KELLER INTERVIEWS ROB VAN DAM FOR FIRST TIME...
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RADICAN’S ROH FINAL BATTLE 2017 REPORT
DEC. 15, 2017
NEW YORK, N.Y.
AIRED LIVE ON PPV & FITE TV
A video package aired saying that this was ROH’s biggest year ever. Some highlights aired of memorable moments from 2017. The video then shifted to the various matches on the card. The Briscoes vs. Tommy Dreamer & Bully Ray match was focused on as well as the Cody Rhodes vs. Dalton Castle ROH World Title match.
The rest of the card was highlighted and they went live to the arena as flames shot out on the stage. They’ve got video panels on the lighting truss.
Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana introduced the show. They ran down the big matches on the card. The new graphics introducing the matches are much improved from anything ROH has done in the past.
They’ve got a long thin entranceway thin entrance that leads to the ring.
Will Ospreay was out first. The Kingdom was out next with several strange looking people dressed in suits. They “murdered” someone. The announcers explained that the murder was symbolic of the conspiracy against The Kingdom. Matt Taven headed to the ring. This is an elaborate entrance by ROH standards.
(1) Will Ospreay vs. Matt Taven (w/The Kingdom). The Kingdom drew a lot of boos from the capacity crowd in the Manhattan Center. The fans then began singing for Ospreay. Cabana mentioned the giant tron above the ring. Ospreay wasted no time wiping out the other members of The Kingdom with a dive to the floor. Taven then wiped out Ospreay with a dive to the floor and the fans exploded in applause. They went back and forth inside the ring and Ospreay sent Taven to the floor with a dropkick. T.K. O’Ryan got up on the apron and Ospreay went up to him. Taven then got back into the ring and jumped him from behind. Vinny Marseglia tried to hit Ospreay with his axe from the outside. Ospreay jumped out of the way, but Taven nailed him with an inside out dropkick. Taven distracted the ref while The Kingdom worked over Ospreay on the floor. Ospreay tried to mount a comeback, but Taven countered him and hit a big running knee for a 2 count. Ospreay fired back and hit a handspring kick a short time later and both men were down.
Ospreay went on the attack and hit a running SSP for a 2 count. Ospreay went for a standing moonsault, but Taven kicked him away. Ospreay went for a handspring kick, but Taven caught his legs and applied a Boston crab. He transitioned to a stretch muffler variation when the crowd started a Y2J chant. Ospreay countered the climax and rolled Taven up for a 2 count. They went back and forth trading counters. Ospreay nailed Taven with a gorgeous wraparound crescent kick. He then hit off with your head for a 2 count. Ospreay tucked Taven’s head under his legs in the corner. Taven tried to counter, but Ospreay wiped him out with a kick. Ospreay hit a SSP to the floor, but Taven dove into the ring and wiped out Ospreay with a dive for his own. Taven went for a frog splash, but Ospreay got his knees up. Ospreay countered the climax and hit the Essex destroyer for a 2 count. Ospreay hit the Robinson special, but Taven blocked the OsCutter and hit the climax for the win.
WINNER: Matt Taven
Star rating: (***½) – There was some interference in the match from The Kingdom at times, but ultimately Taven picked up a big win here over Ospreay without help from The Kingdom.
Taven said this will be the last time he leaves Final Battle without gold around his waist.
(2) The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Rowe). They went at it as soon as War Machine got into the ring. The action quickly spilled to the floor, as both teams brawled around ringside. The Addiction ended up alone in the ring with Hanson and they hit a big series of clotheslines on him in the corner. Rowe ended up going at The Addition 1 on 2. He sent Kazarian flying into Daniels in the corner with a shotgun knee strike. He then cleared the ring by hitting an exploder on Kazarian. He went for a suplex near the apron a short time later, but Daniels grabbed his leg from the floor and Kazarian fell on top of Rowe for a 2 count. Rowe took a beating from The Addiction as they tagged in and out to work him over in their corner. Rowe fired back and ended up hitting a judo throw that sent Daniels flying into Kazarian. He made the hot tag to Hanson, who ran wild. Rowe eventually joined in on the attack and they hit a German/clothesline combination on Daniels for a 2 count.
