Final Battle 2018 takes place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City tonight.
With the future of the four Elite members not yet officially announced, Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Hangman Page will all be challenging for titles tonight. In the main event, Jay Lethal will defend his ROH World Championship against Cody.
SoCal Uncensored (Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian) will defend their Tag Team titles against The Young Bucks and The Briscoes in Ladder War VII, and Page is challenging for Jeff Cobb's Television title.
The Women of Honor World Championship will also be on the line as Sumie Sakai defends against Madison Rayne, Karen Q, and Kelly Klein in a four corner survival match.
Also on the card: Marty Scurll faces Christopher Daniels (with Scurll's future ROH World Championship shot on the line), Matt Taven takes on Dalton Castle, Zack Sabre Jr. makes his ROH debut against Jonathan Gresham, Bully Ray and Flip Gordon's feud continues with an I Quit match, and Kenny King vs. Eli Isom opens the four-hour broadcast.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show kicked off with a video package detailing the angles between Cody and Jay Lethal, Dalton Castle and Matt Taven, and the three-way ladder match between the the Young Bucks, SCU and the Briscoes.
1) Kenny King defeated Eli Isom
The Hammerstein Ballroom was loud and lively at the beginning of the show.
King grabbed the mic and cut a promo on Isom and Jay Lethal. He said he really didn’t need to be at the show tonight because he wasn’t getting a title shot. He then attacked Isom with the mic before the bell.
Colt Cabana called Kenny King “a star” on commentary.
King got pretty loud heat throughout this match, and was quite good outside the ring with the crowd work.
King clubbed and stomped on Isom at the start. Isom later did a big plancha onto King.
A few audience members in the front row kept screaming “KENNY’s SISTER!” and “You SUCK!”
Isom received scattered chants throughout the match. He did a few cool moves, including a high angle belly-to-belly suplex and a power bomb.
King had Isom beat but wanted to make a point of punishing him. Isom reversed the momentum with a Gory Special Bomb.
Shortly after. King used Darkness Falls on Isom for the pin. This match was totally fine, with better heat than you'd expect at the beginning of a show.
2) TV Title Match: Jeff Cobb defeated Adam Page
Quick promo package on Cobb and Page before the match. Page threatened to jump off a balcony at Hammerstein tonight.
Page dropkicked Cobb out of the ring, then tried to his the shooting star shoulder block off the apron, but Cobb reversed it into a belly-to-belly. The crowd lost it for this. ROH replayed the entire sequence.
Cobb used a flying European uppercut on Page. The crowd was hot at this point and split between the two.
Cobb later used a beautiful dropkick to Page when Page sat on the top turnbuckle. He then deadlift super-plex for, like, 30 seconds, then did a standing moonsault. He then missed a standing shooting star press. Wow.
The crowd was completely split at this point. Page reversed Cobb’s crossbody block by rolling through, then deadlifting Cobb into a fall-away slam. Unreal strength on Page’s part here.
More insanity on Page’s part in the following moments after a tope suicida and and a Orihara moonsault to the outside to Cobb, and later *two* standing shooting star presses, all for a two count.
Cobb used a swinging backdrop suplex and then the Owen Hart Summerslam 1997 tombstone piledriver on Page. The crowd did a “this is awesome” chant afterwards.
There was a ton of back-and-forth towards the end. Page countered Tour of the Islands into a crucifix for two and the crowd was on their feet. Cobb then used two Tour of the Islands on Page for the win.
This was an excellent match with tons of top-tier athleticism. Both wrestlers are studs. There wasn’t a story going into this match, really, but it didn’t matter. Very, very good stuff.
3) Women of Honor title four-way match: Kelly Klein defeated Sumie Sakai, Madison Rayne and Karen Q
Mandy Leon was on commentary for this match.
Everyone brawled at the beginning inside the ring, and Sakai did a missile dropkick to the floor early on.
Karen Q did a double Boston Crab on Sakai and Rayne. Q and Klein cut a truce and double teamed Rayne for a bit, Q accidentally hit Klein later on.
