By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor “Final Battle”
Aired live December 10, 2022 on pay-per-view
Arlington, Texas at College Park Center
ROH Final Battle Zero Hour pre-show results: Jeff Cobb defeated Mascara Dorada in 7:00, Angelo Parker and Matt Menard defeated “Shinobi Shadow Squad” Cheeseburger and Eli Isom in 5:55, Willow Nightingale defeated Trish Adora in 6:00, and “Top Flight” Dante Martin and Darius Martin defeated “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett in 11:20…
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in from ringside… Ring announcer Bobby Cruise introduced the opening match…
1. Blake Christian and AR Fox vs. Dralistico and Rush (w/Preston Vance, Jose). Dralistico whipped his jacket at Fox before the opening bell. Christian offered Dralistico a handshake after they had an even opening exchange. Dralistico opted to hit Christian with a forearm to the head and then pointed at Fox, which led to both men tagging out.
Fox and Rush traded chops and forearms. Rush dropped Fox with a spinning forearm. Fox ducked a clothesline and then caught Rush with a kick before tagging out. Christian ran in and was dropped with a forearm shot from Rush, who then took him to ringside and ran him into the barricade several times.
Rush pulled some type of production cord out from under the ring and choked Christian with it. Dralistico powered up Fox and slammed him onto the ring steps. Back inside the ring, Rush did the spot where he teased hitting his finisher only to strike his pose instead. Rush and Dralistico isolated Christian and took turns splashing him in the corner.
Christian came back with a suplex on Dralistico and tagged out. Fox worked over Dralistico for a second and then Rush cut him off with a chop. Fox battled back and performed a missile dropkick. Fox followed up with a dive over the top rope onto Rush.
Fox returned to the ring and performed the same move on Dralistico, who apparently had nothing better to do than just stand there and wait while he watched his brother take the same move moment before. Fox performed a Swanton on Dralistico and covered him for a two count.
Later, Dralistico had Fox pinned, but Christian leapt off the top rope to break up the pin. Fox performed a springboard Flatliner on Dralistico. Christian followed up with a move on Dralistico and then dove onto Rush. Fox performed a 450 splash and scored the pin.
Blake Christian and AR Fox beat Dralistico and Rush in 10:35.
After the match, Rush chased Fox to ringside and punched him. Rush and Dralistico hit both opponents with chairs and left them lying. Rush went at the referee, who stood his ground and said it was a three count.
Powell’s POV: Dralistico did a half-assed kickout, so it was hard to tell live whether that was meant to be the finish or if Dralistico was kicking out to save face. The crowd chanted “you f—ed up” afterward, but it’s not like Dralistico kicked out with any authority. The post match scene was over the top and made the babyfaces win feel meaningless, which I imagine is what Dralistico and Rush were going for. I enjoyed the Top Flight vs. Kingdom tag team match that closed the pre-show more than this match.
A video package set up the ROH Women’s Championship match…
2. Mercedes Martinez vs. Athena for the ROH Women’s Championship. Athena offered a handshake and Martinez cautiously accepted. A few minutes into the match, Athena superkicked a kneeling Martinez and covered her for a two count. Martinez came back with a half and half suplex, a t-bone suplex, and a brainbuster for a near fall.
Athena came back a short time later by slamming Martinez onto the apron. Athena let out a primal scream and received a lot of cheers. Athena picked up Martinez and ran her into the barricade. Athena charged for a dropkick that Martinez avoided. Martinez followed up with a draping neckbreaker.
Martinez went back to the ring and was booed. Martinez went for a surfboard, but Athena bit her hand. Fans cheered. Athena powered up Martinez and dropped her into a Codebreaker style move. Athena covered Martinez, who grabbed the bottom rope to break it. There were boos. Athena grabbed the referee, then released him and removed a turnbuckle pad, which she threw out of the ring.
