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ROH YEAR THREE ARCHIVE: LOOKING BACK AT RING OF HONOR'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL YEAR

By Mike Johnson on 2004-12-28 20:40:00

ROH FINAL BATTLE 2004

ROH Final Battle Results and Opinion
By Dwayne K.

Ring of Honor closed the book on their most controversial and active year last night, drawing an estimated 650-750 fans for Final Battle 2004 at the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, PA. Full results of the show saw:

The opening match was Jimmy Jacobs versus Trent Acid. Jacobs came out to a huge crowd reaction. Trent Acid came out in his Gangsta gear. He did his entrance by going through the crowd. A few girls did the dollar bill down his pants gimmick still. Jacobs tried to get Acid to do the Huss handshake. Acid began mocking it. Jacobs went out to ringside and had a girl put a dollar down his trunks angering Trent. It was a back and forth match. The crowd was clearly pro-Jacobs, which was a bit surprising considering Trent is from Philly. The finish saw Trent nail the Yakuza kick. He had Jacobs pinned but pulled him up after two. He went for a brainbuster. Jacobs flipped over and nailed the Contra-Code for the pinfall in 6:01. Jacobs went to shake Acid's hand. Acid got out of the ring and grabbed the mic. He said that he was refusing to shake Jacobs' hand because he quit. Acid left though the crowd instead of going down the entranceway to the back.

The next match was the battle of Special K in a mixed tag match. Deranged and Lacey versus Angeldust and Becky Bayless. Deranged and Lacey were accompanied by Cheech and Cloudy. Deranged and Angeldust worked the majority of the match. Angeldust showed what his is capable of and Deranged looked good as well. Early in the match Lacey nailed Angeldust from the outside behind the ref's back. Later Becky slapped Deranged also behind the ref's back. Lacey did get in the ring for a bit with Angeldust since Deranged wore him down previously. It eventually ended up with Becky versus Lacey. Becky has improved in the ring since her last match against Alexis Laree ROH at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies last year. However, she is not yet up the level of a lot of the female talent. The finish saw Becky getting the better of Lacey. Angeldust took out the Cheech and Cloudy on the outside. Deranged tripped Becky as she was going off the ropes from the outside. Lacey nailed a DDT and scored the pin on Becky in 7:39. Angeldust went to check on Becky. Special K beat him down. Just as Deranged set to punch Becky, "We're Not Gonna Take It" began to play and out came Dunn and Marcos for the save. Becky left with Dunn and Marcos afterwards.

Rockin Rebel defeated Devon Moore in 4:24. There were some comedy spots in the match. Rebel post-match wished everyone a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year for them to boo him in.

*Homicide with Julius Smokes defeated Josh Daniels via submission in 11:20. Homicide worked over Daniels' arm throughout the match. It was a good match. Julius was heavily ripping into some of the crowd during the match.

John Walters successfully defended the Pure Wrestling Championship against Jimmy Rave in 11:31. This time Prince Nana and the Outcast Killaz were allowed at ringside. Rave used all of his rope breaks. Walters had Rave in the tree of woe and hooked a submission on him from the outside. The ref was counting him out. Rave tapped out at 19. Post match, Prince Nana was on the mic. He started to go on about how he spent all this money on Jimmy Rave. It appeared that Nana was going to dump Rave but he praised Rave as a good worker and "the crown jewel of the Embassy." Nana however promised gold in the Embassy for 2005. He then took money out of his pocket and offer John Walters a spot. Walters said Nana had to come up with more money. Nana reached into this jacket and offered more. Walters asked if he'd get that much every night. Nana said yes. Walters said, "You think that you can buy John Walters for that much?" Most of the crowd at this point thought Walters would turn it down. Walters responded with "You're right!" and took the cash. Rave was upset but Nana said that Rave was still the crown jewel. Walters gave Rave some of the cash and they all left.

*Danny Maff & BJ Whitmer defeated the Carnage Crew in a Fight Without Honor (anything goes match) in 16:42. It was brawl which saw chairs, ladders, tables, kendo sticks, and garbage cans used. Alison Danger came out to watch both teams destroy another. She wanted Maff and Whitmer destroyed for leaving the Prophecy. She wanted the Carnage Crew destroyed since they turned down her previous offer to take them to greatness and destroy Maff and Whitmer. They also humiliated her while doing so several shows back. Mick Foley came out and interrupted the match. He was wishing everyone "a happy holidays" and brought a gift, a stocking full of thumbtacks. He dumped the stocking in the ring. A few spots were teased with the tacks until Whitmer nailed DeVito with an exploder suplex into the tacks for the pin. Foley put both teams over as hardcore and got them to hug, ending their feud. Alison Danger left ringside upset by this. This was the weakest match on the show, but saved somewhat once Foley came out.

Mick Foley then called out Ricky Steamboat. He put Steamboat over a being hardcore for his strap, cage and kendo stick matches. He put over pure wrestling. Steamboat conceded that hardcore has a place in wrestling, just not every match. Foley apologized for disrespecting Ric Flair by punching him while at RAW recently. He mentioned he was lower on the wrestling food chain than Flair and apologized once again. He then used the apology as a segue, stating that Samoa Joe needed to come out and apologize to him for remarks made at the last Rexplex show. Joe came out. Foley said that Joe's place was a notch or two lower than him on the food chain and wanted Joe to shake his hand to end it. Joe shook Foley's hand and apologized on the mic. He said that they really should hug ala the previous Hallmark moment. Joe then sucker punched Foley. Steamboat separated them. Joe repeated his challenge for Foley and left. Steamboat said to Foley, "That's hardcore." Steamboat left as the crowd chanted his name for him. He will be missed in ROH.

