, the barricade, and even referees. Generico won the ***** bloody war, which is the match I regard as the greatest match in ROH history and El Generico chased Steen away from Ring of Honor... until the same event in 2011 when Kevin Steen won his career back, hell bent on destroying the company and El Generico. That brings us to tonight, when the two men conclude their epic rivalry in "Ladder War IV"!
1) Michael Elgin (w/ Truth Martini) vs Roderick Strong (w/ Truth Martini)
Background: Both men are former members of "The House of Truth", a heel faction. The two men began to feud in April when Elgin refused to cede a championship match with Davey Richards at Showdown in the Sun: Night 2. Roderick Strong took offense to his "lieutenant" putting himself over the group and the leader. Elgin fought ROH Champion Davey Richards to a ***** star spectacle, with many regarding it as the best match in wrestling in 2012. After the star making performance, the divide grew between the two men, with both men eventually quitting the group when Truth Martini refused to pick sides.
This was a grudge match, with both men having a lot to prove. Elgin is a good worker, but Roderick Strong is one of the best in the company. The first ten minutes are back and forth, with little noteworthy happening. Near the end, Elgin superplexes Strong from the outside apron on the turnbuckle and drops Strong into the ring with an innovative superplex which got a standing ovation from the crowd. They exchanged finishers to no avail, until Strong was able to use a distraction from Truth Martini to hit a double knee gutbuster and secure the pin at 11:31
Thoughts: An average opening match that used two established names to get the fans interested. Being under 12 minutes disappointed me, but there was enough to make it interesting and fun.
After the match Truth Martini gets in the ring and Elgin tries to powerbomb him. Martini begs and asks to speak with Elgin. Martini says he isn't proud of either man because he brought them together and all they do is fight. He said he made both men superstars and they should be thankful. Martini tells Elgin he is like a slap in the face, and then he slaps Elgin. Elgin crushes Martini with a turnbuckle powerbomb and celebrates over a fallen Truth Martini.
2) Jay Lethal vs Rhino
Background: On October 16th, Jay Lethal was moments away from becoming ROH World Champion when champion Kevin Steen escaped a pinfall, rolled to the outside, and spit on Jay Lethal's mother who was sitting ringside. Jay Lethal snapped, bludgeoning Steen around ringside, having to be pulled apart by other wrestlers and crew. The match was ruled a no contest. Afterwards, Lethal attacked Commissioner Jim Cornette. Jay Lethal was forced to face "The Mercenary For Hire" Rhino here as punishment.
Before the bell sounds, ROH Tag Team Champion Steve Corino joins the commentary team as the fans give an honorary "EC Dub" chant to the old Network stablemates, Corino and Rhino. (Note: For those who do not know, Steve Corino commentated the very first Ring of Honor event in 2002 and has been with the company ever since)
Not a fan of this match. The highlight of the entire match was Steve Corino's commentary, and that's saying a lot. It was very slow. The only impressive sequence in the entire match was Rhino countering a koji clutch submission from the mat into a one armed powerbomb. Jay Lethal wins out of no where, and I mean out of no where, with the Lethal Injection at 9:36. Neither man looked interested, and the fans were barely awake. Not good.
Thoughts: The match was nothing more than storyline advancement. Very poor, disappointing match between two guys who are capable of much better, especially on a major PPV.
After the match, Corino confronted Lethal on the apron, telling him he had nerve to get in Kevin Steens business. Corino said that Lethal is being a cry baby because Steen spit on his mother. Corino then stated that he used to date Jay Lethals mother, and would never think of acting the way Lethal does. He said he used to think highly of Lethal, that Lethal used to carry his bags. Lethal challenged Corino to a fight. Jimmy Jacobs, the other half of the ROH Tag Team Champions, attacked Lethal from behind. Corino tripped Lethal, allowing Rhino to hit the Gore on Lethal. Corino, Jacobs, and Rhino united in the middle of the ring as Corino told Lethal he would never be in the main event, because he was a second match turd.
