Tonight marks the end of an era for Ring of Honor.
Final Battle 2021 will be held at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore tonight. It's the final live ROH event before the promotion goes on hiatus for the first quarter of 2022. ROH will be taking that time to "reimagine" the company, and talent won't have their contracts renewed.
Bandido was scheduled to defend his ROH World Championship against Jonathan Gresham in the main event of the pay-per-view, but that won't be happening due to Bandido testing positive for COVID-19. AEW's Jay Lethal will now make his return to ROH for a match against Gresham.
The situation with the ROH World Championship will be addressed on Final Battle Hour One. That Hour One broadcast airs for free on HonorClub, YouTube, and Facebook at 7 p.m. Eastern time. The main card then begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Five title matches have been made official for tonight. As part of a double main event with Gresham vs. Lethal, The OGK will put their ROH Tag Team titles on the line against The Briscoes.
Rok-C will defend her ROH Women's Championship against Willow Nightingale, Josh Woods puts his Pure title up for grabs against Brian Johnson, Dalton Castle defends his TV title against Rhett Titus, Silas Young, and Joe Hendry in a four-way match, and Shane Taylor Promotions (Moses, Kaun & O'Shay Edwards) defend their ROH Six-Man Tag Team titles against The Righteous (Vincent, Bateman & Dutch).
Also set for the show are: Shane Taylor vs. Kenny King in a Fight Without Honor, Brody King, Homicide & Tony Deppen vs. Tracy Williams, Taylor Rust & Eli Isom, Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus, Chelsea Green, Allysin Kay & Marti Belle vs. Angelina Love, Mandy Leon & Miranda Alize, and a wildcard 10-man tag match.
Hour One --
ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championships: The Righteous (Vincent, Bateman, & Dutch) (w/ Vita Von Starr) defeated Shane Taylor Promotions (Moses, Kaun, & O'Shay Edwards) (c) [10:57]
This was okay, but the botched bell put a dent in the match's momentum.
Dutch and Moses started things, showing off some nice athleticism for their size. It quickly broke down into a six-way with Vincent and Kaun tagging in and meeting each other with simultaneous crossbodies. Kaun took down Vincent with a running back elbow and a gutbuster for two. Moses tagged back in, and he and Kaun landed a double team for another two. Vincent came back with a Side Effect for two of his own.
Bateman tagged in for his first action of the evening. Moses hit a Samoan drop for two, then tagged in Edwards., who hit a German and a Liger bomb for a near fall. Vincent sent Edwards to the floor and landed a tope but took a dive from Kaun. Bateman then came off the top with a big springboard onto the pile. Von Starr tried to get involved but was easily dispatched by Moses, then Dutch flew over the top with a flip dive onto everyone. Von Starr landed an Asai moonsault for good measure.
A powerbomb from Dutch followed by a Redrum from Vincent got a near fall. Edwards hit a top-rope moonsault on Bateman for two, but the bell rang in what looked to be some unfortunate miscommunication. We got a parade of big moves in the ring, then Vincent hit Orange Sunshine for the win.
Jay Lethal was interviewed by Quinn McKay. He said it was a privilege and an honor to wrestle in the main event of Final Battle.
It was made official that Gresham vs. Lethal would be for the original Ring of Honor World Championship.
Rocky Romero was backstage with Quinn McKay. He said he was here representing New Japan Pro Wrestling and that he would be on commentary. VLNCE UNLTD walked up and Brody King recommended that Rocky get in the ring.
The Allure (Angelina Love & Mandy Leon) & Miranda Alize defeated Chelsea Green & The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) [6:39]
This was pretty rough, but I thought Alize was by far the most impressive member of the match.
Kay and Belle are the NWA and SHINE women's tag team champions. Alize and Belle had a quick exchange before Kay and Leon tagged in. Green quickly entered the match but was taken down by Leon and the latter's team isolated her in the corner. Alize landed a nice running knee into the corner and then a suplex for two. Love hit a Complete Shot on Green for two more.
Green eventually used evasive maneuvers to tag in Kay, who hit a sidewalk slam on Love. She and Belle hit Hex Marks The Spot on Leon for two, but Alize broke up the pin. We got a parade of big moves, concluded with Green landing a dive on all three opponents. Love cut off a dive from Belle, then Leon hit a pumphandle slam for the win.
The Briscoes discussed their history in Ring of Honor.
EC3 tried to cut a promo backstage, but then the Pure team from later on tonight walked up and said they were down a man, asking EC3 to fight with them. He accepted.
