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Csonka’s ROH Final Battle Review 12.18.15

December 19, 2015 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s ROH Final Battle Review 12.18.15  

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ROH Final Battle Review 12.18.15

#1 Contender’s Match: The All Night Express defeated The Briscoes and Young Bucks @ 9:19 via pin [***½]
– Silas Young defeated Dalton Castle @ 10:47 via pin [**¾]
– Michael Elgin defeated Moose @ 11:55 via pin [**¾]
– Adam Cole defeated Kyle O’Reilly @ 16:12 via pin [****]
– Matt Sydal, ACH and Alex Shelley defeated Daniels, Kazarian and Chris Sabin @ 15:30 via pin [**]
ROH TV Title Match: Champion Roderick Strong defeated Bobby Fish @ 15:23 via pin [***]
ROH Tag Team Title Match: War Machine defeated Champions The Kingdom @ 3:12 via pin [NR]
ROH Title Match: Champion Jay Lethal defeated AJ Styles @ 22:12 via pin [****½]

– In the pre-show match, Cheeseburger defeated Brutal Bob Evans in about five minutes via pin.

– Tonight should be interesting result wise, as Michael Elgin, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Michael Bennett, Matt Taven and Maria Kanellis either have deals that are about to expire or have expired. Key wins by some of these talents could reveal that new deals have been signed.

– Kevin Kelly and “Mr. Wrestling III” are the commentary team.

#1 Contender’s Match: The All Night Express vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks: The All Night Express were stripped of the ROH tag titles when King bailed for TNA. They returned at the All Star Extravaganza, and defeated the Briscoes. On TV and live events the three teams have had matches and traded some wins, so they were booked into this #1 contender’s match. I expected this to start wild, but they actually started off in a basic tag match. The All Night Express controlled early, working over Jay Briscoe. Jay tried to work a comeback but when he went to the apron he ate a superkick. The Bucks then took over, worked double teams on the All Night Express and then things broke down as people got tossed to the floor, Mark hit a blockbuster to the floor and then we got a series of dives as the action escalated quickly. The Bucks then hit two 450 splashes on Titus for a near fall, King broke it up. It worked as a really good near fall so early in the match. After some superkicks, the Briscoes then took over, double teaming King and getting a near fall, the crowd is not fans of the All Night Express tonight. The Bucks stopped a doomsday device with another superkick party, and then hit he Meltzer driver on Jay, but Mark made the save. The Bucks hit part of more bang for your buck, but Titus blind tagged in and things continued to be crazy with every one scoring with signature moves. The All Night Express hit a doomsday one-night stand (blockbuster) to pick up the win. This was a completely wildly paced match, exactly what you’d expect from these teams and a very fun way to kick off the show. The crowd was not happy with the All Night Express winning.

Dalton Castle vs. Silas Young w/The Boys: Castle charged right away, but maintained his cool as he opted to try and outwrestle Young. Castle tried to chase Young to the floor, but the Boys cut him ff and allowed Young to attack and take control. Young worked over Castle, as commentary told the story that he’s off his game because of not having the Boys. Young stayed one step ahead of Castle, until Castle hit a German suplex to turn the tide. Castle hit a slick float over suplex and then hit the charging knee in the corner. Castle then pulled up the mat on the floor and they battled on the apron, teasing the floor spot. Young then hit a spear through the corner and they fell to the floor. Young then took control again in the ring, some counters followed, but Young got a near fall off of a stiff clothesline. Young hit a Finlay roll but Castle sent him to the apron and then hit a deadlift German for a good near fall. This has a much better vibe than their last PPV match, both working with a real sense of urgency and delivering a really physical match here. Castle then caught Yong off the ropes and hit an overhead belly to belly; dude is strong. The Boys tried to help Young, and then Castle accidentally hit one of them and was mortified at what he had done, Young hit misery and that was that. It ended up a really solid match with a good story, but felt as if it was missing something to take it to the next level.

– Post match Young attacked Castle, ran him down on the mic, and told him to admit that Young is the real man. The crowd was not pleased here, chanting bullshit. Castle refused so Young laid the boots to him and then got a chair for each Boy. Young told the Boys to attack, but Castle begged off and grabbed the mic. He told Young he was a man, but that he’s a foolish man. He said the Boys were his and they attacked Young with the chairs, and Castle then hit the bang-a-rang and celebrated with the Boys. It felt as if they tried to protect both guys, with Young winning, but Castle standing tall and getting the Boy back.