3) Prince Nana vs RD Evans (w/ QT Marshall)
Background: Prince Nana has quite a history in Ring of Honor. Making his debut on Ring of Honor's first show in 2002, he is a wealthy entrepreneur from the country of Ghana. He has used his wealth and international influence to guide many of Ring of Honor's young stars to glory in his group called "The Embassy". Names such as Alex Shelley, Jimmy Rave, John Walters, Claudio Castagnoli, Necro Butcher, Abyss, Rhino, and Sal Rinauro have worked for Prince Nana. The Embassy feuded with Generation Next and the Second City Saints throughout 2004 and 2005. After leaving Ring of Honor in 2006 and disbanding his group, Nana returned in 2010 briefly, and again in 2011. He introduced "The Sicilian Nightmare" Tommaso Ciampa and business associate RD Evans to Ring of Honor. During the summer of 2012, Prince Nana made a business arrangement with Truth Martini which cost Ciampa a shot at the ROH TV Title. Outraged, Ciampa left The Embassy and made RD Evans his full time manager. RD Evans would himself turn on Ciampa after Ciampa legitimately tore his ACL, and replace him with rising star QT Marshall. Prince Nana disappeared from Ring of Honor again, only to return in November to attack RD Evans for "stealing his crowned jewel (Ciampa)" away from him. A match was made between the two for Final Battle by Authority Nigel McGuiness.
While RD Evans has never competed officially in Ring of Honor, he is a trained wrestler, and wrestles regularly in Chikara and other independent promotions. His extravagant attire this evening drew an entertaining "Power Ranger" chant from the crowd early on. There's a great sequence with RD Evans being whipped into a turnbuckle where he turned inside out ala Flair, and immediately springboarded into the ring, before receiving a cutter in reversal! Excellent! RD Evans wins with an inverted Styles Clash at 6:41
Thoughts: For what it was, it was great. Neither of these guys are anything more than managers with wrestling experience. I wasn't expecting anything, and I was decently surprised at how it played out. RD Evans entertained me, and Prince Nana playing the face was a different perspective than his career trajectory as a long time rich bad guy.
After the match, Tommasso Ciampa appears in the crowd, telling Evans he is coming for him when he returns, as Evans escapes up the ramp.
4) Rhett Titus & BJ Whitmer vs "Wrestlings Greatest Tag Team" Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas
NEW YORK STREET FIGHT
Background: Rhett Titus was one half of a very successful tag team known as "The All Night Express" with partner Kenny King for many years in Ring of Honor. At Hostage Crisis in June 2012, the team finally won the ROH Tag Team Championships. The success was not long lived as Kenny King signed a contract with TNA and the team was stripped of it's first tag championships. A tournament was announced for the vacant titles, and Charlie Haas, who's own partner was touring Japan, agreed to team with Rhett Titus. They reached the finals before losing to Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino. After the match, Haas blamed Titus as a returning Shelton Benjamin helped Haas double team Titus. BJ Whitmer would make his return to Ring of Honor after five years and saved Titus from a beatdown. The teams went onto to feud against each other for opportunities at the ROH Tag Team Championships, and this match was made after Haas and Benjamin cost Whitmer and Titus the championships.
Rhett Titus turns the camp up early when he takes a stocking full of Christmas ornaments from underneath the ring. Whitmer and Titus beat down their opponents with stereo plastic candy cane shots. The color commentator calls it "Assault and battery..with delicious treats!" A few moments after this, Titus pulls out a christmas tree from under the ring to a huge cheer. A Whitmer piledriver to Haas on the outside is countered with a Benjamin superkick. Haas begins to whip Titus with his belt in the ring as Haas and Benjamin double team Titus. The weapons start to appear in bunches as Haas breaks a crutch over Titus's back and Benjamin picks up a pool stick. The crowd chants "use the tree!". Benjamin picks it up to a cheer and throws it outside to a chorus of boos as the double team continued. Haas and Benjamin execute a double team move to Whitmer onto a piece of ringside barricade inside the ring that I can only describe as a Decapitation Device with a powerbomb across the barricade!! DANGGGEROUUSSS!!! A Titus reversal into a hiptoss finds Haas falling back first into the barricade in the corner! After an exchange on the apron, Benjamin sends Whitmer through a table at ringside with the Paydirt! The match mercifully ends at 15:20 after Haas throws Whitmer across the ring with a top rope release belly to belly suplex head first through a table!! HOLY SHIT!
