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(32 Mins) Honor Nation: Finishing The Paige


The ROHbot Report: Final Battle 2017 Preview and More

By James Bullock Dec 10, 2017 - 3:26 PM print


(ROHbot Report Note: For the tenth year in a row, the coveted Honor Sprockets will be up for grabs in The ROHbot Report Year End Awards three weeks from today. The categories include Breakout Star of the Year, Feud of the Year, Event of the Year, Match of the Year, Biggest Story of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, and, of course, Wrestler of the Year. Feel free to share your thoughts and who & what should take the awards.)

Welcome to another edition of The ROHbot Report – the only article you need for all the Ring of Honor news you have to know. It’s the biggest weekend of the year for ROH as it produces not only the “Final Battle 2017” pay-per-view, but also a TV taping that’ll see the immediate fallout from the big event. Lets find out what will go down when Ring of Honor returns to the Hammerstein Ballroom.

“Final Battle” Preview; December 15th, 2017; Las Vegas, NV

ROH World Championship: Cody defends against Dalton Castle
“Final Battle 2016” was meant to be a crowning achievement for Ring of Honor for various reasons: ROH’s return to the Hammerstein Ballroom for a sell-out crowd to witness, the highly-anticipated finale of a long-standing feud over the ROH World Championship, the surprise challenge by Matt Hardy to “The Bucks of Youth”, and the ROH debut of Cody (Rhodes). “The Grandson of a Plumber”, having spent some time as a fan favorite on the independent scene, entered the Hammerstein Ballroom to a lauded welcome; but little did anyone know that Cody was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Kicking Jay Lethal in the groin to set up Cross Rhodes. Cody showed his true colors by proving he’ll win by any means necessary even if it means being dishonorable. Cody embracing his true self in the ring allowed him grand opportunities including a spot in The Bullet Club and, most importantly, the chance to win the ROH World Championship at “Best in the World ‘17”. Following ROH’s “War of the Worlds: UK” tour, the career of Dalton Castle was at a crossroads.
“The Pro Wrestling Peacock” found himself on the bad side of The Bullet Club that saw him & The Boys lose the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team title to The Hung Bucks of Matt & Nick Jackson and Adam Page. The title change happened only one night after Castle confronted ROH World champion Cody in an attempt to answer the champ’s open challenge similar to SANADA before him and Cheeseburger after the former Six-Man titleholder. Cody didn’t take Castle confronting him lighting, attacking Dalton and putting him out of action with a back injury. And in a perfect turn of events for Castle, Dalton was able to make his return at Cody’s expense that saw a masked Castle attack the World champ after unveiling himself. Castle upped the ante in Philadelphia during a ROH TV taping to formally challenge the champ while “The American Nightmare” disrespected his wannabe challenger. Castle took Cody’s words and used them to fuel his fury that resulted in Castle standing tall with the World title belt in hand. ROH officials have heard the people and now have delivered on what they want: Cody vs. Castle for all the marbles at “Final Battle”. While a lot can change in a month, if everything comes to be as hoped this could see one of the most anticipated matches of the year in ROH to deliver something special in a big way.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: Motor City Machine Guns defend against Best Friends
The Best Friends of Beretta & Chuckie T. burst onto the ROH scene shortly before “Best in the World” resulting in them picking up a big win over The Bullet Club prior to the pay-per-view. But like so many teams going toe-to-toe with The Young Bucks, Beretta & Chuckie failed to make it two for two. But there was one team to find the winning formula against Matt & Nick Jackson during the summer as The Motor City Machine Guns ended a decade-long drought in regards to winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship by dethroning, arguably, the best tag team in the world today at “Death Before Dishonor XV”. Interestingly enough, the challengers come into this one with a better win-loss record than the champs and could have the number of a team that is more known for their tactics in a ROH ring than the duo who took a significant break before returning to action alongside each other. This should be an exhilarating encounter and could easily see the title change hands.

