Special Event: Ring Of Honor: Final Battle 2023
December 15, 2023 4:46 PM - Subscribe

It has been a wild year for Ring of Honor since last year's Final Battle. After tragically losing ROH mainstay Jay Briscoe in January this year, the company rebuilt itself following Tony Khan's 2022 purchase and resumed national tours. Talent from ROH and All Elite Wrestling have been mingling all year, and with the ROH World Championship and the Tag Team Championships locked down in AEW storylines, the show has compensated by adding emotionally rich grudge matches and some out-of-town spectacle to the normal lineup. Tonight's show, like all of Ring of Honor dating back to 2002, can be watched by members of Honor Club at the ROH website.

The announced card:


Taya Valkyrie vs. Jazmin Allure
"Bounty Hunter" Brian Keith vs Jack Cartwheel
Winner becomes the 6th man in the TV Championship match, see below
The Von Erichs (Ross Von Erich & Marshall Von Erich) w/Kevin Von Erich vs. The Outrunners (Turbo Floyd & Truth Magnum)
Yeah, you read that right. The family that dominated Texas wrestling of the 70s sends their boys against two dudes doing perfect mimicry of WWE in the 80s.
Daniel Garcia vs. Blake Christian

ROH Pure Championship Match: Wheeler Yuta (c) defends against "Filthy" Tom Lawlor
ROH World Television Championship: Dalton Castle vs. Komander vs. Lee Moriarty vs. Lee Johnson vs. Kyle Fletcher vs. ???
This is a "Survival of the Fittest six-way elimination match", so a lot is riding on who the mystery 6th man will be. The first 5 are a collection of luchadors, grapplers, strikers, and Prince Peacock himself!
AAA Mega Campeonato: El Hijo del Vikingo (c) defends against Black Taurus
If this is your first time watching Taurus' lucha goodness, hoo boy. Vikingo and BT have been at each other's throats in Mexico, not to mention at Impact and GCW shows all this year.
ROH Six-Man Championship Match: Brian Cage & Gates of Agony (Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona) (c) defend against TMDK (Shane Haste, Bad Dude Tito & Kosei Fujita)
Keith Lee vs. Shane Taylor
Keith Lee finally gets to finish off at least one of his 2023 feuds (as it seems the other one -- Swerve Strickland -- is on hold while Swerve works the Continental Classic tournament) by taking on his former Pretty Boy Killers partner. If this seems familiar, it's because the two battled in tag-team action at FInal Battle last year, but I have faith Lee will come up with new ways to impress.
I Quit match: Ethan Page vs. Tony Nese
Speaking of pretty boys getting killed... Tony Nese is a very punchable jerk jock and Ethan Page has been turning face in 2023. Looking forward to a lot of super-dramatic working ending with Ethan's win.
Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, & Bryan Danielson vs. FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) & Mark Briscoe
#DemTopGuys vs Blackpool Combat Club, this one's all about honoring Jay.
ROH Women's World Championship Match: Athena (c) defends against Billie Starkz
For all that AEW still only books one women's match per show, these two women main-eventing the show is a good way to showcase how deep and varied the shared talent roster has become. My bet is for Athena to drop the belt to future mega-star Billie Starkz and hop a train to AEW, hopefully with expanded women's storylines.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (5 comments total)
Vikingo getting THROWN around the ring by Black Taurus, the only respite is when his speed allows him to get out of the charging animal's path and activate one of his spinning power moves. (Plus a fine spot where he twice stalls out his rope-top moonsault before nailing it.) Apparently AAA is a world of lunatic spotfests where no finisher is protected and you can kick out of anything.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:21 PM on December 15, 2023

Ha ha lord, Mark Sterling didn't want to honor the stipulation of being handcuffed at ringside, so along comes MARK HENRY making his Ring Of Honor debut to enforce it. They just don't make suit jackets big enough to fit a man that huge, I guess.

That I Quit match brought out everything: handcuffs, table spots, a surprise guest star in Scorpio Sky, and the good ol' story of babyface overcoming the odds. If Page and Sky want to team up again and taken Men Of The Year back to the tag team championships, that's fine with me (because who the heck knows when MJF & Adam Cole will be ready).
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:29 PM on December 15, 2023

Nyla Rose shows up to have a surprise quick match with Vertvixen, which proves (a) Nyla can absolutely pop a crowd, and (b) Tony Khan can put more than one women's match on a show!

Meanwhile damn if the TV title match didn't outshine the luchador match, especially once it reaches the final two: Komander and Kyle Fletcher going berserk on each other with 450 splashes, piledrivers and massive brainbusters. Apparently Ring of Honor is also a world of lunatic spotfests where no finisher is protected and you can kick out of anything!
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:53 PM on December 15, 2023

Ooh shit did the earth tremble when Keith Lee and Shane Taylor went at each other. Shane got slapped so hard a cloud of sweat lifted up off his chest. These two guys shifted each other around the ring and got in some surprisingly airborne work, most impressively Shane hitting a top-turnbuckle Canadian destroyer. In the end Keith wins and gives a friendly hand to Taylor, hopefully putting that past behind him and getting him back on a path to championship.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:55 PM on December 15, 2023

Billie Starkz showing up for the main event in full Pizza Cat gear, complete with the fireworks damage from whatever backyard wrestling match she last got it burned at. Not to be outdone, Athena augments her broken-nose mask with a full Bane-in-Batman-&-Robin cosplay. Seeing Billie come out with unsmiling intensity is unsettling.

They had a great main event, I'm genuinely surprised Billie didn't win it, but the match sure did put her over. I remarked to a friend that the possible reason for the entire storyline of Athena taking Billie in as her minion is that audiences who weren't familiar with all her work on the indies needed a justification for how this literal child became so hardcore.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:21 PM on December 15, 2023

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