RING OF HONOR
Death Before Dishonor 2018
September 28th, 2018
We get the hype package for the card as we go live from Las Vegas, NV, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary. They run down the card, including 4 title matches tonight, and a 10-man tag between CHAOS and the Bullet Club. The announcers then take us into out first match…
KENNY KING vs JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER
I still am in awe of how Liger has kept his career going for 30+ years – he was one of the first international stars that first caught my attention in the late 90s, and to hear him still getting pops like this around the world gives me joy. King enters second on some “red carpet” in front of a hometown crowd.
They lock up in the middle to start it off with Liger getting the advantage. Liger and King feel each other out, with Liger getting one of his unique ground holds before King makes it to the ropes. Lockup again, Liger takes King down into a grounded octopus keeping the submission pressure on King, King using his agility to escape and we have a stand-off again. Playing it slow at the start, with the young vet and the vet-vet going point for point together. They meet in the middle with some shoulder blocks with neither taking the advantage, Liger drops down and King is able to come back in with a shoulder block taking Liger down.
Liger elevates King to the outside and hits a rolling cannonball to King off the apron to the outside and Liger shows his signature crowd taunt! Classic. Liger throws King back in and looks for an outside suplex but King blocks it, elbows to Liger but Liger reverses, able to dodge King until he gets his legs swept out with allows King to hit a tornillo over the top to the floor, taking down Liger.
King drives Liger’s back into the apron and King covers for 2, with Liger selling the back as hurt. King stays on him, whipping Liger HARD to the corner and covering, but only a 2 again. King focuses on the back, and locks in a nice submission but Liger is able to get to the ropes. Crowd chanting for Liger. King cuts off some Liger momentum and locks in a Boston Crab, focusing the attack on Liger’s back. Liger is able to lift himself up enough to hand-walk over to the ropes and break the hold.
King whips Liger into the corner but misses the corner splash, Liger is able to string some moves together and connects with a SHOTEI! and rolling kappo kick into the corner, but only picks up a 2 count. Kiger looks for a suplex but King blocks it, King takes Liger up, hits a chin-checker and spinning enziguri, picking up a 2 count of his own. Liger with open chops, loads up the SHOTEI! but misses, King able to hit a swinging backbreaker on Liger for 2. King goes up top but Liger intercepts, and hits King with a HUGE superplex, but hurts his own back on the move! Liger finally able to cover for 2.
King takes Liger up but Liger reverses into a roll up for 2, hits SHOTEI! and a bulldog, and then heads to the top, hits a HUGE frog splash for 2! Liger, however, starts to crumple holding his back, allowing King to catch his breath. Todd Sinclair checks on Liger, King to his feet but Sinclair keeps him back. King keeps his distance, seemingly giving respect to Liger, claps for Liger, helps him to his feet and extends his hand… AND HITS A SPINEBUSTER FOR 3 and picks up the WIN!
Kenny King defeats Jushin Thunder Liger by pinfall after a spinebuster
Jay’s Rating: 2.75 out of 5
This was a really solid match with a simple but effective and well-told story to start establishing the next steps on the path for Kenny King, embracing a more heel-ish, do-what-you-must-to-win attitude which I think suits his swagger extremely well. Liger is a goddamned treasure which is why I probably gave this a quarter point or so extra, but screw it its Liger – to see him pull off the spots he can still pull off, just continue to be locked in and tell a great story that invests in a next-gen veteran in King, I’m just all about it. Both men worked an extremely well-built little opener together and starts the event off on a good note.
King makes his way to the back and takes a moment to look at the camera and thank Austin Aries for helping him see, because he just beat LIGER. Sinclair helps Liger at ringside, and Ian and Caprice discuss King’s surprising change in attitude. Caprice, however, says he’s not disappointed about it because at the end of the day its a great win for Kenny King. I’m personally a fan of the evolution of the face/heel dynamic, and am excited by King’s potential ability in that particular moment.
VIDEO PACKAGE: TAG TITLE MATCH
A basic video package recapping the history between SCU and the Briscoes. Honestly, not even sure that was necessary, the announcers could have done just as well by themselves.
ROH Tag Team Championship
THE ADDICTION vs THE BRISCOES (c)
SCU is out first, with Sky accompanying the challengers. Sky takes the mic and does the “worst town” bit… cant tell if thats gonna take off yet… and Daniels takes over and hypes the crowd and taking the championship. Kaz finishes it off with an “SCU” with the crowd. They have the charisma to pull this off, but I also feel like SCU is starting to feel a little stale as a gimmick in itself… its just so vague to me. But the crowd will always believe in them because of their ring work, so I guess it evens out?
VIDEO PACKAGE: The Briscoes
Jay appears on the screen with an hourglass, saying their time is up. Mark says their biggest mistake was jumping them at Best In The World. Jay says at that moment, whatever time you had became irrelevant, they’re on the Briscoes time now, and TIMES UP.
And with that the Briscoes make their entrance. (What a weird little order of doing things.) The bell rings and Daniels and Jay start us off. “Man Up” chants from the crowd, and suddenly the match breaks open, some great tag team ring work and Daniels is able to take both Briscoes down and take the advantage, Addiction looks to keep it but Mark pulls Jay to the outside and breaks the momentum and they regroup on the outside.
