Greg DeMarco is back with his next Daily DeMarco, taking a look at ROH Final Battle 2018! How did the show rate?
ROH presented Final Battle 2018 from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on December 14, 2018. The event had clearance of 4 hours, and ran just 12-minutes short of that timeframe.
A note about my ratings: I don’t rate on workrate, spots, technical ability, etc. This is a rating of my entertainment factor. Simply put, how much did I like the match? Not every match has to be a spotfest, technical wizardry, or catch-as-catch-can classic. The card should be varied, and fun. This event is a great example of that concept.
Results & Ratings
- Kenny King pinned Eli Isom in 9:10 with a Michinoku Driver – **1/2
- ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb pinned Adam Page after two Tour of The Islands to retain at 13:39 – ****1/2
- Kelly Klein beat Sumie Sakai, Karen Q and Madison Rayne in 13:43, eliminating each of her opponents (Sakai last) to capture the ROH Women Of Honor World Championship – ***
- Zack Sabre Jr pinned Jonathan Gresham with the European Clutch at 12:02 – ***1/2
- Matt Taven pinned Dalton Castle to “retain his championship” at 15:49 – ***1/2
- Marty Scurll beat Christopher Daniels by submission with the Chicken Wing at 17:48 – ****
- Flip Gordon made Bully Ray quit in 14:44 to win their I Quit Match – ***
- ROH World Champion Jay Lethal beat Cody Rhodes by submission with a Figure Four Leglock to retain at 23:44 – ***
- Jay & Mark Briscoe beat SoCal Uncensored (champions) and The Young bucks to win the ROH World Tag Team Championships at 22:32 of Ladder War – ****
King vs Isom was a serviceable opener for a regular ROH show, but didn’t belong on this show. This belonged on a television taping. … Cobb defeating Page was one of my favorite matches on the show, and if Page leaves it’ll be a shame. ROH seems to be THE place for him to shine at this point in his career. … I loved the commentary team focusing on individual Final Battle records, adding to the prestige of the event. … Kelly Klein winning the WOH World Championship made sense for the event, and Klein is overdue to be champion. It’s fitting that her win came in the first WOH title match in Final Battle history. The women worked hard but the crowd wasn’t into it. … Fantastic match between Sabre and Gresham that left me wanting more–exactly what it was supposed to do for ZSJ in his ROH debut. … Matt Taven entering second (like a champion would) and having confetti for his entrance was absolutely perfect. … Nasty bump on the guardrail for Taven on his dive. … Love the story here with Castle’s injuries hampering him throughout the match (he’s visibly not 100%, including his conditioning). … Taven-Castle was a great change of pace with the brawling outside of the ring, interference that made sense, and Taven picking up the big win. … I might be biased towards Daniels, but the match with Scurll was a great display for both men and deserves four stars (from me, at least). … At 48-years old, Christopher Daniels performs better than men 15-20 years younger. The man is ageless. … I’d expect “The Villian” to leave G1 Supercard with the ROH World Championship. … Bully Ray, Flip Gordon, Christopher Daniels, Cary Silkin, Todd Sinclair, Flip’s girlfriend, Silas Young, Cheeseburger, Colt Cabana, The Sandman, and one hell of a spectacle in the I Quit Match that was the storybook ending Flip needed for this feud. … I didn’t love Cody & Brandi doing the military gimmick right after Flip Gordon’s triumph. … Lethal and Cody did a great job setting the stage and getting the crowd riled up before ever touching–pure classic talents. … The Hangman Page/Bell Ringing spot literally cost this match half of a star. … Lethal winning “by any means necessary” in order to keep the World Championship in ROH sets the stage for his run with Marty Scurll in many ways. … Stoked to see Scorpio Sky main event an event like Final Battle–so well deserved. … There is nothing I can say about the Ladder War, you just have to watch it!
Overall Rating – 8/10
Hell of a show with a few slow spots, but some of that was crowd fatigue. A great way to end the year, with the door left open for Christopher Daniels to stick around after sacrificing himself for Cary Silkin, Flip Gordon overcoming all odds, and Jay Lethal establishing himself as a champion who will do anything to hold on to his title.
Daily DeMarco: Could Finn Balor Win The Royal Rumble?
After campaigning for Aleister Black to win the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble, Greg DeMarco is now wondering out loud about Finn Balor and his chances in the big match.
After a day of backend issues for the site, I am excited to focus on bringing the written word to you, the readers! IT’s frustrating when the only thing that won’t work is the button to add a new article! We got it fixed, and have a great slate of content coming out.
So let’s focus on what’s good, and that’s
Could Finn Balor win the Royal Rumble?
We are just a few short weeks away from the 2019 Royal Rumble, where two people will punch their ticket to the theoretical main event of WrestleMania. Now I fully expect Charlotte Flair to win the Women’s Rumble, and stake her claim at a shot at Ronda Rousey at MetLife Stadium, possibly closing out the yearly spectacle. It’s what I believe will happen, it’s what I want to happen, and it’s what I think should happen.
So what about the Men’s Royal Rumble? As 2018 comes to a close, WWE hasn’t positioned any front runners to challenge for Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship or Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35. Without any obvious challengers, the Royal rumble match itself is wide open.
