SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH FINAL BATTLE
DECEMBER 18, 2020
BALTIMORE, MD AT UMBC EVENT CENTER
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB & PPV
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, and Dalton Castle
-The announce team starts the first free hour of the PPV by explaining which competitors are out due to Covid-19 protocols. They then ran down the matches on the card.
(1) DAK DRAPER vs. JOSH WOODS vs. LSG vs. TONY DEPPEN
All four men adhered to the code of honor to start the match. Woods and Draper started the match as the legal men, they showed off their technical skills that they both have in spades based on their amateur backgrounds. Deppen and LSG then became legal and had a few minute exchange. Woods and Draper were legal again as both LSG and Deepen had gone over the top rope (Lucha rules match). Soon it was Deppen & Dak in the ring, then LSG entered, then one again it was Dak and Tony as the legal men.
Draper missed a knee drop and sold the start of that injury. A combination of LSG and Deppen then worked offense in on Draper as Woods was recovering on the floor. All four men were in the ring for a moment, leaving LSG and Draper alone. A Superplex involving both men and Woods led to a showdown of strikes between Dak and Woods. Draper hit a Doctor Bomb for a near fall, Woods countered with a Triangle lock, LSG flew in and knocked out Draper and Woods. Tony Deppen then rolled up the now legal LSG and got the pinfall win.
Winner: Tony Deppen in 11:44 (**1/2)
(Sage’s Analysis: This match was a solid opener that told a good story with the Draper character. This match made me want to see a future match between Woods and Draper, both men seem like big future stars for the company. The Lucha style match was a bit weird and clunky as the announce team had trouble getting the rules down in the early portion of the bout. The surprise win by Deppen was exciting to see as ROH can be very predictable in PPV matches. I hope this is a sign that this show will be different than I expected.)
-A backstage segment set a match between Jay Briscoe and Shane Taylor, it also looks like Dalton Castle vs. Rey Horus will be happening as a replacement match as well. Both matches are really goo replacement matches.
(2) WHEELER YUTA & FRED YEHI vs. THE FOUNDATION (TRACY WILLIAMS & RHETT TITUS)
All four men shook hands before the match. The announce team went over the rules of the match and the legacy of WCW in Australia in the 60’s and 70’s as the foundation for this type of match. After a quick exchange with Williams and Yuta, Titus and Yehi were in the ring. Yeah got a hold on Titus that caused The Foundation to use their first rope break of the match. Yuta then entered the fray and did some fun moves on the mat to get a slight advantage. Titus tagged in Williams and Williams hit a cloverleaf as soon as he got in. This caused a rope break by Yuta. Both teams had two at the point.
Titus was tagged in, and he continued the assault on the damaged Yuta. Williams and Yehi were both tagged. Williams was assaulted in the ropes and was forced to use his teams second rope break. Yehi had Titus in a hold and Williams had to break the hold, The Foundation now had no rope breaks. Team Yehi & Yuta used a rope break soon after and they had one remaining. Titus drop kicked Yuta outside of the ring. Wiliams and Yehi were the legal men as Yehi got Williams in a dragon sleeper with no breaks, Titus threw Yuta into the submission to break up the hold (technically legal).
Titus and Yuta were tagged in, they traded near falls via roll ups. After tandem moves, Yuta got a near fall on Titus. Williams was tagged in, he hit a clothesline on Yuta, then a driver for two near falls. Williams hit a pile driver and Yehi used the third break to break up the pinfall. Williams got Yuta in a face lock for the submission win.
Winner: The Foundation in 13:51 (***3/4)
(Sage’s Analysis: That match rocked. I love the pure wrestling style in tag matches. It made for so much drama in this match and both teams really mapped out the drama well from start to finish.)
(3) JONATHAN GRESHAM & JAY LETHAL (C) vs. MARK BRISCOE & PCO
All four men shook hands before the bell. Lethal and Briscoe started the match, the two men locked up and Briscoe punched lethal, and got him out of the ring. Lethal and Gresham talked outside the ring before Lethal reentered, he then took out Briscoe. PCO was tagged in and did mat wrestling and went for a submission on Lethal. Gresham was tagged in, he tried to wrestle PCO pure style, but was struck down and thrown out of the ring. Briscoe was tagged in and both Briscoe and PCO did outside dives and apron dives to get the advantage.
Briscoe used a chair to do a front flip dive to both Lethal and Gresham. PCO then set up Lethal for his apron front flip that somehow he didn’t hit. Briscoe and Gresham were legal and Briscoe hit a neck breaker which led to a near fall. A dropkick German Suplex by Lethal/Gresham changed the momentum in their favor. PCO and Lethal were the legal men, PCO took out Lethal with a pop-up power bomb, Graham was tagged in and power slammed. Lethal made the save and Briscoe embrued to even the odds. Lethal broke up a PCOsault on Gresham, PCO and Lethal traded strikes in the ring after.
Lethal and Gresham hit what could have been the finish. But, this just powered up PCO who went in a rampage. But Greham hit a roll up and got the pinfall.