All four men ended up in the ring. War Machine dominated the action until Danielson countered fallout by rolling up Rowe with a handful of tights. The ref refused to count. Daniels then went for a pin with his legs on the ropes, but the ref caught him cheating again. Rowe went after Daniels, but he dragged the ref in the way. Kazarian hit a lung blower on Rowe from behind and an unprettier, but Hanson made the save. The Addiction ended up hitting a double suplex on Hanson that sent him onto Rowe. Daniels made the only cover, but only got a 2 count. The Addiction set up for the best Meltzer ever, but Hanson ran into the ring. Rowe flipped Daniels into a big knee. Everyone ended up down before they went at it again. Hanson hit a double back handspring elbow on The Addiction. War Machine set up for fallout on Daniels and they connected for the win.
WINNER: Hanson & Rowe
Star rating: (***¼) – This was a good match. It will be interesting to see what is in store next for War Machine after they seemingly won this feud with The Addiction.
Marty Scurll was out first. He was dressed in all white. He’s got the best entrance in ROH I feel. Jay Lethal was out next. He was wearing an orange and grey themed outfit. ROH certainly has upped their game when it comes to presentation of entrances on this event. The stage looks really good setup at Hammerstein.
(3) Marty Scurll vs. Jay Lethal. Scurll used the ref as a distraction before stomping down on Lethal’s hands. The action went to the floor and Lethal got the upper hand. A big a–hole chant rang out in the crowd. I’m not sure what happened, but this crowd hasn’t become less crude over the years with their chants. Scurll went for a kick from the apron, but Lethal got out of the way and hit an inside out dropkick. Lethal then hit a big dive through the ropes. He hit a slam on Scurll. They ended up back in the ring and Scurll suplexed Lethal into the turnbuckles. He turned hit attention to Lethal’s arm and began working it over. Lethal went for a figure 4, but Scurll got a small package for a near fall. Scurll went for a cover with his feet on the ropes, but the ref saw it and stopped counting. Lethal got Scurll up in the torture rack. He then hit a front flip while holding Scurll in position, but he only got a 2 count. Lethal went up top, but Scurll cut him off. He hit a tornado DDT on the floor using the apron to hit the move and the fans fired up chanting Scurll’s theme. Both men went at it on the apron trading big chops. Lethal got pissed and hit a cutter off the apron to the floor and the fans went nuts. WOW!
Lethal set up for the Lethal injection, but Scurll caught him with the chicken wing! Lethal bridged back over Scurll and got a near fall. Scurll sent Lethal into the ref and hit a low blow. Scurll got a chair and tossed it to Lethal. Scurll bumped and the ref hadn’t recovered, so Lethal put the chair over his neck and played dead on the mat. Scurll took the chair off Lethal’s neck and LEthal rolled him up for a 2 count. He went for the Lethal injection again, but Scurll avoided it and hit a brainbuster over his knee for a near fall and the fans fired up. WOW! Lethal went for the figure 4 again and got it! Scurll struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Lethal grabbed the white umbrella, but the ref took it from him. Scurll went under the ring and got a bullet club umbrella and nailed Lethal with it! He then made the cover when the ref turned around, but Lethal kicked out. Lethal hit a low blow that the ref didn’t see as he got rid of another umbrella. He then hit the Lethal injection for the win. Lethal didn’t look happy resorting to the tactics that Scurll wanted him to revert to in the build to their feud.
WINNER: Jay Lethal
Star rating: (****) – Scurll kept cheating as he tried to get Lethal to revert to his old ways. They had a really good back and forth match and Scurll emptied his bag of bad guy tricks, but Lethal seemed to be a step ahead of him most of the time. The chair spot was fantastic.
