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BRM Reviews ROH Death Before Dishonor 2022 (awesome!)

Posted: Jul 25th, '22, 21:15
by Big Red Machine
ROH Death Before Dishonor 2022 (7/23/2022)- Lowell, MA

COLT CABANA vs. ANTHONY HENRY (w/J.D. Drake)- 6.75/10
That dyed blond part of Anthony Henry’s hair is atrocious. Henry worked over Cabana’s neck, and got some help from J.D. Drake on the outside, but Cabana overcame it and got the win.

SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD (Eli Isom & Cheeseburger) vs. THE TRUST BUSTERS (Ari Daivari & Slim J)- 4.75/10
Action happened. The Trustbusters won cleanly.

He has purchased Tully Blanchard Enterprises. Or maybe just bought the contracts of all of Tully’s wrestlers. They didn’t specify. This was awkwardly worded, seemingly for the purpose of not having to mention Tully’s name, which was worrying to me because “DON’T EVEN SAY HIS NAME!” is a very Vince McMahon thing to do, and is the sort of pettiness the wrestling business needs Tony Khan to be above.

ALEX ZAYNE, BLAKE CHRISTIAN, & TONY DEPPEN vs. THE EMBASSY (Brian Cage & the Gates of Agony) (w/Prince Nana)- 6.75/10
More good action. The Embassy got the win.

Willow won cleanly.

ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Jonathan Gresham(c) vs. Claudio Castagnoli- 6.75/10
Why is the world title going on first? Because the tag titles are also a huge deal, and there was a coin toss earlier to determine which one would be in the main event. Hooray for explanations that save you from having to say “this title is bigger than that title.”
William Regal came out with Claudio, but went to do commentary instead of managing him. Prince Nana wandered out to ringside early on, and none of the announcers ever commented on this presence.
This was very good for the frustratingly short amount of time it got. So in addition to his own mistakes, Tony Khan is now making Delirious’ mistakes as well. On the bright side, the crowd popped huge for Claudio winning the title. On the less bright side, Gresham apparently cursed Tony Khan out and asked for his release, partly because of a lack of communication from Tony, and because this match got short-changed on time, so one of the guys ROH should have been built around is now gone.

The announcers noted that there are still FIVE MORE TITLE MATCHES tonight. That’s too many.

He tried to bury the Pure Title by asking “have you ever watched a sport and said ‘I wish there were more rules?’” That’s the kind of thing that you shouldn’t have someone say because it hits a little too close to home (or at least that you shouldn’t have someone say without an immediately counterpoint to explain what, then, makes the Pure Title more interesting/worth watching).
He says he’s going to win the title not because he wants the Pure Title, but because he hates it, and he and the Jericho Appreciation Society will destroy it on Dynamite. This idea feels a lot more natural than the video package we got on Rampage last night. That feels like it was from some alternate reality.
Ian apparently didn’t listen to Garcia’s promo very carefully, because he seemed to be under the impression that Garcia wanted to “elevate” the title do Dynamite, which is the opposite of what he wants to do. It also, unfortunately, buries ROH being secondary to AEW (yeah, we all know that it really is, but don’t just go out there and say that! The announcers should be trying to help us pretend that it isn’t.

ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLES: The Righteous(c) (w/Vita VonStarr) vs. Dalton Castle & the Boys- 5.75/10
So they’re back to being the Boys now instead of the “Chicks.” This kind of feels like taking Dalton’s character backwards. The Boys now also have names: Brent and Brandon.
Action happened. Dalton & the Boys won cleanly, so hopefully this means the Righteous aren’t being brought back.

JAY LETHAL & SONJAY DUTT (& SATNAM SINGH) PROMO- Sonjay was great. Lethal was mostly good, although he got a little too cartoonish, and his last line didn’t actually make any sense.

ROH PURE TITLE MATCH: Wheeler YUTA(c) vs. Daniel Garcia- 8.5/10
I thought it was funny that Garcia went and flipped off the ROH logo… and the got up onto the apron and did the “wipe your shoes off before getting into the ring, because the ring is your home” sign of respect thing.
Regal was back on commentary for this match. At one point he says that he told Wheeler YUTA that he will be very upset with him if he uses a rope-break, because they want him to show the skills they have been teaching him. That’s insane.Ican understand that as a training exercise, but to tell him that in a match that actually counts- and a title match no less?
The judges for this match were Josh Woods, John Walters… and a bearded Ace Steel.
Ian Riccaboni told us that these two wrestled to a one-hour draw last year. How have I not heard about this until now?! I really hope it’s just like this match but forty-give minutes longer, because I had a big f*cking smile on my face from start to finish on this one. This was an excellent WRESTLING match, using strike exchanges at key moments to ramp up intensity, and getting a little bit of spice out of using the other wrestler’s coach’s signature submission at times.