ROH World Television Championship (Four Corner Survival: Kenny King defends against Silas Young, Shane Taylor and Punishment Martinez
When Kenny King became the new ROH World Television champion at “Death Before Dishonor XV” he had a declaration in mind that would dictate the future of his reign if his first defense proved to be successful. By defeating Josh Woods on ROH TV, King found the confidence to proclaim that any time he was on a ROH card in singles competition his TV title would be on the line. King’s words gained the attention of several ROH competitors to the point Ring of Honor decided the champ would have a chance to test his mettle (and his luck) against three of them. By defeating Woods, Cheeseburger and Jonathan Gresham respectively, Punishment Martinez, Shane Taylor and Silas Young earned the chance to finally become a ROH champion at King’s expense. Those wins for each respective challenger came after monumental situations & victories. Silas Young, after many years of being a ROH star on the cusp of greatness, finally saw his potential turn into promise as he picked a feud with Jay Lethal that culminated in “The Last Real Man” defeating Lethal in a Last Man Standing Match at “Death Before Dishonor XV”.
Shane Taylor has spent a majority of the year as a hired gun first for The Rebellion faction then simply for himself & his family – a revelation detailed in his appearance on “Coleman’s Pulpit” during an episode of ROH TV. And most recently, the 2016 runner-up in the Top Prospect Tournament known as Punishment Martinez used his success in tournaments to do something only few ROH greats has in the past by winning the Survival of the Fittest tournament in his first tournament appearance. Interestingly enough, two of the men Martinez outlasted to win the tournament are two of opponents her in Young and Taylor. While that would easily peg Martinez as a sure favorite, the fact is when it comes to matches like these luck mixed with timing is the key to victory as taking advantage of one big maneuver and stealing a pin isn’t out of the ordinary. King’s words might have put him in the worst position possible for a champion, or the best because he won’t have to topple all three men to retain his title, but can also lose it without being involved in the deciding fall. This has all the makings of being a very entertaining clash of styles unlike anything else on the card and could easily produce a title change in the end.

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks & Adam Page defend against Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee & Titan
“Welcome to Ring of Honor!” is a phrase that’s haunted Flip Gordon since his joined the ROH roster full-time courtesy of The Bullet Club. On various episodes of “Being The Elite”, Gordon’s good nature has been used against him as The Bullet Club have tricked, choked and, of course, super kicked him whenever it seemed like they were simply welcoming him to ROH or playing a “harmless rib.” For obvious reasons, Flip has taken exception to the actions of wrestling’s most powerful faction going today; looking to do whatever he can in his power to stand up for himself and put The Bullet Club members who have been hounding him for months in their places. Gordon has plans to gather help from all corners of the wrestling community to help push back the growing influence The Bullet Club has on not only ROH, but the wrestling business & its wrestlers as a whole. No better example came on ROH TV when Gordon teamed with Scorpio Sky & Coast to Coast – three men who have fallen to The Bullet Club’s numbers in the past – in a fantastic main event. Yet, Gordon has came up short. But it was Adam Page that initially won the gold alongside The Young Bucks and he failed to prove his superiority in singles action against the master of the 4Nifty splash recently on ROH TV. Gordon is coming into this one with not only a big victory over one-third of the champs, but also with two partners who can match the speed, style & lucha offense of The Young Bucks; the returning CMLL stars Dragon Lee and Titan. Though Gordon and his rotating crew of teammates haven’t put together that winning combination against The Bullet Club just yet, the unexpected gelling of this brand new trio could be the determining factor in whether or not Gordon’s war is a fruitless endeavor or one worthy of championship glory.

