Death Before Dishonor 2022
Date: July 23, 2022
Location: Tsongas Center, Lowell, Massachusetts
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
Ring Of Honor is back and that should be a good thing. The company certainly has a history and it is nice to see that history continuing, but there has only been a limited build to the show on AEW TV. Then again, Ring Of Honor has always been about the in-ring work more than anything else and maybe that is enough to make the show work. Let’s get to it.
Zero Hour: Colt Cabana vs. Anthony Henry
JD Drake is here with Henry. Cabana takes him down by the arm to start but Henry spins out and strikes away in the corner. A sunset flip is blocked and Henry twists Cabana’s neck around to slow things down. Some more neck cranking sets up some kicks to the chest, which just fire Cabana up. Henry is fine with that and cuts him off with a piledriver for two.
Back up and Cabana grabs a spinning belly to back suplex, setting up the Flip Flop and (slightly delayed) Fly. The Flying Apple sets up a lariat to put Henry on the floor, meaning it’s time for Drake to offer a distraction. Henry sends Cabana into the barricade and drops a frog splash for two back inside. Cabana is fine enough to try the Billy Goat’s Curse, sending Henry over to the ropes. That’s fine with Cabana, who hits a moonsault for the pin at 9:53.
Rating: C. It’s a Colt Cabana match and you probably know what you’re getting with one of those. Cabana isn’t going to be there to have some classic at this point, but rather to wake up the crowd and let them have a good time. That is something he can do as well as anyone else, making him a great choice for the first spot on a show like this. Perfectly watchable match, which did its job.
Zero Hour: Shinobi Shadow Squad vs. Trust Busters
That would be Eli Isom/Cheeseburger vs. Ari Daivari/Slim J. Daivari takes Cheeseburger into the corner to start and it’s off to Slim J, who was around way back in the earlier days of Ring Of Honor. A forearm gets Cheeseburger out of trouble and the tag brings in Isom to pick up the pace. An armdrag out of the corner drops Slim J and Cheeseburger comes back in to work on the arm.
That’s too much for Daivari, who offers a distraction from the apron and gets in a cheap shot to put Cheeseburger in trouble. That doesn’t last long either as Cheeseburger gets away again and brings Isom back in so everything can break down. Cheeseburger is sent outside so Slim J can hit a running cutter on Isom. Daivari’s frog splash is good for the pin at 5:30.
Rating: C-. The match was ok enough, but is Slim J/Ari Daivari supposed to be interesting enough to do much of anything? They didn’t show anything to make them stand out here and odds are they’ll be used as cannon fodder for the bigger teams. I’m sure they’ll get some time before then, but that is only going to be so interesting at best.
Prince Nana announces that he has purchased Tully Blanchard Enterprises.
Zero Hour: Tony Deppen/Alex Zayne/Blake Christian vs. Tully Blanchard Enterprises
Prince Nana is here with Gates of Agony/Brian Cage. Deppen marches right at Deppen to start and hits him in the face a few times. You don’t do that to Cage, who hits a Bron Breakker gorilla press into a powerslam to shut that down in a hurry. Kaun comes in with a slingshot hilo to the back but misses a charge, allowing the tag to Zayne. A bit of house cleaning ensues, only to have Toa come in off a blind tag and run Zayne down.
Kaun comes back in and hammers away in the corner, setting up a side slam onto the top turnbuckle. Cage’s apron superplex gets two, with Deppen having to make a save. Zayne tries to fight back and gets wheelbarrow suplexed for his efforts. Another suplex is escaped though and the hot tag brings in Christian for a Phenomenal Forearm.
Christian’s big dive is cut off so Deppen adds his own dive to take the Gates of Agony down. Back in and Cage clotheslines Deppen but gets enziguried by Christian and Zayne. Everything breaks down and Deppen gets all fired up, even if he’s all alone. Kaun’s fireman’s carry gutbuster into something like a Dominator/running boot combination finishes Deppen off at 11:26.
Rating: C. Good action here, but do you really want three monsters like this to need the better part of twelve minutes to beat a thrown together team? The match was entertaining enough as Zayne can fly around rather well and Deppen has enough of a reputation with the fans, but I kept waiting on the dominance and it never happened. At least Nana feels like more of a fit here than Blanchard, which does say something.
