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By Mike Johnson on 2009-12-20 02:47:29
Ring of Honor ran their 2009 Final Battle event on Saturday 12/19 in the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center.  The show was, for the most part, entertaining with some good matches and solid angles underneath.  The ROH title match between champion Austin Aries and Tyler Black, going to a legitimate 60 minute draw, didn't get over with the live crowd and left the show with a somewhat flat feeling.

The show doubled as the first ROH Internet PPV.  In the weeks leading up to the show, ROH owner Cary Silkin was hoping for 1,000 buys.  They topped 900 but I don't know as of this writing if they hit the magic number, but if they didn't, they could partially blamed on feeds being stolen and posted for free on websites like JustinTV.  Dave Lagana was brought in to direct the PPV feed.  There were some issues with audio during the show, notably Larry Sweeney's mic going in and out and the crowd noise being heard instead of the audio for the video packages, but by the same token, it was the first time out for all involved. 

The show opened with American Idol season six finalist Jared Cotter performing a nice rendition of the National Anthem.

At the onset of the PPV, Larry Sweeney returned as an announcer.  It was the first time in many, many moons since ROH had used him as he needed to go take care of his personal issues.    He got a huge reaction coming out. 

*Claudio Castagnoli won a great four way, pinning Rhett Titus with a German suplex into a bridge.  The match also featured Kenny Omega and Colt Cabana.  Omega shined here, hitting a moonsault off the top to the floor on Titus and later a fling bodypress with a frog splash on everyone.  Cabana was over huge coming out and did a nice mix of comedy and European style work.  Great opener with lots of fun exchanges and unique offense.

The next bout was scheduled to be Necro Butcher & Delirous vs. The Embassy of Erick Stevens & Bison Smith.  Prince Nana cut a promo on the sound guy for not shutting off his music, then turned his attention to Necro Butcher.  He claimed Necro's claims of travel problems but he's really scared of The Embassy.  Butcher and Gypsy Joe, scheduled to be in Butcher's corner, were stuck in a Detroit airport unable to get to the Northeast.  Delirious hit the ring alone and attacked both Stevens and Smith, only to be overwhelmed.   Delirious was tossed into the crowd.  Smith did a running dive on the floor over the guard rail onto him.

Pelle Primo made his return, hitting the ring to even the odds but was caught attempting a flying bodypress by Stevens.  Pelle turned it into a DDT.  Smith then killed him with a clothesline.  Smith pressed and dropped him over the top.  Bobby Dempsey hit the ring and clotheslined Stevens.   Pelle was carried out so it was officially Dempsey and Delirious.  Delirious was worked over for some time before making the hot tag.  Dempsey hit a flip cannonball in the corner on Stevens.   Delirious then hit a dive off the top to the floor.  The Embassy came back to kill Dempsey with a clothesline and score the pin.

Eddie Kingston pinned Chris Hero in a Fight Without Honor.  Kingston attacked Hero as he came down the aisle and they brawled around ringside.  Hero caught Kingston with a big boot as he returned to the ring.  He pulled a chain out from under the ring and used it on Kingston.  Hero wrapped it around Kingston's throat and began beating hin but Kingston kept firing back and refused to stay down.  They nailed each other with stiff shots and kicks.  Hero went for a powerbomb but Kingston turned it into a hurancanrana.  He nailed a T-Bone suplex and the crowd went nuts changing his name.  He nailed an enziguiri and a brainbuster for a two count.  Hero took out Kingston and ripped his shirt off.  Kingston ripped his off in kind and they exchanged strikes and chops.  Hero got the better of it and went outside.  He brought a section of guardrail into the ring.  Kingston got to his feet and tried to suplex Hero into it but Hero fought him off and nailed a back suplex.  He and Shane Hagadorn placed the railing across the middle turnbuckle.  Hero placed Kingston on the top and stood  on the rail.  Hero fought him down and nailed a piledriver off the top onto the rail, which looked brutal.  Kingston still kicked up.  The crowd loved that sequence.  The kickup got Kingston over huge in the building.  Kingston nailed a back suplex on Hero and then caught him with a lariat, wrapping the chain around his arm.   Sara del Rey began kicking Hero but was caught with a T-Bone suplex.  Kingston nailed a back suplex on Hero but was caught with a low blow.  Hero drilled him with a roaring elbow but Kingston still kicked up.  Hero began arguing with the referee.    Kingston caught him with a lariat for a two count.  Kingston put on an elbowpad and drilled Hero with a roaring elbow for the pin.  Solid brawl with some insane spots.  Way better than their last match here.  The crowd ate Kingston up.

