Manhattan Center – New York City, NY – Saturday, December 19, 2009
PRESHOW MATCH: Alex Payne vs. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge
This is Ridge’s highest profile match to date. Payne tries to control the action with a headlock, but Ridges escapes. Undaunted, Payne continues to hold the advantage, staying one step ahead of Ridge. They somehow manage to blow a back body drop spot, and Payne tries to cover it up with a dropkick. Payne gets a La Magistral rollup for two. Ridge fights back with a couple of nasty kicks for a two-count. A big boot to the face and a running kick to the face gets another near-fall. Payne comes back and tries a German Suplex, but Ridge reverses it to an O’Connor roll and grabs a handful of tights to get the pin at 2:49. I don’t know what they expect the students to learn if this is all they get. It’s the preshow, let them go nuts and get all their stuff in.
Dave Prazak and Eric Santamaria are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Pick 6 Series Four Corner Survival – (6) Kenny Omega vs. Rhett Titus vs. (1) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Colt Cabana
Castagnoli is accompanied by Prince Nana and Mr. Ernesto Osiris. Omega defeated Castagnoli in a singles match at least year’s Final Battle. Cabana and Titus opened the last New York show, Glory by Honor VIII with a singles match, so there’s plenty of history here. Omega and Cabana reprise their tag team by going after Castagnoli, and merely threatening Titus. Their lack of a killer instinct gives Castagnoli and Titus to take control. Cabana and Omega are too smart for them though, and they come back with dueling atomic drops to send their opponents to the floor. We wind up with Omega and Castagnoli wind up in the ring, and when Castagnoli tries to backdrop Omega to the floor, Omega lands on the second turnbuckle and hits a moonsault to the floor on Titus! Cabana is in the ring now and he hits a headscissors on Castagnoli and then dumps him to the floor. Omega gets back in with a rolling prawn hold on Cabana for two. Cabana throws Titus back in the ring, while Castagnoli throws Omega into the barricade. Back in the ring Titus hits Cabana with a dropkick. Castagnoli goes back to the floor to ram Omega into the barricade again. He gets back in the ring and hits a double suplex with Titus. Omega gets back in the ring with a cross body block on both men. Cabana tries to give Omega the Stop Sign, but Omega hits him with an enziguiri and then a uranage for two. Titus throws Omega to the floor, but then Castagnoli executes the UFO on him. Omega gets back in the ring with a missile dropkick on Titus and then a dragon suplex on Castagnoli for two. Omega and Cabana battle on the rope and when Omega knocks Cabana down, Titus takes the opportunity to hit the Super Sex Factor. Cabana then locks Titus in the Billy Goat’s Curse, which Castagnoli breaks up with a bicycle kick. Castagnoli then hits Titus with a German Suplex with a bridge to get the pin at 6:17. That was brief but certainly energetic and was a good choice to open.
MATCH #2: Delirious & Bobby Dempsey vs. Bison Smith & Erick Stevens w/ Prince Nana & Ernesto Osiris
Necro Butcher was originally scheduled for this match, but I believe couldn’t make it due to travel difficulties caused by the Asshole Snow Storm, so Delirious starts the match by himself! He gets double-teamed and beaten down quickly by his larger opponents. The battle spills to the floor, where Delirious gets dumped into the crowd. Smith charges and dives over the guardrail to wipe Delirious out. Then some music hits and Pelle Primeau comes from out of nowhere to make his ROH return. Primeau unleashes a flurry of offense on Stevens, but Smith comes in and clobbers him with a clothesline. Smith military presses Primeau to the floor. Bobby Dempsey’s music hits and now he’s here to be Delirious’ partner. He hits a powerslam on Stevens for two. He makes the tag to Delirious and apparently, we’ve got a real match here. So why was Primeau involved – just to build to Dempsey coming out? Smith breaks up a pin attempt and pitches Delirious to the floor, where Nana and Osiris take free shots while Dempsey stupidly distracts the referee. Now the Embassy takes control of the masked man. Santamaria points out that both men who came to Delirious’ aid are ROH students, and Delirious is the current head trainer. After a few minutes Delirious makes the hot tag to Dempsey. The fat man is a house afire, bringing Stevens down in the corner. Delirious charges in with a Panic Attack and Dempsey follows with a Cannonball. Both Stevens and Smith are on the floor now, and Dempsey and Delirious follow them out with simultaneous somersaults, although Delirious’ came from a much higher altitude. Back in the ring Delirious goes for Shadows over Hell on Smith but Stevens pushes him to the floor. With Dempsey on his own, the Embassy hits a Claw Slam / Backbreaker combination. Stevens appears to have injured his knee. Smith goes for a powerbomb, but Dempsey backdrops his way out of it. He comes back with a lariat for two. Smith then connects on a powerbomb to get the win at 9:41. I like Smith and Stevens as a tag team, but the match was nothing special. I don’t get the Pelle Primeau thing.
