Shore's ROH Final Battle Hitlist: El Generico vs. Kevin Steen delivers, RD Evans vs. Prince Nana surprises, American Wolves reunite, Briscoes shouldn't be tag champs, and Truth Martini looks like a real man
By Chris Shore
Check out my All Access audio review of ROH Final Battle in our Podcast section on the main page.
ROH Final Battle Hits
El Generico vs. Kevin Steen: Although this match didn't live up to the PWG version earlier this year, it was still a very good match and the biggest Hit of the show. They managed to put on a different match than they did for PWG, something not always easy to do, and they also managed to use a significant number of spots that were safer than what they did in PWG. That may be the biggest Hit of this Hit. Ladder matches are inherently dangerous, but you can mitigate the danger by being smart. It is more than a little ironic that ROH had a safer ladder match than a former ROH star (Seth Rollins a/k/a Tyler Black) did in the notoriously safety driven WWE did.
As far as Steen winning, this makes the most sense when you take everything in consideration. Steen remains wildly popular with the ROH crowd, so they don't have to worry about him getting stale yet. Generico is probably still working without a contract, and they really need to put a mouthpiece with him if he is going to be hanging around, especially near the top of the card.
Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong: This was a Hit not only for being a good match, but for being the "perfect" opener. Opening matches have the unenviable task of being hot enough to prime the crowd without getting too hot and making the rest of the matches pale in comparison. This did just that. Elgin and Strong worked well together and had NY ready for the rest of the card. Yet none of the other matches, many of which had a much lower work rate, were hurt by this match. I don't think the right guy won if this was the blow off, but I don't know how they continue the feud from here since both guys dumped Truth in the end.
RD Evans vs. Prince Nana: While I expected more out of this manager vs. manager match than most, I was surprised at how big of a Hit it was for them. Nana surprised me with his skill. I never expected him to hit many of the moves he did. Evans did not surprise me because I have seen his significant skill before in CHIKARA, but when combine with what Nana brought to the table, the two far exceeded expectations. Plus, anything that hints at the return of Tomasso Ciampa is going to be a hit in my book.
American Wolves reunite: While it is well documented that I am not the world's biggest Davey Richards fan, I have to say that he and Eddie Edwards make a great team. Neither men have done well since they split the team, and that's considering they were both ROH World Champion during that time. The problem was they both seemed adrift once the feud between them went away. A reunited American Wolves should bring direction to a tag division that is talented, but lacks focus right now.
ROH Final Battle Misses
The Briscoes win the Tag Titles: My only real complaint about the show was the Briscoes winning the tag titles. The tag division lacks focus right now, and anytime that happens, ROH puts the belts on the Briscoes. The problem is it's like putting a title belt on John Cena, nobody cares about the title with these guys. People just like the Briscoes, period.
SCUM having babyface Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman chasing, or even a newly reformed American Wolves chasing, would have done more for the division than a Briscoe title reign. Even a Cedric and Caprice run would have been better because it would have been taking a chance on a new team. This move doesn't kill the division, but it doesn't do them any favors either.
Truth Martini: This isn't so much of a complaint, but unless they were trying to make Truth Martini look like a tough guy--which I can't imagine was the plan--this was a huge miss. Martini stood in Elgin's face and said, "This is how a real man slaps another man in the face," and then slapped him. Here's the thing: that is exactly how a real man slaps another man in the face.
Even the NY crowd seemed confused what to do after that. They started to pop when Elgin grabbed Truth, but then they seemed to die down as the realization of what had actually happened swept through the crowd. It was such a strange way to get to where they were going, and I think they shot themselves in the foot a little in regards to Truth. I know I respect the character more today than I did last night, and I can't be the only one.
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