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RADICAN'S ROH "Final Battle 2008" DVD REVIEW (Morishima vs. Danielson, McGuinness vs. Marufuji)

Feb 20, 2009 - 3:51:58 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch Columnist

Radican's ROH DVD review series
Final Battle 2008
Manhattan, N.Y.
December 27, 2008

Star ratings and results

(1) Kenny Omega beat Claudio Castagnoli. This was a very good opening match. Neither man went out of their way to steal the show, but Castagnoli did a good job of getting heat on Omega and McGuinness was funny as usual in the commentary booth with his heel commentary. The crowd was hot for this match and got behind Omega and popped big for his surprise pin out of nowhere. (**3/4)

(2) Jerry Lynn beat Chris Hero and The Necro Butcher and Rhett Titus in a Four Corner Survival match. There were some fun spots in this match with the Necro Butcher hitting a hurricanrana to the outside on Titus off the apron and some other good exchanges, but the action really got good down the stretch after a stretch of average action. It was nice to see SNS Inc.'s cheating ways backfire on them as Lynn got the pin on Hero in the end. (**3/4)

(3) ROH World Tag Team Champions Kevin Steen & El Generico beat Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious. This was very good. Jacobs & Delirious got long heat segments on Steen and Generico at different times during the match. Steen & Generico's comeback was a lot of fun and Steen did a good job of selling the damage to his leg. The last five minutes were really good with the Haze and Delirious storyline coming into play and ultimately costing the Age of the Fall the match. (***1/2)

(4) Brent Albright & Erick Stevens & Roderick Strong beat Go Shiozaki & Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards in a New York Street Fight. This was a really good brawl. The match started out chaotic, but then it settled down as SNS Inc. had a numbers advantage on Albright for a long period of time. The action really heated up once Stevens and Strong recovered and came to Albright's aid. The last minutes were really good and things came full-circle when Shiozaki ended up alone in the ring with Strong, Stevens, and Albright. (***1/2)

(5) The Briscoes beat Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiro Nakajima. What a fantastic match with a lot of stiff action. The announcers put over Sasaki & Nakajima as an almost unbeatable team, but the in-ring action really sent the point home as they laid into the Briscoes with a ton of stiff shots. There were a number of great exchanges of stiff chops and kicks in this match. Nakajima was so impressive with his ability do different variations of his kicks. This is the first must-see match on the show. (****)

(6) Austin Aries beat Tyler Black in a #1 contender's match. Both mean seem to have each other scouted out well as they were able to counter each other throughout the match. The crowd was red hot and propelled both men to put on another spectacular performance that I see as being just a notch above from their previous match at "Wrestling at the Gateway" from earlier in December. The action, drama, and crowd heat was fantastic from bell to bell. (****1/4)

(7) ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness beat Naomichi Marufuji. This was another fantastic match on this card. Wow! It wasn't as good as their previous encounter, but they built off a series of counters and went back and forth for most of the match. McGuinness established some submission work on Marufuji's arm during the early and middle parts of the match. When Marufuji had the advantage, he worked over McGuinness's neck. It seemed like they went to the finish a little early because McGuiness looked to have hurt his arm during the course of the match. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, as I wanted to see more from these two and was not burnt out from too many nearfalls. (****1/4)

(8) Bryan Danielson beat Takeshi Morishima in a Fight Without Honor. This was an incredible match and easily the match of the night, which is saying a lot given the matches that came before it on this card. This was an epic match in every sense of the word with Danielson taking a pounding from Morishima and making a valiant comeback. The action was intense from bell to bell and Danielson carries himself in the ring like a superstar, which he is in ROH. This match will be a top contender for MOTY in 2009. (****3/4)

Virtual time analysis

-The Age of the Fall cut a promo in the dark. Jacobs said he would win the tag titles tonight with Delirious. He then told Delirious the issue with Daizee Haze was over. Black took his turn to speak and said he had already proven he was better than Aries and would beat him again tonight to become the #1 contender to the ROH World Title. Jacobs told Delirious and Black not to fail him tonight.

Bobby Cruise introduced the show. His mic was way too loud and he sounded terrible introducing the show. For a show filmed with new cameras, the difference in production value was small. This show does not look as good as the Rising Above PPV taping from November in Chicago with the professional camera crew. The floor and side cameras are somewhat sharper looking, but the hard camera shot doesn't look good at all because of the lighting.

