KELLER’S ROH FINAL BATTLE 2016 PPV REPORT 12/2: Cole vs. O’Reilly, Cody Rhodes vs. Lethal, Cabana vs. Dalton, Briscoes vs. Young Bucks

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


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KELLER’S ROH FINAL BATTLE PPV REPORT
DECEMBER 2, 2016
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. AT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
AIRED LIVE ON PPV

Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino

-A pre-recorded interview aired with Adam Cole doing his “Story Time” theme saying he’s sick of his feud with Kyle O’Reilly and wants to end it tonight once and for all. This was on YouTube to promote the match.

-A video package aired introducing the event.

-Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino introduced the show and previewed the line-up, with the requisite audio issues with Corino’s volume going down and up. The crowd looked fantastic on TV.

(1) THE REBELLION (Caprice Coleman & Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs. THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) & DONAVAN DIJAK

After some exchanges between King and Sabin, Dijak tagged in and called for Coleman. The announcers made a big deal out of Coleman yelling something he shouldn’t say on TV and called for people with sensitive ears to cover up. He tagged in and hopped around the ring, but Titus and King attacked Dijak from behind to give Coleman an opening. Titus tagged in, and Dijak made a comeback. The babyface trio isolated Titus for a while. Dijak hit a springboard elbowdrop for a two count.

The action spilled to the floor where the heels took control, including King doing a twisting dive over the top rope onto Sabin at ringside. He then celebrated while staring into the ringside camera lens. Sabin took a beating for a while in the ring. When Coleman pulled Sabin’s armpit hair, Kelly wondered if it was legal and how much it hurt. Corino said, “I like to shave it, I wouldn’t know.”

At 10:00 Sabin hot-tagged Dijak in for a small pop and then some oohs and ahh as he gave the heel trio big boots. Titus blocked a chokeslam. Dijak caught Coleman leaping off the top rope to interfere, then tossed him over the top rope. He then pulled Titus off the top rope and turned it into a choke breaker (a chokeslam / backbreaker combo) for a near fall. The crowd chanted “Dijak!” Sabin and Shelley stereo kicked Titus at ringside and played to the crowd Dijak then did a springboard flip dive onto a crowd at ringside which popped the crowd and prompted a loud “Holy sh—!” chant. Impressive spot.

The faces triple-teamed Titus in the ring and scored a near fall, broken up by Coleman and King. A “This is awesome!” chant started. Dijak gave King a big boot and then a powerslam. He rolled to the ring apron and went for a flip onto Titus, but Titus moved and then kicked Dijak. Coleman gave Dijak a running dropkick. Meanwhile, the Guns set up King for a finisher, but Coleman broke that up. King then schoolboyed Sabin and put his feet on the second rope for a convincing near fall. Coleman nailed Sabin with a Sky Splitter leg lariat and then Titus hit a Big Dog Splash to get the three count. Kelly said The Rebellion just made a big statement at ROH’s biggest event of the year.

WINNERS: The Rebellion in 14:00. (**3/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: A crowd pleasing match that was a big part spotfest and sometimes a but clunky. Maybe a little too much crammed into 14 minutes, but hard to be too critical as the crowd loved it and everyone got some time to shine.)

-They showed a wide shot of the arena which again looked aesthetically great.

-They aired Kelly interviewing Silas Young who called out Justin Liger at ringside. He said he’s a coward to be wearing a mask his whole career. “You people are all the same, a bunch of adults playing make-believe, playing dress-up. The guy whom he idolizes is nothing more than an everyday coward. Thirty-plus years in the wrestling business and he’s never shown his face because he’s embarrassed. Come Final Battle you’ll find out why I’m exactly everything I say I am and Justin Liger is nothing more than a child playing dress-up, a child playing a character. When it comes down to it, it’s going to be an actor versus a real man and I’ll show everybody what a man of a bygone era is.”

