Sunday, December 7, 2014

ROH Final Battle 2014 Review

While I haven't been all that into ROH lately, the card for this event was simply too good to pass up. Whether it was the six man tag that looked insane on paper, the Fight Without Honor that was a year in the making, or the highly anticipated rematch between ReDragon and Timesplitters - I couldn't miss this event. Thus, I ordered it which leads us to my review of ROH's final PPV event of 2014!

1) Mark Briscoe vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Hanson vs. Caprice Coleman - Four Corner Survival Match
At ROH's last PPV offering in June, Best in the World, a six man mayhem match opened the show. This go round, we got a four man match that was quite similar as it served it's purpose of getting the crowd pumped up. It started off a bit slow however soon turned into chaos near the end and the result was an overall enjoyable opening match. Hanson picks up the win in a match that he was clearly the star of.

Match rating - **1/4

2) Roderick Strong vs. Adam Page
I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again - Roderick Strong is the perfect opponent for young talent trying to make a name for themselves. Roddy rarely has a bad match and has been wrestling the independent scene for the past decade so he's very experienced. Adam Page is a guy who I've enjoyed watching over the course of 2014 so I was really looking forward to this match. Thankfully it lived up to expectations. Page got his chance to shine several times by hitting his signature moves including the vicious clothesline over the barricade on the outside. It was a pretty competitive bout with Roddy giving Page one hell of a hard time. In the end, Strong's experience would prevail as he defeated Page. It was definitely a good performance for Page though, I'd venture to say he came out looking better than he went in. Solid match.

Match rating - ***

3) Michael Elgin vs. Tomasso Ciampa
These two faced off in PWG earlier this year and tore the house down so I expected the same here. It unfortunately didn't live up to expectations and I think everyone would agree that it was the most disappointing match of the evening. They hit some big spots and worked hard, but it just felt like something was missing. The crowd wasn't as hot as they were earlier in the show so that may have had something to do with it, I'm not sure. This was decent however it's nowhere near the previous matches that these two men have had.

Match rating - **3/4

4) The Young Bucks & ACH vs. Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Cedric Alexander
Up until this point, the show had been just okay. Then this match hit and took things up several notches. I shouldn't have expected any different considering the names involved, but damn these guys blew me away. Yes, it was for the most part a spotfest however it wasn't the same old spotfest. The Bucks continue to innovate the art of tag team wrestling and this was another example of that. They could easily just do all the same stuff every match and coast by but they don't. They, along with the other guys in this match, came up with a number of innovative exchanges and spots that left me speechless. Cedric Alexander & ACH looked like stars here as well, they are ready to take the next step and this match proved that as they hung right in there with Daniels, Kaz, & The Bucks. Speaking of Daniels & Kazarian, do they ever age? They're clearly the veterans here yet they delivered just as great of a performance as the younger guys. One of The Young Bucks tweeted that this was one of his favorite matches of the year and I have to agree. This was my favorite match of the night and definitely one I'll look back on in the coming months. Awesome six man tag!

Match rating - ****1/4

5) RD Evans vs. Moose
I was totally uninterested in this match although I did like where it was placed on the card because after that six man tag, I needed a break. This bout gave me a chance to cool down so I can't hate on it too much. Veda Scott turned on Evans which allowed Moose to pick up the victory in a rather short bout. Good showcase for Moose.

Match rating - *3/4

6) Jay Lethal vs. Matt Sydal - ROH World TV Title Match
After being given some time to settle down with the Evans/Moose match, the highly anticipated action begins again as Jay Lethal battles Matt Sydal in what could be considered a dream match. I've really enjoyed Lethal as of late and he continued his trend of being awesome here by playing his character very well. The only downfall to him being a heel is that we don't get to see him do the Macho Man impression. None the less, this match was very good although it's not the MOTY candidate some had hoped for. Despite that, this one delivered in pretty much every aspect so I can't complain. There were alot of nice exchanges that were built up extremely well as we saw both men go for their signature moves early on only for the other man to counter out. I liked how it was booked because it made it feel big when they finally were able to hit it later in the match. The finish with Lethal catching Sydal with an ace crusher in the midst of a shooting star press was amazing! Good match. Glad Lethal retained, hoping he drops the title to ACH or Cedric Alexander next year.

Match rating - ***1/2

7) ReDragon (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & Kushida) - ROH World Tag Team Title Match
Earlier this week, I finally got around to watching the match these two teams had in New Japan a few weeks ago and it did nothing but get me even more hyped for this rematch. These are without a doubt four of the best workers in the world and they proved so once again here by putting on a display of tag team wrestling at it's finest. I don't think it was quite as good as their most recent match in New Japan however it was still awesome and definitely one of the best bouts of the night. I hope to see more of these two teams going at it in ROH in the future. Fantastic tag team match.

Match rating - ****

8) Jay Briscoe (c) vs. Adam Cole - Fight Without Honor Match for the ROH World Title
The ROH World Title picture has been filled with controversy in recent months with Michael Elgin shockingly losing it to Jay Briscoe only a few months after winning it. This led to a long time feud being revisited one last time as Jay Briscoe and Adam Cole faced off in a Fight Without Honor. Jay hit the Jay Driller seconds in which caught me by surprise however it foreshadowed how the rest of the match would go because these guys went at it full speed. A staple gun was brought into play along with multiple tables and chairs. The best spot of the match however was PWG influenced as Adam Cole stuffed thumbtacks in Jay Briscoe's mouth and superkicked him. Amazing visual. Jay retains after two consecutive Jay Drillers. Great main event that lived up to the billing.

Match rating - ***3/4

Overall thoughts: While this event didn't quite deliver in every area on the level that I expected it to, it was still a damn good evening of wrestling. The tag team bouts are what really shined here as they were clearly the best matches of the night. Lethal/Sydal and Roddy/Page were both good additions to the card as well. The biggest disappointment here was Ciampa/Elgin as it fell way short of what I thought we were going to get from them. As for the main event, it didn't quite reach the level of past Fight Without Honor matches, but it was still a really good match with a lot of brutal moments. So overall, this was a great show that I'd recommend checking it out if you missed it.

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