Chris Hero vs Eddie Kingston – ROH Final Battle 2009

Chris Hero vs Eddie Kingston

Fight Without Honor

12/19/2009

Manhattan Center, Manhattan, New York, United States

(reviewed 05/24/2019) Easily the best of their ROH matches, not that it’s saying much. They finally get the room to stretch their legs, both with a no DQ stipulation as well as a longer run time that isn’t following a marquee match. Manhattan’s way hotter than they were the last time around, being split about 50/50 for either man. The commentary is still awful and in hitting harder on some stuff they mentioned at Glory by Honor they actually do a lot to undermine this feud. They make it out like Hero prevented Kingston from getting into ROH full time after the ROH vs CZW blowoff and also harp on the idea that Kingston just wants to prove to the world (and his hometown) that he’s a top flight wrestler, which flies in the face of what these guys are doing to each other. ROH, especially by 2009, is so neutered of intensity in a dozen different ways that a match like this barely has a chance of coming across like it should, so this commentary really does damage to what should be a hard-hitting blowoff.

Thankfully this is still a hard-hitting blowoff as far as the action is concerned. Once again there’s not a ton of weapon usage but they get some mileage out of a steel chain and guard rail. Hero’s not nearly the same heel in 2009 as he was in 2006 but a great “look, I’m a great wrestler, please keep booking me” selling performance from Kingston does a lot to make this feel bigger than the midcard standout it is. On top of that we’ve got the usual thudding blows, along with some surprisingly great slams and throws. Soon Hero drags a bit of the famous ROH barricade into the ring, leading to one of the most ill-advised spots in indie history.

Crowd is HUGE into Kingston after he kicks out of that but these guys fail to keep that momentum going and do too much afterward. Both guys hit and reverse their own moves, there’s some interference from Sara Del Rey, and eventually Kingston connects with a rolling elbow while wearing Hero’s loaded elbow pad to come out on top. They present it as something of a big deal but this is it for Kingston in ROH. I think they taped one last match to air after this on HDNet but soon he’s found unconscious backstage at a show and it’s hinted that the Kings of Wrestling attacked him but he never shows up again. Real bummer of an end to their feud, as Hero’s off to WWE not too long after this. Thankfully, I think the two matches they have left act as a pretty neat epilogue to their story.

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN VS TAKER FROM WM25: As much as I like this match and as much as I adore this feud, I have to give it to Shawn/Taker here. They’re not exactly pulling punches but Hero and Kingston don’t go at it with the same viciousness as before and combined with the general ROH malaise and a bloated finishing stretch it makes for a fairly underwhelming match. Shawn/Taker isn’t much better in many of those ways, sure, but on the whole it’s a far more polished affair that at least has an understanding of how they translate that feud to that audience. The difference isn’t huge or anything but once again late period ROH misses the magic of what makes things enjoyable.

VERDICT: Barely worse than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25

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