Welcome to 2014, Ring of Honor fans! In the New Year, Place to Be Nation will be ramping up its ROH coverage with even more articles, reviews and updates on the promotion in addition to this very here weekly recap. Enjoy!
We kick off the show with our opening animation and then head right inside the Manhattan Center in New York City, where Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness welcome us to the first episode of ROH TV of 2014, which include matches from the Final Battle PPV.
Mark Briscoe vs. Silas Young – Strap Match
And what better way to start off 2014 than with the Last Real Man? Big Silas hits the ring for the biggest match of his ROH career. KK recaps this feud for us, which started when Young whipped Briscoe with the referee’s belt back in Chicago. Briscoe gets a warm welcome from the NYC faithful and it seems like just yesterday that PTBN was in the house for Supercard of Honor back in April. The two men are latched by a twelve-foot leather strap, a piece of equipment that Sharon Ross in Bucks County, PA made just for Mark per his request. Mark gains control early as Silas ends up on the floor and Mark yanks him into the apron before diving out into him. KK and Nigel talk about strap matches of years gone by, name dropping Wahoo McDaniel specifically. Still on the floor, Briscoe slams Silas into the barricade head first over and over, but Silas shakes that off and sends Mark careening into the steel with a pair of strap assisted snap mares. Back inside, Silas tags two buckles, but Mark blocks him with an exploder suplex and then uses the strap to choke Silas out. Mark continues to utilize the suplex as we hit a break.
When we return, Mark is still in control, using Redneck Kung Fu to do so. Mark gets halfway through the buckles, but Silas stops him short and starts tagging him with the strap. We get a lot of back and forth here with very little in the way of a heat segment, which I like and think is fitting for this gimmick. Silas slides to the floor and catches Briscoe with a hanging DDT to the floor as he was sliding out after him. Silas struggles but gets Mark back inside where the strap assault continues on. He smacks three buckles but Mark blocks the attempt for the fourth. More Kung Fu from Briscoe as he battles back into control and unleashes some vicious strap shots to the back of Silas. I like Nigel a lot, but KK and Corino are just a much more entertaining booth at this point. Mark hits Froggy Bow but Silas dumps himself to the floor to block Mark’s attempt to smack the fourth corner. Mark comes out to the apron, but Silas uses the strap to mare Briscoe to the floor in a great looking spot. Silas scoops Mark on his shoulders and makes his way around the ring touching the corners, but Mark is also tapping them along the way, natch. They fight to a stalemate in front of the final buckle, but Silas uses the referee to pull himself forward and touch the final corner for the win! Yes! I did not see that finish coming at all, as I figured Briscoe would win the blow off. Great win there and hopefully a precursor to a high 2014 for the Last Real Man! This was very well structured and featured a lot of stiff strap shots throughout with some good back and forth for the duration of the match. Fun stuff.
After a break, KK runs through the build to tonight’s main event for us via video package.
Adam Cole (c) vs. Michael Elgin vs. Jay Briscoe – ROH World Title
Elgin is out first, looking to finally win the championship that has eluded him for all of 2013. He had the chance to win it via forfeit, but refused and instead entered the tournament, but he fell in the finals to Adam Cole. Briscoe is out next, his personal title belt slung over his shoulder as he still believes he is the uncrowned champion. Cole comes out last and Steve Corino, who has joined KK in the booth now, stands and applauds his boy during his great entrance. Corino takes a selfie with Cole in the background. This man is amazing. AND he will be joining Scott and myself on the Place to Be Podcast on January 13.
Back from break, Cole is on the outside stalling as the challengers await the champion inside the ring. Cole decides to remain there, so Elgin and Briscoe decide to lock up and get things going. As they start going at it, Cole keeps trying to slip into the ring to take advantage, knowing that the title can change without him being involved. He can never really land a strike and instead remains on the floor and out of the way of fire until Briscoe decides to dive out into him and then toss him back inside. The challengers take turns pummeling Cole, arguing over who gets to beat on him. Corino mentions that Elgin just celebrated his 27th birthday. Happy birthday to you, sir. Cole is bealed right to the floor as we get some more West Texas State talk. A fan nearly gets grazed out on the floor and Corino lets us know a wish of his: that he could kick fans in the face. This is my kind of guy. Papa and Mama Briscoe are in the crowd…eerily similar to Supercard of Honor back in April. Foreshadowing? We shall see. All three continue to brawl on the floor, trading blows and kicks as the crowd continues to rally them on. Back inside, Elgin gets a delayed suplex off on Cole, holding him up for a full sixty seconds. That was plenty of time for Corino to get a cheap shot in on the Mets, so kudos there yet again. Cole gets hung in the Tree of Woe and the Elgin sends Briscoe crashing into him with a German suplex! Corino reminds us that Joey Lawrence created the Tree of Whoa as we hit a break.