Back in and Mark takes over for Jay with Kaz. Shoulder tackle budges no one and Kaz lays rights into Mark, Mark outside but Daniels brings him back in. Tag to Daniels, double team on Mark is beautifully smooth, then more tandem offense on Jay who tries to intervene. Addiction are looking great, and the Briscoes’ frustration is adding some nice flavor to the match. Kaz catches a chair that Jay tosses in the ring, then says “you cant use that” when Kaz gives chase, but this allows Briscoes to take advantage for a moment until Daniels is able to snag Mark. Daniels builds an offense but Jay is able to take Daniels outside and line him up for a GREAT blockbuster off the apron from Mark. The Briscoes use the ringside area to punish The Addiction, swaying momentum in their favor. Jay pushes Daniels straight into a nice running single leg dropkick from Mark. Mark throws Daniels back in the ring and lays in some offense into Daniels in the corner, Jay tags in and stomps the mudhole.
Jay tags Mark back in, double team on Daniels takes him down. Fantastic tag team wrestling leading to this change in momentum. Mark stays on Daniels, tags Jay back in who lays a big boot into Daniels gut. Daniels off his feet again, and Jay picks him up to land a sharp headbutt, and locks in the headlock to wear Daniels down. Crowd starts clapping for Daniels who powers up, breaks away but gets cut off by the Briscoes and further punished, brought outside and thrown into the guardrail as the ref distractedly keeps Kaz in his corner.
Mark throws Daniels in for a Jay cover for 2. Mark in who keeps the pressure on Daniels in the corner, but Daniels tries to fight out, cant quite break free as Mark hoists him up and lands a great rolling DVD. Mark up for Froggy Bow but Daniels able to move and catch Mark in a Blue Thunder Bomb, but Jay cuts Daniels off from Kaz, Daniels able to counter though and GETS THE TAG! Kaz is a house of fire, hip toss neckbreaker to Jay, huge over the back on Mark into a backstabber, and a HUGE pendulum basement dropkick on Jay, and then able to hit a HUGE double team maneuver on both Briscoes, but only able to pick up a 2 count. Kaz stays on with a inside out rana to the outside on Mark, but Jay takes him out with a big boot to the jaw and slows things down again.
Jay sets up chairs outside and looks for a bomb, but Daniels is able to take Jay off his feet, then hits a big suplex at ringside at Mark, and throws Jay back in. Jay with punches to Daniels, but Addiction hits a great Blue Thunder Neckbreaker on Jay for 2! Kaz has him up, tags Daniels back in, Daniels takes Jay down then takes out Mark on the outside beautifully which allows Kaz to hit a slingshot cutter inside on Jay so Daniels can slide back in for a cover, but only 2 as Jay kicks out!
Addiction calls for the Briscoes own Doomsday Device, but Jay gets out behind Daniels and Daniels backs up all the way into Paul Turner who has his back turned as Mark takes out Kaz, and Jay then goes for the Jay Driller on Daniels but Daniels reverses Jay to the outside and takes him down, while Mark hits a HUGE urinage onto the chair on Kaz who has been busted open. Daniels takes Jay back in but is distracted by Kaz being hurt allowing the Briscoes to take the lead on Daniels as the match has become 2 on 1. Mark with a brain buster on Daniels for 2 as Sky comes down to check on Kaz. Mark stays on Daniels, tags in Jay, and Kaz is down at ringside as Briscoes pick up the pace and hit a HUGE toss power bomb into a neckbreaker, but Daniels stays alive at 2.
Crowd chants for SCU. Daniels tries taking on both Briscoes but gets cut off, Daniels fights back again and a double clothesline takes both Briscoes down. Daniels looks for Kaz but no one is there, Kaz is still down. Double team on Daniels, they take him up for Doomsday Device but Daniels rolls through, dumps Jay, Mark takes Daniels up but Daniels goes behind and snags a urinage and THE BEST MOONSAULT EVER on Mark, and gets a CLOSE 2 before Jay breaks it up! Crowd chants “That Was Three!” But Jay takes control outside and hits a Jay Driller on Daniels on the outside. Daniels tossed back inside for the cover, but Daniels kicks out at 2! “Fallen Angel” chants now. Jay hits one more Jay Driller on Daniels and picks up the 3 count and the WIN.
The Briscoes retain the ROH Tag Team Titles over The Addiction by pinfall after a Jay Driller
Jay’s Rating: 3.25 out of 5
This was a really great chapter in the Briscoes/SCU story, which feels like it has more ahead of it with Kaz being taken out of the match and Daniels essentially having to go it alone. (Is there a question with Sky in there somewhere? Hm…) Both teams showed why they are at the top of the heap in Ring of Honor at the moment, they got the crowd into the full face/heel dynamic especially toward the end which, again in this particular moment of wrestling culture, can be difficult at times – another testament to not only how locked in they can be in their pure ring work (which was outstanding as always) but in clear, focused and intentional storytelling. This is the main issue I take with Eli Drake’s concern about the focus on ring-work… YOU CAN HAVE BOTH. The Briscoes ARE their characters, and it informs their offense, especially in their current heel form. Its seamless, and still allows them to be some of the best in-ring performers we have right now. It just didnt really get into its next gear, both due to the nature of the story they ended up telling (Daniels falling to numbers as his partner was taken out) and the vagueness of SCU which doesnt allow for full heat for this match. I think thats the main thing they need right now to take it to the next gear – just more SPECIFICITY.