Street Fight: The Briscoes vs. Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer
“Manhattan Mayhem VI”, to a certain extent, was a turning point in ROH – a moment when the company became like its predecessors once again as wrestlers both young and old saw it as a haven to make their careers relevant. No better example of this was the arrival of Bully Ray in New York during that event. Ray put over ROH in a promo following his saving Bobby Fish and The Briscoes from an assault at the hands of The Bullet Club; announcing his contractual status with the company in the process. Thanks to ROH recently instituting a Six-Man Tag division, Ray found the perfect opportunity to establish himself quickly in the company alongside the greatest tag team in ROH history thus far. Jay & Mark Briscoe had the chance to align themselves with not only a wrestling legend, but also a man they idolized since they were youths just trying to fathom how someone could even become a professional wrestling. In reality, everything had come full circle The Briscoes and Bully Ray – the brothers teaming with one of their heroes, Ray being a part of a company that will benefit from his talents both as an in-ring competitor and a creative. Everything seemed to be going great with this newfound alliance including a Six-Man Tag Team title win until one faithful evening in Philadelphia where Jay Briscoe took a fall in some random eight-man tag team bout thanks to the unwarranted interference from The Boys. The rare loss became a point of obsession for Jay and actually cost his team their championship. As Jay bickered with his brother about their title loss, Ray tried to keep them united by making them face reality: they lost it all for them, not him and it’s up to Jay & Mark to restore their trio. Like they always say, never meet your heroes.
Ray’s attempt to get The Briscoes back on the same page as him by channeling their anger made Jay Briscoe realize that Bully was only out to increase his own legacy, not make The Briscoes a household name in tag team wrestling. When “Death Before Dishonor XV” arrived, The Briscoes & Bully Ray had another chance a becoming champions together. But Jay saw the title match as another chance; another way to re-embrace whom The Briscoes were and still are: the best tag team on the planet. By bashing Bully Ray on the head with one of his infamous tables, Jay not only destroyed a mentor-protégé relationship, but also concussed Ray to the point he was left contemplating the longevity (or lack thereof) of his in-ring career. Though Mark wasn’t on board with his brother’s actions initially, he eventually saw the benefit of Jay’s actions when Tommy Dreamer arrived and warned him that the former ROH World champion had made a big mistake he would pay for – you never threaten a man’s family. Mark Briscoe joined his brother in assaulting Ray during his attempted retirement, Dreamer for trying to help his old buddy, and even Team 3D Academy students just trying to gain some extra ring time. The Briscoes have a legacy as well, but want something greater than simply being multi-time ROH World Tag Team champions; they want to be responsible for ending the careers of two men who began a grassroots movement in wrestling that eventually spawned visionaries that would give birth to companies like Ring of Honor. Thanks to ROH COO Joe Koff finally relenting and hearing the fans’ cry of letting The Briscoes fight Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer, The Briscoes finally get their wish in a Street Fight that could be one of the wildest, bloodiest matches in ROH history that could see an entire legacy be destroyed at the hands of people who once simply wanted to be in the presence of the godfathers of extreme. If The Briscoes lose here it will be detrimental to their careers as their chance to stamp out legends will end with them failing to accomplish greatness on ROH’s biggest stage.

Jay Lethal vs. Marty Scurll
Jay Lethal finds himself in a very similar position that he found himself in last year following ROH’s “Reach For the Sky” tour. It was during the tour’s finale that then-ROH World champion Adam Cole retained the ROH World Championship over Lethal, putting him back down the line in terms of title contenders. Over the past year Lethal has mostly spent his time trying to fend off the figurative wolves be it Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser, or the current ROH World titleholder Cody. Following a mostly successful showing during the “Global Wars” tour that saw him go 3-0 in singles matches and 3-1 overall. Using ROH TV as a platform to discuss his future intentions, Lethal came face to face not with his believed destiny – another crack at the ROH World title – but a villain. In front of a pro-Bullet Club crowd, Marty Scurll entered the ring to confront Lethal – or, to paraphrase Scurll, the shell of Lethal’s former self. According to Scurll, the Jay Lethal who won both the ROH World Television and Heavyweight titles wasn’t the man who had been competing over the past year. In Scurll’s opinion, Lethal denying himself of who he really is has hampered his title aspirations. Before Scurll signed with ROH, Lethal ruled with a “by any means necessary” attitude – something that the future Bullet Club member admitted to admiring to the point that Lethal became a dream opponent. But since losing the World title, Lethal’s killer instinct has been lost in Marty’s mind. “The Franchise of ROH” didn’t think twice about how he would prove Scurll wrong: a match at “Final Battle”. Though it’s not for any type of championship, this is the type of match ROH was created for – a bout featuring two of the best to have never worked on the biggest of leagues wrestling better than any of their contemporaries. This could be a career-defining moment for Scurll if he can do what Cody did last year at “Final Battle by defeating Lethal. For Lethal, this is his chance to get back in title contention with a win over one of the most popular, yet devious stars going today. No matter the winner, expect a fantastic first-time ROH encounter in New York.