Martinez popped up Athena and slammed her to the mat for a two count. Athena dropkicked Martinez into the exposed turnbuckle. Athena went up top and hit the O-Face (f/k/a Eclipse) and scored the pin…
Athena defeated Mercedes Martinez in 13:10 to win the ROH Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: Athena’s heel turn led to this title match being held in her hometown, which led to her being heavily cheered. She had family in the crowd and was emotional afterward. The dynamic was odd, but both wrestlers worked hard a had a quality match.
A brief video package set up the next tag team match…
3. Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. Shane Taylor and JD Griffey. There were loud “Bask in his Glory” chants for Lee when he tagged in for the first time. After a brief exchange between Lee and Griffey, a “we want Shane” chant broke out. Griffey tagged in Taylor, who got a nice reaction. Just as Lee and Taylor were about to lock up, Strickland tagged in, which drew some boos. Nice spot.
A short time later, Griffey positioned Strickland so that his head was hanging over the apron. Taylor dropped a leg on Strickland. Griffey tried to put Strickland in a sleeper in the corner, but Strickland slipped out and knocked him off the apron, then tagged in Lee for the showdown with Taylor.
Lee and Taylor traded forearm shots. Taylor got the better of it and then went to the middle rope. Taylor dove at Lee, who caught him. Taylor escaped and then blasted Lee with a punch, which drew the “Oooohhhh, my God,” from Coleman. Nice.
Moments later, Griffey was held up by Lee and managed to avoid Strickland’s double team move attempts. Griffey dove at Lee, who caught him. Griffey talked Lee out of performing a move on him, but Strickland kicked Griffey from the apron. In the ring, Taylor performed a draping move on Strickland and covered him for a two count. Coleman pointed out that Lee didn’t even try to break up the pin.
Griffey tagged in and went for a submission hold on Strickland, who tried to tag out. Taylor pulled Lee off the apron. Griffey caught Strickland in the guillotine briefly. Lee ran Taylor into the ringside barricade. Lee returned to the ring and performed a second rope moonsalt onto Griffey, which drew “holy shit” chants from the crowd.
All four wrestlers met in the middle of the ring and traded punches. Strickland blasted Lee with a knee to the head. Lee and Strickland put Griffey down. Taylor blasted Lee, but then Strickland and Lee worked over Taylor. Lee swung at Taylor, who ducked, causing Lee to blast Strickland with a forearm shot.
Taylor hoisted up Lee and hit his Welcome to the Land finisher, but Lee kicked out. Coleman said he’s never seen anyone kick out of that move. Griffey hit Lee with a knee to the head. Taylor covered Lee again for another two count. Griffey tagged in while Strickland was shown holding his jaw at ringside and backing his way toward the stage.
Taylor and Griffey worked over Lee while Strickland stood on the stage. The fans booed. Taylor held Lee, who ducked, causing Griffey to take out Lee with a kick. Lee hit his finisher on Griffey and pinned him…
Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland defeated Shane Taylor and JD Griffey in 13:50.
Powell’s POV: A really fun match with some good storytelling. This was the most entertaining match on the main card thus far. The production team could have done a better job of showing Strickland apparently heading to the back, but I really liked that he left Lee hanging after being struck by him, yet Lee was still able to win the match. Here’s hoping that Taylor will be a regular if ROH gets weekly television. Kaun will be in the next match, but whatever happened to Moses, who teamed with Kaun as part of Shane Taylor Promotions in ROH?
A video package set up the ROH Six-Man Tag Title match…
4. Dalton Castle and The Boys vs. Brian Cage and “Gates of Agony” Kaun and Toa Liona (w/Prince Nana) for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. The champions had four additional Boys with them for their entrance, but the extras did not accompany them to the ring. Castle worked up the crowd by running around at ringside with The Boys after the bell rang.
One of the Boys tagged in and dove at Cage, who caught him and curled him. The other Boy knelt down behind Cage and then Castle pushed Cage over. Toa tagged in and put both Boys down with a shoulder block. Castle checked in and sent Toa to ringside. The Boys dove at Cage and Toa, who caught them and slammed them at ringside.
