By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor “Death Before Dishonor”
Aired live July 21, 2023 on pay-per-view
Trenton, New Jersey at Cure Insurance Arena
ROH Death Before Dishonor Zero Hour Pre-Show
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in from ringside and encouraged viewers to order the pay-per-view. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
1. Josh Woods (w/Mark Sterling, Ari Daivari, Tony Nese) vs. Tracy Williams in a Pure Rules match. Sterling handled the introduction for Woods. Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Jacobs, and Jerry Lynn were the judges and they were seated at a table near the ring opposite the hard camera. Williams used two of his three rope breaks roughly a minute into the match.
Williams battled back and put Woods down with a piledriver. Williams went for the cover, but Woods put his foot on the ropes to break the pin for his first rope break. Woods regained offensive control and performed a gut-wrench into a powerbomb. Woods applied his Gorilla Lock, forcing Williams to use his final rope break.
The wrestlers fought to the apron where Woods performed a German suplex that caused Williams to tumble to ringside. When Woods attempted to return to the ring, Woods applied a submission while Williams was in the ropes. With no rope breaks remaining, Woods was forced to tap out…
Josh Woods beat Tracy Williams in 8:35 in a Pure Rules match.
Powell’s POV: A quality opening match. It was well paced with good action and early rope breaks. Unfortunately, the company didn’t use graphics to show the match time or rope break count. Hopefully they will be back for the main card. It also appears the hard camera is facing the stage, which drove me nuts about ROH under previous ownership. I want to see the crowd, not a stage for four hours.
A video package spotlighted the ROH Pure Rules match for the main card…
2. Action Andretti and Darius Martin vs. “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry. Drake and Henry attacked Andretti and Martin rather than adhere to the Code of Honor. In encouraging news, Riccaboni said that Dante Martin is ahead of schedule in his recovery, but he didn’t provide any specifics.
There was a cool spot early with Drake tossing Martin to Henry, who powerbombed him on the way down for an early two count. Andretti took a hot tag and did a backflip off of Drake’s back and put both opponents down with a double bulldog. Andretti performed a standing shooting star press and then tried and failed to pin both opponents.
Martin tagged in and hit. satellite DDT on Drake, but Henry broke up the pin attempt that followed. Martin went for a move between the ropes, but Drake put him down. Henry followed up with a move and then Drake performed a top rope moonsault and had the pin, but Andretti sent Henry on the pin with a Death Valley Driver to break it up.
The babyface duo came back. Martin superkicked Drake and then tagged in Andretti, who powered up Drake. Martin shoved Drake’s legs to send him into a neckbreaker by Andretti, who covered Drake and got the pin.
Action Andretti and Darius Martin defeated “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry in 7:20.
The teams shook hands after the match. Riccaboni announced that Andretti and Martin will face Jay White and Juice Robinson on Saturday’s AEW Collision…
Powell’s POV: A really nice tag team match. Drake and Henry had a nice run of offense before the babyfaces rallied. I doubt that Andretti and Martin will have back to back wins, but hopefully they get a good amount of time with White and Robinson. By the way, Riccaboni noted that this was the largest crowd that ROH has drawn in New Jersey. It’s a shame we can’t see more of them due to the oddball choice to point the hard camera at the stage.
A video package spotlighted the ROH Women’s Championship match for the main card…
3. Leyla Hirsch vs. Trish Adora. Carlie Bravo and Shawn Dean accompanied Adora onto the stage and then headed to the back while she went to the ring. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor with a quick hand slap. Adroa hoisted up Hirsch for a move or a hold, but Hirsch slipped away and darted to ringside, which drew some boos.
Adora had a nice flurry of offense and picked up a two count. She followed up with a kneeling German suplex and got another near fall. Adora put Hirsch down with a big boot and got another near fall. Hirsch avoided a charging Adora in the corner and then dropkicked her. Adora came right back with a backbreaker for a near fall.
Adroa signaled for her Lariat Tubman finisher, but Hirsch avoided it. Adora ducked a running kick and rolled up Hirsch for a two count. Hirsch came right back by rolling Adora into a pin. They traded pin attempts and then Hirsch applied a crossarm breaker and got the submission win.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Trish Adora in 8:25.
