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Kevin’s Random Reviews: ROH Final Battle 2007

November 15, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: ROH Final Battle 2007  

ROH Final Battle 2007
December 30th, 2007 | Manhattan Center in New York, New York | Attendance: 1,000

Somehow, of all my ROH DVDs, I keep randomly selecting shows I attended live. Final Battle is typically the biggest show of the year for ROH. With 2007 being an excellent year that saw Takeshi Morishima as an awesome ROH Champion, Nigel McGuinness as the new champion, the Briscoes dominating the scene as the Tag Team Champions and the debut of the Age of the Fall, this show had a lot to tackle.

The show opened to a shot of a dejected Austin Aries last night after he lost his ROH Title match. He had nothing to say.

Rebecca Bayless (Cookie in TNA) interviewed the Briscoes about defending their titles tonight. ROH officials said this match is too important, so neither team will get disqualified. The Briscoes promised to beat the Age of the Fall to cap their incredible 2007.

Bobby Fish and Matt Cross vs. The Vulture Squad w/ Julius Smokes
IT’S THE OLDEST MAN IN WRESTLING! Bobby Fish looked like a geek here. His ponytail and belly piercing were not working. The Vulture Squad consists of Jigsaw and Ruckus. The guys paired off (Fish/Jigsaw and Ruckus/Cross) to work fast paced exchanges. As you would expect, there were lots of acrobats and flips. Fish seemed out of place next to the other three athletes. It also led to a few awkward spots. After showing off some solid tandem offense with Ruckus, Jigsaw got the win with Jig and Tonic on Fish at 8:04. No real structure as it was just guys doing moves. Decent fun and inoffensive though. [**]

Sweet n’ Sour Inc. came out to “More, More, More” which is honestly one of my favorite and most fitting entrance themes ever. Sweeney introduced Daniel Puder as the newest member of Sweet n’ Sour, instantly leading to “You can’t wrestle” chants. Thank goodness this never went anyway. Sweeney claimed Claudio Castagnoli couldn’t compete today because Puder snapped his ankle last night. Claudio arrived, saying the match was still on. He stumbled through this promo pretty badly.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Larry Sweeney w/ Sweet n’ Sour Inc.
Tank Toland clipped Claudio’s bad leg to give Sweeney an opening. Claudio got his leg worked on but turned it around rather quickly. He went for the Ricola Bomb, but Toland distracted the referee, allowing Puder to hit him with a pipe. Sweeney stole it at 2:29. More of an angle than a match. [NR]

Sweet n’ Sour Inc. left, but Tank Toland stuck around to attack Claudio. Obviously, Claudio kicked his ass to get a small measure of revenge.

No Disqualifications: Jack Evans w/ Julius Smokes vs. The Necro Butcher w/ Lacey
I loved Necro and especially Lacey. No DQ is Necro’s world, so Evans tried using his aerial ability to avoid Necro. It failed and he was beaten up with various weapons. Necro bullied Evans and enjoyed every second. Evans found small openings, but Necro managed to stop them with simple things, like a straight punch. They did a crazy dangerous Code Red off the apron, where it looked like Necro might’ve died. That led to some Evans offense before it was stopped by a Tiger Driver and backbreaker onto two open chairs. Jack topped that by hitting a moonsault knee drop onto Necro, who had his neck resting on an open chair. You can’t make this shit up. Lacey got involved to save Necro from a 630. She dared Julius to hit her but out came Mercedes Martinez to do it for him. Julius took a chair from Necro and Jack rolled him up to win at 11:17. Lots of wild spots from two wacky personalities that made for a hella fun match. I liked it more than most probably. [***½]

Post-match, Jack introduced Mercedes as the “Booty Vulture”. Smokes loved that and she did a bit of booty popping to the crowd’s likings. Unfortunately, this never took off and Mercedes was barely used with the stable.

