ROH Final Battle results: Vetter’s review of Athena vs. Billie Starkz for the ROH Women’s Title, Mark Briscoe and FTR vs. Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Claudio Castagnoli


By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

Ring of Honor Final Battle
Streamed live December 15, 2023 on HonorClub
Garland, Texas at Curtis Culwell Center

ROH Final Battle Zero Hour Pre-Show

* The show opened with a video package of the Athena-Billie Starkz feud.

1. Taya Valkyrie (w/Johnny TV) defeated Jazmin Allure at 4:28. Allure has appeared on several AEW TV matches. Taya has quite a height and overall size advantage, and she immediately kicked Allure in the chest. She hit her sliding German Suplex at 1:30. She hit the Meteora running knees in the corner for a nearfall. Taya hit a second-rope Superplex, a modified Bubba Bomb, and she hit a Curbstomp for the pin. Really an extended squash.

2. Marshall Von Erich and Ross Von Erich defeated “The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd at 6:10. Ross, with short dark hair, opened and hit some dropkicks. Marshall has short blond hair (I admittedly never paid attention to which one was which when they were in MLW) and he hit a scoop bodyslam at 2:00. The Outrunners began working over Ross. Marshall made the hot tag and cleared the ring, and he hit a rolling cannonball in the corner at 5:00. The VE hit stereo dropkicks, and they both applied Claws, and the ref called for the bell. Kevin Von Erich walked to ringside to celebrate with his sons.

3. Bryan Keith defeated Jack Cartwheel at 7:13. Two of the top 20 indy talents of 2023 colliding here. Keith wore his baja Mexican jacket and black hat and he got a nice hometown pop. Standing switches to open. Jack ‘cartwheeled’ away from some offense, and he hit a standing corkscrew moonsault for a nearfall at 1:30. However, Keith caught him with a dropkick while Jack was upside down. Jack hit an enzuigiri; Keith hit a running boot. Jack hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip at 3:30.

Jack hit his slingshot elbow drop for a nearfall, then his cartwheel powerslam for a nearfall. Jack hit his cartwheel-style Death Valley Driver at 6:00, then the Sasake Special to the floor. In the ring, Keith nailed the Emerald Tiger Driver/butterfly powerbomb for the pin. That was a blast. Keith joins the Survival of the Fittest match with the win!

* Tony Khan walked onto the stage and thanked the fans, and listed some top Final Battle moments.

4. Daniel Garcia defeated Blake Christian at 12:14. I saw Blake promote this show on his Twitter feed so I was hoping he’d get a match. An intense lockup to open. Garcia pushed Blake against the ropes but then he danced. Blake pushed Garcia against the ropes, but then he slapped Daniel in the face, and the crowd booed him! They traded mid-ring forearm strikes. Garcia hit a snap Butterfly Suplex at 2:30, and he immediately twisted the wrist and fingers. Blake fired back with a basement dropkick. He did a handspring-back-wheelbarrow into a doublestomp. Cool.

Blake kicked Daniel in the face at 5:30 and the crowd booed him. Blake hit a forearm that leveled Garcia, who acted loopy. Daniel fired up with a series of punches, then stomps in the corner and a facewash, then a Butterfly Suplex into the corner for a nearfall at 7:00. Garcia danced and the crowd popped, and he hit a blow as Blake was tied in the Tree of Woe. Blake hit a backbreaker over his knee and a senton, then a spin kick to the back of the neck, then a 619, then a springboard forearm strike to the back of the head for a nearfall at 9:00.

Blake hit his handspring-back-spin kick. Garcia hit a Saito Suplex. Blake hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly for a nearfall, and the crowd chanted, “This is awesome!” Blake hit a springboard 450, but Garcia caught Christian’s leg and applied an anklelock. Blake escaped, and he nailed the Fosbury Flop to the floor, then an inverted DDT on the floor. Blake nailed the Springboard 450 Splash for a believable nearfall at 11:30, and the crowd rallied for Garcia. Blake mockkingly danced, and he went for his Stomp. However, Garcia caught the leg, applied the Sharpshooter, leaned back for pressure, and Blake quickly tapped out. A very good match and I’m glad it was so competitive.

