Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

The Three Count: ROH Final Battle Sets Up A Star-Studded Stable War, Don’t Sleep On The Righteous

With Ring of Honor Final Battle, ROH finally returned to pay-per-view. Earlier this year, ROH stopped filming new content for a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company returned with new episodes of ROH Wrestling in the fall, and they’ve been building up to this pay-per-view. Boy, did it deliver. Friday’s show let ROH do what it does best, as every match offered excellent in-ring action. From hour one to the highly anticipated main event, this show was fun. It cemented a new stable’s impressive status, set up a fresh contender for the world champion, and allowed several underrated stars to shine.

Welcome back, ROH. You’ve been missed.

RUSH Might Be Sticking Around, And He’ll Have His Hands Full

Ahead of Friday night’s show, many fans thought that RUSH might be dropping the Ring of Honor World Championship at ROH Final Battle. His contract status is up in the air, so it might have made sense to proactively end his title reign. That didn’t happen. RUSH defeated Brody King to retain the title, but he needed some help to do it. (Dragon Lee and La Bestia Del Ring interfered at the end of the match.)

The world title is still around RUSH’s waist. He very well could leave Ring of Honor sooner rather than later. But it seems like, at least for now, he’ll be sticking around. The COVID-19 pandemic kept him away from ROH programming for quite a while, but now he’s back. If nothing else, it’s clear that Ring of Honor is building up a few strong contenders for him. Shane Taylor defeated Jay Briscoe, a former world champion, and stated that he’s coming for the title. Like RUSH’s match with King, that bout is sure to be a physical clash of two tough fighters. Plus, King will be looking for a rematch after RUSH resorted to some nefarious means to beat him. But based on the end of the show, RUSH is looking like an even more daunting challenge.

A War Between Two Star-Studded Stables Is Coming

La Facción Ingobernable was supposed to be a dominant stable that ran roughshod in Ring of Honor. Instead, due to the pandemic, it’s been mostly absent from ROH Wrestling since the company returned earlier this fall. Like Lifeblood and Villain Enterprises, it had a lot of promise, but it somewhat fizzled out through no fault of its own. But it’s not too late to save “L.F.I.” If Final Battle is any indication, this stable is here to stay. RUSH is still the world champion, and Dragon Lee also retained the ROH World Television Championship on Friday. So it seems like L.F.I. is ready to truly take over.

There’s just one problem with that.

Since ROH’s own “restart,” The Foundation has slowly been gaining power in its own right. Jonathan Gresham unveiled this stable after he won the ROH Pure Championship. Alongside Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus, Gresham has vowed to bring ROH back to its roots and restore the honor and the glory the company was once known for. Gresham successfully defended his title on Friday. Plus, he and Lethal retained the ROH World Tag Team Championship at the show. So, for those that are keeping score, most of the gold in the men’s division is split between L.F.I. and The Foundation. (MexiSquad currently holds the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship.) A conflict between these two successful groups was inevitable.

That’s exactly what happened on Friday night. The Foundation stood on the stage after RUSH’s win in the main event. This staredown left fans eagerly waiting for an all-out war. You have to imagine that a potential power struggle will lead to some compelling storytelling. RUSH likes to say that nothing happens unless he says so, but The Foundation begs to differ. With this setup, it feels like there can only be one dominant group, and hopefully, we’ll get an extensive battle for supremacy between these two imposing factions.

Don’t Sleep On The Righteous

Vincent and Bateman lost a heated battle with Matt Taven and Mike Bennett on Friday night. But The Righteous arguably won this stage of the war. Vincent, Bateman and Vita VonStarr brutally attacked The Original Kingdom after the match. With Taven restrained in the ropes, Vincent made the former ROH World Champion watch while he destroyed Bennett’s ankle using a chair and a wooden block. As a result, Bennett will be out of action for a few weeks, so Taven is again alone in this fight.

Like L.F.I., it initially seemed like The Righteous could become a prosperous group. But they, too, have struggled to find their footing. A strong showing on Friday night got Vincent and his minions back on track. Led by Vincent, their future looks bright. He seems comparable to Bray Wyatt, as every time he’s on the screen, he delivers an excellent performance. With masterful facial expressions and solid acting, Vincent plays his part to perfection. It’s not quite clear where he falls on the pecking order of contenders, but like Wyatt, he might not even need a title to be successful. This storyline between Taven and Vincent continues to be a highlight on ROH programming, and it could get even better from here on out.

RELATED: ROH Final Battle Results (12/18/20)