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Ring of Honor Review: ROH Final Battle Delivers Both Wrestling and Storytelling

rites ofpatchesContributor IFebruary 11, 2012

Ring of Honor Review: ROH Final Battle Delivers Both Wrestling and Storytelling

1 of 9

    Ring of Honor’s last pay-per-view of the year, Final Battle, made for some excellent entertainment. It was my first Ring of Honor pay-per-view and their first of a new era.

    ROH signed a television deal with Sinclair Broadcasting in May and began weekly episodes on its new home in late September.

    Final Battle delivered some great matches and incredible drama, but it failed to deliver a satisfying main event.

     

    *Three things you should know before you begin:

    1) I’ve been an on-again-off-again wrestling fan. I watched from 2000-2005 and a few months in 2007. You’ve probably already guessed that CM Punk’s promo brought me back.

    2) I had never watched Ring of Honor before September. I know little of the rich history or tradition of ROH, or independent wrestling in general.

    3) This is the first in what is intended to be a weekly series of Ring of Honor reviews. Subsequent reviews will be posted until I am caught up.

     

    All photos courtesy of rohwrestling.com

Michael Elgin Defeated TJ Perkins

2 of 9

    This was a solid opening match. Elgin looked dominant, and Perkins played the role of the feisty underdog well.

    I love Michael Elgin. He is strong, quick, and a great technical wrestler. He belongs in the ROH Championship picture soon.

    Verdict: Thumbs Up
    Best Moment
    : Perkins going for a flying neckbreaker, but Elgin catching him and turning it into a stalling suplex.

Tommaso Ciampa Defeated Jimmy Rave

3 of 9

    I didn’t understand much about this match. I don’t know much about Jimmy Rave outside of that he used to be a part of The Embassy, Tommaso Ciampa’s current stable.

    However, I do know that it makes no sense for a guy as dominant as Ciampa to require four people interfering to help him win the match.

    Ciampa looked weak, and a guy who will never appear in the company again looked strong. That makes no sense.

    Verdict: Thumbs Down
    Best Moment
    : Ciampa’s running knee strikes to the face look brutal.

ROH TV Champion Jay Lethal Defeated Mike Bennett and El Generico

4 of 9

    This match would have stolen the show if not for the match that came after. Jay Lethal and El Generico are two of the best wrestlers in the company, and Bennett, although still a bit green, tells a good story.

    All of that happened. Lethal and Generico carried the match. Bennett played the cocky heel to perfection.

    He teases the audience. He chews gum during the match. He reminds the audience why it’s futile to insult a guy dating a Playboy model. He uses said Playboy model as a human shield. He’s going to be a force when he learns to wrestle.

    Verdict: Thumbs Up
    Best Moment
    : Nigel McGuinness talking about Maria’s “floppy bits.”
    Best Wrestling Moment
    : El Generico springboarding off of two ropes to hit a Molly-Go-Round on Lethal, then diving through the turnbuckle ropes to hit a tornado DDT on Bennett.

Kevin Steen Defeated Steve Corino

5 of 9

    This match stole the show.

    It was a brutal spotfest that never lost sight of the story it was trying to tell: Corino’s final act of redemption, destroying the psychopathic monster he helped create.

    The story’s climax was as beautiful as it was brutal. Steen’s destruction of Jimmy Jacobs and El Generico after the match only solidified his status as an unstable heel who just wants to watch the world burn.

    Verdict: Thumbs Up
    Best Moment
    : Steen hitting a package piledriver while standing on four chairs.
    Other Best Moment
    : Corino setting a barricade across four chairs before superplexing Steen onto the barricade.

The Young Bucks Won a Tag Team Gauntlet Match

6 of 9

    Is WWE watching? It can’t be as hard as they make it seem, right? Can you imagine a five-team tag turmoil match in WWE?

    If ROH can have seven legitimate tag teams, how can the WWE go years with the Usos as the only tag team on the roster? It’s not a difficult formula. Step 1: Take two good athletes with some chemistry.

    That’s it. That’s the only step.

    It’s not like Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole have any discernible charisma outside of O’Reilly’s Team Richards SuperStamina™ and a love for being struck in the face. They just come up with a couple of cool moves and boom! Tag team!

    Verdict: Thumbs Up
    Best Moment
    : Kenny King. He’s like Shelton Benjamin back when Shelton Benjamin used to be able to successfully leapfrog Charlie Haas.

Roderick Strong Defeated Chris Hero

7 of 9

    With all the talk of no one being “good enough” to take on Strong, I expected a proven commodity to surprise Roderick Strong. My guess is that most ROH fans were pretty happy Chris Hero showed up.

    However, seven minutes into the match, I realized that I couldn’t remember anything that happened earlier. Hero and Strong did not have much chemistry. It felt like 10 minutes of chops and spinning punches.

    Verdict: Thumbs Down
    Best Moment
    : Hero’s Cravate Suplexes are pretty cool.

The Briscoes Defeated ROH Tag Team Champions Haas & Benjamin

8 of 9

    This feud, of love of brother and hatred of enemy, was storytelling perfection.

    The Briscoes were the clear heels leading into this match. They attacked Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team after they won the ROH Tag Team Championship. They talked about taking back “what was theirs.” They cheated to beat The All Night Express.

    In the weeks leading to Final Battle, they attacked Shelton Benjamin and “broke” his ribs. Charlie Haas delivered an angry promo calling Benjamin his brother and promising revenge.

    This match became about two pairs of brothers, one fueled by envy, one by revenge. Somewhere along the way, the Briscoes became the faces.

    It probably began when Haas & Benjamin destroyed the Briscoes before the match. And I mean DESTROYED. The Briscoes were thrown into barricades and drilled with chairs for five minutes. It was uncomfortable to watch.

    Everyone played their new roles perfectly. WGTT taunted and swore at the crowd. The Briscoes never quit and battled back. In the end, this story transcended face vs. heel. It was art.

    Verdict: Thumbs Up
    Best Moment
    : Benjamin taking a flying elbow drop to his injured ribs to protect his partner. It was a microcosm of what the entire match was about.
    Worst Moment
    : Realizing how old Shelton Benjamin has gotten. Remember that Benjamin joke a couple slides ago? It wasn’t a joke.

ROH Champion Davey Richards Defeated Eddie Edwards

9 of 9

    I believe that professional wrestling can be art. I believe that a great story can be told in a wrestling ring. I believe that the dance of professional wrestling can be choreographed on par with Cirque du Soleil.

    If pro wrestling can be art, this match was a Dragonforce song.

    I suppose the wrestling was great, but there was no psychology. There was no story. It was a string of devastating moves simply for the sake of having devastating moves. It was pro wrestling wankery.

    It was the most disappointing ending possible in an evening filled with tremendous wrestling, but even better storytelling.

    Verdict: Thumbs Down
    Best
    Moment: I would have rather seen a Great Khali match. I’m dead serious.

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