The Young Bucks defeated Kevin Steen & El Generico. The crowd had dueling chants for both teams.  It was a babyface match early until Kevin Steen slapped Matt Jackson, who returned in kind.  Generico took down Matt and Steen nailed  a flip legdrop.  They worked over Matt for awhile.  Matt made a comeback on Generico.  Nick tagged in but Steen made the hot tag.   Generico hit a dive to the outside on Matt.  They went back and forth with some hot moves.   Steen locked a sharpshooter on Matt but Nick interfered.   The Bucks hit some insane double team maneuvers but Steen kicked out.  They drilled Steen with a series of superkicks and scored the pin.

The fans chanted for Steen after the bout.   He took the mic as he had promised an announcement and it's well known his knee needs surgery that is going to keep him out a long time.  As Steen started, a fan heckled him so Steen went off on him on the mic.   He challenged them to meet him in the parking lot, which would be a feat as there is no lot for the venue.  Steen then said that ten years ago, he prided himself on being someone who didn't look like a wrestler yet still gave everyone their money's worth.  Steen admitted he's not the talent he was three years ago, due to injuries, his weight gain and his family responsibilities.  He said he wanted to thank ROH, IWS in Canada and PWG.  He began thanking ROH officials by name.  He thanked all the wrestlers he worked, specifically the Briscoes and Nigel McGuinnness.  Steen began breaking down as he thanked his family and then hugged Generico for a long time, then said," I hate your f***ng guts."  He kneed Generico in the nuts and then drilled him with a wicked chairshot to the head.  Awesome heel turn.  Cabana hit the ring and had words with Steen.  Steen kissed him (yes, kissed him) and walked out, taking his time.  A confused Cabana tended to Generico.  Awesome turn.

*Kenny King pinned Roderick Strong.  They did some nice mat wrestling early.  Strong nailed a leg lariat and stomped on King.  Strong hit a running clothesline off the apron to King on the floor.  He whipped King towards the railing but was cut off with a kick.  King hit a flip off the rail onto Strong.  King began beating Strong's head into the railing.    Back in the ring, King nailed  a suplex and peppered him with punches.  King nailed a spinning kick and a over the knee backbreaker.  King missed a legdrop.  Strong ducked an elbow and nailed several clotheslines.  He hit an uranage into a backbreaker.   Strong whipped King into the ropes and nailed him with a dropkick.  They exchanged forearms and chops.  King nailed him with a sideslam.    Strong came back with a back suplex on the apron outside.   King made a comeback with a twisting DDT, but missed a charging knee in the corner.  King finally rolled him up and hooked the tights using a crucifix rollup for the pin.   Strong spit on King after the match.  Solid.

Rocky Romero defeated Alex Kozlov via submission.  They announced the match was brought to the fans by AAA.  Romero took the mic and put over NYC.  He announced Jack Evans and Teddy Hart weren't going to make it, but the fans got to see him instead.  The crowd was let down by Hart and Evans not making it and began chanting for Hart. ROH announced at the onset of the show that Evans and Hart's flight was canceled, but they had been rerouted and were expected to land in NYC during the show.  They did some fun Lucha moves early.  Romero caught Kozlov in a head scissors and flipped him over.  Kozlov was caught with a rana and snapped into the ropes.  Romero tricked him into crashing to the floor and hit a tope to the outside.   Romero took control until Kozlov nailed him with a superkick for a two count.  He did the Russian dance kicks.  Romero came back with a rana but Kozlov took control again.  Kozlov nailed his bow and arrow from the floor through the ropes.  Romero came back with a running high knee and a flapjack.  He put on Kozlov's hat and danced the Russian dance to mock  him.  Romero hit a springboard into a twisting DDT for a two count.  They went to the floor.  Romero got dumped in the crowd.  Kozlov hit a dive off the top rope into the second row.  He deposited Romero back into the ring and missed a top rope dive as Romero got his knees up.  Romero caught him with a kick for a two count.  Kozlov killed him with an awesome superkick but Romero kicked up.   They battled on the top and Romero caught him with a small package suplex into to the ring.  Romero caught him with a cross armbreaker on the way down and cinched it in.  Someone called for the bell.  I don't think Kozlov tapped and the referee looked confused, so it may have been a case of ROH calling for the bell to shave time off the run of the show.  Either way,  real fun match.  Crowd was down on Romero winning as they got into Kozlov's character.