Klein did a huge double power bomb to Q and Rayne. Each wrestler did a handful of each of their highest spots, and while the crowd popped for the moves, they were mostly quiet for the majority of this match.
Karen Q used K Power on Karen Q to eliminate her from the match first. Sakai did Smash Mouth to Rayne, but Klein threw Sakai off and nabbed the pin for herself. The crowd was groaned.
Klein and Sakai went stiffer in their exchanges and submissions towards the end. Klein kicked out of Smash Mouth; Sakai kicked out of a power bomb pin combo and K Power. Klein eventually won with an avalanche K Power. Klein shook hands with and hugged Sakai after the match.
This was all right, but much more interesting in the last ten minutes. The crowd was more into these two than the four-way itself. The first half of this match was fine in the ring but the crowd was obviously burnt out from the Cobb-Page affair. Klein was booked like a monster here and the finish made sense. Not bad at all but not really worth going out of your way for.
4) Zack Sabre Jr defeated Jonathan Gresham
Sabre smacked Gresham before the match. After the bell, they had a long catch style sequence. If this is your kind of thing, these two are probably the best in the world right now at this British/UWFi grapple style. The first pinfall didn’t come for at least five minutes into the beginning of this sequence.
The obvious story here was that Zack is the big bully and Gresham is the scrappy tactician. ZSJ was in full Suzuki-gun mode in that he laid everyone strike into Gresham, every sub applied was tight. Everything between the two was crisp.
They had an insane slap boxing sequence and it looked like Gresham might have gotten his bell rung. His face was visibly red and a bit swollen, and his mouth was bloody.
After a series of reversals, Gresham attempted to use Sabre’s signature back bridge pin, though Sabre reversed back into his own, folded his arms, and got the pin and the win.
Terrific technical match with brutal striking all throughout. If you liked ZSJ and Minoru Suzuki’s tag league match in last week’s World Tag League, this is a must-watch.
5) Matt Taven w/ TK O’Ryan defeated Dalton Castle w/ The Boys
TK O’Ryan came out and had Bobby Cruise to announce that Taven is the “real” world champion.
Taven came out wearing two championship belts and a crown. Taven had Bobby Cruise announce that this match was for his purple title.
The two got into it early and did some fast-paced brawling in and out of the ring. Taven did a Disaster Kick to Castle while he was on the apron, but the Boys caught Castle and tossed him back into the ring.
Taven did a huge plancha to the outside but Castle moved out of the way. Taven landed on guardrail ribs-first. Brutal.
Castle with a running knee off the apron after this, but Taven later reversed things by throwing Castle into the entrance stairs, which also looked rough. The crowd was pretty awake by this point.
The Boys got involved when TK O’Ryan was trying to interfere. Vinny Marseglia appeared from under the ring with some balloons and did a double inverted DDT to the Boys, then dragged them under the ring. I guess he saw the It remake.
There were more schmozzy antics happening outside the ring after this, and later Castle did a Bang-a-rang into the ring post to Taven, knocking him out almost completely.
TK O’Ryan took one of the Boys and threw him, literally threw him, into the ring at Castle to break up the pin. O’Ryan was ejected by referee Paul Turner after this.
Taven later kicked out of a Bang-a-rang, then hit Just the Tip and Climax for the win. This was good, fast paced brawl, though I am not sure what’s in store for Castle in 2019 considering tonight’s booking.
6) Marty Scurll defeated Christopher Daniels via submission
Interesting note: Scurll is wearing blue tights that read “VILLAIN ENTERPRISES” on them. No references to Elite I could see.
The crowd mostly shouted each wrestlers’ catchphrases and gimmicks as the two mat wrestled for the first few minutes. The pace is slow but deliberate and allowed the crowd some breathing room, easing them into the match.
Daniels later did an Arabian Press to the outside. It looks just as it did 15 years ago; I can’t believe he still even does it.
Scurll played hard heel midway through the match. He got in some fans’ faces after super kicking Daniels in the face on the apron, his usual spot.