The challengers isolated one of the Boys until he made a hot tag to Castle, who went on an offensive flurry with suplexes on all three opponents. Castle threw the Boys through the ropes onto Cage and Kaun. Castle hit Cage with a knee to the head and covered him for a two count. Cage returned the favor with a knee to the head and then tagged out.
The setup was clunky, but Toa eventually powered up both Boys and put them down with a double Samoan Drop. A short time later, Cage turned one of the Boys inside out with a clothesline and then put him down with the Drill Claw. Castle returned to the ring and took out Cage, who rolled to the floor.
Castle wanted to go for a suicide dive, but apparently the cameras missed Nana rolling one of the Boys into the ring, so Castle had to jump over him and didn’t go for the dive. Castle grabbed Nana. Cameras missed Toa apparently throwing one of the Boys at Castle. Toa and Kaun threw one of the Boys at Cage, who powerbomed him and pinned him…
Brian Cage and “Gates of Agony” Kaun and Toa Liona defeated Dalton Castle and The Boys in 10:05 to win the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: The production work down the stretch was a hot mess. It was a typical Castle and Boys style match, which the live crowd enjoyed until the heels won in the end. I like the title change. Castle and The Boys will be just as over without the titles, which give a nice boost to the heel trio.
A video package set up the ROH Pure Rules match…
Backstage, Lexi Nair interviewed Darius Martin and Dante Martin. Dante said Top Flight is back after they beat The Kingdom on the pre-show. Matt Menard and Angelo Parker interrupted the promo. Parker said they only congratulations they deserve is for Darius making it through a match without tearing another ACL. Menard jawed at Darius and asked if he wanted to hit him. Dante hit Menard and then the teams brawled. The brawl spilled into the arena. Dante Martin performed a flip dive off the stage. Security pulled the teams apart.
Menard and Parker went to the ring. Parker worked up the crowd about ROH and then questioned why it died if it was so great. Parker gave Chris Jericho credit for being the only man who could resurrect the brand. Menard asked the crowd if they wanted to know what makes his nipples hard. He pulled out one of Jake Hager’s purple hats and said Claudio Castagnoli would be wearing one when he teams with Hager.
Wheeler Yuta made his entrance. Parker and Menard went to the stage and then Daniel Garcia made his entrance. Garcia headed to the ring while Parker and Menard went to the back…
5. Daniel Garcia vs. Wheeler Yuta for the ROH Pure Rules Championship. Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, and BJ Whitmer were shown at ringside serving as the match judges. The bell rang and the wrestlers traded forearms. Garcia punched Yuta and was given his one warning for used a closed fist. Yuta returned the favor and received his warning.
Trent Seven was shown sitting in the crowd. Garcia forced Yuta to use a rope break. They had a scoreboard graphic listing the rope break count and the match time. Garcia forced Yuta to use his second rope break a short time later. Garcia applied his Dragon Slayer submission hold, causing Yuta to use his final rope break less than eight minutes into the match. Riccaboni questioned if they had ever seen a wrestler use all of their rope breaks so quickly.
At 10:00, Yuta put Garcia down with a brainbuster that left both men down. Coleman noted that Yuta had burned through his rope breaks while Garcia had yet to use one. Garcia eventually caught Yuta in a Sharpshooter. Yuta was in the ropes, but he had no rope breaks remaining. Yuta was able to hook the neck of Garcia, who eventually released the hold and then both men fell to the ground.
Both wrestlers returned to the apron and fought. Garcia went for a piledriver, but Yuta backdropped him. In the ring, Garcia flipped off Yuta while on his knees. Yuta ended up hooking the arms of Garcia and then threw elbows at his head until the referee stopped the match.
Wheeler Yuta defeated Daniel Garcia in 14:50 to win the ROH Pure Rules Championship.