(1) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Kenny Omega. Nigel McGuinness came into the booth on commentary and told Leonard he had eaten too much pie over the holidays. Omega went for a dropkick early on, but Castagnoli swatted him down to the mat and dropped an elbow on his back. Omega fired back a short time later with a nice kick, but Castagnoli quickly regained the advantage with a hotshot. McGuinness said he remembered laying out Omega with a lariat two years ago and the announcers told him that it was Jonny Fairplay and not Kenny Omega that he had laid out with a lariat. Castagnoli continued to dominate the action for several minutes as McGuinness continued to crack jokes on Omega in the commentary booth. The crowd started an "Omega, Omega" chant, which upset Claudio.

Omega caught Castagnoli with a monkey flip and began to mount a comeback. A short time later, Omega hit a leapfrog bulldog on Castagnoli and the crowd roared in support of Omega. Omega then did his signature stop sign enzuguri and then hit a twisting body press to the outside for another pop from the crowd. Castagnoli caught Omega with a chin breaker inside the ring. Omega tried to catch Claudio with a dive off the turnbuckles, but Castagnoli got out of the way and nailed him with a bicycle kick. Castagnoli then went for the Ricola bomb, but Omega countered it into a small package for the pin. (**3/4)

-Castagnoli flipped out after the match and tossed several chairs around at ringside.

-The Necro Butcher made his entrance for the upcoming Four Corner Survival match and nailed himself with several chairshots to the head. That was intelligent.

(2) Four Corner Survival match: Rhett Titus vs. Chris Hero (w/ SNS Inc.) vs. The Necro Butcher vs. Jerry Lynn. I wish ROH would do away with these multi-man matches completely, but I can understand the need to get most of their talent on the bigger shows. Necro and Titus started the match. McGuinness was still in the commentary booth. Necro turned his back to Titus and mocked his gyration, which allowed Titus to jump him from behind. Necro quickly fired back, but Titus begged off and then poked Necro in the eye. Necro fired back a short time later with a big punch as McGuinness ran him down on commentary. Hero tagged into the match and got a split reaction from the crowd. Lynn then tagged into the match and went at it with Hero in the middle of the ring. Lynn ended up overwhelming Hero, who went to the outside for a powder.

Lynn and Necro went at it and Necro did some chain wrestling much to the delight of the crowd. Titus tried to interfere in the action, but got sent to the outside by Lynn and Necro. Hero ended blind-tagging himself into the match and nailed Necro with an elbow to the back for head for a nearfall. Titus tagged back into the match and went to work on Necro with some punches, but they had no effect on Necro, so Titus poked him right in the eyes and hit a big running knee strike off the ropes. Hero went for a roaring elbow on Necro, but he blocked it and tagged in Lynn. Titus hit Lynn with a knee to the back from the outside as he came off the ropes and Hero followed up with an elbow to the head from behind for a 2 count. Hero and Lynn traded blind tags into the match as each attempted to finish off Lynn. Hero hit the roaring elbow on Lynn out of nowhere, but Necro made the save.

Titus went to the outside and pulled Necro off the apron as Lynn and Hero went at it inside the ring. Lynn finally cut off Hero with a hurricanrana off the top and then nailed him with a crossbody for a 2 count. Lynn then nailed Hero with an inverted DDT, but got off of Hero as Titus connected on him with an elbow. Titus went for a sunset bomb on Necro on the apron, but Necro countered it into a hurricanrana to the outside and the crowd went nuts. Necro then held Titus up for Lynn so Lynn could nail him with a dive, but Hero tripped him up. Hero went for Lynn's cradle piledriver, but Lynn countered. Sweeney jumped up on the apron and Hero put the loaded elbow pad on his foot. Hero missed a big boot and Lynn nailed him with the cradle piledriver for the pin. (**3/4)

-Necro and Lynn shook hands after the match and the crowd chanted "You still got it" at Lynn.

Jimmy Jacobs got in the ring and called Necro a Hollywood sellout. Jacobs goaded Necro into the ring, but Delirious jumped him from behind and double-teamed Necro with Delirious. Steen & Generico's music then played and they ran out with Daizee Haze to make the save.

