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CALDWELL'S ROH FINAL BATTLE PPV REPORT 12/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live iPPV - Richards vs. Edwards III

Dec 23, 2011 - 10:54:12 PM
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Ring of Honor "Final Battle 2011" Internet PPV Results
December 23, 2011
Live from New York City
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

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The event started with Jim Cornette, Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness, Cary Silkin, and Joe Koff in the ring. After the sound came on, Cornette claimed this was the largest ROH gate in company history. Cornette handed the mic over to Koff, who made a Festivus reference to introduce the show. After the formalities were over, Kelly and Nigel positioned themselves ringside for commentary. First up, Michael Elgin vs. T.J. Perkins.

1 -- MICHAEL ELGIN (w/Truth Martini) vs. T.J. PERKINS

This was all about Elgin's power vs. Perkins's speed and agility, which often intersected with power counters to T.J.'s high-flying offense and quick counters to Elgin's power offense. For the finish, Perkins tried to flip the match formula with a Samoan Drop, but Elgin easily escaped and delivered a buckle bomb into a spinning powerbomb for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Elgin at 7:25. Fine opening match to get the crowd warmed up and continue building Elgin's march to ROH World Title level.

In-ring: Prince Nana's Embassy led out Tommaso Ciampa for the next match. Nana then yanked the mic away to inquire why his old protégé Jimmy Rave decided to turn against the Embassy. Rave, now with a beard and short hair to look more intense than like a pretty boy, came out to face Ciampa to a decent reaction. Kelly noted Rave used to be showered with toilet paper by ROH fans. He also described the match-up as Embassy's Past vs. Embassy's Future.

2 -- TOMMASO CIAMPA (w/The Embassy) vs. JIMMY RAVE

The ultra-intense Ciampa tried to get under Rave's skin early on, but Rave acted unfazed. The action then moved to the outside, where Ciampa took control. Back in the ring, Ciampa landed multiple corner knee strikes for a nearfall. Rave came back with a Rave Clash at 7:00 for a close nearfall that nearly ended Ciampa's undefeated singles streak. The crowd chanted, "A-J-Styles," after the move.

Rave went for his finisher, but Prince Nana hopped on the ring apron to distract Rave with an offer to rejoin the Embassy. Chaos ensued with interference from all directions, leading to Ciampa finishing off Rave for the pin and the win. Afterward, Ciampa received Rave's old robe to be coronated as the Embassy's crown jewel. Meanwhile, Kelly wondered what the future holds for Rave after flying 26 hours from India to be part of the show.

WINNER: Ciampa at 8:33.

In-ring: Next up for the ROH TV Title match, Mike Bennett's music hit to bring out Bennett and "Brutal" Bob Evans. Bennett pretended to forget someone, then stepped back through the curtain to bring out former WWE Diva Maria for her ROH debut. As soon as Bennett's music stopped, the crowd chanted, "C-M-Punk." Bennett responded with, "Who?" and a big kiss for Maria. Bennett waited out a "sloppy seconds" chant before heeling on the crowd some more. Bennett wrapped up his promo, which led to El Generico's entrance. TV champion Jay Lethal was out last, then Bobby Cruise handled the formal ring introductions.

3 -- TV champion JAY LETHAL vs. EL GENERICO vs. "THE PRODIGY" MIKE BENNETT (w/Maria and "Brutal" Bob Evans) -- ROH TV Title match -- triple threat elimination match

Bennett bailed from the ring to let Lethal and Generico wrestle. Generico teased wrestling Lethal, then jumped to the outside and Lethal joined him to knock Bennett back and forth with right hands. Bennett scampered back into the ring, where Generico and Lethal met him to deliver more offense. Bennett returned to the floor, then G&L delivered dual flip dives to send Bennett crashing into the guardrail. Bennett spent the next several minutes "recovering" on the floor, allowing Generico and Lethal to battle in the ring.

