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ROH: Final Battle
December 11, 2021

by Doc Allen

ROH Final Battle

They might as well call this "The Era of Honor Ends" because this could be the last ROH event of all time. I know they said this is a hiatus and that ROH will return with Supercard of Honor in April, but let's be real here, ROH has been struggling for a very long time. I thought that the 2019 Final Battle could have been their last event due to the company's poor health at that time. Even if ROH does return in April, it will probably be more like what NXT 2.0 is to the Black and Gold NXT, so no matter what, this PPV really is the end of an era, one way or another.

From the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. Our hosts are Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman. There are about 1,600 fans in attendance, according to Wrestle Tix.

Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus

They start with a lucha-infused grappling contest, and Lee pops the crowd with a sudden tope suicida. Lee takes a bow and tosses Horus over the barricade. Lee drives Horus into the ring post and slams him onto the padding. Horus tries to comeback but gets cut off by a spinebuster and half crab. Horus finally hits a flying body scissors takedown and then sends Lee to ringside for a somersault dive. Horus continues cooking with an overhead suplex into the buckles. Lee blocks a telegraphed brainbuster and delivers a pair of mean backbreakers. Lee reapplies the half crab, and digs his boot into Rey's head. Horus escapes, and they agree to a Fighting Spirit slugfest. Snap German by Lee, discus punch by Horus, Spanish Fly by Lee, and they go down for an ovation. Horus counters with an avalanche sunset bomb for only 2! Horus trips on the top rope, and it plays into the match when Lee blocks his frog splash! Horus pops up for Lights Out for 2. Lee counters with a dead lift Falcon Arrow for 2. Lee hits the Incinerator, but HORUS KICKS OUT! Lee angrily hits a pair of pump knees to win at 11:12. Good opener that delivered the right kind of energy. Horus refusing to go down to a finisher feels fitting for an event like this, and Lee digging a little extra deeper to win felt epic, ***¼.
Winner: Dragon Lee

Former ROH Champion Eddie Edwards thanks ROH for giving him a chance. He's at home in front of his Christmas tree, life looks good for Die Hard.

ROH Television Championship:
Dalton Castle © (with The Chicks) vs. Joe Hendry vs. Silas Young vs. Rhett Titus (with The Foundation)

Castle's buddy, Dak Draper, joins commentary. Bell rings, Castle gets caught up in the moment and parties with the Chicks while the others fight. Hendry has upgraded his physique since he was last seen in ROH and looks ready to destroy Castle, but Young clears him out. Castle catches Young with a suplex and celebrates as if he won the match. Titus tries to steal the pinfall, Young dumps him for a cannonball senton from the apron. Castle returns only to take a backbreaker/lariat combo from Young. Hendry blindsides Titus and takes a belly to belly suplex. Titus suplexes Young for 2. Titus delivers a series of running boots, Castle traps his leg for a suplex. Titus clears the ring but flies into Hendry's fireman's carry slam. Hendry slams Titus and Young at once, Castle steals the nearfall. Hendry and Castle become increasingly annoyed with each other for breaking pinning attempts, and Young shoves Castle into Hendry and the ref. Castle plants Young with Bangarang, Hendry clocks Castle with the TV title. Draper runs in to drop Hendry, Titus removes Draper with a dropkick. Young rolls Titus up for 2, and they trade blows. Young hits the Finlay Roll, but misses his splash. Titus dropkicks Young and WINS at 8:14. That's right, let the record show, a basic dropkick ended a match in 2021. Decent match, thanks to the right length and carried by Castle's antics. Titus is an ROH original, so this title win feels extra special, **½.
Winner and new ROH TV Champion: Rhett Titus

AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page talks to the camera about how much ROH meant to his career.

