Saturday, 15 December 2012 20:01
by Jason Namako
Preview courtesy of ROHwrestling.com
Doomsday is almost upon us as Ring of Honor delivers "Final Battle 2012" THIS Sunday afternoon, live on iPPV from The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City! The World Title will be on the line in a Ladder War, the Tag Titles are up for grabs in a Three-Way Sudden Death bout, Matt Hardy & Jerry Lynn make their ROH returns, the latter for his final time, and will The American Wolves reunite? All that and more goes down on December 16th and you can still get your tickets right HERE in the ROH Store, or order the live iPPV broadcast right HERE on ROHWrestling.com for just $14.95!
Let's take a look at the events that brought us to our final event of 2012... ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - LADDER WAR IV!!
Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
ROH's year-end extravaganza has frequently colored the outlook of the year that followed and never has that been more true than with the past three "Final Battle" events and the careers of Kevin Steen and El Generico. "Final Battle 2009" saw the duo stand united against The Young Bucks but, following a hard-fought loss, the ROH faithful in attendance and watching on IPPV thought we were seeing the end of Steen's wrestling career as he embraced his long-time tag partner. Instead what we witnessed was the death of a friendship as Steen kicked Generico in the groin and blasted him across the skull with a steel chair. It was an assault that led to one year of blood and misery, an assault that pulled in both Colt Cabana & Steve Corino, and ultimately culminated at "Final Battle 2010" when the former friends collided in a Mask vs. ROH Career Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor.
The war that took place that night may never be matched for its level of violence as those who bore witness watched Steen & Generico pull out every stop and sacrifice every bit of their bodies until finally, appropriately, it came to conclusion with one vicious chair shot from El Generico to the head of Kevin Steen.
ROH should have been free of Kevin Steen but the good intentions of Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs, both looking to redeem themselves, brought Steen to "Best in the World 2011" under the belief that he intended to do the same. Rather the unhinged Kevin declared "F Ring of Honor" and laid out his former mentor with a Package Piledriver. Generico, despite competing later on the event, was nowhere to be seen...
Steen's chaos continued at "Death Before Dishonor IX" only this time at the expense of Jacobs (stepping up in Corino's place) & Generico as they collided in a singles match. Steen hit the ring and attacked both men, nearly laid out Cary Silkin, spat on Jim Cornette, and was carried out by security. Still Steen wasn't done, he returned at "Glory by Honor X" and got himself tossed out by provoking Jimmy Jacobs on his way out to the ring for a match with Tommaso Ciampa and then returned following the Davey Richards-El Generico World Title match to assault both men. They, along with Corino & Jacobs, ran Steen off once again but still the former World Tag Champion was not done.
The litigation began as Steen dragged lawyers into the situation until finally Steve Corino stepped up to the plate and offered to face Steen at "Final Battle 2011" with the stipulation that if Corino lost, Kevin would be reinstated, but if Steve won then Kevin would be gone forever.
Another "Final Battle" came and went and unlike the year prior, it was Steen left standing tall as he not only defeated his former mentor to earn his reinstatement but Kevin also laid out Jacobs with a Package Piledriver, attempted to take out Cornette with one, and ultimately put Generico (who came to Jim's rescue) on the shelf with a Package Piledriver off the apron and thru a table.
Generico would remain silent and distant for several months while Steen ran roughshod over ROH in pursuit of the World Title held by Davey Richards but at "Showdown in the Sun" weekend, the Generic Luchador returned to take on Kevin on the first day. To the shock of many it was a spike-wielding Jimmy Jacobs who proved the decisive factor as he drove the weapon into Generico's skull and embraced the evil inside him.
Generico, after losing to Jacobs the following night and being attacked by Steen & Generico at "Rising Above 2012", disappeared once again and remained in silence for several months. Meanwhile Steen accomplished his goal of claiming the ROH World Title at "Border Wars" when he defeated Davey Richards and, as if that was not enough, Steve Corino rejoined his former protege and S.C.U.M was born. Since becoming champion, Kevin has been utterly dominant with victories over Eddie Edwards at "The Nightmare Begins", at "Best in the World 2012" over Davey Richards, over Mike Mondo on "Ring of Honor Wrestling" TV, over Roderick Strong at "Live Strong", over Homicide on TV, over Eddie Kingston at "Boiling Point 2012", over Cedric Alexander in PWX, over Rhino at "Death Before Dishonor X", over Rhett Titus on TV, over Michael Elgin at "Glory by Honor XI", over Mike Bennett on TV, and let's not forget his controversial No Contest against Jay Lethal at "Killer Instinct".