(4) ROH World Tag Team Champions MCMG (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) vs. Best Friends (Trent & Chuck Taylor). Shelley had a sexy party after fending off Best Friends. He went to bounce off the ropes, but Taylor cut him off. Trent nearly hit a suicide dive on Taylor by accident, but Taylor held him up. The MCMG then wiped out Best Friends with a combination of moves from the apron. Trent got hung up in the corner and Sabin stood on his crotch. Taylor made the save, but Shelley cut him off. They whipped Taylor into the corner and then dragged him groin first into Trent’s head. They then tripped them into the 69 position and hugged. The MCMG hit the dream sequence on Trent, but Taylor made the save. Trent ate a combination of moves from MCMG, but he managed to duck a kick from Sabin in the corner. Sabin ended up hitting a kick on Shelley by accident and Taylor then wiped Sabin out with a tornado DDT and both men were down. Taylor got the hot tag and ran wild. Taylor wiped out MCMG with a big flip dive and hugged Trent. Taylor tossed Sabin to Trent for a cutter, but it was only good for a 2 count. They set up Sabin for the dude buster, but Sabin broke it up. He rolled up Trent, but Taylor came off the top with a stomp to break it up. Shelley held up the ropes so that Sabin could nail him with a dive. MCMG went to work on Trent with a neck breaker/splash off the top combination for a 2 count. Best Friends hit super strong zero on Sabin, but Shelley made the save at the last second.
Shelley went for sliced bread on Trent on the outside, but Taylor caught him and tossed him to Trent for a cutter. Best Friends had Sabin isolated, but he got a jackknife pin on Trent out of nowhere for the win.
WINNER: Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley to retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles
Star rating: (**) – It was hard to take this seriously given the build and some of the comedy during the early going. This got good late, but overall it was the first flat match on the show. The fans didn’t react at all to the finish.
(5) ROH World TV Champion Kenny King vs. Punishment Martinez vs. Silas Young (w/BCB) vs. Shane Taylor in a Four-way Elimination match. King shook hands with Taylor. Young refused a handshake and Martinez backed out to the apron. King went at it with Young to kick the match off. He backed off and tagged in Martinez. King and Martinez had a fast exchange and came to a stalemate. Taylor tagged in and told Martinez to bring it on. The action picked up and Taylor eventually took down Young with an elbow. Young hit a slingshot dive to the outside to wipe out Taylor. The crowd went flat. Martinez set up for journey in the darkness, but King cut him off. He then wiped out Young and Taylor with a dive. Martinez woke up the crowd with air Jordan to the outside to wipe out everyone. All four men went at it inside the ring. Taylor turned Young inside out with a clothesline. King hit a springboard blockbuster on Martinez to wipe him out. Taylor blocked a kick and hit a headbutt to King’s chest. The action continued and the crowd didn’t care. Taylor hit a sloppy blu-ray into the corner on Martinez. Taylor hit a splash off the second rope for a 2 count. Kenny grabbed Taylor away from Martinez and hit the royal flush. Taylor then hit a springboard leg drop on Taylor to eliminate him.
The match is down to Martinez, Young, and King. King went after Martinez and Young on the outside a short time later. Young held Martinez up on his shoulders and King hit a blockbuster from the apron to the floor. Young rolled King up when they got back into the ring for a 2 count. King hit the royal flush on Martinez, but the BCB distracted the ref. Young then hit King with a beer bottle to eliminate him. WOW. That’s just bad.
King yelled at Martinez and told him to be a man. Martinez fired back and grounded Young with a big forearm, but he couldn’t capitalize. Martinez countered misery and hit a big chokeslam, but he made a week cover and BCB dragged Young to the floor. Martinez got a running start and hit a dive over the ringpost to wipe out the BCB. Young speared Martinez into the barrier on the outside and nailed him with several knees a short time later. Both men ended up back in the ring. Young charged at Martinez, but ate a boot. Martinez missed a charge into the corner and ate a big kick from Young. Martinez suddenly fired up, but missed a kick. Young hit several knees to the mid-section. He followed up with misery for the win.
WINNER: Silas Young
Star rating: (*) – I really didn’t like the structure of this match. Kenny King getting eliminated early was a lackluster end to his title reign. The mid-card has been booked poorly, so almost all of this action was flat and the crowd didn’t care.