Thoughts: I can not express enough shock at the ending of the match! The match itself was a very good brawl between four very experienced workers. There was no lack of technical prowness at all, even in this hardcore environment. Rhett Titus impresses me as much as anyone else in Ring of Honor, and he has a very bright future. He's a guy I could really find myself supporting. Haas and Benjamin draw heat like very few people can, and Whitmer took his usual bump that have defined his career. This was a very entertaining, funny, hard hitting, pier four brawl.
5) Jerry Lynn vs Mike Bennett (w/ Maria Kanellis and Brutal Bob)
Background: Jerry Lynn made his debut in Ring of Honor in 2002, wrestling in the first ROH Championship tournament. He lost in the first round to AJ Styles. He returned again in 2004 teaming with ROH World Champion Samoa Joe to challenge for the ROH Tag Team Championships in a losing effort. He signed a contract in 2008 and became a full time wrestler for the company. On April 3rd, 2009, Jerry Lynn ended the 21 month reign of Nigel McGuinness and won the ROH World Championship. After a brief feud with Austin Aries he would lose the championship only two months later, but he said it was the greatest accomplishment in his illustrious career. He left the company in 2010, but returns tonight in his retirement match. Mike Bennett is an up and coming star in the company and spent most of 2012 feuding with Lance Storm and Eddie Edwards before turning his attention to being able to proclaim he retired Jerry Lynn at Final Battle.
After being introduced from South Boston, the New York crowd chants "Boston sucks" towards Mike Bennett. After some chain wrestling early on, Jerry Lynn with a nice tilt-a-whirl headscissors. After regaining control, Bennett with an innovative backbreaker across the knee using the ropes. Jerry Lynn drops Bennett with a cutter from the apron to the floor, but Bennett kicks out of a near fall! Bennett counters the Cradle Piledriver with an Arn Anderson-esque spinebuster! Brutal Bob introduces a chair to the match, but Lynn counters and drops Bennett with a fireman carry cutter onto the chair. After a distraction from Maria, Bennett kicks out again. Maria chokes Lynn across the top rope which allows Bennett to pin Jerry Lynn with the Box Office Smash at 10:10
Thoughts: An average match with some nice spots. I wish we could have seen the Cradle Piledriver, which we were denied, in Jerry Lynns final match. While the match was good, it was lacking a real dramatic feel for a legends last match. While it's a notch in Mike Bennett's belt, I was disappointed in the overall match.
After the match, Jerry Lynn dispatches all three antagonists, and DDTs Maria into Bob's groin with a "That's hardcore" chant breaking out, followed by a Cradle Piledriver to Bennett! Kevin Kelly exclaims "That's not Mr. JL, that's Jerry FN Lynn" in homage to Lynn's luchadore history in WCW followed by his legendary career in ECW. The crowd showered Lynn with streamers and a "Thank You Jerry" chant. Jerry Lynn takes a microphone and thanks the fans. He said Ring of Honor gave him a shot in the arm and kept him going a few more years. He said Cary Silken is the most honorable promoter he's ever worked for. He thanks all the guys in the back, as Authority Nigel McGuiness makes his way to the ring. McGuinness thanks Lynn and says wrestling is all about moments, and most of his moments involve Jerry Lynn. He said he wrestled Jerry Lynn in one of his first matches in Ring of Honor (3/14/2004 "At Our Best"), and when Jerry walked out the crowd came unglued. He said five years later, he was ROH Champion and faced Jerry Lynn again, and while he was champion he got a big response but Jerry Lynn got even a bigger one again! McGuinness gave Jerry Lynn a plaque from everyone in the company and hugged him as Jerry Lynn put over the fans again before posing in the ring and exiting.
