Final Battle as a show was excellent. Exactly what you’d expect from ROH, possibly more and of course multiple Match of the Night contenders. Unfortunately, the venue disappointed most in attendance. You can read my thoughts as the show progressed and see the view in my twitter report from last night.
1. Terminal 5 in NYC is a great venue for concerts but for a wrestling show? Not so much. The second and third floors were standing room only, except for a couple “VIP” tables on one side. This isn’t conducive to viewing a wrestling ring at all and had I not waited outside in the cold December afternoon for a bit over three hours, I would have been listening to the show and watching it on a projector. “I paid $35 to listen” was the general consensus among those just behind me. This isn’t just a misstep, it’s an abject failure on ROH’s part and if they plan to keep running shows at Terminal 5 I’m curious to see what, if anything, changes.
2. Hanson is a conversion machine. A lot of the less-than-diehard ROH fans in attendance didn’t really get the Hanson hype when he entered for the opening match but as soon as he started rolling, they hopped on board. Giving him the win in the four corners survival was the right move but it also serves to remind that when The Briscoes aren’t a team, Mark is a distant thought while his brother is World Champion.
3. Roderick Strong is still absolutely Mr. ROH. The love that the crowd has for Roddy is palpable when you’re in that crowd and having him up against Adam Page given the storyline made it even better. People that have never seen End of Heartache lose their minds when he throws his opponent up and crashes them down on his knees. Strong is a rare talent and as much as I’d love to see him see success in WWE, he would end up an entirely squandered resource.
4. Nobody understands Michael Elgin’s current storyline. The collective narrative with him and Ciampa is a terribly executed “worked shoot” situation and facilitated and pretty average match (disappointing for me, as I rather enjoy both of them. The blatantly accidental ref bump at the end by Ciampa and McGuinness storming to the back was lost on all but those that watch every single week and the situation really couldn’t be read in the audience. I thought for sure McGuinness would come out with another ref, having teased turning his back on Ciampa but he just never came back and then Elgin won with an elevated double arm DDT. Ciampa sulked away and not being able to hear how Kelly/Corino called it made the entire thing really confusing. One of the low points of the night for me.
5. The Young Bucks. ACH. The Addiction. Cedric Alexander. Hot damn. Superkicks everywhere, great spots throughout. It’s hard to cheer for one side over the other and most of the crowd resorted to just cheering for everyone involved. This or reDRagon/Time Splitters was match of the night in terms of action, no question.
6. Sydal vs Lethal should have been a top notch match but much like Sydal/Styles fell short. For someone who’s physically gifted, Sydal just seems limited in what he actually DOES in the ring. Maybe his foot isn’t quite healed. I’ve seen enough matches with X wrestler winning because of Truth Martini. The act on the whole has gotten old and adding Jay Diesel sure as hell won’t freshen it up. I’m disappointed with this one both in action and result – I expected a third MOTN contender here. Plus they very predictably copied the “catch the shooting star with a cutter” spot. It being out of nowhere with Orton was amazing. Seeing it coming from a mile away here took away from it.
7. reDRagon is freaking awesome. I could leave it at that, quite honestly. They and the Time Splitters absolutely tore Terminal 5 apart and my streak of reDRagon keeping or gaining gold when I’m live at a show extends one more. The Young Bucks might be the most over team on the planet, but Fish/O’Reilly may well be the best in their field right now. Surprise surprise that those two teams were in your two MOTN contenders.
8. I apparently can’t bare witness to exposed chair shots anymore because when Cole cracked Briscoe over the head I just kind of stared on for a minute straight. Then they went to the staple gun. Compared to your standard CZW nonsense that’s not that extreme but it’s so out of character for ROH that it was incredibly jarring. Then there’s the thumbtacks. In Briscoe’s mouth. That Cole superkicked back OUT of his mouth. Now I know this isn’t the first time this spot has ever happened, but is that really a risk worth taking when you look at the big picture?
9. Adam Cole is the worst blader in the business today. I’m sure with all the streamers under the ring he couldn’t find the blade or something but he legitimately laid under the ring for over the minute then came up with a slice just under his hairline. Be a little more obvious.
10. I feel bad for anyone who follows the Bucks. RD Evans and Moose did their best (despite Evans missing a springboard like three times in a row) but a crowd just deflates when you go from Bucks to anyone else. Also of note was Veda Scott’s involvement. She came out and did the worst “I’m so concerned!” acting I’ve ever seen. Since I’m a fan of Veda I’m going to chalk it up to her being purposely over the top to convey that it wasn’t sincere but talk about the most obvious turn ever.