(2) SILAS YOUNG (w/The Beer City Bruiser) vs. JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER

The streamers greeted Liger when he got to the ring. Corino said, “When you look up ‘legend’ in the dictionary, that’s what you see.” What’s a dictionary, asks a whole generation of wrestling fans. Corino noted he just turned 52 and every time he sees him, he’s in awe. The crowd chanted “Jushin Liger.” Corino touted Liger’s resume and said his wife wasn’t born when Liger started his career in 1984. When Silas went for Corino’s mask, Corino said: “I hear ugly people wear masks, allegedly. I don’t know many masked people.” Liger fended off Young, but Young took over control and dominated several more minutes with methodic offense built around just overpowering Liger. The crowd chanted “You fat f—!” at Bruiser. At 7:00 Liger aught a charging Silas with a boot. They collided mid-ring with a clothesline. Both were slow to get up. Liger executed a huracanrana off the top rope. A minute later Silas landed a backbreaker for a near fall. Liger comeback with a brainbuster supple. Silas got up and caught Liger on the top rope. He set up superplex. Liger chopped him off of the top rope. Bruiser charged at Liger, but Liger punched him. Bruiser spit out his beer. When Liger dove at Silas, Silas caught him with his knees, then gave him his Misery finisher for the win. Kelly said Silas just punctuated 2016 and “started the new year with a bang.”

WINNER: Silas Young in 11:00. (*1/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: This was fine. Given how much offense Silas got, it was surprising to see him also score the win. I know ROH wanted to build up “their guy” but I think there was more heat in Silas getting shown up by Liger and losing, but beating him down afterward and then having a chip on his shoulder that he takes out on his next opponent.)

-A video package aired on the Dalton Castle and Colt Cabana relationship. Castle said they really bonded over which bottled water they drink and which Gary Marshall movie they love the best. Then they showed Cabana kneeing Dalton as they moved in for a hug with each other. Dalton said things are certainly different now. Dalton, channelling a little Roddy Piper, said he’s channelling confusion and anger. He wondered if this was Cabana’s plan all along. Dalton: “I would never put my hands on another man’s boys.” He said Cabana’s action are a recipe for regret.

(3) COLT CABANA vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys)

Dalton was pulled to the ring on a chariot by his Boys. They were covered in streamers when they entered the ring as Cabana took a view from ringside. Kelly said Cabana attacked Castle when he “his boys might have been locked in a closet.” The crowd loudly chanted “Dalton Castle!” Kelly said Castle is as flamboyant as it gets but he’s also a consummate wrestler. Cabana rolled to ringside to regroup early, so Dalton strutted and postured in the ring. The crowd chanted “Holy sh—!” Cabana threw The Boys into the ring. Dalton was distracted, so Cabana attacked Dalton from behind. Dalton came right back and climbed the backs of his boys and landed a flying dropkick to Colt. The Boys returned to ringside as Colt regrouped on the ring apron.

Cabana avoided a charging Castle and then clipped Dalton’s leg from behind to knock him off the middle rope. Dalton bumped hard onto his back. Cabana took over for a while. The Boys fanned Castle to try to give him energy for a comeback. Colt chopped Dalton and then mocked Dalton’s strut. Colt applied the Billy Goat’s Curse, but Colt renamed it “Cubs Win.” Dalton lunged to the bottom rope as The Boys fanned him. Colt told the ref that looked like a tap, but it was just a lunge to grab the bottom rope. Fans chanted “Peacock City!”

Cabana missed a moonsuit and then Castle gave him a German suplex into a bridge for a near fall. A minute later Colt escaped the Bangarang and turned it into a schoolboy for a near fall. Castle went right back to the Bangarang and scored the pin.

WINNER: Castle in 10:00. (**1/2)

(Keller’s Analysis: Exactly what you’d expect and want from this match. Cabana looked like he was having fun going all in on the heel role. Castle continued to be over and got the win he should have here.)

-A promo aired with Jay Lethal who said to Cody Rhodes this is their moment because it’s a chance to prove to the world he’s the greatest. He said this is Cody’s moment to step out of any shadow he may feel he’s living in and show the world what he can do. He said two great wrestlers are about to prove who the best in the world is, and he predicted victory.

-Brandi introduced Cody, but her mic wasn’t on at the start. She said he is the star that left them in the dust. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. If you’re not down with that, we’ve got two words for you… This is Cody.” Cody made his way to the ring to his music that sounds like every opening theme to Tough Enough, “Kingdom” by Downstait. Lethal came out next and had “My List” on his jacket showing he had faced Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Del Rio, and Jay Brisoe, and next was Cody Rhodes. It said “Cody Rhodes.” Lethal came out to “Scorched Ops.”