ROH Pure Championship:
Josh Woods © (with The Foundation) vs. Brian Johnson

Johnson cuts an emotional promo about ROH delivering the best wrestling over the past 20 years, but then swerves and tells all the ROH legends to get bent. Brian Zane from Wrestling with Wregret joins commentary. Woods isn't scared of Johnson and immediately forces him to use a rope break. Woods is tireless and makes Johnson use his second rope break with barely a minute gone. Johnson hits a chop, Woods responds with a hard whip. Johnson breaks a headlock by snapping Woods' neck over the ropes and sends him into the rails. Johnson hits a flying shoulder tackle and lariat for 1. Woods gets planted on the floor but answers with a desperate spear. Woods finds his second wind and hits a deadlift German suplex. They both tumble to the floor on a suplex reversal. They angrily exchange forearms, avoid a double countout, and resume their slugfest in the ring. Johnson uses his final rope break to break a sleeper, and uses a cheap shot to set up his swinging DDT for a great nearfall. Johnson fetches the Pure title, ref takes it, Johnson removes some turnbuckle padding, but Woods sneaks up for a mean German for a hot false finish. Ref fixes the buckle while Johnson hits a loaded punch for another stellar false finish. Woods puts Johnson in his armbar sleeper in the buckles, and since Johnson is out of rope breaks, the submission counts at 13:01! I really like that finish. These Pure rules matches have been a strength of ROH since the pandemic, and this was no exception, ***½.
Winner and still ROH Pure Champion: Josh Woods

Jimmy Jacobs talks to the camera from a hammock in his backyard. He reminisces about all the creative freedom he had in the early days of ROH. He and the other guys just wanted to change the business. They were kids following their dreams, and they got them, which would not have been possible without ROH. Jimmy asks us to enjoy ROH for one more night, and since he's a princess, he always gets what he wants.

Fight Without Honor:
Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor (with Shane Taylor Promotions)

Taylor gets a hot start and throws King against ringside furniture. Taylor misses a chairshot and hits the post, but manages a back body drop. King throws his jacket, luring Taylor into a flurry of offense. King hits a blockbuster from the top rope through two tables! They crawl back for a kendo stick duel, and King gains the upper hand with shots to the back. King knocks Taylor loopy with a trash can. Taylor counters with a uranage onto the can! King begs for mercy, but Taylor lights him up with a kendo stick anyway. Taylor splashes King through a table from the apron! Taylor sets up a new table, but King puts him through it with a DVD for a good nearfall! King bridges a ladder on the barricade and uses a kendo stick to steal Taylor's ladder. Taylor repays the kendo shots and concocts a tower of ladders in the ring. King cuts him off, climbs the taller ladder, and splashes Taylor through a bridge! Taylor comes back with a series of KO shots and nails a Rikishi Driver for 2! They meet on the bridged ringside ladder for an awkward slugfest, as they watch their steps. Taylor puts King through the ladder with a piledriver! It takes Taylor a long time to haul King back to the ring and only gets a 2 count. King dares Taylor to hit him with a chair, and Taylor obliges. Taylor piledrives King onto a chair to win at 17:59! Great brawl and stunt show, with enough character moments sprinkled in to keep this feeling personal, ****.
Winner: Shane Taylor

King and Taylor hug it out afterwards.

Video testimonial with CM Punk! He is incredibly proud of his past with ROH, where they fostered an environment where guys could learn and get paid. Punk doesn't think we should feel sad if ROH ends, but we should feel damn happy that it happened.

ROH Women's Championship:
Rok-C © vs. Willow Nightingale

If I'm running a major wrestling company, I'm scrambling to sign Rok-C before someone else scoops her up. I doubt WWE will sign her given their new hiring practices, but she should be a lock for AEW or Impact (I believe she's heading to MLW as a freelancer). Willo should be on everyone's radar as well. Quinn McKay joins commentary and admires Rok-C's bangs while she trades holds with Willow. They take turns playing mind games, and Willow uses his size advantage to counter all of Rok-C's tricks. Rok-C seemingly hits her moonsault knee drop, but Willow reverses into a catapult. Rok-C double counters with a rana, slaps the chest, but Willow smashes her into the buckles and hits a running cannonball. Fans chant for Willow while she reverses into the 3 Amigos, Rok-C botches a reversal, and Willow manages an Olympic Slam for 2. Rok-C traps the wrist and steps up for a rana! Thesz Press by Rok-C, followed by some unfortunate looking punches. Handspring splash by Rok-C gets 2, Willow reverses into a roll-up for a botched nearfall. Willow hits a wild POUNCE that pops the fans. They trade chops, Willow reverses Code Red for a good nearfall. Rok-C answers with a powerbomb from the buckles for 2. Willow comes back with a superplex and moonsault, but ROK-C KICKS OUT! Rok-C blocks a pump kick and hits Code Red for the win at 9:40 and the fans boo her! Definitely a rough night for Rok-C, who had many sloppy moments and lost the crowd, but they held it together and delivered an exciting finish, **¼.
Winner and still ROH Women's Champion: Rok-C

AAA Women's Champion Deonna Purrazzo comes to the ring to confront Rok-C. Deonna feels that the ROH Women's Championship is her's by right. Deonna expects to be Knockouts Champion again soon, and challenges Rok-C to a winner take all match.