(3) ROH World Tag Team Champions Kevin Steen & El Generico (w/Daizee Haze) vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious. The ref signaled for the bell and the match began with all four men brawling in the ring. Jacobs & Delirious bailed to the outside, so Steen wiped them both out with a flip dive and the crowd went nuts. Steen chopped Delirious across the chest in the corner several times before taking him down with an elbow off the ropes. Steen & Generico continued to work well as a unit as they cut in the ring in half and isolated Delirious from his own corner. Jacobs tried to blind-tag himself into the match, but was immediately cut off by Generico as he came off the top with a punch to the abdomen. Steen & Generico then began tagging in and out to work over Jacobs and got a nearfall after a backpack senton on Jacobs. Delirious ran into the ring and interfered by taking out Steen. Jacobs then dragged Steen over to their corner and tagged in Delirious, who began to work over Steen's leg.

The fans tried to rally Steen as Delirious & Jacobs took turns tagging in and out of the ring to work over his leg. Steen fought off Delirious and Jacobs and ran towards Generico, but Delirious and Jacobs both tackled him and dragged him back to their own corner. Jacobs ended up knocking Generico off the apron, but he recovered and Steen fired up and tagged him in. Generico ran into the ring and was a house of fire as he took out Delirious with a flying boot. Generico hit a huge crossbody off the top, but Delirious kicked out at 2. Generico looked to be going for his signature step up off the ropes swinging DDT on Delirious, but he let go of it once he got to the top rope and hit a flip dive on Jacobs to the outside instead and the crowd went nuts. That was a fun spot. Steen then ran in and nailed Delirious with a flip senton in the corner. Generico then nailed Delirious with a big splash off the top, but he kicked out at the last second.

The crowd came alive as it looked as if Generico was going to finish off Delirious with a brainbuster, but Delirious bit his hand. Steen tagged into the match and sold the attack on his leg from earlier. Delirious charged at Steen as Jacobs held him, but Steen got out of the ring and he ran into Jacobs. Steen couldn't lift Delirious with the package piledriver, but managed to apply the sharpshooter on him in the center of the ring, but Jacobs eventually made the save. Delirious hit the panic attack on Steen and then nailed him with shadows over hell. Jacobs came off the top with a senton on Steen and Delirious covered him, but Steen kicked out at the last second. Steen ended up countering Delirious and nailed him with a pump-handle neckbreaker over his bad knee, but Steen couldn't make the cover.

Steen couldn't hit his dive off the top. Haze came into the ring and tried to do the dive, but Jacobs pulled her to the mat. Delirious tried to talk some sense into Jacobs, who ate a superkick from Steen. Haze ran away from Delirious, who ate a big boot from Generico in the corner. Steen hit the package piledriver and Generico followed up with the brainbuster for the pin. (***1/2)

-Jacobs told Delirious to come into the ring after the match. He yelled at Delirious for getting involved with Haze. Jacobs teased hitting Delirious, but walked away and kicked the turnbuckles in frustration. Delirious tried to explain himself to Jacobs as they went to the back.

-The Briscoes cut a promo on Sasaki and Nakajima. They said the Japan boys were in America now. Jay promised to show Sasaki and Nakajima how to man up.

(4) New York City Streetfight: SNS Inc. (Go Shiozaki & Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Brent Albright & Roderick Strong & Erick Stevens. SNS Inc. charged their opponents as they made their entrance and all six men brawled on the outside. Strong nailed Edwards with a chairshot to the back and tossed him inside the ring, but the other four men continued to battle on the floor. Stevens tossed Shiozaki hard into the barricade as Stevens nailed Richards with a hard chairshot to the back on the opposite side of the floor area. Edwards and Strong ended up back outside and Edwards got the upper hand by nailing Strong with a chairshot to the back. Albright and Richards ended up inside the ring where Albright nailed Richards with a big powerslam for a 2 count. Edwards then ran into the ring and took out Albright before setting up a table in the corner.

Stevens attacked Edwards from behind inside the ring and they exchanged blows in the middle of the ring. Stevens looks ridiculous with that red streak in his hair. Shiozaki came into the ring and German suplexed Stevens into the table set up in the corner, but Strong made the save. Shiozaki and Strong began exchanging chops as the match continued at a chaotic pace. Strong fired back from a double team on the outside from Edwards & Shiozaki by chopping the crap out of both of their chests, but they got the better of Strong and tackled him to the floor. Edwards went up top back inside the ring, but Strong nailed him with a kick. Strong climbed up the ropes with Edwards, but Richards ran in and cut him off. Richards & Edwards then nailed Strong with a nice combination of moves capped by a sitdown powerbomb by Richards, but Albright made the save.