Before the ring introductions, The Addiction walked out. Kelly wondered what this was all about. Kaz apologized for the interruption, but said there is no way on the biggest show of the year in NYC they wouldn’t show up. Kaz said after Ladder Wars and what they’ve gone through physically and mentally, they’re cool with the night off. The crowd chanted “Shut the f— up!” Lethal nodded along. Daniel said while they aren’t wrestling on Final Battle, Cody is, and he’s battling perhaps the greatest World Champion that ROH has ever had. The crowd cheered. Daniels said he grew up in Fayetteville, N.C. and Dusty Rhodes was the first one who taught him what professional could be and should be. A “Dusty!” chant broke out. He said after everything he has given to pro wrestling and in an ROH ring, he said he realizes for ROH to be the best on the planet, it needs people who eat, sleep, live, bleed, and breathe professional wrestling. He said he has to go through men like Lethal and Kaz and himself to prove he belongs, and do so in front of the most rabid fans on the planet. He told them to tear it up like he knows they can. Kelly sounded leery of what was mostly an optimistic, positive message from The Addiction.

(4) CODY (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. JAY LETHAL

Kaz and Daniels joined in on commentary. There was a brief “Cody sucks!” chant. Cody and Lethal shook hands. They started with chain wrestling and even some hip tosses. Lethal landed a cartwheel dropkick and got some applause. Kelly said everyone’s been wondering how Cody would do under all this pressure and in this environment. Daniels said he’s had the eyes of the world on him in the past, and now it’s a matter of proving to the ROH fans, the most discerning fans on the planet, that he belongs.

Cody did a drop down uppercut like his older brother and went for a Disaster Kick, but Lethal side-stepped it. Cody began the skin the cat, but Lethal dropkicked his head as he was hanging upside down. Then Lethal did two of his signature series of three dives to the floor. Cody recovered in time to stop a third one by sliding back into the ring, then kicking Lethal to the floor. Cody then springboard leaped over the top rope and hit Lethal with a flying forearm. He sold hurting his arm when he hit the ring barrier. Cody threw Lethal back into the ring. Cody scored a two count. Kelly wondered if Cody was adjusting to the ring size difference, since he wrestled in a 20 foot ring, but it’s 18 feet in ROH. Daniels said the ropes are made of cables and not rope, but he said that makes springboards much more effective. Cody showboated with a cartwheel and the crowd reacted. They bumped heads, but Cody then hit a Disaster Kick. Not sure it was as crisp as is ideal. They showed the landing, but didn’t replay the full kick as it probably showed quite a bit of light in slow-mo. They stood and traded chops and uppercuts.

Lethal landed his Lethal Combination and scored a two count. Lethal applied an STF. Kelly said the critics will have a field day if Cody taps out tonight. Cody escaped and countered into an Indian death lock. Daniels said he’s never seen Cody do that before. Lethal reached the bottom rope. Lethal flip-bumped on a clothesline, but kicked out at two on the subsequent cover at 12:00. Cody went for a moonsault off the top rope, but Lethal side-stepped him and pushed him hard to the mat. Lethal rallied and then leaped off the top rope with Hail to the King, but Cody countered with a crucifix for a near fall. Lethal sidekicked Cody, but Cody shoved Lethal in return. Lethal bumped into the ref. Ref Todd Sinclair was stunned. Then Lethal and Sinclair bumped heads. Cody then gave Lethal a low kick and the Crossroads for the win.

Afterward, Cody gestured to the fans and got heel heat. He then mocked the Code of Honor with a handshake offer, but then turned it into two middle fingers. The Addiction ran into the ring to make sure Cody didn’t do anything else. Cody threw a beer at the ref and then skipped away. There was a “Cody!” chant from some fans mixed in with boos. Kelly said it was absolutely shameful what Cody did.

WINNER: Cody in 14:00. (***)

(Keller’s Analysis: Pretty much a prototypical three star match. Solid start to finish, well executed, but not epic. The match started as many face vs. face matches do, and it was fine, but hardly intense. The Cody turn gives Cody some edge and he can really get some serious heat with his promos going forward if he picks the right talking points to get under the skin of the ROH faithful.)

