ROH Final Battle 2018 Review

edited

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Kenny King defeats Eli Isom @8:58 ***
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Hangman Page @13:30 ****1/2
  • Kelly Klein defeats Sumie Sakai, Karen Q, and Madison Rayne @13:40 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr defeats Jonathan Gresham @12:22 ***1/2
  • Matt Taven defeats Dalton Castle @15:51 **
  • Marty Scurrl defeats Christopher Daniels to Retain his Title Shot and Retire Daniels @17:42 ***1/2
  • Flip Gordon defeats Bully Ray in an I Quit Match @14:22 ***1/4
  • Jay Lethal defeats Cody to Retain the ROH World Title @23:25 ****1/4

Eli Isom vs. Kenny King:

  • Eli is a promising young talent but gets slammed by Kenny King in a pre-match promo saying he’s not good enough.
  • King starts the match off with a cheap shot. 
  • Amazing Corkscrew Tope Con Hilo by King takes out Isom ringside. 
  • Solid academic leapfrog sequence allows Isom to take control for the first time. Tope Con Hilo by Isom returns the favor taking out King ringside. 
  • King begins to dominate again and does a good job of being the cocky dominant heel.
  • Suplex Stunner by King gets the first near fall on Isom.
  • Isom is a little rough around the edges but can work great for someone who’s been in the industry for a year.
  • Isom powerbombs out of a Triangle hold by King for a near fall. 
  • King dumps Isom off the springboard and hits a chinchecker/flying hotshot/blockbuster combo to follow, King gets a near fall but pulls Isom up to continue to dominate. 
  • Royal Flush by King rolled into a small package by Isom for a great near fall.
  • Gory Special/Pinning Combo 1-2 by Isom for another near fall. 
  • King catches Isom mid-air and hits a Royal Flush for the win. 

Winner: Kenny King @8:57

Rating: ***, The dynamic between the cocky dominant heel and the young upstart was really good in this match but Isom had shown that he wasn’t technically sound as much of the match was dead space but both men turned in very good acting performances in a good story. 

Jeff Cobb(c) vs. Hangman Page for the ROH TV Title:

  • The match starts fast and furious. 
  • Page dropkicks Cobb to ringside, Page goes for the Apron Shooting Star Press but Cobb catches him with an overhead suplex. Awesome spot. 
  • Lionsault by Page for the first near fall.
  • Amazing dropkick by Cobb hits Page on the top rope, Cobb follows it up with a great stalling superplex he only gets one count on Page but follows it up with a Standing Moonsault. 
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Cobb misses Page.
  • Crossbody by Cobb but Page rolls through with amazing strength to hit a fallaway slam. Another awesome spot. 
  • Page lariats Cobb to the outside to follow it up with a suicide dive which takes out Cobb ringside. Page goes to the top rope and moonsaults down to the floor taking Cobb out again.
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Page, One Count. Page hits another one for a near fall.
  • Strikefest turns into a staredown, Cobb knocks Page into the corner and deadlifts him up into a Tombstone Piledriver for a great near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Headbutt by Cobb knocks Page onto the apron, Cobb runs at Page but gets caught with a Buckshot Lariat.
  • Rite of Passage attempt by Page is rolled through into an F5 for a near fall. 
  • Tour of the Islands by Cobb into an amazing crucifix counter by Page for a great near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page caught into a Tour of the Islands followed by another one to close. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Retains @13:30!

Rating: ****1/2, This match was outstanding and intense. These 2 mixed with each other amazingly and the crowd was red hot. This is what ROH was founded on. Jeff Cobb is one of the sleeper picks for wrestler of the year and drops another instant classic. The spots here were insane and it was one of the most fun, well-paced matches I’ve seen from ROH this year. 