ROH Final Battle Main Card

1. El Hijo del Vikingo defeated Black Taurus to retain the AAA Mega Championship at 16:28. Taurus swatted away a handshake and was booed. Vikingo’s dropkick didn’t knock Taurus down. Ian said this is just their second-ever one-on-one match, although they’ve been in the ring perhaps 50 times. Taurus caught Vikingo on a dive and he powerbombed him onto the thin mat at ringside at 2:30. Ouch! In the ring, Taurus hit a powerslam for a nearfall. Taurus hit his corkscrew dive through the ropes. In the ring, he hit his impressive Crucifix Driver, then a pop-up Samoan Drop for a believable nearfall at 5:00. However, he missed a corkscrew moonsault.

Vikingo hit his flipping huracanrana from the corner, then his cool mid-ring huracanranas. Then a springboard moonsault to the floor at 7:00. In the ring, Taurus hit a Gore into the corner. Vikingo hit his top-rope Frankensteiner, but Taurus rolled to the ropes to avoid being pinned. They fought on the ring apron, where Vikingo hit a sunset flip driver. Vikingo sold lower back pain, too. Vikingo hit his second-rope corkscrew press from the outside rope for a nearfall at 10:30. He hit a springboard dropkick. He charged across the ring, but Taurus hiptossed him into the corner. Taurus hit a top-rope guerilla press to the mat, earning a “holy shit!” chant, for a nearfall.

Vikingo hit some superkicks and his own Crucifix Driver. Taurus hit another Gore, and the crowd chanted, “Fight forever!” Taurus hit a headbutt that dropped Vikingo at 14:00. Vikingo hit a springboard 720 to the floor! However, in the ring, Taurus hit a pair of backbreakers over his knee, then a discus clothesline for a nearfall. Vikingo hit another Crucifix Driver, then a Poison Rana, then the Meteora running knees, then the top-rope 630 Splash for the pin. Every bit as great as you’d expect it to be.

2. Brian Cage and “The Gates of Agony” Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun (w/Prince Nana) defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste, Bad Dude Tito, and Kosei Fujita to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles at 12:02. No Mikey Nicholls in the TMDK lineup; has he ever been back in the U.S. after leaving NXT? Kaun and Fujita opened. Ian mentioned Jimmy Rave as a great member of the Embassy. Fujita hit a spinning kick to the jaw. Tito entered and hit a snap suplex at 2:30, and he traded chops with Kaun. Cage tagged in and he hit a Bulldog Powerslam on Fujita for a nearfall at 4:30, then a back suplex for a nearfall. He curled Fuita in his arms before tossing him overhead to the mat. Fujita hit a German Suplex!

Tito got the hot tag and he fought Liona. He dove through the ropes onto Kaun, then he hit a top-rope crossbody block on Liona, then a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Haste entered and hit a rolling cannonball on Liona, then a running knee for a nearfall at 7:30. Liona hit a swinging uranage. Liona hit a spear on Haste for a nearfall, but Fujita made the save. Cage entered and hit a discus clothesline. Tito hit a Death Valley Driver on Cage. Fujita hit a springboard dropkick for a nearfall. Kaun hit a shotgun dropkick on Fujita. Cage hit a deadlift superplex on Fujita for a believable nearfall at 10:30. The GoA hit front-and-back clotheslines on Haste. Toa dropped Fujita with a headbutt. Cage nailed the Pendulum Sit-out Powerbomb on Fujita for the pin. That was fun.

