By Jason Powell
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ROH Death Before Dishonor 2016
Aired live on pay-per-view
Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam’s Town Live
A video package recapped the Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole saga that resulted in Lethal having his head shaved and turning babyface… The broadcast team of Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness sat at ringside and discussed some of the show’s top matches…
Powell’s POV: Bring back Steve Corino. Seriously, ROH has one of the best color commentators in game on the sideline.
1. Kamaitachi vs. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) vs. Jay White vs. Lio Rush in a four corner survival match to become No. 1 contender to the ROH TV Title. Heels Kamaitachi and Dijak shook hands, and babyfaces White and Rush shook hands. The heels started the match and attacked the babyfaces as they were standing on the ring apron. White had an offensive flurry and the crowd chanted his name briefly. Rush cut him off, then performed suicide dives onto all three opponents. Dijak caught Rush, who managed to perform a reverse huracanrana.
At 6:50, Dijak press slammed Rush onto their other opponents. Dijak performed a corkscrew dive over the top onto all of his opponents. Moments later, Rush was working over Dijak in the ring. Rush ended up running into a big boot from Dijak, who caught him with Feast Your Eyes for the win…
Donovan Dijak beat Lio Rush, Jay White, and Kamaitachi in 8:10 to become No. 1 contender to the ROH TV Title.
Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing opener. I was hoping that ROH would follow up on White’s big television debut by having him win here. Dijak certainly needed the win after beating Moose in his final match and following that up with an inexplicable loss to Rush. It still feels like Nana is doing more harm than good as Dijak’s manager in that he’s become known as a manager of lower card talent.
A Silas Young promo aired. He spoke about internet nerds and how he only uses Twitter to make fun of the dorks. Footage aired of Shibata in action…
2. Silas Young vs. Katsuyori Shibata. Young adjusted his knee brace while Shibata made his entrance carrying the NEVER Openweight Championship. The fans chanted Shibata’s name. After an early lockup, Young told the crowd that they are really stupid. Aron Rex did not show up and say that he’s never been tested. Young targeted the taped shoulder of Shibata early in the match. Shibata started no-selling Young’s shots and then motioned for him to keeping bringing it.
Young spat in Shibata’s face. Shibata fired back with punches and kicks and then threw a running dropkick on a seated Young in the corner at 6:15. Young came back with a backbreaker and a clothesline for a two count. Young performed his headstand into a springboard moonsault for a two count. Shibata caught Young in a sleeper. Shibata released the hold with Young seated on the mat, then ran the ropes and caught him with a kick before pinning him. clean. Afterward, Shibata and Young traded slaps and then shook hands…
Katsuyori Shibata beat Silas Young in 9:40.
Powell’s POV: The finish didn’t do anything for me, but the fans who are more familiar with Shibata seemed to dig it. Young doesn’t show respect for anyone after losing, so that was a nice touch.
3. Tama Tonga, Tonga Roa, and Yojiro Takahashi vs. Toru Yano, Rocky Romero, and Baretta. Caprice Coleman sat in on commentary and spoke about how The Cabinet would face the Bullet Club members at the TV taping on Saturday. Coleman questioned how many times they were going to add second rate wrestlers to rebuild Bullet Club. Kelly bickered with him and pointed out that Kenny Omega just won the G1 tournament.
There was some comedy with Yano being told not to use the turnbuckle pad as a weapon. Tonga and Roa used it on him seconds later in front of the referee. Yano performed a catapult on Yojiro into the exposed turnbuckle. Moments later, Yano low blowed Yojiro without the referee spotting it and then pinned him.
Toru Yano, Rocky Romero, and Baretta beat Tama Tonga, Tonga Roa, and Yojiro Takahashi in 11:20.
After the match, Tonga and Roa worked over their opponents. Hangman Page came out and put his noose around the neck of Yano. Jay Briscoe’s music played and he made his entrance, which led to their match…
Powell’s POV: The use of Bullet Club in ROH continues to be impossible to follow. Adam Cole is the top heel in the promotion and just shaved the head of Jay Lethal with the help of the Young Bucks. Yet while Cole is portrayed as a heel, apparently the other Bullet Club members are babyfaces who are even endorsed by Kelly. I watch ROH TV every week, yet I went through this match feeling completely confused in terms of what I was supposed to feel about the six wrestlers involved.