Sumie Sakai vs. Karen Q vs. Madison Rayne vs. Kelly Klein for the Women of Honor Title:

  • Double Strikefests to start the match.
  • Sumie Sakai and Madison Rayne face-off to start the action after initial chaos. 
  • Crossbody by Rayne for the first near fall on Sakai. 
  • Sakai rolls into a Coquina Clutch but Karen turns both women into a Double Boston Crab, Sakai and Rayne escape. 
  • Klein chucks Sakai to ringside taking her out of the match momentarily. 
  • Q and Klein decide to team up and take out Rayne. After being dominated for a while, Rayne fires up and hits a Crucifix Bomb on Q for a near fall.
  • Chain Bomb led by Klein but Sakai stays on the top rope and hits a missile dropkick to Klein.
  • Q and Klein face-off, K Power Slam by Klein finishes Karen Q from the match.
  • Tornado DDT by Rayne to Klein for a near fall. 
  • Cutter by Rayne on Sakai gets really close near fall. 
  • Smashmouth by Sakai on Rayne but she can’t capitalize and Klein pushes Sumie aside to get the pin and eliminate Madison Rayne. 
  • Sakai takes Klein down into a Cross Armbreaker but Klein holds the fingers together and powerbombs out of it but Sakai keeps it locked, Kelly eventually gets to the ropes.
  • Smashmouth by Sakai to Klein gets a close near fall. 
  • Deadlift Powerbomb by Klien gets another near fall. 
  • K Power by Klein slams Sakai and gets yet another close near fall. 
  • Klein hits a Super K Power slam to win the women’s title.

Winner: Kelly Klein New Champion! @13:40

Rating: ***, The match was worked at a rushed pace and not much was sold but it finally felt like ROH was invested in the Women’s Division. Klein is hopefully a good person to take the title and make it prestigious because Sumie Sakai absolutely sucked as champion. Klein turned in a great performance but the rest of the women were lackluster. This was a little bit better than okay because it was driven by drama for having a new champion. 

Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre Jr:

  • Amazing technical match-up.
  • ZSJ slaps Gresham before the bell rings. 
  • Both attempt pinning combinations beginning the heat of the match 4 minutes in.
  • Some solid mat work into an Octopus Lock by ZSJ but Gresham fights into his own Octo Lock, ZSJ rolls through and applies the hold on the ground beginning the mat work again. 
  • Stiff chopfest into a hard arm stomp by ZSJ, Gresham comes up to fight back and the strikes fly harder and faster. Gresham hits an enzugiri/German Suplex combo for a near fall but Jonathan flies back with a stiff forearm. Single leg crab by Gresham locked in but ZSJ transitions it into a Triangle Choke, Gresham fights out. 
  • Octopus Stretch attempt by Gresham rolled into a deeply wrenched ankle lock by ZSJ, Gresham gets his own ankle lock but ZSJ escapes and takes Gresham down with a Penalty Kick.
  • Springboard Moonsault by Gresham into a pinning combo but it’s blocked by ZSJ and he gets in a roll-up of his own for the win. 

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr @12:22

Rating: ***1/2, This was a great technical match but never stepped into another gear due to the abrupt finish. It was great to see Gresham get his much-deserved exposure but I expected more from this match. Yet, the final product was actually pretty good and was a refreshing take on an ROH show. 

Dalton Castle vs. Matt Taven for Taven’s “Real” World Title:

  • Castle’s first big match since returning from injury.
  • Matt Taven gets great heel heat and comes out with his fake world title belt.
  • Castle looks like he’s put on some weight during his injury sabbatical. 
  • The match starts with a strikefest that transitions into a brawl ringside.
  • Series of ducked clotheslines in the corner goes on for a while and Castle and Taven stare down afterward. 
  • Kick of the king by Taven knocks Dalton off the apron but Castle is caught by the Boys getting Dalton back in-ring to take advantage.
  • Taven dodges a crossbody by Castle sending him ringside, Taven hits a suicide dive but attempts another one but misses and eats the barricade brutally. Castle flies at Taven with a running knee.  
  • Taven whips Castle into the entrance steps as Dalton hits the bad back. 
  • Backbreaker by Taven attacks the back of Castle and gets the first near fall. 
  • The match begins to come apart and the pace gets really slow. 
  • DDT by Taven after a series of strikes gets a near fall on Castle. 
  • TK O’Ryan from the Kingdom takes out Castle with the referee distracted, The Boys take out TK with a suicide dive. Vinny Marseglia comes out from the bottom of the ring and takes out the Boys. 
  • Taven clocks Castle with the title belt with the referee distracted but gets a great near fall. 
  • Roll-up by Castle gets a near fall and Castle begins to fire up but Taven clocks him with a stiff Penalty Kick to knock both down.
  • Running knee by Castle to Taven draped over the top rope sends Matt to the floor. A great Bangarang into the post by Castle lays out Taven.
  •  Powerbomb by Castle, TK throws one of the boys to break up the pin. The referee ejects TK.
  • Bangarang by Castle gets a very close near fall as Taven gets a last-second rope break. 
  • Another Bangarang attempt by Castle, Taven hits the Climax DDT to win the match.

