Preview: ROH Final Battle 2017
NYC, New York
This Friday, Ring of Honor presents Best in the World at 9pm. The show is headlined by Cody Rhodes defending the ROH World Heavyweight title against Dalton Castle.
Matt Taven vs. Will Ospreay
After a successful foray into trios action, Taven has made a strong push as a singles star as of late. Ospreay has made sparse appearances for ROH, as of late as part of the Global Wars tour, but it has seemingly only been when NJPW is also around, but when he has he has wowed the audience and his match against Dragon Lee and Marty Scurll at last year’s Final Battle was easily one of the best matches of the night. Taven’s heel work as of late has been excellent and with his cronies the TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia matchless on the big show, look for the duo to interfere and allow Taven to win this match with a bit of chicanery and maybe even the threat of an ax. If Taven’s match with Flip Gordon was any indication, look for Taven to ground his opponent and work the New York crowd into a frenzy.
Jay Lethal vs. Marty Scurll
This could have easily simply been a match between a former champion and a star looking to secure his spot on top. Instead, these two men have shown fantastic chemistry from the first time Scurll interrupted Lethal. Scurll claiming to be a fan of the old Lethal, the one who would do anything to win hs been a theme that has run through television and video on demand events. Very reminiscent of the Wrestlemania VIII match between Roddy Piper and Bret Hart, Lethal might just get to the point where he changes his behavior, but Scurll does have the killer instinct and
ROH World 6-Man Tag Team Championship
The Hung Bucks (Adam Page,Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee & Titan
The Young Bucks have gone from being tag team champions to six man champions and it really has not changed a thing. They’re popularity is at an all time high and they continue to work at a high level. Their Youtube shoe Being the Elite has allowed the opportunity for their partner Adam Page to become a much more well-rounded character- proving himself to be much more than an excellent in rig performer. The sam can be said about one of the challengers, Flip Gordon. Instead of shining because of his amazing areial ability, his appearances on the show and the integration of that story on ROH television has raised his profile tremendously. Titan and Dragon Lee are two top talents in CMLL, both possessing extraordinary high-flying ability. Expect this match to be the most breathtaking match on the card and for the champions to retain. With an announced triple threat tag match featuring Titan and Dragon Lee the very next night at the next set of television Tapings, coupled with Lee and Titan not being part o the company regularly, the chances of a title change are slim.
War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
In just a few week’s time the build to this match has been done well. A reality bending angle that saw a “fan” bloodied due to an accidental move by Ray Rowe, as he attempted to fling Frankie Kazarian into a ringside barricade. The Addiction have shown themselves both to be extremely talented in being able to switch from essentially being fan favorites, adored by the ROH faithful, to being a pair of resentful elder statesmen who have done a marvelous job of sticking it to the fans in an effort to truly be reviled by the fan base. The story seems to write off a War Machine victory, winning one for themselves and finally allowing the fans to see the Addiction get their comeuppance. That said, an Addiction victory would not be shocking here.
New York Street Fight
Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer vs. The Briscoes
In the course of less than a year Bully Ray has gone from being a champion alongside the Briscoes to quite honestly being the driving force behind a rekindled Briscoes heel team that may be the most believably disputable heels in all of Wrestling right now. The Briscoes attacks on Dreamer at House of Hardcore and their visit to Bully Ray’s training facility both belied a sense of viciousness that has made feel important and painted Ray and Dreamer as baby faces that everyone can get behind. Although the signs point to Bully Ray and Dreamer getting a feel good win in this street fight, a win by the Briscoes would go a lot way to establishing them as dominant nasty heels that could easily snatch the titles with their new found mean steak.
ROH World Tag Team Championship
Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley) (c) vs. Best Friends (Trent Baretta & Sexy Chuckie T)
The Machine Guns were finally able to attain that which had eluded them throughout their tenure in ROH- a tag team championship run. Their run as champions has been fun to see and the matches they’ve had along the way have shown that the duo, even years after the height of their first run, still have a great deal left in the tank. Chuck Taylor in ROH has been a treat and a move that the fans have responded to well, especially alongside his buddy Trent. This one should be a fun affair, but a title change seems unlikely here. On a night with some many serious matches, look for this one to be a bit more comedic and fun, giving the crowd a chance to breathe between high stakes matches.
ROH World Television Championship
Kenny King vs. Silas Young vs. Punishment Martinez vs Shane Taylor
This match highlights ROH’s recent dedication to synchronizing the video on demand events, television and PPV in a way that ties everything together, with all parts pointing to a shared goal. The four men involved here have either been in commentary or interfered in some way shape or form in each other’s matches, driving home the point that all four men are hungry to win the title. Taylor has gone from hired hand, to a hitman with a heart of gold, doing it all for his daughter to have a better life. Martinez recently won the Survival of the Fittest tournament, guaranteeing him a ROH World title shot. Having the two cancel each other out and head into a program seems like the logical next step, allowing Taylor to continue to gain sympathy, especially against a relentless monster like Punishment. Silas Young has had a big year in ROH, defeating Jay Lethal decisively earlier in the year. He has yet to garner ROH gold in any form and this a perfect opportunity to “steal” a win while the two behemoths are busy with each other. King has reinvented himself since the bachelorette and has been a solid champion, with multiple defenses this year, but a smug Young as champion can go a long way to solidify his place in the company and give him the recognition he deserves.
ROH World Championship Match
Dalton Castle vs. Cody Rhodes
A year ago, Cody walked into Final Battle to have what was a seemingly friendly contest against Ring of Honor’s Franchise and Gatekeeper, Jay Lethal. This year he’ll be strutting to the ring to defend the Ring of Honor championship against an equally larger than life character in the form of Dalton Castle. Cody’s association with the Bullet Club has seen him ensconced as the top dog in the company while raising the profile of the company. The ne’er do well has delivered on his promise to lead ROH in a new direction, behaving as such and introducing an actual ring of honor along the way. He has attacked Castle throughout his tenure as champion, even going to far as to dress like one of the Boys and attacking Castle before sending the Boys away for what seems permanently. Castle exacted a bit of revenge, dressing as a enthused fan to deceive the champion. It seems tailor-made for a Castle victory, but as this is the first match and Cody seems poised to take on Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom less than a month later, look for Cody to retain and this to continue into the anniversary show.
ROH Final Battle 2017 can be seen on their website or the Fite App.