After the match, Adora tried to adhere to the Code of Honor, but Hirsch took her down and reapplied her submission finisher. Skye Blue ran out, causing Hirsch to release the hold and duck out to ringside. Riccaboni announced that Tony Khan just made Blue vs. Taya Valkyrie on AEW Collision…
Powell’s POV: A decent match. I see more upside in Adora than Hirsch. It looks like they intend to go with Hirsch vs. Blue on the weekly ROH streaming show. They didn’t really set up anything for Adora unless they intend to run this match back.
A video package spotlighted the Claudio Castagnoli vs. Pac match for the ROH Championship. It focused on their falling out during the Blood and Guts match. Riccaboni billed the match as part of the double main event of the main card… The entrances for the final pre-match show took place…
4. AR Fox vs. Shane Taylor. The referee called for the Code of Honor. Fox played to the crowd and then shook hands with Taylor, who then shoved him. Taylor jumped out to the fast start and blasted Fox with punches and forearms. Taylor went for a clothesline that Fox went Matrix on. Fox dropkicked Taylor, who went to ringside.
Fox performed a running dive over the top rope and onto Taylor at ringside. Fox followed up with a flip dive onto Taylor on the floor. Back in the ring, Taylor caught Fox on the ropes and drove him face first onto the mat before covering him for a two count. Taylor backed Fox into the corner and chopped him, then followed up with additional strikes.
A short time later, Fox hit his springboard shooting star press onto Taylor at ringside. The broadcast team hyped Fox’s AEW International Title match for Dynamite, then said they suspected that Taylor would get a title shot if he won this match.
Back inside the ring, Taylor headbutted Fox and then put him down with a uranage slam. Taylor ran the ropes and splashed Fox for a good near fall. Taylor missed a move on the apron. Fox pulled him back inside the ring with a DDT and covered him for a near fall.
Fox went up top. Taylor bumped the ropes to knock him down, but Fox landed on his feet. Fox went for a cutter from the ropes, but Taylor blocked it and hit his Welcome to the Land finisher. Fox grabbed the bottom rope to avoid taking the pin.
Taylor set up Fox for a move from the ropes, but Fox escaped. Fox hit Taylor with a series of kicks while Taylor was seated on the top turnbuckle. Fox pulled Taylor off the ropes and hit him with a Death Valley Driver. Fox followed up with a 450 splash and scored the pin…
AR Fox defeated Shane Taylor in 10:20.
Powell’s POV: The best match of the pre-show. It lacked mystery regarding the outcome due to Fox challenging for the AEW International Title on this week’s Dynamite. I don’t know what they have planned, but it seems like they would have been better off just announcing that Cassidy agreed to give the winner of this match a title shot. I get why Fox went over, but I really hope they do more with the talented Taylor.
The broadcast team hyped the main card and said it would start with Gravity vs. Komander…
ROH Death Before Dishonor Pay-Per-View
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman welcomed viewers to the main card. Entrances for the opening match took place…
1. Komander (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Gravity. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Gravity walked in slow motion early in the match while Komander acted confused. Gravity sped up and then had his move stuffed by Komander, who ended up hitting him with a flip dive on the floor. Back in the ring, Komander executed a shooting star press from the top rope for a near fall.
Gravity came back with a Flair style flip in the corner while Komander was on the floor. Komander sat up and executed a dive onto Komander while Riccaboni said Gravity had faked out Komander. The crowd ate it up and a “lucha” chant broke out. Back inside the ring, Gravity picked up a couple of near falls.
Komander rallied and went for a top rope moonsault, but Gravity put his foot up. Gravity powerbombed Komander for a two count. Gravity powered up Komander with one arm and then powerbombed him again for another near fall. Komander came back with a double jump on the ropes into a dive on Komander on the floor.
Gravity caught Komander on the rope rope and grabbed him in a wristlock and then fell backwards onto the mat to bring Komander with him. Cool spot. Komander put Gravity down and then ran across the top rope and moonsaulted onto him for another near fall. Komander placed Gravity on the ropes and joined him. Komander performed a top rope huracanrana, but then Gravity hooked him into an inside cradle and got the three count.
Gravity defeated Komander in 10:15.
After the match, Riccaboni announced that Tony Khan told him that Pac will face Gravity on Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite. Coleman wondered if it would be an ROH Championship match…
Powell’s POV: I was surprised to see Gravity, who is the younger brother of Bandido, get the win. They threw a lot out there for an opening match, but it’s not like there are other matches that will have a similar style.
