Ring Of Honor's final big show of 2018 is almost here, and Final Battle is often looked at as the company’s biggest show of the year. One thing is for sure, and that is the contract situations with The Elite are making predicting this show way harder than usual. Hangman Page, So-Cal Uncensored, Cody and The Bucks are all reportedly finishing up this weekend with the company. They may throw some curve-balls on the PPV and then tape title changes the next day at TV, but if the rumours are all true, the face of ROH is drastically about to change. They may be bringing in some new names, but losing big stars like SCU and The Elite would be a massive heat, and hard to replace to be honest. But as for now, I will give my predictions, and break down the show match by match. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading!
Kenny King vs. Eli Isom
With the news that ROH Final Battle was expanding to a four hour window, this match was the late addition to the card. To be honest, I'm not very familiar with either of then men, and I'm not going to pretend to be, so I'm just going to go out on a limb here and pick a winner.
Pick: Eli Isom
Marty Scurll’s ROH Title Shot on The Line: Marty Scurll vs. Christopher Daniels
Marty Scurll won the 2018 ROH Survival of The Fittest tournament, and with that victory, earned an ROH Championship opportunity. The story with Daniels is that the ROH brass has had enough of Kaz & Daniels and if they have no gold, they have no hold over ROH and will be done at Final Battle. SCU held the trios titles but lost then, then lost chances at the tag titles. They got another chance at them and Daniels was taken out of the match, so Sky filled in and reclaimed the magic from All In as he and Kazarian became the champions. That’s all well and good for them, but Daniels (the only grand slam winner in ROH history) is currently out in the cold right now. That was until he got on Final Battle against Scurll, with the title shot on the line. I think that this is where the first curveball comes. Marty’s contract runs into mid-2019, he’s over and can be heated up at any time. I think they play off the long angle with Daniels, he wins, and then when they tape TV, loses in his bid to win the ROH championship on his way out.
Pick: Christopher Daniels
ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb vs. Adam Page
Many months ago it seemed that the plan for Final Battle was Adam Page fighting back and looking to get revenge against TV Champion Punishment Martinez. Well, Punishment Martinez left for NXT, Jeff Cobb took over the dominant champion role, and while Page will get his shot, the chances of him winning the gold here feel slim as he’s reportedly on the way out with his friends. Despite all of the drama involved in that, Cobb vs. Page should be a hell of a match. Cobb has been really good in ROH so far, and has not only delivered, but feels fresh, something ROH needed. ROH throwing curve balls due to the contract stuff is heavily in play, but having Cobb lose here to win it back at the tapings would be monumentally stupid and kill the great momentum Cobb has built. This has all of the makings of a great match, but Cobb should retain.
Pick: Jeff Cobb
Women of Honor Title Match: Champion Sumie Sakai vs. Madison Rayne vs. vs. Karen Q vs. Kelly Klein
This match has been lazily booked, I suppose that Tenille’s injury may have been part of it, but the fact that they are going with a clusterfuck four-way and that none of them winning sounds particularly great for the division going forward is sad. Sumie was a fine short-term introductory champion receiving her lifetime achievement award, but her run’s gone on too long. Rayne is a solid wrestler that is better with character work than most in the division but doesn’t do anything for me as the champion/leader of the division. The company loves Kelly Klein, they try to present her as a big star, but her promos are no good and she’s really mediocre in every way. I love Karen Q, she works hard, is a fresh name compared to the other three, but there’s absolutely no build in her becoming champion (plus she’s reportedly WWE bound). I think they finally pull the title change here, likely to Rayne or Klein. As for match quality, in women of honor matches, it usually goes the more names you add, the worse the match gets. I don’t have high hopes for the work or booking here. But hey, at least Mandy Leon isn’t involved.
Pick: Kelly Klein
LADDER WAR: ROH Tag Team Champions SCU vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks
The story with SCU is that the ROH brass has had enough of Kaz & Daniels and if they have no gold, they have no hold over ROH and will be done at Final Battle. SCU held the trios titles but lost then, then lost chances at the tag titles. They got another chance at them and Daniels was taken out of the match, so Sky filled in and reclaimed the magic from All In as he and Kazarian became the champions. The Briscoes and The Young Bucks then faced off on ROH TV with the winner getting the title shot here tonight. But that match ended in a weapon-filled non-finish, leading to champions SCU issuing the challenge for ladder war. When you take into consideration the talent involved, the stipulation, the fact that the Bucks love to steal the show and that they and SCU will want to go out on a high, this certainly has match of the night if not more kinds of potential. With the stipulation, the talent, it being PPV, and I foresee absolute insanity, and I am more than comfortable with putting the full banger alert on this one. As for the winner, I can see the Bucks pulling this out as a thank you to them before dropping the titles back at the TV tapings.
