ROH Death Before Dishonor is the first supercard event for Ring Of Honor since they were officially bought by All Elite Wrestling head Tony Khan took place this past weekend with Death Before Dishonor. In a show that saw all current ROH championships up for grabs — including a legendary 2-out-of-3 falls tag team main event — the reborn promotion impressed fans with one hell of a supercard. We’ve got the rundown of what went down on Saturday night below.
2-out-of-3 Falls Match: FTR def. The Briscoes (retain ROH World Tag Championships)
Topping a match that was named by many as a Match of The Year candidate was a tall order, but the red-hot FTR duo of Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood, plus opponents Mark & Jay Briscoe went above and beyond to live up to such high expectations. Fans were not disappointed as these two hated rivals put on a hell of a main event to cap off Death Before Dishonor.
The match started off methodically with both teams feeling each other out, but quickly intensified as the race to get the first fall in this 2-out-of-3 Falls bout was on. It would be the Briscoes who would strike first after striking down Dax with a particularly-brutal Doomsday Device to get the first fall of the match.
Dax was in a bad way, even after the rest period, as his chest was bleeding due to repeated chops. “Dem Boys” maintained domination throughout as they kept Harwood isolated from Wheeler on more than one occasion. Just as it appeared that Dax finally would get a tag after a superplex, Mark Briscoe intercepted and pulled Cash off the apron. However, Cash would eventually get the hot tag and unleash hell on both Briscoe brothers.
FTR evened things up with their Big Rig finisher as the match turned into all-out war between these two teams. The fight spilled to the outside, and a referee bump soon ensued to cause even more chaos. Jay Briscoe got a Jay-Driller in for the visual three-count, but that wouldn’t matter much with the ref still out cold… same goes for FTR’s Big Rig, which they landed with precision.
The Briscoes looked to hit yet another Doomsday Device on Dax, but Cash swooped in and with a super back suplex on Mark Briscoe through the Spanish announce table outside, leaving only Dax and Jay to fight it out in this match’s closing moments. With this epic encounter reaching its 43rd minute, Dax planted Jay with a spike piledriver from the middle rope to get the decisive fall and help his team retain the ROH World Tag Titles.
After a show of respect between FTR and the Briscoes, plus a babyface promo from the victors, Blackpool Combat Club’s Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler YUTA appeared at the top of the ramp, apparently staking thier claim for the ROH Tag Titles.
As for this main event match, it built on everything that the first FTR/Briscoes encounter created and took it up several notches. This match is yet another mark of excellence for FTR, who have ruled the roost in tag team wrestling for this year, producing seven-star excellence everywhere they go.
Credit must also go to commentators Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman, not just for this main event match (which they called excellently), but for the entire show. Their style of commentary was perfect for the action that unfolded in that they called every move in the ring, but also managed to tell the stories that were unfolding as it happened.
Samoa Joe def. Jay Lethal (retains ROH World Television Championship)
Going into this World Television Title match, a lot of the build largely had to fall on Jay Lethal and allies Sonjay Dutt & Satnam Singh to build the feud on AEW programming.
The action didn’t wait for the bell to ring as Joe and Lethal battled on the outside. However, Satnam Singh quickly emerged to turn the tide in Lethal’s favor, as the dastardly duo tried to injure Joe’s shoulder with a chair attack.
Once the match began proper, Lethal attempted to keep Joe on his toes with a relentless assault and nearly had the match won with his Lethal Injection after escaping out of a Muscle Buster. Joe, however, kicked out at two on that instance.
Sonjay Dutt appeared late in the match to provide a distraction for Lethal to clobber Joe with the World Television title belt. Shockingly, that wouldn’t be enough to put Joe away in this one. After a furious sequence of reversals, Joe ended up making Lethal submit to the Coquina Clutch to retain his ROH Television Title in short order.
Mercedes Martinez def. Serena Deeb (retains ROH Women’s World Championship)
Perhaps representing Mercedes Martinez’s most fiercest challenger to date, Serena Deeb certainly can’t be faulted for not trying her best to wrest away the ROH Women’s World Title from the dominating champion.
Deeb utilized her full submission arsenal against Mercedes in her bid to win this match, but the champ weathered the storm she was faced with at every turn.
Mercedes had her own submissions to answer with, utilizing her Brass City Sleeper submission at one point, which forced Serena to literally bite her way out of it. This was the opening Deeb needed to mount a bit of a comeback, but she couldn’t get the Serenity Lock in properly.
The champion would lift Deeb up for the OG Drop, but that wouldn’t be enough to end this match. One final Brass City Sleeper would be enough for Mercedes to retain her ROH Women’s World Championship in an excellent 17-minute match.
Post-match, the two competitors adhered to the Code of Honor and showed respect for a what was a match to enjoy.
Rush def. Dragon Lee (The Battle of Brothers)
Billed as “The Battle of Brothers”, this match between Rush and Dragon Lee proved to be as every bit as bitterly contested as a brotherly battle would be.