Still despite his impressive resume as champion and the top-shelf competition he had defeated, it was with what happened after the "GBH XI" that Wrestling's Worst Nightmare first showed genuine fear.
Nigel McGuinness handed Steen a box, one that officials were asked to give Kevin in the event he defeated Elgin that night, and contained within was El Generico's mask.
When ROH returned to Pittsburgh, the landscape was shaken up as McGuinness became the official matchmaker for the company and his first order of business was in setting up Steen's challenger for "Final Battle 2012", none other than Generico! The one request the Generic Luchador had, his only demand, came in two simple words: "LADDER WAR"! McGuinness quickly accepted, setting aside the fears and trepidation that comes along with those two words, all in hopes of finally ending the title reign of terror of "Wrestling's Worst Nightmare" Kevin Steen. It's a violent, bloody, brutal fashion in which to pursue this goal, as elaborated on here, but if it doesn't get the job done, then just what will it take...who will it take...to bring about the end of Steen's championship domination? Special Non-Title Challenge Match
ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy "I was better than you at your age and I am MUCH better than you now"
Those were the words of international wrestling superstar Matt Hardy to ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole after the champ's victory over Mike Mondo at "Death Before Dishonor X" back in September. Since that night the ROH faithful have heard Hardy deliver one backhanded compliment after another to assorted members of the locker room from Jay Lethal to The Briscoes and anyone in-between. Cole, finally having had his full of listening to Hardy's mouth and upon learning that the highly decorated veteran would be appearing at "Final Battle 2012", issued the challenge for Hardy to face him one-on-one.
This is a true battle of youth vs. experience as Cole, one of the breakout stars of the year and reigning TV champion since June 29th, steps up to face the most experienced opponent with whom he has likely ever tangled. Hardy has seen the world since he was in his late teens, fought against some of the most respected names in modern wrestling history, and held assorted championships time & time again...but none of that has ever taken place in Ring of Honor. Cole, on the other hand, has been in the thick of it since the day he first began competing in ROH and over the course of 2012 has not only become the TV champion, not only defended in on four occasions, but also pinned all three of our previous World Champions (Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Roderick Strong). Cole had an absolute war with Kyle O'Reilly at "Best in the World 2012" that saw his blood stain the canvas, he & Edwards had a barnburner of a tag match with The Briscoes at "Killer Instinct", and Cole is poised to get even better in 2013.
Despite his decades of experiences, Hardy may genuinely find himself tested like never before against Adam Cole. Cole will no doubt physically push Hardy inside the ring, but Hardy no doubt will push Cole mentally, taking full advantage of his experience over the younger man.
What a way it would be to cap off his best year in ROH should Cole beat Hardy, but what a way it would be to shut down all his detractors, and back up his claims to be just what ROH needs, if it is Matt Hardy who gets his hands raised after the bell tolls... 3-Way Sudden Death ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
S.C.U.M. (Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino) vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
Eight: that is the number Jay & Mark Briscoe are shooting for as they step into this match for the World Tag Team Titles where they look to claim the belts for the 8th time...
Five: that is the number Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs are aiming for as they look to successfully retain their World Tag Team Titles for the 5th time...
One: that is the number Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander have their eyes on as they look to become the World Tag Team Champions for the very 1st time...
Corino & Jacobs have now put down C&C on two occasions, once in the tournament where S.C.U.M captured the titles at "Death Before Dishonor X" and again on "Ring of Honor Wrestling" TV in a Tag Title match. The former was done through nefarious means and the latter was via blatant disqualification as Corino & Jacobs were on the cusp of losing the belts in their first defense. It seems there is a genuine sense of fear from the S.C.U.M duo when it comes to Coleman & Alexander...
As for Dem Boys, well not only are they the bedrock of the tag team division (and some would say ROH) but they have essentially owned S.C.U.M for the past several months. At "Brew City Beatdown" they put down Steen & Jacobs, at "Boiling Point 2012" it was Corino & Jacobs who felt their wrath, at "Caged Hostility" all three of them were on the short end of the stick in a Steel Cage War, and the only real exception was at "Glory by Honor XI" where Corino used the referee's distraction and a low blow to retain the titles over Jay & Mark. On the eve of "Final Battle 2012", Jay & Corino will also collide on "Ring of Honor Wrestling" TV in Steel City Street Fight that could color the face of this tag title battle as well.