-As the announcers began to plug the upcoming ROH Six-Man Championship match, Cody walked over and shoved Corino down. Kelly exclaimed, “What the hell is this guy all about?” Cary Silken stepped to the stage with The Addiction and Corino to assess whether Cody had finally left.

-A video package aired on the six-man title match up next.

(5) KUSHIDA & LIO RUSH & JAY WHITE vs. THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven & T.K O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia) – ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship match

The new ROH Six-Man Tag Title belts are so much better looking than anything WWE has produced in recent years. After ring intros, Steve Corino said it all makes sense because “the father said the evil was coming and it’s Cody Rhodes.” Rush scored an early believable near fall with The Curse splash on Taven. Taven bailed out to regroup with is partners, who all hugged and huddled. Corino touted Kushida traveling across the ocean to train for this match with his partners and they are a “well-oiled machine.” After some nice early exchanges, the Kingdom isolated Rush and worked him over for several minutes.

Kelly said Cody’s actions are still on his mind. He noted that Taven and Vinny are longtime partners, and Taven helped train T.K. Kelly said Taven has two friends he can count on. Corino said they’re undefeated so far together. White got the hot tag at 9:00. Chaos broke out in the ring, ending with a triple dropkick against Vinny in the corner. White then leaped off the top rope with a missile dropkick on Vinny for a near fall. White set up a superplex, but Vinny blocked it and then applied a submission hold by holding White upside down. Kushida countered with a submission hold on the top rope. Then Taven suplexed Kushida. Rush then landed a top rope splash. T.K. followed with a top rope elbow on Rush. More chaos followed until Kushida Ko punched Taven. He sold a broken hand and rolled to the floor. The ref counted both men down a seven count. Rush tagged in and cleared the ring of Taven, then he did a dive through the ropes rapid-fire one side against Taven and the other against T.K. More dives followed rapid-fire by several wrestlers. A loud “Kushida” chant broke out as he flip dove off the top rope onto a crowd at ringside. Rush then did a twisting flip onto the same crowd. Taven then did a high flying leap over the top rope onto the large crowd. He played to the crowd. An “ROH!” chant broke out. Corino said they didn’t have to call the last three minutes because a sold out New York City crowd said it all with their reactions.

Taven countered a Rush Hour with a Climax head driver for a near fall, broken up by White. Vinny ended up doing a flip splash onto the back of the referee to break up Rush’s pin attempt on Taven. Kelly said it’s clear to him he did that on purpose. Corino said the ref doesn’t know who or what hit him. Taven KO’d White with his kane. Rush mistakenly dropkicked Kushida. Rush took it out on Taven with a nice spin hook kick, then went for a suplex, but T.K. swung and landed the cane on Rush while the ref was still out. The Kingdom hit the Triple Powerbomb on Rush for the win.

A fan threw a roll of toilet paper in the ring. Taven shoved it down the back of his trunks, wiped, and threw it back at the crowd. They gagged in unison.

WINNERS: The Kingdom in 17:00. (***3/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: Hard to keep up with, but mostly in a good way.)

-They showed Will Ospreay shocking Bobby Fish to win the TV Title in Liverpool to win the TV Title. Then two lights later Marty Skurll snapped Ospreay’s fingers and kicked him and submitted him with the chicken wing. Kelly said twice in 48 hours the ROH World TV Title changed hands. “Will it change hands again tonight?” he asked.

(6) MARTY SCURLL vs. WILL OSPREAY vs. DRAGON LEE – ROH World TV Title match

Kelly noted that Fish is dealing with a personal situation and can’t be there. Corino said the whole locker room sends him their thoughts and prayers because his mom died. He said he would have loved to be here. Corino: “I’m not going to lie, this is going to be hard to call.” After an early flurry and then a frozen pose mid-ring by all three, Corino said bitter old wrestlers just turned over in their graves. At 3:30 Scurll teased a chicken wing, but Ospreay countered with a flip out and enzuigiri. Ospreay took a nasty bump onto the back of his shoulders and neck. Corino called it a prelude to neck surgery. Ospreay and Scurll took turns superkicking Dragon, then fought over who got to pin him. They turned to battle each other as Dragon recovered at ringside. Dragon returned to the ring and scored a near fall on Ospreay after a cool cradle suplex into a powerbomb. Corino said he didn’t know “what the heck that’s called, but it was really cool.” He asked people on Twitter to name it at #ROHTVTitle “and I’ll use it for future broadcasts.” In WWE?