Jay Lethal approached Nigel McGuinness in the ring and wanted to talk to him. He asked McGuinness if he was the new authority or not, and earlier in the evening, he was assaulted by a bunch of cowards and pricks. He wanted to know why he was handing out awards instead of making matches. He said as the Survival of the Fittest 2012 winner, he deserves a ROH Championship match and he will be in the main event. McGuinness says Lethal will not be in the main event, but he can root on El Generico because if he wins the championship, Lethal will have the first shot. Lethal questions how proud Englishmen are by asking if McGuinness wouldn't do anything if someone spit on his mum. He says by allowing that to happen, Ring of Honor spit on his Jay Lethal, and Lethal will spit on Ring of Honor, before hawking a spitball onto McGuinness's suit. Officials and ring crew have to break them apart as McGuinness kicks Lethal out of the building.
6) Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish vs Davey Richards
Background: In 2010, Davey Richards created a school where he trained new wrestlers. Two of those men were Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish. The three man became very close, with all three men being with Davey Richards when he won the ROH Championship in June 2011. Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards long time tag partner felt that Richards was focusing more on himself and his new students than the tag team, and a rift was formed between the two. O'Reilly sided with his mentor Davey Richards, while Eddie Edwards recruited O'Reilly's tag team partner, Adam Cole. At the Tenth Anniversary Show in 2012, the teams had a match, with many regarding it as an elite ****3/4 match. Afterwards, wanting to break out of of Davey Richards shadow, Kyle OReilly forged his own singles career during the summer. Davey Richards questioned where O'Reilly stood, with O'Reilly assaulting his mentor on ROH TV, and aligning with a returning Bobby Fish. Davey Richards called out for Eddie Edwards, to no avail. Davey Richards pleaded with Authority Nigel McGuinness to persuade Edwards to come back from Japan. Edwards never returned any emails or phone calls. This match was advertised as a reunion of the American Wolves, but Edwards was no where to be seen before the night began.
Before the match began, O'Reilly and Fish beat down an injured Mike Mondo in the ring before Davey Richards made the save. Eddie Edwards dove into the ring to a huge ovation as O'Reilly and Fish double teamed Richards. Eddie Edwards superkicked Bobby Fish as the American Wolves were reunited!
6) "The American Wolves" Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish
Background: Davey Richards debuted in Ring of Honor in 2004 at "Punk vs Joe II", before making his singles debut in 2006. After a moderately successful singles run, Richards formed a team with Roderick Strong and Rocky Romero, calling themselves the No Remorse Corps. After winning the ROH Tag Team Championships with Romero, the faction ran it's course and Richards signed an exclusive contract with Sweet & Sour Inc, a faction run by Larry Sweeney. Richards was teamed with up and comer Eddie Edwards. The team was named "The American Wolves". As associates of Sweet&Sour Inc., the team became ROH Tag Team Champions in May 2009, having a legendary run as champions. Eventually they broke away from Sweet&Sour Inc. because they were becoming fan favorites. With both becoming eager to forge main event paths of their own, the team split at the end of 2010, vowing to never team again. Eddie Edwards won the ROH World Championship on 3/19/2011 at Manhatten Mayhem IV, and Davey Richards defeated Eddie Edwards for the ROH Championship on 6/26/2011 at Best in the World 2011. Both men had become top billed stars in the company, arguably the two biggest names after the departure of Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, Tyler Black, and Nigel McGuinness. As well as his success with Richards, Edwards is also a Triple Crown, and Survival of the Fittest winner in Ring of Honor. After the events mentioned above, the Wolves have been reunited for one night.
