12/14 Powell’s ROH Final Battle 2018 live review: Jay Lethal vs. Cody for the ROH Title, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks in a Ladder War for the ROH Tag Titles, Jeff Cobb vs. Adam Page for the ROH TV Title

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Ring of Honor Final Battle 2018
Aired live on pay-per-view, FITE TV, HonorClub
New York, New York at Hammerstein Ballroom

A video package opened the show… Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana were on commentary… Ring entrances for the opening match took place. Kenny King took the mic and asked opponent Eli Isom why he was even in the ring with him.

Powell’s POV: I missed the first couple of minutes and most of the opening video while attempting to find the show on the ROH Roku app. No luck on my end. Fortunately, FITE TV’s stream is working just fine. Dot Net Member Don Murphy checked in from the building to report that Best Friends defeated TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia and The Bouncers in an 11:00 dark opening three-way tag match. Don wrote that it was a “very entertaining opener.”

1. Eli Isom vs. Kenny King. King jumped out to the quick start, but Isom came back before either man even took their t-shirts off. King performed a nice blockbuster and had the pin at 6:45, but he opted to pull Isom up rather than take the pin.

Isom came back with an inside cradle for a two count and picked up another near fall moments later. King recovered and performed his Royal Flush finisher for the win. Afterward, King offered a willing Isom a handshake, but pulled his hand away while leaving Isom hanging…

Kenny King defeated Eli Isom in 8:55.

Powell’s POV: A nice opener. I’m happy they resisted any urge to give Isom the upset win if only because King has been on a nice roll as of late. Isom has upside, but it’s better to build to a meaningful singles win. From a production standpoint, it’s brighter than usual and everything looks slick.

A video package set up the ROH TV Title match…

2. Jeff Cobb vs. “Hangman” Adam Page for the ROH TV Title. Page went right at Cobb to start. Page dropkicked him to ringside and went for a shooting star press from the apron, but Cobb caught him and suplexed him on the floor. At 6:40, Cobb went for a cross body block. Page rolled through and powered him up for a fallaway slam. Page sent Cobb to ringside and performed a suicide dive. Page went to the top rope and performed a moonsault onto Cobb at ringside at 8:10.

Back inside the ring, Page performed a standing moonsault, but Cobb kicked out immediately. Page performed the move a second time and got a two count. Page showed frustration. Cobb came back with an inverted piledriver for a near fall at 10:30. Fans chanted “this is awesome.” Cobb went for an overhead suplex. Page landed on his feet and superkicked Cobb. Page caught Cobb with his Buckshot Lariat and set up for his Rite of Passage finisher, but Cobb avoided it and performed a suplex for a near fall.

Cobb went for his fisher, but Page countered into a crucifix for a close near fall. Fans booed referee Paul Turner for not counting three. Page went for a springboard move, but Cobb caught him and performed his Tour of the Islands finisher. Cobb performed the move a second time and scored the pin…

Jeff Cobb defeated Adam Page to retain the ROH TV Title in 13:35.

Powell’s POV: A very good match that exceeded my high expectations. Both guys worked hard and while Cobb went over strong, this was in no way a burial of Page, who may be leaving the company at the end of the year. It was a very competitive match and the live crowd was hanging on the strong near falls.

A video package set up the Women of Honor Championship match…

3. Sumie Sakai vs. Madison Rayne vs. Karen Q vs. Kelly Klein in  a four corner survival match for the WOH Championship. Mandy Leon sat in on commentary for the match. Riccaboni referred to Rayne as a badass mom. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Rayne performed an early cross body block from the apron onto Q on the floor.

Later, Rayne performed a nice crucifix into a pin on Q for a two count. Rayne caught Sakai on the ropes and this led to a tower of doom spot with Klein disposing of Rayne and Q only to have Sakai catch her with a move from the top rope. Q performed a full nelson slam on Klein for a two count. Klein performed K Power on Q and pinned her to eliminate her from the match around 7:00.

