It’s been a while, but it’s time to return to where Honor Lives with Ring of Honor’s signature Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view. There will be a ton of title matches, none more important than the ROH World title match between current champion Johnathan Gresham and Claudio Castagnoli, getting his first major single title opportunity for the first time in ROH.
There is a lot of action to cover at the Paul Tsongas Center in Lowell, MA, with an electric crowd anticipating what the new version of Ring of Honor will offer under the guidance of Tony Khan. Granted, they had one other PPV in Supercard of Honor, but this will be the show, I believe, that will set the tone for future ROH shows. Ian Riccaboni and and Caprice Coleman have the call as we start the…
Pre-Show Zero Hour
And your First Match for this hour is…
Colt Cabana vs. Anthony Henry (with JD Drake)
Fans are solidly behind ROH OG “Boom Boom” Cabana, and Henry makes his debut in ROH as part of The Workhorsemen stable. Good showing by Henry handling most of the offense, but Cabana is able to take on the upstart. Drake tried to interfere, but it is for naught. The end has Cabana land the Moonsault to end the match.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Colt Cabana
We have a video package for the ROH tag team title match later tonight
Man, that’s just goosebumps.
The Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger and Eli Isom) vs. The Trust Busters (Ari Daivari and Slim J)
I do miss hearing the crowd chant “Cheese-bur-ger.” But this is not his night, as the end comes with a twisting crossbody by Slim J followed by a frog splash by Daivari for the cover
Your Winner via Pinfall: The Trust Busters
Lexi Nair is backstage with another ROH favorite, Prince Nana(?!), and he recently purchased Tully Blanchard Enterprises. This will be interesting during the next match, as it is…
The Embassy (Brian Cage, Jasper Kaun and Toa Liona, with Tully Blanchard) vs. Alex Zayne, Blake Christian, and Tony Deppen
This is just showcase for how dominant The Embassy (another staple of the ROH of old) will be under the Khan regime. Big move has Kaun hit a backbreaker to Zayne on the top turnbuckle. Zayne, Christian, and Deppen make the case to get the crowd invested with high risk maneuvers, but The Embassy signals the end with a facebuster/psycho knee to Deppen for the Pinfall.
Your Winners via Pinfall: The Embassy
Now it’s a video package for the Pure Title between Wheeler Yuta and Daniel Garcia:
Finally it is…
Allysin Kay vs. Willow Nightingale
I’m a fan of both women and they are both evenly matched, power for power. Kay gets a rope assisted neckbreaker on Nightingale and takes over on offense, but Willow attempts a comeback with The Pounce (Period), and gets the Babe with the (gutwrench) Power Bomb for the three count.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Willow Nightingale
There is a fantastic video package of the ROH World Title, and both Gresham and Castagnoli make the case why they should hold the top title.
Still not sold on this PPV? I feel sorry for you.
And now we head right into…
And the Voice of ROH, Bobby Cruise, announces that your First Match is for…
ROH World Championship: Jonathan Gresham (with Prince Nana) (c) vs. Claudio Castagnoli (with William Regal)
Uh, okay. Apparently Riccaboni and Coleman explain this was a last minute decision since the tag match later on with be a double main event. I’m not big on the main title starting first, but…show me what you got, ROH.
This is a beautiful technical showcase, with Gresham utilizing his prowess and Castagnoli really emphasizing his power. Castagnoli takes Gresham on a spin (literally) in the ring for thirty seconds, and fans chant “Let’s Go Gresham/ CLAU-DEE-O!”, and the majority are behind the Swiss Superman.
The Octopus keeps Castagnoli neutralized and grounded, but He is able to utilize his size and strength to keep the champ grounded. Chops and European uppercuts fly, and both men go for pin attempts to no avail. Castagnoli goes for his patented UFO, but Gresham fights ouT and he traps the leg for a suplex on Castagnoli and pins for a two count. Castagnoli with a clothesline and he goes for the hammer and anvil elbows, and gets a Riccola powerbomb and it’s a one, two, and three.
