Ring of Honor (ROH) has its biggest pay-per-view (PPV) of the year tonight (Dec. 15) with Final Battle.
To get you all ready for it, we’re going to give you the quick rundown of the matches, our anticipation for each bout, and then our predictions. The anticipation will be a simple 1 to 5 with 1 being “not into at all” and 5 being “REALLY PUMPED”
Let’s jump right into it!
Cody (c) vs. Dalton Castle for the Ring of Honor heavyweight championship
This is the big one right here. Dalton Castle gets his biggest shot to date for the ROH championship at their biggest show of the year. His opponent: Champion Cody
Castle has been in Ring of Honor since 2013. Cody just waltzed in last year, earned a big contract, and is current champion. That serves as a great backdrop for this match pitting the man who started from the bottom vs. the more entitled champion. Dalton was a babyface already, but that narrative just adds feud to this fire.
Castle and Cody have crossed paths before and as you can see in the video above, Cody has tried to preemptively take out Dalton before. Perhaps he knew the treat Castle posed. But that didn’t keep the Party Peacock down.
They’ve had some great promo segments, including one where Cody told Dalton he’d “make a call” so he could get signed at NXT, where he’d take pay cut but have that job security he doesn’t in Ring of Honor. And in the contract signing just last week, Castle told Cody what some fans may actually be thinking: That he’s overdressed, overpaid, and overrated.
Kyle: 5 - I’m not the most hardcore fan of this promotion by any means, but any time I watch, I just love Dalton Castle. And I love the story about the man who works from the bottom and earns his way to the top. The story going into this has me emotionally invested and pulling for Castle to climb to the top of the mountain.
Sean: 4 - As much as I enjoy all things Party Peacock, I daresay the significance of a guy with his gimmick being in this position as a massively over babyface is the most important thing about this show. Because I’m a DC mark and I’d love to see a character that’s basically “what if Gorgeous George fronted The Darkness” close the show celebrating amidst streamers and cheers... I’m bracing myself for that not to happen. Also, while I have a ton of respect for what Cody’s accomplished this year, I still don’t love watching him wrestle.
Kyle: Dalton Castle - It’s the end of the year PPV and Cody doesn’t need the title (and can always win it back). The time is ripe for a huge emotional payoff tonight.
Sean: Cody - Been down this road with ROH head booker Delirious too many times, and this time, I can’t even blame him for not pulling the trigger on the hot babyface. The American Nightmare should probably keep this belt through Wrestle Kingdom and “All In” (assuming the 10K seat show happens soon-ish).
Marty Scurll vs. Jay Lethal
The Villain Marty Scurll requested this match with Lethal not because he has a problem with him. In fact, he respects him... or more appropriately respects who he was. You see, Marty was a huge fan of Jay when he was the villain, doing what he needed to win and hold onto the Ring of Honor championship.
He wants to see that Jay Lethal again.
Jay is reluctant, but it’s possible the Villain has gotten into his head. Weeks back, Lethal just watched on as Scurll defeated the Beer City Bruiser by using his umbrella as a weapon. He did nothing to try to stop Scurll. Then last week, when Lethal was battling Matt Taven one-on-one, Marty came to ringside and slid his umbrella into the ring for Lethal to use as a weapon. It looked like Lethal was considering it, but then rejected the notion, throwing the weapon back at the Villain. This distraction cost him the match.
Will Lethal lean on his past tactics to win this match tonight? Does he need to channel his inner villain to beat the premiere Villain?
Kyle: 5 - I really like this story. It’s simple but effective. It raises the possibility for Jay Lethal to change his methods to get the win here. Lethal has been a bit directionless as a babyface so the tease of a heel turn has me excited. And even if it doesn’t go that way, it explores the character in an intriguing manner.
Sean: 4 - Ditto. I’m a sucker for heels tempting faces to join the dark side, and these guys have played it perfectly. I expect an old school match which will really stand out from some of the other “work rate” bouts on the card.
Kyle: Marty Scurll - I see more to this story past this match. Jay Lethal losing by being a true blue babyface is the most interesting direction.
Sean: Marty Scurll - Not expecting to see a lot of losses tonight for guys who wear shirts sold at Hot Topic.
