ROH Final Battle 2010 12/18/2010

ROH 273 – Final Battle 2010 – 18th December 2010

I’d go so far as to argue this is the most hyped Ring Of Honor show since Death Before Dishonor 4 which packed out the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia for the conclusion of the ROH vs CZW war. Tonight a sold out crowd will see the end of the Kevin Steen/El Generico feud which started with a single chair shot a full year ago at Final Battle 2009. Those two main event the iPPV this evening in a match that promises to be so violent ROH are calling it ‘non-sanctioned’. The undercard is pretty stacked too, with Roderick Strong defending the World Title against Davey Richards in a much-anticipated bout, the Briscoes teaming with their own father to face the Kings Of Wrestling and Shane Hagadorn in one which could either be wildly entertaining or absolutely horrible, a clash between Era Of Honor Begins veterans Chris Daniels and Homicide, a Women Of Honor tag, a ‘scientific showdown’ plus more from Eddie Edwards, Future Shock and the All Night Express. This is live on iPPV from Manhattan, NY. Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak commentate – hopefully we’ll be able to hear them through the DVD.

All Night Express vs Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly
These two teams got the Richards vs Daniels event off to a flier with a really fun tag team encounter. Tonight they get a huge opportunity to do the same thing in a pay-per-view rematch. ANX won that night in Chicago, and King actually defeated Adam Cole again last night in Plymouth. Is tonight to be another impressive performance by the resurgent and rapidly improving All Night Express, or the coming out party for the impressive young Cole/O’Reilly duo?

O’Reilly starts with Titus and gets the best of him with an assortment of kicks, then Cole joins his partner to hit a double team flapjack. Kyle absolutely KILLS Rhett with more strikes prompting King to drag his partner out of the ring. O’Reilly tries a pescado but is caught by ANX…SO COLE BOWLS THROUGH EVERYONE WITH A TOPE SUICIDA! O’Reilly just keeps hammering Titus with kicks until Kenny distracts him…allowing Rhett to hit the Austin Aries Shinbreak Back Suplex for 2. Titus then feeds O’Reilly to King for a beautiful spinning heel kick and together ANX get another nearfall with that combo lariat sequence. DOUBLE DRAGON SCREW by O’Reilly enabling him to get the hot tag. SLINGSHOT DDT ON THE APRON FOR KING! How is he not dead, his landing was horrible! Cole then blasts Rhett with a jumping enzi, prepping him for the ROLLING BUTTERFLY SUPLEXES BY KYLE! DOUBLE ARM DDT! RUNNING MISSILE DROPKICK OFF THE APRON! O’Reilly is on fire, as is the New York crowd who are electrifyingly loud. Austin Aries back rake by King…allowing Titus to drop Cole face-first into the turnbuckles! SHOTGUN KNEES get 2! King gets another nearfall with a bridging cradle suplex, then gets dropped on his head by a tornado DDT from Kyle. Double stomp on him by Titus…but he walks into a SUPERKICK from Cole and all four men are down. Titus thinks about the Super Sex Factor but O’Reilly kicks his legs out! Cole jumps OVER Titus into a missile dropkick on King…then Future Shock join forces to shock Rhett’s face with a double dropkick combo. Kick duel between King and O’Reilly…DISCUS LARIAT for 2! Titus manages to drag O’Reilly to the floor then smack Cole in the mouth with a dropkick. SPRINGBOARD BLOCKBUSTER! All Night Express take the win in a thrilling 09:23

Rating – **** – Total spotfest, and I’m sure they did so much there that the next few matches will have a problem crowd to work with…but what a rush that was. These guys did a really good job in Chicago, but absolutely smoked it with this one. I’ve said it a few times, but Cole and O’Reilly have so much potential it’s almost unbelievable. Kyle is perfect for ROH, whilst I genuinely think Cole has a shot at going all the way to the WWE. This was their first match in the Manhattan Center for ROH, as well as their first match on iPPV…opening a HUGE show. If they were nervous, they didn’t show it, and the same goes for Titus and King who, whilst more experienced, also stepped up their game big time to deliver a totally faultless sprint of a tag match here.

TJ Perkins vs Colt Cabana
This is billed as a ‘scientific showdown’ and after the match TJP produced with Kyle O’Reilly last night, I certainly can’t disagree. We all know what Colt brings to the table, and we know that with years of experience belying his relatively young age, Perkins is more than capable of holding his own working a more grounded, mat-based match.

