Thunder And Lightning: ROH Final Battle 2012 Preview

NYC Street Fight
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs BJ Whitmer & Rhett Titus

JT: This rivalry has become personal over the last several months, and the team of Whitmer and Titus has been very impressive. The match will be hard fought and will perhaps determine what tag team next gets a shot at the gold. I predict Whitmer and Titus to get the win. Confidence Points: 5

ML: This match has been brewing over the course of the last few months. Essentially since the Midnight Express won the Tag Titles and escalated further when Haas and Titus teamed during the ROH Tag Team Title Tourney. Shelton Benjamin’s name has been rumored as one of the top targets of the WWE to bring back and help with the talent. If this is true, this could possibly be Shelton and Haas’ last iPPV teaming together, or teaming together period in the near future. BJ Whitmer’s return was a good fit for Rhett Titus because both guys have similar styles. I expect this match to be brutal and fun to watch.
Prediction: Rhett Titus & BJ Whitmer
Confidence Points: 2

Special Challenge Match
Jay Lethal vs “The Man Beast” Rhino

JT: Lethal is due for a run with the ROH World Title, or at least a feud for the championship with Kevin Steen(unfortunately cannot happen under Steen’s current stipulations that he doesn’t have to face Jay Lethal again). Lethal is angry and hungry, and he’ll undoubtedly carry this match with Rhino. Rhino has never been significant to me, and I don’t believe he’s capable of having a great match with anyone. Lethal says he has nothing to gain. Lethal also promised that he would fight the World Champion at Final Battle and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. I’m curious how this plays out. Lethal beats Rhino. Confidence Points: 5

ML: Lethal’s current storyline rivals that of Kevin Steen’s a few years back, but just not to the same extreme that ROH took the Steen storyline. Lethal’s inability to compete for the ROH World Title, even in storyline, is a damn shame because he has good chemistry with the top guys. Good things come to those who wait. Since joining ROH, which seems to be full-time now, Rhino hasn’t done anything spectacular. His World Title match was Kevin Steen was solid at best. Look for this match to show flashes some solid wrestling, but it should mainly just be a brawl between this two.
Prediction: Jay Lethal
Confidence Points: 4

Grudge Match
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs Roderick Strong

JT: I’ve been waiting for this match since March! I can’t wait to see the chemistry here and I’m curious how it will all play out. Both men are due for a run or rivalry at the top prize in ROH, but unfortunately the list to Steen is growing all the time. I suspect the winner here will be in line for a shot down the road, but it may not be Steen they challenge. I predict Roderick Strong to use heel tactics and win this match. Confidence Points: 5

ML: There’s not much to say here; this match has been in the making for most of 2012. Elgin has put together one of the best years anyone who is breaking out could ask for. And Strong became just ROH’s second triple crown winner this year by winning the TV Title. Strong and Elgin both have the sky as their limit with their talent and the chemistry between these two should be through the roof. I expect this match could potentially steal the show and be Match of the Night.
Prediction: Michael Elgin
Confidence Points: 3

Jerry Lynn returns to the Hammerstein Ballroom for His Final ROH Bout

JT: I’ve never been a huge fan of Jerry Lynn, but I’ve always enjoyed his matches with Rob Van Dam. I’m not sure who is available to face him for this match, but I would guess it could be Mike Bennett or Tommaso Ciampa. I don’t think Lynn is going to get the win in any of his final matches between now and March, so I’ll predict his opponent to defeat him. Confidence Points: 5

ML: Jerry Lynn returns to compete his last match at ROH. Lynn announced earlier this month that in March of 2013 that he was going to retire. Lynn still can move pretty well in the ring for his age and should be able to put on a high quality match. His opponent is the question mark and whether or not they’ll have good chemistry. I expect this match to pay homage to the Jerry Lynn career in ROH.
Prediction: Jerry Lynn
Confidence Points: 5

Grudge Tag Team Match
The American Wolves (“Die Hard” Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish

JT: Davey Richards wants Eddie Edwards as his partner for this match, but in storyline Eddie has yet to accept. I just watched O’Reilly and Fish defeat the Bravado Brothers on ROH TV, but I don’t think an upset for them in this match is needed to put them on the map. O’Reilly has been a rising star in ROH and his time will come whether they win or lose here. I predict the reunion of the American Wolves to be successful and for them to pick up the win in this match. Confidence Points: 5

ML: ROH is playing Eddie Edwards tour in Japan has a possibility for Edwards to not appear at this event. I expect Edwards to be there and compete in this match. I don’t know too much about Bobby Fish as I haven’t done too much research on him, but from what little I’ve heard and seen, he seems to have a lot of potential and talent. O’Reilly still hasn’t won me completely over, he has had some awesome brawls and matches with Adam Cole, but I haven’t seen those signs of brillance with anyone else. I’m hoping this tag team match shows me something. Edwards and Richards reuniting is going to be something special to watch and I’m exciting for this match.
Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
Confidence Points: 2
QuickNote: I expect this “awful” second half of 2012 for Davey Richards to continue into 2013.

