ROH Death Before Dishonor XIV Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Less than two months from their previous Pay-Per-View effort, “Best In The World,” you could feel a sense of transition amongst the Ring Of Honor storylines.
The focus had shifted from ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and his dominance with The House Of Truth to that of Bullet Club, now with Adam Cole and The Young Bucks at the helm.
After Cole embarrassed Lethal as BC shaved his head in the ring ropes, he was seemingly written out of the Title picture by Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness.
That was until Lethal begged for Cole’s blood and opted to challenge him for his next Title defense.
So the stage was set in Sam’s Town in Las Vegas, Nevada for “Death Before Dishonor” as a Cole-Lethal ROH World Championship match would lead the card by example.
There were some other high points in a night where the roster delivered top-to-bottom. Was every match a hit? Not exactly, but the studs certainly made up for the duds.
– The opening video was a well-done review of how things have gone lately for ROH from the eyes of McGuinness, who was seemingly backed into a corner to book the one match he simply didn’t want to make – Lethal-Cole. He built up his roster as a diverse array of incredible talent that were willing to put themselves through hell, all to bestow honor upon the company in where it was emphasized. There was a nice transition to “those without honor,” which was BC and the outrageous things they did to get their spot on the show, most notably shaving Lethal’s head. As it should’ve been, Cole-Lethal was the focus and we already had a “big fight” feel. Lethal’s new face persona was more of the “hellbent man does what is right” rather than the “pandering” type. It has been handled well so far.
– The opening ROH World Television Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival match between Kamaitachi, Jay White, Donovan Dijak and Lio Rush was a pleasant look at what the company’s future could hold. Each man had their own case emphasized by commentary. Kamaitachi rode a wave of controversy based off his alliance with ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction and was a force to be reckoned with. Dijak had the backing of Prince Nana and was the “big man” of the bout. How could you stop his momentum? White was an offensive upstart who had recent wins against Christopher Daniels (and even beat Kamaitachi in his first match) and lastly, Rush who was doing well for himself after he won the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament. As you see, every guy had a case for the next TV Champion. The tricky thing was wondering who’d hang in there against ROH World Television Champion Bobby Fish, whose recent actions and promos leaned him towards the tweener side of things. Certainly liked the match’s start, where Dijak/Kamaitachi teased a face-off only to separately attack their opponents on the apron. Everybody got a chance to shine, as the crowd backed White when he laid on running uppercuts in the corner like WWE’s Cesaro (or the former Claudio Castagnoli) and then Rush stole the spotlight with several impressive maneuvers, namely the suicide dives and the reverse huracanrana on Dijak on the outside. As for who looked the best, it was a toss-up between Rush/Dijak. Rush hit his Rush Hour finisher several times towards the end, but was simply overpowered by Dijak, who took the bout after all. Rush and White certainly lost nothing here. Kamaitachi was more or less a spot monkey. Dijak was made to look impressive (and even did some flying on his own, with a corkscrew plancha), and it’d be interesting to see what kind of match he’d have against either Fish or his challenger later on, Mark Briscoe.
– Silas Young could only feud with Dalton Castle for so long. Sigh. Good things will always come to an end. It has been hard for Young to grasp onto a feud as good as that one, but his anger towards all things New Japan Pro Wrestling planted the seeds for our next match, where he’d take on Katsuyori Shibata. We saw a pre-match Young promo where he complained that his last PPV match was an “internet exclusive” bout where he even beat a NJPW guy, yet the Japanese guys got “the best spots.” Just planting seeds here. Shibata looked good in his first match across the sea. The match’s story was that of Young using his strikes and chops with a little athleticism thrown in (the “plunge” maneuver) while Shibata contained his rage until it unleashed with an offensive flurry. This power struggle dominated the bout’s minutes and after some cool near-falls, it was apparent it was Shibata’s match to win. Also liked how a Rear Naked Choke set Shibata up to hit his finisher and end it. The post-match sportsmanship by way of slap exchanges before a handshake was also a cool moment that the crowd bought into. That’s the only way you’ll draw respect out of Young. So be it.
