The match between Cody Rhodes and Jay Lethal was announced as a “dream match”, something fans never thought they would see. One of Ring of Honor’s top guys, “The Best First Generation Wrestler”, was going to face “The Prince of Pro Wrestling” Cody (Rhodes). Lethal has been a former ROH World Champion, while Cody since leaving WWE has been blowing up the indie circuit since his departure from WWE earlier this year. Cody has won the GFW NEX*GEN Championship and the WCPW Internet Championship both in the last month. This is a match that just a few months ago had seemed impossible but was now on Ring of Honor’s biggest show of the year, Final Battle.
Before the match started Lethal put Cody way over with a promo saying Lethal would take any chance to show the world that he was the best wrestler. Jay went on to tell Cody this was his chance to step out from any shadow he might feel he was behind, in front of the best wrestling fans in the world. Lethal asked Cody to be at his best to prove Ring of Honor was the best in the world. Lethal ended by saying he was the best in the world and he proved it every time he got in the ring and he was going to prove it again at Final Battle.
Brandi Rhodes, Cody’s wife and personal ring announcer, introduced him as “the star that left them in the dust. Roads where we’re going we don’t need roads and if you’re not down with that well I’ve got two words for you…” and then the crowd responded with that oh so famous line, “SUCK IT!” Cody then walked down to the ring and was greeted with a huge ovation and streamers.
Lethal came out wearing a vest copying Cody’s famous instagram list of people he wanted to face post WWE. Lethal’s list had checks next to; Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Del Rio and Jay Briscoe but no check next to Cody Rhodes name which was last on the list.
Before that match began The Addiction cut a promo to “make their presence felt”, they were kindly asked by the fans to leave via chants. They continued to put over Jay Lethal and talked about the importance of Dusty Rhodes to wrestling. They then sat down on commentary and the match started with the Code Of Honor.
The match begins slow with Cody and Jay testing each other’s strength and some collar and elbow lockups. Neither one was able to gain an upper hand on the other. Lethal started to get the upper hand with an armdrag and a dropkick but only gets a two count. Lethal tries to suplex Cody but Cody resists the two go back and forth until Cody gets Lethal up in the air and holds him there for 10 seconds slamming him down hard. Cody starts to pick up steam, bouncing off the ropes and hitting Jay with a classic Goldust punch. Cody then misses a Disaster Kick and gets hit with a Lethal dropkick.
Cody regains control and starts working on the left arm of Jay Lethal. Jay throws Cody outside the ring but Cody catches himself and tries to skin the cat when he is met by another dropkick by Lethal, knocking him to the outside. Out there Cody is met by 2 suicide dives but Cody scouts the third and is on the apron when Lethal tries to hit it. Cody hits Lethal with the disaster kick, knocking Lethal to the ground. Cody then bounces from the second to the third rope and leaps down to Jay Lethal on the floor. Cody rolls Lethal back in the ring and goes for the pin but only gets a two count.
The two trade irish whips, then accidentally knock heads. Cody hits another Disaster Kick. They trade punches then chops then punches again. Cody hits a big clothesline but Lethal hit the Lethal Combination for a two count. The two go back and forth until Lethal gets Cody up in the torture rack, drops him, then puts him in a cross face. Cody gets out and gets Jay into an Indian Deathlock, Jay gets the rope break and Cody let’s go. The two irish whip each other around when Cody hits a big sunset flip for a two count, he gets up and hits a big clothesline for another two count. When Jay kicks out Cody looks frustrated with the ref. Cody goes up top for a moonsault but misses. Lethal goes up for the Hail To The King but Cody is up too quick. Jay instead hits a huge cutter on Cody planting him hard in the middle of the ring. Lethal goes back up to hit Hail to the King but when he does Cody rolls him up for a two count with a surprise crucifix.
Both are up and Jay gets a few good kicks on Cody, then Jay turns his back. Cody pushes Lethal into the ref then kicks him hard in the face, Lethal bumps heads with referee. This causes the ref to miss a low into a Cross Rhodes by Cody, the fans boo as Cody turns full heel in celebration of his first Ring of Honor win. Cody then mocked the Code of Honor and flips off a reciprocating Jay Lethal. The Addiction head down to the ring to teach Cody a lesson but Cody runs away flipping the judges table and throwing a fan’s beer at the ref. Just when you thought he was gone Cody came back out and pushed commentator Steve Corino. Steve went to chase him but Cody pranced away and left The Addiction to try to calm down Steve. What a way to make an impression on your debut.
The match told a great story from start to finish. At first the two went blow for blow, trading leads and constantly matching each other. They were both playing up to the audience and letting a good slow build to the match. Both played faces really well which made the turn by Cody so much more surprising. At first Cody just seemed frustrated but then went around pissing everyone he possibly could off. Cody will be at the next few Ring of Honor tapings so it will be interesting to see how his story develops after such an infamous debut.