Danhausen joined commentary for this match.
Flip Gordon, PJ Black, World Famous CB, & The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas) defeated Max The Impaler, Sledge, Will Ferrara, Demonic Flamita, & LSG (w/ Amy Rose) [10:24]
This was all crowd-pleasing high spots to get everyone on the card.
Ferrara and CB started off with an extended technical exchange. Flamita and Flip tagged in with a display of acrobatics. They looked like they would shake hands, but Flamita flipped Flip the bird. LSG and Black tagged in, and LSG cradled Black for two. Max tagged themselves in and called for Milonas, who obliged, but Bruiser took out Max with a cheap shot. They traded strikes in the ring until Sledge tagged in to face off with Bruiser.
Sledge hit Bruiser with a Blue Thunder bomb, but then Black came in and took down Sledge with a thrust kick. We got our third parade of big moves in as many matches. Max and Milonas were the final two standing. Max cornered Milonas with a Vader-style forearm flurry and a corner spear. They hit another spear in the center of the ring, but then Bruiser pulled Max out of the ring and sent them into the barricade.
Milonas landed a crossbody on Black on the floor, then Flip landed a tope con giro. Bruiser climbed to the top but was taken out by Sledge, who hit a big-time Orihara moonsault onto the pile. CB wanted a dive but was cut off by Max, who suplexed him onto the pile. Flamita cut off a Black dive and looked to land a dive of his own, but he flipped off the crowd instead.
Bruiser picked up Flamita for a powerbomb, but the smaller man fought out. Flamita then landed a tornillo dive. Flip cut off an LSG springboard with a cutter, then he and Black hit a doomsday destroyer for the win.
I normally wouldn't include this on the report, but Riccaboni and Caprice gave an incredible impassioned speech imploring fans to buy the show that just has to be seen.
ROH Final Battle Report --
A great, simple video package opened the show.
Dragon Lee defeated Rey Horus [11:21]
This was a great match from two of ROH's most consistently excellent post-pandemic performers.
They performed a nice choreographed sequence early on until Lee surprised Horus with a tope out of nowhere. He dumped Horus over the barricade and drove Horus spine-first into the ring post before slamming him on the floor. Back in the ring, Horus got a flurry of offense but was immediately cut off with a spinebuster. Lee then locked on a half-crab, forcing Horus to fight to the ropes.
Lee went for the corner dropkick, but Horus landed a diving cazadora takeover and dropkicked Lee to the floor. Lee avoided a dive, but Horus kept the momentum up and re-directed with a great tope con giro onto Lee. Horus sent Lee into the turnbuckle with an overhead throw, then a single-leg dropkick got two.
Horus tried to keep up the attack but was cut off by Lee, who continued to target Horus' back. They had a fighting spirit spot trading forearms in the center of the ring. Lee hit a snap German but ran into a discus forearm. He came back with a pump kick, but Horus won the exchange with a Spanish Fly.
Lee climbed the ropes, but Horus cut him off before he could attack. Horus hit the top-rope cazadora driver for a good near fall. Lee got the knees up on a twisting splash, but Horus countered again into a DDT for two. Lee powered Horus up into a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. He then hit the Incinerator for another close near fall.
A ripcord pump knee followed by an Incinerator to the back of Horus' head was enough for Lee to win.
Current IMPACT talent Eddie Edwards shared a video where he thanked Ring of Honor for giving him the chance to show what he could do inside the wrestling ring.
Dak Draper joined commentary for this match.
ROH Television Championship four-way: Rhett Titus defeated Dalton Castle (c), Silas Young, and Joe Hendry [8:30]
This had some good action and a nice finish, but it was very much a two-in, two-out four-way style and the ref bump was contrived.
Castle immediately ran out to the crowd and celebrated. The remaining three fought it out before Castle and Young faced off in the ring. The former took Young down and then hit a nice overhead suplex and celebrated, allowing Titus to cover him for two. Titus avoided a dive from Young, but the latter redirected and took Titus out with a cannonball senton. He then hit the FYB and then the FYF on Castle, but Titus broke up the pin.
Hendry entered the fray and landed a big lariat. Titus caught a slingshot from Young and turned it into a bridging suplex for two. Castle went for the Bangarang, but Titus turned it into a roll-up for two. Castle was sent crashing to the floor, as was Young, as Titus and Hendry were the last two in the ring. Hendry caught a dive and hit a press slam on Titus. He then picked up both Titus and Young and hit a fallaway slam, but Castle stole the cover for a near fall.
