REVIEW: Ring of Honor – Final Battle (2021)

A Pay-Per-View event by Ring of Honor Wrestling

Uncertainty….that’s the one word that sums up Ring of Honor Wrestling going into it’s last PPV of the year, and perhaps of an era. It was right around Halloween when ROH management dropped the bombshell that ROH was going to restructure, have a multiple month hiatus, and drop all contracted staff in a bid to switch to a “pay by appearance” model to lower costs. Sinclair Broadcasting, the owner of ROH, isn’t exactly the most well-liked entity out there due to less than stellar things they do in the political spectrum, so most fans were sadly not surprised. Just shy of TWENTY years of operation, nobody is sure if ROH is coming back, and in what state it will be in when it does. Wrestlers have already started to move on, and others are hinting at future projects, usually without ROH on the radar in any way. It’s almost like that depressing day when WCW folded, and many aren’t sure why it’s even happening.

So here we are, the last ROH show, rather than treat the whole thing like a funeral, my hats off to everyone that participated in making it a celebration of twenty years of great wrestling. I’ve talked on here about my on and off again relationship with the company, but as a whole I have been a fan for a long time – I even attended some live events that were pretty awesome. Without further ado, lets talk about the show. I hope it can come back better than ever, but if it doesn’t this was a solid farewell show.

Pre pre-show is free on YouTube, watch it here:

For anyone wanting to watch this, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far.

The Card:

  • 1P The Righteous (Vincent, Bateman, and Dutch) (with Vita VonStarr) defeated Shane Taylor Promotions (Kaun, Moses and O’Shay Edwards) (with Ron Hunt) (c) by pinfall Six man tag team match for the ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship 10:00
  • 2P Miranda Alize and The Allüre (Angelina Love and Mandy Leon) defeated Chelsea Green and The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) by pinfall Six-woman tag team match 6:50
  • 3P PJ Black, Flip Gordon, Brian Milonas, Beer City Bruiser, and World Famous CB defeated LSG, Sledge, Max the Impaler, Demonic Flamita, and Will Ferrara (with Amy Rose) by pinfall 10-man tag team match 10:20
  • 4 Dragon Lee defeated Rey Horus by pinfall Singles match 11:20
  • 5 Rhett Titus defeated Dalton Castle (c), Silas Young and Joe Hendry by pinfall Four Corner Survival match for the ROH World Television Championship 8:15
  • 6 Josh Woods (c) defeated Brian Johnson by technical submission Pure Rules match for the ROH Pure Championship 12:58
  • 7 Shane Taylor defeated Kenny King by pinfall Fight Without Honor 18:00
  • 8 Rok-C (c) defeated Willow Nightingale by pinfall Singles match for the ROH Women’s World Championship 9:50
  • 9 VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King, Homicide, and Tony Deppen), and Rocky Romero (with Chris Dickinson) defeated EC3, Eli Isom, Taylor Rust, and Tracy Williams by pinfall Eight-man tag team match 14:45
  • 10 The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe) defeated The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) (c) (with Maria Kanellis-Bennett) by pinfall Tag team match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship 15:40
  • 11 Jonathan Gresham defeated Jay Lethal by submission Singles match for the vacant ROH World Championship 15:35

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

Throwbacks

With this being, for all intents and purposes, the final ROH show, seeing that the entire promotion will be going through a complete overhaul in a few months (that is, if Sinclair Broadcasting doesn’t hang us all out to dry), it was cool to see some deliberate throwbacks to yesteryear being shown. In the picture you see World Famous CB became his old, less serious, Cheeseburger character for one last show. You saw groups that had been fighting for a while unify once again, and some familiar faces like Joe Hendry make appearances after long absences.

Battle Without Honor

I’m always a sucker for a solid “hardcore match” as long as it doesn’t turn into a CZW Deathmatch, so seeing Kenny King and Shane Taylor beat the hell out of each other for nearly twenty minutes was crazy. Aside from the main event, this was my “match of the night”.

Unlikely Appearances

Fans were treated to cameos by former ROH wrestlers and legends like Jimmy Jacobs, Hangman Adam Page, Eddie Edwards, and even Bryan Danielson & CM Punk, who were real surprises. Sadly a lot of folks that used to be in ROH work elsewhere (places that don’t acknowledge or work with anyone else), and would not be able to cooperate, especially considering the relationship this show seems to have opened with AEW Wrestling, but what we got was cool. These old faces did well to show what ROH was like in the past and show what reverence fans and wrestlers alike had for the company, but some other appearances happened that may show the future of the company…

New Beginnings and New rivalries?

Finally, ROH has opened the “forbidden door” by bringing in the likes of Deonna Purrazzo, FTR, and even “The Titan” Adam Scherr to hype what I hope are future appearances inside and outside of the company. I could see Rok-C going to AAA or Impact to fight Purrazzo, FTR will likely wrestle The Briscoes, and EC3’s Free the Narrative is recruiting. Flanked by Fodder and Blake, The Titan jumped in the ring and delivered a powerful message for anyone standing in EC3s way. I am pretty excited to see EC3 seemingly creating a cross-over with his Free The Narrative promotion, delivering a heartfelt sermon on the ills of corporate wrestling and that ROH “showed no honor” for what they did. This is likely to hype what I assume is the third event in the Free The Narrative series, which is always awesome!

Gresham Vs. Lethal

While I have seen better matches between Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham in the past, this one was very good especially because of what it means for the history and legacy of the company. At one point the locker room spilled out into the ringside area, surrounding the ring with tons of people cheering the match on. This was an amazing visual that hearkened back to the final WCW Monday Nitro where we got to see Sting vs. Ric Flair one last time. With Gresham taking the title, the original Ring of Honor title to be specific, it will be interesting to see if there is a unification match in the future between himself and Bandido, who sadly had to sit the show out due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Conclusion:

This was a solid show that felt very important and exists as a potential final episode for nearly twenty year old company. I have the sickening feeling that when Ring of Honor finally comes back it is going to go the way of in NXT 2.0 and completely rebrand and change everything about it that it was. This could be good or bad depending on how it is handled but to push aside a 20 year legacy in order to cut the budget is sort of irritating to me. I will be optimistic that Sinclair Broadcasting is not going to screw the fans over, but as you can tell from the tone of the rest of this review, it’s hard. Hopefully in four months time we’ll be talking about the lead up to the next Ring of Honor show, and perhaps a new generation of wrestlers will be spotlighted as there’s always room for plenty of different wrestling companies. I have a feeling these next few months are going to be crazy regarding released Ring of Honor talent jumping everywhere, and with a AEW’s big Winter is Coming show on the horizon I wonder if the deluge will start then.

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