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The ROHBot Report: Final Battle 2012 Preview and More

By James Bullock Dec 16, 2012 - 1:27 PM print

Hello one and all to another edition of The ROHbot Report. While this is the first ROHbot Report under the We Want Insanity banner, it’s still the only column you need to get all of your Ring of Honor wrestling news, previews, and analyses. Tomorrow afternoon (2 p.m. EST) marks the final show of 2012 for ROH - it’s annual “Final Battle” event. Lets see what ROH has in store for its fans in New York and everyone watching at home on Internet pay-per-view.

“Final Battle 2012” Preview
New York, NY

Ladder War IV - ROH World Championship Match: Kevin Steen defends against El Generico
Okay, there’s really no need to go into depth how this match came to be. Why? Because it would take up the entire Report! But we can skim over what is one of the longest running feuds anywhere in wrestling today. At “Final Battle 2009”, Kevin Steen turned on his partner El Generico; sparking a bitter, bloody rivalry that would conclude one year later in a match where Generico’s mask and Steen’s ROH career were on the line. Generico gained a measure of revenge, sending Steen packing at “Final Battle 2010”. Six months later, Steen made his return, proclaiming himself to be a changed man; only to show he was more evil than ever. After besting Steve Corino at last year’s “Final Battle”, Steen gained his job back and started going on a rampage to not only win the ROH World title, but also destroy Ring of Honor. Generico became a causality to the group eventually known as “S.C.U.M.” during “Wrestlemania 28” weekend, not being seen in ROH since.

At “Glory By Honor XI” after successfully defending his ROH World title against Michael Elgin, Steen was handed a box that held an El Generico mask. No less than a week later, it was announced that El Generico would return to the company in hopes of striking gold once again in New York by defeating his nemesis while attaining the only ROH title that has eluded him. But the only way for either man to win is by climbing a ladder and retrieving the title. While it sounds easy, many forget that ROH’s Ladder Wars have been some of the most barbaric matches in ROH history. The crazy thing is Steen and Generico have competed in two of the three - during those bouts they were partners. While they have competed elsewhere in situations like Ladder War, the stakes have never been higher, or the prize richer.
So who has the best chance of winning? While all signs point to a Steen-Jay Lethal rivalry post-“Final Battle”, Lethal might’ve thrown a monkey wrench into that plan by declaring he would fight the champion at “Final Battle”. There’s a good chance Lethal could cost Steen the title just to face Generico - the man Jay defeated to win the ROH TV last year in Generico’s first title defense. Jay Lethal’s killer instinct might be telling him the best route to the World title is through El Generico, not Kevin Steen.

But one cannot count out Kevin Steen in any situation. Though Generico might have Lethal in his corner, Steen has Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino to thwart anything Lethal might have in mind; and could help Steen turn everything around when he’s at the brink of defeat. No matter the outcome, this match should be as brutal and memorable as their previous encounters - the perfect way to end ROH’s 2012.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino defends against The Briscoes and Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
The Briscoes and S.C.U.M. have had problems from day one. The Briscoes - being legends and grandfathers of this company - definitely have a reason to not like what Corino and Jacobs are all about. They’ve faced off numerous times over the past few months, including on iPPV at “Boiling Point” and “Glory By Honor XI”. C & C earned their right to be contenders by besting Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team on ROH TV. C & C also have a victory over The Briscoes on TV that occurred during The Briscoes rivalry with WGTT.

The most interesting part about this match is the stipulation. To win the match, The Briscoes or C & C have to pin the champs. This isn’t an elimination match or first pin fall on any team wins. S.C.U.M. have the biggest targets on them now that they have to be defeated for either team to win. Corino and Jacobs noted on the latest episode of ROH TV that they always find a way to win. It would be great to see C & C finally breakthrough, but expect S.C.U.M. to somehow steal a victory in NYC.