The Briscoe Brothers captured the ROH Tag Team championships, defeating The American Wolves in what I thought was the best match of the night.  They did some good mat wrestling early with Davey  Richards and Jay Briscoe.  Mark Briscoe and Eddie Edwards went back and forth.  Jay kicked Edwards off the apron.  The Briscoes drilled Richards with a double shoulderblock.  The Wolves regrouped on the floor.  Richards and Jay began killing each other with strikes and kicks.  Briscoe hit an exploder on Eddie and then kicked him in the head for a one count.  Mark nailed a back senton onto him for a two count.   The Wolves made a comeback and began focusing on Mark's knee.  Jay tagged in, ducked a double clothesline and superkicked Richards.  He nailed Edwards with a spinebuster for a two count.  On the floor, Richards whipped Mark into the rail and kicked him over into the crowd.  The Wolves killed Jay with double team maneuvers, looking awesome.  They tossed Jay to the floor where he was mauled by Richards.  Richards nailed a Northern Lights suplex for a two count.  Edwards locked in a side chinlock.  Jay finally nailed a Death Valley Driver. Hot tags.  Mark chopped away at Richards and nailed him with a spinkick.   Mark chopped at Edwards' shoulder and nailed a reverse kick.  He hit a back elbow off the ropes and suplexed Richards with a bride for a two count.  Jay ho oked Richards' leg and pulled him out of the ring.  Mark hit a monster dive to the floor.   All four brawled.  Edwards was taken out.  Mark hit a legdrop off the top onto Richards.  Jay went for the Jay Driller but Richards rolled through and they did a near falls sequence.  Jay charged Richards in the corner but Richards ducked and Jay was kneed by Edwards.  Edwards nailed a spinebuster but Mark broke up the pin.   Edwards hits a top rope rana on Jay.  Richards drilled him in the head.  The Wolves locked on stereo submissions which turned into stereo rollups by the Briscoes.  The Wolves worked over Jay again.  Edwards locked on a half crab.  Jay came back with a back suplex and a clothesline.  Briscoe went for the Jay Driller but Edwards broke free.  Briscoes nailed him with double superkick.   Jay hit the Jay Driller for a two count.   The Briscoes nailed the Doomsday Device for the pin.  Crazy monster match.

The Briscoes celebrated.  Claudio Castagnoli came to the ring and began jawing with them.  Chris Hero came from behind and laid them out.  So, the Kings of Wrestling are reunited and a new feud is born.  The crowd loved the reunion.

The lights went out and when they came back on, Teddy Hart, Jack Evans and Julius Smokes were in the ring.   Evans took the mic and said it was good to be back in his home of ROH.  He said he and Hart used to be friends, but in AAA they are against each other.  He said he knows they are late because of the snow and their scheduled match already happened but if the fans want it, he'll destroy Hart in front of them.  Hart said he appreciated the chance to perform in front of the fans again and this was about killing Evans because he forgot where he came from, the Dungeon and said they were going to show everyone why they are the best wrestlers in the world who don't get to show their sh** in the United States.  Well, they do if you get Galavision.  It was weird to see them burying each other when they all came out together.

Jack Evans pinned Teddy Hart.  Hart clotheslined Evans and suplexed him.  There's no referee.  Evans came back with a kick and hit a space flying tiger drop to the outside.  He whipped Hart into the railing.   Evans nailed a 450 springboard splash.  Evans kicked a Hart charge off.  Teddy nailed a backstabber.   Smokes became the de facto Referee.   Hart kneed Evans in the face and used the ropes to slingshot Evans facefirst into the mat.  Hart cinched in a choke, then suplexed Evans.  Hart hit a shooting star press but Evans got his knees up.  Hart finally hit a crossarm piledriver but got a two count.  Hart was pissed Smokes didn't count fast enough.  Evans reversed a whip and hit a kick in the corner then a springboard knee bomb.  Evans hit his 450 plus splash and scored the pin.  ROH was obviously trying to get them through the segment as soon as possible.