– A problem we can have with ROH is its portrayal of NJPW talent as superior to its own and sometimes, they focus a bit too much on crossing over NJPW storylines onto its own product. Take for example, the next match. The Six-Man Tag between Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi/Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa) and Chaos (Roppongi Vice/Toru Yano) was a perfectly fine six-man with some playful spots to a responsive crowd. It seemed to be a little too heavy on NJPW storylines, as they never quite explained the storyline behind this match and why we were seeing it happen. Plus, Caprice Coleman on commentary as “The Minister Of Information” of The Cabinet was a bit too much here. Coleman was suited up with big preacher glasses too. Ugh. The Cabinet just sucks. If we take anything out of his presence, he was against BC, but not in a way that made you see him as the good guy either. That’s the thing that irks us with BC. Are they full heels or are they faces? You can’t have kind-of-heels on a face group and vice versa. The connection will eventually get lost with the fans. Coleman also complained about McGuinness leaving his Cabinet off the second straight PPV. What a bummer. As for the action, RPG did their thing and made it worthwhile. Thankfully, the faces ended up winning. The post-match angle was a decent way to get heat back onto the heels with an attack, which led to Jay Briscoe clearing the ring to go after Hangman Page, who was part of that previous beatdown. Flawless.
– The Anything Goes match between Briscoe and Page was one of the night’s highlights by far. A standout contest that helped put Page’s name on the map, as Briscoe can bring the best out of anybody it seems. This was also the first time you could truly feel two guys in the ring who couldn’t stand one another. Not a big fan of the direct chair shots to the head (albeit thrown), but they worked other things in thankfully. Whether it was Briscoe’s neckbreaker with Page’s head entangled in a chair, Briscoe’s kick counter to Page’s shooting star press or Page’s Rite Of Passage through a table, this match gave you a lot of reasons to cringe. Hell, we almost lost it once we saw how wood splintered Page’s knee and busted it open. Kudos to the camera team for zooming in on the bloody table on the floor. Ugh. Once Briscoe kicked out of that, we then saw Page hit a second ROP after he choked out Briscoe with his signature rope to finally end it. Definitely a gruesome effort, but that was the point here. We thought Page was going to fade into obscurity after his face stint bombed, but he seems right at home as a wildcard BC member. Him in the group points them more towards the logical heel side. Probably Page’s best effort to date.
– Talk about a dream match when you mention Dalton Castle and Kazuchika Okada. Castle’s pre-match promo was a little odd in that he reprimanded his Boys for playing with “Okada Bucks,” then preceded to eat one of the bucks after he said he liked to drop people on their heads, but the theme here was mutual respect. On that front, it allowed both guys to simply do what they do best – wrestle. Also big props to the “Boy-tastic” Castle entrance there. Feels right at home in Vegas. The match in real life fulfilled every bit of what it sounded like on paper – a cool clash of flamboyant personalities with some funny comedy spots that involved the fans and The Boys. It was a hard-fought contest where despite Castle’s best efforts with a desperate Bangarang, it was Okada who had the winning shot with the Haymaker. Put it in the books.
– The ROH World Television Championship match between Mark Briscoe and Champion Fish was a little more than the “Fish Chicken” punchline, luckily. The storyline headed in seemed to fit in the legitimate question of exactly who Mark Briscoe was, as Fish emphasized Briscoe’s tendencies to fade in his older brother’s shadow. Fish was certainly well-spoken, but his mannerisms and thought process that his belt began to exceed the importance of the ROH World Championship felt more heelish than anything. Why they won’t just turn him heel, we simply don’t understand. Either do that or keep him face if reDRagon is their big concern. As far as the match, it was a straight-forward contest with high impact moves aplenty. Luckily, the two meshed well in the ring together and we were just able to enjoy the match for what it should’ve been all along. Fish worked over Mark’s back and knees, as Briscoe nearly defeated Fish with the Froggy Bow, but two Falcon Arrows later, Fish remained the TV man. The Fish-Dijak feud sounds kind of boring with this “new” Fish, but maybe they’ll throw somebody else in there too. At the least, we could say all of these matches had delivered good wrestling. It had been a consistent part of the night thankfully.