Cabana starts all jovial with Perkins…who quickly wipes the smile off his face by rolling into a lightning fast dropkick. Colt tries to toss TJP out of the ring, but of course Perkins catches himself and hangs in the ropes. His quickness and unique ability to counter holds actually poses Cabana a few problems for several minutes – and it’s an odd experience to see Colt actually struggling to work the mat with an opponent. Some of the matwork these two run through is really high-end stuff. For instance, there’s an awesome little sequence where TJ tries to slide through Colt’s legs, only for Cabana to grab the wrist…but then sees Perkins COUNTER the wristlock into a headlock takedown. They just keep going back and forth until Colt traps Perkins in the Billy Goat’s Curse out of nothing. TJP lands some strikes as the intensity starts to pick up and Cabana is more than happy to respond in turn. Flying Asshole countered with a double stomp out of the corner…but as they keep going round and round on the canvas Colt manages to pin TJ for the three-count at 07:54

Rating – *** – I don’t think some people will rate this as highly as I do, but I thought this was entertaining. It’s been a great return weekend for Perkins – producing two very good, and very different matches. And the best part is that both of them were very much ‘TV-length’, meaning ROH could comfortably put him on their television show and have him produce something.

Sara Del Rey/Serena Deeb vs Daizee Haze/Amazing Kong
We all know that the Haze/Del Rey issue will most likely never be settled in Ring Of Honor. They’ve both been in this promotion for years, had countless matches, traded wins and never really come close to ending their rivalry. But the one thing they have in common is their desire to compete and showcase women’s wrestling in America as a sport. They’ve been on HDNet demanding tougher competition for a while…and after they fought to a 10 minute draw a few weeks ago, officials were quick to book them onto pay-per-view but this time giving them the opportunity to pick ‘mystery partners’. Haze was quick to announce Amazing Kong as her partner – bringing Kong back to ROH for one final shot at getting her own revenge on Sara for the shady loss she suffered back at Supercard Of Honor 5. Del Rey took longer, but finally announced her partner would be Serena Deeb – a solid female worker who’s career highlight was having her head shaved for CM Punk’s ‘Straight Edge Society’ on WWE Smackdown.

Daizee comes out dressed in black, faux-Kong attire which is a nice touch. Kong, as she was last time in New York, is given a thunderous welcome. Kudos to Prazak who points out Daizee and Kong have teamed together in ROH before. It’s the established Women Of Honor who start with more of what you’d expect – Sara bringing the power and Haze bringing the speed and counters. She comes off the top to hit a flying headscissors. Serena tagged, and she sprints across the ring to stop Haze tagging Kong. As the crowd loudly chants ‘CM Punk’, Haze nearly does get the tag to Kong for the first time…only for Sara to boot her off the apron. Deeb drops Haze with a gutbuster, which Sara is quick to capitalise on with an abdominal stretch. Naturally the heel team use the ab stretch spot to their advantage by employing some illicit additional leverage. Daizee fights out but is so wounded she can do nothing but stumble into a big boot from Death Rey. Haze drops Serena with a Daizee Cutter out of the corner and she finally gets the tag to Kong which gets another huge pop. WARRIOR SPLASH for Sara! Amazing Bomb blocked…so Kong clobbers her with a lariat instead. Implant Buster gets 2! Haze is on the top and she flips OFF KONG into a senton bomb. HEART PUNCH/BACK FIST/YAKUZA KICK COMBO on Serena! Del Rey saves her partner with a Capo Kick on Kong…CODE HAZE GETS 2! She tries to climb Sara again but it’s countered to the ROYAL BUTTERFLY FOR 2! PILEDRIVER! But Kong absolutely FLIES in to break the count! DEEB WITH A SPEAR ON KONG! JUMPING PILEDRIVER ON HAZE! Sara pins Daizee at 08:18

Rating – *** – Sara and Daizee were given a huge opportunity with this one. They’ve had the thankless job of trying to carry the ‘Women Of Honor’ division on HDNet for nearly two years, and finally they were given the opportunity to work an angle and actually promote a serious ppv match as a result. And they delivered. This wasn’t an outstanding match, and not the best women’s match in ROH either (that honour goes to Kong/Haze vs Del Rey/Lacey from Man Up – but then Lacey was MILES better than Serena) but in a high pressure match, to produce a well-executed, completely fun and logical midcard match that was well-received by the volatile New York crowd is a real accomplishment. Of course it’s easy to say Kong should have been in there more. She is a legitimate star in female wrestling and was rightly snapped up by the WWE soon after this (although after an impressive debut she became pregnant has since been off TV). But the story here was Sara and Daizee – and it was only right they be given the most spotlight, even if the crowd didn’t necessarily like that. Well done to all for putting a positive spotlight on American Joshi.

Sonjay Dutt vs Eddie Edwards
This card is absolutely loaded, so almost feel bad thinking how it would have been even better had Kenny Omega not pulled out and we’d got to see Edwards/Omega here. That said, Dutt looked good and produced a decent match in tough circumstances last night with Roderick Strong. Can he end this 2-night return to Ring Of Honor with a win over the now-former TV Champion.