Albright ended up alone in the ring with all three of his opponents. Albright fought them all off and isolated Richards and caught him with the crowbar, but Edwards ran in and nailed him with a chairshot. Shiozaki then hit a kneedrop onto a chair placed over Albright's head. Edwards then covered Albright, but he kicked out. Albright tried to fight back, but SNS Inc. jumped on him like a pack of wolves with Stevens and Strong still out of the picture. Albright managed to take out all three of his opponents, but ended up down on the mat as he simply ran out of energy. The crowd tried to rally Strong as he started to get to his feet. Albright powered up and went at it with Richards as they exchanged chops in the center of the ring. Stevens then ran into the ring and nailed Richards with a slam. Stevens hit a double choo choo in the corner on Shiozaki and Edwards. Strong then nailed Edwards with a gutbuster and Stevens followed up with a lariat, but Richards broke up the pin. Good action.

Strong and Richards squared off and exchanged strikes in the center of the ring. Richards ended up clotheslining Strong out of the ring and both men spilled to the floor. Strong and Richards ended up on the apron and exchanged more strikes and kicks. Richards ended up going to get a table and set it up next to the apron. Richards went for a DR driver off the apron, but Strong blocked it and slammed Richards back-first through the table. Shiozaki nailed Albright with a superkick, but he didn't go down. Shiozaki hit a low blow and then a German suplex on Albright. Shiozaki then ended up alone in the ring and Albright caught him in the crowbar. He held on for a few moments, but eventually ended up tapping. (***1/2)

-After the match Richards & Edwards went to the back without Shiozaki. Richards told him he shouldn't have tapped. The crowd chanted for Shiozaki as they knew this was his last night with the company, but Shiozaki gave them the universal FU sign.

-Briscoes came out to a huge pop for their showcase tag match against Sasaki & Nakajima.

(5) Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. The Briscoes. Mark and Nakajima began the match and came to a standstill after a series of exchanges. Both men exchanged hard kicks to the back and seemed to get upset with each other. Mark laid into Nakajima with several stiff shots, but Nakajima sent him down to the mat with a big kick. Jay tagged into the match, but Nakajima caught him with a series of kicks and Jay ended up on the outside. Nakajima then nailed him with a flip dive off the apron. The crowd began chanting for both teams as the action heated up. Jay finally got the upper hand by dropping Nakajima on his head with a DVD and Sasaki tagged into the match to a big pop. Jay and Sasaki began exchanging chops, but Jay took him down with a kick. Sasaki immediately fired back and sent Jay to the mat with a big clothesline.

Sasaki took Jay into his own corner and tagged in Nakajima, who nailed Jay with a big kick. Jay fired back and drove Nakajima into his own corner. Mark then tagged in and went to town on Nakajima in the corner and used his boot to choke him against the turnbuckles. The Briscoes showed some good teamwork as they tagged in and out to wear down Nakajima while keeping him far away from Sasaki. Jay and Nakajima exchanged chops, but Jay overwhelmed him with forearms and tagged in Mark, who nailed him with a great looking suplex. Nakajima fired back on Mark and swept his legs out from under him before tagging in Sasaki, who nailed Mark with blows to his back and chest. Mark tried to fire back, but Sasaki took him down and locked him in a variation of the figure four, but Jay finally ran in and kicked him off of Mark.

Nakajima tagged into the match and continued to work over Mark's leg. They did an awesome sequence where Nakajima kicked Mark in the corner and Sasaki chopped him at the same time. Nakajima got a running start and nailed Mark with a dropkick in the corner for a 2 count. Mark finally managed to fire back and nailed Nakajima with a fisherman's buster before tagging in Jay, who nailed Nakajima with a flying press of the top. Jay then knocked Sasaki off the apron, but Nakajima caught him with a big boot. Jay no-sold it and fired back with a big boot of his own moments later after tripping Nakajima face-first into the turnbuckles. Jay then drove Nakajima down to the mat with a modified chokeslam for a 2 count. Nakajima cut off Jay with a nasty looking axe kick. He then stepped up on the ropes and nailed Jay with another kick to the back of the head. Sasaki tagged into the match and overwhelmed Jay with a number of chops to the chest before nailing him with a powerslam for a 2 count.