Your Winner, And New ROH World Champion: Claudio Castagnoli
Castagnoli is overcome with emotion, and then raises the belt high. Gresham and Castagnoli shakes hands, adhering to the Code of Honor. Castagnoli celebrates with the fans, and no one deserves the honor (pardon the pin) more this night than Castagnoli. Strange he was never given that opportunity in another promotion.
Sorry, folks. My COVID cough is acting up.
Lexi Nair is with Daniel Garcia, and he says he’s not worthy of the PURE title. He wants to take the title and doesn’t care about the rules, but he’ll take it back to AEW and then break it into a thousand pieces
And now for six man action for the…
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Righteous (Vincent, Bateman, and Dutch) (c) (with Vita VonStarr) vs. Dalton Castle and The Boys(Brandon Tate and Brent Tate)
Big pop for Castle and The Boys, while The Righteous come out in all white (and before Labor Day, those monsters!)
Castle and Vincent start out but Vincent takes is to the Peacock. Castle gets energized by The Boys and the fans on the outside for a breather, and then goes to Bateman. The Boys take over but Dutch puts a stop to that, and Bateman tags in and works over Brent, but gets the tag to Castle and gets a basement DDT to Bateman, and then they clear house, and he sends the Boys (literally) to the outside to crash The Righteous.
Von Starr gets on top to distract Castle and The Boys, and The Righteous return the receipt, with the big man Dutch pancaking everyone to the outside. Vincent delivers with the Death From Above swanton to pin, and Castle breaks up the count. The match deteriorates into chaos, but Castle gets Bangarang on Bateman for the win.
Your Winner, And New ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions: Dalton Castle and The Boys
Sanjay Dutt with Jay Lethal and Satnam Singh decked in white, and he explains in Indian culture that signifies attending a funeral. Lethal says for Samoa Joe, the Choice is death or dishonor, and the choice was made for him
Ricabboni goes over the Pure Rules:
- Every match begins and ends with the Code of Honor handshake.
- Each wrestler has three rope breaks to stop submission holds and pinfalls. After a wrestler exhausts his rope breaks, submission and pin attempts on or under the ropes by his opponent are legal.
- Closed-fist punches to the face are not permitted; only open-handed slaps or chops to the face are allowed. Punches to other parts of the body are permitted, excluding low blows. The first use of a closed fist will get a warning; the second will be a disqualification.
- As in standard ROH matches, there will be a 20-count when a wrestler is on the floor.
- Outside interference will result in automatic termination from the roster for the wrestler that interferes.
So let’s go to the…
ROH Pure Championship: Wheeler Yuta (with William Regal) (c) vs. Daniel Garcia
Garcia comes out in maroon trunks like Danielson and Regal of old for some mind games. Regal doesn’t take the bait, and Yuta is focused and firmly in the drivers seat with a facelock, but Garcia dumps him outside the ring to the floor. Outside the ring, Garcia shows disregard and throws him to the guardrails to inflict more damage. He sends Yuta back in the ring to cover for a two count. Yuta gets back on track with a single leg crab and transitions to a bow and arrow submission. He then goes to a couple of German suplex, and then Yuta gets a waistlock, but Garcia bites his ear to break the hold.
Garcia tosses the champ around using a cravat, and sets him up top. Yuta sends him off and gets a drop kick. Both men go toe to toe and they both land a double clothesline and they’re both down. The ref starts the count, but they come back to a vertical stance and they are in a slap fight where Yuta gets the best of Garcia. He goes to the Blackpool Combat Club staple of hammer and anvil elbows, and then Garcia returns the receipt with a choke, but Yuta rolls to a pin for a two count. Garcia nails with a Saito suplex, and Yuta returns back and transitions to a crossface, and Garcia reverses to a cloverleaf. Now Yuta gets him into a bulldog choke, and then Garcia reverses to Regal Stretch and he gets out of the submission. Yuta slaps on a Lion Tamer, and Garcia gets a rope break (the first of the night).