Moose w/Stokely Hathaway vs. Michael Elgin: Both men have been looking for an ROH Title shot, and the feud has been built around trying to one up each other on the way to that. This is an unofficial Hoss-Weight Title Match. Total big man stuff to begin, clubbing shots, charging shoulder blocks and the like as each man tried to find an advantage. Elgin hit a 40-count stalling suplex, and Moose then popped up all Road Warrior Hawk style and worked over Elgin with strikes and a dropkick. Elgin then went high risk, hitting a cannonball off of the apron and then a shoulder block off the top. He couldn’t keep Moose down, as he battled back with the bicycle kick and a sack of shit slam. This was just a back and forth battle, with Elgin coming back with rolling Germans, but then Moose setting him up top and dropkicking him to the floor. Dude has an insane vertical for his size. V then hit his sloppy run up the ropes into the dive on the floor. The sky high got a near fall for Moose. The battle went to the apron, Moose teased a powerbomb, but Elgin fought back with a DVD on the apron, and then the senton for a near fall. The pacing and crowd interest diminished down the stretch, Elgin then came back with a stalling powerbomb and then the Elgin bomb, but Moose kicked out. Elgin hit the buckle bomb, but Moose immediately popped out and hit the spear, which only got a near fall. Moose started to comeback and ran p the ropes, but got crotched and Elgin then hit a burning hammer as he yelled to Elgin that he was coming for him, and that got the win. You had to figure that Elgin was winning, due to his match with Lethal set for WK 10. I get that, but word is that Elgin still is not under contract, and Moose is, and they seemingly have nothing planned for Moose, who is now losing the big matches and feels completely stalled. It was sloppy in places, but was a good back and forth hoss battle, playing to the strengths of both men for the most part. But leek the previous match, it felt as if it was missing something; they got to a certain point and it plateau’d.

Adam Cole (BAY BAY) vs. Kyle O’Reilly: Adam Cole seemingly left the Kingdom and was friends again with former Future Shock tag team partner Kyle O’Reilly. But at All Star Extravaganza, Cole cost O’Reilly his chance to win the ROH Title, because IT WAS A TRAP; Cole was still with the Kingdom and it was all a plan to fuck O’Reilly. This was billed as a grudge match, and O’Reilly attacked before the bell and we were underway. They went to the floor early, with O’Reilly hitting a dropkick off the apron to Cole, who was placed in a chair. O’Reilly hit a missile dropkick in the ring, and O’Reilly started to favor his knee after he landed. Cole would eventually send O’Reilly to the floor, where O’Reilly started to favor the leg and then Cole started to attack it to solidify his direction. Cole would take control, working the leg; O’Reilly would get hope spots with ground and pound or an arm bar, but Cole would always cut him off rather quickly and go back to work to set up the figure four, which commentary did a nice job setting up the history of Cole using the hold. Started to make a comeback, so Cole flipped him off, and O’Reilly grabbed an arm bar. Cole escaped and really picked up the aggression, stomping on the face of O’Reilly to break the hold and showing no remorse. They went into a back and forth striking battle, O’Reilly got lazy with the selling of the leg, and then got a bridging Regal-plex for a near fall. O’Reilly went for the kimura, commentary again did a good job of reminding fans of Cole’s shoulder and arm surgeries to make it feel as if it meant more. O’Reilly kept targeting the arm, using the hanging arm bar in the ropes, but Cole would hit an enziguri and send him to the floor. Cole would hit the brainbuster across the knee on the floor, which then led to a near fall. He then went back to and got the figure four, which would have meant more if they had stuck with the leg work and O’Reilly had sold it better. They then went into a big striking battle, with uppercuts, kicks, superkicks and lariats. O’Reilly finally got the better of it and hit a brainbuster for a near fall, and then transitioned into the arm bar. Cole fought, and made the ropes. They did another mid-ring striking battle, and Cole planted O’Reilly with a German and then a superkick. Cole had issues with his shoulder, O’Reilly then worked a hanging guillotine, but Cole stacked him up and used the ropes to pin O’Reilly. O’Reilly kept on the attack post match and kept applying the arm bar to Cole. They had several referees trying to pull O’Reilly off of Cole, then finally did and Cole had to be helped to the back. With the way that Cole won and O’Reilly attacked, this feud must continue. It really felt as if O’Reilly needed the win here, so I was surprised when Cole went over. They largely worked the match that I expected them to, and ended up really great with the submission work and wild striking exchanges. I wish they had committed more to the leg work, both in executing and selling, because it would have made the match even better. This was easily the best match on the show so far.