Video testimonial with Adam Cole! He credits ROH for helping him discover more professional wrestling in the world and changing the landscape.

VLNCE UNTLD (Brody King, Homicide, Tony Deppen, and Rocky Romero) vs. Tracy Williams, Eli Isom, Taylor Rust, and EC3

Romero is riding high after recruiting Trent's mom, Sue, into CHAOS, but Williams takes him to school with some mat grappling. Romero does better with running clotheslines, and he reverses a leg lock into an arm breaker, and they break for a stalemate. Deppen and Rust make tags for a friendly showdown. Deppen shows off with a double rana. Homicide tags in to a big pop, but Williams puts him into a crossface. Homicide shakes Tracy off, but has to contend with the ludicrously muscular EC3. Brody shoves EC3 into Homicide's suplex. EC3 stops Brody with a pendulum DDT, and Isom helps with a body slam for 2. King flattens Isom with a back senton, and VLNCE UNTLD isolate him in their corner. It doesn't take too long for EC3 to get a hot tag and clear the ring. He catches Deppen in a dive and suplexes him on the floor. Homicide wipes EC3 out with a somersault dive! The dives keep coming as Isom hits a top rope moonsault. Rust and Williams stop Brody's dive with Total Elimination! King recovers and dives onto a half dozen people anyway. The match has totally broken down. Rust finds his nemesis, Romero, and powerbombs him onto a random shelf of chairs. Meanwhile, Homicide takes a fork to EC3's face and armpit. They're playing all the hits tonight. Brody hits Isom with a Muscle Buster, EC3 hits Brody with a piledriver, Homicide lariats EC3, Rust hits Homicide with a cutter. Romero hits Rust with Sliced Bread. Tracy plows Romero with a lariat and puts him in Cattle Mutilation! Deppen breaks it with a flying double stomp! Isom hits the Helluva Kick and ring post brainbuster, earning an "Ole" chant! Homicide hits Isom with Cop Killa for a great nearfall! Homicide spends too much time complaining and Isom hits a superkick. Brody spins Isom into a lariat and Ganso Bomb for the win at 14:45! I wasn't terribly interested in this match at the beginning, but as it shifted into the type of multi-man party match that we see a lot of in AEW, with many tributes and nods to ROH legends, it warmed my heart, ***.

VLNCE UNTLD pose with a fan's sign, featuring the classic ROH logo. It's a shame they didn't bring back the metal guardrails for fans to slap one last time, but alas.

EC3 complains that ROH and its leaders have failed all the younger, emerging stars in the company. Brian Johnson comes out to protest, and EC3 shouts that he has lost everything, which should make him dangerous. EC3 seems to be rallying Johnson, Draper, and Isom together as a new stable that could show up in any company to disrupt things. EC3 orders to "Free the Titan" and out comes Adam Scherr (formerly Braun Strowman) and to beat up the guys instead. EC3 does have a new stable, but it doesn't include Draper, Johnson, or Isom, but instead appears to be Scherr and two other unnamed guys (one of whom is the former Wesley Blake).

Video testimonial with The Young Bucks! They had some of their best years in ROH and simply offer their thanks.