The referee called for a post match handshake. Yuta held out his hand. Garcia kicked Yuta’s hand away. Garcia picked up the title belt and handed it to Yuta before leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: A good match with Yuta selling for the majority of the match before coming back to win in the end. I still have no idea why Garcia was put back in the Jericho Appreciation Society. It really derailed his momentum and now he just feels like one of Jericho’s various sidekicks.
A video package set up the ROH Tag Team Title match…
6. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe in a Double Dog Collar match for the ROH Tag Team Titles. Riccaboni said there’s only been one dog collar match in ROH history and there has never been a tag team dog collar match in the promotion’s history.
Jay’s dog collar was attached to Harwood, while Mark’s was attached to Wheeler. The teams brawled and quickly went to ringside. Mark bled in the opening minute. Harwood tossed Jay over the barricade, followed him, and then they fought in the crowd. Wheeler and Mark went to the stage and, in a nice touch, the production crew provided split screen shots to follow both sets of wrestlers. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Harwood and Jay returned to the ring. Wheeler wrapped the dog collar chain around the ring post to choke Mark, who fought free and returned to the ring. The fans opposite the hard camera were standing as Mark held Harwood while Jay hit him with the chain wrapped around his fist. Harwood bled from the forehead. Mark and Wheeler fought at ringside. There were loud dueling chants for the two teams.
Mark returned to the ring while Wheeler was on the steps. A chair was wedged in a corner. Jay tried to run Harwood into it, but Harwood reversed it. Wheeler pulled the chain to choke Mark and then hit him with punches. Wheeler returned to the ring and whipped Mark with the chain while Harwood held him. At ringside, Harwood pulled a bloody Jay into the ring post.
Back in the ring, Harwood put Jay on his shoulders. Wheeler wrapped the chain around his fist and then leapt off the top rope for a punch version of the Doomsday Device, which resulted in a two count. Wheeler choked Mark in Gory Bomb position. Harwood whipped Mark’s abdomen with the chain. Wheeler tossed Mark over the top rope and then pulled the chain to choke him. Jay ran Harwood into the other pair’s chain to free Mark from the choke.
Jay put Wheeler down with a neckbreaker. Mark leapt from the top rope and hit a Froggy Bow elbow drop on Wheeler for a two count. Mark set up a table on the floor while Jay and Harwood fought inside the ring. Wheeler tried to suplex Mark onto a stack of chairs on the floor, but Mark reversed it and suplexed Wheeler onto the floor. All four men were bleeding heavily.
Harwood knocked Jay off the ropes by thrusting the chain at him. Harwood wrapped the chain around his own head and then performed a headbutt from the ropes on Jay. Harwood wrapped the chain around his fist and punched Jay several times. Jay pulled referee Mike Posey in front of him, causing Harwood to punch out the referee while he had the chain wrapped around his hand.
Posey came up bleeding heavily from the forehead. Coleman said it smelled like iron. Referee Paul Turner checked in while the trainer tended to Posey in the corner. A “fight forever” chant broke out while Mark and Wheeler were fighting on the apron. Wheeler got the better of it and placed Mark on the table at ringside next to the stack of chairs.
Wheeler went to the ropes, but Mark stood up and cut him off. Mark punched Wheeler off the apron and then pulled the chain to get him back on the apron. Mark dropkicked Wheeler back to the floor and then placed him on top of the table. Mark went to the ropes. Jay set up Harwood for the Doomsday Device, but Wheeler returned to the apron and pulled the chain, causing Mark to take an insane bump from the ropes and onto some of the chairs on the floor. Damn.
In the ring, Jay hit Harwood with the Jay Driller and covered him for a good near fall. Coleman said he was worried about his four friends in the match. He said it was a war. He said he’s not worried about now, he’s tomorrow. Riccaboni brought up the wives and families of the wrestlers. Jay got a chair and slammed it over the back of Harwood multiple times.
Jay set up for a Jay Driller on a chair, but Harwood kicked him in the balls. Harwood piledrove Jay onto the chair and covered him for a good near fall. Another “this is awesome” chant broke out. Harwood picked up the chair, but Wheeler motioned for him to stop. “F—ing murder him,” Wheeler told his partner before throwing several chairs in the ring.
