Ring of Honor “Death Before Dishonor” Live PPV Report
August 19, 2016
Las Vegas, Nev.
Aired Live on PPV
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The PPV opened with ROH matchmaker Nigel McGuinness hyping the ROH roster and talking about his duty to put together the best match-ups possible. Tonight, it’s about honor. Jay Lethal has learned to live by that motto, but then there is Adam Cole. Nigel said Cole and the Bullet Club spit on ROH’s reputation.
Live in the arena, Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness introduced the show from ringside. (No Steve Corino after being taken out by B.J. Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan on the last PPV.) The first match was a #1 contender match to the ROH TV Title. Out first was was Kamaitachi, followed by Jay White, Donovan Dijak (accompanied by Prince Nana), and Lio Rush to a strong reaction.
1 — LIO RUSH vs. JAY WHITE vs. KAMAITACHI vs. DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Prince Nana) — #1 contender fatal four-way match to ROH TV Title
Dijak and Kamaitachi started off against each other. Or, so they made it seem, as they suddenly attacked White and Rush on the ring apron to jumpstart the match. But, Rush and White answered with dives on the outside, turning this into a virtual tag match.
After a flurry of high-flying offense from everyone, including Dijak, they returned to the ring. Dijak caught Lio Rush with a big kick into a Feast Your Eyes knee strike to the chin. Rush tipped over like a tree in the woods, then Dijak pinned Rush for the win.
WINNER: Dijak at 8:10 to become #1 contender to the ROH TV Title. Hectic at times, but some good spotlight moments for Rush, White, and eventually Dijak. (**3/4)
Video Package: New Japan star Shibata is making his ROH debut in the second match of the PPV. Against Silas Young, who is jealous of New Japan stars taking spots on the card.
In-ring: Silas Young was introduced first for the second match of the show. Shibata made his ROH debut to a strong reaction marching to the ring looking to hurt and strike someone. Specifically Young, Silas. Full streamer treatment and “Shibata, Shibata” chants for the NEVER Openweight champion. Young was unimpressed.
2 — NEVER Openweight champion SHIBATA vs. SILAS YOUNG — non-title match
Shibata was sporting a taped right shoulder to sell the effects of the G1 Climax tournament completed last weekend in Japan. Shibata powered Young into the ropes early on, then Young tried a chop and Shibata just shook it off like it was nothing. Shibata then teased the PK kick to frighten Young to the ring apron. Shibata tried to follow up, but Young neck-snapped him across the top rope.
Young tried to wear down Shibata, who suddenly entered Shibata Mode. Which means nothing Young tried on him worked. Strikes. Punches. Kicks. Forearms. Nothing. Young landed forearm after forearm, but Shibata just rocked him into the corner. Young spit in his face, and Shibata just went nuts on Young. Forearms drove Young down into the corner, then Shibata delivered his trademark corner-to-corner basement dropkick.
Shibata tried to follow with a kick strike, but Young grabbed his foot and landed a forearm. No-sell. Another forearm. No-sell. Young finally just dropped Shibata across his back and put him on the mat with a forearm. Young followed with a running cutter for a two count. Young followed with a headstand springboard moonsault for a super-close two count. Super scary close before three.
Young sold shock over not getting three, then picked up Shibata and slapped him. Shibata answered with a strike and sleeperhold to drive Young to the mat in order to deliver his trademark PK. Shibata covered Young for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Shibata stood up and waited for Young to get up. Shibata slapped him across the face, Silas slapped him across the face, and they came face-to-face for a firm handshake. Young acknowledged Shibata and they had a show of respect.
WINNER: Shibata at 9:20. Are they trying to get over Silas Young as a future top star? Only justification giving him that much offense and a super-close nearfall against the gift of Shibata. Otherwise, this should have been signature offense, a few no-sells, and PK sleeper for the win. To his credit, Young did stand out given the spot in Shibata’s first ROH match. (***1/4)
In-ring: Bullet Club was introduced first featuring Guerrillas of Destiny and Yujiro Takahashi. RPG Vice produced Rocky Romero, Baretta, and Toru Yano from the CHAOS faction. Meanwhile, Caprice Coleman of The Cabinet joined commentary to heel on Guerrillas ahead of their match at the TV taping tomorrow night.
3 — BULLET CLUB (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI) vs. CHAOS (ROCKY ROMERO & TRENT BARETTA & TORU YANO) — six-man tag match
The match built to Toru Yano tagging in for some goofball tactics with Tama Tonga. Classic Yano, which got over with the Las Vegas crowd. Romero tagged in and delivered clothesline after clothesline to Tonga, before knocking him down with a lariat. Yujiro then attacked Romero from behind and posted him.
