ROH – Death Before Dishonor VIII

Death Before Dishonor VIII
Date: June 19, 2010
Location: Ted Reeve Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Dave Prazak, Joe DeGrowski

This is a few months old but at the time I remember more or less hearing that it was the most awesome show EVER. Granted this is normal for ROH fans as they swear up and down that only they know what REAL wrestling is which normally makes me laugh. This one however continues to get praise so I figured I should check it out. The main event is Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards, who is claimed by most ROH fans to be the best in the world. I’ve seen some of his stuff and find him vastly overrated, but maybe I’m wrong. Let’s get to it.

We open with the Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, the current ROH Tag Champions) yelling about the Briscoes and how they’ll pay for their actions. Standard stuff but they come off as faces here.

Cabana and Corino do the talking for Generico and Steen respectively.

Richards, who is TOWERED over by Black, says he wants the world title. Black says he’s keeping the belt.

This was a PPV broadcast on the internet which isn’t a bad idea.

We’re supposed to open with Cheech and Cloudy but here’s El Generico, who wants Steen NOW. Steve Corino comes out as Steen’s mouthpiece and says Steen will never wrestle in the opening match as he’s all about the main event. Generico still says NOW. Steen sprints past Corino and IT’S ON!

El Gernerico vs. Kevin Steen

Steen is a rather fat Canadian and is supposed to be the heel but we’re in Toronto so it’s kind of split. Big old dive over the top by Generico and he controls on the floor. Standard feud here: former tag partners and tag champions but an outsider gets in one of their ears and turns him heel, setting up the big grudge match. The dueling chants start up as they slug it out on the ropes.

All Generico here in the early going and as he hits a leg lariat the audio feed starts to break up a bit. Spinning rope walk DDT is countered very nicely into a back breaker by Steen and followed up by a senton in a nice combination. They slug it out a bit and of course Steen throws a superkick. What is with so many people in this company using a superkick? Loud F YOU STEEN chant which says a lot as a Canadian (ok so they’re both Canadian which that explains a lot) is getting heel heat in Canada.

Generico makes a quick comeback and hits a Generico Driver for two. It’s more of a midlevel move for him I think so it’s not as annoying to have him kick out of it so early in the match. Package piledriver (odds are if you’re reading an ROH review you know what these moves are. If not there’s a handy device called Youtube) attempt on the apron is blocked and Generico hits a tornado DDT to the floor.

The masked dude goes up top for a big old splash that gets two. Steen manages to go for the Sharpshooter but it’s blocked. Is there a quota of Sharpshooters every Canadian wrestler has to use in a year or something? Since this is an ROH match we trade STIFF looking strikes before both guys go down. I get the whole adrenaline argument, but how can a second superkick not put Generico down while the first one did when he’s taken more punishment in between? I’ve never gotten that.

Moonsault misses and the masked Canadian hooks the Sharpshooter to fill his quota. Generico goes for…something, but in a nice counter Steen hooks him into a Package Piledriver for two. That would have been awesome if I had known what it was supposed to be in the first place. Generico proceeds to kick the heck out of Steen and we go up where Steen finds a wrench to blast him in the head with. A brainbuster type move from the top ends it for Steen.

Rating: B-. Pretty solid match here but I kind of question the whole having a big grudge match this early on the card. Granted they addressed that at the beginning of the match so I can’t complain much there. This feud continued on so the ending makes sense here. This was an intense match so points for that. Nothing incredible but a solid choice for an opener I would think.

Some wrestlers are asked who is going to win the title match. Cornette won’t answer and Steen only talks about Generico. The money seems to be on Richards. Austin Aries predicts there will be a winner and that winner will be world champion. Whoever it is though will never be as good as he is. That’s a heel promo right there.

Up in Smoke vs. All Night Express

Up in Smoke is Cheech and Cloudy who I’ve heard a lot about but never seen. The All Night Express is Rhett Titus and Kenny King, who come of you might vaguely remember as Kenny from Tough Enough 2. Rhett Titus is like Rick Rude on crack but in a good way. They’re a comedy team but they’re rather good from the little I’ve seen out of them. King jumps Cloudy to start as they follow the Code of Honor by shaking hands.