Fans are chanting “This is Wrestling “ rightly so, as this is a back and forth match, and it’s anyone’s game. Garcia sets up Yuta for a submission, and he spits in his face. Garcia is nonplussed, but Yuta reverses to a pin to retain.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Wheeler Yuta
Yuta offers a handshake to adhere to the Code of Honor, and Garcia says Yuta is number one…in his own way.
Because brothers gotta fight, here is…
Rush (with Jose the Assistant) vs. Dragon Lee
Both men were members of La Facción Ingobernable at the end of the previous incarnation of ROH. This is happening because…who cares! I need some lucha love right now.
The Code of Honor is adhered, followed by a hug. It’s a feeling out process by both men, and Rush takes it to his little brother. Lee returns the favor by sending him to the corner and kicks his leg out, but Rush sends him out with a tope con hilo, and gives a bow to the crowd. Rush is anything but tranquilo to Lee. He goes for the Bulls Horns, but pulls up for a small kick because big brothers can be douches (if you’re a younger brother, you know what I speak of).
Lee sends Rush outside and follows with his own top, and then a tope suicida that explodes the announcer table on the outside. Lee with a double stomp to cover, but gets a two count. Lee punts his brother, and El Toro Blanco gets fired up. Now both men light up with chops, and neither are giving an inch to the fans delight. Lee runs in the corner, and Rush sends outside and brings him back with a superplex to pin for a two count.
On the ring apron, both men trade blows, and Lee gets a pump one and Rush manages to get a German suplex and Lee lands with a thud to the floor. Lee returns with a huracanrana from the ring to the floor and both men down as the ref makes the 20 count (because it’s different in ROH). Both men enter at the nineteen count, and they swing for the fences. Rush gets Lee with a back suplex to the corner and follows wih the Bulls Horns for a close two count. Lee nails with a double stomp and gets a two count. He goes for a powerbomb for a one count, and then he tries his Incinerator for one, two…so close. Now Rush lands with an elbow and then sends Lee to the corner for a second Bulls Horns for the three count.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Rush
Now let’s give the women a spotlight with the…
ROH Women’s World Championship: Mercedes Martinez (c) vs. Serena Deeb
Deeb puts on a wrestling clinic to the fans delight but the champ is not giving in. Martínez fights out with a boot to the corner followed by a basement dropkick. Martínez takes the fight outside, and gets Deeb on her shoulders, but she fights out and spears her, and both women are the worse for wear. Deeb gets Martínez in a dragon sleeper up top to a diamond dust stunner for a two count. Martínez fights back with a half and half suplex, and then gets her up top. She goes to an avalanche German suplex, but Deeb fights off and Martínez with a modified hanging dragon sleeper. Deeb knocks off and then gets her in the Tree of Woe to a dropkick to her sternum.
Deeb gets her in an abdominal stretch and then climbs to the Deeb-top submission but Martínez powers out and gets a pin for a two count. She goes for an armbar, but Deeb blocks the submission hold. Martínez and Deeb exchanging thrusting heels to each other, and Martínez gets a knee to knock her out. Now Martínez rushes, and gets Deeb with a German suplex that gets all of Deeb’s neck and head in a scary spot. Martínez goes for the kill, and Deeb collapses. She goes for a surfboard to a dragon sleeper, and Deeb block and bites her arm.
Deeb with a flash swinging neckbreaker and then a tornado DDT and follows with the Serenity Now lock, but Martínez rolls to a pin and Deeb breaks the hold. Deeb rams her knee to the mat to soften it up, and attempts an ankle lock, but Martínez send her crashing into the corner. Martínez gets a Superkick and then a Razors Edge to cover for a close two count. She goes for the surfboard setup again, and now she locks the dragon sleeper and Deeb has no choice but to tap out.