MATCH #3: Fight without Honor – Chris Hero vs. Eddie Kingston
Hero is accompanied by Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn. Does Del Rey really have a purpose in ROH at this point? I know she’s a good wrestler, but when was the last women’s match? Kingston meets Hero in the aisle and the fight is on. I think this is going to be a lot of kicks, punches, and forearms. Hero gets the first advantage and finds a chain. He whips Kingston with it, and then wraps it around his throat and mouth. He throws Kingston into the guardrail, taking out a camera man in the process. Back in the ring Hero continues using the chain to abuse Kingston. Hero hits an elbow and Kingston kicks out at one. Back up Hero hits headbutts and a boot to the face. Kingston is bleeding from the forehead. Hero tries a Liger Bomb but Kingston counters with a headscissors and a uranage. Kingston hits an enziguiri and a Northern Lights Bomb for two. Hero comes back with a series of elbows for two. They rip each other’s shirts off and trade chops. Hero hits another elbow for two. He goes outside and brings one of the barricades in the ring. Back in the ring Hero hits a Saito Suplex. Hero and Hagadorn set the barricade up horizontally in the turnbuckles. He sets Kingston up on the top and then climbs on the barricade and ends up hitting a powerbomb off the top rope and onto the barricade. Kingston kicks out at two. I call bullshit. Hero goes back to the chain and wraps it around Kingston and tries the Death Blow, but Kingston reverses to a straight-jacket suplex. Kingston wraps the chain around his arm and hits a lariat for two. Hagadorn and Del Rey interfere, and Del Rey takes a leg capture suplex for her troubles. Hero puts on the golden elbow pad, but Kingston ducks a shot and hits the Back-Drop Driver. Kingston tries the spinning back fist, but Hero ducks and hits a low blow. Hero then kisses Kingston on the head and then hits a rolling elbow for two. Kingston gets up and hits two spinning back fists, but Hero kicks out at two. He takes Hero’s golden elbow pad and hits a rolling elbow to get the pin at 15:09. If you’re into this feud and this style of match you’ll probably love this, but it went astray for me when Kingston kicked out of that ridiculously sick powerbomb. Some moves should just finish a match.
MATCH #4: Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The Young Bucks
These two teams met at both Contention and Aries vs. Richards, with Steen & Generico getting the win both times. The video packages tonight have been great across the board. Steen is noticeably hobbling on his way to the ring, and he looks despondent. Generico and Nick start the match. They wrestle on the mat briefly before taking it to the air for some of the high flying both men are known for. Steen asks to be tagged in and gets his wish, so Nick tags in Matt as well. Matt takes the advantage and it’s obvious that Steen is not 100%. Things get personal when Matt offers to help Steen up and gets spat at. Matt counters by spitting his gum at Steen, who picks it up off the mat and puts it in his own mouth just to spit it at Nick on the apron. Both men knock each other’s partners off the apron, but Generico sneaks in the ring and helps Steen gain an advantage, and he hits the front flip legdrop. Steen then knocks Nick off the apron and blasts him with a snot rocket. The former ROH World Tag Team Champions isolate Matt in their half of the ring and work him over. Matt comes back with a standing Sliced Bread and makes the tag. Nick comes in a house afire, knocking Steen off the apron and hitting Generico with a springboard swinging DDT for two. Now the Bucks isolate Generico. After a few minutes of abuse, Generico makes the hot tag. Steen is all over both Bucks, taking them both down with a simultaneous clothesline. He hits a cannonball on Matt and then an Orton DDT on Nick for two. The match breaks down a bit, with people coming in and out of the ring. Steen hits Nick with the pumphandle neckbreaker for two. He goes for a powerbomb, but Nick flips out and hits a kick to the head. Matt gets tagged in and Generico gets knocked to the floor. The Bucks double-team Steen and get a near-fall. Steen comes back with a Codebreaker and he tags Generico, who hits