4. Jay Briscoe vs. Hangman Page. They jawed at one another and the referee called for the bell. Both men went to ringside and grabbed chairs. At 2:30, Briscoe suplexed Page on the floor. He picked up Paige’s noose. Page shoved Briscoe away and then threw a chair at his face. Later, Page powerbombed Briscoe onto a chair on the floor. Page used his rope to tie Briscoe to the guardrail. Page grabbed one of the hcairs that was introduced early on and struck Briscoe with it (safe shot that hit the barricade).
Later, Page spat in the face of Briscoe, who smiled and then went on the offensive. Briscoe wrapped a chair around the head of Page and eventually performed a neckbreaker. At 12:50, Briscoe placed Page on a table that was set up earlier. Page rolled off the table. Back in the ring, Page flipped over the top rope and clotheslined Briscoe for two. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Page placed the noose around the neck of Briscoe and tried hang him over the top rope, but Jay landed on the apron and fought back. Jay removed the noose, but Page knocked him down to ringside. Page went for a running moonsault off the apron, but Briscoe caught him with a knee or a kick that popped the crowd.
At 16:00, Page and Briscoe fought on the apron. Page performed a Right of Passage reverse piledriver off the apron and through a table. Briscoe came up holding his knee in pain and pulled the kneepad down and revealed that he suffered a contusion. Page rolled Briscoe back inside the ring and covered him for a two count. Page placed the noose around the neck of Briscoe and pulled on it for leverage. Page released the hold and then performed another Right of Passage and pinned Briscoe…
Adam Page beat Jay Briscoe in 18:00.
Powell’s POV: Easily the best match of the night thus far and the biggest win of Page’s run in ROH. I’m not all that crazy about how often Page uses the noose as part of the Hangman gimmick, but the quality of this match and his win over the former ROH Champion elevated him in a major way.
Footage aired of Dalton Castle scolding The Boys for playing with Okada bucks. They fanned him off and he calmed down. Castle said he knows the Boys like New Japan. Castle said he thinks Okada is fantastic and he likes New Japan too, but he enjoys dropping people on their heads so much more…
5. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) in a non-title match. There were dueling chants for both men that were slightly in favor of Okada. Several minutes into the match, Okada threw a nice dropkick at Castle that knocked him off the ropes and down to ringside. The Boys gave a couple fans to help them fan off Castle. It must have worked, as he he came back with a huracanrana. Castle followed up with a suicide dive.
Back inside the ring, Castle caught Okada with a high knee in the corner and then a bulldog for a two count. Castle performed a german suplex and bridged for a nice near fall. Castle went for another German suplex, but Okada grabbed the arms of one of the Boys and ended up dragging them both inside the ring. Okada took advantage of the distraction and started ordering the Boys. Okada dropped an elbow on Castle, then he and the Boys posed together. Castle hit his Banarang finisher, but Okada rolled to ringside.
Castle got Okada back inside the ring and performed another suplex for two. Castle went for his finisher again, but Okada held onto the ropes. They traded big boots. Castle ran the ropes and Okada caught him with a dropkick. Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Castle ducked it and went for his finisher again, but Okada countered into a tombstone piledriver. Okada followed up with the Rainmaker clothesline and got the clean pin. Okada shook hands with Castle, then the Boys entered the ring and they all posed together while McGuiness called it “a lovely display”…
Kazuchika Okada defeated Dalton Castle in 13:55 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: The last five minutes of the match were very good. As much as I like The Boys, I actually could have done without their in-ring involvement so late in the match. Still, a good match. Castle seems to lose almost as often as he wins, but this is the type of loss that he may actually gain something from if they push the idea that he took the IWGP Champion to the limit.
