ROH Final Battle 2017 Preview

Tonight, Ring of Honor closes what has been arguably their best year creatively and financially with their premier event, Final Battle. The show emanates from the historic Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, and is headlined by the reigning and defending Ring of Honor World Champion Cody Rhodes defending against the enigmatic Dalton Castle. The company will also debut their new World Championship (pictured below).

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WOMEN OF HONOR MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

It was announced on Twitter that there would be a major announcement made tonight at Final Battle in regards to Women of Honor. This is a division that Ring of Honor has slowly built up over the past year. One would have to assume that this announcement will be that the division will finally be given a championship to fight over. Since Ring of Honor enjoys their tournaments, I would assume that a tournament would take place over the coming weeks to determine the division’s first champion. Regular Women of Honor talent such as Brandi Rhodes, Deonna Purrazzo, Faye Jackson, Kelly Klein, Mandy Leon, and Britt Baker would be expected to participate.

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RING OF HONOR WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
KENNY KING (C) VS. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ VS. SILAS YOUNG VS. SHANE TAYLOR

This is an interesting mix’em up, pinning four guys on the that Ring of Honor has dedicated some time in building up over the past year. Punishment Martinez appears to be heading toward a huge 2018, recently winning the Survival of the Fittest tournament, guaranteeing him a future shot at the Ring of Honor World Championship. Shane Taylor has had a career resurgence of sorts, going from a hired gun to a man risking it all for his family. Silas Young has had a huge 2017, defeating former Ring of Honor Champion Jay Lethal on several occasions, and he is primed to win his first Ring of Honor gold. While Ring of Honor has invested a lot of time in Kenny King, I am not buying him as a baby face. I think its time for Silas to take that next step, and putting the TV title around his waist would put him front and center within the promotion for the next year.

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RING OF HONOR SIX MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
THE HUNG BUCKS (HANGMAN PAGE & YOUNG BUCKS) VS. FLIP GORDON, TITAN & DRAGON LEE

This should be an exciting matchup between some of the top talent from Ring of Honor and CMLL. Flip Gordon has really come into his own on “Being the Elite” and this will continue the storyline that he has been warring with the Bullet Club over the past several months. The same could be said for Hangman Page, whose popularity has skyrocketed since being featured on the show. He is easily one of the most underestimated talents in Ring of Honor currently. I think we could see a title change here, finally allowing Flip to get the edge over the insanely popular Young Bucks, and allowing Hangman Page to move into something more meaningful in the singles division. The only thing to keep this from happening would be that Lee and Titan do not regularly compete for the company. However, that did not stop them from putting the TV strap on Kushida in the past. If anything, this match has all the makings of the show stealer.

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MATT TAVEN VS. WILL OSPREAY

Matt Taven has really come into his own over the past several months. His heel work is at an all time high and the Kingdom is as over as its ever been. Taven will take on one of the premier aerialists in professional wrestling, Will Ospreay, in what should be a fantastic encounter. Based on history, I would expect Taven will attempt to ground Ospreay, which should only anger the New York crowd. Ospreay is only a part timer in Ring of Honor, so this match I expect is being used to highlight Taven as a man on the rise. I fully expect Taven’s Kingdom teammates to interfere and give him the win.

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WAR MACHINE (HANSON & ROWE) VS. THE ADDICTION (DANIELS & KAZ)

I have really enjoyed the Addiction’s heel work since Daniels lost the Ring of Honor World Title. They pissed me off in spectacular fashion when they refused to compete at Global Wars Pittsburgh in which I was attending so kudos to them. War Machine has quickly grown into one of my favorite tag teams (and my fathers as well) so I personally and looking forward to what these two teams can do when given the time. This match has had a short build, but an interesting one. A “fan” was injured when Rowe threw Kazarian into the barricade during the beginning of the build, and War Machine has been set up as the tandem to take down the two grouchy veterans who are attempting to ruin everything that ROH stands for. It’s really hard to say which way this will go, but I’m guessing War Machine comes out on top.

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RING OF HONOR WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (C) VS. THE BEST FRIENDS

I’m a little torn on this matchup. Personally, I would have liked to have seen this show be the show in which The Motor City Machine Guns finally grabbed hold of the ROH Tag Team Titles. With everything that was going on during Death Before Dishonor, their win there took a back seat and felt a bit anti-climatic. Their title run has been strong thus far with a lot of excellent matches and their defense tonight should be no different. Beretta and Chuckie T have been a breath of fresh air in the tag team division. Taylor in particular has really shown through as a potential star. I wonder if ROH officials see this too and attempt to split this duo up. While I would say it would be premature, I do like the idea of a Beretta/Taylor feud. In any event, I think this will be a solid matchup and I fully expect the champions to retain.

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NEW YORK STREET FIGHT
THE BRISCOE BROTHERS VS. TOMMY DREAMER AND BULLY RAY

Can we give the performance of the year to Bully Ray? Those promos that he cut during the Global Wars tour were some of his strongest work to date. They had the feeling of a legit retirement, even though looking back it was clear that was not going to be the case. Bully is one of the most underrated guys on the stick of all time, and he proved it with those promos. He has been the driving force of the Briscoes being able to turn back heel, which was much-needed for both individuals. This feud has been personal, crossing over into other promotions, including Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore and Bully Ray’s training center, which you rarely see in a wrestling feud these days. While I believe most people expect the ECW Alums to go over, I think the smart play is to solidify the Briscoes as heels with a decisive win here. Either way, it should be fun to see an ECW styled match in one of their fabled buildings.

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JAY LETHAL VS. “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL

This may be the match that I am most looking forward to. I love the build to this match. Scurll has made this match personal, attacking Jay’s killer instinct. The best heel promos are when they are based in some logic, and all of Scurll’s promos leading to this match have made sense. Jay Lethal’s biggest successes in Ring of Honor have been wChen he was a heel; when he had that killer instinct. Lethal has not had the best year in regards to in ring wins so I fully expect him to reclaim that nastiness that he once had to defeat the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion to regain some of his momentum. This should be an in ring classic between two of the best that Ring of Honor has to offer. I actually hope the feud continues after Final Battle. This has been a really fun ride.

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RING OF HONOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
DALTON CASTLE VS. CODY RHODES (C)

Cody has easily had the best year of his professional career. It was just a year ago at this very event where he came in and faced off with Jay Lethal in what was supposed to be a friendly back and forth. It was there that Cody showed his true colors and he has been off to the races ever since. Cody has had a long and strong reign as Ring of Honor Champion with he and the Bullet Club taking the company to new heights. Dalton Castle seems primed and ready for the spotlight and has been a foe to Cody for nearly his entire championship reign. Castle recently lost two of his biggest “supporters” in the boys recently at the hands of Cody (possibly forever) which gives this match a personal stake. I’m torn on how this one could go. It seems likely that Cody will retain considering he’s being heavily advertised to defend the title against Kota Ibushi at WrestleKingdom 12, but this just seems like the perfect time and place for Dalton Castle to finally grab the brass ring and win the World Title. I’m going to lean toward the former, with Dalton showing up either in the Tokyo Dome or at the Anniversary Show to continue the feud with Cody, and ultimately upending him at SuperCard of Honor.

 

There you have it! What do you all think? Leave your comments below or chat with us over at the Ringside Chat Facebook Group (Just search for Ringside Chat and it should pop up). You can check out Ring of Honor’s Final Battle tonight at 9pm EST on their website (rohwrestling.com) or through the Fite App.