a high cross body off the top rope on Matt for two. Generico gets trapped in the corner and Nick hits him with a running knee and the springboard X-Factor. When Nick tries that flip to the floor thing he does in every match, Steen catches him and powerbombs him on the ring apron. Back in the ring Matt hits Steen with a superkick and then Generico catches Matt and suplexes him into the turnbuckle. Nick comes back in and pitches Steen to the floor. He then wipes Steen out with a dive over the top rope to the floor. Meanwhile Matt hits Generico with the Diamond Dust, and then the Bucks hit a moonsault/splash combo for a close two-count. The match breaks down and Steen dumps Matt to the floor. Generico hits Nick with a running Yakuza kick and a half-nelson suplex. Steen follows with a frog splash, but it only gets two! He sets up for the Package Piledriver, but Nick escapes it. After a couple reversals, Steen powerbombs Nick and traps him in the Sharpshooter. Matt tries to break it but Generico cross bodies him to the floor. Steen’s knee gives way and he released the hold. Matt rams Generico into the guardrail. Steen once again tries the Package Piledriver, but Matt breaks it up and hits a superkick. The Bucks hit More Bang for Your Buck, but Steen kicks out at two! Why are we killing finishers on an already injured wrestler? The Bucks each hit two superkicks and then a double superkick to finally get the pin at 17:10. That was the usual pretty good tag team match between the two teams, but the Bucks pretty much do the same stuff in every match, and really don’t understand why Steen had to kick out of their finisher only to get beat by superkicks just seconds later.
Steen gets on the microphone as the crowd chants his name. The sound on this DVD is horrible; I can barely understand what he’s saying. It sounds like he’s cutting a goodbye promo from what I can hear. Steen hugs Generico. Steen then swerves us all by telling Generico he “hates his fucking guts,” and then pulls a Chris Jericho and kicks Generico in the balls. He grabs a steel chair and cracks it over Generico’s head. Colt Cabana comes running out to question Steen’s actions, so Steen kisses him on the lips and bails. It sounded like a great promo; I wish I could have heard it better. After three years teaming together in ROH and one World Tag Team Title reign, I’d say Kevin Steen & El Generico are over.
MATCH #5: Pick 6 Series – (4) Roderick Strong vs. Kenny King
They lock up and Strong grabs a wristlock. King comes back with a takedown and then locks on a side headlock. He knocks Strong down with a shoulderblock, but when he gloats Strong makes him pay with a spinning heel kick for two. Strong hits a chop and puts the boots to King. He maneuvers King to the floor, and then takes him down with a clothesline off the apron. He hits a chop, rams King into the edge of the ring frame and hits another one. King blocks a whip into the guardrail and takes Strong down with a twisting senton off the barricade. Now King takes advantage of the outside, ramming Strong’s head into the barricade several times. Back in the ring King gets a two-count. It’s all King now. King hits a spin kick for two. He gives Strong a taste of his own medicine with a backbreaker. He tries a springboard legdrop but Strong moves out of the way. King hits a few strikes in the corner and then dances to celebrate, giving Strong the chance to unleash a backbreaker of his own for two. Strong hits a dropkick for two. King counters with a spinebuster for two. Strong goes for the Stronghold but King reverses out of it and hits an enziguiri. King follows up with a clothesline for two. They take the fight to the apron and Strong hits King with the back suplex right on the ring frame. King comes back with a sunset flip, and a series of reversals ends with King hitting an enziguiri for two. He sets Strong up on the top rope and they slug it out, and King pulls Strong out with the Royal Flush for two! King goes for the double knees but misses and Strong hits the torture rack backbreaker for two. Strong goes for a crucifix but King rolls through with a schoolboy rollup for the pin at 10:27. This was technically proficient but not terribly exciting. King extends his hand, and Strong spits on him.
