Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor XIV: Bizarroworld With A Nice Card

Death Before Dishonor 2016
Date: August 19, 2016
Location: Sam’s Town Live, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Kevin Kelly

It’s time for another ROH pay per view and in this case that means more from the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Unfortunately that also means a lot of matches with almost no story and a lot of NJPW vs. ROH matches. The main event has potential though as Adam Cole challenging Jay Lethal for the ROH World Title. Let’s get to it.

The opening video mainly focuses on the World Title match, which makes sense as that’s certainly the biggest match of the show.

The announcers run down the card.

Kamaitachi vs. Donovan Dijak vs. Jay White vs. Lio Rush

Winner gets a TV Title shot at some point in the future. Dijak and Kamaitachi (the heels) start things off but instead of fighting each other they go after the good guys on the apron to turn it into a brawl. Rush comes right back with a flip dive over the top to take out Dijak though, leaving White to dive onto Kamaitachi. The good guys fight in the middle as the announcers take every chance they can to suck up to Rush. Actually hold that though as it’s time to plug the New Japan TV show. We wouldn’t want the fans to think this is an ROH show.

Things settle down to White and Kamaitachi forearming each other in the face before it’s back to Rush for a bunch of suicide dives. Dijak pulls him out of the air but that means Lio Rush isn’t treated like the biggest star ever so he hits his reverse hurricanrana on the floor. Back in and Dijak hits the chokebreaker on Rush, only to get caught in a Rock Bottom from White for two. Kamaitachi dives over the top to take out White and Dijak throws Rush onto all of them. Dijak hits his own dive before having to stop Rush’s running C4. That means it’s a discus boot to the face and Feast Your Eyes puts Rush away at 8:10.

Rating: C+. This was their best option for an opener. I like Dijak and White so this is one of the better options. Rush…..I still don’t get it. I know they’re VERY high on him but I honestly don’t see the massive appeal. Granted that might have something to do with me being a big fan of Punisher Martinez, who actually felt like something different. Rush just feels like an indy guy who keeps getting pushed all over the place.

We recap Katsuyori Shibata vs. Silas Young. Silas is annoyed that he keeps fighting through ROH but all he ever hears about are the New Japan guys. GEE, YOU THINK THAT MIGHT BE A PROBLEM??? Tonight he wants to fight Shibata, who is considered the toughest guy in New Japan so he can prove a point.

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Silas Young

This is Shibata’s American debut and his Never Openweight Title isn’t on the line because they never are in ROH. Silas slaps him in the face to start and the fans tell Silas that he’s made a big mistake. Shibata starts in with the strikes but Young goes after the bad shoulder to take over.

A Boston crab doesn’t get Young anywhere as Shibata goes into his “zone”, or basically Hulks Up. Shibata starts forearming Silas down in the corner and grabs an abdominal stretch. A belly to back backbreaker gets two for Young, followed by a cutter for the same. The springboard moonsault gets two more on Shibata and the fans actually say it was three. Shibata comes right back with a standing choke and a running kick to the chest for the pin at 9:30.

Rating: C. Young’s promo summed up every issue I had with the New Japan guys in a nutshell: Ring of Honor wrestlers do everything they can ever time but “oh never mind, we’ve got New Japan”. It’s like a reverse invasion where the fans are happy that the New Japan guys are here and buy tickets for them instead of ROH talent. Maybe the ROH guys would be worth more if they were actually presented as a big deal or actually won some major matches over the bigger New Japan stars, but that’s just not how it works on here and it’s getting really old in a hurry.

Silas actually shakes hands post match. I wouldn’t have expected that.

Yujiro Takahashi/Guerillas of Destiny vs. Roppangi Vice/Toru Yano

Bullet Club vs. Chaos, which means ALL NEW JAPAN! Caprice Coleman of the Cabinet (the most useless stable I’ve seen in a long time) is here to scout the Guerillas for a match at tomorrow’s TV tapings. Yano, a comedy guy, runs away from Tonga Loa so Beretta comes in and gets shoved right back down. Now we get Yano for real and he hides in the ropes, drawing a LET HIM GO chant.

Romero comes in for some running clotheslines on Tama Tonga. Everything breaks down for a bit and it’s Romero being taken into the wrong corner for a beatdown. Coleman starts screaming at Nigel about having something against the Cabinet, who can’t get on pay per view while these “less talented jive turkeys” can get on the show. Loa gets two off a powerslam as Kelly tries to explain the story here, almost all of which happened in Japan.

Romero finally kicks his way over to the corner and it’s off to Beretta to clean house. It’s off to Yano who can’t take off a turnbuckle pad, allowing Yujiro to hit a running kick to the chest for two. Yano finally gets the pad off and uses it as a weapon (that’s a new one) and of course the referee is fine with it. I guess incompetent refereeing goes across the world.