Rayne got a near fall on Sakai off a powerbomb. Sakai performed a her Smash Mouth finisher on Rayne, but Klein stole the pin at 7:55 to eliminate Rayne. The match came down to Sakai and Klein. Sakai applied an arm submission hold that Klein eventually escaped. Sakai performed Smash Mouth on Klein, who kicked out. Klein performed a powerbomb for a near fall. Klein performed K Power on Sakai, who kicked out of Klein’s finisher. Klein placed Sakai on the top rope and then hoisted her onto her shoulders and performed what Riccaboni referred to as Super K Power and scored the pin. Klein showed respect to Sakai with a post match embrace…

Kelly Klein defeated Sumie Sakai, Madison Rayne, and Karen Q in an elimination match in 13:40 to win the WOH Championship.

Powell’s POV: Good, hard work from everyone involved. I like that they went all in on Klein by having her eliminate all three opponents. Sakai was an inspirational champion particularly within the company, but it was time for a change. Was this always billed as an elimination match and I just missed it? Either way, it was nice to see the WOH Championship on Final Battle. Hopefully the women will play a bigger role in the company in 2019.

A Jonathan Gresham promo aired regarding his match…

4. Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre Jr. Sabre entered the ring and slapped Gresham across the face before the bell. Gresham had Sabre on the mat early and gave him the bird. Both men exchanged slaps, which continued at different points in the match. Gresham performed a springboard moonsault. Sabre countered into a pin and bridge for the win…

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Jonathan Gresham in 11:50.

Powell’s POV: Fun while it lasted. The submission style used by both men isn’t for everyone, but I really enjoy it. Plus, Sabre has a strong personality and does a great job of generating heat. There were no storyline issues between the two men, so that pre-match slap was effective in generating some intensity. My only complaint is that the match felt brief for a submission style match.

A video package set up the Matt Taven vs. Dalton Castle match…

5. Matt Taven (w/TK O’Ryan) vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) for the Taven’s “Real World Championship.” Castle had a fun entrance with multiple Boys rolling out a platform, spinning it around, and revealing Castle posing on it. Castle was accompanied by the actual Boys. Confetti fell for Taven’s entrance.

Taven connected with an early kicked to knock Castle off the apron, but the Boys caught Castle on the floor. A short time later, Taven performed a dive over the top rope at Castle on the floor. Castle moved and Taven landed chest first on the guardrail. Damn! Somehow, Taven got up, continued the match, and seemed to be fine.

Later, O’Ryan snuck in a punch on Castle while Taven distracted the referee. Castle’s boys worked over O’Ryan, then the red balloons emerged from under the ring. Vinny Marseglia followed and attacked the Boys, dragging one under the ring with him to do lord knows what to him. In the ring, Taven got a near fall and fans rallied behind Castle until Taven caught him with a kick to regain offensive control.

Castle caught Taven on the top rope and then hit a running knee. At ringside, Castle fought off O’Ryan and then performed his Bangarang finisher, which drove Taven head first into the ring post in a wild spot. In the ring, Castle had the pin, but O’Ryan threw one of the Boys at Castle to break up the pin. O’Ryan and the Boys were ejected by the referee. Castle performed a Bangarang in the ring, but Taven grabbed the bottom rope when he was pinned. Castle threw several knees to the head of Taven in the corner. Castle went for his finisher for a third time, but Taven avoided it and hit his Climax finisher for the win…

Matt Taven defeated Dalton Castle in 15:50.

Powell’s POV: I have no idea how Taven is even walking after landing on the guardrail as hard as he did. He was able to work at a good pace after that spot so hopefully he’s okay. ROH is hellbent on getting Taven over as a high end heel. This was a step in the right direction in that he was able to win after his sidekicks were ejected from ringside. In other words, he scored a real pin over the former ROH Champion, so that’s a feather in his cap.

A video package focused on Christopher Daniels and this possibly being his final match with the company if he fails to win…

6. Marty Scurll vs. Christopher Daniels for Scurll’s ROH Title shot. Scurll earned the title shot by winning the Survival of the Fittest tournament. Scurll and Daniels jawed at one another before the match. Referee Todd Sinclair separated them and then called for the bell to start the match.

At 4:30, Scurll went for a kick from the apron, but Daniels avoided it and then swept his legs, which didn’t look good, but Scurll bumped to the floor anyway. Daniels performed an Arabian moonsault onto Scurll. Back in the ring, Scurll took offensive control for a stretch until Daniels came back with a suplex. The pace quickened and Daniels played to the quiet crowd for a minor pop. Daniels performed a springboard moonsault for a two count.