Dutt rolls Edwards straight into a surfboard stretch, pulling on the shoulder which Eddie recently injured in winning Survival Of The Fittest this year. Edwards escapes and tries to go for the Achilles Lock but it’s too early. They go through a terrific little near-miss sequence which ends when Eddie grabs an ankle and flips into a wrench on it. Sonjay doesn’t like that, slapping his opponent in the face then leaving the ring to hide under it. He pulls a Delirious and comes out the other side…except it doesn’t work and Eddie meets him with a barrage of big chops. Sliding enziguri nearly takes Dutt’s head off for a nearfall. Sonjay hangs Edwards in the bottom rope, capitalising on the leverage there with a quebrada across the back. He takes the former TV champion out of the ring throwing him into the rails repeatedly, then hanging him there for a SPRINGBOARD guillotine leg drop. Edwards fires back with Doi 555 then crotches Dutt in the ropes for the SPRINGBOARD SUPER RANA! Sonjay looks for a slingshot somersault rana…but is caught with a kick from Edwards. Eddie misses a quebrada, counters the Camel Clutch and rolls him into the ACHILLES LOCK! Sonjay counters back to a small package for 2. Backpack Stunner drops him but still Dutt finds a way to escape defeat. He slingshots OVER the turnbuckles into a guillotine leg drop in the ropes, followed by the springboard splash for 2. He nearly wins it again as he sweeps Edwards down for a Red Star Press. Asai DDT COUNTERED WITH A SUPERKICK! Edwards hits the flying Codebreaker but can’t land a German suplex as Dutt lands on his feet to hit his own superkick. LARIAT by Edwards, hit with such force that he seems to hurt his shoulder again. TOP ROPE DOUBLE STOMP! DIE HARD! Eddie wins at 10:43

Rating – *** – I’m sure Edwards/Omega would have been better, but this was a blast – to the extent that it stands as one of Sonjay’s best ROH matches. Considering he took the bookings on short notice and Edwards came into this weekend with a catalogue of injuries, this was better than it had any right to be. Personally I thought this was better than Strong/Dutt from yesterday although I know others have disagreed with that.

INTERMISSION – Jim Cornette hosts a pre-taped interview with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, recorded during their appearances at the HDNet tapings in Louisville. They seem like pretty humble guys, and announce that they will be in ROH for the foreseeable future and want to win the ROH Tag Titles in 2011.

Back in New York Mike Bennett comes out and takes a ringside seat for the next match as it features the new ROH TV Champion Christopher Daniels. Amusingly the fans, most of whom I’m guessing haven’t seen the HDNet show, hammer him with ‘who are you’ chants.

Christopher Daniels vs Homicide
The TV Title isn’t on the line here since, as per Chris Daniels’ own promo – both he and Homicide would much rather have the World Title. These two were both on the first ever ROH show. Since that time they became integral parts of the promotion, they left to spend time in TNA, but now are both are back on the regular roster and with major World Title aspirations. Homicide returned at Glory By Honor 9 to confront new World Champion Roderick Strong but, as yet, hasn’t earned himself a title shot. A win here would go a long way towards persuading Jim Cornette to give him one…

Homicide brings Julius Smokes out with him which fans seem to like. I, however, like how Homicide and Daniels join forces to silence the ‘f*ck TNA’ chants and turn them to deafening ‘ROH’ chants as their way of following the Code Of Honor. Audio seems much worse for this match, and I can barely hear Prazak or Kelly as the two veterans trade some basics. Fallen Angel gets the better of the initial exchanges which angers Homicide enough to take the match to the floor instead. Daniels evades the tope con hilo and SCORES with the Arabian Press though! Homicide decides to target the neck, scoring with a neckbreaker then the Three Amigos. TOPE CON HILO STEAMROLLS DANIELS INTO THE BARRICADE! He scattered Mike Bennett and Bob Evans in hitting that move too. Back in the ring he blocks the urinage slam by chopping at Daniels’ now injured neck and delivers an exploder suplex for 2. But Daniels blocks the ensuing top rope splash and comes out of the corner with a big stomp to the chest for 2. But Homicide is right back on that neck again with a double underhook suplex, then a flying knee strike from the second rope to the back of the head…but he can’t put the TV Champion away. Cop Killa COUNTERED to the urinage slam! BME misses though, and Cide puts another boot in his neck. The ref gets bumped as Daniels lines up he Angel’s Wings…ACE CRUSHER! After working the neck all match, Homicide picks up the win at 10:31

Rating – *** – I’d heard that this match was terrible so to be honest I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. To those who called this a bad match, I wonder how many of them have seen the match between these two at Epic Encounter which genuinely was TERRIBLE. This wasn’t necessarily that pretty, or maybe as good as you might expect had Homicide been anywhere near as good a worker as he was in his 2003-2006 prime…but it was a solid match which told a basic yet effective story and went to a logical finish.