Davey Richards vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Marufuji is from NOAH and has a history with Davey’s mentor, KENTA. They worked an even opening sequence, showing that Davey could more than hold his own with NOAH’s best. Marufuji went after the leg. Davey combated it by looking for cheap tactics, like a shot below the belt, and wearing Marufuji down. They wrestled a relatively subdued back and forth until Davey nailed a rather wild somersault through the ropes that sent him about five rows back. However, once back inside, Marufuji nailed a huge dropkick and things were even again. Davey got two of the best near falls all night on German suplexes. Marufuji survived the Kimura and won with Shiranui at 15:12. This was a weird one. Like, I could tell there was a fair amount to like about it, but something never fully clicked with me and I found myself disengaged as a viewer. That might be more on me, though. Even match worked at a good pace. [***]

Backstage in a dark corridor, the Age of the Fall cut a promo about taking the titles from the Briscoes tonight.

Tables Are Legal: Delirious, El Generico and Kevin Steen vs. The Hangman Three w/ Shane Hagadorn
Delirious sported his awesome black and red gear, which matched Steenerico. The Hangman Three consisted of Adam Pearce, BJ Whitmer and Brent Albright. A wild Bushwhacker Luke appeared during the opening brawl and did the battering ram spot with Delirious. It led to the babyface team doing the Bushwhacker strut before Luke left. The tables began coming into play now that the comedy stuff was over. Well, except for an unintentionally funny spot where Albright angrily stomped through a table. He later used it to batter Generico with. Steen and Delirious took big bumps through tables, leaving Generico alone to take a beating. Just when Hagadorn was set to splash him through a table, Delirious spit new mist and Pelle Primeau ran out. Pelle hit a super rana through a table to take out Hagadorn. The closing stretch saw lots of big table bumps involving almost everyone. Whitmer kicked out of a Package Piledriver that would’ve been a better near fall if the fans didn’t know something involving a table would be the finish. A table was laid open across the top turnbuckle. Pearce stood atop with Delirious and hit a piledriver off it through another table to win in 18:31. A wild brawl with the right amount of interference spots and some insane spots. [***½]

During intermission, the Hangman Three got promo time to hype Pearce’s upcoming Dog Collar match against Delirious.

Ernie Osiris vs. Rocky Romero
Osiris held the Top of the Class trophy. He would go on to have a homeless man gimmick before joining the new Embassy and not doing much else. Rocky went on to win a ton of IWGP Jr. Tag Titles over the years. Ernie didn’t put up much of a fight and tapped out to an armbar in 1:11. A rarely seen ROH squash. [NR]

ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness came out to a mixed reaction. The night before, he successfully defended the title against Austin Aries (in a match I gave the full five stars) but got badly hurt (35 stitches, concussion and a broken nose). Aries did a suicide dive that hit Nigel from behind and sent him face first into the guardrail. I was sitting four rows from this. Nigel immediately just knelt there with a dazed look as blood poured from above his eyebrow. Anyway, he couldn’t compete on this show (he was supposed to face Chris Hero, Bryan Danielson and Takeshi Morishima), so the card was reshuffled a bit. Nigel got “drop the belt” chants during this promo. He teased doing just that, but passionately decided against that, while running down a fan. It was good work overall from Nigel, as he was about two months into a 500+ day reign.

FIP Championship: Roderick Strong (c) vs. Erick Stevens
Strong has been FIP Champion for 415 days and feuded with Stevens for most of 2007. Stevens beat Strong in the finals of a tournament to become the first FIP Florida Heritage Champion earlier in the year. Lots of slugging it out in the early stage, with vicious strikes and chops. Strong slammed Stevens on the edge of the apron, setting up some of his famous back work. Strong wore him down with the focus on that back. Stevens’ comeback was filled with fire, but the crowd wasn’t fully into him. He hadn’t had a big breakout match in New York yet. Strong hit a flurry that included a flying kick, gut bust and modified TKO, but he just couldn’t keep Stevens down. Desperation growing, Strong delivered a Gibson Driver on the ramp, looking for the cheap countout. Stevens beat the count and went nuts, daring Strong to chop him harder than ever. He went into a wild combo featuring a sick release German, two big lariats and finally the Doctor Bomb to become champion at 21:02. The fans were all in on Stevens by the end. A stiff war filled with emotion and intensity. This would’ve been right at home as a NEVER Openweight Title match in the 2010s. [****]