Sasaki then took Jay down with a judo throw before applying an arm submission. Mark ran in and broke it up as the action broke down. The Briscoes went for a double team on Sasaki, but he fired back with a double clothesline. Sasaki & Nakajima then began double teaming Jay, but Mark ran into the ring to put a stop to it. Nakajima & Sasaki quickly cut him off and sent him to the outside. Nakajima nailed Jay with multiple superkicks and the crowd went nuts. Wow! Nakajima nailed Jay with a kick to the back of the head and he looked to be knocked out, but he kicked out at the last second. Nakajima then nailed Jay with a superkick, but he kicked out at the last second. Nakajima ran up the ropes, but Jay caught him. The Briscoes went for the springboard doomsday device, but Mark fell down and grabbed his injured knee. Nakajima then rolled Jay up for a nearfall.

Mark sent Sasaki to the floor and held his knee. Jay asked Mark to go up top and the Briscoes hit the traditional doomsday device on Nakajima, but Sasaki broke it up at the last second. Jay set up Nakajima for the Jay-driller and nailed it. Mark held off Sasaki and Jay got the pin for the victory. (****)

-After the match, Edwards & Richards attacked the Briscoes. They handcuffed Jay to the ropes and Richards & Edwards went to work on Mark's knee with several chairshots. Steen & Generico ended up running in to make the save. Edwards & Richards saw an opening and ran back into the ring to attack Steen & Generico, but Strong & Albright ran into the ring to make the save. This was a good injury angle to set up the Briscoes for a big feud once Mark returns from injury. Albright got on the mic and told Richards & Edwards to come back into the ring. Albright then asked Cary Silkin to prevent SNS Inc. from destroying everything ROH was built on. Albright told Silkin he wanted a Steel Cage match with SNS Inc. to end their feud. Silkin then told Albright that he agreed to the match and Sweeney, who had come out to the ring was livid. Albright told Sweeney that someone was going to die inside the Steel Cage. This was a really good angle to set up SNS Inc. finally getting in a steel cage. Several people ended up helping Mark to the back to end the segment.

-Kyle Durden was backstage with Naomichi Marufuji. He asked him about his match with McGuinness. He answered in Japanese and then a translator said Marufuji would take the ROH World Title back to Japan with him.

-An ad aired for the "Northern Navigation" DVD.

-Kyle Durden was backstage again with Takeshi Morishima and he asked him about his Fight Without Honor match coming up in the main event against Danielson. Once again the translator was present and he said it was time to settle the score.

-Highlights from the finish of the Aries-Black match at "Wrestling At The Gateway" from Dec. 5 aired.

(6) #1 Contender's match: Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black. The crowd was red hot for the start of the match and chanted for both men as they went back and forth during the early stages of the match. Aries eventually ended up gaining the upper hand with an arm submission, but Black countered it into a headscissors on the mat. Aries popped out and went for a dropkick, but Black rolled out of the way. Aries took Black down in a headscissors, but Black used Aries's escape and nailed him with a dropkick and the crowd began a big chant for Black. Aries got upset and shoved Black before nailing him with several chops. Aries went for his signature elbow drop, but he took too much time and Black got out of the way. Black got fired up to charge at Aries, but Aries cut him off and mocked Black's signature charge out of the corner. Black managed to recover in time and kicked Aries away.

Black went for a springboard, but Aries shoved him to the floor and hit the heat seeking missile for a big pop from the crowd. A replay aired from a different angle as the crowd continued to chant for both men. Aries tossed Black back into the ring and hit his signature power elbow for a 2 count. Aries nailed Black with a series of knee strikes and applied the last chancery, but Black got the ropes. Aries tossed Black to the outside and seemed upset by the fans supporting Black. Both men ended up battling on the apron. Black ended up lifting up Aries and nailed him with an F5 on the apron and both men spilled to the floor as the crowd went nuts.

Aries got in the ring first with Black out on the apron. Black managed to fight him off and went for the springboard lariat, but Aries ran under him. Black turned right around and nailed Aries with a kick to the send him to the outside. Black then got a running start and landed a SSP to the outside and the crowd went ballistic once again. That was insane! Black rolled Aries back into the ring and made the cover, but Aries kicked out. Black fired up, but Aries drove him into the corner and nailed him with a series of strikes. Aries went for the brainbuster, but Black managed to counter. Black went for a powerbomb into the corner, but Aries slipped out and nailed Black with a series of knee strikes to the head on the mat. Aries applied the last chancery, but Black wouldn't tap. Aries let go of the hold and nailed Black with several more knee strikes to the head from different angles and went for the brainbuster, but Black countered it with a rollup for 2. Black kicked Aries from the seated position and powerbombed him into the turnbuckles for a 2 count. Wow! This is a fantastic match.