The Wolves start off the match with stereo kicks to Fish and O'Reilly who sat dazed on the apron, followed by double tope suicida splashes to the outside on their opponent. Alot of controlling double team moves by the American Wolves early on, getting the crowd on their feet. With Edwards seated on a chair on the outside, O'Reilly with a diving missle dropkick off the apron to the stomach of Edwards! Diving knee decapitation double team which flattens Edwards as the heels are in complete control. O'Reilly and Fish mimick the American Wolves with multiple kick combinations, ending by mocking Richards signature running punt to the face of Edwards! Two count! Edwards kicked out. Moments later, O'Reilly knife edge kicks Richards in the face, but Richards responds with a superkick and a release german suplex! All four men are down. Richards and Edwards with double suplexes to the outside to their opponents! After exchanging a flurry of palm strikes, O'Reilly gains the upper hand with a frontchoke guillotine, but at the same time Richards locks in his patented ankle lock!! Both men in submission holds at the same time! O'Reilly releases the hold and rolls through the ankle lock. O'Reilly is caught in a tombstone piledriver by Richards, with a kick to the head by Edwards, but O'Reilly kicks out after the concussive blows! Fish back in, allowing O'Reilly to take control. O'Reilly sets Edwards for a Brainbuster, with Fish with a similar kick to the head this time, before the impact. Edwards kicks out! Fish breaks a bridging pin with a springboard moonsault! O'Reilly with a death blow kick, but Edwards kicks out! Richards with a lariat that folds O'Reilly in half!! The Wolves almost kill O'Reilly with a powerbomb backcracker! O'Reilly kicks out as Edwards turns him in the Achilles lock with KICKS TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! O'REILLY IS OUT AND THE REFEREE RINGS THE BELL at 13:10
Thoughts: What a fantastic match! The American Wolves have delivered another classic against two rising stars. Kyle O'Reilly is one of my favorite young wrestlers for his overall ability to strike and chain wrestle. Not a lot is known about Bobby Fish, but from what I saw he will also have a great future. This match had great drama, near falls, explosive spots, fun tag wrestling, and in the end Kyle O'Reilly got his smug ass knocked out which is what should happen to every good heel. It was only 13 minutes and it felt like a lifetime. That defines how great matches unfold. When I checked the time, I couldn't believe it was only 13 minutes. This is a match you need to watch if you are a fan of anyone in the match, or if you've never heard of any of them and are new to Ring of Honor and want to watch a great tag team match. Highly recommended, thumbs up!
7) ROH Television Champion Adam Cole vs "The Icon" Matt Hardy
Background: Adam Cole made a name for himself in 2012 in a match with Kyle O'Reilly on June 24th, 2012 at "Best in the World 2012". Adam Cole had two teeth viciously kicked out of his mouth, and with blood pouring from his mouth he continued the match regardless. Matt Hardy appeared in Ring of Honor in 2012 and started to scout talent to find "The next Matt Hardy". He discovered the reigning Television Champion Adam Cole whom Matt said reminded him of himself. Matt Hardy congratulated Adam Cole for winning his first major championship at 22 years old. Matt Hardy reminded Cole that when he was 22, he was a worldwide star already. Adam Cole responded that Matt Hardy was never an icon. Matt Hardy replied that Adam Cole is the one who has something to prove because he has everything to lose and that Adam Cole may face an unfortunate Twist of Fate. The match up was made in this non-title match for respect.
When they introduced Matt Hardy, the entire arena erupted in a thunderous jeer. The crowd showers Hardy with "**** you Hardy" chants as the bell sounds. While fighting on the outside, Hardy dropped Cole on the apron with a Side Effect. Hardy with an interesting butterfly guillotine bodyscissors. Matt Hardy taunts the fans by hitting Cole with four consecutive Side Effects, refusing to be creative. A superkick by Cole draws the fans to chant "**** him up Adam, *** him up!" Adam Cole mocks Matt Hardy with a Twist of Fate of his own as the fans cheer! Adam Cole kicks out of a top rope crucifix powerbomb! Hardy wrestles a back lock to the outside, as Adam Cole destroys Matt Hardy with a Florida Key on the outside! After tripping Hardy from the top rope, Adam Cole locks on the figure four again. Adam Cole tries to end it with another Florida Key suplex, but Matt Hardy pulls the referees shirt over his eyes, kicks Cole between the legs and pins him with a small package at 11:45.