3. Ethan Page defeated Tony Nese (w/Smart Mark Sterling) in an I Quit Match at 20:06. Sterling was hesitant to be handcuffed at ringside, so Mark Henry came to the ring and locked him in. Nese attacked from behind to start the match. Nese hit a crossbody block to the floor, and they brawled at ringside. Sterling accidentally tossed protein powder into Nese’s eyes! Even while handcuffed to the corner post, Sterling grabbed Page, allowing Nese to hit some blows. Nese got on the mic and berated Page and told him to quit. Nese hit a running knee into the head against the ring steps at 5:00. Page had a bloody forehead. Page whipped Nese over the guardrail at 7:30.

Nese got a 45-pound plate and he swung it, but Page moved. Nese got a jumprope and he used it as a whip across Page’s back. Page got the jumprope and he whipped Nese. Nese hit a Fosbury Flop to the floor ato 10:00! Nese set up some tables on the floor. They fought on the top rope. Page hit a stunner off the apron, with them both crashing through two tables on the floor at 12:30. However, Nese refused to give up. In the ring, Nese hit a Frankensteiner, but Page (accidentally) overshot two open chairs set up in the ring. Nese got the handcuff key and freed Sterling at 15:00, and they both put the boots to Page.

Sterling told him to submit or they will handcuff him and beat him with the 45-pound weight. Out came Scorpio Sky for the save, and he got a huge pop. Page stomped on Nese’s fingers, trapped under the weight, and he hit a DDT onto the plate. Page hit a Razor’s Edge on Sterling, and Sky dragged Sterling to the back. However, Nese handcuffed Page’s arms behind his back. Nese asked him to submit. Page shouted back, “F— you!” Page hit some backbody drops, and the ref freed him. Page hit Nese with a chairshot to the head. He got the handcuff chain, choked Nese with it, and Nese said he quit. Good brawl. Scorpio Sky returned to ringside and hugged Page. Then, Sky, Page, and Mark Henry celebrated on the top of the ramp.

* A video package aired promoting Sting’s last match.

4. Nyla Rose defeated Vert Vixen at 2:41. This is an unadvertised bonus match. I would rank Vert as the top un-signed female wrestler in the U.S. Ian noted that Vert is the Defy Wrestling women’s champion. Rose hit a splash; she set up for a powerbomb but Vert fought free. Rose went for a cover but pulled up Vert before the three-count. Rose hit a top-rope kneestrike to the back of the neck as Vert was draped over the top rope. Rose then hit a sit-out powerbomb for the pin. Disappointing, as someone who had never seen Vert before would have no idea how good she is; Nyla could have beaten any rookie that way.

5. Kyle Fletcher defeated Dalton Castle, Bryan Keith, Lee Johnson, Lee Moriarty, and Komander in a Survival of the Fittest elimination match to win the vacant ROH TV Title at 25:53. Dalton came out first with four Boys. Dalton and Moriarty opened, but Kyle tagged himself in before they could even lock up. Lee vs. Lee entered and locked up; Johnson is in shiny blue pants while Moriarty wore black trunks. They’ve done some comedy with Dalton charging across the ring several times, only to be tossed to the floor. Keith and Komander traded mid-ring forearm strikes. Dalton got tossed again; this is decent humor. Dalton tossed Fletcher to the floor for a massive pop at 6:00.

Johnson hit a Fosbury Flop to the floor onto everyone. Komander walked the tight rope across the ring, then hit a flip dive onto everyone. Komander hit a Frankensteiner on Fletcher into the ring. Keith hit an enzuigiri on Dalton. Lee Johnson hit a standing moonsault on Keith. Moriarty snapped Johnson’s fingers, applied the Border City Stretch, and Johnson tapped out at 8:44. We continue without a break. Dalton hit a series of fireman carry blows. Suddenly Johnny TV was at ringside and was beating up The Boys!! Dalton swung wildly at Johnny TV. The distractions allowed Moriarty to hit an enzuigiri and a leaping Flatliner to pin Dalton at 11:18, and the crowd loudly booed that outcome.