Black went up top for the phoenix splash as the crowd went insane. Jacobs came out and tried to tell Black not to go for the move, but he went for it and Aries rolled out of the way. Aries hit the kick to the head and the brainbuster. Aries went up top for the 450, but slipped off the apron. Aries managed to get to the top and nailed Black with the 450 for the win. (****1/4)

-Jacobs got into the ring after the match and the crowd chanted "F--- you Jimmy." He yelled at Black and said he was supposed to be the chosen one. The crowd chanted "F--- him up Tyler, f--- him up!" Jacobs shoved Black, but he fired right back and sent Jacobs down to the mat. Jacobs asked Black to calm down, but ended up nailing Black with a low blow after they shook hands. Jacobs then locked in the end time and went for a chair. Aries put Black's head in-between the chair and went up top, but Aries ran back out and made the save. Aries then ended up using the chair and nailed Black with a chairshot to the head.

Jacobs came back into the ring as Jacobs landed punches on Black's head. Black came up busted open as the announcers said they were only working together because they had a common enemy. The crowd booed and Aries to him to bring it on. Jacobs took the towel Black wouldn't throw in for Jacobs at the "Rising Above" PPV and threw it on his head. Aries got a dazed look on his face and got pissed at a fan who asked him what sense does him siding with Jacobs make. That was funny. Black finally recovered back inside the ring and the crowd chanted his name as he tried to get to his feet. The fans turned their attention towards the Aries-fan incident at the entranceway, but the cameras didn't show it.

-An ad aired for the "New Horizons" PPV DVD release.

-Highlights of the McGuinness-Marufuji match from Glory By Honor V: Night 2 aired.

-Naomichi Marufuji came out for his title shot to a good reception. McGuinness got a split reaction, but it was more boos than cheers. Bobby Cruise's mic was still very loud as he introduced the main event. I really miss the crane camera from the PPV taping. The floor cameras and one of the hard cameras demonstrate the increased quality of the new cameras, but the hard camera shot looks poor due to the bad lighting.

Both men shook hands before the match and there was a real "big match" feel before the ref signaled for the bell.

(7) ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness vs. Naomichi Marufuji. One thing I've noticed is that Dave Prazak has toned down his heel commentary for this show. Both announcers mentioned that ROH had broken their attendance record for this show, but didn't give a figure. McGuinness went for the jawbreaker lariat early, but Marufuji ducked. They exchanged pinning combinations on the mat and then came to a stalemate as the crowd roared. Marufuji gained the upper hand and went to work on McGuinness's head with a headlock, but McGuinness countered with a headscissors submission on the mat. Marufuji managed to escape after a few moments and nailed McGuinness with a kick to the head. The fans chanted for both men and the crowd seemed to be split in terms of who they supported at this point. Marufuji continued to work over McGuinness's neck as he drove it over and over into the canvas out of a headscissors submission on the mat.

McGuinness fired back at Marufuji and hit him with a mule kick out of a headstand on the top turnbuckle and Marufuji spilled out to the floor. McGuinness threw him shoulder-first into the barricade and played to the crowd, which gave Marufuji time to recover and nail McGuinness with a superkick. Marufuji then quickly landed the sliced bread #2 using the guardrail and the fans exploded. Marufuji rolled McGuinness into the ring and covered him, but Nigel kicked out at the last second. Marufuji went up to, but McGuinness cut him off and hit a hammerlock powerslam, which I don't think I've seen from McGuiness before. McGuinness followed up on Marufuji's shoulder by slamming it into the mat and the crowd booed as he taunted them from inside the ring. McGuinness continued to taunt the crowd and leaned through the ropes to jaw with a fan, which gave Marufuji a window to nail him with a running dropkick from the floor.

Marufuji grabbed a cobra clutch and then twisted around McGuinness with his legs and held on with a variation of the triangle choke, which was very impressive. McGuinness stood up, but Marufuji held on with cobra clutch and then turned the hold into a backbreaker. Marufuji went up top, but McGuinness cut him off. McGuinness went for the tower of London, but Marufuji countered. McGuiness eventually managed to hit his clothesline/kick combination to regain the upper hand. McGuinness draped Marufuji over the middle rope and went up top, but Marufuji stood up on the ropes and nailed him with a dropkick. Both men battled on the turnbuckles. McGuinness raked Marufuji's eyes, but Marufuji fired back moments later and hit the sliced bread #2 on the apron and the crowd exploded again. A fantastic replay of the sliced bread #2 aired from a different angle.

