We’re heading into Ring of Honor territory once again, and this time around we’re going back to the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City last December for Final Battle.
The show began with the fall of the House of Truth as Michael Elgin took on Roderick Strong.
When the match began Truth Martini was nowhere to be seen, and it was only a few minutes later, when Elgin was taking Strong apart, that he finally made an appearance, looking rather less flamboyant than usual. As the match went on Martini favoured both sides. When Elgin was in control Martini cheered for him, but when Strong took the upper hand he cheered for him.
It looked like it was going to be a difficult encounter for Strong as the action went on. No matter what he hit him with Elgin kept coming back time and time again. Moves that normally put others away had very little effect on the Unbreakable one.
Then Martini jumped onto the ring apron, and as he distracted the referee he kicked his book into the ring. At first Elgin stopped Strong from using it, but when he picked him up for a powerbomb Strong grabbed the book and clobbered him in the head. With the big man stunned Strong lifted Elgin up into a suplex and brought him down into a backbreaker to gain the winning pin.
Afterwards Martini grabbed the microphone and praised Strong until the former World Champion reminded him that he’d quit the House. He then tried it on with Elgin, telling him he loved him while giving him a big hug. He then gave him a few home truths. Elgin’s response was to take his former manager down with a buckle bomb before sending him flying out of the ring.
Then it was on to the battle between Jay Lethal and Rhino.
This was a very entertaining power versus speed battle. Both guys put in good performances, especially Lethal, who was still looking for this “killer instinct” of his. However, if you want to talk about killer instinct then look no further than Rhino, another now-ex House of Truth member. I swear the guy looks as good as the first time I saw him in ECW all those years ago.
The end saw Lethal spring boarding off the ropes to take the man beast down with the Lethal Injection for the three count and win.
After the match had ended Steve Corino, who had been doing a spot of commentary at ringside, jumped up onto the ring apron as he ordered Lethal to stay out of the main event. But when Lethal dared Corino to step into the ring Jimmy Jacobs attacked him from behind, and after the S.C.U.M. members doubled up on Lethal Rhino announced himself as their new hired gun when he took the former Black Machismo out with a gore.
Next came the battle of the managers as former Embassy buddies R.D. Evans, accompanied by Q.T. Marshall, went up against Prince Nana.
Normally when you have a match between two managers it can be quite poor, but not this one. Mind you, considering that these two trained as wrestlers it’s not surprising that this wasn’t that bad. It may not have lasted that long but they certainly packed a lot in. It was pretty enjoyable to watch the sequences they put together.
At one point it looked like Nana was going to take the win after taking Evans down with an Ace Crusher after Evans spring boarded off the top rope. But as the referee made his count Marshall pulled the official out of the ring.
It was then that Ernesto Osiris made a brief appearance as he brawled with Marshall at ringside before Evans took Nana down with an inverted Styles Clash for the winning pin. Tommaso Ciampa then appeared in the front row as he sent Marshall and Evans running for cover.
The New York City Street Fight saw Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, going up against Rhett Titus and B.J. Whitmer.
If you were expecting this to be a technical classic than you’d be sorely disappointed. But if you were expecting a brawl with people hitting each other with Christmas-related items than you’d be highly delighted.
This one began when Titus and Whitmer attacked their foes as they made their entrance, and it wasn’t long before Titus pulled a massive Christmas stocking from underneath the ring. A few moments later Haas and Benjamin were getting clobbered with giant candy canes and a Christmas tree. No, you didn’t read that wrong. I mentioned candy canes and a Christmas tree while reviewing a street fight. It made me think that perhaps they should have held this match in that special room in Mick Foley’s house.
From there they proceeded to beat the proverbial out of each other with chairs, crutches, leather belts and a piece of the guardrail before Benjamin put Titus through a table at ringside.
This left Haas and Whitmer to battle it out. Whitmer introduced a second table into the match. He put Haas on top of it before climbing to the top rope, but before he could do anything Haas sprang to his feet and joined Whitmer up top. They struggled against each other for a few moments until Haas took Whitmer over with a superplex. Bu the looks of things Whitmer took a sick bump when he went through the table head first. Haas quickly went for the cover, and a three count later he had the winning pin.
It was back to singles action for the next match as Mike Bennett, accompanied by Maria Kanellis and Bob Evans, took on Jerry Lynn in his final ROH match.
The veritable battle of the generations was one of those short and sweet encounters packed with great action. Despite being just shy of his half century Lynn looked a sprightly as ever, He certainly hadn’t slowed down as he took Bennett down with his trademark moves.
Of course, Brutal Bob and the lovely Maria played their part as the Prodigy took control, but when Maris jumped up onto the ring apron to distract the referee Evans threw a chair into the ring. But when Lynn countered Bennett’s Ace Crusher on to the chair attempt with one of his own it looked like the former champion was going to have a fond farewell until Bennett kicked out of the pin.
Then it was Evan’s turn to distract the referee while Maria went to distract Lynn. Lynn looked like he was going to hit her until she grabbed his head and dropped him down over the top rope. Bennett then connected with the Box Office Smash for the winning pin.
Bennett then lifted Lynn off his feet, intent on doing further damage. Lynn quickly recovered though, shoving Bennett into Evans before Maria tried to slap him in the face. Lynn countered this particular move by taking her down with a DDT before finishing Bennett off with the cradle piledriver.