A video package set up the ROH TV Title match that featured comments from Bobby Fish, who spoke about how he could relate to Mark being the little brother. He spoke about how he played football and lived in the shadow of his older brother, but now he’s a man who stands on his own two feet and he is the king of the land in ROH…
6. Bobby Fish vs. Mark Briscoe for the ROH TV Title. Bobby Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match. The wrestlers shook hands before the bell. Mark had his first offensive run around 4:30 and hit a nice neckbreaker off the apron. Mark stomped Fish on the floor and then suplexed him onto the apron. Mark also hit a Cactus Jack elbow drop off the apron. Mark sold a back injury. Back inside the ring, Mark suplexed Fish and sold his back again.
Fish came back with a leg whip and then multiple kicks. Mark caem back briefly with a kick of his own and then performed a suplex and a running boot at 11:45. Briscoe performed a fisherman’s suplex for two. Fish came back by dropping Briscoe onto his knees. Briscoe performed a top rope elbow, but Fish raised his knees. Briscoe escaped a knee hold and performed Froggy Bow for two at 14:15.
Fish and Briscoe fought on the ropes. Fish knocked Briscoe down briefly with a punch, but Briscoe came back with a strike. However, Fish slipped in between his legs and kicked his leg out from under him. Fish performed an exploder suplex and a sit-out slam and scored the clean pin. Fish and Briscoe shook hands after the match…
Bobby Fish defeated Mark Briscoe in 15:15 to retain the ROH TV Title.
Powell’s POV: A good match that never seemed to find that extra gear to make it memorable in any way. I really hope they decide whether Fish is a babyface or a heel.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian delivered a promo in front of the ROH logo about their tag title defense…
7. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian vs. Tetsuya Naito and Evil vs. Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi in a Triple Threat for the ROH Tag Titles. Naito had the ref hold the ropes open for him, then teased kicking the fearful ref. Elgin didn’t get much of a reaction, but the fans popped big when Tanahashi came out after him. Matt Taven sat in on commentary and said he knows a thing or two about three-ways and tag teams, and he also knows about tag team wrestling.
Tanahashi and Naito were going to star the match and got some dueling chants, but Daniels tagged himself in before they could lock up. Naito Later, Taven mocked the fans for cheering Elgin. He noted that they booed him until he went to Japan and won a title. At 7:20, Naito and Evil went after Daniels and Kazarian for a pop and quickly cleared them from the ring.
At 8:20, Elgin worked over Kazarian, and eventually performed a double German suplex on the tag champions. Taven said Elgin will be tweeting about his own strength once the match is over. The champs set up for their finisher on Elgin, but Tanahashi cut him them off. Everyone lined up at ringside so that Elgin could perform his running flip over the top rope, which led to the biggest pop of the match.
At 13:00, Elgin slammed Evil off the middle rope, then catapulted Tanahashi onto him. Kamaitachi came out and distracted the ref while Daniels went for a belt shot. However, Daniels accidentally struck his own partner. Evil powerbombed Tanahashi for a great near fall. Tanahashi came back with a slingblade clothesline and then went for the High Fly Flow. The referee didn’t made the count because Daniels had tagged himself into the match. Daniels rolled up the legs of Evil with Tanahashi still on top of him and got the win…
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian defeated Tetsuya Naito & Evil and Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahash in 14:45 to retain the ROH Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: An very good match with a fun finish. Daniels tapped the boot of Tanahashi softly to take himself in, so it was believable that Tanahashi would have no clue that Daniels had tagged himself in. The Daniels and Kazarian act has yet to click in ROH, but this was very good with the crowd into Elgin and the Japanese stars.
A video package set up the main event…
8. Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole for the ROH Title. Neither man was accompanied to the ring by anyone. Lethal stared at Cole during the in-ring introductions. There was no code of honor handshake despite the referee’s request. Lethal reached out and touched Cole’s hair. Cole reached into his own trunks and pulled out the braids he shaved off the head of Lethal. The broadcast team spoke about how the referee was likely to be looser than usual with his enforcement of the rules.