The match moved to the outside, where Bennett threw Maria in harm's way to slow down Generico. Generico, a fine gentleman, gently moved Maria out of the way, which allowed Bennett to cheap-shot him. Back in the ring, a rapid-fire sequence put all three men on the mat. Bennett then scored an apparent three on Lethal, but the ref stopped short and the match continued with all three men. Generico suddenly got a burst of energy for a double-rope splash onto Lethal on the outside, which he followed right up with a suicide dive through the turnbuckle into a tornado DDT on Bennett. Back in the ring, it was only good for a nearfall on Bennett.

Lethal then went up top for a Macho Man elbow drop on Generico for a nearfall. Lethal tried again, but Generico blocked and they battled up top. Bennett broke it up, though, and rolled up Generico from behind with a handful of tights for an elimination at 18:03. Lethal followed right up with the Lethal Injection on Bennett. It was good for a pin and the win moments later. Post-match: Bennett quickly left the ring with Maria and Bob before Generico and Lethal shook hands in the ring.

WINNER: Lethal at 18:17. Excellent work from Generico to accelerate the match leading to the finish and save it from being a disappointment. Bennett is developing as a heel, but not there yet. (**1/2)

In-ring: Jim Cornette, Cary Silkin, and Jimmy Jacobs in a referee tanktop came out for the Kevin Steen vs. Steve Corino grudge match. Corino came out first looking to end the monster he created. Kevin Steen's music played next and he emerged in the balcony. Kelly said Steen was not allowed to dress in the locker room since he's not officially part of the roster. Steen then made his way through the crowd to the ring.

4 -- KEVIN STEEN vs. STEVE CORINO -- Jimmy Jacobs special referee -- No DQ match -- Steen reinstated if he wins -- Steen gone for good if he loses

The fight quickly moved to the floor, where Steen delivered a running cannonball splash onto Corino against the ringpost. Suddenly, Corino recovered and flew off the apron with a splash onto Steen. Back in the ring, Corino used a controlled chair strike to the top of Steen's head to subdue Steen, but Steen came back with a big splash once they returned to the floor. Steen's next move was removing a portion of a guardrail cover, which he used to bop Corino in the face.

Next, Steen powerbombed Corino back-first across a chair while the chair was draped across a corner guardrail. Steen had a good laugh, then talked into Nigel's headphones that he's glad to see him again. Kelly said there's a Brian Pillman-like streak in Steen as he went for his next move: a table. Steen wanted a powerbomb through the table on the outside, but Corino blocked with a left-arm lariat. Corino then tossed a trashcan and multiple chairs into the ring. Steen ducked a shot, then blasted Corino with a trashcan lid to the face.

Corino came up bleeding heavily from his left ear, but mule kicked Steen out of desperation to slow down Steen. Corino followed with trashcan shots to the head, then he slammed Steen back-first onto a pile of chairs. Corino followed with a top-rope splash for a two count. The crowd picked up a dueling chant in favor of each man while Corino set up an elaborate chairs and guardrail spot mid-ring. Nigel said this is beyond pro wrestling and could end someone's career or life. They moved up top, where Corino delivered a superplex into the guardrail draped across the chairs. The crowd popped as Corino made a cover, but Steen kicked out, much to Cornette's dismay.

Steen and Corino reset after the nearfall with Steen landing a chair shot across the back. They returned to the top turnbuckle to tease another superplex spot. This time, Steen bit Corino's ear, but Corino hopped off the top turnbuckle, grabbed a lid, smashed Steen in the face, and Steen fell off the top through a table and chairs on the floor below. It took Corino a while to get Steen back into the ring to make a cover, which allowed Steen to kick out in time. Steen then found a burst of energy for a suplex through the seat of a chair, but Corino kicked out.

At 20:00, Steen measured Corino for a final chair shot. Corino spit in his face, which encouraged Steen to deliver a chair shot to the back of Corino's neck. Steen made a cover, but Corino kicked out. Steen wanted another chair shot, but ref Jacobs yanked the chair away from him. In the confusion, Corino retrieved some sort of foreign object to pop Steen in the face with, but Steen kicked out again. The crowd was hushed waiting to see what the final blow would be. Corino set up another set of chairs mid-ring, but Steen punched Corino low, then delivered a Package Piledriver through the chairs. Steen made a cover for a one...slow count....two...Jacobs paused to look at Cornette not wanting to make the final count...three.