Mike Bennett grabs a microphone and sarcastically congratulates Daniels on an ‘impressive win’ before handing him his TV Title belt

Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli/Shane Hagadorn vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Mike Briscoe
In theory this is the end of another violent, lengthy Ring Of Honor feud. Much like Steen/Generico, this one also started last year at Final Battle when the reformed Kings Of Wrestling interrupted the Briscoes’ celebrating their 6th Tag Title win with an attack. Then the Kings used the loaded elbow pad to cheat them out of the titles at The Big Bang later that year. Unhappy at their treatment, the Briscoes stopped Hero doing the same thing to the Motor City Machine Guns at Supercard Of Honor 5, and in the ensuing melee gave Sara Del Rey the Jay Driller. In retaliation for that, Chris Hero berated their father on HDNet, bating him into crossing the guardrail and getting knocked out…leading to a hugely personal, violent and bloody No DQ match at Death Before Dishonor 8. The Kings emerged with the belts again in Toronto…and they’d defeat the Briscoes again in Jay and Mark’s final rematch for the Tag Titles on HDNet. That time Shane Hagadorn interfered to help the KOW retain…and once again Papa Briscoe was on hand to hop the rails and get involved physically. Jim Cornette used some screwy legal logic to book all six into this grudge match. This could be great…or a car crash.

The Kings are so over in New York the Briscoes actually start the match with major heel heat – particularly poor Papa Mike who cuts an ill-advised promo. Hagadorn accidentally hits Hero with a strike, distracting him and giving Mark the opportunity to hit a running knee strike. Shane tries to make amends by holding Mark for Claudio to hit him…except Mark moves and it’s Hagadorn that gets smacked. Castagnoli rebounds quickly from that miscommunication to hit the Les Artess Lift on Jay. With Jay down, Hagadorn confidently tags in…and hilariously starts peppering Jay with elbows and European uppercuts which have absolutely no effect. Jay tags Papa Briscoe in…and Shane dives for his corner to give us the amusing prospect of Mike Briscoe having to wrestle Double C. SATELLITE HEADSCISSORS BY PAPA BRISCOE! That blows the roof off the Manhattan Center…and they go nuts again as Papa Mike leaves the ring to KISS SARA DEL REY! The referee decides that Sara needs to be sent to the back after that! The Kings stop the madness by cutting the ring in half and isolating Mark…including a wicked spot with Castagnoli blocking Mark’s springboard rebound forearm with a mid-air uppercut for 2. Hero works a Stretch Plum only for Mike to hop in and break it. Suplex Elbow combo ends with Hero accidentally hitting Claudio…and Mark gets the hot tag to Jay. ROARING BOOT TO THE FACE BY HERO! POP-UP EUROPEAN gets 2 for Claudio but Jay shows courage by countering the Riccola Bomb into the DVD. Mark and Double C then collide in the middle of the ring leaving both down and a race to the corner to see who gets the tag first. It’s Papa Briscoe and Hagadorn in together…until Hero comes in to help his manger. BIG STRIKE EXCHANGE! Hagadorn kicks Jay in the balls…AND IS SPEARED BY MIKE! STEREO SOMERSAULT PLANCHAS FROM JAY AND MARK! Papa Mike gets over-excited and thinks about a dive himself…only to thankfully be distracted by Hagadorn. ROLLING ELBOW BY HERO! PAPA BRISCOE IS DEAD! The Kings line up the KRS-1 on him but Jay saves by taking out Hero. STUNNER ON CLAUDIO! He sells it like The Rock and bounces all the way out of the ring. Jay has Hagadorn up…and PAPA BRISCOE GOES UPSTAIRS! DOOMSDAY DEVICE BY PAPA MIKE! The Briscoe family win at 15:49

Rating – *** – I wish the New York crowd hadn’t slightly ruined this by booing the Briscoes, but this was just crazily fun to watch. Credit to Mike Briscoe, who is a game old dude but had absolutely no need to endanger his health and take risks like he did for the sake of our entertainment…but he did and produced some of the best parts of the match. His ‘please don’t die’ Doomsday Device was a really memorable moment. Going into this you knew it was going to be totally fun to watch or a complete mess…and it’s MILES away from what Ring Of Honor was founded upon back in 2002. But this was pure sports entertainment fun and a total blast.

Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards – ROH World Title Match
On the first HDNet show of the year these two clashed in a Pick 6 Series Match, looking to get in line for a shot at then champion Austin Aries. Now these two former stable-mates come full circle and come face to face with other again on the last show of the year…this time with Strong in possession of the belt and Richards very much in hot pursuit. These two haven’t liked each other since Richards ended the No Remorse Corps and joined Sweet’n’Sour Inc by attacking Strong at Respect Is Earned 2 and have shared some great battles since then. They went over 25 minutes in a great match in Tokyo that year, and earlier this year went to a time limit draw in Chicago. Roddy has generally won more than he’s lost against Richards which will give him confidence, but Davey comes into this off the back of a huge singles victory over Christopher Daniels. On the night he was supposed to retire from wrestling, instead will the American Wolf go into 2012 as the ROH World Champion?

I think it’s fair to say the New York fans want a title change tonight. After treating Strong like hero for the last two shows as he battled Tyler Black, they greet him with huge ‘f*ck you Roderick’ chants tonight, whilst Davey gets the biggest babyface pop of the night. The pace is slow for the first few minutes with both men clearly looking to avoid making a critical mistake in the early-going. It’s only as we approach the 5-minute mark that the challenger starts to get into a rhythm and control his opponent on the mat – managing to apply some early submission holds in so doing. Having worn the champion down with those holds, it allows Davey to start laying in the kicks for the first time. Strong spends most of his time struggling to make the bottom rope in various stretches, but it doesn’t stop Davey opening up an injury on his arm. He tries to leave the ring but Richards chases him around the ring, delivering repeated running boots against the guardrails. But it’s on the floor that Roderick finally starts to fight back, delivering a big enzi kick against the apron then dragging Richards back into the ring for MMA elbows and an abdominal stretch.

I like that Roddy has started working the midsection, but such is the danger that Davey poses as a challenger, he can’t do it with traditional backbreakers yet so is restricted to using ab stretches and body scissors at this stage. And they do enough damage to force Richards into a mistake – attempting the Handspring Enziguri and getting KICKED IN THE FACE! Wounded now, Richards BOOTS Strong out of the ring….TOPE CON HILO NAILED! Second row landing for Davey after that! Now it’s started breaking down as they return to the ring and drop bombs on each other…ending with Davey getting 2 with a Saito suplex. Kimura locked in…but Roddy escapes with a BRUTAL forearm. ALARM CLOCK BY DAVEY! Diving headbutt gets 2, then he goes back to the arm with a falcon arrow INTO A CROSS ARMBREAKER! Roddy fights out and hits his own version of the falcon arrow for 2. Stronghold applied for the first time but it’s way too close to the ropes at this stage. SLAP WAR! KICKS VS CHOPS DUEL! The crowd, who have been LOUSY through this match thus far, suddenly come alive and are eating this up. Davey’s kicks win out that battle, allowing him to deliver a big German suplex for another nearfall.

They battle on the top rope…BACK SUPERPLEX BY DAVEY! KNOCK-OUT KICK…for 2! He steps into the Anklelock now only for Truth Martini to step onto the apron and distract the referee just as Strong starts tapping. SHOOTING STAR PRESS INSTEAD! STRONG KICKS OUT! He goes upstairs again but this time Roddy catches him…HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER FROM THE TOP! Davey retreats to the apron…BACK SUPLEX THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPERS TABLE! GIBSON DRIVER ON THE F*CKING FLOOR! Strong has gone crazy, and he literally HURLS Richards into a whole bunch of people in the crowd then returns to the ring looking for a count-out. The fans actually start LIFTING him back over the rails and he dives back into the ring at 19…STRAIGHT INTO DEATH BY RODERICK! GIBSON DRIVER…TURNED INTO THE STRONGHOLD! COUNTERED TO THE ANKLELOCK! STRONG COUNTERS TO AN ANKLELOCK…DAVEY TURNS IT INTO THE CLOVERLEAF! LEBELL LOCK BY STRONG! Oh that gets MAJOR heat! Richards fights out and hits his own version of the Gibson Driver, turning it into another Anklelock but collapses in exhaustion and releases the hold. JUMPING KNEE BY STRONG! DEATH BY BACKBREAKER! SICK KICK! DAVEY KICKS OUT! SUPLEX FLIP BACKBREAKER! SUPERKICK! SLIDING SICK KICK! STILL 2! STRONGHOLD AGAIN! Richards is unconscious, and the ref calls it at 30:29