Lee and Keith traded mid-ring forearm strikes, as Ian said none of these four remaining have held the title before. All four fought in the ring. Komander hit a tornado DDT on Keith. They did a tower spot out of the corner, and everyone was down at 14:00. Keith hit a backbreaker over his knee on Lee, but Morarty popped up. Keith hit the Emerald Tiger Driver to pin Moriarty at 15:36. Fletcher immediately got a nearfall on Keith. Keith hit a running knee on Fletcher, and he set up for another Emerald Tiger Driver, but Fletcher turned it into a tombstone piledriver and scored a pin on Bryan Keith at 16:50. We’re down to two!

Komander hit some chops, but Fletcher has a significant height and weight advantage. Komander hit a springboard Poison Rana. They fought on the ring apron, where Fletcher hit a leaping tombstone piledriver, and they both rolled to the floor at 20:00. Alex Abrahantes encouraged Komander to get back into the ring, and he barely dove back in at the 19-count. Fletcher immediately hit a brainbuster for a believable nearfall at 21:30; I thought that was it. Komander hit a springboard Canadian Destroyer for a believable nearfall, and this crowd was HOT. Komander walked the ropes, then hit a 450 Splash onto Fletcher, who was lying on the apron. Komander then hit a top-rope 450 Splash for a believable nearfall. Fletcher hit a brainbuster onto the top turnbuckle for a believable nearfall. He then hit another jumping Tombstone Piledriver for the pin. What a great finish.

6. Wheeler Yuta defeated Tom Lawlor in a Pure Rules match to retain the ROH Pure Title at 13:11. Our judges are Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Jacobs and Jerry Lynn. Lawlor removed a tiny pair of denim trunks to reveal an even smaller pair. Quick reversals early on. Lawlor applied a cross-armbreaker, and Wheeler used his first rope break at 2:00. Wheeler began stomping on the limbs; Lawlor was warned for a closed fist. Wheeler applied a Sharpshooter, so Lawlor used his first rope break at 4:30. They traded forearm strikes. Lawlor hit a spear. He went for a Kamigoye kneestrike, but Yuta caught it and hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip at 7:30, and he tied Lawlor in an Octopus.

Wheeler applied a half-crab. Lawlor kicked at the left elbow, and he hit a shoulder breaker for a nearfall at 10:00, and he applied a modified Anaconda Vice on the mat, so Yuta reached the ropes for his second rope break. Lawlor hti a top-rope superplex with a hammerlock applied, nad Wheeler used his last rope break at 12:00. Lawlor applied a Fujiwara Armbar; Yuta escaped and applied an anklelock. Lawlor touched the ropes but the ref didn’t call for a rope break. Lawlor applied a Crossface Chickenwing. However, Yuta rolled him up for the pin; Lawlor had a foot touching the ropes but the ref didn’t see it.

* Lawlor offered a handshake; Yuta responded with a low blow! This brought out Hook for the save, but Yuta hit a low blow on him, too.

7. Keith Lee defeated Shane Taylor at 14:39. Ian said the issues between them have been unresolved for seven years. Caprice told a story about teaming with Cedric Alexander, and how Cedric wanted to be a singles wrestler not in a tag team, and Keith Lee had the same mindset. An intense lockup to open. Lee finally hit a shoulder tackle at 3:30 that sent Taylor to the mat. Keith hit a slingshot crossbody block that popped the crowd. Taylor hit a Tower of London stunner out of the ropes, then a splash for a nearfall. Taylor hit a legdrop across the throat on the ring apron at 6:00, and he was in charge of the offense.

They got up and traded punches at 8:30. Taylor hit a uranage, then a second-rope frogsplash for a nearfall. Lee slammed Taylor hard to the mat for a nearfall. Keith Lee was headed to the top rope, but Lee Moriarty cut him off. Keith Lee hit a powerbomb on Moriarty. However, Shane immediately hit a running knee to the back of the head at 12:30. Taylor hit a second-rope Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall. However, Lee hit a twisting Death Valley Driver for the pin. Good big man match.

