ROH FINAL BATTLE 2018 [Review]: End of an Era.

***ROH FINAL BATTLE 2018 REVIEW***

Kenny King v Eli Isom – This was a solid, fine opener with King continuing his admirable heelish ways and Isom playing the role of 1-2-3 Kid. While this was solid work similar to a Young Lions match, I would’ve preferred it be added to the preshow. – 3/5

“Monsignor” Travis Moody @TravMoody

ROH TV Title: Jeff Cobb v Adam Page – You knew when they booked this it would be insane no matter what Page’s contract situation is like (AEW). And damn what a blowaway match with a super hot crowd; should’ve been the first match or middle match on the show. PWG champ Cobb out there lookin’ like a superstar, and lord knows ROH need superstars! But has anyone had a more improved 2018 than Page?  – 4.25/5

– Women of Honor Title Elimination: Kelly Klein v Champion Sumie Sakai v Madison Rayne v Karen Q – I’ve got to be honest. I feel like this whole division — WOH — is forced. NXT (and to some degree NXT UK) are stealing all the best up and coming female superstars in the world, with all the leftovers heading here. Other than Dashwood, I just haven’t cared about WOH and seemingly neither did this crowd. Oh, there was a new champ here.. which is good. Right? – 2.5/5

Zack Sabre Jr v Jonathan Gresham – When I first saw this announced I thought this had “Technical MOTY” written all over it. But at just 12-minutes — and the crowd heat knocked down several notches from the previous match — this came off more like half a great G1 match. Sadly on this card it never had a chance to get into that second gear.. can we see a rematch in Progress or OTT please? – 3.5/5

For Matt Taven’s “Real World Championship: Matt Taven vs. Dalton Castle – Not gonna lie.. I skimmed through this one. I like Taven as a heel (Massholes 4 life, bay bay) and Castle is a good guy, but I’m so over this feud and specifically Castle’s character. He def could turn heel and join the Kingdom and make them an incredible faction. I did like the finish once TK O’Cass got sent to the back. He’s gettin’ there, bjt Taven needs to be THE MAN in 2019. – 2.75/5

– Marty Scurll’s ROH Title Shot on The Line: Marty Scurll v Christopher Daniels – Perhaps because everyone knew the result, the arena never felt as electric as it should’ve been for this. That said, both BTE cast pair worked a sound contest with lots of great exchanges and Daniels not looking the one bit of 48 years young. One of the all time greats in ROH, The Fallen Angel will be missed. Scurll’s up next for Lethal. – 3.5/5

– I QUIT MATCH: Flip Gordon v Bully Ray – This was easily my favorite of all these trash Bully Ray angle matches. It was pure ECW, expected in New York City, with a zillion weapons, interferences and shenanigans. Some were cheap, some were forced, but the performances by both Flip as the ultimate patriot and Bully as the ultimate shitbag worked. Whether this is your cup of tea or not, it was the most hotly contested match up to this point since Cobb/Page. It was a fucking trainwreck — both a horrible and great thing — and yet it worked… – 3.25/5

– ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal v Cody – I know I’m in the critical minority here, but I really liked this match. You knew with Cody and Lethal’s storied history it would go there. And how good was Brandi? If you accept she’s part of the package deal (see Macho King & Queen Sherri), you’ll appreciate her well-placed hypnotic shoulder spears in the match–they were great! I also liked the pacing of the match, which was the longest of the show, a minute or less more than the main event. It had several stages of crazy. I think hardcore wrestling fans are conditioned to not enjoy as much story/ref bumps/villainry, etc. in their wrestling as, say, the Attitude Era. But this Final Battle between the two ROH staples reminded me of a really good championship match from the A.E. where it wasn’t always about high spots or technical/athletic shit; more so larger-than-life characters going to war by any means necessary. With Mr. Rhodes leaving by way of new promotion exec, is Lethal ready to be the heel to replace him? – 3.75/5

– ROH Tag Title LADDER WAR: The Briscoes v Champions SCU v The Young Bucks – An absolutely incredible ladder match ala Edge & Christian v Hardyz v Dudleyz — with plenty of odes to that great rivalry in this match. Supposedly some stuff got cut as they ran short on time, but 23 minutes of ECW-level brutality, table and ladder dives, chairshots to the head, etc. etc. felt fine enough to me. Despite, perhaps, the inevitable — the Bucks and SCU leaving for All Elite Wrestling — all 6 guys in the match left everything out there in one of the best Ring of Honor MOTY.  – 4.5/5

Overall = 3.5/5 Bibles.

Two things held Final Battle back from being one of the best events of the year: 1.) Predictable outcomes, 2.) Match placement. While the first one was clearly not ROH’s fault (they were handicapped), they could have done a better job setting up the card. I would have actually started with Page/Cobb and had King/Isom on the pre-show; the Woman’s match could have bridged the two matches with extreme shenanigans. Otherwise, nearly everything tonight was fun and the show never really dragged. No doubt it’ll be an interesting year with The Elite all but (Scurll) gone, and new MLW/PWG breed (PCO, Brody King, Cobb) here to help boost a roster so desperately needing it. Overall, you should watch this if you love all forms of  wrestling.

-Travis Moody

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