Your Winner via Submission, And Still ROH Women’s World Champion: Mercedes Martinez
The Code of Honor is adhered as both women hug it out.
There is a video package going over the feud between Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe:
Now for a match seventeen years in the making for the…
ROH World Television Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Jay Lethal
Lethal sends Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh to the back. As Joe enters, Lethal goes right at the champ, and the hasn’t officially started as Lethal dives on Joe. But the Samoan Submission Machine takes him down, and as fans chant for “Joe”, he sets a table up but Singh come back to take him out. Lethal gets a chair on his taped arm and then sends it crashing to a ring post. He throws him in the ring, but the ref ejects Singh to the back and *now* the bell rings, but the damage has been done.
Joe fires back, showing some life, and we get classic signature moves from Joe to his former protégé. Lethal drapes Joe’s arm on the top rope to add to his injury and then lands a missile dropkick to his shoulder for a two count. Lethal works on arm and shoulder to take away Joe’s offense, but he knocks him out and then he goes a tope suicida to knock the breath out of Lethal. He rolls him back in the ring to cover for a two count.
Fans chant, “Let’s go, Joe!”, and he goes for a Muscle Buster, but Lethal wriggles out to land the Lethal Injection to a get a two count. He send Joe to the corner and goes for a splash, but Joe sends him down with a uranage. Joe attempts the Muscle Buster, and Dutt runs out to distract. Joe turns his attention to the former Playa for the Himalayas as Lethal hits him with the belt, and then he covers for one, two…he kicks out. He goes for another Lethal injection, but Joe reverses to the Kokina Clutch. Lethal rolls him up to a pin, but Joe goes back to the Clutch dead center of the ring, and Lethal finally taps out.
Your Winner via Submission, And Still ROH World Television Champion: Samoa Joe
There are plugs for the upcoming AEW Fight for the Fallen shows coming up on Dynamite and Rampage next week.
But now we go to your Main Event, and it is a…
Two-out-of-Three-Falls match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship: FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) (c) vs. The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe)
We are treated to boxing style intros by Bobby Cruise to start, and the Fans chant “Let’s Go Bris-coes/ FTR!”, with fans heavily in favor of the Top Guys.
All four men eye each other in a stare down as they adhere to The Code of Honor. Harwood and Mark start out in a collar and elbow to a standstill, but Mark gets the better, and now fans are behind “Dem Boys.” Harwood goes back on the attack, but Mark is still in control of the pace. Harwood gets a wristlock and tags Wheeler to keep Mark grounded. Mark comes back with some Redneck Kung Fu and then he tags in Jay and now he and Harwood battle it out. Jay and Harwood go hold for hold, and Jay gets a pin for a two count.
Harwood and Wheeler go outside to rethink strategy, and a doctor is nearby to ensure he’s okay. Wheeler in and now he and Jay go nose to nose, and they start swinging the lumber. Wheeler with a knee to the sternum and then a suplex, and now the Briscoes rethink their strategy. Jay goes back in and FTR isolate with quick double team moves. A Tag to Mark and he and Jay with their own double team magic with a double shoulder tackle
Mark lands with a suplex to Wheeler and he and Jay keep him isolated in the corner. Wheeler gets a desperation powerslam to Mark and tags in Harwood, and he cleans house. Two German suplexes to Jay, and Mark breaks up the pin attempt to go for a rollup for a two count. Jay attempts the Jay Driller on Harwood, but he ducks into a DDT for a two count. Jay flips Harwood into the corner and The Briscoes land the Doomsday Device for the first pin.
Winners of First Fall: The Briscoes
Both teams reset, but Jay gets distracted by the “FTR” chants, and gets rolled up by Harwood for a two count. Outside the ring, Mark lights up his chest with chops, and now Jay is tagged in and he sends Harwood outside to the barricades. Cruise announces 20 minutes into the match with forty minutes time remaining, and Harwood is bleeding from the chops to his chest.