After the match the Briscoes taunt SCU.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Women of Honor Title Match
We get a package showing Sumie challenging Tenille Dashwood for the WOH Title, to prove that she is truly the best in the division. Tenille accepts. Again, not sure why this video package was necessary – it added basically nothing.
ROH Women of Honor World Championship
TENILLE DASHWOOD vs SUMIE SAKAI (c)
This is Tenille’s first chance at the title, and Ian and Caprice put over how Sumie is currently the roster member with the best overall record in 2018. They lock up right at the start and Sumie starts off by taking Tenille down hard, Tenille wrestling out of it but Sumie keeps the mount for 2 and then lays in punches, showing some unusually aggressive attitude. Tenille answers by pushing Sumie back down, then laying in forearms, Sumie responds, but Tenille fires back and takes Sumie off her feet. More back and forth as both get fired up, and each looks for their finisher early but neither able to snag it as they stand off. Sumie showing some fire up front.
Sumie takes Tenille to the corner, but Tenille trips her up to set up Taste of Tenille, but gets only 2 to follow. Tenille stays in control, underhook to Sumie who blocks, Tenille tries to stay on but Sumie catches Tenille and puts her down with a back suplex before heading up top. Sumie NAILS the missile dropkick, sending Tenille into the lower corner where she eats some stomps from Sumie. Sumie pushes Tenille to the outside and then climbs up top, and hits a BIG cross body on Tenille from the top all the way to the floor!
Sumie tosses Tenille in and gets a 2 count, but immediately turns that into an armbar attempt, which Tenille blocks with the hand-clasp. Sumie fights to break the grip but Tenille makes it to the ropes. Sumie looks for Smash Mouth again but Tenille with a couple of roll ups leading to a shot to Sumie that seems to hurt the taped right shoulder of Tenille. Tenille with a couple of left are clotheslines, neck breaker to Sumie gets only a 2 count. Tenille puts Sumie in the corner and perches her up, Sumie tries to fight back but Tenille climbs and hits a great double underhook superplex and both women are down. Tenille finally gets the cover, but only a 2 count.
Tenille fires up the crowd and looks for the boot, Sumie avoids but Tenille regains control, taking down Sumie and tying her up for a Pin-Up Strong! What a great submission application! Tenille finally lets go, but follows right up with a curb stomp variation for 2. Tenille goes to the corner and begins to climb, Sumie intercepts and climbs to meet her, Tenille fights off and slides underneath into a power bomb position, but Sumie reverses into a Rana rollup for 2! Back elbow by Sumie followed by the TJ Neckbreaker, and then hits a running knee to the chest and covers for 2. Sumie looks for Smash Mouth and hits it, covers but Tenille kicks out at 2 as Caprice points to Sumie not getting full rotation on Sumie’s finisher. Sumie back on Tenille with the armbar on that taped right arm! Tenille fights to the ropes and gets the break, Sumie gets some distance but catches some Tenille boots coming in, Tenille with a great underhook suplex on Sumie into the corner, smacks some life into the taped shoulder and locks Sumie into the Tarantula, then releases that, slips under Sumie and hits a HUGE power bomb to the floor! Rolls Sumie back in but Sumie is able to kick out at 2!
The crowd starts clapping as Tenille rises, picks up Sumie but Sumie goes for a wheelbarrow, Tenille blocks it and turns it into a German Suplex, covers but only a 2 count. Sumie keeps fighting, snags a waist lock but Tenille with an elbow, both women start trading stiff shots with Sumie landing a big slap, goes for a Rana but Tenille turns it into a bomb, BUT SUMIE CATCHES THE ARM AND SHIFTS WEIGHT into an armbar and gets full extension! Sumie’s got it locked in well, and Tenille fades, and eventually passes out as Sumie gets the WIN by referee stoppage!
Sumie Sakai retains the WOH World Title over Tenille Dashwood via submission with a cross armbar
Jay’s Rating: 3 out of 5
I really enjoyed this Women’s Title match, and particularly appreciated how they are pushing Sumie to vary her approaches and really find the fire and aggression to make her a dominant champion. And overall, I think Sumie is taking to it well, not sacrificing her core face status but showing that she can GO and go effectively against different kinds of opponents. Honestly, I would have given it a bit more, except that I dont know that there is much more to be gained here on that story front from Sumie retaining. This whole new energy for Sumie might have actually played even better in her losing the title, to then have her build on this new mentality in order to fight her way back to the top. The crowd felt ready for a new champion, and Tenille is absolutely ready to have SOMEPLACE name her as the top woman competitor in the company in her post-WWE career. Its time. This made sense. What were they waiting for?
Video Package: TV Title Match
We get a video showing Sabin getting the No.1 Contender spot for the TV Title and Alex Shelley’s emotional farewell and wish for Sabin to find singles success. We see Martinez jumping Sabin and Shelley, taking the feud into a more personal and more mind-games oriented space. Sabin leans on his experience, and promises to take the title. Martinez gives credit to Sabin’s tag team experience, but remains confident. Eh. This one was a little better. All of these packages have already been used, which only adds to the stale feeling.
ROH World Television Championship
CHRIS SABIN vs PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ (c)
God I love Martinez’s entrance music. Such a well-used quiet power to his shtick particularly as it pertains to how he makes his way down. We get the introductions and Sabin hands a note to Bobby Cruise with an… awfully elaborate introduction for himself… so much that it gets a pretty good “What?” treatment… wait, survivor of the Lost City of Atlantis? Is that…. What? Ok… I’m intrigued, but this could get SUPER bad SUPER fast if they dont go anywhere specific with it.
