Ladies and Gentlemen the most wonderful time of the year is upon us……. and I’m not talking about the impending family-centric holidays. I’m talking about the biggest show of Ring of Honor’s calendar year, Final Battle! Since it’s inception in December of 2005 this event has featured numerous classic matches and moments featuring an incredible collection of wrestling greats. This year will be no exception. So let’s get on with the preview!
**EDIT Kenny King vs Eli Isom was added prior to the publication of this article should be a fun match. I’m thinking Kenny will get the easy win against the up and coming future of honor star **
Match 1: Matt Taven vs Dalton Castle
We begin with a match, that may have the least amount of stakes of everything on the card but still feels important based off of these two men’s storied histories. Over the past couple of months, they have both climbed up and down the ladder of championship contention in Ring Of Honor.
This all began back in May during the first night of the War Of The Worlds tour. On that aforementioned tour then World champion Dalton Castle was previously scheduled to defend his belt against Matt Taven, who was on arguably the biggest role of his career at that point, in his home state of Massachusetts. But sadly Dalton’s championship defenses caused injuries to pile up and he was forced to withdraw from the match much to the chagrin of Taven and his hometown crowd.
Ever since then Matt has been clamoring for his championship match, using the help of his fellow Kingdom comrades to help spread his message whilst he secures victories. Dalton has also been extremely busy since making his return in October. He has been wrestling against a variety of opponents trying to prove that he hasn’t lost his unique combination of fabulousness and ferocity that led to his first World title win at this very event in 2017.
So now these two men will clash in a matchup seven months in the making! In what is bound to be an extremely fun and intriguing showdown.
I personally think that Matt Taven will pull out the victory here, further strengthening his claim to his championship opportunity. Setting the stage for an eventual clash with his former rival, ROH World Champion Jay Lethal.
The loss should by no means hurt Dalton Castle’s popularity and I think he could bounce back relatively easily here. I would love to see him in the main event picture of ROH, once again regularly going forward.
Match 2: Jonathan Gresham vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Secondly on this preview is a matchup focused on the ideologies of respect and sportsmanship, just like the foundation that this great company was built upon all those years ago. Featuring arguably the two most gifted athletes in professional wrestling, as ROH stalwart Jonathan Gresham puts his technical skills to the test against the British bruiser, Zack Sabre Jr.
Numerous wrestling fans have seen both of these men ply their trade at arenas around the globe. But now after all these years, in arguably the biggest match of both of their careers they stand toe to toe ready to go to war in order to prove their dominance in the sport of kings. Who will come out on top and who will rightfully stake their claim as the best technical wrestler on the planet?
My money is on Zack Sabre Jr in this one. Quite simply ROH has been rumored to be losing a lot of big stars heading into 2019 for one reason or another. So I really feel like a big victory here would be a great way to establish Zack has a major player straight out of the gate for Ring of Honor fans.
Either way, this is bound to be a late match of the year candidate. I cannot wait to see it, this is going to be awesome!
Match 3 I QUIT Match: Flip Gordon vs Bully Ray
Third on this card is the polar opposite of the match I discussed previously. This is not about sportsmanship, it’s about being sadistic and violent as two bitter rivals try to force the other into permanent exile from this sacred wrestling world.
Over the past couple months, Flip Gordon has been a beacon of hope for ROH fans against the arrogance and aggression of Bully Ray, who has been trying to suppress the wrestlers that he believes “haven’t paid their dues.” He has also spent the better part of this year costing Flip Gordon incredible life-changing opportunities such as the Survival of the Fittest tournament this past November.
I feel that it’s important to mention, both of these guys have allies who have their back as evident by the tables match they took part in this past September. The match featured both ROH legend Colt Cabana and former World TV Champion, Silas Young. However, this is a very personal feud for these two men specifically and only they can settle it! So, therefore, I don’t see much interference from either party.
While I have tried to preview this match to the best of my ability the truth is there’s such an abundance of history here that it is hard to delve into. So I will be leaving an episode of the ROH pinnacle series that focused on this rivalry below.
My prediction for this match is Flip Gordon. It’s quite obvious that the storyline is building to a big climax with the good guy winning, this would also be a good way to give him a more aggressive edge heading into the new year, further diversifying the character. This makes it easier for fans to connect with him as he continues his rise to prominence in ROH.
Match 4: Marty Scurll vs Christopher Daniels
The final non-championship match that I will be discussing from the card is arguably one of the most important matches in either of these men’s careers. Thanks to the implications that it may have heading into 2019.
On one hand, you have Marty Scurll, whose popularity has risen immensely in ROH recently. Thanks to both his charming work on Being The Elite and his track record of incredible matches throughout 2018. Making sure that regardless of the result in this contest he is a star to watch heading into the new year.
However, on the other side of the coin. We have a veteran on the end of his rope, desperate and out of options, as he yearns for a purpose in the promotion he helped build from the ground up. The only grand slam champion in ROH history, Christopher Daniels.
While this had originally been just an exhibition match with not much on the line, that all changed at the end of this year’s Survival of the Fittest tournament! The tournament was won by Marty Scurll, who pinned Christopher Daniels himself to earn the coveted future championship match.
Because of how close that incredible final stretch of the elimination match was, CD eventually goaded Marty into adding a little bit of spice to this matches proceedings. By putting his championship match on the line!