Post-match: Steen celebrated by himself, then declared that the devil is back in ROH. As Cornette and Jacobs checked on Corino, Steen said he came here to do three things. (1) Destroy Corino and win his job back. (2) Steen scooped up Jacobs to deliver a Package Piledriver. Nigel wanted to know what #3 is.

Steen stared down Cornette and lifted up three fingers. Cornette begged off, then Steen grabbed Cornette, but El Generico hit the ring to stare down Steen. Kelly noted Generico eradicated Steen from ROH 12 months ago at Final Battle 2010. Generico and Steen fought, with Generico getting the advantage until Steen blocked a top-rope brainbuster attempt. Steen then delivered a Package Piledriver off the apron through the scraps of a table ringside. Generico sold being KO'ed as Steen re-entered the ring to celebrate his return to ROH. To "sell the moment," Nigel dropped his headsets to check on Generico. Kelly recapped Steen returning to ROH as Cornette tried to make sense of what was going on. Cruise requested medical personnel to ringside to check on Generico, who was selling a neck injury. Only one ref seemed to be concerned with Corino in the ring. Kelly then sent the show to intermission.

WINNER: Steen at 23:13. Sick, crazy match that only happens once in a blue moon...and for good reason with too many blows to the head/neck region. As for the wrestlers involved, Steen adds such a strong presence to ROH's roster that has been missing for the past year. Steen is a stand-out, crazed, monster heel that can help drive ROH business on top of the roster going forward. Another round of Steen vs. Generico one year removed from their 2010 feud would not be a bad thing, either.

[Intermission: Before GFL officially went to break, Bobby Cruise could be heard announcing Sunday, March 4 as ROH's return to NYC for a tenth anniversary show.]

5 -- TAG TEAM GAUNTLET MATCH -- winning team receives future Tag Title shot

The Bravado Brothers were eliminated by Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander in the opening portion of the match. Future Shock came out next to face C&C. After a nice back and forth match, Alexander found himself trapped in a double-team from Cole & O'Reilly for a pinfall. Coleman & Alexander were eliminated, bringing out the Young Bucks with their cocky attitude. The Bucks dominated Cole & O'Reilly early on before Cole subdued Nick Jackson with nine straight rolling butterfly suplexes. Impressive. The action broke down, leading to the Bucks's double-team More Bang For Your Buck combination for a pin on Cole.

Out last was an injured All Night Express team to face off with the Bucks. Before Kenny King and Rhett Titus even entered the ring, the Bucks met them on the floor. The action eventually entered the ring with the Bucks in control of King as Titus sold on the floor. Titus eventually made it to the ring apron to receive a hot tag and clean house. The action broke down moments later, then the Bucks targeted Titus's injured knee.

For the inish, Matt Jackson slapped on a spinning toehold, Titus screamed in pain, and Nick stood up-top ready to inflict more damage. Titus refused to tap, so Nick came off the top with a 450 splash to the injured knee. The ref then called for the bell to "save Titus" from future injury. After the Bucks won, Nick went back up top for another 450 splash on Titus to add insult to injury. Afterward, Titus was helped out of the ring to continue selling the injury.

WINNERS: Young Bucks at 29:36 to receive a future Tag Title shot. Good ending focusing on the Bucks's resurgence as a heel team and trying to establish more credibility for Titus. The overall match was a bit long and the crowd lost interest at times, but it did spotlight ROH's strong tag division.

Announcers: Kevin Kelly asked Nigel McGuinness if he was considered for Roderick Strong's Invitational Challenger. Nigel blew off the question before Strong came out to face his mystery opponent. Strong said he was given a list of lame opponents from ROH, and he just wants to get this over with.