Titus ran into a powerbomb from Hendry for two. Castle hit Bangarang, but there was a contrived ref bump spot where the official didn't make contact at all -- that looked terrible. Hendry hit Castle with the belt, then Draper ran down from commentary to take down Hendry. Young rolled Titus up for a near fall, then they traded forearms. Titus avoided a springboard splash from Young, then hit a straight dropkick on Young to win the championship.
Current AEW World Champion Hangman Page sent his well wishes to Ring of Honor, saying it allowed him to travel the world for the first time.
Johnson cut a promo before the match saying everyone who made this event possible could "get bent."
Brian Zane joined commentary for this match.
ROH Pure Championship: Josh Woods (c) defeated Brian Johnson [12:59]
It was not a mat classic, but I enjoyed the "no amount of cheating can overcome pure wrestling" story.
Woods immediately forced Johnson to burn two rope breaks. He dominated with hard strikes and locked on a sleeper over the ropes, so Johnson dropped Woods across the ropes. He followed it up with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Woods went for another rear naked choke, but Johnson fought out and hit a springboard shoulder tackle. A rebound lariat followed for two.
Johnson hit a spike cutter with Woods draped off the apron to the floor. He climbed the ropes, but Woods popped up and tossed him to the mat and cut him off with a spear. They battled for a suplex, with Woods suplexing Johnson over the ropes, sending both crashing to the floor. They traded forearms on the outside but had to re-enter the ring to break the count.
Woods overpowered Johnson, who responded with an open hand slap. Woods came back with one of his own and locked on a standing head-and-arm choke, forcing Johnson to use his third rope break. With the official's back turned, Johnson poked Woods' eye and hit The Process for a good near fall.
Johnson picked up the belt and the official wrestled it away. He tried to take off the top turnbuckle pad, but Woods popped up and hit a German suplex bridge for a near fall. Johnson then grabbed brass knuckles and whacked Woods with them, but Woods kicked out again.
They fought on the top rope, but Woods locked on a front sleeper and Johnson passed out for the stoppage.
The next legend video was from Jimmy Jacobs. He discussed how he used to room with guys like the Young Bucks, Tyler Black, and El Generico. All of them have loads of success, and it wouldn't have been possible without Ring of Honor.
Fight Without Honor: Shane Taylor defeated Kenny King [17:47]
The "music between the notes" wasn't really there, but the high spots were so impressive that it was impossible not to get into this.
King spat in Taylor's face right away, so Taylor sent him to the floor and into the barricades. Taylor swung with a chair, but King avoided it. King was sent crashing to the floor with a back body drop. Taylor set up tables, but King used the time to recover and baited Taylor into a fight in the ring. Taylor overpowered King.
They fought on the top rope, where King hit an insane blockbuster through two tables to the floor. King was the first to get back to his feet, and he whacked Taylor with kendo stick shots. He forced Taylor into the corner and smacked him over the head with a trash can. Taylor caught a corner attack and slammed King onto the can.
Taylor got a measure of revenge with kendo stick shots of his own. He propped King onto a table on the floor and put him through it with a running splash. Taylor then brought out another table, propping this one up in the ring. He tried to lawn-dart King into it, but King escaped and put Taylor through it with a rolling Death Valley driver for a near fall.
Out on the floor, King bridged a ladder between the ring and the barricade. They both brought more ladders into the ring until King hit Taylor with more kendo stick shots, then Taylor did the same to King. They bridged a ladder between to propped-up ladders in the ring, and King placed Taylor onto it. He then dove off a ladder, sending Taylor through a ladder for another near fall.
Taylor caught a boot and laid in a strike combination followed by Welcome to the Land for two. They both moved to the outside and fought on top of the bridged ladder, where Taylor put King through the ladder to the floor with a package piledriver in an absurd spot. In the ring, King kicked out at two for a great false finish.
It appeared as if Taylor was hesitant in using a chair, so King implored him to "f*cking do it," and Taylor obliged. The Marcus Garvey driver onto the chair followed for the win.
– After the match, all of ROH's Black talent stood together in the ring.
AEW superstar CM Punk was the next alumni video. He said ROH felt like lightning in the bottle, and told people to not be sad it's over, but happy it happened. The business today would be drastically different if ROH didn't exist.
Quinn McKay joined commentary for this match.
