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Photo: Kevin Jackson Jr.

Ring of Honor pulled out all the stops last night for their closing pay-per-view of 2017, Final Battle. Still Real To Us was in attendance for the extraordinary event and it was honestly one of the best wrestling shows of the year.

From top to bottom, the card was stacked with some of the biggest and hard-hitting names in professional wrestling. With a lot of eyeballs on the product, the ROH locker room stepped up and delivered quality matches throughout the entire course of the evening. A harsh snowstorm in New York City couldn’t stop the sea of passionate fans from showing up on Dec. 15 and supporting a promotion that continues to grow every day. Bullet Club mania swept Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom as “Too Sweet” banners were hung from the rafters, while every other person at the arena was seen sporting a Young Bucks t-shirt.

Fans were treated to two matches filmed for YouTube before the PPV went on the air. In the opening contest, The Dawgs defeated Cheeseburger and Delirious. The Dawgs insulted the recent track record of the local New York sports teams before the action got underway. They weren’t wrong. The crowd absolutely loved Cheeseburger. Rhett Titus of The Dawgs looked crisp in the ring and has not lost a step. The second match saw Jonathan Gresham defeat Josh Woods with a surprise pinfall. Both competitors showed good sportsmanship after the hard-fought contest. The match served as a great showcase for Woods in particular. It will not be startling to see great things from him in 2018.

It was then time for Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana to take their seats at the commentary booth. The duo received a warm reception from the jam-packed crowd.

Final Battle officially got underway with Will Ospreay and Matt Taven opening up the show. It was the perfect choice to set the tone for the rest of the evening. You have got to see Ospreay in person. His athletic ability is a sight to behold. Taven and the rest of The Kingdom understand how to encourage legit heel heat. The crowd was hot for Ospreay. There was high-flying action from both of the competitors right away after the opening bell. At one point, Ospreay hit a vicious kick on Taven that made the crowd gasp. The finishing sequence was filled with suspenseful moves, which eventually saw Taven pick up the surprise win. Fans in the arena were shocked. The victory was important for Taven and it should be interesting to see where he goes in the months ahead.

Next up saw The Addiction take on War Machine. Early on, the crowd was distracted by a fan that was dressed up like John Cena. Being the wise veterans that they are, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian of The Addiction got the crowd back into the match with a bunch of little, unique moments. Daniels tried cheating several times in the middle of the bout with his feet on the ropes. Ray Rowe and Hanson were very impressive for being bigger guys. War Machine defeated The Addiction after hitting Fallout on “The Fallen Angel.”

In what was the match of the night, and a true match of the year contender, Jay Lethal defeated “The Villain” Marty Scurll. The crowd was electric for Scurll during his entrance. The Bullet Club love was unreal. The fans were insanely into the match. There was a ref bump at one point which then saw both wrestlers pay tribute to the late WWE Hall of Famer, Eddie Guerrero. Marty ducked the Lethal Injection and hit a strong lariat followed by Last Shot for a crazy near fall. Scurll hit Lethal with his umbrella, followed by a piledriver, which resulted in a great near fall. Scurll then called for a chicken wing, but the ref was distracted by Lethal attempting to use the umbrella. Lethal picked up the win after hitting Bullet Club’s Scurll with a low blow followed by the Lethal Injection. The match told a great story that the fans completely ate up. Still Real To Us can’t wait for the eventual rematch.

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Photo: Kevin Jackson Jr.

The Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships were on the line as The Motor City Machine Guns successfully defended the titles against Best Friends. Before the match, the promo video featuring Beretta and Chuckie T of Best Friends got lots of laughs from the often tough New York crowd. The MCMG are always great. Their mannerisms were on point and made you watch their every move. Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin prove that tag team wrestling is prospering in the world of professional wrestling. Sabin and Shelley played off of Chuckie T and Beretta’s antics very well. Sabin picked up the win for MCMG with a cradle.

