Ring Of Honor – July 20, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 21st July 2023
Ring Of Honor
Date: July 20, 2023
Location: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
It’s the go home show for Death Before Dishonor and we have a handful of matches. The World Title match was announced earlier today, as Pac will be getting the shot against Claudio Castagnoli. Other than that, we need a #1 contender to the TV Title, so tonight it’s Shane Taylor vs. Dalton Castle for the shot. Let’s get to it.
We open with a video on Daniel Garcia challenging Katsuyori Shibata for the Pure Rules Title at Death Before Dishonor. This gets the talking heads treatment.
Daniel Garcia vs. Jason Geiger
Pure Rules and they grapple against the ropes to start until Garcia pats him on the head. Garcia takes him down and dances, only to have Geiger do exactly the same. Geiger cranks on the arm and Garcia actually uses his first rope break. More arm cranking ensues but Garcia drops him again. This time Geiger muscles him up with a suplex and a butterfly variation gets two. Back up and Garcia drops him again, setting up the Boston crab (in a nod to Shibata). With that not working, the Dragontamer finishes Geiger at 7:08.
Rating: C+. Garcia gave him a lot here and that’s a bit weird to see the night before Garcia gets a title shot under these same special rules. That being said, Garcia did win in the end and that is what matters more than anything else as the momentum is there going into tomorrow. That also being said, this is probably the weakest title feud going in ROH today as it’s just not that interesting and there isn’t much of a way to hide it. I’m sure the match will be good, but it’s not exactly drawing me in.
Post match, Katsuyori Shibata comes out for the staredown.
Trish Adora vs. Utami Hayashishita
The Infantry is here with Adora, who grabs a headlock takeover to start. Adora cranks on the arm and rolls her over for two before loading up an Air Raid Crash. Instead of crashing though, Adora kneels down and cranks on various things at once. Utami escapes but can’t slam the bigger Adora, who comes back with some forearms to the ribs.
A kick to the arm slows Utami again but she counters the Lariat Tubman into a German suplex for two. Utami’s Air Raid Crash is broken up and Adora kicks her in the face, setting up a backsplash for another near fall. Back up and Utami grabs a torture rack spun into a powerbomb for two, followed by James Storm’s Eye of the Storm for the pin at 9:19.
Rating: B-. Commentary was hyping up Utami as a big deal from Stardom so there is definitely something to her. At the same time, Adora isn’t really doing anything at the moment so the loss only does so much damage. They were beating each other up rather well too so this was a pretty nice one off match.
TV Title #1 Contenders Tournament Finals: Dalton Castle vs. Shane Taylor
For the shot at Samoa Joe at Death Before Dishonor and I would have bet on this being the main event. The Boys clear out but Taylor scares Castle outside to start. Taylor powers him into the corner back inside but Castle slips away and grabs a DDT. You don’t do that to Taylor, who knocks him down and hits a Tower Of London on the floor.
A side slam gets two back inside and Taylor starts in on the always damaged back. Castle fights up and manages a low bridge to the floor, setting up the hurricanrana. Back in and Taylor goes simple by punching him in the ribs, only to have Castle snap off a suplex. The Julie Newmar bulldog gets two and one heck of a Bang A Rang (he spun Taylor around a few times sends Castle to Death Before Dishonor at 8:32.
Rating: B-. I’m tempted to go higher than that just because of how impressive that ending really was. Castle going forward was the only option as he is a far more interesting challenger than Taylor. While I can’t really picture a title change, I’ll take almost anything that has Castle on screen more often, as he really does have the charisma to make it work every time. Good match here, and dang that ending worked.
Josh Woods vs. James Stone
Pure Rules again and Woods has Mark Sterling and the Varsity Athletes with him. Woods starts fast and takes him into the ropes for the first break. Stone gets rocked again and has to use a second break, only to have Woods grab an anarchist suplex for the pin at 2:38. Total squash and I’m not sure why this needed to be Pure Rules, but it was so quick that it doesn’t really matter.
Tony Khan announces that Willow Nightingale is getting a Ring Of Honor Women’s Title shot against Athena at Death Before Dishonor. Willow is ready for the title match and she is ready to bring her big smile, big hair and a big fight.