The Brisco Brothers vs. Tommy Dreamer & Bully Ray in a NYC Street Fight
Remember that Bully Ray retiring bit? That was all part of this work.
This story has been going on for a long while, ever since the team of Jay and Mark Briscoe and Bully Ray lost the 6-man tag team championships to Dalton Castle and the Boys earlier this year. Jay was becoming more and more frustrated and more and more unhinged as the time went on.
That’s when he turned on Bully Ray smashing a table in his head at Death Before Dishonor.
It was that injury that had Bully talking about retirement. In fact, it was Tommy Dreamer who showed up at a show to explain how bad Bully was after that injury. It was a great promo by Dreamer.
Meanwhile, Jay and Mark seemed to be having issues of their own since Mark didn’t agree with Jay’s direction. Jay became more problematic when Mark won a television title match because he felt they should be focusing on them as a team. Mark broke his left elbow but decided to participate in the television title match anyway. His brother agreed to corner him but immediately threw in the towel, forfeiting Mark’s title opportunity.
As for Bully Ray, his time in Ring of Honor appeared to be done. He closed out an episode of television with a retirement speech, with the president of the company at his side to thank him for his time there. Then out came Jay Briscoe, ruining the moment and accusing Bully of ducking him before attacking him! Tommy Dreamer came out along with Mark Briscoe, who looked to stand up to his brother... but it was all a ruse! Marked attacked Dreamer and the brothers delivered a 3D to Bully Ray!
A couple weeks later, the Briscoes rolled into Bully’s wrestling school when he wasn’t there, trashed the place, and beat up his students. Finally, last week, Tommy Dreamer and Bully Ray responded to a Briscoe challenge but were stopped by security. However, the president of Ring of Honor booked a street fight for these teams to settle their differences.
Kyle: 4 - I’ve actually really loved this story. It’s been well told over the better part of the year. However, the match itself is what’s keeping me from slapping a 5 on it. Tommy Dreamer and Bully Ray are long in the tooth when it comes to wrestling and I see the possibility of a more limited match due to that. However, the story coming into it and the fact they’ll probably go all out for this still has me pretty excited to see it.
Sean: 4 - They worked me on the Bully Ray injury, I love the Briscoes as performers, and this feels like both a classic ECW feud AND the most Final Battle-worthy match on Final Battle ‘17. Heck, if it weren’t for knowing that Tommy’s concussion issues are totally legit, I’d wish this were a Ladder War.
Kyle: The Briscoes - Bully Ray is here to help build up the current talent. Taking the loss here would do that.
Sean: Dem Boys - Ray may be back for more with a different partner, but Tommy’s run ends here... probably being taken out in bloody fashion to leave Bully all alone.
Kenny King (c) vs. Silas Young vs. Punishment Martinez vs. Shane Taylor in a four corners elimination match for the ROH television title
Originally, they were setting up Mark Briscoe vs. Kenny King for the championship. But then Mark got injured/moved to the bigger Bully Ray story. (I don’t know if the plan was ever for that match to happen at Final Battle.)
However with him injured, they set up three one-on-one matches where the winners got entered into this match for the TV title.
The one thing that may be worth noting is Shane Taylor is a gun for hire. As far as we know, he’s wrestling for himself here. However, he was last seen paid by Caprice Coleman, who antagonized his way into a TV title match just last week. (He was unsuccessful.) I don’t think it’ll happen, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Coleman paid his way for Taylor’s spot.
Kyle: 3 - Not much here to light the world on fire. I enjoy Kenny King and I expect the match itself to be exciting enough.
Sean: 3 - The stipulation leads me to believe this will entertain, and quite likely be the match that sets Twitter alight with its movez. Whether it can turn those into a story or not is the question. It’s got a nice mix of veteran experience and youthful talent, but not a lot of character development.
Kyle: Kenny King - Though I can really see it going to Punishment or Silas as well.
Sean: Silas Young - He’s the one guy here with an easily identifiable character, and after the work he did to build Castle over the past year, he deserves an award. The TV title seems like the perfect one for him.
War Machine vs. the Addiction
The Addiction cost War Machine during an ROH title match. War Machine returned the favor. Viola: Grudge match.