Rating – **** – I thought long and hard about this rating. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I think had this match happened in 2009 I may have given this an extra ½ star. But 2010 has been a phenomenal year for ROH MOTYC’s, and I don’t think this match was at the same level as any of the Black/Richards matches for instance. It was a thrilling World Title match, and the last 10 minutes were absolutely epic, but at 30-minutes I felt this one was a stretch too long for these two, and they were visibly killing time in an opening 20-minute period which took a red hot New York crowd and gradually lost them to ‘funny’ chants, duelling chants between sections and some asshole dressed as santa stealing heat from the match. Admittedly the ‘asshole’ portion of the crowd didn’t help, but I felt that had they actually gone somewhere a little quicker they wouldn’t have lost them as they did. I also really strongly disagree with the decision to put Strong over here. Davey should have won, it’s that simple. As his reaction at the start of the match demonstrates, he’s the face of ROH right now. He consistently has the best matches, has carried the company on his workrate since the likes of Danielson left and, on this night in New York fans were ready to see him win the big one…and the failure to do so represents another classic ROH instance of dropping the ball on giving the right guy the big win. I know people defend the decision by saying that Strong only had one defence by this point – but so what? Gibson and Homicide only had 3, and even CM Punk only had 4 – and they didn’t miss their first 2 shows after becoming champion. And another defence is that, without Strong retaining here we would have been deprived of the big Eddie Edwards win a few months later. But to me at least, fans weren’t clamouring to see Eddie win the belt yet, they wanted Davey. By NOT putting Davey over here, giving it to Eddie a few months later only to hotshot it to Davey as soon as the Sinclair era began (since even they realised that, with a new TV show to promote Richards was the guy), all they did was needlessly protect Roddy here (he’s lost a million title matches and stayed over, another won’t hurt him), and WASTE Edwards big moment by making him another transitional champion. So yeah, this was a fantastic wrestling match, but I have too many issues with the crowd and the booking to push it into MOTYC territory I’m afraid. The last 10 minutes were must-see stuff though!

After the match Davey is left slumped unconscious on the mat, bleeding from the ear with officials, Cornette, Cary Silkin, Eddie Edwards, Kyle O’Reilly and loads more all around trying to revive him. Bobby Cruise asks the crowd to be patient whilst they treat him for a potential concussion. He does eventually walk out by himself, getting a standing ovation on the way.

Kevin Steen vs El Generico – Fight Without Honor
This match, dubbed the ‘Final Battle at Final Battle’ has so much riding on it. Steen puts his ROH career on the line, whilst Generico comes in knowing that if he loses, he has to unmask. It’s an issue that was born a year ago when Kevin Steen dramatically ended their tag team by smashing him in the head with a steel chair. Generico spent months recovering emotionally from that – and his intention to fight his former tag team partner was finally announced at The Big Bang when he snapped and beat the crap out of Steen and Corino after their match. The wars waged between he and Cabana and the Steen/Corino unit have been epic. We saw an incredible Street Fight in Chicago, two of the most violent matches thus far in the ROH on HDNet series and, perhaps most shockingly of all, the Double Chain Match at Glory By Honor 9 which saw Steen STEAL Generico’s mask as a trophy, using it to recreate the sickening ‘decapitated Generico’ image he’s worn on a shirt for most of this year. That was the tipping point for Generico, who has since dressed in all black and become so consumed with rage that he’s taken his hatred out on innocent opponents after matches – like Grizzly Redwood last night, or Bobby Shields on HDNet. Steen too has lost his mind, with Steve Corino going so far as to admit he’s lost control of the ‘monster’ he created. Corino has begged Generico to quit ROH to avoid being murdered here tonight. It’s an issue so sensitive that, in Canada ROH President Cary Silkin announced that they weren’t allowed near each other until Final Battle…and a subsequent announcement followed that, such were the evil intentions of both men, ROH weren’t even sanctioning this match. As far as Ring Of Honor are concerned – Davey Richards challenging Roddy Strong was the main event of this show. Whatever happens next…they’re not liable for!

Steen smiles as he shows Generico is ‘Steen & Generico’ 2009 ROH shirt and mockingly tries to follow the Code Of Honor. They start spitting in each other’s faces…and Generico sends Steen straight out of the ring with a Yakuza Kick. RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Generico is so up for this he’s almost shaking. He pulls a chain from under the ring to whip and choke his nemesis with, driving in headbutts from close range for good measure. He rattles Steen’s skull some more with chain-wrapped punches…THEN A CHAIN-WRAPPED YAKUZA KICK! That busts Kevin open…badly. Generico starts dragging out tables and ladders, nearly hitting fans at several points such is his desire to hurt his former tag partner. STEEN POWERBOMBS HIM ON THE EDGE OF THE RING! The luchador took too long with the furniture! Steen starts ripping the metal ‘ROH’ signs off the rails, burying Generico under them. FROG SPLASH THROUGH THE SHEET METAL! THEN HE TEARS UP A WHOLE GUARDRAIL SECTION AND THROWS AT HIM! Terrified fans were diving for cover there! Generico managed to avoid that and the fight returns to the ring with a ladder ominously resting against the ropes. BACK BODY DROP THROUGH THE LADDER! Generico is down again and writhing in pain with welts already forming on his pale torso. Steen is so confident now he starts showing off, hitting a Buzzsaw-style kick and mocking Davey Richards.

