Final Battle Headed To Baltimore; Tournament With Major Implications In The Works; Rock 'N' Roll Express Returns To Atlanta

By Kevin Eck

Here’s the latest ROH news and notes:

For the first time ever, Final Battle -- ROH’s biggest event of the year -- will take place in Baltimore.

The 2019 edition of Final Battle will be held on Friday, Dec. 13 at UMBC Event Center in Charm City. Keep it locked into ROHWrestling.com for ticket information.

In other Final Battle-related news, I’m hearing that a tournament that will have major implications for the show is in the offing. …

Don’t be surprised if ROH World Champion Matt Taven starts talking again about there being a Kingdom conspiracy in ROH. I’m not saying there is one, but Taven wasn’t wrong when he pointed out that no other ROH World Champion has had to compete in more than one Defy or Deny Match -- and he’s only four months into his reign.

It was announced earlier this week that Taven, Jay Lethal, Jeff Cobb and Kenny King will compete in a Defy or Deny Match at Honor for All, which streams live for HonorClub from Nashville, Tenn., on Aug. 25. In the elimination-style bout, if one of the three contenders wins, he will receive a future ROH World Title shot. However, if Taven wins, whoever is eliminated last cannot challenge for the world title as long as he remains champion.

Taven’s other Defy or Deny Match took place at State of the Art in Portland, Ore., in June. In that one, he prevailed over PCO, Mark Haskins and Flip Gordon. As a result of Taven pinning Gordon in the final fall, Gordon cannot challenge for the ROH World Title as long as Taven is champion. …

Speaking of Taven, check back later today for a big announcement regarding a title defense that he will make during the Global Wars Espectacular tour next month. …

Anticipation is building for the aforementioned tour, which takes place Sept. 6-8 in Dearborn, Mich., Chicago and Milwaukee, respectively, and features the biggest stars in CMLL. I’m told that ROH stars will team with and also compete against the CMLL luchadors. In addition, there will be matches in which CMLL stars face each other.

On a side note, RUSH -- who has made quite a few enemies in CMLL over the years -- will not have any of his allies from CMLL on the tour. ...

Saturday Night at Center Stage in Atlanta on Aug. 24, which will stream live for HonorClub at 7 p.m. Eastern, will start off with a bang. The opening contest pits Villain Enterprises’ PCO and Brody King against LifeBlood’s Haskins and Tracy Williams. 

For those attending the show live, you’ll want to be in your seats by 5:45 p.m. That’s when the action gets underway, beginning with two Top Prospect Tournament first-round matches that will be taped for future distribution: Haitian Sensation versus Ken Dixon, and “Number One” Brian Johnson versus Austin Gunn.

From there, ROH will tape several matches that will air exclusively on episodes of the “Ring of Honor Wrestling” television show. Those matches include The Bouncers’ Beer City Bruiser versus The Kingdom’s Vinny Marseglia, and Rhett Titus versus Coast 2 Coast’s Shaheem Ali. Also in action will be Soldiers of Savagery, Jenny Rose, and Master and Machine. …

The legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) will appear on the show in Atlanta and participate in the meet and greet. The wrestling world was buzzing after the announcement earlier this week that Morton and Gibson will face ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay and Mark Briscoe for the titles at Honor for All. 

I thought it was amazing when Matt and Jeff Hardy won the ROH World Tag Team Titles in 2017, 18 years after winning their first world tag team titles in WWE. But if the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express upset the Briscoes in Nashville, it would come 34 years after capturing their first world tag team titles in the NWA. The Briscoes were still in diapers. …

I’m anxious to see The Allure’s Angelina Love finally compete in her first one-on-one Women of Honor match. It certainly isn’t a tuneup match, as she’ll face former WOH World Champion Sumie Sakai in Atlanta. Sakai is the only WOH competitor with more in-ring experience than Love.

WOH World Champion Kelly Klein, who has been attacked repeatedly by The Allure and was pinned by Love in a six-woman tag match a couple months ago, will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on the match. …

I wonder if “The Maneater” Maria Manic will show up in Atlanta and/or Nashville. If she does, here’s my advice for the security team: run. …

An interesting six-man tag match has been signed for Atlanta, as Silas Young joins forces with CMLL stars Okumura and Felino to take on Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger, Eli Isom and Ryan Nova). Young, who sat in on commentary during the CMLL trios match at Summer Supercard in Toronto last week, reached out to Okumura and Felino about teaming up because he “has respect for all styles of wrestling.”

As viewers will see on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor” Wrestling,” Young has taken Josh Woods under his wing, and he said he wants Woods to be at ringside for the match to get an up-close view of what the CMLL veterans can do. ...

The following matches have just been announced for Honor for All in Nashville: The Bouncers versus Okumura and Felino, and Dalton Castle versus Isom. Also, Dak Draper will face Makita in a TPT first-round match prior to the start of the live stream broadcast. …

Already signed to compete on ROH’s Honor United tour in the UK in October are: Taven, the Briscoes, RUSH, ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor, LifeBlood (Bandido, Haskins and Williams) and Villain Enterprises (Marty Scurll, PCO, Brody King and Gordon). Villain Enterprises also has been announced for the meet and greets on all three tour stops. Stay tuned for more announcements regarding talent that has signed to compete and which other stars will participate in the meet and greets.

Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.