(6) The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) vs. Tommy Dreamer & Bully Ray in a New York City Street Fight. Dreamer and Bully ran wild on the floor. The crowd started a ECW chant after Bully hit a big splash off the apron to the floor. Dreamer and Bully took turns hitting the briscoe with a trash can filled with streamers. The Briscoes took control of the action once they got back into the ring. Jay tossed several chairs into the ring. The crowd chanted for tables. Jay went to work on Bully with some clubbing blows while Mark worked over Dreamer in the corner. The Briscoes ended up getting kendo sticks. Dreamer and Bully went under the ring and grabbed lightsabers that lit up, which got a big pop. Dreamers ended up breaker. The fans chanted for them to use the force. Bully and Dreamer ended up using the lightsabers on Mark’s groin. Bully and Dreamer went to get a table, but Mark hit a dropkick that sent it into both of them. He crotched Dreamer, who was wearing a House of Hardcore shirt, on the guardrail. Bully Ray came up bleeding after he bladed. This is pretty bad. Mark put a ladder over dreamer and hit a dive off the apron.
Jay ended up with a cheesegrater. He used it on Bully’s head, which was really bleeding at this point. Jay and Bully traded counters. Bully went for a powerbomb, but Jay slipped out. Both guys got chairs and Jay swung for the fences and wiped out Bully with a huge chairshot as he held a chair up. Jay got a table to repeat the spot that originally “concussed” Bully, but he blocked it and hit an inverted 3D on the table. Dreamer then suplexed Mark onto the table. The fans fired up with an ECW chant. Dreamer hit Mark with a Spicolli driver off the apron through a table. Bully got the upper hand on Jay. He set him up on a table inside the ring. He then splashed him through the table for a 2 count. Bully tried to set up a table and light it on fire, but The Briscoes countered it. They hit a 3D through the table, but the table didn’t break. Mark then put Bully through the table with a froggy-bow for the win.
WINNERS: Mark & Jay Briscoe: This was a pretty disgusting angle from conception to execution in the ring. A “concussed” Bully Ray took numerous bumps, bled like a pig, and even took what appeared to be an unprotected chair shot.
They went to a video highlighting the top five Final Battle moments.
Ian Riccaboni introduced the stars of WOH. They came out to the entrance ramp. Mayu Iwatani from Stardom was introduced. Riccaboni announced that women from WOH and Stardom would compete for the WOH World Championship. The first matches in the tournament will take place on Jan. 20.
(7) ROH World Six Man Tag Team Champions The Hung Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson & Adam Page) vs. Titan & Dragon Lee & Flip Gordon. Lee and Nick Jackson went at it during the early going. Both men went for dropkicks at the same to a stalemate. Titan and Page went at it next. Page wiped him out with a discus forearm. Both men eventually went for dropkicks at the same time and came to a stalemate. Matt and Flip went at i next. Matt wanted a handshake and the fans chanted shake his hand. Flip teased a handshake and then did the too sweet hand gesture. They went back and forth countering each other. Everyone ran into the ring and then all six men went for dropkicks at the same time and they came to a stalemate. The fans fired up and The hung Bucks got sent packing. Flip, Titan, and Lee then hit dives to the floor to wipe out The Hung Bucks. The action picked up and Page hit a moonsault to the floor a short time later. Matt Jackson got a running start from the stage and wiped out everyone with a huge flip dive. The fans then started a Hung Bucks chant.
Page worked over Titan in the ring, but he fired back and hit a dragon screw. Titan made the tag to Flip, who matrized out of the way of several superkick attempts from The Young Bucks. Flip finally stood tall after hitting a sling blade on Page. He then hit a flip dive off the top to the floor to wipe out The Young Bucks. Flip ended a big sequence with a running SSP on Page for a 2 count. The pace picked up with both teams trading moves. The Young Bucks eventually stood tall after hitting a series of superkicks. The Young Bucks went for a Meltzer driver on Titan, but Flip broke it up in spectacular fashion springing up to kick Nick off the top to the floor. Matt hit a springboard inside out DDT to wipe out Lee on the apron. WOW! Gordon went for a springboard. Page caught him and went for right of passage, but Gordon escaped and hit a dropkick. The Young Bucks both got tagged in and they went at it with Dragon Lee. Lee foiled a double team attempt and the action broke down. Lee popped Nick up and dropped him down into a sitout powerbomb for a 2 count. WOW! Gordon went up top for a 450, but Nick got his knees up. Nick ran wild hitting all sorts of offense. Lee went for a hurricanrana on Page on the apron, but Page caught him and handed him to Matt for a shooting star IndyTaker on the floor. OH MY GOD! Scorpio Sky was in on commentary. Flip went at it against The Hung Bucks. He went for a springboard, but ate a triple superkick. Lee and Gordon got stacked up and The Young Bucks came off the top for a rite of passage/double IndyTaker combo for the win!