A couple of minutes pass and I still don’t think Generico has gotten back to his feet after that ladder bump…and when he finally does drag himself back up Steen is waiting to knock him down again with a chair. CANNONBALL SENTON WITH THE CHAIR! Steen has actually stolen Prazak and Kelly’s chairs and smashes one over Generico’s back…then starts RIPPING his mask even whilst he’s still wearing it. CODEBREAKER WITH A CHAIR! Somersault leg drop through it next, and a significant portion of Generico’s face is now exposed. Now Steen has his stolen Generico mask, and starts narrating Generico’s voice in a hilarious ‘Mickey Mouse’ voice (‘oh no…Kevin Steen’s killing me!!’). The masked man is bleeding through his mask now…AND STEEN LICKS IT UP! GENERICO MICHINOKU DRIVERS STEEN INTO THE EDGE OF THE LADDER! Steen could have been crippled with that, and he’s not done yet…EXPLODER SUPLEX THROUGH IT! The ladder is a mangled wreck on the canvas…HEAD DROP HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON THE LADDER! Instead of being legit dead, somehow Steen kicks out at 2 there and rolls out of the ring. THROUGH THE TURNBUCKLES SWINGING DDT COUNTERED WITH A GUARDRAIL SHOT! Generico is a complete mess by the way, mask torn to shreds and pissing blood. He’s completely helpless as Mr Wrestling scoops him up and powerbombs him into the barricade.

The crowd is actually starting to fall into a hushed silence in fear for these guys lives at this point. Kevin starts wasting time by positioning a ladder between the ring and guardrail…then stacking a table on TOP of that. He doesn’t see Generico coming…HE DIVES BETWEEN THE TABLE AND LADDER FOR A SWINGING DDT! BUT STEEN COUNTERS THE YAKUZA KICK WITH A SUPERKICK! HALF NELSON SUPLEX THROUGH AN OPEN CHAIR! BRAINBUSTER! STEEN KICKS OUT! Generico tries a second Yakuza kick but misses…and both men start fighting on the turnbuckles right over the table/ladder stack. GENERICO THROWS STEEN OFF THE TOP ROPE THROUGH THE TABLE AND LADDER! Generico emerges wrapped in his own streamers…FOR THE PACKAGE PILEDRIVER ON STEEN! MR WRESTLING KICKS OUT AGAIN! Steen tries to leave! BRAINBUSTER ON THE APRON! STEVE CORINO RUNS TO THE RING AND SAVES STEEN’S CAREER! LARIAT ON GENERICO! CORINO KNOCKS OUT TODD SINCLAIR!

Corino has the same chair that Steen used to make his grotesque ‘Mr Wrestling’ statement at Glory By Honor 9…but Colt Cabana drags him out of the ring before he can use it. CABANA LAYS STEEN OUT WITH THE CHAIR! Generico somehow drags himself over Steen…but he kicks out and starts flipping Generico the bird! Generico lines up another Yakuza…BUT CONNECTS WITH SINCLAIR WHO GOES THROUGH A TABLE! No f*cking way! LOW BLOW! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Another referee runs in but it’s only 2…PACKAGE PILEDRIVER ON BRYCE REMSBURG! Steen grabs Generico again…PACKAGE PILEDRIVER THROUGH AN OPEN CHAIR! Paul Turner becomes ref #3…and even he still counts 2! The crowd has lost it by now, launching deafening ‘Ole’ chants in Steen’s direction as he drags Generico to the top rope. The masked man blocks his own Turnbuckle Brainbuster. YAKUZA KICK! TURNBUCKLE BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAAAH! STEEN FALLS OUT OF THE RING! Generico has to get him back into the ring first, and that means it’s only 2. He picks up the ‘Mr Wrestling’ chair…and in an incredible visual, now stands over Steen in the same position that Mr Wrestling stood over him at Final Battle 2009. Kevin holds up the Generico mask to make that point…and Generico lowers the chair! He takes his mask back…THEN DROPS IT! STEEL CHAIR TO STEEN’S HEAD! IT’S OVER! GENERICO WINS AT 31:21!

