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Thread: ROH Revisited: A Totally Non-Corona Related Marketh Reviews Comeback

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    Re: ROH Revisited: A Totally Non-Corona Related Marketh Reviews Comeback

    Final Battle 2010
    Fight Without Honor
    Kevin Steen vs. El Generico

    At last, it all comes down to this. The Steenerico feud finally comes to an end, once and for all. Never again will these two former friends collide. Ever. Anywhere. Ever.

    I've been putting off rewatching this forever. I'm fond of this match for being a very satisfying conclusion to a very well-booked feud, which comes full circle a year later in a literary way - ending with the way it began. But I also remember that it goes heavy on the big spots and finisher kickouts, that I think I have less tolerance for now than in 2010. The excitement for this blowoff and the need for this match to deliver likely made me disregard any of that, but now I've slept on it for 9 and 1/2 years so I hope I don't sour on one of the biggest, most anticipated matches in ROH history.

    A match this personal, it's only natural it gets the Mask vs. Career stipulation because how could you buy the idea of them co-existing in ROH after this feud? Kevin Steen wears one of Steenerico's old shirts to rub it in El Generico's face. Generico's entrance is precluded by a melancholy piece of piano music, which is something I remember not actually digging. I think it's meant to signal the appearance of a new, dark, all-black Generico but it has a bit of pretention about it, I feel, and I don't think it was clear what they were going for. But the idea itself of Generico wearing all black, I approve, and this came about from Steen stealing his usual mask. Generico breaks the staredown by spitting on Steen and we get a hot start. This feud has seen Generico's personality evolve to show more of an aggressive edge, so he's going for weapons right away. Steen is already bleeding 2 minutes in from a chain-assisted Yakuza Kick. I'm fine with them going to weapons right away, that makes complete sense for the type of feud this is, but I wish they built up more before blading because it's not as impactful like this. Steen at least gets some "You Sick Fuck!" mileage out of it by wiping his blood over Generico.

    I'm a bit torn on Steen so far. On the one hand, his fan interactions are completely consistent with the character he's always been, but on the other, it's bugging me that in this feud-ender his attention is 50-50 between the fans and Generico. In the year-long feud, they've done a great job at saving Generico finally beating Steen in singles, so I'm fine with Steen being confident and taking his time torturing Generico but it seems off that he'd be taking his eyes off him since Generico has proven plenty times by now to be a formidable foe. Steen tears Generico's mask open at the eye and mocks him with the stolen mask. The visual of Generico bleeding through his twisted, torn mask is great and sells his struggle as we see him getting put through Hell. Steen is doing everything he can to be the ultimate heel and sometimes it works, sometimes it comes off as trying too hard. If he's gonna get away with it anywhere, it might as well be this match. Spots like him taking a Michinoku Driver on the edge of a ladder do work great though when they interrupt him being an asshole, so I can't fault that instance. It's insane the damage Steen has taken from ladders over the years, the Half-and-Half Suplex onto one is never not cringe-inducing.

    New York, although usually ROH's biggest crowd, was also one of its poorest during those post-Gabe years. They're not being their usual wanky selves here, they appreciate this feud as much as anyone, but the work Steenerico are doing deserve much louder and longer-lasting reactions. I think it's partly why Steen probably feels the need to play to them as much. Just when I near the point where I think they're making Steen look too superhuman by kicking out of a big ladder/table bump, a Package Piledriver and a Brainbuster on the apron, the latter actually has Steve Corino run in for the save. Yeah, it wouldn’t make sense for him and Colt Cabana to not have any involvement at all. It's short and sweet with them anyway. Todd Sinclair takes a table bump and Bryce Remsburg is KILLED by a Package Piledriver, big points toward trying to make this the most messy and chaotic match they can. Generico kicks out of another Package Piledriver, through a chair this time. Yeah, at this point it's getting to that overkill feeling for me. A nearfall that I do love though, because it's been teased for the entire feud, is Generico finally delivering a Brainbustah! to Steen (a gnarly one too, since they both tumble onto the floor) but Steen kicks out! Generico's reaction through his fucked-up mask really puts it over and they get a great pop. This takes us to the only other suitable conclusion for this feud, the favour returned for that chairshot. They don't milk it for as long as I thought they might’ve, which I'm glad for. The moment is given the weight it needs without lingering too long on Generico pausing for thought, because there's nothing to think about. It's just a last desperate, bullshit plea from Steen to delay the inevitable. No holding back, Generico whacks him good with the chair for the win. We all had the same idea how it would go down, but sometimes the predictable ones are predictable because they're simply the best.

    I forgot in the aftermath that Generico put the real mask back. That does feel more appropriate than the final images of this feud being him in a mask he only wore this one night. It's an emotional celebration, though I wouldn't put this quite on the level as when they won the tag belts, which surprised me. I think part of it is that for the match we just saw, Generico’s post-match selling didn’t feel on point. I think he should’ve stayed down for much longer. He collapses for about 10 seconds, then regains his adrenaline and pops back up. I wanted to see the epic brutality sold for much longer before the celebrating. It's an odd vibe where I think it was a smark crowd showing their appreciation for a lengthy, well-told story being concluded, rather than marking out and being totally sucked into the drama. I wonder if this had to be a year later in New York and if they could've gotten away with doing this same payoff on an earlier iPPV somewhere like Chicago, which I think is one of the hotter and a bit less smarky ROH crowds. Bookending this feud 1 year later on the same PPV in the same city with the same spot is all very nice and OCD, but I think if this feud lasted 9 months instead it would've felt less stretched out with extra gimmick matches towards the end, and still have been a classic with a maybe hotter blowoff. Were the details of being New York and Final Battle really that important?

    Thankfully, apart from one or two spots near the end, this wasn't as bonkers OTT as I worried it might be. It features enough drama and intensity that I can't accuse it of only being spots, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally engaged emotionally until right at the end. They absolutely nail the finish. The most important elements are Dark Generico, Generico fighting with a torn mask, Steen getting a Brainbustah!, and the climactic chairshot - everything else could've been changed a number of ways and probably not made much difference to me. But this achieved its purpose and didn't come close to tripping at the finish line of a classic feud. It wraps up the story of Generico overcoming the ultimate betrayal of his best friend, both emotionally, physically and competitively - with the help of genuine best friend, Cabana. Steen's story carries on as his own issues clearly go beyond just hating Generico. ROH got a couple of good matches out of revisiting this again later, but I never thought it necessary and it was just hollow. A creatively-troubled time for ROH resorted in them going back to what worked in the not-too-distant past. The Fight Without Honor is the true finale. You don't need Steen vs. Generico again in ROH.
    Last edited by Marketh; 05-25-2020 at 08:36 AM.

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