After intermission, Jay Lethal defeated Prince Nana's Weapon of Mask Destruction #2 in 6:32. Nana and the Outcast Killaz accompanied WOMD #2. Samoa Joe came out with his protégé Jay Lethal, but Lethal sent to Joe to the back. It was a decent match. Post match, Lethal told Nana that he completed Nana's challenges and he wanted a match right now with Jimmy Rave. Nana and the Outcast Killaz ignored him and went to the back. The belief among many of the fans was WOMD#2 was IWS' El Generico.

Next was the Generation Next team of Roderick Strong and Alex Shelley versus CM Punk and Steve Corino in the second best match of the night. Punk came out accompanied by Tracey Brooks and three of his students from the ROH school. Corino came out with his usual young boys of Alex Law and Ricky Landell. He also had a new ring announcer with him. Corino was also spotting a shorter haircut. His ring announcer introduced himself as Bryan Riegel. Riegel worked as a commentator for Pro Wrestling World 1 for Corino previously. Riegel ran off a list of wrestling legends from Philadelphia which included Don E. Allen, JT Smith, Tom Brandi, Salvatore Sincere (Brandi's WWF gimmick), Rockin Rebel, James "Sandman" Fullington and a few others. He went to drink a bottle of water when Bobby Cruz (current ROH ring announcer who previously did Corino's long intros) grabbed the bottle saying that was his gimmick and started drinking. Riegel apologized since he was new and continued. He went on to insult the "Green Lantern Fan" by referring to him as the "ignorant virgin the Green Lantern jersey." The crowd responded with a "You got punked" chant. The match featured a lot of comedy and stiffness. Punk kept tagging Corino back in after Corino tagged out. Corino finally ducked a tag to avoid being tagget in. Corino was calling "Steamboat" arm drags during the match. Corino calls out other wrestlers' names as he does some of their signatures moves, this is something that he has been doing for months now. Punk later in the match called out a "Steamboat" arm drag as well. Another point in the match had Tracy Brooks distracting the ref with her assets. Strong was also distracted. Corino later hit the STO and the Choshu clothesline. Punk won by having Shelley tap in 17:32. Post match, Austin Ares came out. He went about how Shelley was MIA the last few months. He mentioned how Shelley told him to remember his place the last time they were in Philly. He told Shelley that he was taking Shelley's spot as leader of Generation Next. Ares gave Shelley five seconds to give up his spot or he'd take it. He handed Shelley the mic. Ares attacked Shelley since the five seconds were up. Strong pulled Ares off Shelley and separated them. Strong then hit a vicious backbreaker on Shelley. Strong and Ares left together.

Next was the first one on one match between Low Ki and Bryan Danielson in ROH since the Round Robin Challenge in March 2002. Low Ki took off the wind pants and wrestled in trunks. He sent Julius Smokes to the back for this match. The match started as expected and was an excellent hard hitting match. Low Ki was working over Danielson's arm and Danielson was working over Low Ki's knee. Eventually, they brawled into the crowd. Danielson executed an airplane spin carrying Low Ki around the crowd. Homicide and Julius Smokes came from the front doors and attacked Danielson. Other wrestlers eventually came out the front for the save but too late. Referee Sean Hanson ruled the match a no-contest at 20:57 which angered the crowd and even more Low Ki. Low Ki, Homicide and Julius Smokes returned to the ring. Low Ki choked Hanson and told Hanson to award him the match since Danielson was unable to continue. Hanson refused. Low Ki punched Hanson and then choked him with a belt. Homicide then stole Danielson's cloak which Danielson wears to ring. Homicide wore it to the back mocking Danielson. The non finish was possibly due to Low-Ki and Danielson working for rival promotions in Japan [Note from Mike Johnson: I believe it was done to bring the crowd down prior to the ROH title match], but the finish built up the Danielson vs. Homicide feud. The post match attack on Hanson will could lead to Low Ki being suspended by the promotion as he will be out for several shows due to Japan dates.

Finally the main event occurred, Samoa Joe defending the ROH title against Austin Ares. Ares refused to shake Joe's hand pre-match. He attacked Joe before the bell. Ares worked on Joe knee early on. The two of them went back and forth. Ares was getting in more offense and had Joe's number through out the match. Ares avoided and Ole kick. He then hit a running dropkick on Joe against the ringside barricades. Later, Joe kicked out of a 450 splash at one point in the match. Joe started to get momentum but Ares stopped him. Joe went for a muscle buster. Ares countered with few kicks and elbows in the corner to weaken Joe. He took Joe down with a brainbuster and finished him off with another 450 splash for the pinfall in 17:34. The crowd was heavily into the end of the match. There was a huge reaction to Ares winning the championship. Joe grabbed a mic and requested that Ares defend the belt like a champion since Joe spent his blood, sweat and tears for the last two years on that championship. He then put the ROH championship belt around a very emotional Austin Ares' waist.

For more on Ring of Honor, visit www.ROHWrestling.com.


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