Bell rings and Martinez goes for the finish right away but Sabin rolls him up for a quick 2! Sabin using his speed to stay a step ahead of Martinez, keeping his head spinning and taking Martinez off of his feet by going for the legs. Superkick to a kneeling Martinez sends him outside, Sabin looks to follow with a dive, Martinez changes the plan but Sabin stays on top and hits a couple of nice PKs, then uses the corner for a beautiful springboard crossbody on Martinez. Martinez is up fast though, Sabin looks for another PK, Martinez catches him, Sabin fights out and looks for a suicide dive but Martinez catches him and hits a chokeslam onto the apron before ROARING at the crowd!
Martinez now in control whips Sabin hard into the guardrail. He tosses Sabin back in and follows, takes an unprettier over into a bulldog jawbreaker and follows that with a hard clothesline and cover for 2. Martinez whips Sabin into the corner but misses the dive, Sabin comes in but eats an elbow, Martinez perches but Sabin with an enziguri stuns him. Sabin climbs, Martinez throttles him but Sabin fights out and hits a hurricanrana on Martinez off the top, but the momentum has been slowed.
Martinez throws a hard elbow, Sabin fires back, another hard shot from Martinez, more back from Sabin, they continue to trade with Sabin getting some fire, but takes a TON of time. BUT actually it makes Martinez roar and run at him, Sabin with the evasion, puts Martinez outside and hits the suicide dive! Sabin all the way up top and then takes Martinez out with a HUGE crossbody from the top all the way to the floor!
Back inside, Sabin hits a dropkick off the top, and then puts Martinez on his shoulders for Cradle Shock but Martinez fights out and Paul Turner almost gets taken out 3 times, Martinez boxes the ears and pushes Sabin into Turner so THE REF GOES DOWN. Martinez with a big spin kick to take down Sabin before heading outside and grabbing a chair. He brings it into the ring, ref is still down but Sabin takes out the knee, goes up top and hits a BIG tornado DDT planting Martinez on the chair and covers, but only a 2 count! The crowd… could care more… Sabin picks up the chair but the ref takes it away which allows Martinez to just manhandle Sabin, Psycho Driver followed by the Silencer and finally the South of Heaven Chokeslam on Sabin for the pin and the WIN.
Punishment Martinez retains the ROH World TV title over Chris Sabin by pinfall after South of Heaven
Jay’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I mean, this was a solid match. It never really got out of second gear, mostly aided because the crowd just didnt really seem to care. They didnt buy that Punishment was going to drop the strap yet in his rein, and the heat they tried to build with Shelley just never really fed into a deeper investment anywhere here. Sabin might best
After the match Martinez looks to curb stomp Sabin into a chair in the corner, but JEFF COBB INTERRUPTS, methodically making his way into the ring! Cobb and Martinez stand off as the crowd chants more for Cobb than they did during the entirety of the match preceding it. Martinez throws the title over his shoulder and leaves, but then hits Cobb with the chair when Cobb turns his back… and IT HAS NO EFFECT and Cobb dumps Martinez with ease with a throw! Cobb takes the TV title and stands tall over Martinez, before draping it over him. COBB IS SUCH A PERFECT FIT FOR RING OF HONOR AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. This has the potential to be very good.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Tag Team Tables Match
We get a package starting with Bully Ray reminiscing about being put through a table at All In. He asks whats worse – to be a never was, or to be a never will be? He calls Colt Cabana the former, and Flip Gordon the latter. He runs down Colt (goddamn Bully can cut a promo), saying he made Colt famous. He then turns to Flip, calling him an egotistical spoiled young boy, who never paid his dues. Bully says its not about winning and losing, its about teaching a lesson. Which brings us to Bully’s specialty, the tables match. Bully says Silas should thank god that he has accepted him as a partner, that Bully has found Silas. He says Silas used to be the bully of ROH – what happened to that guy? Bully says Silas went from bully to bitch, and that he better fight like the bad MFer he knows Silas can be. Bully ends with his Hall of Fame ring to establish his superiority. Now that was a damn video package. Well put together, simple, and just leaning on letting Bully do what Bully does best – TALK. That was some hype.
Tag Team Tables Elimination Match
BULLY RAY & SILAS YOUNG vs COLT CABANA & FLIP GORDON
Bully and Silas kick things off by getting in each others face at the end of their individual entrances. CHICAGO’S OWN COLT CABANA then makes his way up to the commentary booth to give some hugs before cutting back to the ring through the crowd, followed by Flip who gets some nice love from the crowd.
And Flip goes right after Bully to kick the match off fast and then quickly takes down Silas! Colt and Flip show great tag team continuity, putting Silas and Bully on their heels at the start. Colt and Flip take the fight to the outside, Colt on Bully and Flip on Slias. Silas fights back against Flip, sending him to the rail as Bully gains control of Colt inside. Bully with a big slam and calls for Whazzup from Silas, but Colt reverses it and Flip takes over up top after a Kinder Surprise to hit it on Bully! (And Bully screamed “MY BALLS”, which is awesome.)