* Tony Schiavone interviewed Bryan Keith backstage. Keith said he’s here to collect gold and prove himself. Orange Cassidy walked up. “I’ve got some gold right here. Come collect it. See you tomorrow,” Orange said, and he walked away.

8. Mark Briscoe and “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler defeated “Blackpool Combat Club” Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley, and Bryan Danielson at 30:57. FTR came out first and they wore Dem Boys T-shirts. The BCC came out together to “Wild Thing.” Dax and Moxley opened; Moxley invited Dax to chop him. Each BCC got in and hit some chops on Dax. Claudio and Cash traded blows, with Castagnoli hitting some European Uppercuts. Briscoe entered for the first time at 4:30 and he worked over Claudio, and we got a “Dem Boys!” chant. Danielson tied up Dax’s left shoulder; Dax had a cut on his upper left arm that was bleeding a bit.

Claudio gave Dax a Giant Swing at 7:30. Dax hit a German Suplex and they were both down. Danielson tagged in; Mark made the hot tag for his team, and Mark hit a head-capture suplex. FTR hit a team neckbreaker on Danielson for a nearfall. Danielson hit some Yes Kicks. Dax hit a top-rope superplex on Danielson at 11:30. Mark nailed a Froggy Bow elbowdrop, with Dax making the cover for a nearfall. Dax hit a piledriver. Cash hit a brainbuster on Moxley. Danielson and Mark hit double crossbody blocks and suddenly all six were down at 13:30. Moxley was bleeding from his forehead. They all got up and traded punches.

Moxley hit a Death Rider DDT. Claudio hit a pop-up European Uppercut, then the Neutralizer faceplant on Mark for a believable nearfall. Claudio hit some short-arm clotheslines. However, FTF hit a Shatter Machine on Claudio for a nearfall at 16:30. Mark shouted “Jay Driller!” However, Moxley cut him off and stomped on Mark. Everyone fought to the floor; the match had stayed entirely in the ring until now. Claudio and Jay fought on the stage while the others were elsewhere in the crowd. The ref called for the bell at 18:51 for a double count-out. The crowd chanted “let them fight!” Mark got on the mic and said “Oh hell no! Referee Paul Turner, you must have bumped your f—in’ head, boy. Let’s restart this, anything goes.”

They all continued to fight in the crowd. Claudio and Mark got into the ring, and Mark was bleeding. Mark leapt off a chair to dive to the floor at 22:00. A table was set up on the floor and Mark dumped a bucket of thumbtacks on it. Mark went to the back and returned with a ladder that was wrapped in barbed wire! Moxley had a fork and jabbed Dax in the forehead with it. Moxley pushed Mark off the top rope onto the horizontal barbed-wire ladder on the floor at 24:30. In the ring, Moxley hit a Stomp. He stabbed Cash with the fork, and Ian said it was a callback to Homicide. The BCC wrapped barbed wire around Cash’s head, and Cash was heavily bleeding now, too.

Moxley applied a rear-naked choke on the mat on Mark. A dozen folded chairs were tossed into the ring. Wheeler speared Claudio through a table set up against a guardrail, and Dax hit a piledriver on Mox onto the tack-covered table on the floor! In the ring, Danielson hit some Yes Kicks on Briscoe; everyone else is down on the floor. Mark nailed the Jay Driller on Danielson onto a folded chair for the pin. That was fun; it got a bit too gruesome for my tastes at the end, but I think the fans expected it.