Winner: Matt Taven Retains His Fake Belt @15:51

Rating: **, This match was really lethargic. It had so much going on but the in-ring work never reached another gear. The story is a weird attempt at a 2011 CM Punk with a fake belt. The story never really got too over with me. Dalton Castle is coming back after an injury but wasn’t effective in this match. He looks worse and doesn’t wrestle with the same spirit and fire he normally does. Matt Taven is just genuinely annoying and I’d let that go if this was a solid in-ring match but it wasn’t and it was severely overbooked. 

Christopher Daniels vs. Marty Scurrl Title Shot against Career:

  • Christopher Daniels might be going to the E if he loses this match, Daniels is an ROH legend and this match could be great as a sendoff to either the big league or retirement. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Scurrl, Daniels fires up with chops of his own. Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker by Daniels shuts down Marty.
  • Superkick off the apron by Scurrl misses, Daniels hits a great springboard Arabian Moonsault taking out Scurrl on the floor.
  • Superplex by Scurrl.
  • Apron Superkick is successful by Scurrl, Mary whips Daniels into the barricade. Scurrl superkicks Chris while he is set up on a chair. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Scurrl to the back of Daniels for a near fall. 
  • Half and Half Suplex by Scurrl, Daniels pops up to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and both are taken out. 
  • Daniels fires up and hits a comeback sequence into a Wheelbarrow Facebuster for a near fall. 
  • Bodyslam/Lionsault combo by Daniels for another near fall.
  • Chopfest into a discus elbow by Scurrl knocking Daniels down. 
  • Graduation by Scurrl blocked into a roll-up by Daniels for a near fall. Mary fights into hitting a Package Piledriver for a near fall. 
  • Chicken Wing attempt by Scurrl into a roll up by Daniels for a near fall. Daniels lifts up Scurrl and slams him down with a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. 
  • Tombstone Piledriver by Scurrl with an Undertaker pinfall for a near fall, Scurrl breaks the fingers of Daniels and rolls into another Chicken Wing attempt it fails but Marty snaps the fingers of Daniels again. 
  • Daniels goes for Angel’s Wings but the fingers can’t lock in due to the snaps but Marty can’t capitalize. Daniels finally gets the Angels Wings but gets a great near fall. 
  • Best Moonsault Ever by Daniels blocked, Scurrl hits a lariat knocking down Daniels. 2 Superkicks by Scurrl into a Neck Stomp and a Graduation by Scurrl for a great near fall. 
  • Neck Stomps by Scurrl knock out Daniels, Scurrl locks in the Chicken Wing and taps out Daniels. 

Winner: Marty Scurrl Retains His Title Shot and Retires Christopher Daniels @17:42!

Rating: ***1/2, the match was a slight disappointment and was a weird way for Daniels to go out but Scurrl delivered a great desperate performance and the drama was cranked high towards the end. The story resonated with me and is a bit of a passing of the torch. The ending sequence was amazing too with Scurrl having to resort to brutally stomping on the neck of Daniels to win. The match was driven by a great story which makes up for the almost lackluster in-ring work. 

Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon I Quit Match:

  • Bully Ray attacks Christopher Daniels and transitions into the next match. 
  • Flip Gordon makes his entrance through the crowd in a tactical vest with an American Flag. 
  • Flip comes hot out of the gates and the commentary does a great job of selling how much of a dick Bully Ray is. 
  • Bully Ray sets up a table ringside.
  • Flip’s girlfriend is ringside looking like she couldn’t give half a shit. 
  • Flip gets another table and places it in the ring. 
  • Bully Ray backdrops Flip from inside the ring to the floor stopping his momentum. 
  • Ray punches Flip with a chain wrapped around his fist.
  • Bully Ray takes out Bobby Cruise the ring announcer, Todd Sinclair the lead referee yells at Bully but Ray lays out Sinclair. Christopher Daniels comes back to take a kendo shot instead of ROH Ambassador Cary Silkin. Flip Gordon hits a plancha wiping out Bully but busting himself open. 
  • Bully Ray backdrops Flip over the table, Flip is asked if he quits answer is no. 
  • Bully grabs Flip’s girlfriend and attempts to powerbomb her through a table, Flip almost quits but Cary Silkin hits Bully with a kendo stick to save Flip’s girl. Flip’s girl low blows Bully.
  • Flip grabs the American Flag and hits Bully with it. Flip looks like a genuine hero. Flip gets Bully in a crossface with the flagpole but Silas Young comes down to save Ray from quitting. 
  • Silas Young drenches the set-up table with lighter fluid, Cheeseburger comes out to attack Young but gets planted with a Misery Slam from Silas. 
  • Colt Cabana comes down with a chair and attacks Bully and Silas. Young low blows Colt and throws him to ringside. 
  • They try to light the table on fire but the lights go out and ECW legend Sandman comes back out of nowhere to attack Silas with a Kendo Stick. Star Spangled Stunner by Flip and Gordon attacks Bully with 2 kendos making Bully quit. 