Winner: Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham in 12:50 (***1/4)
(Sage’s Analysis: This match was so much better than it had any right to be. I really enjoyed the story told early on with PCO/Lethal and then PCO/Gresham. The action after the first 5 minutes was nonstop, exciting, and logical. I also like that they had to beat PCO with a roll up, and not a power move.)
(4) DALTON CASTLE vs. REY HORUS
Both men respected the code of honor. The two men moved around the ring to feel each other out, Castle needed up on the outside, but he quickly got back in. Castle was able to hit a power move to gain control, Dalton was able to pick up Horus and slam him, he then started to wear him down with mat work. Horus was able to counter and Horus was able to do a top rope dive to get control.
Castle was flipped over the barricade when his knee struck it directly, back in the ring Rey was able to get a near fall. Rey got a second near fall when Castle grabbed the bottom rope on a pinning attempt. Castle adjusted strategy and he was able to hit a series of suplexes on Horus. Horus was able to hit a Tornado Driver off the top rope for the pinfall.
Winner: Rey Horus in 9:11 (**1/4)
(Sage’s Analysis: This match was a styles clash that worked for the most part. It was the perfect length and it was a really big win for Horus. As Dalton said when walking to the ring, he is a guy spinning his wheels right now. I wonder how long Castle has left in ROH with booking like this? That being said, this was Castles best match in a long time.)
(5) MATT TAVEN & MIKE BENNETT vs. VINCENT & BATEMAN
The code of honor was not honored, as all four men brawled as the match started. Taven & Bennett had the early advantage as they knocked Bateman out of the ring and teamed up on Vincent. Bateman entered and attacked the formerly injured knee of Taven. Taven was able to tag in Bennett as he took out Vincent and Bateman, in the earliest hot tag in history. Vita Vonstarr distracted Bennett and Bateman was able to take this opportunity and took control of Bennett and the match.
Vincent was tagged in and he kicked Bennett in the head in the corner of the ring. Bateman was tagged in and the asset on Bennett continued. Vincent was tagged, he locked in the Grim Sleeper, but Bennett was able to get out and get the hot tag to Taven. Taven and Bateman were legal, Taven won the exchange. Taven hit, just the tip, of the knee. But was thwarted on his climax attempt. Bateman and Vincent hit tandem moves t take out Taven. All four men were spent after an exchange between all four.
Taven and Vincent got up and traded strikes to the head. Both Bateman and Bennett were tagged in, they traded strong style shots. Bateman kicked out of a huge move, he was treated with a driver on the apron for his troubles. Taven hit the knee again he then went for a frog splash, but Vincent got his knees up in defense. Taven got a submission move locked in but Vincent broke the hold. Taven then hit a frog splash on Vincent on the outside of the ring.
Bennett and Bateman were in the ring, Bennett and Taven hit a tandem move to get the pinfall win on Bateman.
Winner: Matt Taven & Mike Bennett in 16:33 (***)
(Sage’s Analysis: A good match that didn’t get as crazy as I though it would bell to bell. But overall it was a really good WWE style match. The post match angle was more of the same, I was not a huge fan.)
(6) BRIAN JOHNSON vs. DANHAUSEN
The men shook hands before ether bell rang. Danhausen got a near fall to start the match. Danhausen’s music played as he hit a move from the apron, Johnson hit a spike off the top turnbuckle. Johnson then grabbed a mic, and told the announcers they suck, and that Danhausen sucked. He then Irish whipped Danhausen into the corner, and talked again, then got another near fall.
Danhausen got on the mic and he was upset with Johnson swearing. Johnson got another near fall, Danhausen got a comeback. Danhausen was trying t use his teeth on Johnson, but it didn’t work, he then hit a move for a near fall, then a divehausen. Johnson then hit a low blow behind the ref’s back. Johnson then used the teeth on Danhausen, the teeth were then spit into the face of the ref. Johnson had the pinfall win, but the ref was not able to see it.
Johnson hit Danhausen with the mic, and the ref called the match as a DQ win for Danhausen.
Winner: Danhausen in 9:12 (**)
(Sage’s Analysis: Wrestling wise this match was fine. Story and entertainment wise I loved this match. Both men played their role perfectly. Danhausen/Mecca II is gonna be must see for me. This was also a perfect middle of a PPV match, I now feel rejuvenated for the last few matches.)
(7) DRAGON LEE (C) vs. TONY DEPPEN
The code of honor was not adhered to. Deppen tried to ground Lee to start the match, both men transitioned thru a number of mat moves. Deppen messed with the mask of Lee and got a backslide for a near fall. Lee responded with a dive at Deppen who was outside the ring. Lee then got Deppen back into the ring and beat up on Deppen for a few. Deppen countered with a drop kick and a Deppen Dive.
Lee retuned with a vengeance and he took several shots on Deppen as he was in the corner. The men then slapped each other really hard several times. Then both men hit several high flying spots, leaving both lying on the mat. Once they got to their feet they traded forearm shots. Deppen hit a series of moves that got him a near fall.
