Ring of Honor held their annual event Final Battle last night, and while it wasn’t their first Internet pay-per-view (it was actually the second anniversary of their first internet pay-per-view, Final Battle 2009, and additionally, they had run televised PPV’s previously). Last night presented us with the first opportunity to cover a Ring of Honor event live, as it was happening. And this article is my attempt to let you know why you should support this company, and order the replay. Here is a list of five reasons why you should check out Final Battle 2011.
- The Price Is Right
$15 for a wrestling pay-per-view is unheard of. TNA and WWE both charge upwards of $35 and $45 for PPV’s, cranking that price up even further if it’s their biggest event of the year. ROH on the other hand, puts forward one of its best events of the year, and all they ask from you is for $15 to join in on the fun. To get an event that, on average, goes longer than a WWE or TNA pay-per-view, doesn’t take away precious time on stupid backstage skits and silly time wasters, and best of all, costs less than half than the alternative; that’s simply fantastic. Putting my dollars against the entertainment value I received watching the iPPV, this is the best value in professional wrestling; the fact that it comes along with the best wrestling in the industry is just an amazing plus.
- This Is The New Pay-Per-View
In the past few months, here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, we’ve posted more stories than I can count about the new WWE Network, and how it will affect their PPV business model. I know that this is probably not the direction that the WWE is headed, but I think that the business model that Ring of Honor offers up is pretty darn great.
First of all, the streaming service (GoFightLive.tv) is fairly good outside of a couple of technical hiccups. The image quality isn’t crystal clear, but it is more than acceptable, and it’s more than good enough to be able to follow the fast-paced action. The show can also be streamed through other devices, like Roku boxes, or can be run on televisions simply by connecting a laptop along with some A/V cables. The best part though? That would be the fact that after I spend my $15, and I buy the PPV, it’s still mine and I can watch it again as many times as I want through GoFightLive.com.
The event is stored on their website, so it doesn’t clutter up your computer, and usually about a day or so after the event begins it’s available for multiple repeat viewings, or once in a blue-moon viewings, whatever you’d like. It’s obvious that WWE won’t support a model that works like that, because they’re all about making you pay for the same thing as many times over as they’re able with DVD, Blu-Ray editions, and Anthology editions, on top of every other kind of DVD release they pump out year after year. This is one future avenue for pay-per-views going forward from now on, and I think this is a model I can get behind. Plus, with the low price point of the individual iPPV’s, it’s worth it to give it a shot, and Final Battle 2011 is a great place to start if you haven’t checked out the product yet.
- Tag Team Wrestling Is Alive And Well
I hear wrestling fans complain pretty regularly about the state of tag team wrestling in WWE and TNA. Complaints about how the divisions are made up of thrown together teams, and it’s an oddity to even see teams that are dressed in similar tights. The belts don’t really mean anything because the division is so small anyway, and you’re lucky if you get one tag match per event, unless it’s a tag-specific event like Survivor Series (which doesn’t really mean much because the teams all feature thrown-together guys). But the fact of the matter is that Tag Team wrestling is still great, and still pure, if you only know where to look for it.
Last night during Final Battle there were two tag team matches, but between them they featured seven good to fantastic teams that put on two matches that wouldn’t be given nearly the same amount of time in one of the bigger two companies. Five teams took part in a tag-team gauntlet and it wasn’t just a series of rapid-fire eliminations as the teams were given their chance to shine. The best part was that there was only one team that you could call “thrown together” in Caprice Coleman and Cederic Alexander, but I don’t even know that you could call them “thrown together” as the two are fairly new entrants to ROH and have participated in tag matches several times at mid-Atlantic ROH house shows. The match was fantastic, and it showed why ROH is one of the best companies in the world when it comes to depth of their tag team division.
The other tag team match of the evening featured two of the best-established tag teams in all of professional wrestling. The Briscoe Brothers and Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team put forth one of the best tag team brawls I’ve seen in a long time. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas have found new life in the ROH tag division, finally being given the chance to perform to the best of their abilities against teams that have the same desire to put forth a fantastic match. While the Briscoe’s may never fit the WWE mold (see Jay Briscoe address that here in this VERY non-PG promo), they are still a tag team that deserve to be noticed, and they proved that here, by continuing to hang with, and maybe even out-perform, Benjamin and Haas.