Zero Hour: Willow Nightingale vs. Allysin Kay
Nightingale takes her down for an early two and hits an enziguri. Kay doesn’t mind and hits a kick of her own for two as the pace slows down. An STF doesn’t do much to Nightingale as she’s back up with a bulldog. The Babe Breaker is countered into a Kimura but Nightingale plants her down for two of her own. Kay’s sunset driver gets two more but Nightingale kicks her in the face and hits a Pounce. Back up and a gutwrench powerbomb gives Nightingale the pin at 7:49.
Rating: C. Another quick match without much impact here, but it is nice to see Nightingale getting a win. She has so much charisma and it is a lot of fun to watch her, but at some point you have to win something. This might not be some big breakthrough win, though it’s better than taking another loss. Now do something with her and see if you have a star on your hands.
Ring Of Honor World Title: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jonathan Gresham
Castagnoli is challenging and William Regal is on commentary. Gresham has to avoid the running uppercut in the corner to start but Castagnoli powers him down by the arm. That works for Gresham, who uses his feet to pop the arm and escape. Castagnoli goes with the power again, this time grabbing the legs for the giant swing (complete with an overhead view for a cool change of pace).
Despite the dizziness, Gresham kicks the knee out and ties the legs up for a breather. That’s broken up with straight power and Gresham is kicked outside. Castagnoli’s leg is fine enough for an apron gutwrench superplex. Back up and Gresham kicks him in the leg again, setting up a quickly broken ankle lock.
Castagnoli can’t get the Sharpshooter and it’s another kick to the leg to hobble him again. Gresham gets another ankle lock, sending Castagnoli over to the ropes. A strike off goes to Castagnoli but the knee gives out on the UFO attempt. Gresham’s German suplex gets two but Gresham gets uppercutted out of the air. A heck of a lariat drops Gresham, with Castagnoli getting fired up. Some hammer and anvil elbows set up the Riccola Bomb to give Castagnoli the pin and the title at 11:34.
Rating: B. They didn’t have much of another choice here as Castagnoli has been pushed as a major star since he debuted. You need to give him something solid and the Ring Of Honor World Title would certainly qualify. Gresham was great, but at some point you need to go in a different direction and that is what they did here, albeit in a heck of a match with power vs. technical skills.
Respect is shown post match as Gresham doesn’t seem to be a full on heel any longer. William Regal looks so pleased with Castagnoli’s win.
Daniel Garcia doesn’t like the rules of the Pure Wrestling Title and wants to take it back to AEW and destroy it.
Six Man Tag Team Titles: Righteous vs. Dalton Castle/The Boys
The Righteous (Vincent/Bateman/Dutch) are defending and have Vita VonStarr in their corner. Castle wrestles Vincent down to start but gets sent to the floor for some fanning. Back in and Bateman gets suplexed and Castle slams Brent onto him for two. Dutch comes in to run the Boys over and a suplex gets two on Brent. It’s back to Bateman, who misses a clothesline so Brent can roll over for the tag off to Castle.
Everything breaks down and Castle tosses the Boys over the top onto the champs for a cool visual. VonStarr offers a distraction though and it’s Dutch sending Castle outside. There’s the big running flip dive from Dutch, which is quite the crowd popper. Back in and Vincent’s Death From Above gets two, with Castle having to make a save. Castle takes Vincent outside for a hurricanrana, setting up the Bang A Rang to Bateman for the pin and the titles at 9:35.
Rating: C+. This is one of those matches that worked, even if it was something that could have been cut from the card without missing anything. The Six Man Tag Team Titles have always been a bit of a weird addition to Ring Of Honor but at least they gave us a feel good moment with the popular team getting them back. Not a great match or anything, but it was fun enough while it lasted.
Jay Lethal and company are ready to take the TV Title from Samoa Joe.
Pure Title: Daniel Garcia vs. Wheeler Yuta
Garcia is challenging and William Regal is on commentary. They go technical to start (shocking) with Yuta having to power out of an early arm crank. That means Yuta can put on a cross arm choke but Garcia is up with a headbutt for the break. Yuta gets sent outside for a whip into the barricade, setting up a suplex back inside.