Harwood put Jay in a seated position on the top rope and then chopped him a few times. Harwood set up for a top rope piledriver onto the chairs, but Jay fought him off and slipped under him. Jay used the chain to crotch Harwood, then took out Wheeler when he tried to get involved. Jay superplexed Harwood onto the pile of chairs inside the ring.
Mark held the chain to prevent Wheeler from returning to the ring. The cameras missed Jay covering Harwood for a near fall. Jay pulled the chain, which was in Harwood’s mouth. Wheeler continued his attempt to get back in the ring, but Mark held onto the chain to stop him, and then Harwood apparently passed out.
Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler in 22:20 in a Double Dog Collar match to win the ROH Tag Team Titles.
After the match, the Briscoes celebrated their win. Once they left the ring, Harwood and Wheeler got to their feet and were cheered. Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn hit the ring and attacked the FTR duo. Austin took the mic and said FTR’s legacy is dying. The Briscoes returned to the ring, causing the Gunns to leave while the crowd serenaded them with “Ass Boys” chants.
The Briscoes stood in the ring. Harwood was face down on the mat and had a mic next to him. Harwood said their mission is to beat the ass of the Gunns. Referee Paul Turner stood between FTR and The Briscoes and raised their hands. Coleman said the match might still be going had Harwood not passed out…
Powell’s POV: That bloody war won’t be for everyone, but I absolutely loved it. It’s another instant classic for these teams and a very different style match than they had the first two times. I have no idea why this wasn’t in the main even slot. I guess we’ll see if there’s a good reason, but I feel bad for the wrestlers in the two matches that have to follow this great, gritty brawl.
A video package set up the ROH TV Title match…
7. Samoa Joe vs. Juice Robinson for the ROH TV Title. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor with a quick handshake. A “Joe’s gonna kill you” chant broke out. Joe pointed at Robinson. Joe went for his submission finisher early, but Robinson escaped and headed to ringside.
Tony Deppen was shown watching the match from the crowd. Robinson put Joe in a sleeper. Joe reversed the hold, but Robinson used his feet to push off the apron, which drove Joe into the barricade. Nice spot. Joe came back and dove through the ropes suicide dive style and hit Robinson with a flying forearm. Joe sat Robinson in a chair next to the barricade and hit him with a running boot to the head.
Joe remained on the offensive for the bulk of the next few minutes until Robinson caught him with a spinebuster. Robinson performed a cannonball in the corner. Robinson picked up a near fall. Joe came back with a backdrop. Joe powerbomed Robinson and got a two count, then countered into a crossface. Robinson reached the ropes to break the hold.
Joe went for a Muscle Buster, but Robinson slipped into a sunset flip for a two count. Robinson went up top, but Joe shot up and hit the ropes to crotch him. Joe took a Robinson headbutt and then punched him. Joe hit the Muscle Buster and scored the clean pin…
Samoa Joe defeated Juice Robinson in 13:40 to retain the ROH TV Title.
Powell’s POV: A solid match that was put in the unenviable position of having to follow the double dog collar match. There were some fans who were familiar with Robinson, but the vast majority of the crowd was pulling for heel Joe.
A video package set up the main event… Claudio Castagnoli made his entrance and then Jericho came out to “Judas”…
8. Chris Jericho vs. Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH Championship. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Paul Turner was the referee. Castagnoli offered his hand for the Code of Honor, but Jericho kicked him. Jericho left the ring and went after the broadcast team. Riccaboni and Coleman both ran away, but then Jericho ran into a clothesline from Castagnoli, who worked him over at ringside before tossing him back inside the ring.
Castagnoli performed a top rope crossbody block and then hit Jericho with repeated elbows to the head. Castagnoli hit Jericho with running uppercuts in the corner. Jericho went for a Codebreaker that Castagnoli stuffed while Riccaboni and Coleman returned to the commentary table. Castagnoli also stuffed a Judas Effect elbow and hit Jericho with a Neutralizer that led to a near fall.
