METZGER’S MARCH-THROUGH – ROH “Death Before Dishonor” 2016 – Lethal vs. Cole, New Japan stars; Overall Reax


Ring of Honor "Death Before Dishonor 2016" PPV - Las Vegas (ROHWrestling.com)

Metzger’s Marchthrough – ROH Death Before Dishonor
August 19, 2016
Aired Live on traditional pay-per-view
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor

1 – DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Prince Nana) beat JAY WHITE, KAMAITACHI, and LIO RUSH in a four-way #1 contender match for the ROH TV Title

This was your typical multiple-man opener. It was more tolerable than usual since there was actually something on the line. There was non-stop action throughout, and all four men definitely delivered some huge spots. Dijak essentially scored an even-steven victory after losing to Rush on the latest edition of ROH TV. At least ROH is finally pushing Dijak. (***)

2 – NEVER Openweight champion KATSUYORI SHIBATA beat SILAS YOUNG – non-title match

Not much was made of Shibata’s ROH debut, neither on this show or the TV leading up to it. The opening moments struck me as a typical Silas Young match, but things really picked up when Shibata took control around the 5:00 mark. Shibata got to exhibit some of his stiff strikes and choke holds, and Silas certainly held his own as well. But similar to Tomohiro Ishii’s matches in ROH earlier this year, this didn’t even get close to the insane action one would expect from a match involving the NEVER Openweight Champion. Perhaps Silas wasn’t the ideal dance partner or Shibata was holding back because it was only an ROH show, but Shibata’s debut wasn’t particularly memorable by any means. (**1/2)

3 – ROPPONGI VICE (ROCKY ROMERO & TRENT BARRETA) & TORU YANO beat THE GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA) & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI

This was essentially a NJPW exhibition match. I don’t have a problem with a six-man exhibition, I just wish ROH would have featured fewer multiple-man matches elsewhere on the card. Romero and Barreta did their usual schtick early-on. Bullet Club took control against Romero, while Caprice Coleman made some “shoot” comments on commentary about ROH booking the NJPW stars instead of ROH wrestlers like The Cabinet. Interesting. There were a few prominent miscues and timing issues throughout the match. It was really fun to see Yano in ROH, though. His difficulty in removing the turnbuckle pad was clunky, yet memorable. (**1/4)

4 – ADAM PAGE beat JAY BRISCOE in an “Anything Goes” match

ROH found a creative way to save time skipping intros by having Page attack CHAOS in the previous match, with Briscoe making the save. A chair-throw to Page’s head at the start certainly set the tone for this match. They went down the rabbit hole quickly when Briscoe was on the receiving-end of a very blatant unprotected chair-shot to the head. It was a well-executed hardcore match, but the issue between Briscoe and Page wasn’t fleshed out on ROH TV leading up to the PPV. Kevin Kelly briefly referenced the history both men had with each other, but there didn’t seem to be an actual reason for all the violence and hatred during this match, with Page having been portrayed as merely an afterthought since joining Bullet Club in May. (***1/2)

5 – IWGP Hvt. champion KAZUCHIKA OKADA beat DALTON CASTLE – non-title match

Both men received solid ovations before the bell. Castle always impresses me with his amateur wrestling background. I loved Kevin Kelly’s sports-like commentary when he referenced Okada’s performance in the G1 Climax tournament. There was some great psychology early-on with Castle having Okada scouted. Some good back-and-forth with Okada dropkicking Castle off the turnbuckle, but Castle later responding with his patented hurricanrana off the ring apron. Castle looked really strong throughout the match and almost won with the Bangarang, following some comedy spots with “the boys.” It was obvious who was going over, but Castle had me wondering on more than one occasion, and that’s all you can ask for in a match like this. (***1/2)

6 – BOBBY FISH beat MARK BRISCOE to retain the ROH TV Title

There was some decent mat wrestling to start. It built up to some good drama on the apron around the five-minute mark, where Briscoe avoided Fish and then nailed him with a Blockbuster onto the floor. I really liked how the working of body parts came into play. The story of Fish methodically picking apart Briscoe was quite compelling. Not sure why there was an ode to Roderick Strong toward the end, but the sequence certainly fit into the match. In the end, it told the story of Bobby Fish putting another notch in his belt, but I don’t think this match overcame the bland babyface-versus-babyface dynamic that has plagued Fish’s title reign so far (**3/4)

7 – THE ADDICTION beat LOS INGOBERNABLES (NAITO & EVIL) and MICHAEL ELGIN & TANAHASHI in a three-team match to retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles

Not surprising that the NJPW stars received huge reactions. I agree with Todd Martin that Matt Taven is horrid on commentary. He completely writes off Elgin’s redemption story, while he incessantly puts over himself and The Kingdom, despite the group disbanding over 6 months ago. This might have been one multiple-man match too many for this show, but I did like the story of The Addiction wanting to stay in the match since their titles were on the line. Elgin was put over really strong. I liked his double-German on both members of The Addiction and then a double-fallaway slam on Los Ingobernables. But, that’s what this match was – all spots and no story. The Addiction got their usual fluke victory and live to fight another day as champs. (***)

8 – ADAM COLE beat ROH World champion JAY LETHAL to capture the ROH World Title

Intense start to the match, with Cole pulling Lethal’s former braids out of his tights. There was a bit of a lull when Lethal was looking for a table underneath the ring early-on. Things certainly picked up after Lethal’s failed Hail to the King attempt through a table on the outside. The match hit another gear when Lethal hit six consecutive dives to Cole on the floor. The story of Lethal’s anger consuming him was on full display and was executed quite well. The back-and-forth sequences in the later portions of the match were a creative use of both men’s signature moves. The facial expressions (and hand gestures) toward the end brought out an emotional response in me that I so rarely get from a pro wrestling match these days. Giving these guys almost 25 minutes was a smart move, especially since the last two ROH PPV main events were extremely disappointing. (****1/2)

FINAL REAX

The same-old-story for ROH pay-per-views as of late – a lot of great matches amid some bigger-picture booking issues. Outside of the main event, there was little-to-no hype for anything else going into this show. Being a one-match show, at least the main event delivered. ROH also has the benefit of a fresh start with Adam Cole as champion. Jay Lethal was serviceable in the top spot, but his matches didn’t generate the level of buzz ROH needs to stand out from the crowded pro wrestling landscape right now. Cole’s reign has that potential, especially with Kyle O’Reilly in the hunt.

The over-reliance on the NJPW stars was still present, though it was more tempered compared to more recent co-promoted shows. ROH actually took a step in the right direction when it came to pushing its own talent. Donovan Dijak is on the rise and in-line for a TV title shot. Adam Page scored a huge win over ROH icon Jay Briscoe. Dalton Castle was booked strong against Okada and Bobby Fish racked up another successful title defense. Despite this, I do think that the poor TV hype hurt the opener and Briscoe-Page especially, since big victories for Dijak and Page just came-and-went, instead of being the culmination of a well-told story. All in all, a solid show, but the $35/$45 price tag is just so hard to justify in 2016. (7.5)

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