Kind of a botch on a double armdrag as the heels are sent to the floor. Cheech backdrops Cloudy onto the heels to take them out. Back in the ring and they speed things up again but a nice double team move nearly kills Cloudy. Up In Smoke are both really small guys but wrestle kind of like the Guns do. The Briscoes might not be here for their match later. Austin Aries, the Express’ manager, pulls a Jericho and runs to the announcers shouting ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT ME?

King can move out there. He was kind of memorable on Tough Enough but wasn’t really anything great. From what I’ve seen of him in ROH he’s gotten a good deal better. Rollup gets two on King. Up in Smoke pulls out something called Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Cheech. It doesn’t hit but that’s an awesome name. Kind of an eye roller but still great. A lot of double teaming here but it keeps getting broken up.

And now we get to the problem I have with a lot of wrestling companies today, including indys for the most part. The Express hits a SWEET powerbomb/springboard Blockbuster combo into a pin and Cheech kicks out of it. If you’re going to break out these huge moves then have them end the match. If they don’t get pins then yeah they’re big and flashy but they don’t actually end anything, which makes them look weak.

We get the awesomely named move from earlier which is a 619 from one and a dropkick to the back of the head from the other. And since we can’t have a double team move like that end it, King hits a spinning backbreaker onto his back (think Chris Harris’ Catatonic) but keeps Cloudy on his back, allowing Titus to go up and hit a knee drop onto Cloudy for the pin. Yeah the other move looked much better.

Rating: D+. Pretty much just a basic tag match here to get the Express on the show. It’s not bad but the breaking up of pins and constant double teaming from both teams took me out of the match too often. At times you need to just have one guy vs. one guy as it allows the double team moves to look more important and impactful. This wasn’t bad but it needed to be changed a lot to make it a truly good match.

Post match the Express talks about how awesome they are and how awesome Aries is, bringing him to the ring. Aries really is solid on the mic with basic heel stuff. Here’s Delirious for their match.

Delirious vs. Austin Aries

Delirious is in his insane red tonight. Aries tried to injure Delirious and hurt his throat, setting this up. Again, simple booking can work best at times. The Express gets thrown out for the sake of a match. Mist is shot out almost immediately and Aries is in trouble. Who came up with that thing in the first place? It’s such a staple anymore that if you had trademarked it you would make a fortune.

Chokebomb by Delirious which is a rather cool move actually. Aries is still blind about 3 minutes in. Aries goes for a brainbuster on the referee, I guess just not noticing the shirt there. He gets some water in his eyes and now we’re ready to go. Out on the floor and Aries sets Delirious up for the Savage/Steamboat axe handle spot that set up their Mania 3 match and was also used to put Delirious out. This one of course misses though as we need to brawl more.

Hot shot gets two for Aries as he takes over. Cobra Clutch suplex gets two for Delirious as he hits it out of nowhere. He starts his comeback and lands like 5 sentons to the back of Aries. Cobra Clutch is countered and Delirious goes to the floor. Aries goes for a suicide dive and faceplants into the wall in a SICK looking bump. And here’s the Express for the CHEAP DQ! This feud is still going on today so you get the idea here.

Rating: C+. This was ok but the ending crippled it. Delirious is certainly different than most guys but in the ring I’ve never quite gotten the appeal of Aries. He’s good but I’ve never found him to be great at all. This was a decent match but the ending hurt it badly. The idea was supposed to be for Delirious to get his revenge and to this day he still hasn’t. I get stretching an angle out but this is a bit much.

Fans are split on the world title match.

Gauntlet Match

This is a 6 man gauntlet where the winner gets a future title shot. The idea is two people start us off and have a match. Winner gets man #3 and so on until the last man is standing. We start with Tyson Dux vs. the TV Champion Eddie Edwards. Edwards is the partner of Davey Richards in the American Wolves. Feeling out process to start us off with some nice wrestling stuff.