ROH World TV champion Adam Cole faces Matt Hardy
At “Death Before Dishonor X”, Matt Hardy made his ROH return to a group of fans that absolutely loathed him. Hardy didn’t make any friends with the fans or the highly respected TV champion Adam Cole by calling him a, “…young version of Matt Hardy,” with less accolades and talent than Hardy when “Version 1” was Cole’s current age. While Hardy has spent the past two months sporadically appearing in taped promos, running down the various names of ROH, Adam Cole has been on a tear in and out of the company. At “Glory By Honor XI”, Cole bested his mentor Eddie Edwards in a great match. Cole took his championship reign one step further by defeating his former partner Kyle O’Reilly on TV.

Sadly for Cole, his momentum could and probably will halt in NYC thanks to Matt Hardy. The match being a non-title match might not mean much or everything as Hardy can pick up the victory without taking the title. There’s a chance this match will actually be really good. But to solidify Cole as a true top star, he should win here. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be the case.

Jerry Lynn vs. Mike Bennett w/ Maria
The former ROH World champion comes back to ROH for one last go round by taking on a man who has become sort of an ROH legend killer in “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. It was at “Showdown in the Sun: Day One” where Bennett successfully defeated Lance Storm. While Bennett lost the rematch, he did end the series with a second victory. Since then, Bennett has floundered in a go-nowhere feud with Mike Mondo. In Bennett’s mind, this has to mark another career-defining moment that could propel him into main event status. But Jerry Lynn, like Storm, isn’t’ some old geezer that can be pushed around in that ring by just thinking about it. Lynn is considered one of the in-ring greats of the last decade and hopes to end his ROH career with a bang by proving that it’s not how old you are, it’s how good you still wrestle. There’s a good chance we could see a feel good moment when Lynn’s hand is raised in victory.

The American Wolves vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
Though it’s in the preview, right now it’s not even known if this match will happen. At last year’s “Final Battle”, Eddie Edwards lost his chance to regain the ROH World title following some controversy between himself and Davey Richards over training with Dan Severn. Since then, the friendship between Edwards and Richards has deteriorated. At “Glory By Honor XI”, Edwards showed his concern for Richards following Davey’s choke out loss to Lethal; possibly burying the hatchet in the process.

But Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly say otherwise. Fish made his ROH return on TV a few weeks ago, only to join O’Reilly in beating down Davey Richards. According to Fish after teaming with Eddie in Japan during the early fall, Edwards has no interest in reforming The American Wolves; thus leaving Richards without a partner. Richards proclaimed that with or without Edwards, he would fight at “Final Battle” against two men who have similar styles to Richards and Edwards. Expect not only a Wolves reunion in the building Eddie earned his “Die Hard” nickname, but also an American Wolves victory in what should be the best tag team match of the evening.

Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin
The match nearly a year in the making is finally here, and The House of Truth had to fall for Elgin and Strong to happen. Shortly after Elgin had his breakout match with Davey Richards during “Wrestlemania 28” weekend, Roderick Strong started voicing his displeasure over Truth Martini’s focus on making Elgin the next ROH World champion, not being a team player in tag matches, and even cost Elgin a couple of victories during the summer. Things came to a head at “Glory By Honor XI” when Elgin attacked Strong during Elgin’s title match with Kevin Steen before Roderick laid out “Unbreakable” after Elgin’s match.

While a vocal minority of fans are upset it took so long to get to this point, no one can deny that Elgin vs. Strong should be a knockdown, drag out war that might steal the show. While the match’s quality can’t be guaranteed, what probably will happen is Truth Martini trying his best to stop the match before failing miserably. The outcome is easily a coin toss depending on whether this is the beginning of this feud. If not, expect Elgin to pick up the win.

Jay Lethal vs. Rhino
As Jay Lethal has said on ROH TV over the past few weeks, this match means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. The match was announced and put on the card for no other reason than to get names on the show. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the makings of being a very good match. And who knows, maybe it’ll play into what Lethal has in store for later in the evening. Killer instinct!