It was time for another title match as Kenny King lost the ROH Television Championship in a four corners elimination match that included Punishment Martinez, Shane Taylor, and Silas Young. Martinez came out with a cast of zombies. It was very creepy. King entered with a bunch of Las Vegas showgirls. That was much better. “The Last Real Man” character for Young completely fits him. The New York crowd was firmly behind Punishment Martinez. Martinez made quick work of Taylor and eliminated him from the match. King impressed in the match with a variety of flashy moves. King always entertains when he steps inside of the ring. King hit an insane blockbuster on Martinez that got a great response from the fans. Young eliminated the Television Champion with a beer bottle shot. It was damn brutal. Young went on to pin Martinez to become the new champ. There is a feeling that Martinez isn’t done with Young just yet. Expect these two to clash again in the New Year.

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Photo: Kevin Jackson Jr.

The spirit of Extreme Championship Wrestling was felt inside the Hammerstein Ballroom as Tommy Dreamer and Bully Ray took on The Briscoes in a New York City Street Fight. The ECW chants were louder than ever. The fans also wanted tables. Before a table was seen, there was a chair fight with all four men going at it. The hardcore action was well-received by the fans in attendance. In addition to chairs, lightsabers also made an appearance as The Last Jedi just dropped in movie theaters nationwide. It was cute. The funny moment was short-lived however as Jay Briscoe assaulted Ray with a cheese grater. The Briscoe brother rubbed it on Ray’s face with zero remorse. Ray somehow managed to beat on Jay with a kendo stick after the vicious attack and got a table in place to the fans’ delight. Bully headed to the top rope, and hit a splash through the table. Surprisingly, Jay kicked out. Ray set up yet another table, and put Jay on top of it. Ray teased lighting the wood on fire, but Mark saved his brother.  Mark put Ray through the table to pick up the win for The Briscoes. Both Ray and Dreamer received a well-deserved standing ovation from Still Real To Us after the match. The ECW alumni turned back the clock and gave it their all.

ROH made an announcement after the Street Fight stating that the first ever Women of Honor Champion will be crowned soon. The fans were very excited about the new title finally being introduced.

The ROH Six Man Tag Team Titles were put on the line as The Young Bucks and Adam Page of Bullet Club took on Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee, and Titan. The fans were completely behind Bullet Club. Wrestling hasn’t seen anything like them since the inception of the new World order in the mid-90s. Gordon managed to get some of the crowd behind him with his unique moveset but it was no match for the Bucks and “Hangman” Page. There was way too much action to call for this one. Fans should order the replay to understand just how talented The Young Bucks and Page are. At one point, Gordon was ducking a Super Kick Party. Gordon then kept flying all over the ring, trying to lead his team to victory. Bullet Club retained the championships after a breathtaking finishing sequence. Bullet Club is a license to print money and the scary thing is that they are getting bigger and better, every single day.

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Photo: Kevin Jackson Jr.

Wrapping up the pay-per-view saw the Ring of Honor World Champion Cody drop the title to Dalton Castle in an upset that will be talked about for years to come. Both men made elaborate entrances that would make the production team of Wrestlemania blush. There was a great video package of Cody before the match that really put over his character. “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes would be proud of his son. Cody also sported blonde hair, revealing a new look for the champion. Cody’s wife, Brandi, came off the top rope and splashed onto Dalton’s boys. The referee threw out everyone at ringside. The fans chanted, “Let her stay.” Cody got busted open and his crimson mask was a stark contrast to his newly bleached hair. Castle managed to kick out of Cody’s Cross Rhodes, and pulled off the ultimate shocker of 2017.

Final Battle closed with Castle and his boys celebrating with his newly won championship as confetti fell from the rafters of the Hammerstein Ballroom.

If you missed the original airing of Final Battle, Still Real To Us highly recommends you catch the replay, especially for the incredible Lethal and Scurll match that has to be seen to be believed! You can follow Ring of Honor on Facebook and Twitter.