Thanks for coming back to Two Spot Monkeys! A quick plug before we get into today’s column – if you have not checked out our interview with Michael Elgin from earlier this week (our first ever!) or our final 2012 Head 2 Head WWE preview as we go back and forth on TLC. Both podcasts can be accessed as a stream or download – here on the blog or via iTunes.
We wanted to take a look at 4 things each that we’re thinking about as we head towards Sunday’s ROH: Final Battle 2012 iPPV. So, here we go!
Tom’s Thinking About…
1. Ladder War IV
I gotta start with the main event because for the arguments out there that exist opposing this match taking place, the two wrestlers – Steen and Generico – are ingrained in the fabric of one another’s wrestling careers and this is a feud that transcends promotion boundaries. I have no idea how they can top their WAR from Final Battle in 2010 or their insane match from PWG just a year ago, but I do think they will. I think we see a new level of innovative violence and it will have fans talking.
2. Breakout Star for 2012?
More so on the podcast versus here in print, I have voiced loudly my belief that for Indy Wrestling alone, there no two wrestlers more equally matched for consideration here than Adam Cole and Michael Elgin. Will either have a performance on Sunday that allows one to edge the other? I do not know. Cole against Matt Hardy might have the factor going against it that Matt Hardy is again in a Ring of Honor ring and the fans might not react favorably. Elgin against Strong is a fresh match that has taken nearly the entire year to build to these two incredible wrestlers getting into the ring. By a narrow margin, I think that Elgin has a bigger shine coming out of Sunday and possibly solidifies himself as this year’s Breakout Star.
3. Embassy Forever or Never Again?
Another feud with a lot of backstory and build will also see blows get thrown when Prince Nana and Barrister R.D. Evans settle their score in the ring. Nana, the originator of “The Embassy” in Ring of Honor has been a part of each and every incarnation. Evans came into the picture and attempted to turn the faction into a revenue generator as “Embassy Limited.” In doing so, he forced Nana out of the group and out of the scene. Nana is coming for his revenge and I believe he gets it on Sunday and so will begin a new chapter for “The Embassy.”
4. The Hunt is….ON?
The potential tag match of the re-united American Wolves of Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards vs. Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish is one of the matches I am most looking forward to. I like what ROH has done here, bringing in Edwards and Fish’s history in NOAH to the story, the saga between Davey & O’Reilly and of course, the long-standing history between Davey & Eddie, both as partners and competitors. The way it is set going into the weekend is that Eddie has stated he would be there, but as of yet he has not committed to teaming with Davey. I do think that Eddie and Davey re-unite, but I am not sure if it lasts longer than just this one match. I see it two ways: The Wolves stake their claim as a dominant team and give a new focus to Davey & Eddie or Eddie plays the role of the partner really well, only to screw Davey in the end and create a new group with O’Reilly and Fish, establishing a fresh approach and fresh match-ups for Davey in 2013. I cannot wait to see how it plays out!
Jim’s Thinking About…
1. A Lethal Fight?
Jay Lethal has been saying now for a few weeks, and again on TV last week that he is pissed off about having to wrestle Rhino in a “meaningless” match on Sunday. He’s promised that he’s going to fight the ROH Champion, whomever that is, after the Ladder War. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the main event and how they might go with it this Sunday (I love that it’s not totally obvious!). At this point, I’m thinking that they have Generico win the title, but, that begs the question, would they put the title on someone who is (presumably) not under contract? That’s where Lethal comes in. I think Generico wins the title, but then Lethal demands his Survival of the Fittest title match right now, and we end 2012 with Jay Lethal as the ROH World Champion. If they do that, I would only have Lethal hold it until the 11th Anniversary Show, and have Michael Elgin win the title there, setting up Elgin vs. Davey, Steen or Generico for Supercard of Honor as your main event.
2. Can Hardy hang? And how long will he be around?
I am curious about Matt Hardy and his involvement here at Final Battle. Is he just here for a one shot to get a boost with Final Battle? Will ROH be booking him at all regularly as we go into 2013? His match here with Adam Cole will likely go a long way to determining that. I expect that the Hammerstein crowd is going to be ruthless on him, but if he can show them he can still hang and have a strong match with Adam Cole, he could turn them in his favor, which would be very interesting to see. Cole has been a huge breakout star this year, and may very well be a future ROH World Champion if he doesn’t end up in NXT first, this will be one of (if not) his most high profile opponents to date, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it plays out!
3. 8-Times? Or First Time?
I strongly feel that the Corino/Jacobs tag title reign is coming to an end here at Final Battle. To me though, there is a heck of a question as to which team will be the ones to end the reign. Certainly an argument can be made for moving in a totally new direction with Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman. There are plenty of fresh matchups there (especially as tag title defenses) and they have been very good most of the time in the ring. But, do they have the “star power” to be tag champs? Or, if they win the titles, will that come with the win? On the other hand, we have the 7 time ROH Tag Team Champions, ROH legends, The Briscoe Brothers. Do they need an 8th reign? Absolutely not. But, they certainly carry more star power than C&C, and when needed to, could main event shows with tag title matches, which I don’t think you can say for C&C at this point. I’d like to see them go with Coleman and Alexander, and I think they probably will, but I won’t be shocked if we’re hearing “Man Up” at the end of this match either!
4. Where do we go from here?
Where is ROH heading in 2013? I strongly suspect we’ll see something happen here to setup a major program or two for the first part of 2013. Whether it’s a World Title change (or two), or a turn such as Eddie Edwards turning on Davey Richards and joining O’Reilly and Fish, or a surprise we haven’t heard of yet, I think that this show will give us not only closure to some stories of 2012, but also open up a whole lot of ideas and questions for 2013. ROH feels like it’s on a slight upswing to me lately, and I hope that continues on Sunday afternoon as well as into 2013! Best of luck to all involved, and go out and have a great show!