ROH Final Battle 2012 (16/12) DVD Review By Adam Timmins

Posted: April 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Caleb Seltzer joins Kevin Kelly on commentary. I had no idea who he was either, but a quick Google search reveals he was the guy who did commentary on the PWF match at Boiling Point. He’s pretty bad, and I was somewhat dismayed to read that ROH consider him a guy with a long-term future as commentator. Hilariously, QT Marshall jobs to Grizzly Redwood in a dark match before the show.

Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin – A belting opener and a really good way to get the ball rolling on Strong vs. Elgin proper. A super-stiff bout as you’d expect, with both men knocking seven bells out of each other. Truth Martini makes his way to ringside halfway through the bout, sporting a beard (if someone’s troubled in wrestling they have to sport a beard.) He slides the Book of Truth into the ring to no-one in particular and distracts the referee; Strong ends up belting Elgin over the head with it to get the win at 11.31. A lot of people went nuts about that finish, and I can see why; Elgin goes from kicking out of the package piledriver to getting beat in ten minutes with a shot from a hardback book. But look: it’s their first in-ring bout, so no-one’s going over clean, as there’s more stuff to come. It’s the opening bout, not the main event (although granted, ROH these days is quite capable of booking a screwy finish for a main). To me it seemed sensible enough: but I can see why it would get on some people’s wick. After the match Elgin gives Martini the spinning backfist.

Rhyno vs. Jay Lethal – Corino’s commentary is by far the best part of this bout, which mainly existed to give a win to keep him warm for a rematch with Steen. The bearhug/ early–onset Huntington’s comeback spot was particularly interminable. Lethal hits the Lethal Bizzle at 9.33 for the victory. After the match Corino and Jacobs attack Lethal, and Rhyno gives him the gore.

RD Evans vs. Prince Nana – Blimey, Nana’s lost some weight since I last saw him wrestle (which admittedly was 2002). This match only went seven minutes, but felt a lot longer. Evans did his best, but Nana looked extremely past it. There was some stuff with QT Marshall and Ernie Osiris on the outside which was of little interest. Evans won with the Unchained Melody at 6.39. After the match Tomasso Ciampa tries to attack Evans. 

World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. B.J. Whitmer & Rhett Titus – Street Fight – What can you say? Two teams no-one gives a shit about in pedestrian match shocker. The only thing of note was the finish, in which Whitmer nearly broke his neck upon being thrown off the top rope through a table by Haas, who pinned him at 15.25. A lot of people blamed Haas for Whitmer’s landing, but (for once) I don’t think it was his fault. Hopefully this marks the end of this particular feud; then again, WGTT will no doubt soon be involved in something equally as tedious. 2012 has been a disastrous year for Titus; after finally getting the ROH tag belts, his partner fucked off to TNA leaving him with his dick in his hand. He’s a terrible singles wrestler, and B.J. Whitmer is never going to be the other half of a great tag team.

Jerry Lynn vs. Mike Bennett – This is Lynn’s final ROH bout before his retirement; and it seems appropriate that, as a guy renowned for carrying stiffs, his opponent is Mike Bennett. They have a decent little ten minute bout, nothing more nothing less. A lot of people moaned about the finish; Evans distracts the referee, Maria interferes and Bennett hits the Side Effect for the win at 10.07. But let’s face it, would it have made any difference long term if Bennett went over clean? I doubt it.

After the match Lynn DDT’s Maria and hits the cradle piledriver on Bennett. On the microphone he thanks Cary Silkin for putting the belt on him supporting ROH with his money. Nigel McGuinness comes out and they do a little presentation for Lynn. My own feeling is that Lynn will be remembered as Bobby Eaton; a tremendous worker who didn’t have the personality to be a top guy. But he’s still had quite the career, and this was a nice little send-off, even if the match was a bit flat.

Jay Lethal makes his way to the ring and accuses McGuinness (who is the new ROH ‘authority’ figure by the way since Cornette got the boot) of ducking him. He claims he’s going to insert himself into the main event tonight. McGuinness says it aint gonna happen bub. Lethal gobs on him, and a pull-apart ensues. These promos aren’t helping Lethal if you ask me, it just makes him come across like a whiney bitch, which is not a particularly good look for a babyface.