Winner: Flip Gordon @14:22!

Rating: ***1/4, This was fun over-booking nonsense with all of ROH and Sandman coming to take down Bully Ray who is one of the most convincing heels in a while. Flip looked like an amazing face but the match lacked any substance and was just a run-in car crash for 15 minutes. It was fun and that was all it needed to be. 

Cody vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship:

  • Rematch from Cody’s ROH debut 2 years ago at Final Battle. 
  • Jay Lethal’s attire reflects the list that Cody put out when he became independent of wrestlers he wanted to face.
  • Pre-match promo by Cody gets himself heel heat by telling the crowd to kiss his ass. 
  • Jay Lethal grabs the mic and says he is ROH and he will take Cody out. There are WWE vibes to Cody’s future. 
  • Cody sells a knee injury early on and Lethal acts super awkward about it by just laying on him with a front face lock. 
  • Cody pops back up having sold the injury and cheap shots Lethal.
  • Cody plays up the crowd getting very solid heat but Lethal comes out to brawl with him ringside. 
  • Hip toss dropkick hits for Lethal getting the first near fall. 
  • Cody dominates the match keeping the pace really slow.
  • Cody goes for the disaster kick but misses as Lethal takes out the knee with the brace on it. Lethal stomps on the knee on the apron. Lethal wraps Cody’s knee around the post twice and hits a dropkick forcing Cody’s knee into the post. 
  • Lethal continues to work the knee in-ring and the pace slows down again. 
  • Lethal rolls up Cody after a failed Figure 4 attempt but the referee is distracted by Brandi missing the near fall. 
  • Spear by Brandi with the bionic shoulder into a Cross Rhodes by Cody for a great near fall on Lethal. 
  • Lethal goes for Shattered Dreams out of Goldust’s moveset but the referee gets in the way, Lethal dodges Brandi and Brandi spears Cody. Lethal Injection attempt accidentally hits Brandi, Lethal is distracted and Cody hits the Cross Rhodes for another great near fall. 
  • Figure Four Leg Lock by Cody but the bell rings, Hangman is shown as who rung the bell and gives him the title belt but the referee stops it, Lethal goes for the Figure 4 but Cody gets a near fall roll up. 
  • Cross Rhodes by Lethal for another good near fall. 
  • Diving Elbow Drop by Lethal but Cody gets the knees up, Cody hits the Bionic Elbow paying tribute to Dusty. Lethal lariats Cody to ringside and hits 6 Consecutive Suicide Dives which is insane. Cody comes back in the ring and spits at Lethal to stop the 7th one. Vertebreaker by Cody for a great near fall. 
  • Lethal kicks Cody sending him into the referee, Lethal cheats and hits Cody with a title belt getting a lot of heat. Lethal mocks Stardust and hits 2 consecutive superkicks into a Lethal Injection and then hits another 2 superkicks but Cody grabs the 2nd Lethal Injection, Figure Four locked in for Lethal, Lethal drags him back into the middle of the ring and Cody taps. 

Winner: Jay Lethal Retains @23:25!

Rating: ****1/4, This was a saga and was investing even when the pace was really slow. The whole theme of representing honor from Lethal was great and Cody played an amazing heel. By the end, Lethal had become desperate and had to cheat to win with the title belt shot to the leg. This match pulled a successful double turn and that’s hard to do. Both played their hits and the match had an amazing closing sequence. From top to bottom, this was a ride from 2 of the best wrestlers in the modern wrestling world. The only con was the Cody antics that plagues some of the beginning moments but Cody eventually became a very good part of this match. 