Back in the ring, Bullet Club worked over Romero. But, Yujiro lost control and Romero tagged in Baretta, who cleaned house. Tag to Yano, who did his typical spot trying to rip away the turnbuckle pad, but Yujiro cut him off before Yano could unhook the buckle.
Yano dumped out Yujiro, then unhooked the buckle on his second try with help from some scissors. Yano sent Yujiro into the exposed steel, then whipped Tanga and Loa with the buckle pad. But, the Guerrillas cut off Yano and spiked him into the pad. Yujiro covered, but Yano surprisingly kicked out before three, stunning the crowd.
After the nearfall, RPG Vice helped out Yano with a flying attack to Bullet Club, leaving it at Yano vs. Yujiro in the ring. Yujiro dropped Yano with a fisherman buster, but Yano kicked out of a pin. Yano followed with an atomic drop into a catapult into the exposed steel. Yano then low-blowed Yujiro from behind and scored the pin for the win.
WINNERS: Chaos at 11:17. Basic tag getting over Yano’s signature goofiness in his ROH debut. (**1/2)
Post-match, Bullet Club hit the ring and attacked Yano. Tonga and Loa combined for Guerrilla Warfare on Yano to wipe him out. Suddenly, Hangman Page stormed the ring and noosed Yano. He wanted to hang him over the top rope, but Bullet Club’s music played. Jay Briscoe stormed the ring and chased off Hangman Page to save Yano. Briscoe and Page met in the middle of the ring and Nigel gave them the okay to start their match right now.
4 — JAY BRISCOE vs. HANGMAN PAGE — Anything Goes match
Briscoe and Page immediately left the ring to retrieve chairs, setting off a chair battle. Briscoe knocked down Page’s chair, then smashed the chair into his face. The match moved to the floor, where Briscoe smashed Page into anything he could find. “Man Down, Man Down,” the crowd comically chanted, taking off on Briscoe’s “Man Up!” moniker.
Back in the ring, Briscoe continued to work on Page. But, Page cut him off using the noose as a distraction. Page took over for a while, knocking Briscoe to the floor. On the outside, Page delivered a running powerbomb onto the padded ring mat. Page then tied up Briscoe’s hands inside the guardrail. Page picked up a chair and cracked it across the guardrail, pretty much missing Briscoe. Briscoe sold it well, though.
Page wasn’t done on the outside. He retrieved a table and set it up ringside, taking a while, giving Briscoe time to recover. Page wanted Right of Passage through the table, but Briscoe wiggled free and scampered back into the ring. Briscoe got a burst, delivering a neckbreaker. Briscoe then put Page’s neck inside a chair, but Page blocked a neckbreaker. Briscoe tried again, and this time he connected. Briscoe didn’t want to cover Page, though, desiring more punishment.
Briscoe set up a chair in the corner, dragged Page to the corner, grabbed Page’s noose, and tied Page in the corner, placing Page’s head against the chair. Briscoe delivered one, then two, and a third charging corner smash to the head. Briscoe sold hurting himself on the third attempt. But, once the ref freed Page from the corner contraption, Briscoe delivered a massive lariat. And, yet, all of that wasn’t good for a three count.
Briscoe decided to put Page on the ringside table, but Page rolled off the table back into the ring. Page then exploded on Briscoe with a big lariat for a two count. Page tried to hang Briscoe with the noose, then opted for a cutter across the top rope. Page tried to follow with a running Shooting Star Press on the floor, but Briscoe intercepted with a karate kick to the head.
Briscoe then rocked Page across ringside before rolling him onto the ring apron. Briscoe wanted a Jaydriller through the table on the outside, but Page blocked twice. Suddenly, Page flipped over Briscoe and delivered Right of Passage right through the table down to the floor below. Page sold injuring his left knee in the process of delivering the big move.
Page eventually got up with blood coming out of his knee. Briscoe’s upper back was cut open, too. Back in the ring, Page covered Briscoe for a two count. Page then locked the noose around Briscoe’s neck, trying to choke the life out of him. That’s a poor visual. Nigel McGuinness stood up at ringside concerned about Briscoe. Page eventually released the hold, then scooped up Briscoe and delivered Right of Passage. Page covered Briscoe for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Page at 17:40. That was a nuts brawl. It was really difficult to suspend disbelief, though, after Page took those three corner smashes into a chair, then a giant lariat, kicked out, and then quickly recovered to go on the offensive. Overall, they really wanted to get over Page with that kick-out and eventual victory over an ROH legacy star like Briscoe, especially since Page was thrust into the Bullet Club faction as a tag title challenger in Japan. (***1/2)
Video Package: Dalton Castle gets to face IWGP World Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada tonight.