Sky came down to check on Gordon. The Addiction came down to ringside and the cameras missed Sky turning on Gordon. The Addiction and Gordon stood tall as the next challengers to the six man titles.
Winners: Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson & Adam Page to retain the World ROH Six Man Tag Team Championship
Star rating: (***¾) – This was a really good high-energy six man with tons of back and forth action. The fans ate up the action from start to finish. The cameras missing Sky turning on Gordon was unfortunate.
Time for the main event. Dalton Castle and Cody Rhodes both had elaborate entrances. Cody came out with a hood on and pulled it off as he made his entrance to reveal a shorter bleach blonde haircut. The new ROH World Title was shown to the cameras before the match started.
(8) ROH World Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys). Cody went for the Goldust punch from his back, but Castle was a step ahead of him and countered it into an armbar. Cody went for the disaster kick a short time later, but Castle avoided it and hit his pose to stop Cody in his tracks. Cody went to the floor and Castle chased him. Brandi distracted Castle when he went up on the apron and Cody gained the advantage. Cody hitting an Alabama slam with that haircut was a nice tribute to Bob Holly Cody questioned the ref and the ref shoved him down. Castle rolled him up for 2 count, but Cody fired right back with the LeBell lock. The action went back to the floor and Cody continued to work over Castle. Castle went for a hurricanrana off the ropes to the floor, but Cody caught him and powerbombed him through a table at ringside. Cody grabbed a chair, but one of The Boys took it away from him. Brandi went up top and wiped out The Boys with a dive off the top to the floor. The ref then kicked them all out of the match.
Castle blocked beautiful disaster and hit an overhead toss on Cody. Cody tripped Castle and dragged him towards the ringpost, but Castle used his legs to drive Cody head-first into the ringpost. Cody came up busted open (did this show need more blood?). The blood didn’t show up in Cody’s hair at all for the first minute after he good cut open. Castle missed a running knee into the corner and Cody hit beautiful disaster on the apron. Castle hit a bridging German on the floor a short time later. Cody countered the bang-a-rang. He set up for cross-Rhodes, but Castle blocked it. They went back and forth and Cody accidentally hit the ref. Castle applied a modified anaconda vice on Cody. He tapped out, but the ref was out and couldn’t call the submission. Cody blocked the bang-a-rang and hit the cross-Rhodes for a near fall. Castle is the first person to kick out of Cody’s finish in ROH. Cody hit a disaster kick a short time later, but he did not go for a cover. Cody came off the ropes and Castle hit the bang-a-rang for the win! The fans exploded in surprise at Castle’s win.
Riccaboni tried to emulate Michael Cole’s call of Mick Foley’s first WWE Championship win. Cary Silkin came out and handed the belt to Castle. The Boys came down to the ring to celebrate with Castle as confetti fell. There were some streamers in the ring. Cody sat and watched on the entrance stairs. He looked dejected. The Boys sat down and Castle held the title high.
Winner: Dalton Castle
Star rating: (***¼) – The action moved at a good pace. It wasn’t particularly great, but it was on the higher end of what Cody usually does in the ring. It felt like they were rushed and tried to fit a 20 plus minute match into a short amount of time.
Overall score: (8.0) – This was a very good show from top to bottom. The undercard was very good with a couple of exceptions. The last two matches closed the show on a high note. Dalton Castle’s win was definitely a memorable moment fitting of the Final Battle moniker.
For another perspective on this event, check out Jason Powell’s report at ProWrestling.net, as he always does a great job with his ROH coverage: CLICK HERE