Pick: The Young Bucks
I QUIT MATCH: Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon
For the better part of the last year, ROH has been focused on the retirement story of Bully Ray, including 374 live event retirement speeches and big moment on TV, And then one night, the lovable Cheeseburger needed help and begged the tag team hall of famer to team with him. He did, they ran wild, and then for the first time in his life, Bully Ray found a cheeseburger he didn’t like. Bully Ray turned into a supreme asshole, running down millennials, young boys, and making life hell for Burger, the ROH dojo students, Colt Cabana, and specifically, young Flip Gordon. While I feel that the feud has gone on too long, and that Flip Gordon has been completely owned, it will be all worth it if they properly pay it off here. Gordon needs to destroy Bully here, with little resistance, getting his revenge, low blowing Bully as much as possible and making Bully his complete bitch. My fear is that they make this too long, make it way too 50/50, only for Flip to squeak out a hard fought win. That would be a horrible call and the absolute wrong play here. Bully owned Flip for a year, almost never took any offense, and it’s time to pay the piper and give back by becoming Flip’s bitch here.
Pick: Flip Gordon
Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre Jr
On a personal level, this is probably the match I am most looking forward too as I think both guys are absolutely fantastic, I’m thrilled to see Gresham make it onto Final Battle, and love that ZSJ is making his ROH debut. These two men are two of the best technical wrestlers on the planet, and while Gresham works well with everyone, there is no one on the ROH roster who can go with him and keep up like Sabre can. Zack Sabre Jr has had an amazing 2218, going full time with NJPW, winning the New Japan Cup, taking out pretty any big name in the company with his submissions and has been the man. Zack Sabre Jr finally coming to ROH gives us a ton of fresh matches, and he’s a big star. If I have this picked right, this is the first in a series for these two, with Sabre coming in and winning his debut, leading to more between these two in 2019.
Pick: Zack Sabre Jr
“The Real World Champion” Matt Taven vs. Dalton Castle
A lot of people, myself included, were convinced that Taven was being groomed for the Final Battle title match judging by the booking. But they changed direction; he named himself “the real world champion,” and started feuding with the returning Dalton Castle. The direction still feels to be Taven eventually winning the world title and completing the ROH Grand Slam. The story going in here is solid, it plays off their past issues well, and Taven as the delusional heel “Real World Champion” works for him. Castle has looked rough since returning to action. He’s still wrapped up, wearing a back brace, and is nowhere near 100% back from his injuries that took him out of action. Watching him since his return all I can think is that he came back way too soon, he’s still charismatic as hell and his work is solid, but he far from the powerful and smooth worker he was pre-injury. I expect Taven to win and a possible injury angle with Castle to follow so that he can hopefully heal up all the way.
Pick: Matt Taven
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal vs. Cody
And now we come full circle with the main event. Cody made his debut in ROH two-years ago, facing off with the ROH ace, Jay Lethal. This was supposed to be a sportsmanlike contest between two professionals looking to prove who was the best professional wrestler. But it was during the match that Cody revealed that he had no intentions in being a glad-handing babyface, he was simply there to win, and did so by kicking Lethal in the balls after a ref bump and stealing his first win in ROH. They would feud and lethal would eventually beat Cody in a great bull rope match at ROH Supercard of Honor XI. Cody would go on to win the ROH Title, but issues with Lethal never fully felt resolved. At last year’s ROH Final Battle, Dalton Castle defeated ROH Champion Cody Rhodes and took the title. Cody has been on a quest to win back the gold, but he’s never received his one on one rematch, which he finally gets here at Final Battle. One of those shots Cody failed at was a four-way, where Castle was on the way out due to injury, and the same match Jay Lethal win the championship back. So that all brings us to this match, Lethal defending against an opponent reportedly on the way out, and that is also from Cody’s own mouth. He’s teased the possibility of winning, and leaving with the belt as a free agent. In a way, it would be a great way to mix things up, but I can’t see ROH playing along at this point, as they helped so much will All In, which may be leading to the heavily rumored All Elite Wrestling being born, Cody winning feels like an absolutely horrible choice. ROH is looking to enter a rebuilding phase, they need stability, and Lethal as the ace champion is that stability. And now the question is, what kind of match will we get. Lethal traditionally breaks out high-level performances on PPV, and especially in big matches. But if Cody’s on the way out, will he be looking to add to his highlight reel, or will he bring the circus to town and coast on charisma and formula. I for one hope that we get the Cody we got at ROH Supercard of Honor XI, that Cody was motivated, looking to prove a point and absolutely great. Lethal should retain.
Pick: Jay Lethal