The Guerillas hit a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo onto the pad (Wouldn’t that weaken the blow?) for two on Yano with Vice making the save. A double knee takes out Loa and there are the stereo dives. Yujiro hits a fisherman’s buster for two on Yano as Coleman complains about Nigel not stopping the match due to the cheating. Yano hits Yujiro low and grabs a small package for the pin at 11:16.

Rating: C-. Well that happened. We had a referee who doesn’t mind cheating, a matchmaker who is called out on treating the ROH roster like a bunch of losers and a face who cheats to win and is cheered for it. Oh and Coleman is still really annoying. As I’ve said before: the booking in this company is all over the place and if you don’t cheer for New Japan, apparently you just don’t get it.

Post match a brawl breaks out and here’s Hangman Page to choke Yano, only to have Jay Briscoe run out for the save.

Jay Briscoe vs. Hangman Page

This actually started in ROH but of course was advanced in Japan, as everything else is. Anything goes so let’s start with a chair duel. Briscoe gets the better of it and sends Page outside in a big crash. A suplex on the ramp makes things worse for Page and it’s time to go back inside where Jay chokes with the noose.

Page fights off the attempted murder and knocks him outside for a powerbomb through an open chair. A VERY hard chair shot to the shoulder/head knocks Jay silly but Page would rather set up a table. Back in and a Death Valley Driver onto a chair gives Jay a break but no cover. Briscoe keeps up the violence by wrapping a chair around Page’s neck for a neckbreaker and only two.

We get the chair wedged in the corner and Jay ties Page to said chair. That’s different. Some running knees drive Page’s head into the chair but he blocks a third charge, which really doesn’t make a ton of sense. Page gets off the table and comes back with a hard running clothesline for two of his own. They’re beating the heck out of each other here and it’s really starting to work.

It’s back to the noose with Briscoe being sent over the top but fighting his way out of the hanging. Page tries a running shooting star off the apron but Briscoe superkicks him in the shoulder (which required a replay to see). The Jay Driller through the table is broken up and Page hits the Rite of Passage (over the back piledriver) through the table for a VERY close two. Adam’s leg is cut all to pieces and Jay is bleeding from the back. Page chokes with the noose and hits another Rite of Passage for the pin at 17:42.

Rating: B+. Now THAT is how you give someone a rub. Page felt like the Buff Bagwell of the Bullet Club and now he’s got the biggest win of his career over someone who has lost like two matches in a year. The Rite of Passage through the table was a great callback to their first match and I was way into the violence and seeing who could hang on. Awesome match here and it worked really, really well.

Dalton Castle sees the Boys playing with Okada Bucks. Castle: “WHAT THE DICKENS???” Dalton says it’s ok because he loves New Japan too, but he’d rather drop someone on their head. He eats one of the Okada Bucks and that’s the extent of the build to this match.

Kazuchika Okada vs. Dalton Castle

Non-title again. Castle has a grand entrance with even more Boys than usual, including some wheeling him through the curtain. The announcers praise Okada during his entrance to make sure they don’t anger their New Japan overlords. Okada works on the wristlock to start as the fans are actually split for a change. An early Rainmaker attempt doesn’t work (and it’s one heck of a CLOTHESLINE) so Dalton gives him the peacock pose.

The Boys actually fan Okada and the distraction lets Castle get in a running knee to the head. Back in and Dalton works on the arm to slow things way down. Castle sends him outside for a suicide dive, followed by a bulldog for two. A t-bone suplex plants Okada and a great looking bridging German suplex gets two more.

Cue the Boys into the ring to apparently side with Okada, only to have Castle hit the Bang A Rang. Okada rolls outside though because he can’t get pinned around here. The Boys start cheering for Castle again but the second Bang A Rang is countered. A Tombstone plants Castle and the Rainmaker gives Okada the pin at 13:54.

Rating: B-. Who would have thought the match would have been Castle getting close but coming up short against Okada and the IT’S STILL A FREAKING CLOTHESLINE? The thing with the Boys was a weird story that kept changing sides before the end, which was about as predictable as anything else on the show. At least the match wasn’t bad.

Okada and Castle post after the match.

We recap Mark Briscoe vs. Bobby Fish. Briscoe is the workhorse of ROH and wants to finally win something on his own but Fish says he’s just not good enough. Somehow this turned into a battle between chicken and fish because…..I have no idea actually.

TV Title: Bobby Fish vs. Mark Briscoe

Mark is challenging. Fish takes him to the mat to start and cranks on the leg before switching to a headlock. The technical stuff continues until Mark forearms him in the jaw to take over. Fish bails to the floor and says it’s his time. I’m not sure why we need to have every TV Champion (at least the ones who work for ROH) turn heel around the time they win the title but at least it’s working here.