MATCH #6: Rocky Romero vs. Alex Koslov
This match is courtesy of the AAA promotion in Mexico. I’ve yet to see what others see in Alex Koslov, so this should be interesting. Romero gets on the mic to announce that Jack Evans and Teddy Hart are not here, so instead of the tag team match we get this singles match. The crowd is not pleased, so hopefully Romero and Koslov can get them into it. They take it to the mat and wrestle to a couple of quick stalemates. They’re working cautiously, since apparently, they know each other very well from Mexico. The crowd seems to be with them now, which is good. The pace quickens and Koslov does the stupid stop sign just like Kenny Omega, and Romero just stops. Both guys stand there for a few seconds and then Romero hits a low dropkick. Romero lures Koslov into crashing to the floor, and then he wipes him out with a dive that sends him all the way into the crowd. Back in the ring they decide to exchange strikes. Romero hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but then falls victim to a kick to the back of the head by Koslov. That gets a two-count for the agile Russian. Koslov hits the Russian Legsweep and puts on his little hat. He hits the kicks to the head, which Romero no-sells. Romero hits a rana, and Koslov counters with a drop toehold. Koslov ties Romero up in a surfboard using the ropes, which looks cool. Back in the ring Romero hits a flurry of offense and then he puts on the hat and does some dance moves of his own. Romero hits a swinging DDT for two. The fight spills to the floor and Koslov chops Romero into the crowd. Koslov leaps off the top rope and wipes Romero out. Back in the ring Koslov tries a splash off the top rope but Romero gets his knees up. Romero hits a reverse enziguiri for a two-count. Koslov comes back with a vicious superkick for two. He goes up top again and Romero pops up and locks on the Diablo Armbar and the bell rings at 11:19. The crowd is rightfully pissed because Koslov didn’t tap out and the bell rang out of nowhere. The match was a terrible mess of guys just hitting moves and not selling a damn thing. I understand what they were going for in trying to make up for Jack Evans and Teddy Hart not being there, but it just didn’t work for me. Plus, the messed-up finish, which the commentators gloss over, didn’t do the match any favors.
MATCH #7: World Tag Team Title Match – American Wolves w/ Shane Hagadorn vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe
The Wolves have been champions since 4.10.09, and this is their tenth defense. This feud began one year ago at Final Battle 2008. This is the Wolves’ first title defense since Ladder War II almost three months ago. Richards and Mark start the match. They chain wrestle for a bit, and then Edwards gets tagged into the match. Edwards and Mark trade kicks to the back and Edwards tags back out to Richards. Mark subdues Richards with a headlock and then goes after his leg. They trade some holds and wrestle to a stalemate, and then tag their partners. Edwards kicks Mark right off the ring apron just to be a dick. Richards gets tagged back in and Jay returns the favor by kicking Edwards to the floor, and then the Briscoes level Richards with a double tackle, sending him to the floor. The Wolves attempt to regroup on the floor while the crowd chants “Man Up.” Back in the ring it turns into a pier-six brawl, with everyone kicking each other in the face and head. Mark hits Edwards with a T-bone suplex and Jay follows up with a boot to the face for two. The challengers are cutting the ring in half and working Edwards over. The Wolves use some clever double-teaming to target Mark’s knee and take advantage on him. Mark comes back with an Ace Crusher on Edwards and makes the tag. Jay is all over both Edwards and Richards. He drops Edwards with a spinebuster for two. Edwards appears to be injured, while Richards throws Mark into the guardrail and kicks him into the crowd. In what should come as a shock to no one, Edwards was playing possum, and the Wolves hit Jay with the Superkick-German Suplex-Jackknife Pin combination for a two-count. The Wolves work Jay over for several minutes. Jay comes back with a Death Valley Driver on Edwards and both men make tags. Mark is on fire with his Redneck Kung Fu. He hits Richards with an Iconoclasm for two when Edwards breaks it up. Mark hits Richards with a missile dropkick, and then the Briscoes execute the Sidewinder (!) for a near-fall! I love that move. Jay sets Richards up for the Jay Driller but Richards escapes it. Edwards gets tagged in and he exchanges strikes with Jay. He hits an enziguiri and then charges into a big boot. He fights back with the Backpack Chin-breaker for two. Edwards hits