Marufuji rolled McGuinness back into the ring and eventually hung him upside down in the corner. Marufuji then went to the opposite corner and went for the coast to coast stringboard dropkick, but McGuinness sat up. Marufuji regained his bearings and tossed McGuinness off the top to the floor. Marufuji then went up top, but McGuinness cut him off. Nigel went for the tower of London, but Marufuji blocked it. McGuinness then raked his eyes and hit the tower of London on the apron. McGuinness rolled Marufuji back into the ring and covered him, but only got a 2 count. McGuinness began to favor his arm as he continued his attack on Marufuji. McGuinness set up Marufuji on the middle rope once again and nailed him with a clothesline off the top, but Marufuji kicked out. Nigel went for another tower of London, but Marufuji blocked it. McGuinness went for a headstand on the top turnbuckle, but Marufuji nailed him with a superkick. Marufuji set up for the springboard coast to coast and nailed McGuiness with it this time for a nearfall. Marufuji waited for McGuinness to get to feet and nailed him with a superkick. Marufuji sent McGuinness to his knees with another kick and went for a third kick, but McGuinness ducked and rolled up Marufuji for a nearfall. McGuinness used the momentum from Marufuji's kickout to bounce off the ropes and nailed him with the jawbreaker lariat for the pin. (****1/4)

-Both men shook hands after the match as McGuinness continued to favor his arm. Jerry Lynn came down to the ring and told McGuinness that he had just put on an incredible performance. The fans applauded and started an "ROH, ROH" chance. McGuinness grabbed the mic and asked Lynn why he wanted to steal his spotlight. McGuinness said he had seen "The Wrestler" and it reminded him of Lynn, who he called a washed up bum. Lynn grabbed the mic and screamed at McGuinness. Lynn screamed into the mic and it sounded terrible. He told McGuinness he wouldn't let him disrespect the company anymore. Lynn blocked the entrance, so McGuinness walked to the back through the crowd. That was a solid, but at times awkward segment.

-An ad for aired.

-Bobby Cruise tried to introduce the main event, but Prince Nana was in the ring when the lights came on. I couldn't make out what Nana was saying as security dragged him to the back. The crowd chanted "We want Nana" as Nana was taken away.

-A highlight package chronicling the history between Bryan Danielson and Takeshi Morishima aired prior to the main event.

-Takeshi Morishima came out to a good reaction from the fans. Bryan Danielson's music played and he got a superstar reaction from the crowd. Danielson ended out coming out from behind Morishima and nailed him with a springboard knee strike to start the match.

(8) Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson in a Fight Without Honor. Streamers flew into the ring as Danielson's music continued to play while he bounced off the ropes and nailed Morishima with a dropkick through the ropes that sent Morishima over the guardrail and into the front row. Danielson then hit a springboard dive as his music continued to play with the crowd singing along lead by Danielson. Danielson continued his assault on Morishima on the outside as he set him up seated on a chair and then nailed him with a running dropkick. Danielson nailed Morishima with a series of European uppercuts as both men ended up back inside the ring. Morishima shrugged them off, but Danielson maintained the advantage and went for a surfboard on the mat, but ended up slamming Morishima's knees right into the mat. Both men went at it on the apron. Danielson tried to powerbomb him to the floor, but Morishima sat down on his chest on the apron. Prazak wondered aloud how Danielson could breathe after taking that maneuver.

The crowd booed Morishima as he stood tall in the ring and Morishima indicated he couldn't hear them. Danielson came up busted open on the outside after being tossed into the guardrail by Morishima. Morishima went back outside and grabbed a chair and nailed Danielson across the back with it. He then set up Danielson in a chair and nailed him with a flying hip attack. Danielson was wearing the "crimson mask" by this point and had hit a gusher. Danielson tried to fire up and displayed some great facial expressions, but Morishima choked him on the ropes. Danielson spilled to the outside and crawled back up to the apron, but Morishima sent him crashing into the barricade with a forearm blow. Morishima went under the ring and grabbed a chain. He then wrapped it around Danielson's throat and used the end of the chain to choke him with it on the mat. Morishima then nailed Danielson with some elbow strikes before wrapping the chain tighter around Danielson's throat and choking him again.