Lethal roughed up Cole at ringside and then started looking underneath the ring. Kelly wondered aloud whether he was looking for scissors. Lethal eventually pulled out a table and set it up. Cole caught him with a kick and then they traded forearm shots on the floor. Lethal caught Cole with a Cutter on the floor. Kelly noted that Lethal winced and held his back after performing the move.
Lethal positioned Cole over the table. Lethal climbed to the top rope and dropped an elbow, but Cole moved and Lethal crashed through the table at 6:45. Lethal had a huge welt on his back and a cut on top of his head from the table spot. Cole put him in a chinlock in the ring and they communicated from there. Lethal came back and performed five suicide dives on Cole. Lethal went back to the ring and went for a sixth, but Cole stepped aside and shoved Lethal into the barricade.
Cole flashed a smile and mockingly clapped as Lethal was down in the ring. Lethal sat up, but Cole shoved him down. Lethal stood up and they traded forearm shots again. Cole spat at (and over) Lethal. Cole caught Lethal with a shining wizard for a two count. Cole went to the corner, smiled, and tuned up the band. Kelly said we have never seen Lethal fight like this. Lethal avoided the superkick and knocked Cole down.
Lethal wanted to go for Lethal Injection, but Cole grabbed his trunks. Lethal fought free and wanted to do the move, but Cole pulled himself up using the referee and pulled him out of position, then low blowed Lethal. Cole covered Lethal, who put his foot on the bottom rope. At 17:25, Cole applied a guillotine choke. Kelly noted that the move “was made famous” by Kyle O’Reilly. Lethal escaped using the Lethal Combination.
At 19:20, Lethal dropped a top rope elbow and got a two count. Cole ate a couple kicks, then caught Lethal with a superkick while he was down. Cole went for a Destroyer from the second rope and Lethal countered into a Cutter. Lethal went for the Lethal Injection, but Cole caught him with a superkick. Cole followed up with the Destroyer from the ropes and then hit his finisher for a two count.
Cole told Lethal “you ain’t shit” and then spat at him. Lethal avoided a superkick and then performed the Lethal Injection for another good near fall. The fans chanted “this is awesome.” With both men on the mat, Cole gave Lethal a double middle finger salute. Lethal seethed and went for a superkick. Cole ducked it and rolled him while holding the tights up for two. Cole hit a combination of moves that he capped off with a brainbuster onto his knee and pinned Lethal clean…
Adam Cole defeated Jay Lethal in 24:05 to win the ROH Championship.
The broadcast team acted shocked. Nigel held up his arms in disbelief. Former ROH owner Cary Silkin entered the ring and presented Cole with the ROH Title belt. Cole blew him a kiss. Kyle O’Reilly snuck up behind Cole as he was being named the new champion. Cole turned around and O’Reilly blasted him with a clothesline and then suplexed him. O’Reilly put a knee on Cole and then held up the ROH Championship as Kelly wrapped up the show…
A graphic hyped ROH All-Star Extravaganza for Lowell, Massachusetts as an upcoming pay-per-view, but no date was listed…
Powell’s POV: An very good main event with a surprisingly clean finish. Cole was excellent with his heel antics throughout the match. It was refreshing to have an ROH main event that was built up on television as well as this was. The crowd was split and totally engaged and hanging on some of the near falls. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Cole took the ROH Championship, and thinks set up nicely with him defending against Lethal and O’Reilly among other notable babyfaces. Lethal had a very good run as champion that really started to generate buzz especially in the latter months, and it will be fun to watch him try to regain the title as a babyface.
Overall, this was my favorite ROH live pay-per-view event. The company built up the main event and the TV Title match, but the rest of the build was lackluster. Fortunately, the crowd was hot and the talent shined. More than anything, I hope what we saw in the build for the main event becomes the norm on ROH television. It shows that Hunter Johnston is capable of booking good, episodic television, but now he needs to do it consistently and with more than just one program. Again, though, this was a very good show. I will have more to say later tonight in my member exclusive audio review.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Richard Holliday discussing The Dynasty faction in MLW, MJF's departure, the addition of Gino Medina, training under Paul Roma, and much more. Check out MLW Fusion Saturdays on beIN Sports and on the MLW YouTube Page...