When we return, Briscoe is working over Elgin but that is quickly broken up by Cole. Elgin snaps Briscoe over with a powerslam and then hoists Cole up and slams him onto Briscoe. Elgin takes advantage with a sweet double submission as he piles Cole onto Briscoe and hooks a Boston Crab on the former and a Camel Clutch on the latter. Corino lets us know that he is making them both humble, gaining the Shieky approval. Elgin breaks the hold, leading to KK chastising him for doing so. Let’s see you hold that double submission in for that long, Hermie. Cole comes back with a flurry and a couple of near falls, one on each guy. KK talks about Cole’s lack of honor in the aftermath of the tournament. The champ heads up top, but gets crotched and blocked by Briscoe, who follows him up. Elgin joins them and both challengers take Cole back and over with a superplex, sending us to commercial.
We are back and Cole gets caught coming off the top rope, back dropped by Briscoe right into Elgin, who catches him and sends him back into Briscoe with a buckle bomb. Elgin avoids the Florida Key and then catches Briscoe with a Roaring Elbow and crunches Cole with a huge clothesline. The fans are cheering on Elgin as he picks up a near fall on Briscoe. The fans seem to be alternating between all three men, leading to a pretty great atmosphere that never quite quiets down. Elgin follows Cole to the floor and rams him into the barricade and timekeeper table. Briscoe stalks after them and pulls Cole away and then kicks him in the gut. Elgin sets up a table and the challengers are weary of each other, but team up to send Cole through the table with a double chokeslam. There has been very good storytelling throughout this match. Briscoe and Elgin slide into the ring and decide to settle this one straight up like men. The fans are split as they start trading bombs. Briscoe counters a buckle bomb but get caught with an uranage. Elgin heads up top but comes up empty on a senton bomb. Briscoe comes back with a neckbreaker but only gets two. They continue to trade counters and reversals until Elgin finally gains control, eventually hitting a deadlift German for two. Cole is still not moving on the floor. Elgin and Briscoe brawl right out onto the apron, where Briscoe hops on Elgin’s back, so Elgin just falls back, sending them both through the announce table. With both men down, Cole slips into the ring with a huge grin on his face, hoping to win by countout, begging for it as the referee lays the count on. As the count hits 15, Cole stops it and distracts the referee, and that weird distraction allows Matt Hardy to come out and Briscoe with a Twist of Fate on the floor. Elgin counters a ToF and rams Hardy into the barricade. Back inside, Cole hits a ToF on Elgin but only get a very close near fall. Hardy is rooting on Cole as he locks in a rear naked choke on Elgin. Corino is in love with all these goings on, his two BFFs working together. It looks like Hardy may be the mentor that Cole had been discussing. Mark Briscoe is now out and trading fists with Hardy. Jay joins him and the double team assault is on. Cole tries for the Destroyer, but Elgin rolls through, deadlifts the champ and sends him into the Briscoes and Hardy with a powerbomb. As they all crawl to their feet, Elgin gets a head of steam and flies into all of them with a somersault senton bomb! This is Elgin’s chance and the fans are rallying behind him in unison now. Elgin decides to prey on Brisco as he tosses him into the ring. KK is shocked that Cole’s mentor isn’t Corino, as is Corino himself. Briscoe blocks the buckle bomb and drops Elgin with the Jay Driller, but Elgin kicks out at the last second. Corino reminds that Briscoe used that move on Kevin Steen in this very building nine months ago. KK reminds us that he needed two of them, and right on cue, we get a second, but Elgin survives that as well. Cole slips back in, cracks both with a superkick and then rolls up Elgin for the win! Cole retains and I am spent. That was a really fun match that picked up big time down the stretch. I dug the psychology throughout with Elgin and Briscoe not trusting each other, but being forced to work together when needed. Hardy gets into the ring and celebrates with his boy and it looks like a new union has been formed. Hardy smacks Mark Briscoe with the title belt and then does the same to Jay. Cole then tries to deck Elgin, but Elgin blocks him. Hardy comes in from behind and hits a ToF on Elgin to make the save. Elgin’s hard luck 2013 continues as he comes up short once again. Cole enters 2014 on top of the ROH world.
However, not everything is roses and champagne, as the champ celebrates, Chris Hero makes his ROH return! He slips in from he crowd and wipes out both men with a pair of elbows. Well, if you are going to have a heel win the main event, it is always great to have a big time favorite return at the end.
That was a fitting end to the World title drama and should put a bow on the feuds with Elgin and Briscoe for Cole. I am sad that Elgin didn’t get his title run during such a great year for him, and you have to hope they didn’t miss their window with him. Cole and Hardy is a great pairing and it is clear they were setting up Hero to be their ace for the first part of 2014. Hope you enjoyed this Final Battle snapshot…see you next week, and as always, be sure to respect the code!