BALTIMORE – For Ring of Honor, Final Battle 2021 was the end of an era.
For Jonthan Gresham, it was the culmination of a 16-year journey and the beginning of his reign as ROH World Champion.
Gresham defeated longtime friend Jay Lethal to capture the original ROH World Title belt in one of two main events at the historic show Saturday night at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena.
Originally, ROH World Champion Bandido was scheduled to defend the title against Gresham, but ROH announced on Friday that Bandido tested positive for COVID-19.
Lethal, who for years was regarded as “The Franchise of ROH” before signing with All Elite Wrestling last month, returned to face Gresham. It was announced that the winner would be awarded the original ROH World Championship belt.
In the other half of the double main event, Jay and Mark Briscoe outlasted The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) in an incredible match to become ROH World Tag Team Champions for the 12th time.
After the match, FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) from AEW showed up to confront the Briscoes, and a pull-apart brawl broke out.
After ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C successfully defended her title against Willow, Impact Wrestling’s Deonna Purrazzo, the current AAA Reina de Reinas Champion, came to the ring and said that after she regains the Knockouts Title from Mickie James she wants to face Rok-C in a winner-take-all match. Rok-C accepted the challenge.
In another holy sh*t moment, Adam Scherr (fka Braun Strowman) was summoned to the ring by EC3, and he proceeded to destroy Eli Isom, Brian Johnson and Dak Draper in what appeared to be an initiation into EC3’s “Control Your Narrative” movement.
Two other titles changed hands on the show, as Rhett Titus won the ROH World Television Title in a Four Corner Survival Match over champion Dalton Castle, Silas Young and Joe Hendry; and The Righteous (Vincent, Bateman and Dutch) beat Shane Taylor Promotions (O’Shay Edwards and The Soldiers of Savagery) for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Title.
Here are the complete results:
The Righteous (Vincent, Bateman and Dutch w/Vita Von Starr) defeated ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions (O’Shay Edwards and Soldiers of Savagery’s Moses and Kaun w/Rev. Ron Hunt) to win the title
Dutch showed off his agility during the match, as the behemoth did a flip dive over the top rope onto STP outside the ring. After SOS hit Cointel on Bateman, Edwards followed with a moonsault for a near fall. Vincent hit Orange Sunshine on Edwards for the win.
This is Vincent’s record-breaking fourth reign as a co-holder of the six-man tag team title.
The Allure (Angelina Love and Mandy Leon) and Miranda Alize defeated The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) and Chelsea Green
Leon scored the victory for her team after hitting Astral Projection on Belle.
Flip Gordon, PJ Black, The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas) and World Famous CB defeated Demonic Flamita, LSG, Sledge, Will Ferrara and Max The Impaler w/Amy Rose in a 10-man wildcard tag team match
Max proved to be a force to be reckoned with throughout the match. With LSG on Gordon’s shoulders, Black hit Code Red off the top rope for the win.
Dragon Lee defeated Rey Horus
After 10 minutes of fast-paced, back-and-forth action, Lee hit Incinerator, but Horus kicked out just in time. Lee immediately hit a ripcord knee strike followed by Incinerator to the back of the head for the victory.
Rhett Titus defeated ROH World Television Champion Dalton Castle, Silas Young and Joe Hendry in a Four Corner Survival Match to win the title
Hendry hit his former tag team partner Castle in the back of the head with the title belt while the referee was temporarily incapacitated. Dak Draper, who had been sitting in on commentary, ran to the ring and took out Hendry with a boot to the face. Shortly thereafter, Titus nailed Young with a dropkick for the win.
This is the first singles title in ROH for Titus, a two-time former ROH World Tag Team Champion who has been with the company since 2006.
ROH Pure Champion Josh Woods defeated Brian Johnson
Johnson used an assortment of underhanded tactics, including punching Woods in the face with brass knuckles, but he couldn’t put the champion away. Johnson set up for a superplex, but Woods locked on a front sleeper. Johnson had already used all three of his allotted rope breaks. After Johnson went limp, the referee called for the bell.
Shane Taylor defeated Kenny King in a Fight Without Honor
The two former friends engaged in a violent fight, using ladders, tables, chairs, kendo sticks and a garbage can to assault each other. At one point, Taylor hit the Marcus Garvey Driver on King while standing on a ladder that was bridged between the ring and the barricade. Taylor brought King into the ring and covered him, but King kicked out at two.
Taylor prepared to hit King over the head with a chair, but he hesitated. King yelled at him to “just f—ing do it!” Taylor nailed King with the chair, and then hit Marcus Garvey Driver on the chair for an emotional victory.
After the match, Taylor and King embraced, and Taylor draped a Shane Taylor Promotions jersey over King’s shoulders.
ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C defeated Willow
Willow had the champion well-scouted and was one step ahead of her most of the match. Willow came within an eyelash of winning the title, but Rok-C proved resilient and hit Code Roc to retain her championship.
Violence Unlimited (Brody King, Homicide and Tony Deppen w/Chris Dickinson) and Rocky Romero defeated EC3, Tracy Williams, Eli Isom and Taylor Rust
This was originally scheduled to be a six-man tag, but Violence Unlimited told Romero earlier in the show that he had meant too much to ROH not to be on the card. Williams, Isom and Taylor subsequently recruited EC3 to be on their team.
Homicide hit Cop Killa on Isom, but Isom kicked out just in time. King tagged in and hit the Gonzo Bomb on Isom for the win.
After the match, EC3 remained in the ring. He helped Isom to his feet and called Brian Johnson and Dak Draper to the ring. EC3 told them they could control their narrative, but they would have to fight. Then EC3 said: “Free the titan.”
The monstrous Adam Scherr stormed to the ring and laid out Isom, Johnson and Draper. Scherr scooped up Isom and carried him to the back, while two of EC3’s associates helped Johnson and Draper to the back.
Jay and Mark Briscoe defeated ROH World Tag Team Champions The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett w/Maria Kanellis Bennett) to win the title
This match not only lived up to high expectations, it exceeded them. At one point, Bennett went to spear Mark Briscoe on the apron, but he ended up spearing his wife, Maria, instead. Taven dove off the top rope to hit a Doomsday Device on Mark Briscoe on the floor. Taven rolled him back into the ring for a near fall.
OGK hit a spike piledriver on Mark Briscoe, but Jay Briscoe made the save. Jay Briscoe hit the Jay Driller on Taven for a near fall. The Briscoes hit Doomsday Device on Taven but still couldn’t put him away. Jay hit another Jay Driller on Taven, and Mark followed with Froggy Bow for the win.
After the match, Jay Briscoe grabbed the microphone and said that if any tag team out there wants a piece of them, they’re right here. The lights went out. When they came back up, FTR was in the ring, and the two teams began brawling.
Jonathan Gresham defeated Jay Lethal to win the original ROH World Title belt
During the latter stages of this classic encounter, the entire locker room came out and surrounded the ring to watch it. It was back-and-forth all the way until Gresham rocked Lethal with a Bayonet, but Lethal kicked out at two. That was the move Gresham used to defeat Brody King at Honor For All last month.
Two more times Gresham connected with the Bayonet, and both times Lethal kicked out just in time. Lethal caught Gresham with a lariat and then set up for Lethal Injection. Gresham countered it with a backslide for a near fall, followed by an inside cradle for another near fall. Gresham locked on the Octopus stretch and began hammering Lethal in the head with elbow strikes. Lethal tapped out.
Watch the replay of the historic Final Battle: End of an Era on HonorClub!