A video package set up the ROH TV Title match… Dalton Castle and The Boys did one of their over the top entrances. Samoa Joe’s entrance followed and he was serenaded with “Joe” chants from the crowd…
2. Samoa Joe vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) for the ROH TV Title. Stokely Hathaway sat in on commentary. Joe and Castle adhered to the Code of Honor. Joe and Castle adhered to the Code of Honor. Joe left the ring and asked Hathaway if he heard the live crowd. Hathaway said he could, and then Joe returned to the ring. Castle exited the ring ring and grabbed the camera and yelled, then found a fan dressed like him and went face-to-face with him before returning to the ring.
Castle put Joe down with an early DDT. Joe came back with chops, but Castle cut him off with a big boot. Castle targeted the ribs of Joe, but Joe came back with a big boot of his own and followed with a senton. Joe smiled after dishing out more punishment and came off like he was toying with Castle.
Joe tossed Castle to the floor and followed, but The Boys tossed Castle back inside the ring. Joe looked annoyed, then returned to the ring and tossed Castle back to the floor. Rinse and repeat with The Boys throwing Castle back inside again. Castle got a moment of offense before Joe powerslammed him for a near fall. Joe clotheslined Castle over the top rope. Castle fell off the apron and into the arms of The Boys, who pushed him back to his feet on the apron.
A short time later, The Boys shoved Joe back inside the ring and then Castle suplexed him. Castle hit Joe with a high knee and a clothesline in the corner, then suplexed him again. Joe rolled to the floor. Castle played to the crowd. Joe grabbed Hathaway, who started barking at the referee. Coleman said Joe told Hathaway to fix this.
The referee ejected The Boys from ringside, which drew boos from the crowd. Riccaboni pointed out that all of this gave Joe a breather. While the referee had his head turned, Joe kicked Castle below the belt and then put him in the Coquina Clutch. Castle faded and Joe was named the winner.
Samoa Joe defeated Dalton Castle in 13:35 to retain the ROH TV Title.
Afterward, Hathaway opened the ropes for Joe, who went to ringside and held up his title belt…
Powell’s POV: Joe and Castle worked a slow pace and yet they got the live crowd invested. It was interesting to see the fans go from being pro Joe to booing once he had Hathaway clear The Boys from ringside.
A video package set up the ROH Tag Team Title match… Entrances for the match took place…
Powell’s POV: There’s a storm in the area, so I lost my satellite signal temporarily. It should be back soon. DirecTV will send you to a streaming app for most shows if the satellite loses reception, but apparently they don’t do that for pay-per-views, which is beyond ridiculous. I’ll resume coverage once the signal returns.
3. Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis) vs. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor vs. Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis in a four-way for the ROH Tag Team Titles. Cruise announced that the match had a sixty-minute time limit. My signal returned during the match when Bennett broke up a Best Friends hug attempt. Taylor got Taven up for a piledriver, but he was distracted by Maria climbing onto the apron. Taylor blew her off and hugged Beretta.
There was a series of piledrivers by various wrestlers. Penta and Fenix kept it going with a double stomp into a package piledriver. Taven and Bennett executed a spike piledriver on Penta, who kicked out and fired up until Taven and Bennett hit him with a double superkick. Taven and Bennett set up for their Proton Pack move, but Penta fought his way free.
Beretta tagged Penta, who wasn’t happy. Beretta and Taylor performed their version of a spike piledriver on Taven, but Penta broke the pin. The Aussie Open duo cleared everyone other than Beretta from the ring. Fletcher and Davis hit their finisher on Beretta and then Fletcher pinned him…
“Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis defeated Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor, and Matt Taven & Mike Bennett in a four-way to win the ROH Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: I can’t really comment fairly on the match because I missed so much of it due to satellite issues. I can say that I enjoy the work of Aussie Open, and they really needed to move the titles since Penta and Fenix never seem to be available for ROH tapings.
A video aired with Vincent, Dutch, and Stu Grayson talking about how they would end their opponents… Entrances for the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title match took place…
4. Brian Cage, Bishop Kaun, and Toa Liona (w/Prince Nana) vs. Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Leon Ruffin for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Riccaboni said Cage has won all sixteen of his matches in ROH. The teams adhered to the Code of Honor. Ruffin was isolated and the champions took turns working him over. Cage curled him repeatedly and then tossed him over his head.