They chop it out and Dux takes over. It’s pronounced Dukes if you’re curious for some odd reason. Not a lot going on here as they both want to conserve energy for later. Edwards as the TV Champion is used to having ten minute matches which is a nice little explanation for why he’s not used to going long times in the ring.

Edwards rolls through something into his half crab submission but Dux makes the ropes. Reverse chinlock goes on as Dux’s back is hurt. Dux runs into a pair of big boots as we get to the striking which just has to happen here. Release gordbuster and a snap DDT get 2 for Dux. Briscoes still aren’t here but a clothesline takes the head off of Dux. Edwards gets a Codebreaker from the middle rope into the half crab (called an Achilles Lock here because ROH has to be smarter than we are) but after getting to the ropes Dux gets a rollup out of nowhere for the SHOCKING upset.

Daivari of the Embassy is next and the overly muscular one goes after the leg. After a lot of leg work we get a decent figure four as Dux is in trouble. He slaps the mat but of course that’s not a tap because he’s trying to get the crowd into things right? And now his leg is ok once he gets out of the hold? Death Valley Driver, Dux’s finisher, hits but hey since we’re in ROH you have to have someone kick out of a finisher right (Yes I know everyone does it anymore)?

Nice neckbreaker by Dux but Prince Nana gets the foot of Daivari on the rope. And now it’s the Rude vs. Warrior at Mania 5 ending as Nana hooks the foot on a suplex and holds it down for the pin.

Colt Cabana vs. Daivari now which is a rematch from last night. A reverse Boston Crab literally ends this in less than a minute with Cabana getting the win.

Steve Corino comes in 5th and we get a reference to Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies II which is a show I’ve actually reviewed. We get a Phil Brooks reference as a former associate of Cabana. He’s out of ROH now and got knocked out last night by Big Show in an idiotic match. Billy Goat’s Curse (the reverse Boston Crab) is hooked but we head to the floor.

Corino gets a fork from somewhere but it gets taken away. This allows a low blow to turn the tide and Steve takes over. He gets something and jabs it into Cabana’s eye and hits the Old School Expulsion. He goes for a running elbow and gets caught in a SLICK crucifix for the pin!

Roderick Strong, freshly heel, hits the ring and kicks the tar out of Cabana for two. I like Strong so this should go well. He has Truth Martini as his manager now who is rather annoying but you have to expect that in some managers. Strong kicks the heck out of him but Cabana hits a standing Lionsault for two. The camera is shaking here which is kind of annoying but acceptable given the level of this company. Strong’s knee is hurt so Martini runs in and drills Cabana in the head with his book for the pin.

Rating: C+. Pretty solid stuff here and they managed to get the quick eliminations out of the way but at the end of the day a gauntlet match doesn’t usually work that well. This was one of the better ones I’ve seen but everyone pretty much knows whoever the last guy to come in is will be the winner which is why these kind of miss the mark more often than not. Also, there was no way a freshly heel Strong was going to lose. Pretty good wrestling makes it worth watching though.

This would be intermission time at the show. The Briscoes aren’t here yet still which likely isn’t legit. Ad for as they just say it’s intermission. Since this isn’t the live broadcast I get a screen with the sponsor’s name instead.

Davey Richards talks about his family life. Black talks about working hard. It’s one of those interviews where they each talk about something and then you cut to the other guy who answers the same question. I like those as they’re very rapid fire. This goes on for a good while but it makes you want to see the match all the more which is the idea here.

We shift into a promo about Strong wanting the title and how that ties into Edwards vs. Black. It’s kind of odd seeing how much taller Black is than Edwards. Somehow Austin Aries is involved in this too. I really need to actually watch the show to get what’s going on.

We come back to the arena which is more or less empty due to intermission going on but Generico and Steen brawl to the ring out of nowhere. Cabana and Corino come out to make it a four person brawl with Generico winning for the most part before stealing a tie from someone to choke Steen. Nice little bonus here to fill in some time. The tie choking was kind of funny as I’m pretty sure this is after Justin Roberts.