Prince Nana vs. RD Evans
Prince Nana, being the smart businessman that he is, was easily tricked by the beauty of a woman. Barrister RD Evans brought in Princess Mia Yim to seemingly distract Nana from Evans’ intentions to make quite a few deals behind Nana’s back during 2012. One of those deals included the cooperation between The Embassy and The House of Truth to keep the ROH TV title belt in The House. When Tomasso Ciampa - who was screwed out of winning the TV title thanks to the aforementioned alliance - tried to get answers, Evans threw Nana under the bus and caused him to lose his Embassy and his crowd jewel while getting beaten down by Ciampa.

Now, Nana is out for revenge. Nana has already humiliated Evans by stripping him on TV, but a victory in NYC could mean the difference between Nana avenging himself or The Embassy being dead forever. But with the shadow of Evans’ new client QT Marshall lurking, there’s a good chance Nana’s time as one of ROH’s greatest characters could come to a temporary end.

Street Fight: Rhett Titus & BJ Whitmer vs Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Since they first clashed on ROH TV - a match that ended with Whitmer and Titus winning, only to be laid out by Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team after the final bell- the team of Whitmer & Titus and WGTT have been at each other’s throats. Right now they are even in their series after WGTT defeated Titus & BJ at “Glory By Honor XI”, but the score wasn’t settled as both teams continued to interfere in the other’s matches. Now they have a chance to end this out-of-nowhere rivalry in an environment that should be productive for everyone. The winning team will have a great claim at being next in line for a ROH World Tag Team title shot, and when it comes to title shots, WGTT is a hard team to count out.

While this event is definitely lacking the long-term, highly important stories coming into a show that is supposed to be ROH’s “Wrestlemania”, the card itself looks tremendous. This show should have something for everyone (outside of you women’s wrestling fans), and could be the event of the year for ROH - and that’s saying something following “Glory By Honor XI”. Here’s hoping they can not only match the quality of “GBH XI”, but also produce a show up to the quality of their last iPPV featuring no real production problems. And to ensure that, Ring of Honor has got in a new partner in their iPPV production.

Ring of Honor signs an agreement with Ooyala as an online video platform for video hosting, live and on-demand streaming. Ooyala is a leading provider of online video streaming technology and currently streams over 1 billion videos to 200 million unique viewers, in more than 30 countries per month.

On ROH’s website it puts over what Ooyala can do for any iPPV production, including faster load times, high quality stream with limited to no buffering on a variety of platforms, and probably the best piece of news for fans who can’t see it live, immediate replay once the show ends. No waiting around for a day or two to see what happened at the latest ROH iPPV. We’ve heard and seen a lot from ROH about iPPV production improvement over the last year, and we’ve seen them stumble and triumph. Hopefully with an experienced third party involved, ROH can continue the momentum set at “Glory By Honor XI” and enter 2013 with a fan base a little less leery about ordering ROH iPPV.

Ring of Honor announced a return to Chicago for two big shows on March 2 and 3 2013. The March 2 show will be the 11th Anniversary show and will air on internet pay-per-view. The following afternoon will be a television taping beginning at 2 P.M. local time

Sounds absolutely fantastic if they can pull it off. The Chicago crowd wasn’t too pleased with what they saw at “Death Before Dishonor X”, and reacted accordingly. If ROH can put together a great iPPV card and a consistent, streamlined TV taping, this could be one of the biggest ROH weekends in Chicago since the initial “Wrestlemania” weekend events in 2006.

Jim Cornette will take an extended leave of absence from Ring of Honor.

As all you faithful readers know, this is coming off of Cornette’s removal as head booker in favor of Delirious shortly before “Glory By Honor XI”. Since that day, reports have stated that Cornette has become increasingly hard to work with and, rather than voice his opinion in a calm, normal manner, Cornette pulled a, well, Jim Cornette by cursing the ROH management in the locker room before the last set of TV tapings.