Big Bill was shown watching the back on a backstage monitor. Coleman recalled Bill teaming with Cage during the blind eliminator tournament. Ruffin eventually used his quickness to dodge Kaun before putting him down with a DDT and then he tagged out. Wato worked over Kaun and then Cage. Wato put Kaun down with a sling blade clothesline and covered him for a two count.
Liona performed power moves on Wato, who eventually stumbled into his corner and tagged out. Taguchi did a bunch of his “funk weapon” ass moves and then swiveled his hips for the crowd. The champions tried to splash him, but he moved and they all collided.
Taguchi put Kaun in an ankle lock, but Liona broke it up with a clothesline. Wato took out Liona. Cage took out Wato. Taguchi tripped up Cage and then hit him with a soft 619. Ruffin splashed Cage. Kaun took out Ruffin. Taguchi went for a move, but he ended up on Kaun’s shoulders. Nana climbed onto the apron. Kaun low-blowed Taguchi, who returned the favor and then hooked him in an inside cradle for a near fall.
Ruffin checked in and put Cage down with a leap from the ropes into a cutter. Ruffin threw kicks at Liona and got him down to one knee. Ruffin went for a springboard crossbody block, but Liona caught him and put him down with a backbreaker that led to a two count. The champions all picked up Ruffin and tossed him into the air and let him hit the mat. Liona covered Ruffin and got the three count…
Brian Cage, Bishop Kaun, and Toa Liona defeated Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Leon Ruffin in 12:20 to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Damn, I wish the local storm would have taken place during this match instead. Don’t get me wrong, this match was actually pretty good for what it was, but there was zero mystery regarding the outcome. I just really wanted to see that four-way tag title match. Poor me.
A video package set up the ROH Pure Championship match… Riccaboni read through the pure rules while graphics displayed the rules on the screen…
5. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Daniel Garcia for the ROH Pure Championship. Cruise said the match had as sixty-minute time limit. Shibata offered his hand, but Garcia teased doing his dance instead. Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Jacobs, and Jerry Lynn were the judges, just as they were for the pre-show match. Unlike that pre-show match, the Pure Rules graphics listing the time and rope breaks was used for this match (nice).
Shibata applied an early figure four. Coleman said it was the best he’s ever seen a figure four locked in (don’t tell Ric Flair). Garcia used his first rope break to escape the hold. They went to ringside where Garcia ran Shibata into the apron. Garcia returned to the ring and sat down in the middle of the ring with his legs crossed to taunt the champion.
Shibata rushed back to the ring, but Garcia rolled out the other side. Shitbata went after Garcia and roughed him up on the floor and ended up hitting him with a running boot that sent him into the crowd. Garcia fought back and eventually taunted the crowd by raising the title belt over his head before he returned to the ring.
A short time later, Garcia taunted Shibata by performing his silly dance. Shibata watched him for a bit and then sat down and crossed his legs. Garcia yelled to the crowd that he was sports entertaining them. Garcia danced again and did so while sitting down across from Shibata, who chopped him. Garcia threw a chop, but Shibata blistered him with a lightning quick chop of his own.
Shibata got Garcia in the corner and then hit him with a running boot and a dropkick. Garcia rallied and went for a Boston Crap, but Shibata countered into a triangle choke. Garcia escaped and countered into an STF at the 10:00 mark. Shibata countered into a bow and arrow. Garcia escaped and ended up on top of Shibata for a two count.
Shibata and Garcia traded a series of back and forth suplexes until both men fell down. A light “this is awesome” chant broke out. Shibata and Garcia got to their knees and traded elbow strikes. Garcia stood and told Shibata to bring it. The elbow strikes continued. They had a series of back and forth moves that resulted in both men falling down again to sell exhaustion.
Shibata caught Garcia with a big boot. Garcia took him down and put him in a Dragon Tamer. Garcia leaned way back while applying the hold. Shibata wrapped his arm around his throat to escape the hold. Garcia came back with suplexes and chops. Shibata tagged him with a big chop followed by a sleeper hold. Shibata released it once Garcia was seated and then hit him with a PK and pinned him…
Katsuyori Shibata defeated Daniel Garcia in 14:35 to retain the ROH Pure Championship.
