ROH Final Battle onsite report: Ladder War main event featuring Kevin Steen vs. El Generico, new ROH Title belt, Jerry Lynn's final Ring of Honor match, detailed notes on the in-person experience
Dot Net Member Zim attended the ROH Final Battle event on Sunday in New York and sent the following report.
Great crowd tonight. The ballroom looked full, I don't know its capacity, but it had to be close. Much better than Best In The World was in the same building.
Joe Koff had us take a moment of silence to remember the victims of the CT tragedy.
Before the show, QT Marshall came to the ring and cut a heel promo, to which the crowd replied with "who are you" chants. He issued an open challenge which was answered by Grizzly Redwood.
Grizzly Redwood beat Q.T. Marshall with a roll up in about 30 seconds. Not sure what the point of this was, perhaps just to warm us up.
Roderick Strong was more over than Michael Elgin was in their match, and I don't think that was the desired reaction. Great match between these two with the crowd very invested.
Post match, Roddy told Truth Martini that he was done with him and left. Martini then turned to Elgin and cocked off, to which Elgin responded with a bucklebomb and a stiff backfist that knocked a lens out of Martini's sunglasses.
Once again, the crowd was more behind the "other guy" than the guy ROH is trying to get over. Rhino got a great crowd reaction and the crowd has essentially turned on Jay Lethal, especially later in the night. Pretty good match that filled the spot it was there to fill.
Post match, Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs beat Lethal down and held him for Rhino to hit the Gore, which got a massive pop. Again, not sure if that's how ROH wanted fans to respond.
R.D. Evans beat Prince Nana with a unique inverted Styles Clash. More wrestling in this one than I expected. The crowd liked Nana and liked to dislike Evans, so it was a fun match.
Post match, Tomasso Ciampa made his return through the crowd and yelled at Evans. Good to see Ciampa back, I think he is a great talent with big upside.
BJ Whitmer and Rhett Titus attacked WGTT (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) during their entrance. For the record, nobody in ROH has more heat than Charlie Haas. In fact, I'd go as far as saying nobody in the business has more heat with a crowd than Charlie Haas does.
The finish came on the scariest bump I've ever seen. The crowd response was chilling and the image was disturbing. Whitmer, who had no business taking such a bump, took a belly to belly superplex through a table, but he didn't complete rotation and went head first through the table with no possible way of slowing his momentum. Stupid spot and absolutely terrifying for us in attendance.
Mike Bennett defeated Jerry Lynn. Great pop and reaction for Jerry Lynn. He and Bennett put on a really good wrestling contest, nothing fancy, but a really nice match. Post-match, Lynn got the upper hand, DDT'd Maria onto Brutal Bob's junk, and hit the cradle piledriver on Bennett. Then he grabbed the mic. He was met with uproarious "Thank you Jerry" chants and cut a promo thanking us all and telling us that he's got 6 matches left. Nigel McGuinness came to the ring with the Briscoes, Cole, and C&C to give Jerry what was essentially a lifetime achievement award. Classy move and the crowd dug it.
As that was wrapping up, Jay Lethal hit the ring to confront Nigel. He eventually spat on Nigel and the crowd completely turned on him. "f--- him up Nigel, f---him up!" echoed through the arena. Lethal's character has become such a whiny douche, who would want to cheer him? Maybe he'll find success as a heel because New York certainly wasn't behind him here tonight.
Intermission. I asked a crew member if BJ Whitmer was alive and he said that he was shaken up but OK.
Mike Mondo came out to absolute crickets. He talked about how he would be back in a month instead of a year like he had thought, and nobody cared. Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish hit the ring to beat him up, and people still didn't really care.
The American Wolves defeated Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish. Enter Davey Richards, followed by Eddie Edwards who was greeted with a nice ovation. Eddie's ovation carried into really good match heat for what was, in my opinion, the best match of the night. The new tag team of Fish and O'Reilly looked good tonight, already having some team spots worked out. Davey and Eddie looked as good as ever and had the crowd solidly behind the American Wolves once again.
Matt Hardy defeated Adam Cole. Out next was Adam Cole. Last time ROH was at the Hammerstein, Cole split his lip in half requiring about a dozen stitches and put on one of the greatest bloody spectacles in ROH history in his match with Kyle O'Reilly. Adam Cole became a star to these fans that night and he was treated like a star here tonight. Cole has also started getting the "Best in the World" chants from some fans. Curious to see where he goes, he is certainly a future star.
Massive heat for Hardy. He was met with every chant and cat-call in the book, and just rolled with the punches. He also took some bumps that I don't think anyone expected him to take. Whether that a good thing or bad thing I'll leave it to you, but it would appear that this wasn't Hardy's last ROH match.
The Briscoes defeated SCUM and Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman. Little crowd reaction for Coleman and Alexander. Most fans were behind the Briscoes, but SCUM had their supporters as well. Fun chaotic match featuring no tags and sudden death rules, but too short to be memorable. The crowd was a little bit surprised by the finish, but popped big once it had sunk in.
Kevin Steen defeated El Generico. El Generico had probably two thirds of the crowd behind him with the other third going with Steen. Great ladder match with an absolutely sickening finish, but I don't think it exceeded their PWG title match from Steenwolf at all.
Quick note, the new ROH Title belt is really classy looking. It's a more traditional look resembling the Attitude Era belt and the ECW belt.
Overall a very entertaining show that met my expectations. I wasn't blown away, but there wasn't a disappointing match on the show and the crowd made it fun. It's interesting how a crowd like this can make matches a notch better than they were, whereas some of the recent DGUSA/Evolve shows have actually had better matches up and down the card, but no crowd heat to amp it up.
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