War Machine vs. The Addiction
When War Machine lost the ROH World Tag Team Championship during the annual ROH-New Japan “War of the Worlds” tour last year, their focus didn’t stay on regaining the gold, but getting revenge on the men responsible. What came from that was a series of matches that removed them from the Tag title scene while opening doors to something different – the shores of Japan. Getting a chance to tour with New Japan, War Machine found success quickly – culminating during “Sakura Genesis” where they became the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team champions. But something was still bugging them: the fact War Machine have done well in a brand new environment while sacrificing the status they had gained in what was once their sole home promotion. Before “Best in the World ‘17”, War Machine earned themselves a shot at the ROH World Tag Team title; only to have their two-on-two match with then-champions The Young Bucks turn into a Triple Threat that essentially cost them the chance to attain champion status in two promotions at the same time. Recently on ROH TV, Hanson & Ray Rowe made sure to put everyone on notice that they hadn’t forgotten what happened in Lowell over the summer and were still coming for ROH gold. But War Machine had no idea that the ghosts of their pasts would cost them the ROH World Tag Team Championship yet again.
A year & a half ago everything following “Global Wars ‘16” should’ve been a magnificent showcase for War Machine. For the first time in their careers, Ray Rowe & Hanson overcame The Briscoes. Even better was the fact War Machine did so while defending the ROH World Tag Team Championship. It seemed everything was sailing smoothly for the bruising pair when they entered Dearborn for the first night of “War of the Worlds ‘16”. Little did Hanson & Rowe know that The Addiction were looking to take advantage of the pair’s hastiness to accept a fight – something that has adhered them to their peers and fans alike. The decision was a bad one for War Machine as they had not only gone through a war with Dem Boys, they also had just wrestled and defeated Kazuchika Okada & Gedo. Using the bandolier that accents his entrance attire, Daniels knocked out Rowe and eventually gained the pin for his team for the gold. From that night on The Addiction have been responsible for Hanson & Rowe not regaining the ROH World Tag Team title including their most recent shot in Philadelphia that saw The Addiction’s interference cost War Machine their potential inevitable victory over the Machine Guns. Their previous clashes have been exceptional and this one should be no different with War Machine once again gunning for vengeance while Daniels & Kazarian gladly plan to win by any means necessary – something that might be a necessity for them to overcome the same fury that spilled into the crowd the last time they were in the building and doing battle.

Matt Taven vs. Will Ospreay
This time last year was career defining for both Matt Taven and Will Ospreay. The latter was entering “Final Battle” with only three ROH matches under his belt and a short reign as Television champion that saw him win the gold on his first night in the company. Matt Taven, on the other hand, didn’t come in alone, but did end the night as a champion by becoming one-third of the inaugural ROH World Six-Man Tag Team champions to add a third ROH title to his resume – his first championship win in two years and his second as a tag team competitor. Taven also broke a streak of failure last year in the Hammerstein Ballroom as “Final Battle” in 2013 and ’15 resulted in him losing ROH titles with the latter event witnessing Taven suffer an injury that put him on the shelf for almost a year. Earlier this year, Taven’s world as a ROH champion came crashing down yet again due to injury, but not because of something that happened to him personally, but to his tag team partner TK O’Ryan. Since O’Ryan’s return to action, The Kingdom have been professing a conspiracy has been levied against them. What better way to turn a supposed conspiracy against both ROH and potentially New Japan than by defeating a man who has made waves in both companies over the past year? Ospreay has been involved in several critically acclaimed matches this year and this one could be no different win, lose or draw. Though it doesn’t have the history or build of many of the other matches on the card, expect Taven and Ospreay’s first singles encounter to leave many in awe.

Rain vs. Brandi Rhodes


Cheeseburger vs. Jastin Taylor


CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana


And there you have it. Show that love, or like, for The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page. Also, if haven’t already, make sure you listen to the latest FREE “Honor Nation” as I talk about build to “Final Battle” and more (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/26_Mins_Honor_Nation_Respect_The_Build.shtml). And don’t forget to send those questions in for the next “Honor Nation either through the comments section below, on Facebook (The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page), on Twitter (@fasjab), or by e-mailing me at Bullock@wewantinsanity.com.
Here’s to a great week for you and yours; and as always, thanks for reading.

Till Then.



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