Athena yells at Jerry Lynn and Stokely Hathaway about how she isn’t going to have this match. Tony Khan comes in to say oh yes you are. This segment served to remind you that Lynn and Hathaway are still in fact people on this show.
Athena vs. Nikita
Non-title Proving Ground match, meaning that if Nikita wins or survives the ten minute time limit, she gets a future title shot. Athena is in street clothes here and shakes her head in the corner to start. For some reason Nikita comes in and shoves her in the face. A right hand, the only move of the match, finishes Nikita at 56 seconds.
Post match the destruction is on but Willow Nightingale makes the save.
The Righteous vs. The Boys
Stu Grayson is here with the Righteous. Vincent runs Brandon over to start and sends him chest first into the corner. Dutch comes in and a basement Downward Spiral gets two. Brandon rolls under a clothesline though and dives over for the tag to Brent. Some dropkicks stagger Dutch but he runs Brent over with a clothesline. Vincent grabs Autumn Sunshine for the pin at 2:14.
Nicole Matthews vs. Leyla Hirsch
Hirsch headscissors her down for some posing to start before they fight over wristlocks. Matthews knocks her into the corner and hits a neckbreaker, followed by some forearms to the face. Hirsch isn’t having that and nails a running knee for the pin at 4:04.
Rating: C. They didn’t waste time here and Hirsch gets a fine win. She very well could be the next major challenger for the title, though the idea of her facing Willow Nightingale is a little strange. Matthews is a weird case as she was in that group of independent women who were stars in their time but were kind of forgotten after the Women’s Revolution. That’s a shame as she was quite good, but she feels like a blast from the past here.
Here’s what’s coming on Zero Hour, because the Death Before Dishonor card can’t be announced until days before the show but Zero Hour can be thrown together all at once.
Death Before Dishonor rundown.
Video on the Tag Team Title match, which has two teams who have not won a match in Ring Of Honor in over three months.
Video on Pac vs. Claudio Castagnoli, which was set up the night before this show (fair enough due to the Mark Briscoe injury).
Kingdom vs. Bollywood Boyz vs. Workhorsemen vs. Darius Martin/Action Andretti
Drake and Bennett knock some of the others off the apron before firing off the chops. Martin pulls Bennett off the apron to take over though and more people are knocked off the apron to clear things out again. We settle down to Martin getting double teamed until Bennett hits a dropkick for two.
Drake breaks up a cover off Just The Tip, allowing Martin to come back with a double DDT. The Workhorsemen and the Kingdom get in a fight on the floor so Andretti hits a big flipping dive. Back in and a top rope Hart Attack (elbow instead of clothesline) gets two on Bennett as the Boyz get to take over for a change. A Demolition Decapitator gets the same and it’s time for the parade of kicks to the face. The Proton Pack lets Bennett pin Harv at 6:23.
Rating: C+. It was fun while it lasted, but the Tag Team Title match at the pay per view is such a mess. Why not have Andretti and Martin, who have actually been around, in there instead? At least the Kingdom won here, furthering the idea that they should be in a regular title match instead of this four way stuff. This was the usual insane mess, with four teams being spread out over six minutes, so how is anyone supposed to stand out?
Overall Rating: C+. The shorter shows continue as this clocked in at about an hour and twenty minutes. That’s the third straight week within that range so maybe they have figured out the proper timing. Other than that though, there was enough on here that worked, but Death Before Dishonor is feeling as slapped together as any show could possibly be and that’s not good. I would say maybe they can get better organized after this, but that doesn’t seem likely. Decent show this week, though not exactly must see.
Daniel Garcia b. Jason Geiger – Dragontamer
Utami Hayashishita b. Trish Adora – Eye of the Storm
Dalton Castle b. Shane Taylor – Bang A Rang
Josh Woods b. James Stone – Anarchist suplex
Athena b. Nikita – Right hand
The Righteous b. The Boys – Autumn Sunshine to Brent
Leyla Hirsch b. Nicole Matthews – Running knee
The Kingdom b. Workhorsemen, Action Andretti/Darius Martin and the Bollywood Boyz – Proton Pack to Harv
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