Colt tells Flip to GET THE TABLES, so he does! The table is brought into the ring and set up by Colt and Flip, they look for a double suplex to end it but Bully moves the table and hits a double clothesline on Flip and Colt. Flip takes control on Bully with some Yes Kicks, but Bully catches the leg which allows Silas to take down Flip hard. They scout putting Flip through the table, but Colt able to move the table in time (though Flip takes a big back drop) and hits a big springboard standing moonsault to both Bully and Silas! “Colt” chants ensue!
Flip lives up to his name climbing the ropes and taking out Silas ringside, Colt looks for a plancha on Bully but Bully avoids it and grabs a chair, laying into Colt’s back. Bully calls out Ian at the announce table as he takes out Colt with the chair… and IAN HAS LEFT THE BOOTH! He runs down to ringside to check on Colt, Caprice tries to call him back as Bully catches sight of him and starts moving in. But Flip sees it and takes out both Bully and Silas with dives, allowing Ian to pick up the chair! The crowd is now sporadically chanting for Ian, but Ian hands the chair to Colt who hits Bully with some shots! Colt then looks at the table at ringside, which would count for an elimination, but Bully escapes and pushes down Ian. He then looks for the bomb through the table on Colt, saying “this is for you” to Ian, and he puts Colt through the table for the elimination leaving Flip on his own. (The crowd then chants “move the tables”, as it looks like one of the tables in the ring blocked the crowd from seeing Colt get eliminated.)
Silas and Bully focus on Flip as Ian continues to check on Colt, as the match is now 2 on 1. Flip is rolled back in the ring along with another table, which Bully sets up in the corner – we now have two tables in the ring, one set up and one flat. Silas holds Flip as Bully lights him up, then they reverse, just chopping the hell out of Flip with Bully getting some real sharp ones in. The look to meet Flip in the middle but Flip evades and Silas takes down Bully, Flip takes down Silas and Flip looks to whip Silas into the corner table but Bully tackles him out of the way and takes out Flip, but Silas starts arguing with Bully about the miscommunication. Bully slaps Silas, and they start going at each other! Flip tries for a double dropkick, but Bully and Silas are able to move and Flip eats canvas. Bully and Silas then take a breath and each tell each other to STOP HITTING ME IN THE FACE (I love it), and try to take the fight back to Flip. They look for the double whip into the corner table but Flip uses the table to FLIP out of it, Bully charges forward and Flip sidesteps and sends Bully straight through the table for the elimination! The match is now 1 on 1!
Silas catches Flip in the backbreaker/lariat combo, then looks to set up the other table in the ring. Flip fights back but Silas is able to take Flip off the apron and put him on the outside. Silas mocks the crowd as he follows outside just to roll Flip back in, the table has been set up and it looks like Silas wants Misery, Flip fights out but Silas is able to try again, but Sinclair is taken down by the spin allowing Flip to escape and hit Silas with a springboard spear to the inside. Flip lays Silas on the table and climbs up top, and lands a HUGE 450 SPLASH THROUGH THE TABLE ON SILAS… but the ref didnt see it! Bully comes up behind Flip and takes him out, rolls Silas off of the broken table and throughs Flip into the wreckage, was up Sinclair who sees Flip down and calls for the bell awarding the WIN to the team of Bully and Silas!
Bully Ray & Silas Young defeat Colt Cabana and Flip Gordon after Bully Ray cheats to steal the win
Jay’s Rating: 2 out of 5
Eh, it existed, with pieces of stories and some decent crowd investment, but also was sort of just another match on the card. These are 4 reliable performers who are all strong storytellers in their own right. Flip and Bully continues… I guess… though the Bully/Silas relationship is actually becoming the most interesting here. And now with Gresham being added in, maybe thats where this will head next? But then, why not include him here, in a post-match angle or something? Also, the ref bump was unnecessary in a match with this kind of stipulation, except to set up a bit of an Eddie Guerrero ending here, which didnt really feel earned. As soon as a feud feels like its treading water, I get worried… and I’m getting that feeling here. I’m being generous because of the in-ring storytelling of the match save for the ref bump, but they need to figure out where this is headed and get there more quickly, because the air is leaving the balloon.
After the match, Bully continues the assault on Flip with the chain and pieces of broken table.
In the back, Tenille Dashwood is holding her shoulder in pain, looking like she was taken out…
10-Man Tag Team Match
(Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero, Trent and Chuckie T)
(The Young Bucks, Cody, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page)
CHAOS is out first, with great pops for all involved, but HOLY CRAP what an immediate pop for Okada!!! Bullet Club comes out second to good love as well. I also adore that Cody is wearing the NWA Title belt on ROH programming. If you’re going to revitalize the legacy of something, it needs visibility, and this is EXACTLY the sort of visibility – especially being associated with a product like Ring of Honor where the in-ring competition and hunt for titles is more prioritized – that the title can thrive off of. Super smart approach to firing up the legacy of that belt again with a crowd who will appreciate it. Nick Aldis joins commentary, as they build for their 2 out of 3 falls rematch for the NWA belt.
The pre-match tension build gives us a couple of face offs to look for, and the bell rings with Page and Ishii starting us off. They immediately lock up and trade shoulder blocks with neither man budging. Ishii with shots to Page, Page fires back but Ishii is UNPHASED. Forearm to Page, Page fires back and they trade. And trade. AND TRADE. Ishii gets the advantage for a moment, but Page lands a rolling forearm, hits the ropes but Ishii takes him down, Page replies, but Ishii lands a big suplex on Page. NICE AGGRESSIVE START. Ishii tags Okada, who asks for Cody. Cody reaches, but Marty tags himself in! What a villain.