9. ROH and NJPW Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston defeated Anthony Henry in a Proving Ground match at 5:44. No JD Drake in sight. Eddie doesn’t have the title belt. They traded strikes at the bell. Henry hit a doublestomp to the back. Henry hit some Yes Kicks at 2:30. Eddie fired back with some chops. He hit the rapid-fire chops in the corner. Henry fired back with a German Suplex. Ian wondered if Henry will “wrestle for the draw” and try to run out the 10-minute time limit. Henry hit a piledriver for a nearfall at 5:00. Eddie hit a spinning back fist and a half-nelson suplex. He applied the Stretch Plum, cranked on Henry’s arm, and Anthony tapped out. Good, hard-hitting match.

* Eddie paused to look at the ROH title, which was on a display case at ringside. Daniel Garcia appeared on the ramp and glared at Eddie; they are opponents in the Continental Classic on Saturday. Eddie just walked right past him, ignoring him. We went from there to a video package for our main event!

10. Athena defeated Billie Starkz to retain the ROH Women’s Title at 28:29. Lexy Nair provided ring intros. Athena wore a protective face mask because of a broken nose. No handshake. Billie immediately hit some stiff forearm strikes, and the crowd chanted “women’s wrestling!” Billie went for a dive through the ropes, but Athena grabbed her and whipped Billie into the guardrails and worked her over on the floor. Billie stood up and had blood coming from the top of her forehead at 3:30. They got into the ring, but Athena kept beating her down. Athena pulled on Billie’s nose and hit a forearm across Billie’s chest.

Athena hit a uranage on the ring apron at 8:00 and got a nearfall. Billie fired back with a snap suplex into the corner. Billie hit a Dragon Suplex. Athena hit a headbutt that dropped Starkz at 10:30. Starkz hit a spear, and she ripped off the facemask! She mounted Athena and hit some blows to the face. Billie hit a facebuster over her knee and a spin kick. Billie nailed a Swanton Bomb at 12:30, and we got a “This is awesome!” chant. Billie nailed the dive through the ropes, and she tossed Athena into the guardrails. Athena hit a shotgun dropkick, sending Starkz into the barricade. Athena knocked everything off the announcers’ table. They fought on the table, where Athena slapped her in the face a few times.

Billie hit a snap suplex off the table, with them both landing on the thin mat at ringside at 16:00. Starkz hit another suplex on the floor. In the ring, she stomped on Athena. They went back to the floor, and Billie dumped Athena over the guardrail. Athena hit a modified bulldog off the guardrail to the floor at 19:00. In the ring, Athena hit a second-rope German Suplex (her hands were around Billie’s thighs, not waist) for a believable nearfall. The crowd chanted “Fight forever!” The ref got bumped. Athena made a cover for a visual pin but we had no ref. Athena shouted at Lexy Nair to ring the bell! Lexy stood up and seemed hesitant to get involved. Lexy and Athena fought over the belt, but it alowed Billie to hit Athena from behind.

Starkz hit a modified Styles Clash faceplant for a nearfall. They fought on the ring apron, and Billie’s head struck the ring post. Billie hit her version of One-Winged Angel onto the ring apron at 23:30, and Athena tumbled to the floor. In the ring, Starkz missed a Swanton Bomb. They traded forearm strikes while on their knees, then while standing. Athena hit her Despicable Knee to the head for a believable nearfall at 26:30 and the crowd rallied for Billie. Athena went for diving stunner off the top rope, but Billie blocked it. Athena tied Bille up on the mat, and Billie submitted. That was really good; I actually thought we were seeing a title change.

* Athena and Billie argued, and Billie went to leave the ring without shaking hands. The crowd chanted “hug it out!” “What do you want from me?” Billie shouted. Athena loudly replied, “I want you to be my minion!” and they hugged.

Final Thoughts: Sure, the lineup came together late, but the Khan-era ROH shows always deliver. I actually liked the Six-way Survival of the Fittest match for best, particularly the hot exchange between Fletcher and Komander to conclude the show. Starkz and Athena had a great match, and considering it went nearly 30 minutes, it never dragged. Yes, it goes to my preferences, but I’ll take Vikingo-Taurus for third place.


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.