If you’re a fan of traditional tag team wrestling, where a match can be given top-billing or main event status (even without the inclusion of The Rock), those are two very good reasons to check out Ring of Honor.
- Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards
This is a perfect example of the type of match that WWE and TNA would never have the commitment, or follow-through to actually put forth. Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards had their first one-on-one encounter over a year and a half ago in the finals to crowd the first ever ROH World Television Champion. Following that match, Edwards went on to win the World Title, and over a year after their first encounter, the two met this past June at another ROH iPPV event, Best in the World. At that show, Richards defeated Edwards to win the ROH World Championship, and won the title that many fans had been asserting that he had deserved since 2009. The third match, the rubber match if you will, took place last night, and while it may not have lived up to their last encounter at Best in the World, it was still a grueling match that saw both men drop some major bombs, and put on a hell of a match.
The storyline that ROH has been executing between Richards and Edwards is a very old one, but they’re executing it darn near perfectly, and it’s been a lot of fun to be along for the ride. Two tag team partners in competition with each other, striving to one-up and out perform each other. There aren’t two wrestlers who were made for these roles today more than Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards. The sense of competition between the two is believable and very real. You should definitely check this match out if you want to see a story where both men are struggling to out-shine and out-perform the other, and both men come out at the end looking better for it.
ROH should definitely be commended for their restraint in booking toward this match over the course of the last year and a half. The type of patience hasn’t been shown in the WWE in a long, long time, and I don’t know that it’s ever really been shown in TNA at all. And this match would be in the number one spot if it weren’t for the best match of the evening, and the culmination of a storyline that has been building and running since ROH put on its very first iPPV back at Final Battle 2009. A match that finished off two full years of amazing storylines with twists and turns (with a full year when one of the competitors didn’t even wrestle in an ROH ring), and did so in explosive fashion. If you’re an ROH fan, you know I have to be talking about…
- Kevin Steen vs. Steve Corino
Kevin Steen is the hottest thing going on the independent professional wrestling scene, and honestly, he may be the best thing going in all of wrestling today. He’s been tearing it up all over the country, but especially out in California in PWG, where he’s been known to wrestle two, and sometimes even three times per event. He’s cut some of the best promos, and written some of the craziest things through his Twitter account, and the ROH website. He’s almost a modern day incarnation of the Loose Cannon Brian Pillman.
Steve Corino is a veteran of smaller wrestling promotions, having held the original ECW World Championship before the company was bought by the WWE. He’s been in some absolute wars not only in ECW, but also in ROH with the likes of Homicide. It’s been a couple of years since he’s been in what anyone would call a truly great match, something that he’s even referenced in the past (saying at a show earlier this year, “I could have a five star match if you give me a two star curve”). But last night, storylines came to a head, and the King of Old School had something to prove, and wouldn’t you know it, he delivered.
Steen and Corino put their bodies through punishment that would be unheard of in a larger organization. They destroyed chairs, tables, ringside barricades, and themselves in a brutal match that told a great story. This match was a war, plain and simple. There’s not much I want to write about this match for fear of spoiling it for anyone who may want to seek it out. Needless to say, the spots were exciting, and at some points unbelievable, and this match deserves multiple watches.
So there they are, the reasons you should absolutely go out of your way to check out ROH Final Battle 2011. And wouldn’t you know it, after a quick check over at GoFightLive.tv, the event is already up for replay, so if you go ahead and head over to check it out, you’ll be able to give yourself the early Christmas present of fantastic wrestling. With the awesome quality of real professional wrestling that ROH puts forth, and the economic price tag, this iPPV deserves your time and attention. I urge any of you who may have been on the fence about ordering the show, or those of you who may not have ever seen an ROH event at all, check this show out and see that real professional wrestling is not dead. It doesn’t have to all be “sports entertainment”, and if you’d like a real wrestling product; you just have to know where to look.