After the match, Shibata offered Garcia a handshake. Garcia flipped him off. Shibata grabbed Garcia’s finger and then used it to raise Garcia’s hand. Garcia pulled away and was pissed…
Powell’s POV: My favorite match of the night thus far (at least of the matches I was able to see). It didn’t really feel like a pure style match aside from the single rope break, but they had a fun back and forth match with a clean and decisive finish. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next for Garcia once the Jericho Appreciation Society finally disband.
Lexi Nair interviewed “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis on a backstage set. Fletcher spoke about how it didn’t take them long to get back on track and boasted about how they’ve won titles wherever they’ve gone…
6. “The Dark Order” Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver vs. “The Righteous” Vincent, Dutch, and Stu Grayson in a Fight Without Honor. The Righteous offered handshakes, but the Dark Order blew them off and fought instead. Former partners and Uno and Grayson battled. Grayson ended up spearing Uno off the apron and they both crashed through a table on the floor.
Silver held up a two-by-four. Dutch held up another one that was wrapped in barbed wire. They fought and Silver got the barbed wire and used it to cut open Dutch. Vincent and Reynolds fought over the barbed wire board. Dutch returned and slammed the head of Reynolds onto the barbed wire. Reynolds came up bleeding moments later.
Silver poured thumbtacks in the middle of the ring, but Dutch ended up slamming him on top of them and picked up a two count. Uno brought a chair inside the ring and worked over Grayson with several shots to the back. Vincent shoved Grayson out of the way and took a chair shot to the back for him. Uno wedged the chair in the corner. Vincent ran Uno into the chair.
Vincent tore the mask of Uno, who was also bleeding. Vincent grabbed him and put some of the blood on his index finger and drew on his own forehead while saying this is what Uno wanted. Dutch ended up tasting some of Uno’s blood (gross). The Righteous set up to powerbomb Silver, but Reynolds returned with a chair and stopped them. Silver and Reynolds performed a double team pin on Dutch on the tacks, but he kicked out.
Reynolds held up Vincent and then Uno ran the barbed wire board into his head. Uno reached under the ring and pulled out a tag. Uno poured lego pieces all of the ring. The Dark Order set up for a move on Vincent, but Grayson broke it up. Dutch powerbombed Uno onto the lego pieces. Vincent went for a top rope senton to drive Silver through the table, but he overshot it. Grayson frog splashed from the top rope and put Silver through the table.
Uno was slammed onto the tacks and legos by Dutch, but he kicked out of another pin attempt. The Righteous introduced a table covered in bared wire. Grayson put Reynolds on his shoulders and carried him up the stairs to the stage with the intention of putting him through the barbed wire table, but Reynolds escaped and DDT’d Grayson. Dutch splashed Reynolds. Dutch set up for a move on Reynolds, who slipped out and shoved Dutch off the stage and through the barbed wire table.
In the ring, Silver used a boot with thumbtacks to kick Vincent repeated. Silver ran the ropes and hit him with one more. Grayson returned and hit Uno with a couple of knees to the head. Grayson put Uno on a table that was set up next to a second table on the floor. Grayson pulled a giant ladder out from under the ring and then set it up inside the ring.
Grayson climbed up the ladder, but Uno returned to the ring and tipped it over, causing Grayson to crash through the two tables on the floor. Grayson was brought back to the ring. Grayson smiled as Silver and Reynolds held him up, and then Uno charged and flipped him over before he crashed onto the legos and tacks before being pined…
“The Dark Order” Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds and John Silver beat “The Righteous” Vincent, Dutch, and Stu Grayson in 16:40 in a Fight Without Honor.
Powell’s POV: Good lord. It’s not my style of match, but those guys worked their asses off and put themselves through all sorts of insanity. If any match on the show needed a video package it was this one. After all, The Dark Order have been working as heels on AEW television lately, yet they are apparently working as babyfaces in this feud.
A video package set up the ROH Championship match…. Entrances for the match took place while the broadcast team said it was the first part of the show’s double main event…
7. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Pac for the ROH World Championship. Castagnoli waved off the Code of Honor handshake and hit Pac with an uppercut once referee Paul Turner called for the bell to start the match. Castagnoli hit a popup uppercut. He wanted to go for his Neutralizer finisher, but Pac left the ring.