Thoughts: Matt Hardy is a perfect opponent for any young face in Ring of Honor because the fans absolutely despise him. Matt Hardy disrespects everything Ring of Honor stands for and is far more an entertainer than wrestler which the fans reject. I have to disagree with how they booked this match, Matt Hardy didn't need any more heat, while Adam Cole would have received the response of a lifetime if he were able to pin Matt Hardy and shut him up. I question whether or not Matt Hardy is a great heel, or if he's truly as delusional as he sounds when he talks about himself. He blurs the line between character and reality either extremely well, or, he really is out of touch and it's disgusting to listen to.
8) ROH Tag Team Champions SCUM (Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs) vs The Briscoe Brothers vs Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman
ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
TRIPLE THREAT TAG
Background: Jacobs and Corino won a tournament for the vacant ROH Tag Team Championships in August 2012. The Briscoe Brothers are seven time ROH Tag Team Champions. Coleman and Alexander began teaming in 2011 and have been constant threats to the championships since then. The match was made when by Authority Nigel McGuinness when Corino and Jacobs kept escaping title defense situations by fight or flight. The Briscoe Brothers are one of the most recognized and successful tag teams in Ring of Honor history, with Jay Briscoe having fought, with Mark in his corner, on the very first ROH show. Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs are long time veterans of the company as well, with Corino commentating that first show, eventually finding himself as an active wrestler by the end of 2002. Jimmy Jacobs debuted in 2003, having an extraordinary rivalry with Alex Shelley, and BJ Whitmer, before turning his attention to The Briscoes, and forming "The Age of the Fall" with Tyler Black in on September 15th, 2007. The dawn of the faction that night was so controvertial, the company removed it from the live feed but released it later on DVD. When the group fell apart, Jacobs feuded with Black before leaving the company. He returned in 2011, proclaiming to be a changed man, and adopting Steve Corino as his sponsor of change. It was all to be an illusion when Jacobs and Corino aligned with Steen in the summer of 2012.
Both challenging teams attack the champions to start the match, tattooing Corino and Jacobs on the outside. There are multiple pin attempts on Corino in the ring. Alexander and Coleman exchange words with the Briscoes as any semblance of an agreement between the teams is gone. The champions try to escape to the back while the Briscoes and Coleman and Alexander grapple in the ring. Mark Briscoe brings them back, and C&C drop Corino with a very nice legsweep mule kick combo. Mark Briscoe is absolutely one of the funniest guys in a ring, while being able to wrestle at a high level, that I've ever seen, as he exchanges over hand chops while cackling like a chicken before dropping Alexander with a big boot. There are some near falls which other members of the match break up. Standing Sliced Bread #2 by Jacobs followed by a hard lariat by Corino, but Coleman kicks out! Coleman flips Jacobs off the top rope with a frankensteiner followed by a missle dropkick! Corino knocks Alexander out with a roll of quarters in his fist behind the referees back, but Alexander kicks out! The Briscoes back in the ring, stopping Jacobs from using the tag titles as a weapon. The Briscoes nail Jacobs with the Doomsday Device double team and pin him at 7:05 to win the titles
Thoughts: Terribly short, uninspiring tag action. I was expecting something much better on the biggest show of the year between three of the companies top tag teams. There was a lot of single exchanges by two guys throughout the match while the other four didn't do much. No one attempted a single finishing move until the pinfall. I didn't understand some of the psychology used, especially in the end when Corino was simply shoved into the corner by Jay, and watched the Briscoes make the pin. This was very far from a Ring of Honor match as possible, with Jacobs not suffering much, if any, damage only to be pinned after one move. I gave this an extra half a star for the heel work of Corino who remains one of the most ridiculous bad guys in wrestling. You love to hate him when you watch him.