Post-intermission, Kevin Kelly does an in-ring segment with Mike Mondo, who suffered a broken tibia in October. Mondo should never be allowed on the mike when he’s supposed to be a babyface, as he just comes across as a complete dick in everything he says. He claims he should be out for a year, but will come back in a matter of weeks. Fish and O’Reilly come out and ask if he wants to tag with Richards tonight, as there will be no American Wolves reunion. (On ROH TV Richards had tried to reconcile with O’Reilly, only for the latter and Fish to attack him. Richards requested a tag bout, stating Edwards would be his partner, even though Edwards has been in NOAH and (in theory) out of reach.) KyleFish beat up Mondo, which leads to Richards running in, which leads to Edwards making his way out. Long story short, the Wolves are back together.

Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. The American Wolves – Really good tag outing; in fact, you might go as far as to say this might have saved the ROH tag division. The Wolves reforming gives Richards something to do as his ROH contract winds down; Fish is one of the few recent additions to the roster that will actually make a positive difference; O’Reilly has had a very good 2012, and will learn a lot by working with Fish. The Wolves get the win courtesy of referee stoppage when Edwards locks in the Achilles Lock with head-stomps on O’Reilly at 12.26.

Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy – One look at Hardy’s physique and you fear the worse; but this actually wasn’t a bad little match. Granted, nothing you want to go back and have a second look at; but Hardy grafted a bit, even taking a straightjacket German suplex on the floor. Predictably, what killed the match was the finish: Hardy pulled the referee’s shirt over his head, low-blowed Cole, and rolled him up for the finish. I understand the logic; Cole doesn’t get beat clean, they get a rematch out of it; problem was although the match was decent, it wasn’t “I really want to see this again” decent. With the 2012 ROH has had, they really ought to be emphasising a change in creative direction by booking a few clean wins for a while; but as was apparent at GBH 11, in some respects little has changed. Personally I’d use Hardy by booking him in a tag team with Mike Bennett, but what do I know?

The Briscoe Brothers vs. Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander – So Hunter sits down a few weeks before FB; “well, one of the few bright spots in the tag division in 2012 has been C&C, there’s not really a lot of steam behind Corino and Jacobs….Briscoes to win the belts for an 8th time it is!” What exactly is the point of the Briscoes having yet anotherrun as ROH tag champs? And then there’s the manner of how they won them, in a seven minute match, believe it or not. So essentially the tag belts just changed hands on PPV in a TV match. What we did get was quite good while it lasted; but then the finish came out of nowhere, with the Briscoes hitting the Doomsday Device on Jacobs at 7.07. In a way tonight’s’ typifies the ROH tag division in 2012; there’s been some really good stuff, but also a fair amount of dross. Here’s hoping C&C get a run with the belts in 2013 at some point.

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico – Ladder War – Legend had it that Cornette was responsible for Generico leaving ROH in 2012, as he “doesn’t like masked guys”, and that Generico’s return here signified the regime change. Of course, we now know it was in fact his farewell to ROH. I guess the question everyone will have is; how did this compare to their PWG match? Perhaps a touch – and I mean a touch – less violent than that one, but this one was perhaps more of a spectacle, in that this was in the Hammerstein in front of 2,000 people as opposed to in Reseda with the house lights on (and that’s not a knock on PWG, merely a statement of fact.) At one point Cary nearly gets clattered by an errant ladder which made me laugh so much I had a coughing fit. The only thing that took away from the match slightly was Seltzer’s awful commentary; how about learning the names of the moves instead of trying to be like Jim Ross eh Caleb? Steen sets up a contraption involving two horizontal and two vertical ladders and gives Generico the Package Piledriver through the two horizontal ones, and then retrieves the world title at 28.02. Steen ends the year on top; and probably the best worker in the business takes his leave from ROH.

Overall – pretty much an exemplar of ROH in 2012; a frustrating mix of the good and the bad.

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