This was evenly-matched from start to finish, with Lee and Rush having each other well-scouted, but that didn’t mean we’d get a shortage of high-flying offense as a result. Notable high spots included Rush intercepting Dragon Lee on the apron to send him flying with an overhead suplex to the ringside area, as a scary suicide dive earlier on by Lee that sent him and Rush crashing into the timekeeper’s table.
The frenetic final half of the match saw Lee kick out of Rush’s Bull’s Horn dropkick for a dramatic two-count. He’d respond with a tree-of-woe stomp that Rush would kick out at a mere one-count. The running knee by Dragon Lee wasn’t enough to finish things. Lee tried to lift his brother up, but Rush collapsed to the canvas, apparently knocked loopy by the knee. However, Rush revealed his hand and tricked his own brother with a cheapshot before finally getting one last Bull’s Horn for the victory.
This Battle of Brothers did not disappoint and brought the crowd to their feet on more than one occasion. Dragon Lee’s strong showing in this contest is certain to give him strong consideration to be a part of this new RoH landscape.
Wheeler YUTA def. Daniel Garcia (retains ROH Pure Championship)
The bitter war between Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society spilled onto Death Before Dishonor with young lions Wheeler YUTA and Daniel Garcia renewing their rivalry in a hotly-contested Pure Championship match.
Fans were treated to a decidedly technical showdown as YUTA and Garcia got down to business, so to speak. Lots of smooth submission and transitions between the two
Garcia would burn a rope break to escape a Liontamer by Wheeler at the fourteen-minute mark of the match. He also ended up using a Regal Stretch on Wheeler as a way to mock William Regal (who was sat on commentary for this bout).
However, YUTA would pick up the victory with a bit of guile as he used the very same Seatbelt pin that Chuck Taylor taught him to trap Garcia long enough for the three-count and the successful defense of the Pure Championship.
Post-match, Garcia refused to accept defeat honorably and flipped off YUTA before walking to the back.
Dalton Castle & The Boys def. The Righteous (new ROH Six-Man Tag Champions)
Dalton Castle brought his Boys (now known as Brandon and Brent) to take on Vincent, Dutch, and Bateman of The Righteous in a bid to become two-time ROH Six-Man Tag Champions.
While Vincent (currently on Impact Wrestling as part of Honor No More) and his Righteous cohorts gave their best efforts in this match, it would be the flamboyant Castle and the Boys that shone brightest here.
Castle got the victory courtesy of his Bang-a-Rang finisher, securing the Six-Man Tag Title for his team, giving fans another satisfactory moment after an exhilarating opener.
Claudio Castagnoli def. Jonathan Gresham (new ROH World Champion)
There was a lot of shock from ROH fans when it was announced that this ROH World Championship match would be kicking off Death Before Dishonor, with Jonathan Gresham out to prove that he’s ready to lead Ring of Honor in this new era against Blackpool Combat Club’s Claudio Castagnoli.
While Gresham aggressively went after Castagnoli’s knee to gain the advantage, the challenger responded by targeting the back area of Gresham as this match wore on. The Swiss Superman managed to stun his foe with his barrage of uppercuts, which got more fiercer and fiercer in the match’s climactic moments.
In the end, Castagnoli would triumph by battering Gresham with repeated elbows (a Blackpool Combat Club specialty, it would seem) before lifting him up for the Ricola Bomb for the 1, 2, 3. Confetti rained down from the rafters as Castagnoli basked in the glory of his incredible title win.
Certain other places might’ve passed up on Castagnoli then, now, and forever when he was there, but there was no way that ROH wouldn’t be crowning him as their new world Champion when given the chance. Now comes the chance for Claudio to shine on the stage that the “new” Ring of Honor has given him, and I’m certain he’ll excel in that opportunity.
On a much more unfortunate note, it appears that the choice of this match opening Death Before Dishonor was by design, as Fightful Select reported that Gresham asked for his release from ROH/AEW, over an apparent “lack of communication” from Tony Khan and company, as well as what he felt as “disrespect” over the direction of his character and the time that his title match would be getting.
Zero Hour Pre-Show Results
- Colt Cabana def. Anthony Henry via pinfall (10:00) after a moonsault in the opener.
- The Trustbusters (Ariya Daivari & Slim J) def. Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger & Eli Isom) (5:30) via pinfall with consecutive diving splashes and frog splashes from Slim and Daivari on Isom for the victory.
- Prince Nana declared in a backstage interview that he purchased Tully Blanchard Enterprises from its namesake, quickly rechristening them as The Embassy.
- Brian Cage & Gates of Agony (Kaun & Toa Liona) def. Alex Zayne, Tony Deppen, and Blake Christian via pinfall (11:35) after Cage & Toa hit a double team maneuver on Deppen for the win.
- Willow Nightingale def. Allysin Kay via pinfall (7:50) after the corner cannonball and the gutwrench powerbomb for the win.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.