Afterwards Lynn took to the microphone to pay tribute to all things ROH before Nigel McGuinness gave him an award for his contribution to the company.
Jay Lethal then returned to the ring and demanded that he be part of the title match instead of Generico. It was a request that head honcho McGuinness refused to grant, although he did tell Lethal that he’d get a shot at the title if Generico won.
This wasn’t enough for Lethal as he reminded McGuinness that Kevin Steen had spat on his mother before spitting on him. The enforcer then went after Lethal until security pulled then apart and threw Lethal out of the building.
After an in-ring segment in which Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish attacked the injured Mike Mondo it was on to the tag team grudge match as Fish and O’Reilly faced the men who made the save, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, the re-united American Wolves.
Before the match began Fish “revealed” that Edwards was a no show, suggesting that Mondo took his place. This led to the aforementioned attack in which Richards and then Edwards made the save. At one point it looked like Edwards was going to attack Richards while Fish and O’Reilly held him until Fish ended up on the receiving end of a Superkick.
The Wolves proceeded to take their former protégés to the proverbial woodshed, but it wasn’t long before the young upstarts came back into the match, focusing their attack on Edwards, using many Wolves-like double team moves to take him down.
Eventually we got the all hell breaking loose segment, and that was where the fun really began. We finally got to see Richards and O’Reilly going at it in a hard hitting away as all the big guns came out, and after the Wolves took O’Reilly out with a powerbomb into a backbreaker Edwards applied his trademark Achilles lock with boots to the head combination. When O’Reilly passed out the referee stopped the match to give the Wolves the win.
The special challenge match saw Matt Hardy facing TV Champion Adam Cole in a non-title match.
Hardly wasn’t exactly the most welcome person at the ballroom that night, which meant that for once the faithful were firmly behind just one of the participants. This match was okay. Hardy certainly put in a better effort than he did during his brief TNA career. It was a well executed encounter, even though it didn’t really have that ROH vibe about it.
Even though Hardy used a few underhanded tactics Cole was than able to hand with his more illustrious opponent, even taking him down with a Twist of Fate at one point. It also looked like he was going to get the win after dumping Hardy with his Florida Key finisher on the floor, with Hardly barely kicking out of the ensuing pin attempt.
A few moments later Cole went for the move in the ring, but in a move that reeked of desperation Hardy pulled the referee’s shirt over his head, blinding the official while he kicked Cole south of the equator. When the referee eventually sorted out his wardrobe problems the first thing he saw was Hardy pinning Cole with a small package, A three count later and the former sensei of Mattitude had the win.
The penultimate match saw the Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman joining Jay and Mark Briscoe in challenging Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs for the Tag Team titles. This one was contested under sudden death rules, and the only way that either of the challengers could win the titles was if they pinned one of the champions.
These stipulations led to some quite interesting confrontations throughout this encounter. While both sets of challengers team up at first as they tried to take the champions down it wasn’t long before they went their separate ways as they began to break up each other’s pins.
So while the challengers were going at it Corino and Jacobs tried to head for the hills. They soon found their paths blocked though as they were led back into the match. This led to our esteemed champions taking the underhanded route, particularly when Corino hit Alexander with a roll of coins in his hand. Needless to say that the veteran was shocked when Alexander kicked out of the ensuing pin.
Moments later it was all over when the Briscoes singled out Jacobs and took him down with the Doomsday Device for the title winning pin. Jay then took to the microphone to issue an open challenge to any team in the world before giving Coleman and Alexander the first shot at the title.
The main event saw El Generico challenging Kevin Steen for the World title in a Ladder War match.
Well, this may not have been as fast paced as some of the other ladder matches I’ve seen over the years but it certainly had it’s fair share of drama and sick bumps. The brawling began as soon as the bell sounded, and it wasn’t long before the ladders came into play, courtesy of our champion.
The first big bump of the night came when Steen back dropped Generico onto one of the ladders. The impact from the falling Luchadore almost destroyed the ladder, and many, well, the announcers, wondered if the match would end there and then.
It didn’t. Time and time again Generico kept coming back into the match, foiling a few of Steen’s attempts before he sent his former partner crashing through a table that was perched on a ladder between the ring and the guardrail. Further carnage soon followed when Generico went through the timekeeper’s table. But once again he recovered as he introduced a massive ladder into the equation.
This led to the biggest bump of the night. After perching two ladders between two rungs of the bigger ladders Steen took Generico down with the Package Piledriver. The masked man went crashing through two ladders before he crashed to the floor.
It was all over moments later. His man down on the mat Steen climbed up the biggest of the ladders and claimed the newly-minted title belt for the win.
No extras on this DVD release, so let’s get straight down to business.
In conclusion – Ring of Honor’s last big show of 2012 proved to be another quality outing. Although there were some moments which didn’t exactly get my pulse racing, most notably Matt Hardy’s performance, overall I was satisfied by what I saw.
As for my match of the night there were quite a few options, but this time around the no-prize goes to the Steen/Generico Ladder War. If anything that Package Piledriver onto the stack of ladders should get move of the night.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving Final Battle 2012 the thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Final Battle 2012 can be purchased online by visiting www.rohwrestling.com.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!