After the match, the new champions issued an open challenge to any team in wrestling to a match to defend the honor of Ring of Honor, but first they were going to defend them against Alexander and Coleman out of respect.
9) ROH World Champion Kevin Steen vs El Generico
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Earlier on, we were shown a video package detailing the history between these two men. Instead of recapping a background for the match, let the video details explain in chapters of their epic rivalry:
TWO FORMER TEAMMATES AND CHAMPIONS: Steenerico won the ROH Tag Team Championships on 9/19/2008 at the PPV "Driven 2008". Kevin Steen was visably in tears after winning, hugging Generico on the mat.
TWO FORMER FRIENDS: On 12/19/2009 at Final Battle 2009, Kevin Steen swerved his partner during a retirement speech, and low blowed Generico before laying him out with a chair shot to the head.
A MAN BETRAYED; PUSHED TOO FAR: On 2/13/2010 at the "8th Anniversary Show", Generico finally fought back after months of refusing to fight his friend, delivering a huge Yakuza Kick to Steen after a match.
A YEAR OF BLOOD, PAIN, HATE: On 12/18/2010 at "Final Battle 2010", El Generico rid the company of Kevin Steen when he defeated him in a Unsanctioned Career vs Mask match.
AN UNWELCOME RESURRECTION: Steen would make his return during "Best in the World 2011" on 6/26/2011, proclaiming he was a vigilante bent on destroying the company. It was discovered he made a legal agreement with the owner of the company Cary Silken, to return. Steen then gave Silken a Package Piledriver. Commissioner Cornette banned any piledriver moves in the promotion until further notice.
AN EXILE OVER: On 12/23/2011 at "Final Battle 2011", Steen defeated Steve Corino in a match to win his career back, and afterwards, delivered a Package Piledriver to special referee Jimmy Jacobs. Steen tried to piledrive Cornette, but Generico made the save. Steen low blowed Generico, and dropped him from the apron through a table with a Package Piledriver! Generico was taken away on a stretcher, unheard from for months.
LA REVANCHA: On 3/30/2012 "Showdown in the Sun 2012", Jimmy Jacobs turned on Generico aligning with Kevin Steen, stabbing Generico in the throat with his patented railroad spike, allowing Steen to defeat Generico in a Last Man Standing match.
SEVEN MONTHS OF SILENCIO: In the meantime, Kevin Steen won the ROH World Championship. On 10/13/2012 at "Glory by Honor XI", after defeating Michael Elgin, a package was delivered to Kevin Steen by then announcer Nigel McGuinness, and inside was a mask of El Generico. Later it was revealed Nigel McGuinness as the new authority figure, signed Generico to face Steen at Final Battle 2012 in the epic conclusion of their feud in Ladder War IV.
Generico is literally blanketed in a rainbow of streamers as he makes his entrances. Usually a man of many words during his entrance, Steen stalks to the ring, staring into the ring as his theme music reminds us "No way to escape, there's no turning back." The most hated man in company history gets a streamer shower as well out of respect from the crowd.