A leg takedown lets Yuta pull him into a bow and arrow as Regal talks about hurting someone’s nose so their eyes water and they can’t see. What a villain he made. Back up and Yuta works on the arm so Garcia bites his ear (Regal: “Good for Daniel.”) for the break. Garcia stays on the ear (there’s something you don’t say often) but Yuta knocks him back, setting up a missile dropkick. A top rope forearm drops Garcia again as we hear about the attendance/pay per view buys, meaning it’s time to praise Tony Khan.
Yuta gets the better of a strike off and a German suplex gives him down. The hammer and anvil elbows rock Garcia but he flips out and hits some of his own. Garcia’s lean back Sharpshooter is reversed into a choke, which is reversed into a Regal Stretch of all things. Coleman: “Did you teach him to get out of your move?” Regal: “What do you think?” After Yuta escapes, a Boston crab sends Garcia over to the ropes for his first break. Garcia loads up some stomps but gets reversed into a quick cradle for the retaining pin at 15:57.
Rating: B. I don’t know if these two are ever going to be breakout stars, but they know how to work this style really well and that is what they did here. Throw in Regal on commentary (that “what do you think” line was great) and this was a heck of a match with both guys working hard and getting in one sweet counter after another. This style can be a lot of fun and they were nailing it here so well done.
Dragon Lee vs. Rush
Brother vs. Brother so they start with a hug instead of a handshake. Rush powers him into the corner to start before they hit the mat, with Rush grabbing an armbar. That’s countered into a rollup for two and they trade shoulders to no avail. Lee kicks him into the corner for a slingshot dropkick but Rush sends him outside for a heck of a running flip dive. The hard whips into the barricade rock Lee again, with Rush insisting that he is TRANQUILO.
Back in and Rush hits some boot scrapes in the corner, setting up a powerslam for two. Lee manages to kick him down though and knocks Rush outside, where he is sat on a table. That means a suicide dive, which drives Rush through the table and thankfully doesn’t end Lee. Back in and they slug it out, with Lee spitting on his hand before a chop. Rush finally takes him down but needs a breather of his own, meaning it’s a double down.
They chop it out on the apron until Lee charges into an overhead belly to belly to the floor (OUCH). Lee is somehow right back up with a hurricanrana and they’re both down again. Back in and Rush counters a charge into an overhead belly to belly suplex into the corner. The Bull’s Horns gets two, as commentary does their best WWE impression by swearing it’s over before the cover.
Lee is placed up top but knocks him into the Tree of Woe, setting up the Alberto double stomp for one. The Incinerator gets two more and Rush is in trouble. He’s in so much trouble that Lee checks on him, allowing Rush to knock him into the corner. The Bull’s Horns gives Rush the pin at 15:36.
Rating: B. This was the kind of hard hitting lucha match where you’re sure that one of them is going to knock themselves silly but it keeps being fun anyway. It’s a different style and the brother vs. brother deal made it even better. Lee is in the same vein as Rey Fenix as he can fly around so fast that it is hard to believe what you’re seeing, meaning it’s quite entertaining as always. That was the case again here, even if Rush’s Ring Of Honor dominance continues to give me some scary flashbacks. Another awesome match here.
We recap Mercedes Martinez defending the Women’s Title against Serena Deeb. They’ll both do anything to win.
Women’s Title: Mercedes Martinez vs. Serena Deeb
Deeb is challenging. They wrestle to the mat to start with neither being able to get the better of things. Back up and Martinez uses the power to run her over but Deeb is right there with an armbar to cut things off. Martinez powers up and hits a spinebuster, meaning Deeb needs to roll outside for a breather. They fight to the apron with Martinez knocking her backwards but getting caught with a hard spear.
Back in and Deeb busts out Diamond Dust of all things for two. Deeb slows things down a bit, which is enough for Martinez to snap off an overhead suplex. That doesn’t go well for Martinez, who gets tied in the Tree of Woe for some choking, followed by something like an abdominal stretch. Deebtox (double arm crank with a bodyscissors) has Martinez in big trouble but she flips her way out with more power.
