ROH Final Battle 2022
Since the dawn of time within Ring of Honor, there has always been one event that has been the time capsule for the entire year's worth of action and excitement: Final Battle. Designed to take place towards the end of the year, Final Battle has always been the event that allowed fans and competitors alike to look back and prepare themselves to jump forward. A strong victory or even a courageous performance inside the ring could set the stage for the next year's path while fulfilling the legacy of the previous year.
From CM Punk to Samoa Joe, from Low Ki to the Briscoes, from Xavier to Paul London, from Steve Corino to Seth Rollins, Final Battle was where Ring of Honor's warriors made their greatest and sometimes last stand, where championships were won, where blood was spilled, where lives changed forever.
This Saturday afternoon, FITE is proud to present the 2022 Ring of Honor Final Battle extravaganza, featuring these fine main event attractions:
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - CHRIS JERICHO VS. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI
Claudio Castagnoli believed that when he won the ROH World Championship from Jonathan Gresham, he was finally going to live his long-held dreams of being the centerpiece of Ring of Honor, ascending to the throne as the World Heavyweight Champion. Unfortunately for the Swiss Superstar, Chris Jericho's machinations and cheating ways led to the early end of that proud championship reign at AEW Grand Slam 2022.
Since then, Jericho, drunk on the excesses of his success, has become obsessed with destroying not just the legacy of a championship held for decades by proud competitors but the entire spirit of Ring of Honor itself. He has deviously devised ways of upending and taking down countless former ROH Champions while trying to avoid Castagnoli and giving him his deserved rematch. Finally, Claudio made Jericho an offer he can't refuse. If Claudio fails to wrest the ROH Championship from Jericho's hands, he'll agree to join The Jericho Appreciation Society, becoming subservient to all that he hates the most.
Claudio has always been beloved as a wrestling machine, and this Saturday, he will have to fire up the pistons hotter than ever before if he seeks to not only redeem Ring of Honor and rescue it from a fate worse than hell, but also avoid giving up every he holds most dear by submerging himself into his own personal ring of hell. Jericho has proven to hold the answer to every riddle when it comes to defeating ROH Alumni, but can even The Ocho hold back a rampaging Claudio? We will learn this Saturday.
DOUBLE DOG COLLAR: ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS FTR VS. THE BRISCOES
Mark and Jay Briscoe are never quiet. They are never hidden out of sight. They are the forefathers of Ring of Honor and they have very much defined the fighting spirit that exists at the center of the ROH cosmos. This year, their careers have been governed by their brutal feud with the currently reigning and defending Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions, FTR. After their most recent loss to FTR, The Briscoes went uncharacteristically silent, healing their wounds and seething at their chicken farm in Delaware until this past Wednesday's Dynamite, where they sent a challenge to the champions in the form of a double dog collar match.
One of professional wrestling's most brutal and storied bouts, dating back to Starrcade ‘83's ferocious Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper encounter, Dog Collar Matches aren't for the weak of heart. But, The Briscoes and FTR are anything but weak. These two perfect tag team combinations have battled all over Ring of Honor arenas this year, leaving body parts and blood alike splattered alongside their championship ambitions.
This Saturday, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler look to close out a most triumphant 2022, a year where they have held World Championships in triplicate across the globe, but to do so, they will have to outfight two of the toughest men to ever exist in Ring of Honor. Indeed, The Briscoes literally grew up before the eyes of the fans in this promotion and if there is one thing Delaware's favorite sons won't do, it's buckle against the pressure. They are coming to fight and they are coming for vengeance. In their minds, those World Tag Team Championship belts always have and always will belong to them.
This Saturday, ROH carves out the next phenomenal chapter in the Briscoes vs. FTR feud in crimson red, live on FITE.
ROH WORLD TV CHAMPIONSHIP: SAMOA JOE VS. JUICE ROBINSON
If one had to carve the Mount Rushmore of Ring of Honor, the first question would be, "Who goes second after Samoa Joe?" Joe's World Championship reign is the stuff of legend, a title run that not only matured and defined ROH as a company, but has been what every World Champion since, even Chris Jericho, has chased in an attempt to out-do. It can't be done. Legends happen. They are grown. It can't be forced.
For Samoa Joe is ROH itself, in all of its best forms. Defiant. Strong. Sneering. Rebellious. However, those descriptions also list the best quality of Samoa Joe's Final Battle opponent, the challenger for the ROH World Television Champion, Juice Robinson. The world traveled veteran has conquered WWE NXT and New Japan Pro Wrestling and now, he seeks to make ROH and AEW his latest targets for victory.
Samoa Joe has had an iron-clap grasp on the World Television Championship since earning it earlier this year and will fight tooth and nail to maintain his status as one of the most honored competitors in ROH history. Robinson is seeking to break the hierarchy and prove himself as the next big thing in Ring of Honor history. If he can avoid The Muscle Buster and Samoa Joe's choke, he may well be on his way, but very few men have stepped into the ring against the Samoan Submission Machine and lived to tell the tale.
ROH WORLD WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: MERCEDES MARTINEZ VS. ATHENA
This incredible battle for the ROH World Women's Championship takes place between two stellar athletes who have faced off before around the world, but never on a stage as grand as this or with as much at stake.
In recent months, Athena has shocked observers and created tsunamis across social media platforms with her sheer level of viciousness inside the ring against all opponents. Whether these actions have been honorable or not, it's impossible to argue her success as she has racked up dozens of victories in a row.
Athena's actions, however, did not go unnoticed by the reigning and defending Women's Champion, Mercedes Martinez, who was home preparing to return from injury. As she studied her potential competition and challengers, Martinez zeroed in on her former SHIMMER foe, Athena, realizing that the time was going to come where they would meet head to head. Never one to buck from a challenge, Martinez instead shocked the world by confronting and challenging Athena.
This Saturday, Athena has the hometown advantage, but when you are Martinez, hailing from the rough fighting town of Waterbury, CT, you don't need any advantage but the physicality you bring to the ring. This is going to be a fight and there's only going to be one woman who exits with the glory of being ROH World Women's Championship this Saturday on FITE.
As if these main events aren't enough, ROH Pure Champion Daniel Garcia will take to the ring in a championship defense against former Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta. This title and rivalry has all but defined their year and as representatives for the JAS and The Blackpool Combat Club, the winner will also turn the tide in the war of attrition that has defined AEW for much of 2022.
ROH Six Man Tag Team Champions Dalton Castle and The Boys will battle with Prince Nana's The Embassy, continuing a legacy that for Nana has stretched all the way back to ROH's debut year of 2002. Can Castle and The Boys survive the onslaught of Brian Cage and The Gates of Agony to retain their titles?
Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland will have to put their differences aside as Keith Lee's past in Shane Taylor Promotions comes back to haunt him. For the first time since Lee stepped out as a singles competitor, he and former tag team partner Taylor are in the same place at the same time. With Taylor having thrown down the gauntlet, what will happen when this tag team bout explodes?
Ring of Honor has always been about cultivating and curating the best professional wrestling action in the world, creating a maelstrom whose ripple effects evolve and mature professional wrestling, taking it to unseen heights and new perfections. This Saturday afternoon on FITE, Final Battle will unfold, setting the stage for ROH and AEW stars to prove their dominance once more as everyone prepares for an explosive 2023!
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.