6 -- RODERICK STRONG INVITATIONAL CHALLENGE

The bell sounded and Truth Martini slowly began counting to ten to give Strong a count-out victory. Martini was almost too entertaining making comments in-between each number. When he hit nine, the Kings of Wrestling music played to bring out Chris Hero to a big reaction making his return to ROH. Strong threw a fit as Hero made his way into the ring. The bell re-sounded to officially start the match.

6b -- RODERICK STRONG (w/Truth Martini) vs. CHRIS HERO

Hero blasted Strong with an early boot to the face as Martini complained to Kevin Kelly about not being informed of this development in advance. The match moved to the floor, where Martini snuck in a shot to Hero's face using the Book of Truth. That allowed Strong to take control of the match back in the ring. Strong continued to wear down Hero, including a six-move combination into a Gibson Driver for a close nearfall. This woke up the crowd to get them behind Hero, who nailed a roaring elbow and kick strike for a close nearfall. Hero tried another pin, but Truth Martini ran into the ring to grab Hero's foot. Truth tried to run away, but Hero chased him around the ring. In the subsequent chaos, Hero big-booted Truth, then Strong sick kicked Hero for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Strong at 16:37. Although it remains to be seen, this came across like a one-off for Hero based on him putting over Strong, even with the interference. The crowd reacted to Hero's return to ROH, but didn't seem to invest in the match beyond Hero's return. (**1/2)

In-ring: The Briscoes came out to a strong reaction for the Tag Title semi-main event. Kelly noted the more bad things the Briscoes do, the more the fans seem to like them. Tag champs Haas & Benjamin came out next to a mixed reaction, leaning more toward boos. During ring intros, the boos became louder. So, Haas and Benjamin blasted the Briscoes with the tag belts before the bell sounded. A fight then spilled out to ringside. It returned to the ring, where the Briscoes were decked with chair shots. Still no bell. Haas then blasted Mark with chair shots across the back. "F--- You, Charlie," chant from the crowd, which Haas acknowledged by saying he couldn't hear the crowd. The tag champs continued to destroy the Briscoes. Jay Briscoe was bleeding profusely from the forehead by now. After Shelton messed up his trademark leapfrog splash, the bell suddenly sounded.

7 -- ROH tag champions CHARLIE HAAS & SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. THE BRISCOES -- ROH Tag Title match

The tag champs were still in the ring, now with Mark Briscoe in the ring and Jay limping around on the outside. Shelton went for his Leap of Faith again, but Jay suddenly slipped back into the ring to intercept Shelton with a superkick to a big reaction. Jay and Charlie then came face-to-face for a rapid-fire exchange of blows. After their exchange, Shelton targeted Mark with a splash, but that re-injured his ribs. The Briscoes then went to work on Shelton's ribs with methodical offense.

Haas took a tag for the tag champs at 5:00 and mounted an offensive attack in-between insults to the crowd. Haas executed a triple German Suplex combo on Jay, then slapped on the Haas of Pain. Mark tried to break it up with a splash, but Shelton tried to intercept, only to have Mark splash Shelton's ribs. As a result, the ref called for more refs to come check on Shelton. Shelton was taken to the back, leaving Haas alone in the ring with the Briscoes.

The Briscoes couldn't put Haas away, though, and Shelton crawled back to the ring. The ref was bumped during this sequence and Shelton used a 2x4 to crack over the Briscoes. The crowd entertained themselves with a Hacksaw Duggan Hooooo! and U-S-A chant. After this sequence, the Briscoes set up Haas for a Doomsday Device and connected. Cover, three count, and new ROH tag champions.

WINNERS: Briscoes at 13:24 to capture the ROH Tag Titles. A tag title change was the only way the crowd was going to be happy with this match after another round of mainstream wrestling booking with a ref bump involved here. Throw in another round of chair shots to the head and an indictment of the booking with the crowd entertaining themselves and this was a disappointing match. Meanwhile, Haas & Benjamin as heels has a good chance to help advance the tag division. (**)

In-between matches, the crowd chanted, "Fruity Pebbles," before Kelly and Nigel hyped the main event ROH World Title match. See above for "crowd entertaining themselves."