They fight over a choke on the mat until Martinez is up with a hard shot to the face. Martinez puts her up top for a NASTY German superplex, with Martinez hanging on and not going down as well. Some hard strikes rock Deeb again but the TKO is countered into a rolling neckbreaker. Deeb grabs the Serenity Lock but gets reversed into a cradle for two. Martinez catches her on top with the OG Drop for two, so it’s the Brass City Sleeper to retain the title at 17:19.
Rating: C+. They had a nice story here with the power vs. technical skill, but it never quite hit that next level. The good thing is that they made it work well and the match didn’t feel anywhere near as long as it went. This is the title that needs to stay far away from AEW as it absolutely does not need three Women’s Titles, but it was a lot better than most of the Ring Of Honor women’s division over the years.
We recap Jay Lethal challenging Samoa Joe for the TV Title. Lethal and company took Joe out and kept demanding a title match. At the same time, Lethal is also Joe’s former student and wants to prove that he is the better man. Joe, as you might expect, is mad (in theory, as he hasn’t been on TV in over a month).
TV Title: Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal
Lethal, with Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh, is challenging. Joe jumps him on the floor before Lethal can even get in the ring and they start fast on the outside. A few cheap shots cut Joe off and Lethal hits his three suicide dives. Lethal’s charge is cut off with a chop but Singh drops Joe and crushes the arm against the post with a chair. They go inside for the opening bell (after a heck of a pre-match fight) but first, the referee ejects Singh.
Lethal goes after the injured arm but Joe manages to send him into the corner for the enziguri. That takes a bit out of Joe as well though and it’s a missile dropkick to give Lethal two. An enziguri drops Joe this time but he’s able to knock Lethal outside. The big dive drops Lethal and the fans are right back behind Joe. A hard clothesline and the snap powerslam give Joe two but Lethal is back with the Lethal Combination.
For some reason Lethal tries his own MuscleBuster, which is knocked away to set up a middle rope leg lariat to give Joe two. Joe’s MuscleBuster is countered into the Lethal Injection for two more and Lethal can’t believe it. Dutt offers a distraction with the lead pipe so Lethal can get in a belt shot for a VERY near fall. Back up and the Lethal Injection is countered into the Koquina Clutch to retain Joe’s title at 12:27.
Rating: B-. I’m not sure what the deal is with Joe at the moment as he has been gone in recent months and then had a shorter than expected match here. It’s nice to have him back, but hopefully he is around a little bit more than he has been recently. Good enough match here, though Lethal losing again isn’t quite a great sign for his future.
We run down the Fight For The Fallen card, including Bryan Danielson’s return to the ring.
We recap the Briscoes vs. FTR. They have a huge rivalry, including their likely Match Of The Year at Supercard of Honor. Now it’s time for a 2/3 falls match to settle the score once and for all.
Tag Team Titles: FTR vs. Briscoes
FTR is defending and this is 2/3 falls. Mark and Harwood take their time locking up until Mark hits a shoulder for a standoff. Harwood takes him down for a change and Mark isn’t sure what to do here. An armbar starts in on Mark’s bad arm and it’s Wheeler coming in to stay on it. Mark armdrags his way to freedom and hits a bit of Redneck Kung Fu to give himself a breather. Jay comes in to stare Harwood down before grabbing a hurricanrana of all things.
Harwood is knocked outside and hang on as he has to be looked at by the doctor. We settle back down to Wheeler chopping and suplexing Jay, setting up a drop toehold. Harwood comes back in to drop an elbow but Jay gets up and brings Mark back in to slug away. That means Wheeler needs a breather of his own but Mark isn’t having that and tosses him right back in. The chinlock goes on for a bit before Wheeler manages to counter a leapfrog into a powerslam.
There’s the tag back to Harwood for the rolling German suplexes but a Jay distraction lets Mark get a rollup for two. The Bang Bang Elbow is blocked by a heck of a clothesline from Wheeler, leaving Harwood to DDT Jay for two of his own. Harwood gets catapulted into the post though and it’s a Doomsday Device to give the Briscoes the first fall at 16:28.
