Friday, December 9, 2022

ROH Final Battle 2022 Preview & Predictions

Get ready, Ring of Honor fans, it's time for the Final Battle.....of 2022.

This Saturday afternoon marks the second ROH PPV under the Tony Khan regime, and once it's over we should finally at long last get some answers about the promotion's future programming.  Even as a longtime ROH fan I must say it's getting to be a lot, having essentially two promotions featured on AEW television.  Between having too many belts and having to find room for a whole other talent roster, it's made AEW programming very overcrowded.  I anticipate and welcome crossovers and talent exchanges between the two groups, but it needs to be done sparingly or it just gets overwhelming.  My hope is that ROH and its vast library find their new home on HBO Max.  The library alone will be so much fun to explore; I have dozens of their old DVDs but jumping around from disc to disc gets cumbersome.  Anyway, it will be interesting to see which AEW talent gets assigned to ROH full-time, if any.  It should also make Dynamite and Rampage into much more focused shows, which should help ratings.  But enough speculation, let's look at this PPV.

Swerve In Our Glory vs. Shane Taylor Promotions

I don't think I've ever seen Shane Taylor's team so I can't speak intelligently about them.  But SIOG is oddly teaming together after Keith Lee walked out on Swerve Strickland at Full Gear.  I guess they made up during that private conversation they referenced a few weeks ago.  It would be an odd move for their actual breakup to occur during this show as opposed to on Dynamite, but I suppose if you put a major AEW angle on an ROH PPV it conditions fans to not want to miss future ones.  Not really sure who to pick here - I guess Swerve?

Pick: SIOG

ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Dalton Castle & The Boys vs. The Embassy

Brian Cage desperately needs a win.  I've never been the guy's biggest fan but he's grown on me lately, partly thanks to his pretty great little match with Wardlow.  Let's give this guy and his Gates of Agony pals some belts to defend.

Pick: The Embassy

ROH Women's Championship: Mercedes Martinez vs. Athena

I like this matchup.  Athena has been working very snug lately and Martinez is a grizzled veteran who can hold her own in that type of match.  I expect a stiff, Strong Style-kinda slugfest here.  Athena should capture her first taste of post-WWE gold and be the new centerpiece of the ROH women's division.

Pick: Athena

ROH Pure Championship: Daniel Garcia vs. Wheeler Yuta

It's a rematch from their excellent Death Before Dishonor encounter, and I expect another mat classic.  The JAS-BCC feud has been raging for a good seven months now, so it's time to put it to bed once and for all.  To that end I see Wheeler regaining the title and becoming a Ring of Honor staple for a while.

Pick: Wheeler

ROH Television Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Juice Robinson

This match is kinda out of nowhere and it's heel vs. heel, but it should be a helluva contest that could actually steal the show.  Joe has been performing like a man reborn of late; he never looked this good during his WWE run.  I don't see Juice capturing the title here but it should be a pretty brutal fight.

Pick: Joe retains

ROH Tag Team Championship Dog Collar Match: FTR vs. The Briscoes

It's the third, and I'm guessing final, match in this vaunted series.  FTR and the Briscoes have delivered two MOTY candidates already and there's no reason to think this won't be a third.  The chains will add plenty of brutality and blood, making this a very different bout than the previous two.  It was an odd move not announcing this until three days beforehand, but hopefully it translates to a late surge of PPV buys and ticket sales (the place is about 2/3 sold out as of now).  As for this match, I can't see the Briscoes dropping three straight, so I'll pick them to win back the titles.  I sure hope FTR don't go running back to the 'E when their contracts are up next year.

Pick: Briscoes

ROH World Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Another rematch from earlier this year, and likely the grand finale of the JAS-BCC feud.  Jericho is certainly the highest-profile Ring of Honor champion there's ever been.  Whether that gambit brought more permanent eyes to the brand remains to be seen.  It seems like it's time for Claudio to win back the title and have a proper run with it, while Jericho goes back to being an AEW cornerstone.  The match should be very good; their Dynamite match was strong but not long enough to achieve what these two are capable of.

Pick: Claudio regains the title

Should be another very good three-hour, NXT-esque show for Ring of Honor that will hopefully give everyone a sense of where this promotion is headed.  It's time to break ROH off into its own proper company again so AEW can get re-focused on the future.  TK's two companies are very much in a rebuilding/reshuffling period and ideally this show will feel like the beginning of a new Ring of Honor era.

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