Harwood gets a desperation back drop to Mark, but Mark tags Jay to he cuts off Wheeler. Harwood fights back and sends him to the top turnbuckle with an avalanche back suplex. Both men are down and Harwood crawls to his corner, but Mark knocks Wheeler off, and The Briscoes deliver with the Redneck Boogie signature team move, but only get a two count. Harwood gets the hot tag to Wheeler and he is a Top Guy En Fuego, and gets a lariat to Mark followed by a brain buster for a two count.
Mark sets up Redneck Boogie, but Harwood grabs Jay and Wheeler nails with a Gory Special for a two count. All four men brawl on the outside, and Coleman pleads to all the men, “No! Go the the Spanish table, not us!” Ha!
Jay clocks Wheeler with the timekeeper bell, and Mark covers him for a close two count. Jay with a DVD followed by a Froggy Bow by Mark. Jay covers but Harwood pulls him off. FTR isolate Jay and they deliver the Big Rig for the second pin.
Your Winners of the Second Fall: FTR
With both men at one apiece, the fans are on their feet chanting, “Fight forever!*clap clap*clap clap clap*” Mark is in the ring and he and Wheeler are both bleeding from the forehead trading blows. Mark sends him to the outside and gets a suplex to Harwood. Mark nails with a uranage on the apron but Harwood fights out. Mark comes back with some more Redneck Kung Fu and a blockbuster from the ring apron to the floor.
Harwood and Jay battle in the middle but Harwood gets a Piledriver for a two count. Jay sets Harwood up for Doomsday Device, but Wheeler pushes Mark off the turnbuckle. The ref gets accidentally clocked by Harwood, and now the Briscoes take advantage with Jay landing the Jay Driller, but no one is there to count the pin. The Briscoes go for Doomsday again, but Wheeler pushes off Mark for the top and FTR land a flash Big Rig. Harwood pins while Wheeler sends the ref in for the one, two…so close! Wheeler is in the corner with Jay, but Mark shoves off Harwood and it’s a second Doomsday Device for the one, two…no!
Wheeler and Mark swing for the fences to the outside, and Harwood and Jay in the ring. Cruise announces twenty minutes left, and both men leave it in the ring with Harwood in a clothesline for a close two count, but Jay in a modified crossface. Wheeler goes to help, but Mark in another crossface, and FTR hang on to avoid a tap out. Mark climbs up top, but Wheeler sends him crashing to a table set up on the outside. Jay Driller connects to Harwood and he covers for the one, two…he kicks out. Jay goes back to the well, but Harwood is dead weight at this point. He and Jay battle on the top turnbuckle but Harwood lands an avalanche spike pile driver and covers for the one, two, and three!
Your Winners in Two Out of Three Falls, and Still ROH Tag Team Champions: FTR
FTR celebrate with the fans. Wheeler gets a mic and they ask The Briscoes to join them in the ring to congratulate the, on a hard-fought match. They adhere to the Code, but then head out dejected. The Top Guys have more to say, as Harwood states they fought like an eight year old girl (a nod to his daughter’s medical scare), and says you can call him a mark but he loves professional wrestling, and the fans reciprocate the love.
Afterwards, Castagnoli and Yuta come out with Regal, in a nod of respect. Not sure if that is a challenge for the tag titles, but we will speculate another day, as the show fades to black.
TOP PHOTO: Action from the Briscoes versus FTR. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com
I wasn’t sold on Supercard of Honor, and came into this PPV with some trepidation. While I don’t agree the ROH World title should have started the live show, it was the right call in light of the tag team match The Briscoes/FTR did to tear down the house.
This was bell to bell action, and there was not a single bad match match on the card. ROH is proving under Tony Khan’s guidance that Honor Lives.
For now, see you whenever the next Ring of Honor PPV is.