The crowd chanted “Lucha!” at Dragon Lee. Ospreay absorbed a chop to the chest, then took a headscissors off the ring apron and flipped onto his feet. The crowd applauded. Ospreay springbaord forearmed Scurll, then flip splashed onto Dragon Lee at ringside. “Holy sh–!” Scurll caught Ospreay on the top rope and then kicked him in the face. Ospreay countered into a neckbreaker. “How does he do that?” exclaimed Corino. Ospreay went into a series of flips onto Scurll, but Scurll got up and caught him mid-air with a chicken wing. Dragon broke up the submission attempt with a stomp off the top rope. Everyone was slow to get up, and the crowd applauded. Then came the “This is awesome!” chant.

Ospreay took a clothesline and flipped and landed on his feet. Then he did a handspring backflip and kicked both opponents. “Mind blown!” said Corino. The crowd chanted “Ospreay!” Ospreay went for a corkscrew splash off the top rope, but Dragon lifted his knees. Dragon then Dragon suplexed Ospray, but Skurll broke up the pin. Scurll then grabbed Dragon’s fingers, quieted the crowd, and then snapped his fingers. It made a loud snap sound. Scurll acted like he was nauseous from the sound. The crowd chanted “You sick f—!” Dragon inspected his finger. Scurll went for a chicken wing, but Dragon rolled through for a leverage pin attempt for a two count. Ospreay then hit Dragon with a sweet twisting flipping roundkick to Dragon’s head. He followed with a a face plant off the ropes, but Scurll snuck in and applied the chicken wing for the tapout win on Dragon. Kelly declared it an instant classic. Kelly said if they replayed highlights from the match, they’d have to replay the whole match.

WINNER: Scurll via tapout on Dragon in 10:00 to retain the ROH TV Title. (***1/2)

(Keller’s Analysis: Spectacular athleticism, but with some spots that looked soft or too orchestrated. The crowd at it up. Tremendous pace start to finish, and I’m not sure it needed to be a second longer than it was at a relatively short ten minutes. This style is really such a level higher than anything WWE thus far has introduced on the Cruiserweight Division in terms of flash and eye-catching moves, and if they had signed Ospreay and put the Roman Reigns-like machinery behind him, they’d be onto something that could have caught fire and made a clear difference to business in every category. The drawback with Ospreay continues to be that there are times it looks like he’s performing choreography and not fighting, and that is a drawback for me as it takes me out of the match. There’s also how soft he can hit the ropes sometimes, and the stutter step to get his timing right that seems more appropriate for an Olympic gymnastics approaching a pommel horse than someone who’s in the midst of combat trying to win a fight. If he could clean that up, it’d go a long way for me. A.J. Styles, whom Ospreay looks up to, did spectacular moves, but always looked like it was in the context of a real fight.)

-A promo aired with the Briscoes. They remain one of the most believable acts in pro wrestling.

(7) THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. THE BRISCOES – ROH Tag Team Title match

A loud “Young Bucks” chant broke out after ring introductions. After some early back and forth including a flip dive onto the Briscoes at ringside. When the Bucks set up a running double dive through the ropes, the Briscoes ran into the ring and caught them with clotheslines instead. Jay dove through the ropes and dove onto both Bucks. Mark then did the Cactus Jack “bang bang” and landed the running elbow off the ring apron. Corino said Kelly always says that, but he’s not even sure Mark knows who Cactus is. The Briscoes took over offense for a bit, including a nice belly-to-belly for a two count. At 7:00 the Bucks made a comeback after a boot by Matt on Jay as Jay charged him in the corner. Nick and Mark tagged in. Matt got the best of Mark, and then leaped off the ring apron with a surprise DDT on Jay on the floor. Matt superkicked Mark, Jay started punching both Bucks, then threw headbutts. He avoided a double superkick and then then the Briscoes superkicked them. Matt surprised Jay with a superkick, then took Jay down with a double superkick. Mark then countered with a clothesline of both Bucks. Everyone was slow to get up at 9:00.