ROH Women's Championship: Rok-C (c) defeated Willow [10:18]
The crowd had a tough time getting into it after the wild previous match, but I thought these women were great here. The crowd loved Willow.
Willow out-wrestled Rok-C early on as she had the champ scouted. Rok-C came back with moonsault knees, but Willow reversed them and tried to catapult Rok-C into the ropes. Rok-C blocked it and went for an escalera but was smashed with a corner splash from the challenger. Willow followed it up with a cannonball.
Rok-C countered the third of the Three Amigos, but Willow kept the arm clutched into an Olympic slam for two. The champion laid in forearms and followed it up with an escalera hurricanrana. A Thesz press followed by a Russian legsweep got two for Rok-C. She locked on a crossface, but Willow turned it into a cradle for two.
Willow sent Rok-C flying with a pounce. They traded stiff strikes to each other's chests. Willow countered the Code Rok into a belly-to-back piledriver for a near fall. Willow climbed the ropes, but Rok-C cut her off and turned it into a powerbomb for two. Rok-C then climbed the ropes, but Willow popped up and turned it into a superplex. She then hit a top-rope moonsault for a good near fall.
Rok-C escaped the Babe Bomb and caught a kick, returning fire with a rising knee and a spin kick. The Code Rok followed for the win.
– After the match, Deonna Purrazzo came out with the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship. She said that if she beats Mickie James for the Knockouts championship, she will challenge Rok-C in a "winner takes all" match.
Adam Cole was the next alumni to send in a video. He said that ROH changed the landscape of the industry, and he became the wrestler he is today thanks to ROH.
VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King, Homicide, Tony Deppen) & Rocky Romero defeated EC3 & The Foundation (Tracy Williams, Taylor Rust, & Eli Isom) [13:32]
This was ROH Appreciation: The Match. The post-match angle was cool but also fairly baffling.
Rocky and Williams started things off, with the former quickly going for the forever clotheslines and then the cross armbreaker. Next in was Deppen and Rust, who performed a technical exchange with some nice cradles. Deppen hit both Williams and Rust with a double hurricanrana, then tagged in Homicide, who immediately ran into a crossface. EC3 tagged in, and he and Homicide traded strikes. King tagged in and he and Homicide worked together to take down EC3.
The last man to enter the match was Isom. He went for a sleeper by hopping on King's back, but King powered out of it and hit a big running senton for two. Homicide tagged in and it was noted that he was wearing the exact same jumpsuit he wore on the very first ROH event. Isom tried to escape out for a tag and eventually did reach EC3. Deppen tried to take out EC3 with a dive, but EC3 caught him with a suplex. Homicide then took out EC3 with a tope.
Isom landed an Orihara moonsault onto Deppen and Homicide. Rust and Williams cut off a King dive and hit Total Elimination, but King popped right back up and sent them to the floor. He then hit a tope suicida on everyone. Back in the ring, King hit a big lariat on EC3 followed by a piledriver for two. Rust and Rocky had an exchange where Rust powerbombed Rocky onto chairs.
Back in the ring, Homicide attacked EC3 with a fork. Isom and King tagged in, and the latter hit a muscle buster EC3 then hit a piledriver. We got a parade of big moves that all had references to finishers from ROH legends like CM Punk, Jerry Lynn, Homicide himself, Brian Kendrick, Nigel McGuinness, El Generico, KENTA, and Bryan Danielson. They were too fast to list, but that was an awesome sequence.
Isom and Homicide faced off in the center of the ring, and Homicide hit the Cop Killa for a great near fall. Isom hit Homicide with a superkick, but King tagged in. King went for a big lariat, but Isom collapsed. King caught a lariat attempt and hit Isom with the Gonzo Bomb for the win.
– EC3 and Isom were the only two left in the ring. EC3 cut a rather obtuse promo, saying they paid homage to the past, and told Isom to stand. He then said that there is no honor in this ring, as it's just corporate wrestling. They give everything to the ring, and they get nothing. Brian Johnson and Dak Draper came out and were heated. EC3 said this was a call to arms, saying they could take back this industry block by block. He told them all to use their power and said they could use their freedom.
Two wrestlers (one of whom was Wesley Blake) appeared on the ramp, then EC3 said "Free the Titan," and Adam Scherr (the former Braun Strowman) stormed out. EC3, Scherr, and the two goons sent Isom, Johnson, and Draper packing.
The Young Bucks reminisced on their time in Ring of Honor.
Cary Silkin joined commentary for this match.