I previously suggested WWE should go with a surprise winner in Aleister Black. I stand by it, as the company would be provided 2.5 months to build Black as the challenger for either Daniel Bryan or Brock Lesnar, and a win would solidify him on the main roster for years to come. But if it’s not Black, then who?
There is a good list of potential Royal Rumble winners, many of whom I can go into further detail about in the coming weeks:
- Seth Rollins
- Drew McIntyre
- AJ Styles
Another candidate? Finn Balor.
And in my opinion, Finn Balor is the most intriguing option here. He was the first ever Universal Champion, which gives him a built in storyline against Brock Lesnar. For me, that raises the obvious question of if Finn Balor is credible against Brock Lesnar.
The answer is equally obvious: of course he is.
This has nothing to do with Finn being the first ever Universal Champion, as a champion like Brock Lesnar transcends wins and losses. Brock is a beast–a Beast Incarnate in fact. But Finn Balor has the equalizer: The Demon.
The Demon has never lost in WWE, but it’s also never faced a foe quite like Brock Lesnar. It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for Lesnar to get the first win over Finn Balor’s Demon, but I don’t think that happens. WWE loves creating history, and keeping The Demon undefeated can play into the history of Finn Balor.
If The Demon is to beat The Beast at WrestleMania, is it The Demon that wins the Royal Rumble? If I’m holding the book, the answer is yes. Imagine this… The Demon enters the Royal Rumble at #1, lasting all the way to the end. Maybe he enters the final two with John Cena, who is of course seeking one more championship reign to break his tie with Ric Flair. Balor overcomes the legend, building his own in the process.
But that does more than elevate Finn Balor. Going through nearly 60-minutes of a Royal Rumble would wear away most if not all of The Demon paint, nearly humanizing The Demon and creating a greater link between Finn and his alter ego. It also adds a new element to the power of the paint, and the power of the man himself.
As WWE looks to (at least claims to) usher in a new era, Finn Balor is a great option to lead the charge. He has everything you want–look, charisma, skill. He has the all-important “it factor,” which you can’t instill in someone. Either they have it, or they don’t.
The title of this article asks if Finn Balor can win the Royal Rumble. For me, it’s really between AJ Styles and Finn Balor as my pick for the Royal Rumble. Finn Balor presents the greatest upside, and gains the most. Thus, the answer to the question…is yes.
Daily DeMarco: Is All Elite Wrestling Our Clemson?
Greg DeMarco proves that clickbait can be fun as he compares All Elite Wrestling to the 2018 NCAA Football National Champion Clemson Tigers!
You might read the title of this article and think it’s simply an Search Engine Optimization masterpiece. You’d be right. But it’s also a great topic! Plus if the title got you to click–it worked. You’re already here, let’s have some fun.
All Elite Wrestling = Clemson Tigers?
It’s a crazy stupid comparison, right? Is it? I think there are some eerie similarities, and they are worth exploring. For starters, we need to establish one thing: if Clemson is All Elite Wrestling, that means the Alabama Crimson tide is WWE. That should be obvious, but we’re setting the table here!
Alabama has won 17 “claimed” NCAA National Championships in football. They have a long history of success, and their run with coach Nick Saban is unmatched. Under Saban (the Vince McMahon of this example), Alabama is 141-21 (that’s 87% on the win side), and has won 5 National Championships. They are the definition of success, too big to fail, and have a factory of talent at their disposal.
Sound familiar? It should, because with that last sentence I just described WWE.
Here you have Clemaon, who comes out of nowhere, led by Dabo Swinney (who can either be Cody Rhodes or Tony Kahn, both considerably younger than Vince McMahon–another parallel in this example). Everyone rooted for Clemson to win, much like we are rooting for All Elite Wrestling to succeed.
But the comparisons between AEW and Clemson don’t end there.
Dabo Swinney would have you believe they are “little ol’ Clemson,” much like Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks want you to think AEW is playing from behind. Clemson is loaded with five-star recruits, amazing facilities, and an infrastructure that is set up for success. All Elite Wrestling has a billionaire ownership, an initial investment of $100 million, and a potential television deal with a Turner network.
We’re not really talking about The Little Engine that could, here. (Damn, I just dated myself with that reference.)
But I can keep going!
The defensive line at Clemson could have gone to the NFL, but they made a decision to stay together and get another shot at Alabama, and win another National Championship. Sound familiar? It should, because I just described what Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Adam Page all did when they turned away WWE offers to start with AEW.
The first year Clemson got a shot at Alabama, they lost. The second year, they won. Year 3? Alabama won in the semifinal, but in the fourth year Clemson won again. A back and forth battle that sounds an awful lot like WWF vs. WCW, and could very well end up being the story of WWE vs. AEW.
Since we are here, let me clear away any doubt of how I see the pecking order in pro wrestling, at least for the American coverage of the business.
- WWE = Alabama (the biggest dog in the fight)
- All Elite Wrestling = Clemson (the upstart that is biting the heels of the leader, and will likely be getting victories along the way)
- New Japan = Oklahoma (the high powered offense that does very well in their region, has reach beyond it, but doesn’t quite get over the hump in prime time)
- Ring Of Honor = UCF (has a somewhat legitimate claim to presenting the best product, but isn’t at the level they need to be at to get a shot at #1)
- IMPACT Wrestling = Notre Dame (an old school mentality that gets opportunities, refuses to die, but really gets most of what it gets on whatever name value they have left)