Both men come to vicious blows as the bell sounds. Tornado DDT! Yakuza Kick! The champion is reeling! 450 suicide splash over the top rope! Generico introduces a ladder to the ring and drives it into Steens face! Generico throws it into Steen in the corner and jumps on him, grounding him with fists. Generico drops the ladder across Steens back! He drives the top of the ladder into Steens ribs. After some exchanges, Steen backdrops Generico into the ladder against the ropes, as it BREAKS IN HALF! Steen lays the shattered ladder on Generico in the corner, and kills Generico with a running cannonball!! Steen uses a piece of the ladder and cracks it across Genericos back. Steen brings two more ladders in the ring. Steen throws Generico into the barricade so hard, it breaks and Generico spills into the crowd. In the ring, Steen whips Generico into a ladder in the corner! Steen goes to the outside and and gets a 20' ladder. Steen climbs the ladder but Generico manages to stop him! HALF NELSON SUPLEX BY GENERICO INTO A LADDER IN THE CORNER! Generico begins to climb the ladder. Steen pulls him off. GENERICO DROPS HIM WITH A TBONE SUPLEX HEAD FIRST ONTO A LADDER!! Generico begins to climb again. Steen pushes the ladder over as Generico falls head first into the turnbuckle! Steen counters a tornado DDT into a backbreaker! Steen bridges a ladder across the barricade and apron, and places a table on top as the fans chant "Please don't die". Steen tries to powerbomb Generico from the inside the ring, but Generico BACKTOSSES STEEN THROUGH THE TABLE AND LADDER PILE OF DESTRUCTION!! Generico has the ring crew retrieve a 25' ladder from the back of the arena, as there are now four ladders in the ring. Steen counters a Super Turnbuckle Brainbuster into a FIREMANS CARRY THROUGH A TABLE OFF THE TOP ROPE!! Steen crawls in the ring and drags himself up the ladder. Generico sets up the 20' ladder as Steen bridges a third ladder between the two. We have an Eiffel Tower of ladders in the ring. Steen powerbombs Generico across the suspended ladder!! Generico's back is covered in cuts and welts and bruises. Generico counters a Package Piledriver with a mirror reversal into a Package Piledriver of his own!! Generico begins to climb the ladder as the crowd chants "OLE OLE OLE". Steen is up and stops him, and brings a fourth ladder into the ring, and bridges it above the first one. There are four ladders interconnected in the ring as Steen climbs the menagerie as Generico joins him on top as the fans chant "Please dont die" again. Steen low blows Generico
STEEN PACKAGE PILEDRIVES GENERICO THROUGH TWO LADDERS OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! THE LADDERS ARE BROKEN!! GENERICO IS BROKEN!! Steen climbs the ladder and pulls down the championship and retains at 28:03
Thoughts: What a match! This is the second time I watched this, and it was better the second time. The things they did in this match were absolutely ridiculous. The violence they put each other through is truly indescrible. The history told the story, the match was a war as advertised. It was brutal. They set the bar with their No Holds Barred match at Final Battle 2010, and while this wasn't as good, this match certainly was a fitting conclusion to one of the greatest rivalries in wrestling. I hold no reservations that this match could have been any better, and there is no doubt, that any of you would feel differently. When you take everything into consideration, all three years of build, and you understand the story they were telling, it blows your mind. This is great wrestling. This is theatre, a fight between two gladiators, at it's finest.
Overall Grade: C
Thoughts: This show has three must watch matches. The first was the New York Street Fight, the second was the reunion of the American Wolves, and the third being the aforementioned main event. While those matches were terrific, the rest of the show disappointed me, with my distain being present after those that did. I felt the company missed the chance to really pop the crowd a couple times early on. This is your biggest show of the year, you shouldn't be creating heat and teasing the fans for a pay off later, and they did that multiple times. Where defining moments could have been made for Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal and Adam Cole, instead, we were left flat. Additionally, the commentary was less than great, which subtracted from some moments. Kevin Kelly is a great announcer, but the color commentator tonight who I didn't even recognize, was lifeless and uninspiring. Kelly called the event primarily by himself. It was a mistake to not have someone like Corino commentate the entire show until his match. Nigel McGuinness could have also been an alternate even in his role because he spent most of the year commentating, adding incredible insight to all the matches he called. Commentary is so important to get talent over, and to tell the stories for new fans to become vested in the product. To have such a disappointing night there hurt the overall show. So in conclusion, there was a lot left on the table, but ultimately it was a fun show that I enjoyed watching. Thanks for reading!