So Cal Uncensored vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks Ladder War for the ROH Tag Titles:

  • Huge Match.
  • The Briscoes try to isolate Nick Jackson but Matt dropkicks a chair into Jay’s face. Huricanrana by Kazarian sends Matt into Jay Briscoe for a DDT, solid spot. 
  • Twisting Cutter by Matt Jackson to Mark Briscoe off the apron. 
  • Diving Stomp off the apron by Mark Briscoe sends Scorpio Sky through a table. 
  • Kazarian is busted open from a chair shot from the Briscoes. 
  • Mark puts a ladder around his head and helicopters SCU down. The Bucks hit a double superkick to the ladder on the head of Mark.
  • Matt Jackson powerbombs Jay Briscoe into a ladder set-up in the corner. 
  • Stereo Suicide Dives by the Bucks take out The Briscoes and they stand tall for a little bit. The Bucks can 2 sweet again and do. 
  • Kazarian climbs the ladder for the first time in the match but the Young Bucks stop him. SCU and the Bucks fight to climb the ladder. Kazarian and Nick throw the ladder at each other but Matt comes through to spear Frankie down. Stereo Superkicks by the Bucks take out SCU and the Bucks try to climb again but Kazarian stops Nick with a springboard Codebreaker grabbing Nick off the ladder. 
  • The Briscoes return to the match to throw chairs at Kazarian stopping him from climbing the ladder. Backdrop by the Briscoes send the legs of Kazarian into a ladder set-up in the corner.
  • Scorpio sends Jay into a chair set up in the corner then the Bucks hit the see you later apron spot but with a chair. Scorpio hits a great tope con hiro taking out Mark, Nick hits a great diving corkscrew taking everyone out, Jay Briscoe stops Matt from making a dive and throws him from the other side of the ring to the outside through a table. 
  • Jay grabs a staple gun but Kazarian hits a low blow to avoid the intense violence. 
  • Amazing Assisted Cutter off the apron by SCU through a table ringside to Mark Briscoe, fantastic spot. 
  • Matt Jackson has a sledgehammer and Jay Briscoe says to bring it on, Matt superkicks him instead. The Bucks hit a pop-up spear on Sky. 
  • Amazing avalanche huricanrana by Scorpio into a set-up ladder to Nick Jackson.
  • Matt Jackson climbs the ladder but Mark Briscoe takes him down and hits a backbreaker sending Matt through a chair attacking the injured back. 
  • Hard Assisted Tornado DDT by SCU to Nick plants him on his head ringside. 
  • Mark Briscoe climbs a ladder in the corner, Sky meets him on the top, Matt Jackson spears Scorpio off the ladder. Meltzer Driver intercepted with a cutter off the ladder by Mark. Jay hits the Jay Driller piledriver and everybody is wiped out.
  • Mark Briscoe sets up a ladder up against another ladder and tries to powerbomb Kazarian through it but it doesn’t work. Kazarian pulls Jay off the ladder and hits a Styles Clash on a chair. Kazarian and Mark fight on the top of the ladder, Kazarian knocks Briscoe down as he crashed through the ladder he set up. Nick Jackson comes up to battle with them but Jay dumps him off the ladder all the way through a table set up ringside.
  • Jay Briscoe hits Kazarian with a ladder as he crashes down through a table below, Mark grabs the belts for the win. 

Winner: The Briscoes @22:32!

Rating: ****1/2, This was utter chaos and one of the most brutal matches I’ve seen this year. It was a car crash in the best possible way for near half an hour. It was incredible to see what these guys could do and all 3 teams delivered great performances here. It was carnage and it was beautiful, The Briscoes are now 10 time ROH tag titles. 

Grade: B

Last Word: This year was decently lackluster for ROH but it is capped off on a really good note. Cobb vs. Page, Lethal vs. Cody and The Ladder War were all bangers. Christopher Daniels is retired and the WWE shadow glooms heavily over this show. ROH has had a ton of filler storylines and annoying champions which is the case tonight in matches like Taven vs. Castle or The Women’s 4-Way but the main gripe with this show is it’s intensely long run time. The matches were draining and by the end, it was hard to get through any more wrestling but the wrestling on this show was great. Lethal vs. Ospreay is still the best ROH match this year though. 

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