Marty hypes the crowd and steps to Okada who shows zero intimidation. Okada however plays the heel tease and puts Rocky (the other Junior Heavyweight in the match, for the mind games) in. Marty takes it to Rocky who answers back off the ropes with a hurricanrana, Marty able to create some space but Rocky holds the advantage and goes for a dive, but the Bucks cut the momentum and allow Marty to take control again. Marty chops Rocky hard and hits the ropes and catches a knee from Trent, which likewise breaks the momentum. Rocky able to take control and tags in Chuckie, and Marty is able to tag out to Nick. Nick and Chuckie to a fast start as well with Chuckie hitting an inverted atomic drop, but the Bucks with the double team, reversed with blind tags to Trent and Matt, great tag team exchanges ending with the Best Friends on top and hitting the tossing cutter on Matt to claim the advantage. The Best Friends look to hug, and Rocky looks to join in, but he kills the mood. CHAOS takes it to Bullet Club with dives to the outside, and then we get the three way Best Friends/Roppongi Vice hug!
Chuckie throws Matt back in and tags in Okada, and Matt tags Cody. The crowd immediately picks up again. They lock up, and Okada backs Cody into the ropes as the crowd gets behind Cody. Cody stays on Okada, slides under the legs and hits the classic Cody drop down uppercut but then eats the classic Okada flapjack. Trent in on Cody now and lays some chops in, whips Cody to the corner and hits the elbow, but Cody fights out of the tornado DDT and is able to keep Trent to the outside, goes for the springboard crossbody but misses as Trent hits the tope! But Page hits the Shooting Star Shoulder Block to take out Trent! Rocky looks to intervene but gets held by Page for Marty, but Rocky ducks and Marty hits the apron super kick on Page, and then takes out Marty with a knee! Matt Jackson takes down Rocky and sets the ropes up for Nick to dive and take everyone out! The group makes their way up the ramp but somehow Chuckie is on the stage and DIVES OFF OF THE STAGE ONTO THE WHOLE GROUP! Everyone is at ringside again, and people are calling for Ishii, WHO JUMPS OFF THE TOP ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR WITH A CANNONBALL! (I think Ishii is ready for a bigger push… thats just me…)
Trent in with Cody and stays right on him hard, goes to run into him in the corner but Brandi gets in the way allowing for Cody to hit a low blow on Trent, and the ring dynamic shifts. Cody and Nick on Trent, triple team with Matt takes out Trent, double team on Chuckie and the Young Bucks have the momentum. Marty tags in and drives Trent to the corner, perches Trent and looks for a superplex which he hits on Trent, covers but Rocky breaks it at 2. Cody back in with boots to Trent, whips him into the corner which Trent is able to turn around into a heavy lariat that takes Cody down. Trent tags Rocky who hits Page and Cody with ranas, one for Marty, and then a double-rana on both Bucks! Rocky winds up, and we have Forever Clotheslines in all 4 corners, and also coming out of all 4 corners as BC tries to break away! “Rocky” chants ensue. But now, Rocky realizes he is surrounded and eats a QUINTUPLE SUPERKICK FROM ALL OF BULLET CLUB!
Page goes for an aided Buckle Bomb but Rocky reverses, able to fight back and tags in Okada who is the house of fire! The Bucks try to cut him off but Okada hits a pendulum double DDT on both and a kip-up! CHAOS comes in to help and go through the lineup on Nick in the corner, ending with the big back to belly over the shoulder neck breaker, but Matt saves Nick at 2. Okada with the slam and climbs up top, Nick able to move though and hits a shining wizard on Okada, gets caught by Chuckie but Chuckie gets pancaked by Matt, who charges at Trent but misses allowing Trent to hit a nice tornado DDT out of the corner before eating the Marty low superkick, but Marty turns around to find Ishii. Marty kicks to the gut and looks to go for the fingers, but Ishii just headbutts him out of it. Cody in and hits Beautiful Disaster on Ishii who NO SELLS IT, but Page is behind him for the double team, which Ishii absorbs and takes them both down before being grounded by the Bucks double superkick, but Okada intervenes! Okada looks for Rainmaker on Nick but the Bucks reverse and look to set up Okada for Meltzer, but Rocky interrupts! Okada and Chuckie hit a spike tombstone for 2 but Bullet Club breaks it up!
Okada calls for Rainmaker again on Matt, Matt ducks and Page goes for Buckshot, Okada ducks and Matt eats it before Okada sends Page out. Okada goes for it again, but Cody comes in and hits Cross Rhodes on Okada!!! Matt crawls to Cody, Cody in and mocks Okada, sets up Cross Rhodes but Okada reverses into the RAINMAKER, but cant follow up! Okada finally tags Ishii and Page gets the tag on his end, who flips out of a German and throws a roaring forearm into Ishii, Ishii fights out and lifts Page up and over and hits the ropes, but Page lands the Buckshot Lariat! Page looks for Rite of Passage, Ishii turns it into a powerbomb but Page out, hits the ropes but Ishii decapitates him with a clothesline for 2. Ishii tags Rocky in as Ishii takes Cody outside, Marty in with Rocky who slug it out, Rocky hits a hard slap and looks to dump Marty, Rocky goes for the evade but Marty catches him and power bombs him for 2.