In-ring: Eddie Edwards came to the ring along with Dan Severn to start things off. ROH champ Davey Richards then emerged on-stage in a hooded jacket before he marched to the ring with Tony Kozina and Kyle O'Reilly trailing him.

8 -- ROH World champion DAVEY RICHARDS (w/Team Richards) vs. EDDIE EDWARDS (w/Dan Severn) -- ROH World Title match

Richards dominated the first stage of the match, showing superior fitness and striking. Edwards then took control with submission holds for the next stage of the match. He followed with Bryan Danielson-style repeated strikes to the chest, which only fired up Richards. The two men came face-to-face center-ring for an exchange of blows and strikes. Next was an exchange of headbutts while positioned on the top turnbuckle. Neither man gained the advantage, then the two men suplexed themselves over the top rope clear down to the floor, which drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.

The two men re-entered the ring at a 19 count, leading to another mid-ring exchange. Richards got the best of it, then Edwards challenged him with a slap to the face. Another mid-ring exchange of slaps and strikes. The two men were dizzied, then traded suplexes and popped to their feet after each one. They KO'ed each other with kick strikes, then Roderick Strong came down to ringside. Strong picked a fight with Team Richards, then Dan Severn stalked Strong. Severn teed off on Strong before House of Truth came down to ringside. Severn dragged Truth away, then everyone seemed to disappear ringside.

In the ring, Richards and Edwards stood up and slowly came face-to-face to get the focus back on them. They traded forearm strikes again before Eddie dropped Richards on the mat with a suplex that seemed to KO Richards. Edwards opted to pick up Richards for a top-rope move instead of making a cover, though. On the mat, Edwards delivered power move after power move, but Richards continued to kick out. Edwards then hit a Tombstone Piledriver into his Diehard suplex, but Richards kicked out just before three.

The action reset with the two men back up top. Richards tried a sunset flip powerbomb, but Edwards blocked. Richards regrouped and delivered a top-rope full nelson superplex for another close two count. The fans stomped their feet on the ground before chanting, "R-O-H." The match then moved to the ring apron, where they traded blows again. In the process, Edwards ate the ring apron and fell to the ground. Edwards needed a 19 count to re-enter the ring, then Richards suplexed Edwards onto the ring apron again. Richards asked for a quick count as Eddie struggled to recover on the floor. Edwards made a desperation leap into the ring before 20 and the match continued.

They reset again. Richards stood up and glared down at Edwards, who crawled toward him. Richards delivered repeated kick strikes to the head, but Edwards kicked out again. Richards then slapped on an anklelock, but Edwards rolled into a quick two count. Richards went right back to the anklelock, dropped the hold, and kicked Edwards in the head for another two count. Richards then measured Edwards again and said this is over. Richards with a kick, then a roundhouse kick to the head. Richards made a cover and it was good for the three count.

Post-match: Richards took a knee next to Edwards to check on his former tag partner. Richards then took the house mic and paced the ring. He said Jim Cornette pulled him aside earlier in the day to make sure they talk each other up after the match. Richards then looked at Edwards to tell him when he's ready to be his brother again, he'll be ready for him.

Suddenly, a mocking voice was heard. Kevin Steen walked out on-stage and mocked Richards before calling him a mf'er (unbleeped). Richards had to be held back as Steen continued his promo. Steen vowed to take the ROH World Title from Richards and hold ROH hostage. Steen flipped off Richards before disappearing to the back. Richards then ranted on everyone ringside, wanting answers. Severn returned to check on Edwards as they signed off with Richards and Edwards in the ring after their main event.

WINNER: Richards at 41:21 to retain the ROH World Title. Richards vs. Steen could be the type of epic title match ROH needs as a change of pace from the Richards-Edwards series. Not that there was anything wrong with Richards-Edwards, but they have such similar styles that there are only so many "evenly matched, stand-in-the-middle-of-the-ring and trade blows" type exchanges you can have in a 40-minute match before it wears on the audience. (****)

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "ROH PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here or email us at pwtorch@gmail.com.


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