– Prince Nana is out on commentary.

Matt Sydal, ACH and Alex Shelley vs. Daniels, Kazarian and Chris Sabin: Daniels and Kazarian won the tag titles when they had the help of the man in the red mask, Chris Sabin. This was part of the KRD angle, but later on, the man in the red mask returned and cost Daniels and Kazarian the tag titles. That man was revealed to be Sabin’s former tag team partner Alex Shelley. The obvious tease here is a Shelley and Sabin reunion. They did some nice back and forth work wrestling early, with everyone getting a small window to shine. They teased Sabin vs. Shelley at about the four-minute mark, but Sabin tagged out to the displeasure of the crowd. Things got a bit sloppy/off for a little bit and it broke down and guys started spilling to the floor, leading to The Addiction getting the heat on Sydal. They then worked a pretty lifeless heat, mostly bland with the crowd checking out during the work. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that interesting. Shelley got the luke warm tag, he did stuff, and then ACH got a tag. He then ran around the ring on the floor and tried to do some sort of head scissors spot with Sabin, which was completely botched. The Addiction then worked over ACH, he fought back and got a tag to Sydal but outside of the crowd reacting to some big moves, this lost it’s flow. ACH and Shelley hit dives. Sydal went up top and the SSP hit knees from Daniels. He tried to fight back, ACH in and Daniels and Kazarian kept control. ACH shoved Daniels into Sabin, had issues clothesline him to the floor and then hit his step up dive. ACH is having an off night for sure. ACH eventually hit a 450, and then Sydal with the SSP on Sabin and that was all. Nothing as resolved with Shelley and Sabin, as hey teased he battle, but never did it here. This was really rough, and considering the talent involved a disappointing match. Every time it felt like it would pick up to recover, something happened to kill that momentum. The crowd was kind with the sloppiness as I expected them to rebel on the match, but they never did, they just got quiet. They cold have cut a few minutes from this, which likely would have helped. That was my least favorite thing on this show so far.

ROH TV Title Match: Champion Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish: Fish had a chance against lethal for the TV Title at All Star Extravaganza, and came up short. Rumors were that he was to win the title, but contract issues and Japan dates got in the way. Strong has had a great 2015 overall; this certainly has potential. They worked some basic grappling early, and then Fish started to go for some submission holds. They continued to go back and forth, and then Strong hit a dropkick to Fish on the floor and followed that by dumping him gut first onto the guardrail. We had some floor fighting, which it seems has been a part of every match tonight. Strong continued to control here, working the ribs and back of Fish. Fish tried to fight back with some leg kicks, but ate a dropkick and the action spilled to the floor once again. Fish then tried to work the legs of Strong, and started to fire up and put together some offense and hit an exploder into the corner. Fish worked a series of kicks and then got a rear naked choke, but Strong worked to his feet and escaped. Several forearms connected for Strong, and then a gourd buster on Fish, and that got 2. We again worked to the floor, where Fish hit a tilt a whirl back breaker. Fish up top, Strong cut him off and then hit a back breaker on the buckles. They worked a striking exchange and went up top, and Fish hit the top rope falcon arrow (HE DID THE DEAL) and that got a near fall. Fish then went for the knee bar, but Strong countered into he Strong hold for a moment, but Fish again got the knee bar. Strong tapped and Fish celebrated, but the ref did not see it. Charging knee strike by Strong, and he picks up the win. I would assume that the finish means Strong goes heel. That was a quality, hard hitting match with a lot to like, but the finish felt very flat to me (it was a version of the Brock vs. Taker finish). To me this was another match that was good, but hit a certain level and never got past it. This was good, but overall unspectacular.

– Veda Scott makes an appearance and Cedric Alexander is with her. She ranted about her legal battle with ROH, and said that they got a settlement that they are happy with. In 2016, we’ll see more of them and we can’t stop them. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH.