The one thing that everyone must remember though is that this bout is Sudden Death, one fall to a finish, and that Corino & Jacobs can pin anybody to retain their titles but The Briscoes and C & C MUST pin S.C.U.M if they want to walk out as the new World Tag Team Champions... Grudge Tag Team Match
The American Wolves ("Die Hard" Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) vs. Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish
A few weeks ago on "Ring of Honor Wrestling" TV we witnessed Davey Richards attempt to reconcile his differences with former protege & training partner Kyle O'Reilly. Suffice it to say that things did not go as Richards planned when Kyle lured him in with a handshake and then, quite literally, swept the rug out from underneath The American Wolf. Richards retaliated, trapping Kyle in the ankle lock, but Bobby Fish...the sometime Pro Wrestling NOAH tag partner of Eddie Edwards...hit the ring to lay out Davey and side with O'Reilly. Fish then put Davey into a Crossface while Kyle verbally lambasted his former ally, telling him that he had pushed everyone away and that there was no one left to help him.
After the attack, Davey apparently confronted ROH Match Maker Nigel McGuinness looking for a match against the two men who had just laid him out. Nigel questioned just who Davey would get for his partner as he was not going to sanction a handicap match here and Richards asked that his former American Wolves mate Eddie Edwards be made his partner for "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday" on December 16th!
The American Wolves have not united in over a year, since "Gateway to Honor" & the 11/12/11 edition of "Ring of Honor Wrestling" TV, and it certainly seemed like the concept of Richards and Edwards as a team died after their collision at "Final Battle 2011". Yet at "Glory by Honor XI" after Richards fell to Jay Lethal, passing out in the Koji Clutch, Eddie made the first attempt...at least first PUBLIC attempt...to reconcile as he checked on his former championship partner.
With Eddie currently competing in Japan for NOAH, we don't have a direct answer as of yet to Richards' request but Davey seemingly has all of the faith that Eddie will show up.
"I took Davey's request into consideration." said Nigel to ROHWrestling.com, "And quite honestly mate I know that I would love to see The American Wolves reunite even if it's just for one night and I would be willing to be the fans would as well. So effective immediately, it will be The American Wolves of Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards taking on Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish at Final Battle 2012! The ball is now in Eddie's court though. I e-mailed him, informing him that the match has been booked and that if Eddie doesn't want it, then so be it BUT if he doesn't want to be there, well then I suppose he just won't be wrestling on the show at all."
What will Eddie Edwards have to say about this when he gets back from NOAH? Will we finally see The American Wolves, one of the most dominating teams in ROH history, reunite? And even if they do, will the nascent duo of O'Reilly & Fish spoil that reunion for everybody? We will all find out at "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday" on December 16th! Jerry Lynn returns to the Hammerstein Ballroom for His Final ROH Bout
Jerry Lynn vs. "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett w/ Maria Kanellis & Brutal Bob
Former ROH World Champion Jerry Lynn is coming back to the fold at "Final Battle 2012" for one night only to say goodbye to the Ring of Honor faithful!
Ever since it was announced he would be there, there has been a great deal of speculation as to just who Jerry would face on December 16th but now we have the definitive answer for you, and it is a man who has shown a great zest for spitting in the face of veterans this year: "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett!
"Bring it on Jerry, bring it on." said Bennett to ROHWrestling.com, "All I want to say is that I think you need to go take a look at the DVD of me putting your buddy Lance Storm out to pasture. It took me knocking him on his ass twice for it to sink in, but he finally got the idea that time had passed him by and this ring belongs to The Prodigy now. I will admit Jerry, I'm pretty excited to step into the ring with you. It's an honor really to be the last man you wrestle in ROH, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I've got some respect for the road you paved for guys like me. Still, I would also be lying to you if I didn't say that what I'm looking forward to the most is disappointing you and your fans in NYC...the same disgusting people that cheered when Mondo insulted and put his hands on Maria last time we were there. I want to suck the joy out of their holidays when I beat you! I want to kill your spirit when you're looking up at the lights and it finally hits you that it ain't your day anymore Jerry! This match will be about celebrating my future Jerry, not your past..."