– The ROH World Tag Team Championship Three-Way match between Champions The Addiction, Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito/Evil) and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi was another showcase of tag team supremacy that dominates Japan spilled into ROH by way of NJPW. We also liked the logic in the pre-match promo by Addiction in that they dominated every US tag team and so now even NJPW teams wanted their shots at them. It was perfect. Matt Taven on commentary was more tolerable than Coleman and laid down some funny one-liners where he criticized the fans for being “Melvins.” He was also strongly against Elgin, so a feud between those two would likely be a thing after this show. Besides both having amazing hair, Naito/Tanahashi brought some good moves to a match with a fast pace. Elgin also gave us some nice highlights, with a double German Suplex on Addiction and then a double fallaway slam on Los Ingobernables. He then went above and beyond (literally) with an impressive Tope Con Hilo onto his opponents. Don’t forget the big man can indeed fly. There was also a greats near-fall where Evil almost pinned Tanahashi. The match’s finish was well-executed and made Christopher Daniels come off as clever, mainly because he lightly tapped Tanahashi’s foot whilst he stood on the top rope to count as a tag and then came and covered him after he hit a splash from the top to steal the pin and the match. What’s next for Addiction? Who knows, but that was a fun way to get there.
– The ROH World Championship match between Champion Lethal and Cole fed off the “big fight feel” and delivered a worthy main event. The fun was in seeing Lethal try to get revenge on the guy who shaved his head and humiliated him in the ring in a way that stuck true to his original character that sought to embarrass others by beating them fairly in the ring. Against a sympathetic Lethal, Cole came off even more as a pest heel, doing everything to get under Lethal’s skin, even to the point where he pulled out Lethal’s braids from his tights before the bell sounded. Lethal battled back, as he pulled out six consecutive suicide dives on Cole, with the last one not connecting as Cole pushed him into the barricade. As for the crowd, they were loud, yet split down the middle. The action was constant and had us hooked from the start where we didn’t want to see it ever end. The near-falls towards the end were well-timed, as Cole trash-talked Lethal and threw up double middle fingers and even spit on him. For those used to Lethal matches, it had to feel like it was over after Lethal hit the Lethal Injection, but Cole kicked out to surprise everyone. To Lethal’s credit, he even kicked out of Cole’s destroyer once. It was built up like a stalemate, but after Cole hit two Last Shots with a shining wizard thrown in the middle, it was apparent a new era was upon us in ROH – the BC era. Yup, Cole was your new ROH World Champion. The crowd seemed to love this. We half expected Young Bucks to come out and party with Cole, but they kept the celebration short with a better reason – having Kyle O’Reilly come out and lay out the man who turned on him and swore up and down he’d never get a shot at the World Title while he was around. This was great because O’Reilly looked strong and the image of Cole laid out with the Title covering his head and streamers was a nice one to close it out. Evidently, it appears O’Reilly-Cole will be the next marquee feud. With Lethal in the mix because of his rematch clause, don’t be surprised if another three-way is on the horizon. Overall, a great show with a few standouts and consistently good wrestling. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.
- ROH World Television Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival Match – Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) def. Lio Rush, Jay White and Kamaitachi via pinfall
- Katsuyori Shibata def. Silas Young via pinfall
- Six-Man Tag – Chaos (Roppongi Vice/Toru Yano) def. Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi/Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa) via pinfall
- Anything Goes Match – Hangman Page def. Jay Briscoe via pinfall
- Kazuchika Okada def. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) via pinfall
- ROH World Television Championship – Bobby Fish (Champion) def. Mark Briscoe via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Tag Team Championships – Three-Way – The Addiction (Champions) def. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi and Los Gobernables de Japon (Evil/Tetsuya Naito) via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Championship – Adam Cole def. Jay Lethal (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
Posted on October 2, 2016, in ROH and tagged Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Bullet Club, Caprice Coleman, Cary Silkin, Dalton Castle, Death Before Dishonor XIV, Donovan Dijak, Evil, Hangman Page, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, Jay White, Kamaitachi, Katsuyori Shibata, Kazuchika Okada, Kevin Kelly, Kyle O'Reilly, Lio Rush, Los Ingobernables de Japon, Mark Briscoe, Michael Elgin, Nigel McGuinness, Prince Nana, Roppongi Vice, Silas Young, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Tetsuya Naito, The Addiction, The Boys, Toru Yano, Yujiro Takahashi. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.