Number One Contender’s Match: Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Hero w/ Sweet n’ Sour Inc. vs. Takeshi Morishima
With Nigel out, Aries replaced him and it turned into a number one contender’s match. Winner gets a shot at Nigel the next time they’re in New York. Danielson and Morishima had issues, so they went to war instantly. Everyone got a turn in the ring, with Hero stealing the show. His comedic timing when left alone with Morishima was great. Danielson came back in, only to get walloped by Morishima. At one point, Aries and Danielson hit tandem knee and elbow strikes on Morishima. Instead of helping, Hero stopped to do his antics around the ring and celebrate. They kicked his ass and went back to Morishima. Danielson kicked his head in and Aries hit the 450. They both covered and Hero placed a knee on them to get credit for the elimination as well. Hero kept Danielson out of the ring and focused on Aries. Danielson finally got in but as Hero celebrated a move, Aries rolled him up to get rid of him. Some of the crowd hated that, but Hero ended up getting a World Title shot before the winner of this. Aries and Danielson renewed their historic rivalry. Aries beat Bryan in a Best of Three Series earlier in the year. Their exchanges, as always, were great. Danielson got him in position for the big elbows, but Aries got free and kicked him square in the head. The brainbuster got a near fall, so he applied the Last Chancery (known as the Horns of Aries here). They countered from knee strikes to elbow strikes and the crowd was fully behind Bryan. Bryan finally got him in the triangle choke and when Aries wouldn’t tap, he elbowed him unconscious to win at 22:48. I love this match, possibly more than most because I was there live. Everyone played their roles perfectly. Morishima was the monster who only got eliminated because of a gang attack, Hero stole the show early with his antics and then Danielson and Aries had an exhilarating final stretch. Awesome from start to finish. [****½]

Aries refused to shake hands with Danielson as he left.

Backstage, Erick Stevens got a promo about his love and dedication for wrestling and FIP. Unfortunately, he would only hold the title for a few months before dropping it back to Roddy.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes (c) w/ Daizee Haze vs. The Age of the Fall w/ Lacey
The Briscoes had just become the longest reigning Tag Champions (at the time, it has since been bested by the Kings of Wrestling and reDRagon). My brother and I could be seen on screen as two of the only people rooting for Black and Jacobs. The AOTF wanted the titles because they believed it meant more power. This started as a brawl, with Jacobs taking a double hip toss onto the ramp. It led to a segment where Black was taking the heat, which was a nice twist on typical tag formula and showed why the Briscoes were so dominant. Jacobs returned with a spear to break up the springboard Doomsday Device, leading to a heat segment on Jay. Mark got the hot tag and was his usual wacky self in that role. Both teams began bringing out the bigger offense and near falls. Jacobs applied the End Time but Mark springboarded in to break it up. In an absolutely bonkers spot, the Briscoes took out Black with a springboard Doomsday Device WHILE ON THE APRON! That fall Black took looked like death. Jacobs kicked out of the Cutthroat Driver to the shock of the audience. The Briscoes were livid and scolded the referee. Black destroyed Jay with the guardrail powerbomb that ripped Finn Balor’s shoulder up in 2016. Mark wanted a super Cutthroat Driver but Black broke it up. He and Jacobs delivered a super bomb/Contra Code! Black added the Phoenix Splash to win the titles in 18:54. A great way to close the show and again, I may have liked this more than most. I enjoyed the spin on typical tag formula early and the final stretch was wild enough to put this over the edge into great territory. [****]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Not ROH’s best show of 2007, but a strong way to close out the year. The opener’s the only thing I’d consider weak, with everything else ranging from good to great. The final three matches are all awesome and feature big moments. From Stevens’ big win to the excellent four way to the Briscoes’ reign ending, they all felt like important deals.

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ROH, Kevin Pantoja