ROH World Tag Team Championships: The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeated The OGK (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) (w/ Maria Kanellis-Bennett) (c) [15:56]
This was an absolutely stellar tag team match and unquestionably the best match of the night thus far. I'd be shocked if there's a better Matt Taven or Mike Bennett match out there. The Briscoes winning was the only possible ending here.
Jay and Taven started off, then Mark and Bennett tagged in. Bennett cut Mark off and tagged in Taven, who dropkicked Jay to the floor and then followed it up with a tope suicida. He then went for a wild dive over the top rope, but the Briscoes moved out of the way and Taven was sent crashing into his partner. Mark set up a chair in the ring and used it to hit a step-up flip dive onto the OGK.
The Briscoes isolated Taven in their corner until Taven tagged in and the OGK hit a combination for two. Mark fought off both of the OGK and hit exploder suplexes on both opponents. The Briscoes hit a quick Redneck Boogie for two. Jay was busted open. He went for the Jay Driller, but Taven cradled him for two and reached Bennett for the tag.
Bennett laid in machine gun chops and a brainbuster. He hung Jay off the apron over the floor, and Taven hit a splash all the way to the floor. Taven hit the Climax in the ring after a parade of big moves, leading to everyone being down. Mark landed a pescado to the floor and then Jay landed a tope suicida. Mark kept up the offense with a blockbuster to the floor.
Mark climbed the ropes and hit a top-rope elbow drop, but Maria pulled the official out of the ring to stop the count. Bennett accidentally speared Maria. The Briscoes wanted a Doomsday Device on the floor, but Bennett escaped and hit a piledriver on Jay. The OGK then hit an unbelievable suicide Doomsday Device for a great near fall.
The OGK hit the Hail Mary, but Jay broke up the pinfall at the last second. Jay hit Bennett with the Jay Driller, Taven hit a spinning heel kick on Jay and a running knee on Mark. Taven went for a frog splash, but Mark got the knees up and Jay hit the Jay Driller for an awesome near fall.
The Briscoes then hit the Doomsday Device for yet another close near fall. A third Jay Driller followed by the Froggy Bow gave the Briscoes the win and the championships.
– After the match, Jay said that this might be the end of an era, but it's not the end of the Briscoes. He said any tag team could come and challenge them.
The lights went out and current AEW wrestlers and AAA tag team champions FTR showed up. They brawled with the Briscoes and security had to come out and break it up.
Bryan Danielson was the final video message. He talked about being on the very first ROH show and said that without ROH, he wouldn't be where he is today. He thanked ROH and its fans.
ROH World Championship: Jonathan Gresham defeated Jay Lethal [15:11]
This was perfectly worked. Both men are ring generals, but I fear they were short on time as they had to finish by 11pm eastern. The ROH locker room coming out to watch was lovely.
Neither man could establish an advantage early on. Gresham was eventually able to dropkick Lethal to the floor and maintain control upon re-entry to the ring. They had a nice technical exchange until Lethal began to lay in chops. Lethal hit an enziguiri, sending Gresham to the floor, and followed it up with a tope suicida.
Back in the ring, Lethal caught a crossbody and hit a fallaway slam. He slapped Gresham across the face and followed it up with a leg-trap facebuster. Gresham countered Lethal Injection into an O'Connor roll, but Lethal stopped a missile dropkick. Gresham reversed a figure four into a cradle before cradling Lethal multiple other times for close two-counts.
They traded chops for a long time until Lethal hit a snap powerslam. He climbed the ropes, but Gresham rolled out of the way. They kept countering each other's moves and we got another extended cradle exchange. Lethal got Gresham in the torture rack and rolled through with a senton. Hail to the King was next.
Lethal wanted the Lethal Injection, but his injured arm gave out. Gresham capitalized with a moonsault and went for a chickenwing, locking it on with a body scissors. As Lethal was about to escape, Gresham turned it into a cutter.
The full ROH locker room ran out to watch the match at ringside. Gresham and Lethal traded strikes in the center of the ring. Gresham popped up with an enziguiri and a snap German for two, followed by the Bayonet for two. He hit a second one for another near fall. Lethal cut him off with a superkick, but he couldn't hit the powerbomb, and Gresham hit a third Bayonet for another near fall.
Gresham went for a fourth Bayonet but was cut off with a lariat. Gresham countered the Lethal Injection into a backslide for a near fall, then locked on the octopus stretch for the win.
– After the match, Gresham celebrated with his wife, fellow professional wrestler Jordynne Grace.