a super Frankensteiner and Richards hits a running kick to the chest. Richards follows up with a DR Driver, but it only gets two! Edwards has a Half Crab locked on Jay, while Richards has a Texas Cloverleaf on Mark. The Briscoes counter them both with small packages for two-counts. Mark gets dumped to the floor and the Wolves hit the double-team Alarm Clock and a powerbomb/lung-blower combination for two. Edwards locks Jay in the Half Crab and he reaches the ropes to break it. The Wolves try a Doomsday Device, but Mark breaks it up and the Briscoes throw some suplexes. Jay turns Edwards inside out with a lariat for a two-count. He goes for the Jay Driller, but Edwards fights it off. The Briscoes hit Edwards with a double superkick for a two-count. Jay hits Edwards with the Jay Driller, which only gets two. I hate how that move doesn’t mean the end of a match. The Briscoes nail Edwards with the Doom to get the pin and their sixth ROH World Tag Team Title at 22:52. I think they could have cut a few of the momentum shifts out of the early going and had a much tighter match at 18 minutes or so, but this was still really a very good match. It does make me wonder though why didn’t they move the titles over to the Briscoes back in September when Edwards got hurt, and then you could have done the rematch here? That way the title wouldn’t have sat dormant for three months and the same result is achieved.
While the Briscoes are celebrating, Claudio Castagnoli comes out and gets in the ring. Meanwhile Chris Hero sneaks up behind Jay and hits an elbow! The Kings of Wrestling then hit Mark with the KRS-One and hold up the tag belts as the crowd chants “Kings of Wrestling.” I’m all for this.
MATCH #8: Jack Evans vs. Teddy Hart
Bobby Cruise is in the ring to announce the main event, but the lights go out, and when they come back on Jack Evans and Teddy Hart are in the ring with Julius Smokes! Evans proposes that he and Hart face off in a singles match. There’s no referee so there’s no opening bell, so I don’t think this really counts as an official match. Evans busts out an early Super Space Flying Tiger Drop. He hits a springboard 450 and goes for a cover but there’s no referee. Hart comes back and hits some wicked head-dropping maneuvers to the delight of the fans. J-Train has stepped in as the referee. Hart tries a Shooting Star Press but eats knees. Evans tries a 630 but also meets knees. Hart hits an amazing back suplex into a powerbomb. He hits another piledriver variation for a two-count. Evans comes back, and this time hits the 630 senton for the three-count around six minutes in. The fans got to see Jack and Teddy do a bunch of crazy spots in a short amount of time, so I think they did the best they could under the circumstances.
MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match – Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black
Aries has been the champion since 6.13.09, and this is his lucky thirteenth title defense. The champ immediately bails to the floor and wastes some time. Back in the ring Black takes Aries down in the corner and stomps away, so Aries bails again. Aries bails a third time. They wrestle on the mat and Black hits a mini piledriver, so Aries bails again stomps on Black sliding back in the ring. Black hits some mounted punches and the crowd barely cares. Aries takes Black down with another headlock. This is just brutal. They take it to the floor, where Black chops Aries into the crowd. Speaking of the idiots in the crowd, they’ve brought Twinkie back. Another part of the crowd chants “shut the fuck up” while Aries literally runs away from Black, very slowly. They go back to the floor and Black hits Aries with a moonsault off the guardrail. Aries continues trying to escape Black on the floor. Half the crowd is just actively booing Tyler Black. Aries takes he advantage and works on Black’s left knee. They’re about 15 minutes in but it feels more like 45. Aries takes forever to try the pendulum elbow, so Black comes back with a kick to the head and a flurry of offense. Black knocks Aries to the floor and follows him out with a running moonsault, on his badly injured knee. Back in the ring Black hits the springboard lariat for two. He gets an O’Connor Roll for two, and then lands a running knee to the face for two. He misses the Quebrada but hits the standing shooting star press. Aries slips out of paroxysm and hits the shinbreaker / belly-to-back suplex. He goes for the IED but Black blocks it with a boot to the face. Black sets Aries on the top rope, but it’s Aries who’s able to hit Black with a Super DDT for two. Aries then locks on the Last Chancery but Black gets out of it. Black comes back with an IED and Paroxysm for