After a quick break between falls, Jay kicks Harwood outside for the hard chops from Mark. Harwood’s chest is busted open (geez) as Jay sends him into the barricade and then takes it back inside for more chops. Mark grabs a headlock of all things until Harwood suplexes his way to freedom. A belly to back superplex still isn’t enough for the tag though as Jay makes a save. Redneck Boogie gets two and we hit the chinlock again.
Harwood fights up and they slug it out until he falls backwards into the tag to Wheeler (nice). House is cleaned with a hard clothesline to Mark, setting up a brainbuster for two. The Gory Bomb gets two more, even as Harwood cuts Jay off. The fight heads outside (Coleman: “Spanish announce table, not us!”) with Mark being sent into various things. A high crossbody gives Wheeler two but Jay gets in a bell shot for a rather near fall (and what feels like a heel turn). The Death Valley Driver into the Froggy Bow gets the same but Harwood flapjacks Mark onto the steps. Back in and the Big Rig to Jay ties us up at 29:35 total.
Wheeler and Mark, both bleeding, trade headbutts with Mark getting the better of things before Rock Bottoming Harwood. Mark and Harwood chop it out on the apron until Redneck Kung Fu drops Harwood to the floor. There’s the apron Blockbuster, setting up a superkick from Jay back inside. The Jay Driller is countered into a hard piledriver for two (and the fans aren’t that interested in the kickout).
Mark is back up so Wheeler has to break up the Doomsday Device. An errant right hand drops the referee by mistake, meaning Jay gets no count after dropping Harwood. Yet another Doomsday Device is broken up so the Briscoes do it again for two on Harwood, leaving everyone down. Back up and Wheeler slugs it out with Mark until they can’t quite suplex each other over the top. That leaves Harwood and Jay to slug it out with Jay getting the better of things.
The Briscoes grab stereo camel clutches but FTR locks hands (ala their match against DIY in NXT) and then grabs the rope for the double break. Mark goes up but Wheeler is right there with a belly to back superplex through a table on the floor, leaving Jay stunned. Harwood and Jay slug it out again until Harwood catches him on top. A middle rope piledriver is enough to finally finish Jay to retain the titles at 43:36.
Rating: A. What else is there to say here? I’d put it just a hair beneath the Supercard of Honor match but it takes something special to go almost 45 minutes and keep it at this kind of a level. This felt like an absolute war, with Harwood hitting the big finisher to finally put Jay down. There was way this couldn’t headline the show and they more than delivered in another Match of the Year candidate.
Post match FTR high fives a bunch of people around the ring and calls in the Briscoes for some respect. Harwood says he f’ing loves this and wrestling saved his life. Call him an f’ing mark if you want but he’ll see you on Dynamite. Top Guys out.
The Blackpool Combat Club comes out to applaud FTR and we might have some new challengers. It isn’t like there is another team worth challenging FTR on the ROH roster so that makes sense.
Overall Rating: A-. As usual, this worked well because they focused on the wrestling rather than the mostly non-existent storytelling. That is where Ring Of Honor tends to shine and it worked very well here. I’m still not sure where Ring Of Honor is going, but they still need their own show instead of just a bunch of one off (and great) events. The main event is more than worth watching, but there is a lot of other good stuff on the show to make it worth seeing. Great show here, and a good next step for Ring Of Honor, assuming they have a path forward anytime soon.
Colt Cabana b. Anthony Henry – Moonsault
Trust Busters b. Shinobi Shadow Squad – Frog splash to Isom
Tully Blanchard Enterprises b. Alex Zayne/Blake Christian/Tony Deppen – Running boot/Dominator combination to Deppen
Willow Nightingale b. Allysin Kay – Gutwrench powerbomb
Claudio Castagnoli b. Jonathan Gresham – Riccola Bomb
Dalton Castle/The Boys b. Righteous – Bang A Rang to Bateman
Wheeler Yuta b. Daniel Garcia – Rollup
Rush b. Dragon Lee – Bull’s Horns
Mercedes Martinez b. Serena Deeb – Brass City Sleeper
Samoa Joe b. Jay Lethal – Koquina Clutch
FTR b. Briscoes 2-1
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