DRAGON LEE vs. RUSH (w/Jose the Assistant)- 8/10
This match felt very odd. I’m fine with these two being booked against each other without an angle just on the logical principle that wrestlers get booked against each other all the time, and the fact that they’re in the same stable or a brothers shouldn’t impede that, but it did feel odd to do it with these two without an angle.
I wasn’t fond of Caprice saying that these two were happy to show the fans what ROH competition was all about, because the last time we saw them, they were cheating heels. At most a minute after that, Ian was telling me that Rush was showing Dragon Lee respect by wrestling cleanly, noting that he usually just starts cheating right away. Someone who usually starts cheating right away is not the sort of person who you should say has been chosen to show fans what Ring of Honor is all about!
There was excellent action here, and Rush actually did wrestle cleanly (I don’t really view throwing your opponent into the barricades as cheating at this point, unless one has specifically worked to create an environment where that is the case).

ROH WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Mercedes Martinez(c) vs. Serena Deeb- 8.25/10
I’ll have to go back and look to check exactly how high up it ranks, but it’s very possible that this might be the best women’s match in ROH history. Nothing is immediately springing to mind as a competitor for it.
This was another great display of hold and counter-hold, while telling the story of a simple battle of wills. These are two people (along with Deonna Purrazzo) this division should be built around.

ROH WORLD TV TITLE MATCH: Samoa Joe(c) vs. Jay Lethal (w/Sonjay Dutt & Satnam Singh)- 7.75/10
They spent a long time fighting on the outside and taking pains to ensure that they weren’t both in the ring at the same time so that the match couldn’t officially start. That was good. What was bad was that this segment ended with Satnam Singh helping Lethal and Joe’s arm getting wrapped in a chair and run into the post… and then Joe just didn’t sell it for the rest of the match. To turn this into a complement sandwich, I will say that I liked the referee ejecting Singh from ringside as soon as the bell rung to prevent him from any further interference.
Other than that issue, this was another great match, with lots of convincing false finishes. Joe overcoming Lethal’s cheating, kicking out of the Lethal Injection, and getting the win here is a little concerning to me because it feels like it pretty much kills Lethal off as a top-level threat. If Lethal is done with AEW/ROH after this then that’s good booking, but if he’s not, he’s going to take a lotor rebuilding before he can go anywhere near a title again.

BRYAN DANIELSON WILL RETURN THE RING NEXT WEEK ON DYNAMITE AGAINST DANIEL GARCIA- Really? Dragon is going to make his comeback on Dynamite instead of on this show against Anthony Henry? If there is some big plan where they need save Dragon’s return to ROH to make it feel like a huge deal then this is fine. If there isn’t this is a frustrating waste.

Caprice Coleman referred to this match as “the most anticipated rematch in Ring of Honor history,” and that might well be true. Defining “rematch” as the next match between the exact same competitors, the only ones I could really come up with were Homicide vs. Danielson at Final Battle 2006 and Danielson vs. Morishima from Man Up, and the final Joe vs. Punk match (remember that Joe vs. Punk II was a last-minute change because Steve Corino no-showed).

With that kind of hype, it was imperative that this match deliver, and it sure as hell. This was another TREMENDOUS match between these two teams. Once again, it built and built and built beautifully, the nearfalls were fantastic, and the finish was completely insane, while still being so perfectly and appropriately simple for these two teams.
I was pleasantly surprised that the crowd actually interpreted the Briscoes’ heel turn with Jay hitting Cash with the ring bell as an actual heel turn, with the crowd going from about 60-40 for FTR to something closer to 85-15.
The Briscoes getting a phantom pinfall after a ref bump keep the issue alive, but now with a changed dynamic of the Briscoes being heels. The only negatives in the match were the execution of the ref bump (it looked like Dax purposely punched Paul Turner), and that one botch by the ropes. Still, even if those spots had gone off without a hitch, I still would have this at 9.5/10. I’m looking forward to the new most anticipated rematch in Ring of Honor history.

Dax cuts the big emotional promo about the win. Blackpool Combat Club (well, just Regal, Claudio, and YUTA, not the whole group) came out onto the stage, planting the idea of a match between the two pairings in our minds. I would not go this way if I were AEW, simply because you’re going to have to have a champion lose (or else change a title so quickly into the promotion’s new run).

This was another awesome show from ROH, with a tremendous top of the card capped off by another MOTYC from FTR and the Briscoes, but like with the previous show, I don’t think this can be used to read anything how a Tony Khan-run ROH will fare, because it’s a lot easier to book a few shows with very few storylines where you just book great workers against each other. Until they run shows more regularly, we can’t even begin to guess. Until that time, though, I’m content to enjoy these shows the way they are.