ROH Final Battle 2011 – Richards/Edwards III
New York, New York 12/23/11
1.) “Unbreakable Michael Elgin (with Truth Martini) vs. TJ Perkins: ***
A good opening match. TJP did a nice job and Elgin looked like the Beast that he is.
2.) Tommaso Ciampa (with The Embassy) vs. Jimmy Rave: **1/2
This match features the current "Crown Jewel" vs. the former "Crown Jewel". A pretty decent match. Rave looked good and Ciampa looked strong in the victory.
3.) ROH World TV Title – Jay Lethal vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett (with Maria & Brutal Bob) vs. El Generico: ***
So this goes back to August when El Generico lost the ROH World TV Title in his first defense against Jay Lethal at the first SBG TV Tapings in Chicago Ridge. These three were then involved in some matches during the fall on TV that had some "controversial" endings. This also saw the ROH debut of Bennett's real life girlfriend & former WWE Diva/Playboy Cover Girl Maria Kanellis. The match was pretty solid, but I expected it to be slightly better.
4.) No DQ Match with Jimmy Jacobs as Special Referee & Jim Cornette at Ringside – Steve Corino vs. “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen: ****1/4
If Kevin Steen wins, he will be reinstated into ROH. If he loses, he will banned forever once again. Corino was out in his old-school blonde hair. This was an awesome hardcore brawl, one of the best singles matches Corino has had in a long time. Lots of brutal stuff. Jacobs reluctantly counts the three & Steen is back in ROH!
Afterwords, Steen lays out Jacobs. He then looks to go after Cornette, but El Generico comes out and a brawl ensues! Eventually they go out to the apron and Steen gives his former partner a package piledriver through a table at ringside!
5.) Gauntlet Match to earn a Future ROH World Tag Team Title Shot – The Bravados vs. Coleman & Alexander vs. Future Shock vs. The Young Bucks vs. The All Night Express: ***
So this is a Tag Team Gauntlet Match with the winner getting a future title shot. The Bravados were out (surprisingly) first via C & C, who were next eliminated by Future Shock. The Young Bucks then eliminated both Future Shock and ANX (going after Rhett's knee) to win. The star rating is for the whole match. Unfortunately, I don't think this clicked as well as ROH was hoping. The quiet crowd didn't help.
6.) Roderick Strong Open Invitational – Roderick Strong (with Truth Martini) vs. Chris Hero: ***
This is essentially an open challenge. Nobody shows up initially and Truth Martini starts a mock-ten count. Just as he's about to reach to ten, music plays and CHRIS HERO comes out!
The match itself was a solid match, but at the same time, nothing spectacular. This was good positive for the indy scene as a whole, as we got Hero for another few weeks before he went to WWE.
7.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe: **1/4
This all started back at Best in the World in June when the Briscoes attacked Haas & Benjamin after the end of the Four-Way Tag Match. Since then, WGTT has seemingly gotten more bland while the Briscoes are one title win away from being babyfaces again. The booking here was just downright confusing, as they brawled on the outside for what seemed like forever, before they even officially started the match! Very long match with terrible booking. The Briscoes winning the belts was really the only redeemable quality.
8.) ROH World Title – Davey Richards (with Team Richards) vs. “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards (with Dan “The Beast” Severn): ***1/2
Tony Kozina & Kyle O'Reilly are out with Richards and Dan Severn was out with Edwards. There a lot of things to say about this match. Firstly, I really didn't enjoy the build to this match. They tried to make it WAAAY too UFC-esque. Having Dan Severn train Edwards was fine, but it as a whole just didn't come off well. It made Davey seem like a crybaby because Edwards went to Severn when he was supposed to and didn't tell him. Lame. Then there was the match. As a wrestling match, it was fine....I would even say good. But for the main event of your biggest show of the year, and after the match they had in June, it was a MASSIVE disappointment. Firstly, the Dragon Sleeper, which had been built up as a new deadly finisher for Edwards, didn't even come into play during the match! Then there was the interference from the House of Truth. This was stupid. How Severn can fend off both Strong & Elgin is beyond me. At least he carried Martini off. The match itself was fine, but was WAAAY too long. Should have been half the time it got. Like a said before, a massive disappointed. This issue was very similar to the Austin Aries/Tyler Black match from two years prior. People expected it to be good, but it was booked strangely and went entirely too long. I suspect that Jim Cornette's fingerprints are all over this.
Afterwords, Kevin Steen comes out and cuts a promo, saying that is the antichrist of pro-wrestling and that in 2012 he is coming for Davey Richards and his ROH World Title.
Let me first start off by saying that it wasn't a bad show, wrestling wise. Some of the booking, however, was. The Gauntlet Match could have been better (or maybe a different match entirely) and the World Tag Team Title match was booked atrociously. The main event was very underwhelming, and the way it was build up and how the match itself was booked was a big part of that. I think this was where people really started to realize that the Jim Cornette influence was in full swing, and it wasn't necessarily a good thing. I feel like Final Battle 2009 was very similar to this show. It had some decent to good mid-card matches, a great 1st Half Main Event (both of which involved Kevin Steen) and a main event that was underwhelming and under delivered. Very odd show.