Deppen again had a near near fall. Lee responded with several Knee’s and got a near fall of his own. Lee hit a final series of Knee’s for the pinfall.
Winner: Dragon Lee in 11:51 (****)
(Sage’s Analysis: This match was so good, match of the night. By far the best Lee match in ROH, it felt like a high end NJPW for Lee. Deppen is an absolute stud and he needs to be signed by this company as he can go like few can.)
(8) SHANE TAYLOR vs. JAY BRISCOE
The men did shake hands. A collar and elbow tie-up started the match, the two then traded strikes and felt each other out. Taylor hit a shoulder tackle to get the advantage briefly. Briscoe threw hands and need to be separated by the ref. Taylor hit Briscoe with a right hand that temporarily laid out Briscoe.
On the outside, Taylor threw Briscoe around and slammed him into the barriers. Briscoe retaliated with a big boot on the outside to change momentum in his favor. Back in the ring, the men traded strikes. Taylor hit a second huge right fist into Briscoe’s face, then a third. After a while the two were trading punches and Briscoe hit a driver on Taylor.
Mark Briscoe emerged to apparently cheer on his brother. Jay was able to get on the back of Taylor and lock a choke in, he was able to ground Taylor with the choke. Briscoe tried to set up the Jay Driver, but he couldn’t get Taylor up. Jay hit a neck breaker for a near fall. Taylor hit a head butt and a driver for a near fall of his own. Taylor then hit Welcome to the Land for the pinfall.
Winner: Shane Taylor in 13:50 (**1/4)
(Sage’s Analysis: This match was not the best technical wrestling match ever, but it wasn’t supposed to be. It was supposed to be two bad ass dudes going at it. It was a match to get Shane Taylor over as top guy, and it did that.)
(9) JONATHAN GRESHAM (C) vs. FLIP GORDON
The code of honor did occur. The match started with a test of strength, that had Gresham winning the exchange. The two men then traded submission moves and transitions, with Gresham getting the advantage and causing Flip to use his first rope break. Gresham continued to attack the legs of Gordon, he had ankle control and forced flip to use his second rope break at the three minute mark.
Gresham then moved to work on the wrist and arm of Gordon. Gordon was able to get a chop in, but Gresham immediately took control of Flip’s arm, shoulder, and back. He then grabbed Gordon’s leg and had almost every joint twisted on Gordon. Flip Gordon pushed Gresham into the ropes when he was being held, burning his third and final rope break.
Gordon then started to act like he was in a wrestling match, by hitting a wrestling move and a kick. The two then had a fun and athletic series of moves that led to Gresham using a rope break on a pinfall attempt. Gresham did a dive off the top and sold his left knee as a result. Gordon then worked the injured knee. Gresham was eventually able to get a kick in to break the assault. Gresham used his second rope break as Gordon got a face lock.
Gordon tried a sunset bomb, that he converted into a super kick/falcon arrow combo. Gordon locked in the STF, Gresham rough for the rope to beak the hold and he did using his third and final rope break. Gordon then used a closed fist because he is a bad guy! Gresham’s knee then healed and he did fast paced moves and got a near fall. Gordon got the STF once more and Gresham took the match to the outside. Gresham then hit a suplex from the top rope, that led to a near fall. Gresham then hit several forearms and The ref stopped the match as Gordon was knocked out.
Winner: Jonathan Gresham in 24:55 (**)
(Sage’s Analysis: I did not love the pace and storytelling of this match. Each man seemed to get some sort of superpower once all their rope breaks were used, or a close fist was used. These things take away from the pure wrestling style in my opinion. Gresham held his end of the bargain when in control, he was exciting and made the grappling entertaining. But, When Flip was in control of the match he was as flat as he thinks the earth is.)
(10) RUSH (C) vs. BRODY KING
The code of honor did not occur. The match started with strikes and chops. King got Rush to the outside he then hit a huge dive. King then threw Rush around the outside of the ring. King broke the count and grabbed chairs from the time keeper table. King slammed Rush on the chairs stacked on the floor. King then did a back drop on Rush who was on some chairs.
Back in the ring King got a near fall. King then hit a huge cannonball, Rush broke the following pinning attempt. Rush rescinded with a snap German, knee strikes, and a top rope dive. Rush then threw King into barriers and chairs on the outside. Rush then grabbed some wires and choked King with them.
After some heel talking in the camera by Rush, both men were back in the ring. Rush kicked and stomped on Kings head in the corner. Rush continued to work on King, culminating with a superplex and near fall. King countered a bit and got a near fall. The two men then slapped the life out of each other. King hit a spear for a near fall, on a Gonzo bomb attempt Drangon Lee and Rush’s father came out. King took a chair shot to the head, Rush then hit Toro Blanco for the pinfall
Winner: Rush in 16:35 (***3/4)
(Sage’s Analysis: This was about as brutal a match that you will see that doesn’t involve barbed wire and light tubes. Both men left it all out there in the ring. I didn’t think Rush needed the chair shot distraction angle, but it was there. This was the best main event ROH has had since Final battle 2018.)
Overall Show Rating – Thumbs Up