ROH Tag Team Title Match: Champions The Kingdom w/Maria vs. War Machine: War Machine scored a win over the Kingdom prior to the Kingdom winning the titles, setting up this match. The Kingdom attacked with belt shots before the bell, and then Tavern flew over one of War Machine with a dive and almost killed himself. Hail Mary on Rowe on the floor. The bell rang and the Kingdom got a near fall on Rowe. They tried another Hail Mary, Hanson made the save but got slammed back first onto the apron. Taven is favoring his knee (due to the Hail Mary spot), and is having issues standing. Rowe fights on his own, Taven is gimping around and having issues as he takes a suplex on the floor. Rowe then hit a powerbomb onto the barricade on Bennett. Back in the ring and War machine hits fallout and that is it. This was an unfortunate disaster, War Machine winning was expected, but it felt they had to go home very early due to Taven’s injury. Bennett was already working with a rib injury, and the layout made sense to allow the Kingdom to get the heat, but it all went to shit due to the injury. They all did the best that they could, but that was the worst case scenario. The Kingdom are reportedly on their way out, and an injury to Taven comes at the worst time for the team.

– BJ Whitmer is out on commentary after Mr. Wrestling III left. He’s not supposed to be here, and got escorted out.

– Nigel and Jerry Lynn are out to do commentary for the main event.

ROH Title Match: Champion Jay Lethal w/Truth Martini and Taeler Hendricks vs. AJ Styles: This is a great main event on paper, with the story that AJ has never won the ROH Title. The question is how healthy is he, due to the fact that he’s been working through a back injury. Lets hope that the DDP Yoga helped. They worked a slow and basic beginning, with Styles outwrestling Lethal and connecting with the dropkick and then the knee drop. So far AJ is moving well and not showing any issues. Lethal started to get some momentum but Styles scored with the calf killer, forcing Lethal to the ropes. A Truth Martino distraction allowed Lethal to slam Styles to the apron, and take control of things. Lethal then started to work the back, slamming Styles to the barricade several times. That’s awful bold of Styles to take all things considered. Back in the ring, lethal continued his assault on the back of Styles. Styles tried to fight back and went for the Asai DDT, but lethal countered into an overhead suplex into the buckles, which got a near fall. Lethal then worked a standing bear hug, Styles escaped and slowly started to make his comeback with clotheslines. Styles then got some payback with a suplex into the buckles, and then went for the springboard Superman, but Lethal countered with the Lethal combination for a near fall. They both started to sell the effects of the match, with Styles finally getting the neck breaker for a near fall. Styles would try for the clash, but had issues due to his back, allowing lethal to hit a pop up neck breaker, which got 2 on the cover. Lethal then dropkicked Styles to the floor, and hit a suicide dive, sending Styles into the barricade. He then it another dive, which sent Styles into the crowd. Lethal tried for a third dive, but Styles jumped out of the crowd and ht the flying forearm. That was a cool counter. Back in the ring we got a striking exchange and then the koji clutch from Lethal, which Styles then countered into the calf killer. After Lethal escapes, they worked up top, but after Styles slid out he ate a Lethal injection for a near fall. Styles then hit a PELE and bloody Sunday, looked for the clash but Lethal tossed him over the top and THROUGH a table at ringside! Fucks sake AJ. They teased the countout, but Styles made it in at 19. Lethal injection connects, but Styles kicks out at 2 for a great near fall. Lethal yelled at Styles, who fired up and after several strikes missed the PELE, leading to a series of reversals and the cradle piledriver from Lethal, and then the Lethal injection for the win. Overall an excellent match from these guys, especially considering the doubts surrounding Styles heading into the match. Outside of the one spot early, they kept the match clean, with a great pace and a different flow than both usually work, making it feel different and special. They worked the obvious spots with the back, which while seemingly risky, worked well and climaxed at just the right time. The win is huge as it further legitimized Lethal as champion, and sets the stage for Lethal vs. Elgin for the dome. The only thing missing was a cameo from Elgin at the end.

– Officials are out to check on Styles. Lethal, being a complete dick, shook Styles’ hand as he lay on the mat.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
As far as traditional PPV shows go, this was ROH’s strongest effort of 2015. We had a very fun opener, O’Reilly and Cole was a damn fine match, and the main event surely delivered. Some of the undercard failed to really pick up at times, there was too much floor brawling for my tastes and two finishes with shenanigans felt like it was also a bit much, but overall it was a very good show (that could have been better with a few changes) and gets a recommendation from me.