3 Way ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
S.C.U.M. (Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino) vs Jay & Mark Briscoe vs Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

JT: Coleman and Alexander have been on a roll in ROH and are easily the most talented up and coming tag team in the company. Scum’s run with the gold has been entirely pointless and served no purpose. I love the Briscoes but they honestly don’t need a title run to continue being the best overall tag team in ROH. I predict Coleman and Alexander to win the World Tag Team Titles. Confidence Points: 5

ML: This match is another of the matches I’m looking forward to. Caprice and Cedric are always fun to watch in the ring, and their talent is off the charts. They have great chemistry together and usually pull off top-notch matches with their opponents. The Briscoes, well, there really isn’t too much more that I can to their resume. They have been named Tag Team of the Year on a few different occasions and they show what they’re capable of doing in the ring everytime they step foot into one. The only team I’m not impressed with is S.C.U.M. I don’t know if it’s Jimmy Jacobs or Steve Corino or both, but neither of them hold any appeal to me. This match will eventually create chaos and become a brawl, it will be a wild finish, you can expect that.
Prediction: The C&C Wrestling Factory to become NEW ROH Tag Team Champions
Confidence Points: 2

Special Challenge Match
ROH World TV Champion Adam Cole vs Matt Hardy

JT: Adam Cole will be World Champion if he stays in ROH long enough. His talent is there, but I definitely feel like he’s needed to improve since I started watching him last year. Since that time, he’s wrestled solid matches with Adam Pearce in NWA and basically won me over when he defeated Kyle O’Reilly in that brutal back and forth contest at Best In The World. I know Matt Hardy has a contract with ROH, but I don’t see him carrying the TV Title. I predict Adam Cole to win the match and retain his championship. Confidence Points: 5

ML: As is with the case of Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole still hasn’t completely won me over as a fan, but I have become more impressed with him as of late. Cole definitely exhibits all the talent in the world and the charisma to become a big star in the business, but he’s still a little rough around the edges. There’s no one better, in my opinion, that can help catapult him into the superstar he will become than Matt Hardy, who is on the ROH current roster. Matt Hardy has always been the better wrestler of the Hardys, he simply lacks charisma and mic skills. The in-ring work between these two should be good and they should be able to execute a high quality match together.
Prediction: ROH World Television Champion Adam Cole
Confidence Points: 3

Kevin Steen vs El Generico

JT: I loved their match at Showdown In The Sun: Night 1 and I’m certain that I’ll love this one just as much. The history here between the two is incredible and they’ve always delivered quality whether they were going one on one or teaming together. I expect this to be the battle that ends the war. Steen will come out on top and retain his World Championship. Confidence Points: 5

ML: The chemistry these two have is beyond amazing. This match should be better than any match these two have had in the past and if isn’t, it will rank amongst the best of them. Generico and Steen should be able to produce the Match of the Night, if not a possible Match of the Year candidate. This match will definitely produce violence and brawling like we’ve seen these two execute in the past. I fully expect a blood bath.
Prediction: Kevin Steen to retain the ROH World Championship
Confidence Points: 3
Final Thoughts:

ML: Ring of Honor has always had the innate ability to put together a card with little or no hype surrounding a majority of the matches. In this case, ROH is using the hype the fueled the El Generico and Kevin Steen feud over the last couple of years. And ROH fans know what Generico and Steen are capable of producing in the ring together. They have also made a lot of the matches and feuds on this card excel to a personal level. The Kyle O’Reilly and Davey Richards feud is based on their friendship and the WGTT and Rhett Titus feud has become extremely personal over the last few months. Jay Lethal’s personal grudge with ROH management is another prime example of how ROH is able to create a storyline and make it personal without having to jam it down our throats(the tactic generally used by TNA and WWE). This card is loaded with potential and has the all the makings of being a great finish for ROH’s year.

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