ROH Road To Final Battle 2021

Baltimore, MD

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Silas Young.

Jonathan Gresham vs. Dragon Lee

La Bestia del Ring is in Lee’s corner. The pace is hot and heavy to start, with Gresham and Lee literally going at each other’s throats in the opening exchange. Their lock-up takes them to the mat where they roll outside to the floor and jockey for position against the barricades. They both get back into the ring right before the twenty count but keep their eyes on one another. Lee wins a shoulder block exchange. He then disrespects Gresham by spitting on him and batting him in the back of his head with his boot. The ire this causes sees them go at each other’s throats once again. Lee wins a strike exchange with a jab to the jaw. Their follow up strike exchange sees Gresham lay in several headbutts. Lee ducks an enzuigiri and blasts Gresham in the back of the head with a knee strike for two. He lands two more knees before calling for the Incineration Knee. Gresham cuts him off with a lariat. Lee rebound German suplexes Gresham, but Gresham fires up and locks on a sleeper hold. Gresham muscles Lee into a bridging German suplex for two. Gresham uses another sleeper hold to daze Lee before nailing a running forearm strike to the side of the head for the pin at 7:46. This was super intense and felt really unique. With this win, Gresham both exorcises a former loss (Lee defeated him at Manhattan Mayhem 2019), beats someone similar to Bandido en route to their title match. (This aired before Bandido was yanked from Final Battle.) ***¼

PJ Black & Flip Gordon vs. Dalton Castle & Dak Draper

Gordon is not happy Castle’s baby chicks don’t clap for him like they do his opponents. He is happy when he hip tosses Castle and tags Black. Black picks up momentum but Castle turns a springboard clothesline from Black into a powerslam. Castle and Draper beatdown Black in their corner with plenty of applause from the baby chicks. In the process, Gordon apologizes for not watching more tapes of them, he didn’t even know they were a team. I laughed. Black eventually escapes a double suplex and tags Gordon. He wipes out both Draper and Castle with a springboard double dropkick. He sends Castle rolling all the way up the aisle with a suicide dive. Draper catches Gordon’s dive attempt onto him, but Gordon moonsaults off the barricades onto him. Gordon also superkicks Castle into Draper, and then walks the barricades for a double Blockbuster. In the ring, Castle saves Draper from a Doomsday Device by shoving Black off the top turnbuckle. Gordon blocks both the Magnum-KO and the Bang-A-Rang. Draper drills Black with the Magnum-KO, but Gordon surprises Draper after with a cradle for the pin at 12:58! I enjoyed this much more than I expected. It was probably the most cohesive performance from Castle and Draper to date, and Gordon was just excellent in the closing stretch. With Castle as the only person in this match booked for Final Battle, I have to imagine the rest of the competitors are top candidates for the wildcard 10 man tag on Hour One. ***

Caprice Coleman & The Beer City Bruiser

After a bait and switch done a couple months ago, Coleman finally gets his hands on Bruiser, who has Brian Milonas and Ken Dixon in his corner. Despite Bruiser attacking Coleman as he enters the ring, Coleman is able to send Bruiser outside fairly quickly with a dropkick. Bruiser ends up slamming Coleman into the barricades. Milonas and Dixon are able to get in cheap shots on Bruiser on two separate occasions when Bruiser chokes Coleman on the middle rope. As Riccaboni expresses his disgust, Young eggs him on to do something about it. Coleman knocks down Bruiser with a tornado kick and gets two with an inverted X-Factor. Milonas grabs Coleman’s leg as he hits the rope, and Bruiser drops Coleman with a spinebuster. Ian Riccaboni is now fired up to the point of taking off his headset and pacing on the floor. After Coleman brings down Bruiser with a super Frankensteiner, Ken Dixon grabs a chair. Riccaboni pulls it out of his hands! Milonas grabs him from behind and Riccaboni kicks him in the crotch. Coleman notices what’s going on, and he takes out Bruiser with a crossbody on the floor and Dixon with a snapmare driver. Bruiser body blocks Coleman by surprise, but back in the ring, Coleman escapes the rolling Complete Shot and locks Bruiser in Father Time. Bruiser submits at 9:42. I very much appreciate ROH closing this story thread before their hiatus. It was a solid enough match, but seeing Riccaboni get his revenge on the Bouncers and Dixon was a great pay off. **½

ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship
Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor & S.O.S. (Kaun & Moses)) vs.VLNCE UNLTD (Homicide, Chris Dickinson & Tony Deppen)

Shane Taylor Promotions have been champions since 2.19.2021 and this is their tenth defense. O’Shay Edwards is in the corner of the champions and Brody King is in the corner of the challengers. Deppen peppers Taylor with repeated shots, but one right jab sends Deppen reeling to his corner. Moses throws repeated shots to Homicide’s mid-section. Kaun helps Moses pummel Homicide in their corner, using some tandem offense in the process. Homicide goes to Kaun’s eyes in order to bring him to his corner and tag Dickinson. VLNCE UNLTD beat down Kaun, including Homicide and Deppen double suplexing him in the aisle way. While this is occurring, Dickinson sneaks up on Moses and attacks him on the outside. Homicide also crushes Kaun’s shoulder with a production crate, which is enough for Taylor to interject and a brawl with all six men ensues. Back in the ring, Kaun escapes a Cop Killa attempt and tags Moses. He wipes out Deppen with a tackle and Dickinson with a flapjack after giving Homicide a belly-to-belly suplex. Moses superplexes Homicide into a Superfly Splash from Kaun. Dickinson saves Homicide from the Marcus Garvey Driver and kicks Taylor upside the head. S.O.S. save Taylor from triple team offense. Homicide surprises Taylor with an Ace Crusher for two. On the outside, King sends Edwards into the ring post and helps Homicide pull the timekeeper’s table ringside. Jonathan Gresham, Rhett Titus, Taylor Rust, Tracy Williams and Josh Woods run out to stop the table from being used. In the ring, Taylor hits Welcome To The Land on Homicide for the pin at 12:50. STP looked dominant and fierce heading into Final Battle – that’s good! VLNCE UNLTD’s performance was a total mess, but at least the closing moments built up their match at Final Battle too. Weird match. **½

EC3 vs. Demonic Flamita

Vincent joins commentary for this match. Flamita brings a chair to the ring. After laughing at each other and some mind games. Flamita kicks EC3 in the gut. He then hits a Bermuda Triangle moonsault onto EC3 on the floor. Back inside, EC3 slams Flamita face first into every corner before Beele tossing him across the ring. Flamita chokes EC3 on the middle rope and turns him into a half crab. EC3 continues to laugh as Flamita sends him into the barricades. EC3 Thesz Presses Flamita in the ring. Flamita enzuigiri’s EC3, but EC3 turns him inside out with a clothesline. Flamita kicks EC3 in the chest and grabs his chair from under the ring. The chair bounces off the top rope and into his head. EC3 drops Flamita with a butterfly facebuster and locks on The Purpose. Flamita taps out at 6:02. They kept the match short and the nonsense to a minimum, so I was quite pleased with this bout. A strange choice to end the week, but maybe it will make more sense after Final Battle. **½

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