At ringside, Pac fired away with forearm shots and went for a moonsault off the apron. Castagnoli caught Pac and dropped him on the ringside barricade. Castagnoli broke the referee’s count. Riccaboni said that Castagnoli could have gone for the count-out victory. Coleman assumed it was because there was so much emotion involved.
The wrestlers ended up on the stage. Castagnoli performed the Swing. He released it and then performed it again per the request of the crowd. Castagnoli went for the Neutralizer on the stage, but Pac backdropped him instead. Back at ringside, Pac performed a top rope moonsault onto Castagnoli on the ringside floor.
Pac set up a table on the floor. Castagnoli hit him with an uppercut, which sent Pac over the table. Riccaboni compared it to the GNR November Rain video (nice). Back inside the ring, Pac hit a missile dropkick and covered the champion for a two count.
Gravity was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor while the broadcast team recalled that he would get an ROH Title shot if Pac wins due to their match being set for Dynamite.
Pac executed a top rope brainbuster and covered Castagnoli for a near fall. Castagnoli came back and pressed Pac over his head, then threw him over the top rope and through the table that was set up earlier on the floor. Damn. Castagnoli rolled Pac back inside the ring and then went up top and performed an elbow drop for a near fall.
Castagnoli drilled Pac with a series of elbows to the head. Castagnoli went for the Neutralizer, but Pac stuffed it and hit him with an enzuigiri kick. Castagnoli caught Pac going for a top rope move and ended up hitting his Neutralizer finisher. Castagnoli covered Pac for a good near fall.
Castagnoli and Pac traded strikes. Pac dodged a charging Castagnoli and then suplexed him. Castagnoli shot up and turned Pac inside out with a lariat clothesline, which left both men down. Pac followed up with a deadlift German suplex into a bridge for a two count.
Pac went up top and was cut off with an uppercut. Castagnoli tried to pull Pac back onto the ropes, but Pac punched him. Pac went for a huracanrana from the ropes, but Castagnoli held on, powered him up, and went for a powerbomb, but Pac countered into the huracanrana. Pac caught Castagnoli with a kick in the corner.
Pac went for his Black Arrow finisher, but Castagnoli moved. Castagnoli turned Pac inside out with a clothesline. Castagnoli went for the Ricola Bomb, but Pac hooked him in the Brutalizer instead. Castagnoli fell to his knees and then powered up and tried to slam Pac to break the hold, but Pac held on. Castagnoli reached for the ropes with his foot and couldn’t do it.
Castagnoli powered up while Pac maintained the hold. Castagnoli went to the middle rope with Pac still holding on and then fell backward and landed on Pac to finally break the hold. A tame “ROH” chant broke out and fans applauded. Pac got to his feet first and tried to remove a turnbuckle pad.
Wheeler Yuta ran out and distracted Pac by climbing onto the apron. Pac swung at Yuta, who dropped off the apron and avoided it. Castagnoli hit Pac with an uppercut and then hit the Ricola Bomb and scored the pin…
Claudio Castagnoli defeated Pac in 18:30 to retain the ROH Championship.
After the match, Alex Abrahantes lead Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix to the ring. Penta and Fenix held up Pac and then attacked Castagnoli and Yuta. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor came out and fought with Penta and Fenix. Orange Cassidy walked out without entrance music and had his fist taped. Cassidy hit Pac with an Orange Punch, then followed up by trying to hit Yuta, who ducked, causing Pac to take the Orange Punch instead. AR Fox was shown watching on a backstage monitor…
Powell’s POV: Well, now I know why they went with the women’s match as the main event. That was a sensational match with a weak finish. That said, I am forgiving because the match was put together at the last minute and it seemed like the broadcast team was telling a story by pointing out that Castagnoli normally tried to win with honor and that wasn’t the case here. Obviously, they can go back to a rematch. And perhaps by then it won’t feel like a heel vs. heel match like this one did.
The broadcast team ran through the AEW Collision lineup. They listed the previously advertised matches, as well as the aftermath of Ricky Starks beating CM Punk to win the Owen Hart Cup, as well as an FTR promo. They also ran through the Dynamite lineup and added MJF and Adam Cole speaking, Darby Allin vs. Swerve Strickland, and Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Penta and Fenix vs. Best Friends in a three-way tag match…
A video package set up the ROH Women’s Championship match… Entrances for the match took place while Riccaboni touted that it was the first time that a women’s match would headline an ROH pay-per-view. Athena had some cool looking wings that she wore as she walked onto the stage…
8. Athena vs. Willow Nightingale for the ROH Women’s Championship. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Willow offered her hand. Athena acted annoyed by the fans chanting for Willow and then slapped her hand. Athena took early control and had Willow down in the corner when she shot up and performed a Pounce style move.
