ROH Final Battle 2015 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Following the ways of now-defunct World Championship Wrestling, Ring Of Honor prides itself on concluding the year with its biggest show – a little year-end bash called “Final Battle.”
2015 ROH boasts competitive matches plenty, a fierce Tag Team division, logical storylines and above all else, ROH World Champion Jay Lethal arguably in the prime of his career.
This edition of Final Battle delivered on the hype, even if it was more about being predictable to set up storylines for the new year than creating true moments to drop our jaws.
In this case, it doesn’t hurt to be predictable.
– Production quality was top-notch, even if the sound did cut out for the at-home audience to hear the Ring Announcer telling the crowd to be loud for when the cameras went live. The opening video revolved around the theme of various talents talking about the great year they’ve had but how they were haunted by things they’ve yet to do, such as AJ Styles mentioning how he never won the ROH World Championship. It was a professional way to lead in to the show and we dug the overall “cryptic” style of the video, even if it did come a bit close to the NXT TakeOver style graphics.
– So, ROH couldn’t give us King Corino on commentary for storyline reasons, but we did get Mr. Wrestling #3, basically Corino in a mask hiding his identity. We didn’t regret a thing.
– The #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Tag match between The Young Bucks, The Briscoes and The All-Night Express was an electric opener where The Young Bucks had the crowd in their hand, while The Briscoes were a close favorite. Some awesome spots in here too. YB nearly lit the place ablaze with their athleticism and we got to hear the classic “Super-Kick!” line screamed many times on commentary. The crowd didn’t care for ANX so on that alone, them getting the win felt like an odd decision. However, seeing as how things played out later, it’s not a bad idea. What would’ve worked was if this match went on after the Tag Title match.
– The Silas Young-Dalton Castle match was good, though not as flashy as their last encounter. The story going in was The Boys showing loyalty to Young and turning down numerous attempts by Castle to “free” them, which also played out here, even down to the result of The Boys helping Young win. The post-match angle showed us how Castle/The Boys got one over on Young as they were working together in a plan for The Boys to turn on him. We were all for that happening, but why would Castle willingly give up a win for the cause of getting his Boys back? That part makes little sense, but hopefully this feud continues into the new year with some even more twists.
– The Moose-“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin match was basically a “big man battle” between two guys in the running for future World Title shots, with Elgin already having won a shot on the Jan. 4 show in Tokyo by winning Survival Of The Fittest. That in mind, it made sense for Elgin to go over to build him up for whoever would win between Lethal and Styles, though the way Elgin called out to Lethal before hitting his finisher mad bus confident that no World Title change would happen here. As for the match itself, it got better as it went along with some good near-falls down the stretch to garner a “This is awesome” chant from the crowd. For what we got to see, we can forgive the sound going out for more than a minute mid-match.
– The Grudge match between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly was fast-paced, hard-hitting and lived up to the hype of a bout put together by acts of betrayal and jealousy by Cole and revenge by O’Reilly. One of the more anticipated matches going in, we knew this would impress given the talent involved. The result was also smart since Cole slimily used the ropes to lean on O’Reilly’s shoulders while held in a submission to win the match. The post-match story was about O’Reilly angrily trying to break Cole’s arm, needing six officials to separate him. Is this the way of leading to angle to write O’Reilly off from the company?
– The Six-Man Tag match between ACH/Matt Sydal/Alex Shelley and The Addiction/Chris Sabin with Prince Nana on commentary was flimsy in spots (ACH’s terrible botch on the apron) but revolved around Sabin refusing to fight Shelley and ACH flaunting his athleticism paying tribute to Dragonball Z on his attire. The finish was a paint-by-numbers way of having the babyfaces go over, though we didn’t get any further into this storyline than we did going in. We’re confident Shelley/Sabin will be a team within six months.
– The ROH World Television Championship match between Champion Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish was another intensely competitive bout overshadowed by a flimsy finish that teased Strong turning heel by tapping out where Todd Sinclaire couldn’t see to make Fish let go of the submission hold and then hit him with his own finisher to win. This was similar to how The Undertaker beat Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam and seems like a heelish move in general. Seeing how Strong won the belt from Lethal in such convincing fashion to such a great reaction, why turn him heel? Strong sucks a heel if we remember his days from the No Remorse Corps.
– The Veda Scott/Cedric Alexander segment was basically Scott bragging about being happy about a confidential settlement she reached with the company over an unfair working conditions lawsuit. The crowd’s STFU chants pretty much said it all.
– The ROH World Tag Team Championship match between Champions Matt Taven/Michael Bennett and War Machine was a bit melodramatic for our tastes, what with the pre-match angle where Taven/Bennett basically tried to finish off the challengers before the bell, which the Referee had no issues with? The gist of it was that War Machine made their comeback and caught the Champs by surprise to get the win. On another note, Taven suffered a rough-looking injury during the match and it’s hard to determine when he’ll be back. Looking at how Bennett/Kanellis finished their run with ROH, we can see why the Belts changed hands and ANX will likely be the fall guys for the new Champs.
– For heel’s sake, we did get a kick out of BJ Whitmer storming the announce table upon Mr. Wrestling #3’s departure before the main event, screaming that everyone knew it was Corino and tried to stay to commentate on the main event, which Kelly wanted no part of.
– The ROH World Championship match between Champion Lethal and Styles with Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness and Jerry Lynn on commentary was good in allowing both guys to be themselves and go at it. Some fantastic spots here (Styles forearm counter to a Lethal Suicide Dive, Lethal dropping Styles through an outside table, etc) and we also liked the way that Lethal used Lynn’s finisher to lead to the Lethal Injection to win the match. Lethal caps off an excellent year by holding on to the Title. Also liked how Lethal cockily shook a laid-out Styles’ hand on the mat.
- ROH World Tag Team Championships #1 Contender’s Match – The All-Night Express def. The Briscoe Brothers and The Young Bucks via pinfall
- Silas Young (w/The Boys) def. Dalton Castle via pinfall
- Michael Elgin def. Moose (w/Stokely Hathaway) via pinfall
- Grudge Match – Adam Cole def. Kyle O’Reilly via pinfall
- Six-Man Tag – Matt Sydal/ACH/Alex Shelley def. The Addiction/Chris Sabin via pinfall
- ROH World Television Championship – Roderick Strong def. Bobby Fish via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Tag Team Championships – War Machine def. Michael Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis)/Matt Taven (Champions) via pinfall to become new Champions
- ROH World Championship – Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini, Taeler Hendrix) def. AJ Styles via pinfall to retain
Posted on December 26, 2015, in ROH and tagged ACH, Adam Cole, AJ Styles, Alex Shelley, BJ Whitmer, Bobby Fish, Cedric Alexander, Chris Sabin, Dalton Castle, Final Battle, Jay Lethal, Kevin Kelly, Kyle O'Reilly, Maria Kanellis, Matt Sydal, Matt Taven, Michael Bennett, Michael Elgin, Moose, Mr. Wrestling #3, Roderick Strong, Silas Young, Stokely Hathaway, Taeler Hendrix, The Addiction, The All Night Express, The Boys, The Briscoes, The Young Bucks, Truth Martini, Veda Scott, War Machine. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.