"The Prodigy" Mike Bennett, with Maria & Brutal Bob in his corner, will square off with Jerry Lynn on Sunday December 16th at "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday"!!! It marks the end of an era as the former World Champion steps into an ROH ring for the final time so please join us at The Hammerstein Ballroom, or live on iPPV, as we say thank you & farewell to one of the best. Grudge Match
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong
Once was an accident, twice even, but one time after another after another and it became obvious to Michael Elgin that, for whatever his reasons, Roderick Strong was sabotaging Unbreakable's ROH career.
Miscommunication is one thing, it happens from time to time, but since "Showdown in the Sun" when Strong seemed to expect Elgin to hand him his "Blind Destiny" World Title shot at Davey Richards, the tension between these two men has been building to a crescendo.
For months now Truth Martini has been insisting that all is well within the HoT but it has been readily apparent to anyone with eyes that that is far from the case. Elgin threatened Strong to stay out of his business at one point, Strong has walked out on his partner in tag matches & gone on strike from the HoT, and it is safe to say that the final straw in the dissolution of this relationship came at "Death Before Dishonor X" when, in the aftermath of the Rhino/Kevin Steen World Title match, Elgin laid out Roddy with his devastating spinning powerbomb.
At "Glory by Honor XI", when Elgin squared off with Kevin Steen with the World Title on the line, Roderick took up a seat at ringside to watch but ultimately paid for it when Elgin tossed him over the guardrails and beat the tar out of the former World Champion, forcing him to flee to the locker room. Roderick wasn't done though as, following the conclusion of the bout, Strong hit the ring once more and delivered a vicious Sick Kick to Elgin who was exhausted after coming up on the losing end of an epic war. Despite Martini's protestations to the fact, it was pretty obvious to all involved the House of Truth was on life support...at best.
Elgin wants Roderick in that ring, he wants his opportunity to deliver some retribution and even the score for with his former partner. It is fairly evident by his demeanor in that interview that Elgin will destroy Roderick Strong OUTSIDE of the ring if he does not get what he wants. Truth, still holding managerial leverage with each man, apparently refused to petition for the match, but ultimately the decision was taking out of his hands and ROH Match Maker Nigel McGuinness signed it anyway!
"Unbreakable Michael Elgin will have his chance to even it up with Roderick at Final Battle on December 16th and I don't give a damn what Truth Martini has to say about it. We have all heard that wanker run his mouth about how solid the House of Truth is and about how Elgin and Roderick are on the same page. It's obvious to all of us that ain't the case mate, it hasn't been the case for a long time no matter how hard you try to convince yourself Truth. So I am making this match happen at Final Battle because I will not have Elgin running around all night in the locker room, the parking lot, or wherever trying to hunt Roderick down. This is a fight that will take place in the ring!"
Suffice it to say all reports indicate Truth Martini is livid at this turn of events but there is nothing he can do about it now! It's Elgin versus Strong at "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday"!!! Special Challenge Match
Jay Lethal vs. "The Man Beast" Rhino
On Sunday December 16th Ring of Honor returns to Manhattan for our last event of the year, "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday"!!! That night Kevin Steen will defend the World Title against El Generico in the first ever one-on-one Ladder War but there is one other man who will be just as focused on that bout, perhaps more so than the battle that he faces himself.
Jay Lethal, following the events of "Killer Instinct" and Steen's subsequent demands, has been effectively locked out of the World Title picture as long as Kevin remains World Champion. That is even in spite of the fact that Lethal is owed a title opportunity as a result of his "Survival of the Fittest 2012" victory. Lethal has stated that he will fight the ROH World Champion that night in NYC but perhaps what he should focus on is his date that afternoon with one of the most volatile men on the ROH roster: "The Man Beast" Rhino!
Rhino, having quite literally tossed Truth Martini out of his life at "Glory by Honor XI", now stands at the start of new chapter in his ROH career, one in which he is fighting for himself. His new goals are known only to him at this moment but one can safely assume he would love to once again have a World Title draped over his shoulder or strapped around his waist. He had one opportunity at "Death Before Dishonor X" under the banner of the HoT, but his path could begin anew with one deadly Gore on Lethal.