Scurll caught Daniels with an elbow and set up for his finisher, but Daniels ended up lying on him for a two count. Scurll came right back with a Scurll Driver for a two count of his own. Scurll applied his chicken wing finisher only to have Daniels roll onto him for a near fall. Daniels came right back with a burning hammer for a near fall. Daniels called for Angel’s Wings Suplex, but Scurll performed a tombstone an placed Daniels hands over his chest while getting a two count.

Scurll did the finger break spot to both of Daniels’ hands. Daniels went for angel’s wings again, but he played it like he couldn’t lock his fingers. Daniels was able to perform the move for a two cont while Cabana pointed out that Daniels was unable to lock his fingers again and didn’t hit the move completely. Daniels went for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Scurll put his knees up. Scurll performed a series of moves that he capped off with Graduation for a near fall. Moments later, Scurll applied the chicken wing and Daniels tapped out to end the match.

Marty Scurll defeated Christopher Daniels in 17:30.

Powell’s POV: It was a good match down the stretch after a slow start. It felt like the broadcast team was telling their own story as they played up how no one in the crowd wanted to see it end for Daniels even though Scurll was getting a lot of cheers. That said, the fans came to life in support of Daniels once the match concluded. If Daniels is actually leaving ROH then they may have been better off simply labeling this a retirement match rather than merely saying it might be his final match. However, we might not be finished with Daniels yet because of what happened next, as it could lead to something at tomorrow’s television taping even if Daniels is leaving at the end of the year.

After the match, fans chanted “thank you, Daniels” and “SCU”. Daniels climbed to the middle rope and saluted the fans, but Bully Ray came out and low blowed him from behind. Fans responded with “F— You, Bully” chants. Bully called for Flip Gordon, who showed up dressed in fatigues and waving an American flag in the balcony. Gordon walked down the stairs and headed to the ring…

7. Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon in an I Quit match. Gordon went after Ray to start and the ring was still littered with streamers following the Daniels moment. As the match spilled to ringside, Riccaboni pointed out that a blonde woman in the front row was the girlfriend of Gordon. With Flip down at ringside, Bully jawed at former ROH owner Cary Silkin. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise came to the defense of Silkin, which led to Ray shoving him to the ground.

Referee Todd Sinclair yelled at Bully, who shoved Sinclair to the ground while Cabana pointed out that Sinclair couldn’t disqualify him. Ray picked up a kendo stick and tried to hit Silkin with it, but Daniels appeared and took the shot for Silkin. Gordon got up and was a bloody mess. Bully backdropped Gordon over a table. Sinclair recovered and asked Gordon if he quit. Gordon said no.

Bully grabbed Gordon’s girlfriend out of the front row and set up to powerbomb her through the table. Gordon pleaded with Bully not to do it. Silkin stood up and hit Bully with the kendo stick. Bully didn’t sell it, but he let Gordon’s girlfriend go. Bully walked toward Silkin, and then Gordon’s girlfriend low blowed Bully. Gordon kissed his girlfriend. Gordon picked up the flag and leapt off the top rope and hit Bully with it. Fans chanted USA. Gordon used the flag to wrench Bully back. Silas Young ran out and attacked Gordon and put him down with Misery.

Young poured lighter fluid onto a table in the ring. Cheeseburger ran out and fought Young, who performed Misery. Silas poured more fluid on the table. Colt Cabana left the broadcast table, entered the ring, and worked over both heels with a chair. Silas accidentally ran into Ray, but he was able to low blow Cabana and throw him out of the ring. Young poured even more fluid onto the table. Young set up to light the table when the lights went out.

When the lights turned on, Sandman was standing in the ring with a kendo stick. Fans popped big and chanted ECW. Sandman worked over Young with the kendo stick and quickly cleared him from the ring. Bully grabbed his own kendo stick and squared off with Sandman, who slammed a beer and hit himself with the can. Gordon returned and worked over Bully with a superkick and a springboard stunner. Sandman gave his kendo stick to Gordon, who ended up with a second and beat Bully with both of them until he told the referee he quit.