Rating – ***** – That’s ROH’s MOTY for me, even over Tyler/Davey. As a standalone match it’s incredible, and as the pinnacle to an outstanding year-long feud it’s a violent, barbaric work of art. And, unlike Strong/Richards, they had more than enough material to fill a 30+ minute time allocation which meant they never lost the crowd for a single second. From the moment both guys made their entrance the place was electric…and they never stopped building on that until the place was a frenzy for the final act. And if you want an example of how this match was story-telling at it’s finest and NOT just a succession of sick bumps and crazy head drops in front of a blood-thirsty crowd of wrestling-loving idiots…check out the final spot. A chair to the head is nothing to be sneezed at, but equally it’s nothing compared to some of the suicidal bumps they took through the match. But they told a story that kept the crowd with them every step of the way, so when Generico took his ultimate revenge, recreating the iconic moment from Final Battle 2009 when Steen ended their team, the roof blew off and you can see huge sections of crowd jumping up and down and dancing in celebration as he took the win. I know some have criticised it for being over-booked (particularly the ref bumps and the interferences from Cabana and Corino)…but to me even those made perfect sense. Colt and Steve have been such an important part of this feud it was only right they get involved somehow, and the way they did it with Corino trying to save Steen’s career was completely logical. And all the ref bumps (kudos to Todd and Bryce for agreeing to those by the way!) added to the chaos of the match and really put over how insane both guys were, and how intent they were on killing each other. MOTY, and up there with the Crowning A Champion Iron Man, Joe/Punk 2 and Joe/Kobashi as one of my favourite EVER Ring Of Honor matches. In 2005 these two fought each other at The Homecoming in a match which was deemed so bad it was clipped from the DVD and they weren’t booked again for over a year (it was almost 2 before Steen came back). To come from that to this point, headlining ROH’s biggest show of the year and producing an all-time classic, is a wonderful story.

And the great moments don’t stop as Cabana returns to cover Generico’s head with a towel. Under it Generico removes is bloodied, torn, black mask and puts his old red and black mask on, emerging to bounce around the ring, conducting the familiar ‘Ole’ chants to herald his rebirth at the end of this bloody feud. He acts like he’s going to shake Steen’s hand, then sarcastically waves goodbye to him and walks out. Want another testament as to how good this match is? Kevin Steen is always popular in a ‘cool heel’ way in New York…but the whole building greets him LEAVING ROH with the ‘na na, hey hey, goodbye’ chant. That’s the power of pro-wrestling when it’s done right. He does get well deserved ‘thank you Steen’ chants as he leaves…

Backstage cameras capture Strong yelling at Truth Martini for interfering. He keeps saying ‘now they know’, implying he knew Martini was interfering all along…

Tape Rating – ****1/2 – A triumphant night for ROH in every conceivable way. Back at Glory By Honor 8 some people thought that night was a ‘last hurrah’ for the promotion…so to have built from that night to this – a turnaway sell-out crowd at the Manhattan Center, their top drawing iPPV, the culmination of one of the best feuds in ROH history and a superbly well-rounded top to bottom night of wrestling…it’s a remarkable achievement. Steen and Generico will rightly take the plaudits for their match – one of the best in Ring Of Honor history. But as a show this one of the most complete nights of wrestling ROH has ever produced. There is something for EVERY kind of wrestling fan here, from the spotfest opener, Cabana and TJ putting on a scientific clinic, great women’s wrestling, Eddie and Sonjay in a fun junior heavyweight battle, total sports-entertainment from in the Briscoes/Kings 6-man and a wonderful World Title match BEFORE the scintillating hardcore finale. It’s also worth pointing out that the pacing of the card, coupled with the effective use of video packages at strategic points throughout the event make this feel like the most complete iPPV to date – even if ROH and GoFight Live STILL can’t fix the f*cking audio problems. This should be in every ROH fan’s collection…and to be fair it probably is. If, for some reason, you don’t own this, buy it now (assuming it hasn’t already sold out). Had ROH pulled the trigger on Richards getting the belt tonight (like I said, I really strongly feel that this was night to win it, and not even Edwards winning it months later and a reportedly great Edwards/Richards match at Best In the World 2011 will change that) I think I might even have gone as high as 5* on this show. I don’t think I’ve ever given 5* to a single show.

Top 3 Matches
3) All Night Express vs Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly (****)
2) Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (****)
1) El Generico vs Kevin Steen (*****)

Top 5 Tag Title Classic 2/Final Battle 2010 Weekend Matches
5) All Night Express vs Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly (**** – Final Battle 2010)
4) TJ Perkins vs Kyle O’Reilly (**** – Tag Title Classic 2)
3) Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (**** – Final Battle 2010)
2) Kings Of Wrestling vs American Wolves (****1/2 – Tag Title Classic 2)
1) El Generico vs Kevin Steen (***** – Final Battle 2010)

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