Evans took the mic and said that whether Hart is a big a****** or not, he's one hell of a wrestler.  Evans said he challenged Hart to come back and have a rematch here.  He led the crowd in a "One more time."   Hart took the mic and said He can't believe Evans got on over on him and that he wanted a rematch.  He said he has a reputation for being controversial and telling the truth, but the fans are the smartest fans he's ever worked before.  As I noted, ROH was trying hard to get them out of the ring for timing issues.  I give everyone credit for trying to make the best out of a crappy situation with the travel.  Hart and Evans arrived during the Briscoes tag bout and worked in street clothes.  They had spent all of today traveling and that was after working AAA's TV taping last night and driving five hours to Mexico City.  I don't envy what they went through today.

ROH champ Austin Aries went to a 60 minute draw with Tyler Black.  Up until this point, it had been for the most part, a fun show live.  All signs heading in pointed to a title change, but that didn't happen.  In fact, the story of most of the match was that nothing really happened.  The NYC audience was obviously looking for a war and instead they got a very slow, methodical bout that featured a lot of stalling.  It picked up towards the end, but the crowd by then was tired of waiting for something to happen and knowing it was getting late and there was a blizzard outside, weren't being kind to the performers.

At the onset, Aries took the mic and asked if everyone liked the exhibition and said it was evidence we needed to build a wall between Mexico and the United States.  He said they were watching on PPV and said he was going to do his Mom proud.  He then said he wanted to say to Tyler Black's mom to turn off her computer because he was going to do things to Black that weren't fit for a mother to see.

Aries did the Memphis walk up the aisle at the bell.  He did a lot of stalling early.   Black got some punches in but was taken down with a side takedown into a headlock.   Aries peppered him with punches.  Aries worked over Black with punches but Tyler began firing back.  Aries took him down into a headlock agan.  Aries hit a shoulderblock but Black came back with chops.    Black tossed Aries over the ropes.  He went to skin the cat but Black dropkick him.

On the floor, Black whipped Aries into the crowd.  The crowd responded "Twinkies" to referee Todd Sinclair's count as they were out of the ring.  Aries tried to maintain his distance from Black, playing Larry Zbyszko.  Black backdropped Aries over the top to the floor.  Aries smacked his face on the apron.  Ouch.  Black hit a moonsault off the railing.   They battled on the apron.    They exchanged punches.  Aries dumped Black on the floor and hit a double arm axehandle.  He whipped Black into the railing.  Aries laid him out on the apron and slugged him across the back of his neck.  He rolled Black into the ring for a two count.   Aries began kicking him and focusing on Black's right knee.

Aries draped Black's knee against the ropes and dropped down on it.  Aries continued to work over his knee and back, garnering another two count.  Black fired back with a series of rights but missed an enziguiri.  Aries cinched on a leglock.    Aries went for a figure four but Black began kicking him off.  Black got to his feet but was taken over with a Judo Throw.  Aries pandered to the crowd while attempting his elbow and got kicked in the face for his trouble.   Black came back with punches and a backdrop.   Aries did the Flair Flop in the corner and was dropkicked off the apron.   Black did a crazy reverse flip dive to the floor on Aries.  He tossed Ares back into the ring and hit a flying clothesline.  Aries went back after the knee but Black turned it into a near fall.  He rolled Aries up and was kicked off.  He rebounded off the ropes with a knee to the face.  Black hit a standing moonsault press for a two count.  Aries came back and drilled Black's knee then tossed him with a suplex.  He charged Black in the corner but was kicked.

Black put Aries on the top rope.  Aries tried to fight him off and shoved Black off.  Black came back to cut him off and attempted a superplex.  Aries stopped him and dove off the ropes, driving Black down with a DDT.  He got a two count, then turned Black into the Oriental Torture Device.  Black escaped.  Aries began beating him with slaps and punches.  He set up for a charge in the corner but Black met him with a running dropkick.  Black hit an inverted DDT for an two count, then locked on his own Oriental Torture Device.  Aries elbowed his way out of it.

Black slammed Aries and went to the top for a moonsault.  Aries leaped up and shoved him off and into the railing on the floor.  Aries hit a cool diving clothesline through the ropes.  Aries hit a twisting
springboard splash for a two count.  Aries draped Black on the top rope for a superplex.  Black rolled over him and went for a powerbomb but Aries turned it into a rana.  Black slammed him into the corner.  He went for a dive but Aries moved and took out his leg.  Black was locked in a figure four.   Black finally turned it over.  Aries made it to the ropes to break.  They battled to the ropes.  Aries tossed Black into the ring.   He kicked Black off again and fell off the top, crashing through a table.   Aries began clutching at his shoulder.   Black went to the floor.    Aries, working with one arm, fought him and went for a whip into the railing but Black reversed it.