ROH Tag Team Championship:
The OGK © (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, with Maria Kanellis-Bennett) vs. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark)

Carey Silken hangs out on commentary. No surprise, the fans love the Briscoes, who are sentimental favorites for their long ROH tenure (dating back to the first show). Taven and Bennett are ROH originals themselves and make their case by hitting Mark with a tandem dropkick. Mark sets Bennett up for Jay's running boot, and he eats some redneck kung fu. Taven helps with a baseball slide dropkick and dive onto Jay. The Briscoes throw Bennett into harm's way as Taven misfires a dive. Mark leaps off a chair onto the OGK. Taven recovers and hits Jay with a Blue Thunder Bomb. The OGK work Jay over in their corner. Mark gets a quick hot tag and holds Taven up for Jay's cutter. Jay is bleeding from the eye, Taven reverses the J-Driller into a roll-up. Bennett hits Jay with a brainbuster. The OGK drape Jay for a top rope splash to the outside! Match breaks down and everyone goes down for a breather and receives a polite ovation. The Briscoes are up first and get the crowd going with a tope and blockbuster from the apron. Spicolli Driver by Mark and then the Froggy Elbow, but Maria disrupts the count. Bennett mistimes a spear and knocks his wife down! Bennett is irate and hits Mark with a piledriver at ringside. The OGK hit a DOOMSDAY DEVICE TO THE OUTSIDE! MARK KICKS OUT! The OGK hit Mark with a tandem slam, for a less dramatic nearfall. The OGK deliver Hail Mary, this time Jay breaks the cover. Jay puts Bennett down with the J-Driller! Taven hits Jay with a spin kick, and Mark with a penalty kick. Mark blocks Taven's frog splash, and Jay hits another J-Driller, but TAVEN KICKS OUT! The Briscoes hit their own Doomsday Device, but Taven kicks out again! Taven takes another J-Driller and Froggy Elbow, and Mark gets the pinfall at 15:35! The Briscoes are 12 time champions! Just a stellar match, with huge stunts and high level action throughout. This is a fitting tribute to all the big Briscoes classics throughout the years and an emotional way to go out, ****¼.
Winners and new ROH Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes

The Briscoes' celebration is interrupted when the lights go out and FTR's music hits! Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood appear on the apron and brawl with the weary Briscoes. They get pulled apart, and it looks like they will meet for the titles at some point, just who knows when and where.

Bryan Danielson talks to the camera. He doesn't think he would have made it where he is today without ROH. He puts over the fans for making the shows what they were.

ROH World Championship:
Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham (with The Foundation)

Bandido has to miss this event for testing positive for COVID-19 (yep, that's still a thing), so old friends Lethal and Gresham are fighting for the newly vacant championship. Bell rings and Lethal looks emotional while fans chant "ROH!" They aggressively lock up and collide with dual shoulder blocks. They trade holds again and reach a quick stalemate. Lethal hits a TKO combination, Gresham answers with a low dropkick. Gresham goes to work on the arm, but Lethal chops back. Lethal buys some time with a tope suicida. Gresham tries to fly but Lethal counters with a power slam. Gresham blocks Lethal Injection and then reverses the Figure Four into a pinning predicament. Gresham bridges over Lethal backwards for a nearfall and spins around to viciously kick the bad arm. Lethal traps the wrist and they exchange chops. Gresham kicks the bad arm, but Lethal responds with a ripcord clam. Lethal teases Hail to the King, they exchange rapid counters until Lethal applies a Torture Rack into a Finlay Roll. Hail to the King connects! Lethal's arm is too hurt for the Lethal Injection, and Gresham goes on a flurry with a moonsault and locks on a chicken wing. Lethal desperately breaks free with a cutter. Both guys take a breather while the lockerroom gathers around the ring. Gresham is up first and hits a German Suplex and Bayonet for only 2. Superkick by Lethal, but the bad arm costs him a chance for Lethal Injection. Low lariat by Gresham gets another urgent nearfall. Gresham can't gain a pinfall so he locks on the Octopus for the submission at 15:35! Gresham's wife, Jordynne Grace, joins him for the celebration! This was everything it needed to be, and reminded me quite a bit of the feelings I had watching the final Bryan Danielson/Nigel McGuinness match at Glory by Honor in 2009. The commentators think Gresham is taking the ROH title to New Japan Strong, so don't start calling him the last champion just yet, ****.
Winner and new ROH World Champion: Jonathan Gresham

Final Thoughts: I appreciated this chance to sit back and reflect on how much ROH has meant to the wrestling industry, as well as personally to me as a fan. It will be interesting to see what the company looks life in April if they do return for Supercard of Honor. Whether or not "ROH 2.0" is a success, I'm glad they went out with their heads held high and put a bow on the 2002 - 2021 version of ROH. I recommend you check this out.

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