ROH Honorable Mention: Final Battle Preview
Ring of Honor’s Final Battle, the company’s biggest show of the year, will take place December 2nd from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. The event will feature the culmination of former Future Shock teammates Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly clashing for the ROH World title, as well as three other titles being decided and the first appearance of Cody Rhodes in ROH.
Motor City Machine Guns & Donovan Dijak vs. The Rebellion (Kenny King, Rhett Titus & Caprice Coleman)
As of late both Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin have been singing the praises of some of ROH’s younger talent, in particular Lio Rush, Jay White and Donovan Dijak. Sabin and Shelley have spoken about how MCMG have been outnumbered as of late and that in order to be successful, they need to grow their ranks. As if to confirm the veracity of this statement, the group formerly known as the Cabinet, the Rebellion, attacked Sabin and Shelley. A battered Dijak come to attempt the save, but was still hurting from his match earlier on the card. The Rebellion have a mean streak that has not been observed before, but look for them to get their just deserts when the odds are evened, giving the MCMG a reason to officially include Dijak into their ranks, as well as the victory.
Silas Young vs Jushin Thunder Liger
Silas Young’s star has been on the rise in ROH this year. After winning the Honor Rumble after coming in as one of the first two participants, Silas not only showed how tough he is, but he earned a ROH World title shot in Lakeland against Adam Cole. Although he lost that match, Young proved that he has all the skills that would make him the top heel in the company and a future champion. Heading into Final Battle, Young is set to take on a legend in the form of Jushin Thunder Liger after he called the masked superstar out during a television episode, calling Liger a coward for hiding behind a mask for thirty years. The rationale behind the match is plausible, as it fits Young’s character well, despite having no back story. Look for Young to make a statement here, beating one of the most recognizable names in the industry and keeping his place atop the ROH food chain.
Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal
When Cody Rhodes released his now famous list this summer, speculation arose that “the streamer thing” was a reference to Ring of Honor. Well, Cody has recently been announced as appearing at Final Battle, as well as two more ROH events afterwards, one emanating from Center Stage in Atlanta on January 14th. Lethal’s world title shot against Adam Cole in England delayed the announcement of this match in order to keep alive the idea that Lethal could win and has been a bit detrimental in the hype surrounding the match. In the time the company did have to promote the appearances, Lethal very clearly stated that he represents ROH as one of the most accomplished and prolific stars the company has seen and he plans on letting Cody know what ROH is all about. On Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast, Rhodes intimated that he feels this is one of the biggest events of his life, even bigger than Wrestlemania. Look for Rhodes to impress, but ultimately Lethal will come out on top in a match that would be a top tier match up on any other card.
Dalton Castle w/ The Boys vs. Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana surprised many when he returned to ROH last year during the Supercard of Honor event over Wrestlemania weekend. Since then, he has challenged Jay Lethal for the ROH title, been thwarted by the Bullet Club eventually joined up with the equally eccentric Dalton Castle, taking to the tag division. At All Star Extravaganza, Cabana and Castle earned a title shot, which Castle decided to cash in during the All-Stars vs. Champions match at Glory by Honor. The hasty decision led to the duo losing and in the process, Cabana seemed to sour on Castle. Despite getting back to their winning ways, Cabana chose to go on his own, growing sick of Castle. As Castle offered a hug to split amicably, Cabana instead kneed his former partner and then gashed him with the Boys’s feathered fans. Seeing Cabana work as a heel is definitely a different look, but he has made it work so well thus far that it would not be surprising to see the wily veteran pull out a victory at Final Battle.
ROH Six Man Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals
Jay White, KUSHIDA & Lio Rush vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
The tournament has featured a great deal of action so far and made six man matches a welcome part of Ring of Honor programming, ROH did a good job of explaining ACH’s replacement by Rush in the tournament, but even then, this still feels like The Kingdom’s match to win. Matt Taven has been speaking of reforming the Kingdom in his image after Michael Bennet and Maria Kanellis left the company and he suffered a knee injury. Upon his return he introduced Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan, vanquishing Taven’s hated rivals, the Bullet Club in their first match. The build seems to indicate that the Kingdom will have gold to rub in the Bullet Club’s faces going into 2017.
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The Young Bucks (c) vs. The Briscoes
This is certainly a match that has been done before, but these men always manage to deliver and there is no doubt that they will do the same at Final Battle. Amid speculation about where the Young Bucks will be in 2017, there’s a real chance that the Briscoes walk out as champions. Leaving the Bullet Club titleless after the event would not only serve to finally get the group to face the music after their antics, but this feels like it is just brewing and could continue past Final Battle. Look for the Young Bucks to keep the straps for now, with more to come from these two squads. The Briscoes should win the straps when the title change will not be overshadowed by the ROH World title picture. A Briscoes reign in 2017 could lead to exciting brawls with War Machine and Keith Lee and Shane Taylor for the titles, as the tag division is primed for a new look for future for the tag division with imposing duos in the title hunt.
ROH World Television Championship Match-Four Corner Survival
Marty Scurll (c) vs. Will Ospreay vs. Bobby Fish vs. Dragon Lee
ROH’s recent tour of England saw the ROH Television title hot potato a bit between two of the company’s newest signings, Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll. Fish had defended successfully against Adam Page, but the injured ribs he suffered at the hands of Cole and Page left him vulnerable to lose a a proving ground match to CMLL’s Dragon Lee, who earned the right to challenge Fish for the title at Final Battle. With Ospreay wresting the title away Fish, it seemed the surprises would end there, but Scurll challenged Ospreay on the last night of the tour and came away victorious. With Lee promised a shot and Fish and Ospreay deserving of a rematch, the match now stands to be a real possibility for the match of the night. This international four corner survival match will showcase some of the new players in ROH, with Fish acting a ring general in this one. ROH rarely opts to changes titles without reason, so it seems unlikely that Scurll would be denied the opportunity to introduce true Villainy to the ROH US audience for months to come.
ROH World Championship Match
Adam Cole (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly
There are matches and rivalries that write themselves and this is certainly a bout that can fall under that same category. The former teammates and even better enemies have had numerous clashes in the past, but the side story of Cole targeting O’Reilly before winning the title and vowing that his former partner would never win the ROH title has been compelling. There was a window where it seemed that O’Reilly had more momentum than he has now, but his performance against Shibata at Field of Honor and the gutsy match against Jay Lethal for the ROH title have further proved the lengths that O’Reilly will go to claim the title. With this being the biggest event of ROH’s year, O’Reilly should come out on top in a match that Cole said would be the last between the two. Cole has been a fantastic antagonistic champion, but the conclusion to this chapter in the storied history between the two should see O’Reily hoisting the title up in celebration at the end of the night.
Final Battle is a strong card from top to bottom and promises to deliver as the culmination of all of the hard work that the company and the talent have put forth. When the former tag team champions Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian do not have a spot on the card, two things become clear: ROH is prepared to give each match the time it deserves and the event features one of the most incredible line-ups the company has had in the last few years.