They returned to the ring, where Aries continued to work over Black one-armed.  He peppered him with back elbows.  Black picked up Aries for a suplex and dropped him facefirst on the mat.  Aries rolled out of the ring.    They battled on the apron, where Aries drilled him with a Death Valley Driver and then romped around the ring as he was playing possum with the bad arm.  Black made his way to his feet and rolled back in the ring.  Aries locked on a submission but Black reached the ropes.  Black was kicked to the floor and hit with a baseball sliding kick.  Black was tossed to the floor again.  Black made a comeback and Aries retreated to stall.  Fans began chanting "We want wrestling" and "This is bullsh**." 

Black hit a flip dive to the floor on Aries.   Aries escaped to the crowd.  Black followed and they battled on the floor.  Aries went to the back and Black followed.  The crowd chanted, "Don't come back."  Well, they did.  They re-emerged on the stage where Black hit a TKO on it.  Aries was out and busted open, so Black couldn't get him back in the ring.  When he finally gor him back in, Black locked in a choke but Aries flipped it over for a two count.  Black worked him over with punches in the corner.  Aries tried to powerbomb him out but failed.  Black began beating him in the corner.  They went to the floor where Aries tossed him powerbomb styles into an open chair.  He covered Aries for the pin but Aries grabbed the ropes.  Black slammed Aries and went to the top but missed a twisting dive.   Aries tried to walk out again.  Black followed him to the stage but was hit with a brainbuster.  Black was almost counted out but rolled in at 16.

Aries began beating him with kicks and knees, then cinched in the Oriental Torture Device. Black is now busted open too.  Aries began choking Black in the corner.  Black made a comeback so Aries hit a blatant lowblow and told the ref to DQ him.  Black begged the ref not to and he didn't.  Aries ripped a turnbuckle cover off and slammed Black's face into it.  He grabbed Black and hit a side Russian Legsweep into it.    Aries hit a 450 splash but Black kicked up.  He went back to the Torture Device.  Aries argued with the referee and was rolled up for a two count.  They went nose to nose and began punching each other.  Aries began taking control.  Black fired back.  They went back and forth.  Black dared Aries to continue.  Aries nailed a discus punch.  Black hit an enziguiri.

Black locked on cattle  mutilation and then did the Danielson elbows to the face.  He locked in the Mutilation again.  Aries escaped and hit the brainbuster but Black kicked out.  With one minute left they began slapping and punching back and forth.   Black unloaded with a series of right.  Aries went for a brainbuster but Black escaped and hit his finisher for a two count.  The bell rang for a 60 minute draw. The crowd came somewhat alive at the end for the near falls, expecting a title change, but it was not to be.

They continued brawling.  Aries decked two referees and held up the title.  Black hit a superkick on Aries.  He took the title and drilled Aries with it.  The crowd was having none of this.  Meanwhile, the Briscoes and the Kings of Wrestling came out brawling through the crowd.  The KOW escaped.  This left the Briscoes and Black in the ring together to close the show.  They raised Black's arm and the crowd booed.  Black took the mic and said if the fans booed the performance of that match, they weren't wrestling fans.   That comment wasn't going to endear him to fans who felt they got no resolution for their one hour investment.  He said everyone has their opinions but everyone in the company busts their ass for the fans and everyone here is part of the best wrestling on the planet.  He apologized for not getting the job done and said there's always next time. The crowd didn't want to hear that at this point. The speech didn't really get over as the crowd was deflated by the title match never seeming to get out of first gear.

Notes: The next NYC date is 2/13 for the eighth Anniversary Show featuring Brian Kendrick's ROH return....Former ROH talent Deranged was visiting at the show. He hasn't been wrestling after injuring his neck in 2008 during an independent show in Long Island....A new group will now be promoting bus trips to ROH. For more details, visit As some of you may know, I promoted trips for the first several years of ROH's run as well as other groups and I am really happy to see a reputable group picking up that torch. I hope they do well....Hot 97 FM DJ Pete Rosenberg joined the commentary team during the PPV for the King vs. Strong bout.

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