two, and then locks on the Last Chancery. Aries elbows his way out of it. Black goes up for the Phoenix Splash but Aries shoves him down to the floor. Aries follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. A few minutes later Black tries the Phoenix Splash and misses, so Aries goes back to work on the knee. Aries locks on the Figure-Four Leglock and Black turns it over. The hold is broken, and Black goes on offense to the seeming chagrin of the crowd. Black puts Aries up on the top rope, but Aries counters the superplex into a super gourdbuster. Before he can capitalize, Black jumps up and kicks Aries in the head, sending the champ crashing through the timekeeper’s table! Thirty minutes have gone by. Aries simply recovers and goes back on offense. Black reverses a whip and sends Aries into the barricade. Back in the ring Black gets a two-count, and Aries bails again. Aries tries the brainbuster but Black reverses it to a gourdbuster and sets up for the superkick, so Aries bails AGAIN. That takes the fight to the apron, and Aries hits a Death Valley Driver on the edge. Aries then shows he was playing possum with his arm injury. What was the point of the table spot anyway? The chants are dueling, but the Austin Aries chant is murdering the Tyler Black chant. Aries hits knee strikes and then locks on the Last Chancery, and Black reaches the ropes. Now Aries tries to keep Black on the floor and win by countout. This goes on FOREVER. Black finally has enough and fights back and this time Aries bails. The crowd chants “we want wrestling.” I don’t blame them. Now they’re chanting “this is bullshit” about 40 minutes in. Aries continues trying to run away and Black chases after him. He goes back to the locker room and Black follows him. A sizable group chants “don’t come back,” and then they boo when it happens. Black is carrying Aries on his shoulders and hits an F-5 on the ramp. He convinces the referee not to count them out, turning himself into an even bigger accidental heel. Aries has been busted open. Black carries him back to the ring and locks on the End Time. Aries rolls that into a pin cover for two. We’re past the 45-minute mark here and the crowd is openly hostile.
Aries once again tries to run away so Black Buckle Bombs him onto a chair on the floor and follows up with a superkick. He quickly rolls Aries back in the ring, but the champ grabs the ropes before a three-count can be made. Black goes for a Phoenix Splash and misses, and both men are down. Aries goes up the ramp again and this time he’s able to hit Black with a Brainbuster on the ramp. Now Black is busted open. The challenger barely makes it back to the ring as we go north of 50 minutes. Aries locks on the Last Chancery, and then decides to straight up choke Black and not break on the count of five, but he doesn’t get disqualified. He hits a blatant low blow, but Black begs him not to call for the DQ, so the match will continue. Aries pulls a turnbuckle pad off and rams Black’s head into it, but Sinclair still won’t disqualify him. He hits a Russian Legsweep into the steel turnbuckle. He hits a perfect 450 Splash but Black reaches the bottom rope. Aries goes back to the Last Chancery and Black elbows his way out. He goes to the floor and brings the belt into the ring and the referee tries to stop him. This distraction allows Black to come back with a schoolboy rollup for two and then a kick to the head. They trade punches as 55 minutes have elapsed. They trade kicks and Black takes Aries down with Cattle Mutilation. Black then rolls that into Bryan Danielson elbows and back to the Cattle Mutilation. The crowd doesn’t seem amused. Aries escapes the hold and hits a brainbuster for a close near-fall. One minute remains now as they duke it out. Black hits God’s Last Gift but Aries kicks out. Before anything else can happen, the bell mercifully rings at right around 60:00 (a little short by my clock but after Injustice II I’ll take it). This whole match was just a big bowl of wrong. This was just the worst match they could have possibly put on for this crowd under the circumstances. The crowd turned on it in so many ways and I don’t blame them. This was an absolute disaster in every sense of the word. Hopefully this doesn’t set a bad omen for 2010.
If you really want to see an audience reject a main event, then this is the show for you! There are only two good matches on this show and they’ve both been done better on other shows. The last two matches on this show are truly disasters in every possible sense, and because of the lousy undercard plus the awful last two matches, this is one of the worst Final Battle events in history.
Tags: Austin Aries, Final Battle, ROH, teddy hart, Tyler Black