Jay and Matt battled one-on-one. Matt powerbombed Jay into his corner where Nick met him with a kick. Then Nick landed a flip senton splash. Mark broke up the pin attempt. Matt tried to sunset flip Mark off the ring apron, but Mark held on. Nick then superkicked Mark off of Matt’s shoulders and Mark bumped to the mat. Back in the ring, Nick and Matt took turns moonsaulting onto Mark rapid-fire for a near fall at 11:00. Jay surprised Matt with a DDT mid-ring. Matt came back and positioned Jay for a tombstone. As Nick was going to springboard and spike piledrive Jay, Mark gave Nick a Cutter off the ropes and then gave Matt the Jay Driller. Mark then leaped off the top rope with a flying elbow. Jay made the cover, but Matt kicked out at 12:00. Believable near fall for sure. The crowd began chanting “This is awesome!” Kelly said people wondered who could follow the TV Title match, and the answer is the Briscoes and Young Bucks.

The Briscoes hit Matt with a springboard Doomsday Device for a near fall. The Briscoes sold frustration. Mark tagged in Jay. They double-teamed Matt. The crowd had a “Man Up! / Too Sweet!” battle chant. Nick entered and went to work on both Briscoes with some cool spots. The Bucks then set up Mark for their Five Star piledriver, and almost dropped him on his head in the process. They hit it, though, and Jay broke up the pin attempt. “What’s it going to take to answer the question of who is the greatest tag team of all-time!” exclaimed Kelly. The Young Bucks stood first and delivered stereo superkicks to the Briscoes three times. The Briscoes no-sold it and hulked up delivered middle fingers, a crotch chop, and some spit. The Bucks delivered ten straight rapid-fire stereo superkicks for the win.

WINNERS: The Young Bucks in 15:00 to retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles. (****)

(Keller’s Analysis: They hard a tough act to follow, but they did it. Hell of a dream tag team match in ROH that lived up to expectations. Memorable, spectacular finish. There was no kicking out of that sequence if the superkick was going to mean anything every again!)

-The lights went out as the Bucks celebrated. The crowd ohhhed and ahhhed, and then “Broken” Matt Hardy showed up on the big screen. The audio was echoey at first, but he challenged The Young Bucks and Briscoes to a war to find out who the best tag team is. “We will delete your tag team title reign!” he said. The crowd popped. Kelly said: “Are you kidding me??!?! Broken Matt Hardy has appeared in Ring of Honor!!!!” The crowd chanted “Holy sh–!”

(Keller’s Analysis: Wow. That was a tremendous surprise. I mean, for ROH and TNA fans, that’s almost on the scale of Scott Hall walking onto the Nitro set or Lex Luger walking onto the first Nitro. I’m curious if Matt and Jeff are big enough to call their own appearances like this or if it’s something more going on.)

-A video promo aired with Kyle O’Reilly who hyped his match against Adam Cole, citing the last time they fought at Hammerstein Ballroom, and he said he left him scarred. “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you. I made you famous. And at Final Battle, I will be the worst thing that ever happened to you.”

(8) ADAM COLE vs. KYLE O’REILLY – ROH World Heavyweight Title match- No DQ

Nigel McGuinness joined in on commentary for the main event. Kyle applied a submission in the ropes, and the announcers noted he could hold it as long as he wanted because of the no-DQ stips. Cole gave O’Reilly an enzuigiri. Cole celebrated, so O’Reilly yanked him to the floor and threw him into the ringside barrier. O’Reilly’s face was swollen around his left eye from the early stiff kick, I assume. O’Reilly gave Cole an overhead suplex as Cole charged him at ringside. Cole shoved O’Reilly hard off the top rope and he landed fast and hard on the floor, banging the ring apron with his shoulder on his way. Cole took over inside the ring. Cole told O’Reilly after a hard whip into the corner turnbuckle, “You’re not in my league, Kyle.” O’Reilly spit in his face and sat up. He caught a Cole kick and then kicked him inside the thigh with a round kick, on the back of his head with an axe kick, and then elbowed him in the face. Great sequence. Cole bailed out and grabbed his belt. When O’Reilly leaped off the ring apron at him, Cole hit him with the belt in the face. Cole celebrated. O’Reilly ducked under the ring apron and was clearly blading himself. You could see his arms moving up and down. Cole pulled O’Reilly out and sure enough, he was bleeding heavily from his forehead.