Willow performed a hip attack in the corner and followed up with a big spinebuster for a near fall. Both wrestlers traded chops in the middle of the ring. Athena caught Willow with a kick and a forearm. Athena hit a running forearm in the corner. Athena dropped Willow with a kick and then powered her up and dropped her into meteora, which led to a near fall. Coleman recalled that Willow countered the same move and beat Athena the last time they met.
Willow sent Athena to the floor and hit her with a crossbody block from the apron. Willow powerbombed Athena on the apron. Athena came back with a shotgun dropkick on the floor. Athena went for double knees, but Willow moved, causing Athena to crash into the ring steps. Athena hit a cannonball against the steps and then rolled Athena back inside the ring and covered her for a near fall.
Moments later, Athena performed a standing moonsault. Willow powered her up and hit Smash Mouth for a near fall. The broadcast team said they were emulating moves used by former ROH Women’s Champions. Athena performed a head-scissors takedown, but Willow shot up and put Athena down with a kick. Willow executed a Royal Butterfly for a near fall.
Athena came back with a big boot and then drove Willow’s head onto the match and covered her for a two count. Riccaboni said it was a move used by Daizee Haze. Athena caught Willow in the corner and draped her legs over the middle rope a short time later. Athena pulled her off the ropes using her legs and performed Obliteration.
Athena powered up Willow and put her down with a sit-out powerbomb that led to a good near fall. Athena showed frustration over not getting the pin. Athena went up top for her O Face finisher, but Willow cut her off and joined her on the ropes. Willow put Athena on her shoulders and then put her down with a Death Valley Driver from the ropes. Willow draped her arm over Athena and got a close near fall.
Both wrestlers ended up at ringside where Athena hoisted up Willow and dumped her on her back on the floor. Athena tossed Willow into the ring steps and then threw her back inside the ring. Athena went up top and hit the O Face. Athena covered Willow, who kicked out at the last moment and got a great pop. Athena threw a fit over not getting the pin.
Athena argued with the referee. Willow rolled her up and rolled through and hit a Dr. Bomb for a near fall of her own. A “one more time” chant broke out. Willow placed Athena on the top rope in a seated position and then joined her on the ropes. Willow went for a move, but Athena held onto the ropes and then punched Willow off the ropes. Athena hit the O Face and then applied a crossface. Willow rolled her into a pin for a two count, but Athena rolled her over and maintained the hold. Willow started to fade. The referee checked her hand and called for the bell…
Athena defeated Willow Nightingale in 20:30 to retain the ROH Women’s Championship.
After the match, Athena picked up Willow and seemed to jaw at her, but then she raised her hand. Willow fell back to her knee. Athena bowed to her while Coleman said he’d never seen Athena do that for a challenger. Riccaboni closed with his “happy wrestling” line. Willow offered her hand to Athena, but the show went off the air before we could see if Athena accepted…
Powell’s POV: I stand corrected. That is what this match closed the show. This was excellent. The callbacks were really cool. I’m happy they had the right broadcast team to lead us through those moves because most would have went over my head. I think many of us assumed that this was Willow’s night, but I have no problem with them sticking with Athena as champion because she’s doing a wonderful job. It’s just a shame that she’s hidden behind the ROH paywall because I’m enjoying her work more than what we’re seeing from the women on the weekly AEW television shows. Kudos to both wrestlers for a terrific rollercoaster ride of a match.
Overall, this was a good pay-per-view. I said going in that it was hard to be excited about the show because ROH feels like such an afterthought these days and yet I assumed it would deliver, and it definitely did. The last two matches were excellent, the Pure Championship match was a blast, and the wrestlers in the Fight Without Honor worked their asses off even if that style isn’t for me. I might even be more positive about this show had I been able to see the full four-way tag team title match. All of that said, I really wonder how this show will perform compared to other recent ROH pay-per-views. There’s so much pro wrestling on television right now and it felt like the buzz regarding this event was low.
I will have more to say about Death Before Dishonor in my same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought by taking part in our post event polls below.