This will be the first of several reviews I'll be doing where I will be looking at shows that I have watched but only through Ring of Honor's Website. I don't actually own a copy of the show itself. In the future, I'll designate shows that are on Ring of Honor's Website by putting the title of the show (in my review) in Bold and Italicized (I think I'll put it in Red as well)
So here's my review of the 2004 Edition of Final Battle. (This show has the unfortunate pleasure of being held on the same day as the South Asian Tsunami but I digress)
ROH Final Battle 2004
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12/26/04
1.) Trent Acid vs. Jimmy Jacobs: *
Don't know much about Trent Acid. Only things I've heard about him is that he's done work in CZW, had a feud with Homicide in ROH in 2003, and that he tragically died of a drug overdose two years ago. In fact this is the only Trent Acid match I've ever seen. It wasn't very good to be honest. Seeing Jacobs in this stage in his career is interesting to see though. After losing the match, Trent quits ROH.
2.) Deranged & Lacey vs. Angel Dust & Becky Bayless: *3/4
Not to familiar with old ROH stories, but apparently this was part of the break-up of the Special K faction. Eh...this was just there.
3.) Josh Daniels vs. Homicide: ***
Don't know much about Josh Daniels, but he had a pretty good match here against Homicide, so I would assume he's pretty decent. This was enjoyable.
4.) ROH Pure Title - John Walters vs. Jimmy Rave: ***
Rave is accompanied by The Embassy. I've heard about this John Walters guy. He had great match at Honor Reclaims Boston in 2006 against Nigel McGuinness, so I'm intrigued to see more of him from the early ROH days. Obviously they thought he was good if they put the Pure Title on him. This was about as good as the previous match. Afterwords Walters joins the Embassy after Prince Nana gives him money.
5.) Fight Without Honor - Dan Miff & BJ Whitmer vs. The Carnage Crew: **3/4
Interested to see BJ in his early ROH days. As far as Fight Without Honor's go, this was ok, but when compared to other Fight Without Honors this gets blown out of the water.
Afterwards we get a confrontation between Mick Foley & Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. (They have been having a Hardcore Wrestling vs. Pure Wrestling feud apparently. Again I don't know much about early ROH stories). With Steamboat signing as a WWE Agent prior to this show, this appearance would be his last in ROH. Joe later comes out & lays out Foley. This was a good segment. It did a decent job of ending the Hardcore/Pure Wrestling feud (under the circumstances) and continued to build the Joe/Foley story. I really wish we would have gotten Joe vs. Foley in ROH at some point. It would have been really interesting.
6.) Jay Lethal vs. Weapon of Mask Destruction #2: **
Oh look, it's El Generico! Basically he's brought in by Prince Nana to fight Jay Lethal. It was ok. Nothing really special. Looking at their recent matches in ROH shows how much these guys have progressed in the years since.
7.) Alex Shelley & Roderick Strong vs. CM Punk & Steve Corino: ***1/4
This was a good match. Nothing over the top or special, just a good tag team match. Corino's LOOOONG entrance is really annoying though.
After the match, Austin Aries comes out, and proceeds to (along with Roderick Strong) literally beat Shelley out of the group. I LOVED the Personal Jesus line from Aries. Of course this would set up the next year as Shelley would later join the Embassy to feud with Generation Next.
8.) Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson: ***1/4
This was a good match between two of Ring of Honor's "Founding Fathers", but I feel like this could have been SOOO much better. Maybe it was the DQ finish. Low Ki & Homicide go nuts and attack everyone. I actually really liked the Rottweilers. They bring the chaos (you could consider them agents).
9.) ROH World Title - Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe: ****1/2
Of course this was the match where Joe's 21 Month reign as champion came to an end. I though Aries was the perfect guy to beat Joe. With Aries establishing himself as the undisputed leader of Generation Next earlier in the night, the ROH World Title sends the group right to the top of the ROH food chain. The match overall was pretty great. Joe gives Aries the belt & they shake hands.
I know that this show was big for it's historic significance, but when looking at what we ended up getting, this was really a one match show. That's all I can really say. I was looking forward to watching this when ROH put on their website, and even thought the World Title match delivered, I felt the rest of the card was just ok. If this was a regular show I might have rated it a little higher, but for one of Ring of Honor's biggest shows, it was a slight letdown.