Is Lethal looking past Rhino at the World Title? Will Lethal be the first victim in a new path of destruction? Be there live on 12/16 to find out! NYC Street Fight
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus
It has been building for a few months now, longer in the case of Rhett Titus, but now at "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday" on Sunday December 16th, Titus & BJ Whitmer will collide with Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin in a New York City Street Fight!!!
"I think I can say I have more than proven I can hold my own in a street fight." said Rhett, "And I know, hell everybody knows that BJ is born and bred for this type of deal. He has probably been in more bloody, violent brawls than anyone in ROH not named Briscoe and there aren't too many other guys I would want at my side for this. Charlie and Shelton, it's time to put an end to this one and we are going to do it in NYC...the place where the Briscoes & ANX had their own Ladder War, the place where I finally became an ROH Champion by beating YOU!"
ROHWrestling.com reached out to Charlie for a response after we talked to Rhett at this is what he said:
"Boy, you've got another thing coming in New York if you think Final Battle is going to end like the last time we came to that hellhole. You may have some vision dancing in your half-empty head of you and BJ putting WGTT down for the count but the vision I've got Rhett looks a little bit more like what happened to you last year at Final Battle...injured and out of action. Me and Shelty won't take it easy on you like the Bucks did though, there won't be a comeback after two months, no what I'm thinking might have you back in action by Final Battle 2013 if you're lucky!" Prince Nana takes on "Barrister" RD Evans w/ QT Marshall
Frequently forgotten fact... Prince Nana competed on the first ever ROH event, "The Era of Honor Begins", back in 2002 and has, in fact, been in the ring with some of the top talent in the world including Samoa Joe, Low Ki, AJ Styles, and Roderick Strong. His focus though, at least as far as ROH has been concerned, has been on his managerial services while sitting at the helm of The Embassy.
Since 2003, The Embassy has been a fixture in Ring of Honor in many different forms. It has boasted names like Jimmy Rave, The Necro Butcher, Joey Ryan, and Alex Shelley in its ranks and also, until recently, "The Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa. Unfortunately that all fell apart for the prince from Ghana West Africa and it all came at the hands of his own counsel, The Barrister RD Evans.
Nana brought Evans in to mind the store, so to speak, as the Prince focused his energies on the lovely Princess Mia Yim. Left to his own devices, it was readily apparent to all but Nana that RD Evans was looking to co-opt The Embassy as well as its newest, and possibly most promising, acquisition, Tommaso Ciampa.
The final straw came when Nana was forcibly exiled from his own creation by RD, humiliated after a refused marriage proposal to Mia, and physically assaulted by Ciampa. Nana has seen taken several opportunities to attack Evans at ROH live events while RD, having tossed Ciampa to the side after he suffered a serious knee injury, has recently acquired QT Marshall as his client.
Then on this weekend's edition of ROH TV, after Marshall was victorious in his bout against Adam Page, Nana once again attacked Evans, stripped him of his clothes, and left him humiliated in the ring. ROH Match Maker Nigel McGuinness then announced that this would all be settled at "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday" when Nana & Evans go one-on-one!
"That's right my friends!" said Nana to ROHWrestling.com, "My day of reckoning is almost here and RD Evans, you backstabbing little snake of a man, you will feel the wrath of Prince Nana like no other man before you ever has. New York City is my home away from home and I will beat you like the little peasant boy that you are in front of everybody there! You take my money, you take my woman, and then try and take my pride, well Barrister the one thing you can never take away from me is The Embassy!"
It's Prince Nana vs. The Barrister RD Evans at "Final Battle 2012"!
All the action goes down THIS Sunday afternoon, December 16th, and it will take place LIVE on iPPV! If you are in the NY C area, or just want to make the trip for the biggest year-end event in pro wrestling, you can still get your tickets right HERE or at the door on the day of the show! If you can't be there in-person, you can still order the live iPPV broadcast right HERE on ROHWrestling.com for just $14.95!
And if you're going to be there in NYC, then make sure you come early because Matt Hardy, Jerry Lynn, El Generico, and The Briscoes will all be available prior to the start of the show for this one of a kind autograph signing!
What will the face of ROH look like in 2013? Will it be S.C.U.M that rises to the top or will Honor Live? Don't miss "Final Battle 2012: Doomsday" to find out for yourself!