In-ring: Dalton Castle was introduced to the ring joined by The Boys. Castle entered the ring to a strong reaction and posed for the crowd. Then, the money dropped to bring out New Japan’s top champion, IWGP World champ Kazuchika Okada. Superstar pop for Okada, who was greeted by fans tossing Okada Bills in the air. Loud “Okada, Okada” chants once the World champ hit the ring. No sign of Gedo with Okada. Kevin Kelly said Gedo is attending to special CHAOS business.
5 — IWGP World Hvt. champion KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. DALTON CASTLE — non-title match
Loud dueling chant of “Dalton Castle / Okada” as the opening bell sounded. After a nice back-and-forth exchange, Okada teased the Rainmaker, but Dalton ducked and did his party peacock pose, stunning Okada. The Boys then tried to fan down Okada, giving Dalton an opening to attack Okada from behind. But, Okada surprised Dalton with a quick lariat.
Okada wanted a top-rope move, but Castle quickly cut off Okada and delivered consecutive knee strikes. But, he missed a corner attack, Okada put him on the top turnbuckle, and Okada delivered a signature dropkick knocking Castle down to the floor. The Boys and fans promptly tried to fan Dalton to help him recover.
On the floor, Okada delivered a European Uppercut and tried to send Castle back into the ring, but Dalton turned around with a Rebound Huracanrana. Castle followed with a suicide dive to the floor to rock The Champ.
Back in the ring, Castle delivered a swinging bulldog for a close two count. Castle then showed off his strength with a deadlift German Suplex and bridge pin for a close nearfall. Dalton tried to follow up, but Okada grabbed The Boys and dragged them into the ring. Okada used the distraction to drop Castle, then tell The Boys to fan Castle as he climbed to the top to deliver his trademark elbow drop. Okada then stood up, put The Boys on each side of him, and did his trademark Rainmaker Pose with The Boys. Nicely done.
Suddenly, Castle grabbed Okada and put him on his shoulders to deliver his Bang-A-Rang finisher, but Okada wisely rolled to the floor to avoid being covered. Back in the ring, Castle ran right into a textbook dropkick from Okada. Okada then scooped up Dalton and delivered the Tombstone Piledriver. Okada shouted that it’s over, then wound up Castle to deliver The Rainmaker lariat. Okada covered for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Okada shook hands with Dalton, then asked for The Boys to join them in the ring. Four-man Rainmaker pose, then Okada shook hands with Dalton to show him his respect.
WINNER: Okada at 13:53. Okada was excellent mixing in some humorous spots with The Boys to enhance his standing in an ROH standing. Dalton was given equal footing with Okada, but ultimately lost, per the formula of trying to look impressive in defeat to perhaps get New Japan bookings in the future. Overall, they had nice chemistry in the ring. (***1/2)
Video Package: ROH TV Title feud between Bobby Fish and Mark Briscoe. Live in the arena, Bobby Cruise handled formal ring introductions for champion and challenger, who was favored by the crowd.
6 — ROH TV champion BOBBY FISH vs. MARK BRISCOE — ROH TV Title match
Briscoe is much more credible as a challenger after shaving his hair and getting serious again. Fish didn’t care and picked apart Mark’s left knee. Fish followed with martial arts kicks to the leg, back, and stomach. But, Mark responded with a Sick Kick and Fisherman Buster to “tribute” Roderick Strong. Fish kicked out of a pin attempt, though.
Fish responded with a double-knee fallaway gutbuster, another “tribute” to Strong. Briscoe responded with an impressive DVD cartwheel into the top-rope Froggy Bow, but Fish blocked by smashing Mark’s knee. Fish followed with a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall, right into a kneebar. But, Mark grabbed the bottom rope to avoid tapping out on the latest knee attack.
The match continued with Briscoe delivering another DVD cartwheeling into a kneeling powerbomb. Briscoe went back to the top for Froggy Bow, and he connected in the middle of the ring. Briscoe covered, but Fish kicked out just before three.
At 15:00, Mark took Fish to the top turnbuckle looking for a superplex, but Fish blocked. And again. Fish pounded Briscoe’s left knee, then dropped him back-first into the mat. Fish delivered an exploder suplex, then delivered a second Falcon Arrow. Fish covered for the pin and the win. After the match, there was a show of respect between Fish and Briscoe to adhere to the Code of Honor.
