Final Battle is deceptively close, it’s safe to say that the promotion knows where it’s going with its storylines for the card. We don’t (yet) but we can make educated guesses. World champion Kevin Steen defending against the returning El Generico seems like the safe bet.
Or does it? In Generico’s absence ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare’ has been clashing with an increasingly ruthless Jay Lethal. After battling to a wild non-finish in Rahway, New Jersey on October 6th Steen demanded, and received, a ruling that he would not have to face Lethal in Ring of Honor again.
A fly in Steen’s ointment is the former ‘Black Machismo’s’ Survival of the Fittest victory. Winning that tournament guarantees Lethal an ROH title shot for the future, no matter what rulings have been made to the contrary. So Lethal has one last chance at taking the gold from Steen. Will he take that match at Final Battle or hold on to it until a prudent time in 2013?
It’s a puzzling situation. Most people are of the opinion that Lethal will defeat Steen when they next clash. If that were to happen at FB then it would mean the hostilities between Steen and Generico will resume in a non-title capacity. That’s a rivalry we’ve seen a lot of over the last few years. If it’s to start up again it really needs the ROH championship involved to keep it fresh and allow it a feeling if escalation. Steen and Generico clashing in non-championship bouts next year would be enjoyable but not fresh.
Having ‘The Generic Luchadore’ challenging Steen would reignite a hot programme and end the year on a high but would also leave Lethal with nothing obvious to do. Perhaps he could be booked to destroy a disposal mid-carder but that would seem a little wasteful considering the way he’s been built up over the last few months.
The option of a three-way isn’t out of the question but the dynamic would seem odd. Both Generico and Lethal have very personal issues with ‘Mr Wrestling’ but no real problems with each other (at the moment anyway). To weave those separate rivalries together would be jarring.
Personally I think Generico is the better choice of opponent. The match could be billed as a final encounter between the two, with a stipulation added that no matter who wins they won’t face one another in Ring of Honor until 2014. That would allow the company to benefit from the programme one more time without running the risk of tiring it out. Steen could then move back to a programme with Lethal next year and drop the title at the Anniversary Show or Supercard of Honor.
Alternatively Lethal could be left off the card and interfere in Generico v Steen or attack both men afterwards. His reasoning for doing this could be getting left off an important card and a man who hasn’t competed (in ROH anyway) in months getting a title shot over him. That would make interaction between Generico and Lethal natural and allow a three-way match to be built to for spring 2013.
Whatever Delirious and ROH management decide to go with it’s nice that it’s not obvious. Wrestling should be unpredictable. I’m pleased ROH seems to be getting back to that.