Flip Gordon defeated Bully Ray in an I Quit match in 14:25.

After the match, Sandman gave Gordon a beer. Cabana saluted Gordon, who then waved the American flag while fans cheered…

Powell’s POV: Man, that was fun. It was a great conclusion to the lengthy storyline that saw Bully abuse everyone who came out to help Gordon. Sandman also played a prior role in this saga so his appearance wasn’t random. Some fans piss and moan about Bully being in ROH, but the guy doesn’t disappoint. It was a really fun program and Bully put over Gordon in the final chapter. Gordon definitely gained something in this feud and Bully deserves a lot of credit for that.

ROH’s pulse video aired… Riccaboni was joined on commentary by Caprice Coleman, who said they might have closed a chapter. Riccaboni said he hopes it’s the last time we see Bully in ROH. Meanwhile, the ring crew was trying to clean up the ring, which still had a wet apron. Riccaboni and Coleman spoke about the year the company had and hyped the upcoming event at Madison Square Garden…

A video package aired on the ROH Title match…

8. Jay Lethal vs. Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) for the ROH Championship. Riccaboni acknowledged the buzz of Cody becoming a free agent. During the in-ring introductions, Cody stomped his foot while showing the knee brace on his injured left knee. Cody took the mic and said it sounded like the fans loved him. He received a mixed response in return. A “we love Cody” chant started. Cody said he thinks he loves them too. He followed by saying that if he really loved them then he’d be doing the MSG show, so the fans could all kiss his ass. Awesome.

Lethal took the mic and said he had two things to say. “One, this is my fricking company, jackass,” he said. Lethal added that he would remain ROH Champion and the shiny new toy would be gone. Early in the match, Cody went to ringside where Brandi applauded him. Cody shook hands with a fan and then tossed the guy’s drink at him for more heat.

At 8:00, Lethal chop blocked the bad knee of Cody, who rolled to the apron. Lethal followed and stomped on the knee. Lethal also slammed Cody’s bad knee on the ring post multiple times while Coleman spoke about how Lethal was methodically taking Cody’s knee apart. Back inside the ring, Lethal stopped short of accidentally kicking referee Sinclair. With Sinclair distracted, Brandi entered the ring and speared Lethal, which led to a near fall for Cody at 13:20. Riccaboni asked how that was honorable. Coleman said that’s the way Cody has been winning matches all over the world and it’s not how things are done in ROH.

At 15:15, Lethal set up for a Shattered Dreams kick on Cody, but the referee blocked his path. Brandi went for another spear, but Lethal leapt over her and she ended up spearing her own husband. Lethal went for Lethal Injection and Brandi ended up taking the move instead of her husband. Cody hit Lethal with CrossRhodes for a good near fall at 16:20. Cody applied a figure four and barked at Lethal to tap. Cody released the hold (the bell may have rang) and then Adam Page came out and gave Cody the belt. Lethal got up and the match resumed since Lethal never tapped.

At 18:40, Lethal went for a top rope elbow, but Cody put his knees up. Cody worked over Lethal with punches and a big elbow drop before looking to the sky. Cody ran the ropes. Lethal followed and clotheslined Cody to the floor. Lethal performed a suicide dive and then followed up with five more. Cody grabbed a drink from a fan and returned to the ring and spit a drink in Lethal face. Cody performed Din’s Fire for a near fall.

At 22:30, Lethal accidentally took out the referee with a kick. REF BUMP!!! Lethal grabbed his title belt and hit Cody’s bad knee with it. With both men on their knees, Lethal gave Cody a double middle finger salute. Lethal hit Lethal Injection and several superkicks. Lethal applied a figure four. Cody reached for the ropes, but Lethal pulled him back to the middle of the ring where Cody tapped.

Jay Lethal defeated Cody in 23:45 to retain the ROH Championship.