Back in and Fish starts the kicks to the chest, only to have it countered by Redneck Kung Fu. The Blockbuster off the apron has Fish in trouble but Briscoe comes up holding his back. Ever the smart one, Bobby starts in on the leg before opting for a kick to the back. At least he’s thinking. Mark blocks a suplex but hurts his back even worse, followed by missing a charge into the corner.

A Sick Kick and fisherman buster get two on Bobby but the Froggy Bow hits knees. It’s off to the kneebar on Mark for a few seconds, only to have him grab the rope and plant Fish with a slam. Now the Froggy Bow gets two and Briscoe is spent. Fish sends him back first into the corner, followed by an exploder suplex into the same corner. A falcon arrow retains the title at 16:08.

Rating: B. They told a good story with the back injury and Fish being able to pick him apart throughout the match, which is all you need to do here. I’m fine with Fish retaining the title, though Fish vs. Dijak could be a little weird. Good match here though as the wrestling continues to work, even when New Japan isn’t around.

The Addiction says they’re so great that two top New Japan teams want a chance at the titles. Every team looks up to them because they’re the kings of the best tag team roster in the world.

Tag Team Titles: Addiction vs. Los Ingobernables de Japan vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Michael Elgin

Addiction is defending and Matt Taven is on commentary, again for no apparent reason. Tanahashi and Naito start things off but Daniels tags himself in before there’s any contact. Naito quickly sends him outside and poses on the mat, earning himself a face pop despite being a huge heel in Japan. It’s off to Elgin to run over both champions in succession before suplexing them at the same time.

Tanahashi comes in but the champs take over, only to have Naito tag himself in. Makes sense as you have to be in the ring to win the titles. We get a weird collaboration between Daniels and Evil but everything breaks down with Elgin throwing everyone around with German suplexes. The Addiction gets German suplexed at the same time, followed by a fall away slam/Samoan drop combo to the other challengers.

Daniels suicide dives onto Evil (Taven: “Show me that beautiful bean footage.”), only to have Tanahashi break up Celebrity Rehab. We get the big spot of the match with Elgin hitting a running flip dive over the top to take out everyone at the same time. Eh big men flying are always cool.

Back in and Elgin powerslams Evil off the middle rope, followed by the reverse Alabama Slam splash from Tanahashi for two. Cue Kamaitachi for a distraction so Addiction can get two off a belt shot. Evil plants Tanahashi for the same as I wonder how the ROH boss isn’t fired for letting this happen in a match he’s calling. The Sling Blade plants Evil and sets up the High Fly Flow but Daniels tags himself in and steals the pin to retain at 14:48.

Rating: C+. I’m not wild on the three way tags or the Addiction in general so this was about as good as it was going to get. Not that it really matters though as there’s a good chance that the Young Bucks take the Tag Team Titles in a few weeks anyway. I’m glad they didn’t give the belts to one of the invading teams here for the sake of “building the titles up” as that almost never goes well for anyone and often screws things up even more. Match was fine but nothing I’m interested in.

We recap Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal with Cole attacking months ago, waiting for Lethal to retain against Jay Briscoe, and then cutting the champ’s hair to earn a shot here. Lethal has been champion for over a year now and they’ve done a very good job of setting him up as unbeatable.

ROH World Title: Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole

Lethal is defending and they’re both here alone. Apparently Nigel has told the referee to relax the rules here so there must be a winner. Cole pulls out some of Lethal’s shaved hair and the fight is on in a hurry. Lethal hiptosses him down and cartwheels into a basement dropkick. Cole comes back and it’s time to SHOUT A CATCHPHRASE.

They head outside with Lethal taking over again and setting up a table, which is kind of outside his nature. A cutter on the floor knocks Cole silly but he’s still able to roll off the table, sending Jay’s flying elbow through the table instead. Adam very slowly takes his time getting back inside so we can hit the chinlock.

Lethal finally gets up and hits a middle rope leg lariat to start the first of probably multiple comebacks. There’s a springboard dropkick to knock Cole off the apron and Lethal hits three straight suicide dives. That’s WAY too common of a move around here and it doesn’t get any better when he does it a fourth and fifth time. The sixth (this is reaching superkick levels) hits the barricade though and Cole is suddenly fine. To be fair they’re really just flying shoves so this isn’t a huge stretch.

Back in and Cole kicks him in the face to cut off a second comeback, followed by a Shining Wizard for another near fall. A superkick misses (I’m sure he’ll get to throw more) and Lethal takes him down with a clothesline. It’s way too early for the Lethal Injection though and Cole hits him low for two more.