Video airs on the Briscoe Brothers vs. the Kings of Wrestling. Hero got on the Briscoes’ dad and beat him up. This should be a solid match actually. Somehow we have just now hit the halfway point of this show.

Ad for Gofightlive who is airing the PPV. It’s an MMA ad which is weird to see on a wrestling show.

Same ask the fans video from earlier.

Long shot of the arena with the GFL logo on the screen while Missippi Queen plays in the background. And now we get another song as this intermission has now broken 20 minutes. Literally the last 4 minutes have been a logo with music playing and the fans sitting around bored. This is still better than Summerslam 91 where they had a graphic and a countdown clock up for FIFTEEN MINUTES.

Jim Cornette comes out to fill in some more time. Toronto and ROH are awesome don’t you know.

Pick Six Match: Christopher Daniels vs. Kenny Omega

For those of you unfamiliar with the Pick Six, it’s the ranking system for ROH. The idea is that there are six guys ranked 1-6 with Richards being #1 at the moment. Only they can challenge for the title (most of the time. You can win special matches like the gauntlet earlier too) and to get into the list you have to beat a guy on the list. Daniels is #2 and this match is for his spot. If Omega wins here he’s the new #2 and Daniels is #3, and whoever was #6 is off the list.

We start off on the match so I have a feeling this is going to be a long match, especially with an hour and a half to go with three matches left scheduled. We get the dueling chant to show how split the crowd is here. A nice counter to a Rock Bottom results in a standoff. Very even match so far with an emphasis on arm drags. The announcers point out that this isn’t about hatred which is rare to see in wrestling anymore.

Daniels works the neck and hooks a seated Tazmission and a suplex for two. Nice sequence of a slingshot moonsault into a crossface by the bald one. Omega comes back with chops as this isn’t incredibly great but it’s ok. Springboard missile dropkick by Omega doesn’t get a cover. And naturally 3 seconds later he’s in the Koji Clutch, which is a rather difficult looking neck submission which is broken by the ropes.

More neck work doesn’t end this either. Angel’s Wings are countered again as this match is kind of dragging. We slug it out even more and Daniels does the palm strike to the chest and the Rock Bottom sets up the BME which misses. Omega hits a finisher for two of course. I really am starting to hate that. Daniels hits Angel’s Wings, another finisher, and say it with me: it gets two.

Omega hits a double palm strike (Haduken) and it’s called a knockout blow. You know what happens so I’m not even going to validate it with a joke. The fans chant THIS IS WRESTLING. I’m not sure what’s wrong with them but it’s not what I think of when I think of wrestling. An STO sets up the Best Moonsault Ever which ends it.

Rating: B-. Ok. I get the idea of the strong style where you kick out of just about everything, but dude, doing it in every single match makes it look stupid. There’s a reason a move is considered a finisher: it’s supposed to FINISH a match. Back in the late 80s can you imagine a guy kicking out of Hogan’s legdrop? The world would have come to an end. In this match there were at least three finishers that were kicked out of. When that happens continuously it makes the moves look like they’re just big moves rather than devastating ones. I can’t stand that and ROH does it as much as almost any American company. Again, there’s a place for it but don’t do it all the time.

Daniels helps him up and shakes his hand which is always nice to see.

Tag Titles: Briscoe Brothers vs. Kings of Wrestling

This should be awesome. It’s kind of weird watching the Kings as they’re both about 6’5 which means they tower over the vast majority of the roster. Hero and Claudio cut promos saying they appreciate the Briscoes not being allowed to be here, so of course they hit the ring and it’s on. No DQ here which is a surprise I think. Big dive by one of the Brothers takes out the Kings. I’ve never been able to remember which is which so bear with me.

Why do they have to tag in and out? If you can’t get disqualified then what’s stopping them? Hero starts and it’s been one sided the whole way so far. Claudio is finally up in his corner after getting destroyed. The challengers get after Shane Hagadorn and I think you know this isn’t going to work. Claudio is busted open already. Someone that’s either a young boy or an adult woman shouts that Hero is a pussy. I hope it was a girl.