Marty calls for the Chickenwing Crossface but Rocky fights it off and ducks a Matt super kick which takes out Marty, Matt able to get Rocky set for Meltzer but Rocky reverses and sends Matt into Nick. Best Friends take out Matt on the apron as Cody takes out Okada and Ishii outside. Rocky still in with Marty takes the advantage, but Marty turns a suplex into a Crossface Chickenwing and Rocky taps for the WIN!
Bullet Club defeats CHAOS by submission when Marty submits Rocky with the Crossface Chickenwing
Jay’s Rating: 4 out of 5
This ended up being a super fun match, which I feel like everyone both predicted and was hoping for. The crowd was certainly hungry for a fun one, and all 10 performers really delivered, with some particular storytelling around the constant missteps and miscommunications between Bullet Club members that allowed CHAOS to take back control. Trent Baretta has been really showing that he can carry the weight in a match, and I wonder if he might be ready for a singles title push soon. Also, Ishii has been doing this a while now and his IWGP title matches are always bangers… FOLLOW THROUGH SOON PLEASE. Its been a while since we’ve had that Goldberg-esque quieter, fight-focused champion (and Lesnar has Heyman). Ishii can be the next iteration of that, I really feel it. Love Marty getting the win too, especially after the All In heat. At the end of the day, he’s still very much someone to invest in down the road, so I’m glad they are keeping him in a winning position. Really nice work all around.
Nick Aldis then announces the NWA Title match with Cody will be 2 out of 3 falls. Cody comes up to the announce booth and formally accepts the stipulation with Aldis, sounding confident. Cody as NWA Champ also makes SO MUCH SENSE.
VIDEO PACKAGE: World Title Match
We get a promo video with Lethal recapping his former victory against Will, admitting that he got lucky against the greatest high flyer there is. They talk about how Will hasn’t forgotten about this loss and his desire to avenge it. We see clips of Will’s video challenge interspersed through Jay’s video, with Jay saying Will is taking pages from Jay’s own playbook. Jay hypes Ospreay/Lethal II, and says that he will not leave Death Before Dishonor without his title.
ROH World Championship
WILL OSPREAY vs JAY LETHAL (c)
Ospreay makes his way to the ring to a nice pop, as the announcers plug him wanting to compete more on the heavyweight level (which, I mean, YES). Lethal is out second as Ian tracks his road back to being champion. Lethal extends the hand for the Code of Honor, but Ospreay declines.
The bell rings and they start by feeling each other out. Lock up, evenly matched, but Jay is able to back Will up against the ropes. They start wrestling each other again, nice reversals and counter wrestling, with Jay getting control of Will’s arm. Will turns out of it into a headlock, Jay whips him to the ropes, shoulder tackle phases Lethal but doesnt take him down. These two are feeling the tension building and its awesome. Will lands a smack on Lethal and takes him down with a tackle after the surprise, the pace picks back up as Jay fires back and lands a big chop to answer Will. Will chops back but both men go for their cutter finishers and neither snags it as we get another stalemate.
Will with a kick coming back in, puts Jay in the corner and lays in shots. Jay and Will go back and forth and Will gets dumped outside, and Jay is able to hit a suicide dive on Will! Jay slides back in for number 2 and hits it, driving Will into the guardrail. Lethal looks for 3 and lands that one too, and Will is down at ringside as the crowd chants for Lethal. Lethal stays on Will outside with a big chop, before rolling him back inside and keeping the pressure on.
Lethal hits a big backbreaker on Will, covers for 2. Lethal slows things down with a chin lock, Will fights up, Lethal goes for the hip toss dropkick, Will counters but Jay counters the counter to land the dropkick anyway. Brilliant. Jay puts Will in the corners to maintain dominance, as the crowd chants split between both competitors. Lethal keeps on Will, whip to the ropes but Will comes off with that handspring flip kick to the head which, as usual, is gorgeous. Will now takes control and hits kicks and shots on Lethal. Will with shots on Lethal in the corner, Lethal tries to fight back but uppercuts from Will cut him off and he eats a great hesitation dropkick, Will covers for 2.
The pace is now a slower back and forth, which they earned up top. Lethal is able to get a chop in on Will in the corner, and Will asks for more, playing the confidence wonderfully. Will eats a chop and gets right in Lethals face and asks for another. Jay hits it and hits a BIG AND LOUD ONE that rocks Will, but Will stands back up and lays a big one right back at Jay! Will with a flurry, sending Jay outside and then hits a suicide dive of his own wiping out Jay who hits the rail hard.
Will stays on Lethal outside, who tries to crawl under the ring but Will pulls him out. Lethal fires back with chops to Will and gets Will off of his feet, who likewise crawls under the ring and grabs a ladder! Lethal cuts him off and tosses Will back inside, they trade shots but Will catches Lethal with a top rope 619 to the back of the head (!), following that up with a phenomenal forearm of sorts to drop Lethal, covers him for 2. Will looks for the wraparound super kick but Lethal ducks and lands the Lethal Combination to slow Will’s progress. Dual chants break out again.
Both men slow to their feet, and they fight on their knees. Shot trading brings them to standing, with both showing great aggression. Lethal off the ropes, but Will with a great counter dumping Lethal outside, and then a SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP, but Lethal moves and takes control back, going for a power bomb through the table but Will reverses, Lethal looks for a super kick but Ospreay moves and Lethal takes out Bobby Cruise and Will catches the TV title belt that Cruise was holding! Lethal dares Will to hit him with the belt, but Will puts it down and they just start brawling outside, with Will going right after Lethal until Lethal catches him and drives him face first into the guardrail. Todd Sinclair checks on Cruise.