Things slowed down for a while after some work outside the ring. Daniels sold his neck throughout. Daniels used a Blue Thunder bomb, but Scurll did a Kobashi-style half-nelson suplex for two. He later used a rolling elbow, Misawa-style, on Daniels. I go through AJPW phases too, man.
Burning Hammer from Daniels after that and now I’m starting to think it’s all a rib. Someone should check the old Misawa-Kobashi matches from 97–98 to see if that’s what they were referencing specifically.
Scurll did the finger snap spot which he’d been teasing for a few moments. Daniels used Angel’s Wings for two and Cabana sold it well on commentary, explaining that Daniels couldn’t lock his hands together because of the finger spot.
Scurll used Graduation for only two. The crowd was back and in pretty much full support of Daniels and SCU.
The crowd chanted “Happy New Year” at Scurll, in reference to the angle he’s doing on Being the Elite. He retaliated by stomping on Daniels neck, then putting him in a chicken wing for the win via submission.
The crowd threw streamers into the ring after the match for Daniels and chanted "Thank you, Daniels." Bully Ray came out and low blow'd Daniels as he stood on the ropes. Ray got massive heat for this.
7) I Quit match: Flip Gordon defeated Bully Ray
Bully Ray called Flip Gordon out after the low blow. Gordon came out in military tactical gear and a giant United States flag and walked from the balcony to the ring.
Gordon attacked Ray immediately. On the outside of the ring, Gordon did a Van Daminator and got an “RVD” chant.
Gordon’s girlfriend sat at ringside. They set up a table in front of her and teased a table spot early.
After Ray smashed Gordon over the head with a chain, he started screaming at Cary Silkin. Bobby Cruise and then Todd Sinclair tried to get him to cut it out but Ray bowled both of them over. He then tried to hit him with a cane but Christopher Daniels jumped in front and took the cane shot himself.
Bully Ray threatened to power bomb Flip’s “girlfriend” and tried getting him to say “I quit,” but Cary Silkin hit Ray with a Cane. The two started screaming at each other and Flip’s Girlfriend gave Ray a low blow from behind. Gordon smooched his Girlfriend for a nice long full shot.
Gordon came back and hit Ray with the US flag, then put Ray in a crossface with the stick’s end. Silas Young came out and attacked Flip. Cheeseburger attacked Young, but Young gave him Misery and rolled him out. Colt Cabana came in and hit Young with a chair.
The lights eventually went out and the Sandman appeared in the ring when they came back on. He did Sandman things, like spitting beer into Ray’s face and then smashing the can into his face. He gave his kendo stick to Flip who proceded to beat Bully Ray until he audibly gave up.
This was pure insanity. It was exactly, *exactly* like something you’d see in late ‘90s ECW; same structure, same overlapping angles via schmozzes within the match; a blackout surprise appearance. Fun match to watch and I’m sure was a blast to see live.
8) ROH World Heavyweight Title match: Jay Lethal defeated Cody w/ Brandi Rhodes via submission
Cody and Brandi Rhodes came out in GI Joe or Rambo cosplay and looked sharp. During the ring announcements, Cody received the hero’s welcome even though Lethal was is from Elizabeth, NJ. Cody defused the situation by telling the crowd to kiss his ass because he’s not coming to the MSG show in April. Lethal grabbed the mic and told Cody that ROH was his company and that once he’s done with Cody the “old toy” would be “dead and gone.”
With Cody’s eyepatch and gauntlets off, he looked very much like Guile from Street Fighter II in the ring. For what that’s worth.
Cody and Brandi jogged around the ring, taunting Lethal. Cody got into it with a fan, too: After shaking hands with the guy in the front row, he grabbed his beer and tossed it onto the fan. Just fantastic stuff.
On commentary, Caprice Coleman compared Jay Lethal to a parfait, with regard to the many layers of his offense.
The pace was slower in this one. It felt like an early ‘90s WCW match at times, with everything looking snug and deliberate, all with a handful of simple high spots mixed into the sequences at the halfway point.
Brandi Rhodes did an awesome spear to Jay Lethal behind the ref’s back . Yeah, you read that correctly. Cody used CrossRhodes for a close two-count.