Everything breaks down early and Mark Briscoe is busted open pretty well. Ok now I can tell one from the other. Oh man Mark is busted BAD. The heels have taken over here and we get a gay chant against Hero. Nice double cross body and there’s the hot tag to Jay. He drives Hero’s head into the buckle about 25 times and now he’s busted open. O’Connor Roll gets two but Hagadorn pelts Jay with a chair to put him on the floor. Hagadorn is the Kings’ manager if I forgot to mention that earlier.

Jay is busted open too now. Hero ties Jay to the post with the tag rope Total bloodbath here but they said that at the previous show they had a long technical match so this is far more acceptable. Doomsday Device but with a European Uppercut gets two on Mark. The referee gets a knife from somewhere and cuts Jay free. A Roaring Elbow (Hero’s finisher) gets two.

Jay gets a freaking fire extinguisher of all things and the Kings are in trouble. Table is brought in as Claudio’s cut is more or less closed. The heels are thrown into the table but it doesn’t break. Double team neckbreaker/powerbomb gets no cover. Claudio counters a slam through the table but the Briscoes tackle him into it where his shoulder goes through the edge of it in a painful looking spot.

Doomsday Device to Shane and the Briscoes are standing tall. Hero pops up with his loaded elbow pad and drills Jay with it for TWO and a big pop. We get more gay slurs at Hero with people saying F YOU Hero. If he’s gay as you say you are, wouldn’t he enjoy that in theory? In an AWESOME looking finish, Castagnoli gets a giant swing and the pad is put on Hero’s foot which he kicks Jay in the head with for the pin.

Rating: B. This was supposed to be a big fight and that’s exactly what it was. All kinds of blood (Mark’s face was COVERED), very good violence, the SICK ending and the whole thing going nearly 20 minutes worked very well. They had a technical match already so this is the next logical step. I’m fine with violence like this when it fits the story, which it did here due to the Kings attacking their dad. Very fun match that was exactly what it was supposed to be.

Hey let’s see the same video interviewing the fans again. Amazingly enough their opinions are the same this time too.

ROH World Title: Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black

Jim Cornette is on commentary here so all is right with the world. VERY mixed reaction for Black while the fans all cheer Davey. No handshake here and there’s the bell to a big pop. Fans are behind Davey it seems. Screw that as we slap it out. No real advantage for awhile but Richards gets an awesome surfboard on, only to have it reversed into one by Black.

Total standoff about three minutes in. And now we make fun of HHH because he has no talent or anything like that right? One little thing here is that they refer to Black as the top man in the promotion rather than the top man in the industry. At least they know their place. Sweet dropkick by Black gets one. Cornette lists off the main event scene as Black gets caught by a dropkick to take him down.

Richards has lost a tooth so he kicks the stuffing out of Black to make up for it. We get a modified and PAINFUL looking version of Konnan’s Tequila Sunrise as Richards is in control. Black is all like BRING IT ON and slaps Richards. They slug it out and an enziguri takes Davey down. Cornette on commentary is a nice thing as he can be dramatic but can talk moves as well as anyone.

Tyler throws Davey to the floor and then adds a front flip and a springboard clothesline. He gets chants of YOU STILL SUCK, despite being cheered to no end when he was chasing the title. Joe says the fans will have to respect Black if he wins. That’s just amusing. Richards goes for a German off the top but Black flips out of it. Richards is happy anyway and walks into a big boot. Richards looks like an idiot here because, to quote Marvin the Martian: “Where’s the kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth shattering kaboom!” Did he just not notice a lack of vibration or sound? Apparently he didn’t because he got kicked in the head.