Lethal goes to work moving the guardrail in order to prop a short ladder up against it, but Will in to cut him off. Will rolls Jay in but Jay comes back with a DDT. Sinclair back in as Jay heads to the top, Will changes the plan but Jay lands on his feet and looks for the Figure Four, Will counters again but Jay responds and calls for the Lethal Injection but eats a reverse Rana counter from Will! Will fights to take back control, Lethal tries to counter, back and forth until Will looks for the standing Spanish Fly but completes the flip to land on his feet then powers Jay up into a power bomb which plants Lethal for 2! “This is Awesome” chants now.
Lethal rolls to the apron, Will goes to him but Lethal fights but Will looks for the sunset bomb off the apron into the ladder, Lethal tries to hold on but its too much and Lethal gets sent into the ladder at ringside! Both men are down as Sinclair begins the 20 count. Will rolls back in, but realizes he cant win the title on a count out, and decides at the last minute to break the count. Will rolls Jay back in and hits a springboard dropkick to the back of Lethal, hits the wraparound super kick (LOVE THAT MOVE), and Ospreay calls for and gets Lethal up for Stormbreaker, Lethal rolls out of it but Will looks for the Oscutter but Lethal reverse it into a cutter of his own, looks for Lethal Injection but Will hits the wraparound super kick as a counter!
Will takes the title back and thinks about using it again, but fakes out Jay in order to lay in strikes and then HITS THE OSCUTTER, 1, 2, NO! But Will stays on Lethal, up for Stormbreaker, but Lethal fights out of it into the corner, Jay and Will on either side of the corner on the apron, they head up top, Will looks for the super hurricanrana off the top but Jay hits a SUPER BOMB OFF THE TOP, hits Lethal Injection and gets the WIN!
Jay Lethal retains the ROH World Title over Will Ospready by pinfall after the Lethal Injection
Jay’s Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Ok. So there is no question that this was an utterly outstanding match by two of the best headliners outside of WWE, full stop. This was an absolutely outstanding match by all standards. But I also feel like I’m giving an extra ¼ point here simply because of the ring work – the arc and pacing of the match, the precision work by each competitor, the spots they picked to include – it was all top notch. But I do feel like its a little generous, because even with a hot crowd and hot action, the build wasn’t there for me, as it wasn’t for most of this card. I’m sort of a believer that in our current moment, you can either commit to stories being action/match-up driven (a la Evolve) with storylines that exist throughout but less of a necessity for more scripted build content or you can try to invest in the week to week form which means calibrating your story builds to the matches. And this felt off to me simply because it didnt commit to either – it gave us a build without any real build that could have helped me believe more that Ospreay had a shot of taking the title (I’m sorry, but its not to do with his ability or performance, but in our current moment its not hard to see how Ospreay is spending his time lately and discern that it was unlikely that he was going to unseat Lethal here ESPECIALLY with no direct build allowed for), and leaned instead on delivering a match that could compensate for the lack of build. I dont mean this to take away from the match and storytelling within it – these two have a very difficult time going wrong. Its more a critique of the stuff provided to support the match. In any case, this is still very much a match to see between two true greats who have still much more in front of them to cement their status as such, and this match is a worthy addition to each of their portfolios.
After the match, Ospreay extends the hand and Lethal takes it… but THE RED BALLOONS APPEAR AND THE KINGDOM (Vinny and TK) HITS THE RING. Gresham tries to stop them from taking out Lethal but the Kingdom hit a new (KILLER) double team maneuver and keep control. Lethal tries to fight back until Matt Taven hits the ring with his new shaved head coming out of Mexico and a luchas de apuestas loss, hitting him with a bag that reveals to be filled with… A PURPLE VERSION OF THE ROH BELT, as Taven calls himself the “real world champion.” Taven stands tall as the new challenger as DBD goes off the air. NICE. I’m actually really looking forward to this feud – I’m excited by the potential of Lethal and Taven really being allowed to tear into each other not only in the ring but on the mic. But now Gresham is here with Lethal again… so what does that mean with the Bully feud? Thats my only qualm here – we are getting storylines crossed in a way that I dont know is effective, as it just muddies the impact and makes it harder to invest for me personally.
I must be honest that I had some qualms going into the event on Friday… and I’m sorry to say that many of those qualms were in fact realized. Primarily, the utter lack of build for these matches in any substantive way in the weeks prior. The biggest red flag came to me came with last week’s go home show, which added pretty much zero hype to any of the title matches for a card that had 4 pretty decent ones lined up. There was a rigor missing on the storytelling side of things that really dragged the event down for me, and I think sapped a lot of the potential crowd investment from the card as a whole. The matches were good, but it seemed often like the audience didnt care, except for matches that sort of had their own built-in hype to lean on such as the 10-man tag and the main event, both easily the strongest matches on the show. Its a missed opportunity that I am hopeful turns around with the potential of Cobb/Martinez, Lethal/Taven and Bully/Silas, but as an event taken as a whole as part of the larger ROH thruline, it felt more than a little like an event that people needed to “get through” before getting on to the next thing. Which just isnt very much fun to watch by comparison. Credit to the talent for carrying this one hard and delivering some really great in-ring content.