Jay Lethal teased doing Shattered Dreams. Brandi used another spear, but this time on Cody, accidentally. Sinclair went to DQ Cody for the interferon but Lethal waved him off. They continued the match, and Lethal went for Lethal Injection on Cody but hit Brandi instead—Cody pushed her in his way.
Lethal later used a CrossRhodes of his own on Cody for two. He did six tope suicidas to Cody, but back in the ring Cody spit water in Lethal’s face; all for naught, apparently. Cody used a Gory Special bomb for another two-count after this. Oddly, Adam Page came out at this point and rang the bell, like they were going to tease a Montreal Screwjob spot, but Page dashed off and it didn't amount to much tonight. Probably an angle for BtE.
Lethal swung the momentum back his way and did a bunch of low angle superkicks and a Lethal Injection to Cody. They referenced the Ric Flair vs. HBK “I’m sorry” spot, where here Lethal feigned crying and flipped Cody off before giving him yet another superkick.
After a few reversals, Lethal was able to lock on a figure four leglock to seal the win. This was a great match that was very much in the vein of Cody’s matches with Nick Aldis, who happened to come out after the match to congratulate Lethal. Before this, though, Marty Scurll walked out and got in Lethal’s face. Seems like they are going with Lethal vs. Scurll and or Aldis in the next few months.
9) Three-way Tag Team Title Ladder War match: The Briscoes defeated The Young Bucks and SoCal Uncensored
The Young Bucks came out in Rockers cosplay gear. The Briscoe Brothers threw chairs into the ring before the match.
Fast-paced action from the get-go, and way too many moves happening in succession to accurately transcribe in the moment. For example, Matt Jackson did a twisting cutter off the apron, and moments later Jay Briscoe used a double stomp to put Scorpio Sky through a table.
Frankie Kazarian was bleeding minutes into this one and sold it hard, dangling on the ropes inside the ring. Mark Briscoe did the Terry Funk ladder-spinning spot but the Bucks shut that down early with a double superkick to Mark’s head enclosed between rungs.
The crowd was split between SCU and Young Bucks throughout much of this. The two teams had an exchange on the ladders halfway through and did some neat things involving the ladders and belt-grab teases.
The Briscoes recovered from the outside of the ring and beat on Kazarian with chairs. Kazarian’s sell job here and for most of this match was top-notch.
Scorpio Sky did a tope con giro to the floor, then Nick Jackson with his Skywalker moonsault. Matt Jackson went for something but was back body dropped through a table on the outside by a bloody Jay Briscoe.
Later and in the ring, Kazarian low blow’d Jay Briscoe and threw a chair at Mark Briscoe’s head. SCU then did a slingshot cutter to Mark through a table on the outside. The table exploded, as did the crowd, after this.
Matt Jackson pulled out a sledgehammer and teased using it on Jay Briscoe, but he eventually decided against it. It’s obvious when they shoehorn angles into their matches specifically for their Youtube show, but it often throws the pace off and into an awkward direction.
A series of big, big spots came moments after this. Nick moonsault’d to the outside onto a few guys; Kazarian used a tornado dot to the outside on Nick; Mark Briscoe hurled a chair over the ropes onto SCU.
Mark intercepted Nick Jackson as the Bucks went for the Meltzer Driver and caught him with a cutter off the ladder, then a Jaydriller onto Matt. The crowd was wild and on their feet at this point.
Kazarian used a Styles Clash onto a chair on Jay Briscoe. He and Mark Briscoe fought over the belts atop the ladder. Both teams were flying off the ladders onto other ladders and onto tables outside. Nick Jackson almost killed himself soaring into a table off the ladder.
The Briscoes were finally able to knock Kazarian off the primary ladder after Mark threw a chair at Kazarian’s head. The Briscoes are 10-time ROH Tag Team champions.
This was almost nonstop high spots and chaos. While the Bucks looked great as per usual, SCU and the Briscoes were the show stealers of the match.
No PCO or Brody King tonight, nor much in the way of what the Elite will be doing in the future, but top-to-bottom this was an excellent card. The worst matches were fine and the best were some of the best ROH content all year.