WINNER: Fish at 16:04 to retain the ROH TV Title. After a slow start, this got really good down the stretch. Fish had a previous run in New Japan with Kyle O’Reilly, who stood out more than Fish, but Fish seems to be stronger since that time. (***1/4)
Video Package: ROH Tag Titles held by Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, who will now look to knock down New Japan stars to keep the titles.
In-ring: Naito’s music played to bring out EVIL, then Naito in his dark mask to a big pop. Naito removed the mask and posed on the way to the ring, dressed in his trademark white suit to contrast his dark heart. Naito comically worked on referee Paul Turner as L.I.J. completed their ring entrance.
Out next was Michael Elgin, the dual IWGP IC champion and CMLL Elite champion. Cue up the Music of Greatness to bring out New Japan’s ace Tanahashi to join Elgin for the Tag Title challenge. Tanahashi worked the air guitar on the way to the ring before posing in his corner. The Addiction was out last to defend the titles.
7 — ROH tag champions THE ADDICTION (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & KAZARIAN) (463 lbs.) vs. TANAHASHI & MICHAEL ELGIN (496 lbs.) vs. L.I.J. (NAITO & EVIL) (435 lbs.) — three-team ROH Tag Title match
Matt Taven, out of control with his gimmicks, joined commentary to antagonize Kevin Kelly. Meanwhile, Naito and Daniels prepared to start things off. Daniels went for the lock-up, but Naito just casually walked off, leaving Daniels hanging to a pop. Daniels angrily grabbed Naito and kicked him into the corner. But, Naito hip-tossed Daniels to the floor and did his signature tranquillo pose. Naito made the champs look bad, then he tagged in EVIL to work on Daniels.
Tags out to Elgin and Kazarian, who took punishment from Elgin. Tag to Tanahashi, who body-pressed Kazarian into a leaping elbow drop to Kaz’s chest for a two count. But, the other wrestlers ran interference, allowing Kaz to catch Tanahashi with a backstabber. The Addiction then worked on Tanahashi. Elgin eventually tagged in for his tag partner and went nuts on Kaz with power offense.
Elgin then scooped up both EVIL and Naito for a double overhead suplex clearing L.I.J. from the ring. Everyone ended up on the floor except for Elgin, who then flew over the top rope to splash everyone on the outside. Back in the ring, Elgin wanted a Deadlift Superplex to Kaz, but EVIL cut off Elgin.
Suddenly, chaos broke out in the ring. And this brought out Kamaitachi to help out The Addiction, but they accidentally belt-shotted each other. Tanahashi then flew onto Daniels with High Fly Flow. But, EVIL scooped up Tanahashi for a sit-out powerbomb resulting in a super-close two count. Super-close. EVIL and Tanashi continued to battle, with Tanahashi delivering the Slingblade. Tanahashi wanted High Fly Flow, but Daniels blind-tagged from the outside. Tanahashi hit HFF, but Daniels rolled up both Tanahashi and EVIL for a three count and the win.
WINNERS: Addiction at 14:48 to retain the ROH Tag Titles. Good semi-main event match with a lot of stars mixed together. Naito shined early, Elgin & Tanahashi in the middle, and The Addiction at the end getting the win with crafty tactics. It will be interesting to see who Addiction eventually drops the titles to. (***1/4)
Video Package: Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole for the ROH World Title.
In-ring: Adam Cole was introduced to the ring by himself. No Young Bucks, who are in Japan for the Super J Cup. Jay Lethal was out next as the defending ROH World champion. No Taeler Hendrix with Lethal. Just Lethal with his new bald look after Cole and the Bucks shaved his head on ROH TV leading up to this match.
Before the opening bell, Bobby Cruise handled formal ring introductions for the ROH Title main event. Cole was cocky and smooth, while Lethal just stared straight ahead at Cole with anger and distaste in his eyes. Lethal and Cole slowly came together for a pre-match stare down, and opted not to adhere to the Code of Honor.
8 — ROH World champion JAY LETHAL vs. ADAM COLE — ROH World Title match
Once the bell sounded, Lethal continued to stare directly into Cole’s eyes. Cole wouldn’t even look him in the eyes, acting cocky and arrogant. Cole then went Joey Ryan dramatically reaching into his trunks to pull out … Lethal’s hair. Lethal angrily punched Cole in the face and Cole punched back, but Lethal pounded Cole down to the mat. Lethal mounted Cole and continued to punish him as the crowd rallied behind Lethal.