But now all that talk is over, the question remains which one of these crafty championship contenders will get the guaranteed shot heading into 2019. I’m predicting Christopher Daniels will walk out with his hand raised because I could see him becoming increasingly desperate throughout the match and cheating to win!
He would then invoke his opportunity at the G1 SuperCard in Madison Square Garden next April. In what I perceive will be his retirement match. I truly believe that he belongs at the show thanks to everything he’s done to help make ROH popular inside the ring and out.
Match 5 Women of Honor Championship 4 Way Title Match: Sumie Sakai (c) vs Madison Rayne vs Karen Q vs Kelly Klein
Next up on this preview is the first of four championship bouts. It features an athletic quartet from Ring of Honors new Women’s Championship. These four women have been some of the most impressive of the entire bunch, and it’s very fitting that they will all square off for the championship at the biggest event of the year.
The challengers have earned their way into this 4 way match by winning various qualifying matches throughout the past couple months on ROH live events and TV.
This should be a really fun match and a great way to put this fresh division on the biggest platform that they’ve ever had. I’m excited to see how all four of these styles mesh.
As far as predictions, I’m thinking Sumie Sakai will retain because she has been a fantastic face for this division. I think it would be incredibly worthwhile to see her reach one year as champion next April!
Match 6 LADDER WAR 7! ROH Tag Team Championship Match: SCU (c) vs The Briscoes vs The Young Bucks
Now, this is going to be fun ladies and gentlemen! Next up on this card is one of the most chaotic and violent stipulations in ROH history featuring arguably the three top tag teams in the world.
Over the past year and a half in ROH, these teams have had incredible match after an incredible match with one another, upping the ante every single time with jaw-dropping moves and great storytelling.
Things recently escalated after SCU defeated the Briscoe Brothers for the prestigious ROH World Tag Team Championships, sending the ROH tag team division into a terrifying tailspin of competition and blood-boiling rage. But of course, you cannot forget about the amazingly and athletically gifted fan favorites, The Young Bucks. They were inserted into this rivalry after a number one contender’s match with the Briscoe’s turned into a double disqualification.
This match will be the true definition of actions speak louder than words and I cannot wait to see these guys go balls to the wall like I know they all can!
I could really see this going anyway between these three teams since truly anything can happen in professional wrestling, but my gut is telling me that the Briscoes will win, therefore reigniting the stranglehold that they’ve had on championship scene for so long and leading to some intriguing scenarios heading into next year.
Match 7 ROH World TV Championship: Jeff Cobb (c) vs Adam Page
Next up is quite honestly something that I see as a really late Match of the Year contender! As the Hangman squares off against the Hawaiian juggernaut in a clash between two of professional wrestling’s top stars.
Ever since Jeff Cobb made his debut for ROH and inserted himself right at the top of the pecking order by going after current NXT superstar Punishment Martinez, he has proven that he has everything it takes to become a major player in this promotion thanks to his astounding performances and shocking victories.
Which is very reminiscent of a young Adam Page, because if you recall back when he first became a major name in ROH, he repeatedly tested himself against top athletes such as his mentor BJ Whitmer, ACH, and lastly Jay Briscoe. In what was an absolutely incredible no disqualification match that I still remember very vividly to this day from Death Before Dishonor 2016!
Now after over three years of building his reputation as one of ROH’s biggest names. The shoe is on the other foot for Adam, as he is now preparing to go against a fresh face ready to make a name at his expense. Just like he did it with all those victories years before…
Adam has gone on record saying he doesn’t think that Jeff was that impressive so far and that he has been salivating for a chance to prove just that. This Friday night the talking stops and the much-anticipated fight finally begins!
My prediction for this match is Jeff Cobb because I think a victory over a man like Page, would be beautiful to establish himself as a major player in ROH. Just like I mentioned previously in what the victory over Jonathan Gresham would do the same for Zack Sabre Jr.
Main Event ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal (c) vs Cody
Lastly, we have now reached the main event of this epic night of action. in what is going to be an epic clash between two well respected and world traveled gladiators. On one side you have the American Nightmare Cody Rhodes, who has done plenty of impressive things over his long-standing career. Such as holding the NWA World’s Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship, whilst raising the prestige of both to insurmountable heights.
But on the other side, you have the backbone of Ring of Honor Wrestling! The two-time World Champion and one of the most consistently spectacular wrestlers on the entire planet, Jay Lethal.
Both of these men have spoken extensively about how important the Ring of Honor World Championship is to them, but that only one can procure the gold! If you were wondering, these men are 1-1 in their previous two encounters, raising their game as they struggled to prove their dominance over the other man.
In an even more intriguing twist, Cody Rhodes has talked about how this is his last match under ROH contract leaving lots of questions about his future on the table. However, regardless of what happens in this match, he is certain to go out in a blaze of glory with one of his best rivals.
My prediction for this match is Jay Lethal because it wouldn’t make sense to rock the boat since he is doing well in his second championship run and Ring of Honor executives aren’t exactly sure where Cody will be in 2019.
Either way, this will still be a fantastic night full of incredible action, which I cannot wait to witness with all of you and I hope you all enjoy the show. Thank you for reading this preview And feel free to give me any feedback that you may deem important.