Cole overhead suplexed O’Reilly onto his head and shoulder. O’Reilly let out a yell and tried to no-sell it, but then stumbled and fell backwards through the ropes. Cole picked up a garbage can and bashed O’Reilly over his head with it. Kelly said O’Reilly should be careful what he wishes for because this no-DQ stip is coming back to bite him. Cole then superkicked the trash can over O’Reilly’s head. Back in the ring, Cole bashed O’Reilly over his back with a chair twice. O’Reilly hulked up and fought back. He threw a knee, a roundkick, and a drop sweep. He showed fire and set up a chair mid-ring. He charged at Cole with a running forearm, then back suplexed him onto the chair. He quickly applied a kneebar. Cole kicked out of it quickly. O’Reilly kicked Cole and applied a cross armbreaker. Cole pulled himself out of the ring. O’Reilly grabbed a solid non-folding chair at ringside and sat ole in it. Then he threw a roundkick to Cole’s chest. O’Reilly stumbled around and threw another kick. McGuiness said he might have a concussion. O’Reilly put a trash can on Cole’s lap and then hit a running dropkick off the ring apron.

O’Reilly looked under the ring for something. He found a table. O’Reilly set it up in the ring and put Cole on it. When O’Reilly climbed to the top rope, Cole popped up and stopped him. They battled. O’Reilly set up a back suplex off the top rope and they both crashed through the table. McGuinness said he wasn’t sure who got the worst of it. Cole gave O’Reilly a low blow and then set up a powerbomb off the ring apron through a table. O’Reilly then low-blowed Cole and then lifted and applied a guillotine choke and dropped backwards off the ring apron and drove Cole head-first through the table at ringside at 14:00. Both were slow to get up.

Cole came up bleeding. O’Reilly pulled a chain out from under the ring. Cole gave a low-blow and then delivered the Last Shot and went for a near fall. Cole pulled a bag out from under the ring and poured out a hundreds of thumbtacks. The camera zoomed in. “You sick f—!” chanted the crowd. O’Reilly kicked Cole, but Cole grabbed O’Reilly’s leg. O’Reilly shifted into a guillotine and then shifted from there to a triangle choke. Cole lifted O’Reilly and dropped him onto the thumb tacks. O’Reilly landed on the outskirts of the cluster, but the camera zoomed in and showed maybe ten stuck to him. Cole then charged at O’Reilly with a superkick, but O’Reilly blocked it and brainbuster suplexed Cole onto the tacks for a near fall, but O’Reilly shifted instead into submission attempt. He extended the armbar and Cole tapped out while both were lying on thumb tacks. The crowd seemed unsure it was the finish, then popped a bit when the announcement was made, and then chanted O’Reilly’s name as he celebrated with the belt.

WINNER: O’Reilly in 19:00 to capture the ROH World Hvt. Title. (****)

(Keller’s Analysis: Three four-star matches in a row. This had a very different feel with the hardcore elements, which matches the rivalry and the build and history between them. It wasn’t enough, though, to keep the crowd energized. The crowd wasn’t reacting as you’d hope throughout the whole match nor at the very end, perhaps burned out from the prior two matches. A buffer match might have been in order for the sake of the effort these two put forth. Cole vs. Jay Lethal also felt like they had to play in front an exhausted crowd at a prior PPV. ROH should consider changing up the pacing and placement of matches to serve their World Title main event competitors. They could have easily gotten away with putting Colt vs. Dalton or Cody vs. Lethal right before the World Title match, and for that matter put the other in between the TV Title and Tag Team Title matches. 

FINAL THOUGHTS (9.0): Very very good show. I’m bummed out that O’Reilly long climb to this moment resulted in a crowd that didn’t really pop for the finish. Up next is ROH contract news. Does O’Reilly re-sign at the end of the month? Has he already and news hasn’t broken? The Matt Hardy surprise was big news and added to the score of this event as that shocked the crowd and created a buzz that will last beyond tonight. The first half of the show was good, and relatively restrained for ROH, and then the last half was just a non-stop adrenaline rush of athleticism and hard-hitting action.

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