After the match, Lethal stood over Cody, grabbed his hand, and shook it. Lethal went to the ropes while Cody rolled out of the ring and leaned on Brandi. Marty Scurll headed to the ring and went face to face with Lethal. As Cody and Brandi made it to the top of the ramp, Nick Aldis and Camille walked out and looked at them. Cody and Brandi headed backstage. Aldis walked halfway down the ramp and applauded before he and Camille headed backstage. Scurll and Lethal spoke off-mic in the ring. Scurll took the ROH Championship belt from Lethal, then threw it back to him, pointed at him, and left the ring…

Powell’s POV: A good match with the expected finish given that Cody is expected to leave the company after tomorrow’s taping. Cody went out like a pro. He did his best to turn the fans against him with his pre-match promo and antics throughout the match, and he tapped out clean for Lethal. I guess they were teasing a screwjob finish when Page came out and gave Cody the championship. It didn’t really click with the crowd and the broadcast team didn’t sell it in a meaningful way either. Otherwise, it was an entertaining match despite the outcome feeling predictable. I was surprised that this match didn’t close the show. Having said that, it’s tough to follow a ladder war.

A video package set up the ladder war…

9. Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky vs. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson in a ladder war for the ROH Tag Team Championship. Both tag title belts were hanging above the ring and had been all night. One of the Briscoes dropped an F-bomb while yelling at fans from the ring. The Bucks were cheered and played into those cheers. Colt Cabana rejoined the broadcast team for the main event.

Kazarian was bleeding just under five minutes into the match. The internet may have temporarily crashed when the Bucks did a too sweet hand gesture together for the first time on ROH television since the cease and desist issued by WWE. Kazarian was launched into a ladder in the corner and his landed between the rungs. He grabbed at his leg and remained down for a while, but he seemed okay. A short time later, Matt took a dump from the ring through a table on the floor.

Jay pulled out a stapler and wanted to use it on Kazarian, who low blowed him instead. Mark cut off Kazarian briefly, but Sky helped Kazarian perform a wild slingshot cutter from the apron and through a table on the floor. Kazarian rubbed his thigh, which had a huge welt or massive swelling. Ouch! Jay was a bloody mess.

At 19:45, the Mark wedged a ladder between the rungs of the biggest ladder and the middle ropes in the corner. Plus, there was a third ladder standing next to the tall ladder in the middle. Kazarian performed a Styles Clash on Jay on a chair in a tribute to AJ Styles. Kazarian raced up the ladder and was met by Mark, who was also a bloody mess. Frankie knocked Mark off the ladder and then Nick raced up the smaller of the two ladders. Jay pushed over Nick’s ladder and Nick took a crazy bump to ringside. Jay climbed the big ladder and fought with Kazarian, who was knocked off the ladder and crashed through a table below when Mark threw a chair at him. Jay pulled the belts down to win the match for his team…

Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated The Young Buck and Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky to win the ROH Tag Titles in 22:40.

Riccaboni spoke about the winds of change in ROH and how history was made on this show. He listed the current champions and said they stand tall heading into 2019. Riccaboni said he hopes everyone enjoyed this year’s Final Battle to close the show…

Powell’s POV: It was sit back and enjoy the spots style coverage. Sorry, folks, I don’t type fast enough to keep up with all those high spots and the all around insanity. Yep, ROH made the right call closing with this match since there was no way anything was going to follow it. Kazarian more than earned his pay for the night and hopefully he’s going to be okay. Hell, everyone more than earned their pay by working extremely hard and putting their bodies on the line like that. It was the type of craziness we’ve come to expect from ladder wars. I enjoyed it the match more than the storytelling that led up to it, as it just didn’t have a main event feel to it even though the match itself screamed main event. I also could have done without all the chair shots. I would like to see ROH go back to having two team ladder wars or even a singles ladder war that is more about emotion and storytelling than big spots and blood.

Overall, though, this was a hell of a show. While some fans will surely complain about the predictability factor because the wrestlers who are expected to leave the company lost tonight, it was still a tremendous effort from everyone involved and most of the matches still had truly suspenseful moments. I’m surprised they didn’t have PCO debut on this show to reward the pay-per-view audience, but at the same time everyone who attended or ordered this show more than got their money’s worth. ROH closed the year in style and I’m anxious to see what 2019 is like for ROH with so many roster changes coming. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Konnan, who discusses his return to the ring for MLW and shares the crazy story of how he started in pro wrestling.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net's Will Pruett discussing AEW Full Gear including the polarizing Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega match, what's drawing Will to AEW Dynamite over NXT TV, the appeal of NWA Powerrr, and much more...


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