The most interesting bit of this is during a brawl, Ray Rowe lawn darted Frankie Kazarian right into a fan. I don’t know if that was staged or not, but I can definitely make an argument for either one.
Rowe was suspended for his actions and last week, the Addiction tried to tie up Hanson and cut his beard. However security intervened before Chris Daniels started cutting off body parts and Rowe stood tall.
Kyle: 2 - Nothing here is really doing it for me. It’s a match to get both teams on the card. But the most interesting thing about this feud was wondering if that fan spot was legit or not.
Sean: 3 - While I agree with my man Decker that there’s not a lot to this, these are two teams I trust to deliver a match with “Holy $#!+” moments and some depth even without an intricate build.
Kyle: The Addiction - Going with the reverse momentum theory here. The Addiction couldn’t take out Hanson two-on-one last week. They can make up for that here.
Sean: The Addiction - the crafty veterans will use the big boys’ rage against them somehow, methinks.
Will Ospreay vs. Matt Taven
This is billed as an attraction match, meaning there’s no story to it.
Kyle: 3 - Only because I don’t see Ospreay wrestle much and have heard so much about him.
Sean: 2 - One man will fly, another will catch him. Rinse and repeat.
Kyle: Taven - They’ve been slowly building him up. I can’t imagine they derail that here with a loss in an “attraction match.”
Sean: Ospreay - I’m counting Will as a New Japan guy, and they don’t come to ROH PPVs to lose.
Motor City Machine Guns (c) vs. Best Friends (Chucky T and Trent Barreta) for ROH tag team championships
This one is pretty simple. The team of Chuck Taylor and Barreta reunited and earned themselves a title opportunity against the current champions, the Motor City Machine Guns.
Kyle: 3 - Honestly, as someone who isn’t a long-time ROH watcher, this whole Best Friends team feels like an in-joke that I’m not a part of. Often the excitement of reunited teams are the nostalgia from their first run and that’s not there for me. Doesn’t mean the in ring action won’t be really good though.
Sean: 4 - Trent and Chuck (who are reunited from PWG, but don’t blame Kyle for not knowing that - he has a “real” job and already watches every WWE show, plus Impact, every week) are super-fun, and will do something that seems really, really dangerous/painful here. MCMG are, in my opinion, one of the best tag teams of all-time, but since their greatest moments happened at Universal Studios, they aren’t considered as such. This should kick all kinds of ass.
Kyle: Best Friends - Feels like the tag division, while pretty stacked, also feels a bit stagnant. May as well try a change.
Sean: The Guns - Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin probably get to hold onto the straps for a couple of PPVs before a changing of the guard.
The Young Bucks and Hangman Page (c) vs. Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee, & Titan for the ROH 6-man championships
Flip Gordon has had enough of that dastardly Bullet Club!
After months of the Bullet Club ragging and hazing the Flipper, he recruited three other guys to take them on a 4 on 4 match on an episode of ROH TV a few weeks back. He chose the tag team of Coast to Coast and Scorpio Sky to take on the Hung Bucks and Marty Scurll. They were unsuccessful.
However just two weeks ago, Gordon picked up a win against Hangman one-on-one before the Young Bucks attacked him post match to the crowds delight. (The fans cheering the hell out of the obvious BC heels is always something about ROH shows that irk me.)
Now Flip will try for the 6 man titles partnering with Dragon Lee and Titan.
Kyle: 3 - This doesn’t do much for me. Feels like a match to make sure the Bucks get on the card. Titan and Dragon Lee are names I have never heard of and much more importantly, aren’t part of this story at all. And these type of matches aren’t the type of wrestling I love either. They’re super spotfest matches where you have to suspend more disbelief than usual. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the raw action, but it’s not something I’m looking forward to going into it.
Sean: 2 - It’s not that I don’t enjoy The Bucks, or lucha-influenced trios matches. But they don’t often stick with me after I’ve watched them.
Kyle: The Hung Bucks - I mean c’mon now.
Sean: The Hung Bucks - There’s a lot of talent on Flip’s team, but not a ProWrestlingTees.com bestseller in the bunch.
There you have it, folks. That’s what in store for Ring of Honor’s big pay-per-view tonight. Overall, it looks like a fun card.
Who do you have winning tonight? And more importantly, are you tuning in?