ROH Final Battle 2014
New York City, New York 12/7/14
This is the first ROH show held in Terminal 5. Due to the rent being raised for the Hammerstein Ballroom, ROH is no longer running that venue, and needed to find a new home in New York City. They found one in this very unique concert venue.
1.) Brutal Burgers (“Brutal” Bob Evans & Cheeseburger) vs. BJ Whitmer & Mikey Webb: **
The DVD includes this pre-show match. I think the deal here was that Mikey Webb is getting a “tryout” with The Decade. They had decent pre-show match here. Brutal Burgers would pick up the win, and I believe Whitmer beat up Mikey Webb afterwords (It’s kind of similar to what The House of Truth did with Michael Elgin in the first year or so of his ROH career).
1.) Four-Corner Survival – Caprice Coleman vs. Hanson vs. Jimmy Jacobs (with BJ Whitmer) vs. Mark Briscoe: ***
The PPV properly kicks off with a Four-Corner Survival match that pretty much consists of guys who had nothing else going on. I thought this was a very solid opener. All four guys got a chance to shine in here, and there was some pretty good action. Hanson would score the win here.
After the match, Jimmy Jacobs remains in the ring with BJ Whitmer. Jacobs talked about every young wrestler getting the chance to grab that “brass ring”, and then Whitmer takes the mic and says that Adam Page is ready to earn his spot in The Decade tonight. Page then comes out with some new Decade-themed gear.
2.) Adam Page (with The Decade) vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2
So this match was built around dissention within The Decade, and at this point, Strong has pretty much broken away from the group entirely, turning babyface in the process. Here, he’s taking on Adam Page, The Decade’s “young boy”. This was a really good match, with a lot of good back & forth action. You can always count on (at the very least) a good match from Roderick Strong, but this was a big moment for Adam Page as well. This was quite possibly the biggest match in ROH up to this point, and I think he stepped up in a big way. In the end, Strong was able to overcome Adam Page (as well as outside interference from BJ Whitmer) to win the match, making Page pass out in the Stronghold. Could Page have gotten the win here? Yes, but I think he still looked good in defeat.
After the match, BJ Whitmer gets into it with Steve Corino. The two need to be separated.
3.) “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: **3/4
While this sounds like a great matchup on paper, it had one of the strangest builds in recent memory. Ciampa was in the middle of becoming more psychotic, and was being monitored more closely after attacking ring announcer Bobby Cruise following a loss in a World Title match to Michael Elgin. Speaking of Elgin, the last part of 2014 for him has been nothing short of bizarre. After losing the ROH World Title to Jay Briscoe at All-Star Extravaganza VI, he was stuck in Canada for nearly a month due to visa issues. There was an incident where he was supposed to return on a show in Kalamazoo, but “quit” instead. He then showed up at a TV Taping and tried to lie down in a match against Caprice Coleman. All very strange…
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the match. There were a number of issues that prevented this from being a potentially great match. Firstly, the crowd didn’t know how to react in this match at all, and that’s because of how the characters had been handled on TV. You didn’t know who was supposed to be a face or a heel. Then there was an unnecessary ref bump, which led to a moment between Ciampa & Nigel McGuinness that I don’t think got the reaction they were looking for. Don’t get me wrong, the action was good, but all of the questionable storyline stuff totally overshadowed the match itself. It should be said also that, as far as their matches in Ring of Honor go, each match has gotten progressively worse. Elgin would end up winning this one.
4.) Six-Man Tag – Cedric Alexander & The Addiction vs. ACH & The Young Bucks: ****1/4
There aren’t really any storylines surrounding this match. It’s just two of the best tag teams in ROH teaming up with two of the biggest rising stars in the promotion. If you were looking for a match that was balls-to-the-walls and filled with athletic stuff, then this was the match for you. All six of these guys are so good, and so much to watch. There really isn’t anything else to say other than this match was super entertaining. Eventually, The Young Bucks & ACH would pick up the win with an amazing finishing sequence!
5.) Moose (with Stokely Hathaway & Prince Nana) vs. RD Evans: *
The storyline here is that, back at Glory By Honor XIII, Moose turned on RD Evans, screwing him out of the ROH World TV Title, and ending his undefeated streak. Simply put, this was a bad match. The crowd didn’t care about the story, and there were a few botches. Veda Scott, who was on the fence about what had happened to Evans, turned heel on Evans, to the surprise of nobody, and helped Moose get the win. This was easily one of the worst matches of the year from Ring of Honor. The fact that it was on PPV amplified that fact even more.
6.) ROH World TV Title – Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini & J. Diesel) vs. Matt Sydal: ***1/2
Over the last month or two, The House of Truth have been trying to court Sydal into joining them, but Sydal refused, which helped set up this match. This was a pretty good match. Lethal continues to excel in his role as ROH World TV Champion, and Sydal looks much better compared to when he first returned to the independent scene a few months earlier. There was some interference towards the end of the match from The House of Truth, but this was still a very good match. Lethal ended up countering a Shooting Star Press with a cutter (similar to what Randy Orton did several years earlier on RAW), before hitting the Lethal Injection to retain his title.
7.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – reDRagon vs. The Time Splitters: ****1/4
These two teams come into this match with a split record. Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA successfully retained their IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles in reDRagon’s New Japan debut at the G1 Climax 24 Finals. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly then won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles from The Time Splitters a few months later at Power Struggle 2014, becoming dual champions in the process. This is the rubber match, and it was pretty great! These are two of the best tag teams in the entire world, so it’s no surprise that they had an awesome match here. There was some great back & forth action throughout this one. Eventually, reDRagon would pull out the victory to retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles in one of the best matches of the night.
8.) ROH World Title – Fight Without Honor – Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole: ****1/4
We now come to the Main Event, which is the conclusion to one of the best feuds in Ring of Honor history since the SBG era began. Initially, this feud seemingly concluded with their Ladder War at Supercard of Honor VIII in New Orleans, but with Jay Brisoce winning the ROH World Title for a 2nd time, and Adam Cole winning the 2014 edition of Survival of the Fittest, their paths were bound to cross again. We expected this to be an all-out war, and that’s exactly what we got here. These two went out there and just tried to destroy each other. Chairs, Tables, Ladders, Thumbtacks, and even a staple gun, were all used in this match. I know a lot of people don’t like these types of violent matches, but when get a feud that’s as personal as this one, then I think it’s totally appropriate, and these two did an amazing job here. You really got the sense that these two absolutely despised each other. Jay Briscoe finally put an end to Adam Cole with a Jay Driller on top of the ROH World Title to score the victory. A symbolic end to this great rivalry.
This was ROH 2nd PPV effort, and I think it was slightly better than their 1st PPV, Best In The World 2014. I thought the three best matches on this show (the Six-Man Tag, the ROH World Tag Team Title Match, and the Fight Without Honor for the ROH World Title) were better than the best matches on Best In The World 2014. Those three matches were all great in their own way, and are definitely worth checking out. While there were some matches that were weird (Ciampa vs. Elgin) or outright bad (Moose vs. RD Evans), the rest of the undercard (the opening Four-Way, Strong vs. Page, and the ROH World TV Title Match) were all very solid. The positives on this show outweighed the negatives, and I think ROH ended 2014 on a good note.