Rubiks Cube (reverse Piledriver from the shoulders for like of a better term) gets two. Dueling chants of THIS IS AWESOME/YOU STILL SUCK. It turns into a slugout as Black can’t beat him or even get a near fall. Ok, why does no one grab Davey’s leg when he kicks the EXACT same way every time? Richards misses a front flip that puts him in about the third row. Cornette says Richards would walk across fire wearing gasoline underwear to be the best in the world. I’d love to see a show of nothing but Ross and Cornette trying to out metaphor each other.

Jim thinks this is what it was like in the gladiator days. I doubt they used as much spandex…or armdrags…..theme music either….and the fans would chant in Latin. I could probably come up with some more if I had to. Richards gets a shot to the knee and hooks a Texas Cloverleaf. Since that doesn’t work Black gets a suplex off the top and floats over into an F5 for two.

Phoenix Splash (moonsault into a 450) misses and Richards hooks an ankle lock. Screw you Ken Shamrock for making that to look like the best hold ever. Pinfall reversal sequence is always fun to see. We kick it out into a grapevined ankle lock like Angle uses. Richards suplexes both himself and Black over the top to the floor. Black goes into the crowd and Richards is down in the ring.

Hagadorn, Richards’ manager, comes down with a chair but Davey stops him, allowing Black to kick him in the face, knocking the chair into Richards’ face. They slug it out again on the apron and down they both go. Richards sprints back in to save the match as he gets in at about 19.5. Richards kicks out of another finisher, in this case God’s Last Gift which is a Fisherman’s Buster into a small package. Turnbuckle powerbomb sets up a superkick but hey, he only took two finishers so of course Richards can immediately counter into a Dragon Screw Leg Whip and a Cloverleaf.

Hey take a guess as to what we do now. If you guessed slug it out, HOW DID YOU KNOW? Davey takes a superkick and of course just snaps off a clothesline and takes over. Either Richards looks like he’s no selling or Black looks weak. Black’s turn to kick out of a finisher now. Davey gets caught in the buckles and a double stomp from the top gets two for Black.

Finisher #5 or so equals kick out for Richards of course. The fans chant YOU CAN’T BEAT HIM at Tyler so Black kicks him in the face again and another God’s Last Gift ends this kind of anti-climactically. Richards gets helped out of the ring but says now you’re a champion to Black. Black thanks him and we end the show.

Rating: B. This was entertaining, but there are some major flaws in it. Number one: the no selling. I don’t care if this is the ROH style. I don’t care about adrenaline or whatever. Taking back to back finishers and being fine literally 4 seconds later is STUPID. It makes Black look like a joke and it makes Richards look ridiculous. Answer this: if Richards can no sell a buckle bomb and kick with two minutes left in the match, why do the same moves end him 100 seconds later?

Black isn’t innocent here either as the leg work by Davey was completely forgotten 30 seconds later. Number two: Richards is supposed to be the best in the world? That’s a funny one. When 80% of your offense is kicking a guy in the chest over and over, I have an issue with calling you great. That’s my main issue with ROH: there is WAY too big of an emphasis on strikes. We get it: you can chop and kick and it looks like Japan. That isn’t wrestling, it’s a martial arts contest. People can chant this is awesome all they want but the match is flawed.

That being said, the match was indeed entertaining with Black doing everything he could to finish him but never being able to until the very end. However this goes back to what I said earlier about finishers: if you have to use the finisher 4 times to get the win, how is it still classified as a finisher? By that logic you could clothesline a guy 400 times and pin him. The match ended on a clothesline so that’s the finisher. I don’t get the whole best in the world aspect of Richards but he’s pretty good I guess. Black is solid but the psychology here brings it WAY down past what it’s built up to be. Still good though.

Overall Rating: B-. It’s a good show, but to call this the show of the year and give it eternal praise like it’s gotten for three months is absurd. The last two matches are definitely both good and the show as a whole is good, but there are some matches towards the beginning and middle that are just ok. The Daniels match is long and not incredibly entertaining. The gauntlet is ok at its very best. Delirious vs. Aries I don’t even remember and I watched it yesterday. The first two matches are decent but also forgettable. It’s a good show but at three and a half hours with seven matches it’s a far cry from best show of the year.

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