Lethal can’t get a Figure Four but the Lethal Combination breaks up a choke and puts both guys down. The top rope elbow connects for two more and it’s time to trade big strikes. Cole’s Canadian Destroyer is countered but the Lethal Injection is blocked with, of course, a superkick.

The suplex backbreaker gets a VERY close two and the fans are way into this. Cole actually takes the time to talk trash and the Lethal Injection only gets two on Adam. Both guys are spent so Cole flips him off, sending Lethal into a rage. That’s exactly what Cole wants though as he grabs another suplex backbreaker for the pin and the title at 24:00.

Rating: B. They did a very good job with the ending as I was waiting on the Bucks to run in and then Cole just pinned him clean by getting inside Lethal’s head and throwing him off his game. Cole winning was the only real option here as Lethal can’t do anything else with the belt and it’s WAY past the point where the Bullet Club should have gotten the title. If nothing else now they’re not just on the sideline and dominating the show. Besides Cole is rather awesome and made a good champion the first time around.

Since a show can’t end cleanly around here though, here’s Kyle O’Reilly to lay out Cole and hold up the title to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. It’s amazing how much more I liked this show once we had people I actually know and care about. The New Japan matches were mostly fine but for me, wrestling is about the storylines and caring one way or another about what’s going on. Just having matches for the sake of having matches, especially when you know the New Japan guys are going over, gets tiresome in a hurry.

The other major issue though is how the booking continues to go. Make no mistake about it: this company is ALL about New Japan, the Bullet Club, and making sure Ring of Honor wrestlers look like second class performers by comparison. I can’t think of the last time a major New Japan star did a job to an ROH wrestler and it’s becoming a waste of time to watch them wrestle.

Yeah I know it’s cool for the live fans but “Come see Okada and Tanahashi!” stopped being a draw for me a long time ago. Would it really kill them to have an ROH only pay per view for a change? I really can’t imagine the buys would change that significantly. Maybe if they built their own talent up, the New Japan talent wouldn’t be as necessary.

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  1. Bloodbuzz Bunk says:

    I’m definitely confused but why does ROH have this self worth issue? Is NJPW really that big of a draw over them in the US? ROH has been a name associated with premiere American Indy wrestling for 15 plus years at this point. This is the company that discovered and originally elevated CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Austin Aries, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn among other relevant big time wrestlers. This the company that has helped revitalize tag team wrestling the most since it formed producing countless good tag teams and classic tag team matches. They have marketable youngish stars in Cole, O’Reily, Lethal, and Castle. They also have both the Briscoes and guys like Bobby Fish hanging around being awesome. I don’t get why they have been sucked into this weird parasitic relationship with NJPW and how NJPW is convincing other companies to do this willing. Someone please explain this to me?

  2. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I have to agree that as much as I have enjoyed ROH since I got into watching it a couple years ago I don’t understand why they have to bow down to New Japan every major Show. I get its a working relationship but it shouldn’t just be one way.

    As far as the PPV goes it sounded good overall and im glad for Adam Cole winning the ROH World Title again. He’s a pretty awesome Heel and great in the Ring. Kinda sad to see Lethal’s run come to an end but it was time. I guess Cole vs O’Reilly will headline in December at Final Battle.

  3. Opti says:

    Annoyance over the NJPW love in ROH is fine but can you please stop with the HATE for the Rainmaker?!

    It’s a Clothesline with theatrics but you can kayfabe anything into being powerful. JBL used a clothesline for years and it was fine, The Rock an elbow and Hogan a leg drop.

    If you want the kayfabe it’s easy to create, the whiplash of the move etc. The power generated, the mastery of the move makes it more effective. The best finishers are the ones that FINISH matches and get protected. The WMD of Big Show has that aspect to it.

    Every time you review an Okada match it’s the same thing and I’d thought you’d have at least tried by now to just make peace with it.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    No, I won’t stop with the hatred for it because it doesn’t make sense.

    Those examples you give (save for Rock and the only slightly less stupid People’s Elbow) all have one thing in common: the person using them weigh over 300lbs. They have the power and size behind the moves to make them more believable, including the legdrop. Okada is billed at 236lbs, or about Dolph Ziggler’s size. I wouldn’t buy him using a clothesline as a finisher either, theatrics or not.

    Wim Reply:

    Also, Okada’s clothesline simply doesn’t look the part. It doesn’t look powerful and it doesn’t look like it has a huge impact on his opponent… and then it has. JBL’s clothesline actually looked like he took his opponents head off sometimes.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    He barely follows through with it. I know theatrics are amazing (or something) but it’s just a standing clothesline. Sometimes he doesn’t even pull them in.