The match moved to the floor, where Lethal rocked Cole around ringside. Dropkick to the back from Lethal. He then went under the ring looking for a weapon. He didn’t find it, so he dropkicked Cole in the back of the head again. Lethal went under the ring again and couldn’t find what he was looking for. Lethal finally found it on his third try – a table covered in streamers. Cole tried to sneak-attack Lethal, but Lethal dropped him with a cutter on the floor.
Lethal looked to end Cole by placing him on the ringside table, but Cole rolled off the table just before Lethal came crashing through with a flying elbow drop. Cole had a gleeful look of happiness on his face as he watched Lethal sell on the floor. Cole got up with a cocky smile looking to follow up on the prone champion.
Cole picked up Lethal, who was now bleeding from the top of his forehead. Cole took a bow, then approached a row of Bullet Club t-shirt-wearing fans and pulled away the Too Sweet to heel on the fans. Back in the ring, Cole took his time working on Lethal. That gave Lethal an opening to recover and dropkick Cole to the floor, then deliver a suicide dive to the outside. Lethal delivered a second one. He went for a third, and he connected again. Lethal usually stops at three, but he needed a fourth. And he connected again. How about five? Angry Lethal clutched his chest, then flew at Cole with a fifth one. Crazed Lethal returned to the ring pounding the mat, incensed. He went for a sixth, but this time Cole side-stepped and Lethal crashed into the guardrail.
Back in the ring, Cole continued to be cocky, giving Lethal another opening to attack, but Cole cut off Lethal with a flying Shining Wizard for a two count. Cole then cockily warmed up Sweet Chin Music, but Lethal shoved Cole’s foot aside and clotheslined him. Cole then pushed referee Todd Sinclair aside and low-blowed Lethal before nailing The Last Shot for a two count when Lethal placed his foot on the bottom rope. For the past year, that was a heelish escape, but now it’s Lethal being smart.
Lethal and Cole went back and forth before Cole applied a guillotine choke, “tributing” his former tag partner Kyle O’Reilly. But, Lethal held on and countered with the Lethal Combination, putting both men on the mat selling the exchange. Lethal draped an arm over Cole, barely registering a two count.
Lethal was up to his feet first to deliver a back drop suplex. And a second. Lethal delivered a third, then called for the end. Lethal went to the corner looking for a top-rope elbow drop, and he connected. But, Cole kicked out of a pin.
Both men back to their feet for a standing exchange. Kick strikes, then a superkick from Cole, who couldn’t follow up. Cole eventually got up first at 20:00 and tried to end Lethal with a leaping Canadian Destroyer, but Lethal blocked and hit a leaping cutter. Lethal wanted the Lethal Injection, but Cole superkicked him in the back of the head. Cole then jumped off the corner buckle with a leaping Canadian Destroyer. Cole followed with The Last Shot, but Lethal escaped the pin at the very last split-second. It looked like a new champion, stunning Cole and popping the crowd.
Cole spent so long selling shock that he lost his chance to follow up. Lethal was able to recover, then Cole decided to taunt Lethal and spit in his face. Cole went for a superkick, but Lethal sidestepped and nailed Lethal Injection. Lethal covered for what looked like the end, but Cole returned the favor by escaping the pin at just the last split-second.
At 23:00, Lethal and Cole tried to recover on the mat. Cole shot a double bird to Lethal, who glared back at him. Lethal then got up and tried a superkick, but Cole ducked and rolled up Lethal with a hook of the tights, but Lethal kicked out. Cole then hit Last Shot a third time. He scooped up Lethal and nailed it a fourth time. Cole covered Lethal for the pin and the win. New World Champion, shocking Kelly and Nigel. The crowd exploded for the title change.
WINNER: Cole at 24:00 flat to capture the ROH World Title. You could see it in Lethal’s eyes during the pre-match ring intro that he was losing the title. One of those title runs where fans wanted to see Lethal lose for a year, then when they wanted to see him win in this match, he lost. Pro Wrestling. This was an epic, replay-worthy title match in an era where hardly anything is really replay-worthy at $35. This was really good in terms of action, drama, and telling the story of Lethal’s hatred for Cole costing him the title after being crafty and calculating throughout his title run. (****1/2)
Post-match, streamers fell into the ring as the live crowd celebrated the title change. ROH ambassador Cary Silkin entered the ring and reluctantly handed the ROH Title belt to Cole.
Suddenly, Kyle O’Reilly snuck into the ring from behind. After Bobby Cruise announced Cole as the new World champion, Cole turned around to find a giant lariat from O’Reilly. O’Reilly followed with a brainbuster into the streamers. O’Reilly held up the ROH Title belt over Cole. O’Reilly, fired up, continued to pose over the new champion as the PPV ended six minutes before midnight.
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