It’s hard to say if this will be the last time we’ll see Cornette’s name associated with ROH, but it must be noted that the company hasn’t been completely better off with him. 2012 might be one of the worst creatively consistent years in ROH history since 2009. And who was at the creative helm? Mr. Cornette, of course. But not everything Cornette is bad. In actuality, Cornette used his talent to give some faceless ROH wrestlers personality. During Cornette’s watch, The Briscoes were allowed to be The Briscoes; becoming one of the most entertaining acts in all of wrestling. Kevin Steen found a perfect foil in quest to take over ROH with Cornette being Executive Producer. Guys like Adam Cole, Michael Elgin, and Mike Mondo were given a chance to prove themselves and shine. While the negatives will always look more important than the positives, you cannot call Jim Cornette’s latest run as a member of ROH’s creative a complete failure; just a disappointing one.

At Pro Wrestling NOAH’s last major event of the year Kenta Kobashi announced his retirement due to a catalogue of injuries in front of a tearful crowd of a claimed 7,500 fans. Kobashi hasn't wrestled since Feb. 19th, 2012 after suffering bruising and medial collateral ligament (MCL) damage in his right knee, a broken right tibia (shinbone) and a sprained left tibia from a badly landed moonsault on Takao Omori in a major tag team match that also featured Keiji Mutoh and Jun Akiyama on an inter-promotional Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief show in Sendai.

While this doesn’t directly involve an ROH competitor, the announcement that Kenta Kobashi is retiring is something that makes every ROHbot who experienced his two-show appearance in the company during 2005 a little teary eyed. Kobashi entered New York and Philadelphia with enough credibility to take it easy and wrestle two good matches that the fans wouldn’t crap on him. Instead, Kobashi and Samoa Joe went to war in a match that ranked number two out of a hundred in “The ROHbot Report Milestone Series” of matches last year. Not only that, but Kobashi was involved in a great tag team match the next night, solidifying his spot as one of the greatest Japanese imports in ROH history. Here’s to one of the all-time greats, Kenta Kobashi.

Ring of Honor will be a part of National Pro Wrestling Day, a free double-header in Philadelphia, Pa., on Feb. 2 held to showcase various styles of pro wrestling.

Wow, it’s good to be a wrestling fan in 2013 as not only is there “National Pro Wrestling Day” in February, but also Wrestle-Con in March. I encourage wrestling fans to take advantage of this big opportunity if you can either in person or on iPPV when the schedules are announced.

”Final Battle 2012” Hype Video

Matt Hardy On “Final Battle”

Adam Cole Responds”

The Countdown Begins…

8 Times!

There you have it guys and dolls (crap, just lost the feminist readers). As you all know, the end of the year is coming; and that only means one thing. For the fifth year in a row, the coveted Honor Sprockets are up for grabs in The ROHbot Report Year End Awards. The categories include Breakout Star of the Year, Event of the Year, Match of the Year, Biggest Story of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, and Wrestler of the Year. You can get the jump on me by telling the WWI Multi-verse (we’re bigger than any universe) who and what you think deserves to win via the comment section below, Facebook (The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page), on Twitter (@fasjab), in The ROHbot Report thread in the ROH section on WWI’s message board, or through e-mail Bullock@wwisanity.com.
Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure you listen to the latest Honor Nation: “Final Destination” (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/FeaturedArticles/hn63.shtml). For those non-ClubWWI members who are still on the fence, a free preview of this “Honor Nation” episode - and several others - is available on my Youtube channel (youtube.com/fasjab). I hope you and yours has a great weekend and even better week.

Till Then.

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ROH TV Episode 344: Making History
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ROH TV Episode 343: Beers, Cats & Gauntlets
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ROH TV Episode 340: Primed & Patched
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ROH TV Episode 339: Animal Kingdom
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ROH TV Episode 338: Enemy of My Enemy
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ROH TV Episode 337: Breaking the Law
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ROH TV Episode 336: The Last Real King
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ROH TV Episode 334: Pageantry & Punishment
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ROH TV Episode 333: What's Yours is Mine
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