Final Battle 16

Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City, NY – Friday, December 2, 2016

Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary.

~PRESHOW MATCH~
Will Ferrara & CHEESEBURGER defeat The Tempura Boyz (Sho & Yo) at 8:59. Ian Riccaboni and Nana are on commentary for this Future of Honor match. CHEESEBURGER starts the match off hot, and he and Ferrara work well together as a team. Sho and Yo fight back and isolate the man named after my favorite food. Eventually, Ferrara gets the hot tag and he cleans house. The referee loses control and bodies are flying al over the place. In the end CHEESEBURGER gets the win with the Shotei palm strike. Fine preshow stuff here, and hopefully they can find something for these guys to do at some point.
Rating: **¼

~MATCH #1~
The Rebellion (Caprice Coleman, Kenny King & Rhett Titus) defeat The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) & Donovan Dijak in a Six Man Tag Team Match at 12:22. I absolutely love that the Guns and Dijak are wearing matching gear. Dijak totally steals the show in the early going, pulling off offensive maneuvers that guys his size just should not be able to do. The action comes from all over the place and the pace almost never slows. Sabin takes a succession of finishing moves, culminating in Titus hitting the Big Dawg Splash to get the pin. Very solid opener here that made Dijak look like a million bucks and put the Rebellion over without really hurting the Guns. Most impressive.
Rating: ***¼

~MATCH #2~
Silas Young (w/ Beer City Bruiser) defeats Jushin Thunder Liger at 11:04. Young attacks before the bell but Liger is crafty and makes a quick comeback. Liger does all his signature spots, but Young controls a majority of the match with a variety of dirty tactics offensive attacks. Late in the match, Liger goes up top and Bruiser gets up on the apron to distract. Liger dispatches Bruiser, but then his splash hits nothing but knees. Young hits Misery to get the pin. I’m glad that Young won, but did he really need help to beat the 52-year-old Liger? They really need to give him the occasional clean win.
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #3~
Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) defeats Colt Cabana at 10:22. These two are former tag team partners who had one too many miscommunications and Cabana turned on the Party Peacock. They chain wrestle to start and the crowd is heavily in favor of Castle. Momentum shifts back and forth, as Cabana uses some shifty tactics and I realize how awkward it is to see him as a heel. It just feels wrong, and I actually dislike him in real life. It’s complicated. Anyway, Castle perseveres and catches Cabana with the Bangarang to get the pin. Solid match here but never felt particularly heated, as the feud would’ve seemed to indicate.
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #4~
Cody defeats Jay Lethal at 13:15. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian cut a complementary promo on both men before joining the commentary team. Cody has a lot to prove here, as Lethal is one of the most decorated and tenured competitors in the history of ROH. Both men are babyfaces, so they have a nice technical match. They go back and forth, executing signature maneuvers and countering each other. When the referee gets momentarily distracted, Cody kicks Lethal right in the nuts! Awesome. Cody hits the Cross Rhodes to get the pin. After the match Cody shoots Lethal a double bird and kicks him again. The crowd is hating on Cody and I love it. The Addiction leave commentary to run him off. Adequate match, great post-match.
Rating: ***

~MATCH #5~
The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia) defeat Jay White, KUSHIDA & Lio Rush in a Tournament Final at 15:25 to become the first-ever ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions. To get here, The Kingdom beat Adam Cole & The Bucks, and the CMLL team of Hechicero, Okumura & Ultimo Guerrero. White & KUSHIDA teamed with ACH to beat The Briscoes & Toru Yano, and The Cabinet. ACH left the company, so Rush is replacing him here. That’s a pretty even trade. KUSHIDA is the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Kelly and Corino hammer home how Taven lost the TV Title at Final Battle 2013, and that he and Michael Bennett lost the Tag Team Titles at Final Battle 2015, so I wonder how this is going to end. Well, also Taven’s team has a name, gimmick, and matching gear, while the other team is makeshift. Anyway, my prediction comes true when the Kingdom traps Rush alone in the ring and hits their triple powerbomb to get the win. This was all action and a great deal of fun, even with the foregone conclusion.
Rating: ***¼

~MATCH #6~
ROH World Television Champion Marty Scurll defeats Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay at 10:46 in a Three-Way Match to retain the title. Scurll has been the Champion since 11.20.16, and this is his first defense. He won the title from Ospreay, who had won it just two nights before from Bobby Fish. Lee earned his way into the match when he beat then-Champion Fish on TV in a Proving Ground match. I like stuff that makes sense. Fish was supposed to be in the match as well, but a family issue prevented him from being here. The action never stops here, as all three men work a fast pace. Scurll and Ospreay are long time rivals from England, and they’re more than happy to fight each other here with Lee out of the way. The pace these men keep up is insane, and in the end Scurll traps Lee in the Crossface Chicken Wing to get the win. Just insane stuff here, and it instantly made me want to see more from all three of them.
Rating: ****¼

~MATCH #7~
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeat The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) at 15:37 to retain the titles. The Bucks have been the Champions since 9.30.16, and this is their fourth defense. Jay and Mark are going for their ninth ROH Tag Team Titles here. These two teams have face each other many times before, but they’re both arguably better now than they’ve ever been. They all unleash offense at a rapid pace, eager to prove that they’re the best tag team in the world. Referee Paul Turner rarely has any control of the match, as tags become a suggestion early on. The Bucks use a myriad of superkicks in increasingly unique ways. Everyone’s finisher gets killed, as Jay kicks out of More Bang for Your Buck, and Matt survives a Jay Driller followed by a Froggy ‘Bow. Not sure I like that. Matt also kicks out of the Doomsday Device. The Bucks hit Mark with the Five-Star Meltzer Driver, and Jay breaks up the cover. That I don’t mind. The Bucks then unleash about 20 superkicks apiece on each Briscoe, and the Bucks finally get the win. I know that finish caused a lot of controversy, but I thought it was pretty rad. The match was non-stop action and my only complaint is Matt kicking out of so many finishers rather than Nick breaking up the covers.
Rating: ****

After the match, Matt Hardy shows up on the video wall and issues a challenge to the Young Bucks. The crowd absolutely loses their mind at this news.

~MATCH #8~
Kyle O’Reilly defeats ROH World Champion Adam Cole at 18:48 in a No Disqualification Match to win the title. Cole has been the Champion since 8.19.16, and this is his sixth defense. These two have a tough task following the last two matches. They’ve been both partners and adversaries and they’ve always shown good chemistry, so this should be a good one. The match takes place both in and out of the ring, and out on the floor Cole is able to drill O’Reilly with the belt, busting him open. It’s a gusher, too. Cole continues to use weapons to abuse O’Reilly, keeping him on defense. Chairs and tables are use by both men, to great effect. Cole gets cut open as well, and O’Reilly produces a steel chain. The Champion isn’t finished, as he hits the Last Shot for two. Cole then goes under the ring for a bag of thumbtacks, spreading them out in the center of the ring. O’Reilly puts on a triangle choke, and Cole picks him up with one arm for a powerbomb onto the tacks! O’Reilly comes back with a Brainbuster on the tacks for two, and he quickly cinches in the Cross Armbreaker. Cole taps the title away! Kyle O’Reilly is the twenty-fourth ROH World Champion. I love how these two known for wrestling can go out and have a fight like this. It felt like both men badly wanted to beat each other, and also be Champion. Excellent main event.
Rating: ****

A2Z Analysiz
This is a great show, with three great matches finishing the card as strong as any ROH show I’ve seen in a long time. Nothing on the main show falls below 2.75 stars, so this is a consistent show with the best matches on top. It felt like the ROH I first knew and became obsessed with in 2004.

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