Morishima went up top and they showed some different camera angles that looked good. He then jumped off the top, but Danielson got out of the way. Danielson fired up and nailed Morishima with a running elbow that sent him to the outside. Danielson's facial expressions were fantastic as he fired and nailed Morishima with a dive through the ropes. Wow! This is fantastic. Danielson tossed Morishima back into the ring and the crowd fired up as he climbed the turnbuckles. Danielson nailed Morishima with a missile dropkick to the knee sprung up to his feet. Danielson then nailed Morishima with several kicks to the chest before finally sending him to his back with a running kick to the chest off the ropes. Morishima fired back moments later and nailed Danielson with a running hip attack against the turnbuckles and Danielson looked to be out of it. Morishima waited for Danielson to get off his feet and then obliterated him with a lariat. Danielson slipped out of a suplex attempt and caught Morishima with a small package for a nearfall.

Danielson nailed Morishima with a German suplex with a bridge, but he kicked out. Danielson then locked in the cattle mutilation and the crowd roared, but Morishima turned over. Danielson nailed Morishima with a series of elbows, but Morishima got to his feet and sent Danielson down with a forearm. Danielson went off the ropes, but Morishima turned around and nailed him with another clothesline and both men were down as the crowd heat continued to escalate. Morishima got the chain and choked Danielson with it again before setting up Danielson for a backdrop driver off the top. Danielson slipped out from under Morishima and nailed him with a super backdrop driver. Danielson pointed at the chain and picked it up with an intense look on his face. Danielson wrapped the chain around Morishima's neck and used the chain for leverage as he kicked Morishima with it. Danielson then locked in a triangle choke with the chain wrapped around Morishima's neck. The ref checked Morishima's arm, but Morishima managed to recover and powerbombed Danielson to free himself of the hold.

Both men got back to their feet. Danielson got dumped to the mat with a suplex and then Morishima nailed him with a lariat. Morishima followed up with a backdrop driver, but Danielson got his foot on the ropes. Morishima went for a clothesline with the chain wrapped around his arm, but Danielson countered and caught him with an arm bar. Danielson then tied Morishima's arms behind his back and bounced off the ropes, but Morishima sent him down with a kick. Morishima tried to free himself, but Danielson nailed him with a series of low blows. Danielson lifted up Morishima and nailed him with several groin stomps. Danielson then took the chain and wrapped it around his elbow. Danielson nailed Morishima with elbow strikes with the chain as the crowd counted along. Danielson then applied the cattle mutilation and Morishima passed out. (****3/4)

-Danielson posed for the crowd after the match and celebrated his win. He then got on the mic and the babyfaces came out from the back and stood in the ring with him. Danielson said he had been in ROH for seven years. He told the fans that tonight they were part of the largest crowd in ROH history, which started a huge "ROH, ROH" chant. Danielson thanked the fans and said ROH was great because the fans could cheer or boo whoever they wanted to. Danielson put over the wrestlers in the ring for their efforts on behalf of ROH. Danielson said all he asked was for the fans to keep coming back. Dragon then told the fans if they could find the after party, they were welcome to join it. What a fantastic promo to close the show.

Quick thoughts: (9.5) "Final Battle 2008" will go down as a legitimate contender for the best show of 2009 at the end of the year. This was a fantastic show from start to finish with four matches to finish the show that I rated at 4 stars or higher. The Fight Without Honor between Danielson and Morishima is an instant classic that should contend strongly for the best match of 2009. I can't say enough good things about this card. The crowd was hot, the action was fantastic, and everything just clicked on this show.

ROH doesn't release many shows as strong as this one, so I highly recommend a purchase. It's a must-buy in my book for any fan of ROH or anyone that's ever been on the fence when it comes to buying a DVD from the company. The production is better, although there is still plenty of room for improvement. You won't forget this show after you see it!

You can purchase "Final Battle 2008" by clicking here

Torch VIP members look out for a full ROH Final Battle 2008 audio roundtable this weekend!

Sean Radican and co-host Derek Burgan record ROH themed audios on the Radican Audio Showcase on most weekends that are made available exclusively to Torch VIP members. Sean also reviews nearly every ROH release for Torch VIP members. You can contact Sean at

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

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He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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