Castagnoli pressed Jericho over his head and then stumbled as the dropped him onto the apron. Castagnoli booted Jericho off the apron. Castagnoli went for a cannonball dive off the apron, but Jericho rolled out of the way. Jericho got Castagnoli back inside the ring and worked him over until Castagnoli popped him up and hit him with an uppercut.
Jericho came back with a series of clotheslines in the corner. Jericho got Castagnoli in a seated position on the top turnbuckle and threw punches at him. Jericho went for a huracanrana, but Castagnoli held him up and threw punches at him. Jericho was able to follow up with the huracanrana. Coleman said he doesn’t like Jericho, but he’s a phenomenal wrestler.
Castagnoli went for a springboard move and stopped short to avoid Jericho’s Codebreaker attempt. Jericho stuffed The Swing. Castagnoli caught him with another uppercut. Castagnoli tried to suplex Jericho on the apron, but he stopped and clutched his lower back. Jericho suplexed Castagnoli off the apron to the floor.
Back inside the ring, both men fired up at one point and put each other down with simultaneous running clotheslines. Eventually, Castagnoli went for The Swing, but Jericho countered into a Walls of Jericho. Castagnoli reached for the ropes, but Jericho pulled him back to the middle of the ring.
Castagnoli eventually made another attempt and reached the ropes to break the hold, which drew some cheers and boos. Jericho got upset with the referee and backed him into the corner, then turned and ate an uppercut from Castagnoli. Both men stayed down for moment.
Matt Menard and Angelo Parker came out. Parker distracted the referee while Menard slipped Jericho’s baseball bat to him. Jericho hit Castagnoli with the bat, tossed it to ringside, and then laid down like he was still weary. Once the referee turned around, Jericho covered Castagnoli for a near fall. The crowd popped when Castagnoli kicked out.
The referee ejected Menard and Parker from ringside. Castagnoli caught Jericho in an inside cradle for a two count. When they stood up, Jericho put Castagnoli down with a Codebreaker. Jericho stood up and called for Castagnoli to get up rather than cover him. Jericho went for the Judas Effect, which Castagnoli stuffed. Castagnoli performed The Spin on Jericho until the referee called for the bell to end the match.
Claudio Castagnoli defeated Chris Jericho in 17:10 to win the ROH Championship.
Confetti shot off while the Castagnoli celebrated. Riccaboni said Castagnoli had Jericho in The Swing for 33 rotations. Wheeler Yuta and Jerry Lynn entered the ring and celebrated with Castagnoli. Fans threw streamers into the ring. Castagnoli caught one and threw it back. Riccaboni spoke about how the year started off with uncertainty for ROH and said Tony Khan acquired it and now the heart of ROH is beating stronger than ever.
Castagnoli went to ringside and spoke into the camera. He thanked the fans and said onward with integrity. Castagnoli stopped by the broadcast table and shook hands with Riccaboni and Coleman. Riccaboni closed out the show with his “Happy Wrestling” catchphrase…
Powell’s POV: Yep, they went with the wrong main event. This was a good match, but even with the title change and the confetti at the end, nothing about it felt nearly as epic as the double dog collar match. The live crowd had fun with it, particularly whenever they could yell “ocho” anytime the wrestlers did a ten count spot or if the referee was counting. It was entertaining for what it was and the crowd was pleased with the title change despite there being some fans who were pulling for Jericho.
Overall, this was a good pay-per-view event. The show was carried by FTR and The Briscoes, but there wasn’t a bad match on the show. I will have more to say in my same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below and by voting for the best match.
Join John Moore for his live review of NXT Deadline coming up later tonight.
“I have no idea why this wasn’t in the main even slot.”
The Young Bucks are salty cunts who hate the fact that a real wrestling tag team is more over with the AEW crowd than they are and will do anything they can to try and diminish them. That’s why.