top of page
  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: ROH Death Before Dishonor 2023

Not gonna lie, I totally forgot this show was happening. I have a calendar of shows I intend to watch and review and for some reason this one slipped the schedule. I was going to skip it but I remembered the Claudio Castagnoli vs PAC match and couldn't resist. Let's find the cure for our wrestling fever. Let's review.


July 21st 2023: ROH Death before Dishonor @ the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, New Jersey.


-our commentary team is Caprice Coleman & Ian Riccaboni


Zero Hour pre-show


Josh Woods w/Varsity Athletes vs Tracy Williams

This match is contested under ROH Pure Wrestling Rules. Not bad, a short exhibition to demonstrate the talents of these too. Woods looked dominant, Williams looked crisp. I liked the finish, Woods using a rope assisted choke that was no longer against the rules after Williams exhausted all of his rope breaks.


Josh Woods wins via pinfall (8:40)

2.25/5


Action Andretti & Darius Martin vs The Workhorsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry)

A good change of pace. The first match was solid but it was slow and lacked heat. Andretti & Martin turned up the velocity. That jump from Andretti onto Drakes back was impressive. Him lifting Drake onto his shoulders for spinning neckbreaker was even more impressive. Fun match.


Andretti & Martin win via pinfall (7:22)

2.5/5


Leyla Hirsch vs Trish Adora

Leyla Hirsch is an insanely talented wrestler, held down by Tony Khan's incompetent booking of the women's division. I'm going to bite my tongue before I go on a tirade. 26 years old and she has huge amounts of potential. I don't know anything about Trish but she seems cool. I liked this. A stiff, technical match with the right winner. Post match, Trish offers the code of Honor. Hirsch accepts it and then puts her back into a submission. Skye Blue comes out to make the save.


Leyla Hirsch wins via submission (9:13)

2.5/5


AR Fox vs Shane Taylor

Another decent match, I wasn't feeling this one as much as the crowd was. I've watched both men before. Taylor is an underrated powerhouse and Fox is incredibly athletic. It was pretty obvious who was winning because they kept shilling Fox's match on AEW Dynamite. I'd prefer if they kept the two entities separate but that's personal preference


AR Fox wins via pinfall (10:21)

2.5/5


Main Card


Gravity vs Komander w/Alex Abrahantes

This is billed as a Lucha dream match. Komander as impressed me with the matches I've seen from him. I've never watched a Gravity match. This was what you would expect, big spots and fast paced lucha libre. I don't know, something felt really off for me in this one. Some of the spots felt really contrived, especially the closing one when Komander & Gravity are just stood hugging each other on the top rope for like 10 seconds. Then after that Gravity steals a quick roll up, making him look lucky and Komander an idiot for standing around doing nothing after a big move. There was effort here, but something lacking.


Gravity wins via pinfall (10:05)

2.75/5


-Can yous maybe calm it with the AEW shilling? After nearly every match so far were advertising future TV when the focus should be this PPV event. I'd criticise any company for doing the same, but no one shills their upcoming TV schedule quite as much as AEW does.


Samoa Joe (c) vs Dalton Castle w/The Boys for the ROH TV Championship

I'm excited for this one. Samoa Joe has been on a tear since leaving WWE. Coming into AEW & ROH, winning the TV championship and he has held it for nearly 500 days. He has the third longest reign of all time going into this match. I love Dalton Castle, when I first got into ROH I watched him defeat Cody Rhodes for the World title and it was great. Castle defeated Tony Nese and then Shane Taylor in an eliminator tournament to become the number 1 contender. He's looking for his second TV title victory. Stokely Hathaway joins us on commentary.


Man, what a disappointment this was. A very slow match with not a lot of meat to it. The story was Joe being dominant but The Boys helping Castle stay in the ring or pushing Joe back in the ring if Castle was in the offensive. This would lead into the finish, when Joe grabbed at Stokely Hathaway at comment. Hathaway (who has a directors position) demanded the referee ban the Boys from ringside. During this extended segment, Joe recovered and hit Castle with a low blow behind the referee's back and choked him out with the coquina clutch. A boring match that was decently executed. I had high hopes for this and they were dashed. A shame.


Samoa Joe wins via referee stoppage to retain the TV championship (14:12)

2/5


Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr & Rey Fenix) (c) vs The Kingdom (Mike Bennett & Matt Taven) vs Best Friends (Trent Baretta & Chuck Taylor) vs Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) for the ROH Tag Team Championships

Just 4 great teams competing to be champion, sometimes that's all it needs to be. Aussie Open have caught fire over the last year for their astounding performances across the world, especially in New Japan. The is a four corners match, two legal men so the other two teams will need to tag themselves in to be able to get a win here.


A significant improvement here. Immediately within the first few minutes I knew this was going to be great. It's non-stop action from bell to bell. The Best Friends are goofy but intense, the Kingdom bring some excellent tandem offence, the Lucha Bros have a plethora of fast paced high risk offence to dazzle the crowd. But the stars here are Aussie Open, Fletcher is so quick but has incredible strength. Davis was a beast in this match, that deadlift inverted tombstone was sick. The Lucha Bros & Best Friends continously clashed throughout the match, preventing each other from winning. Penta even using a chair behind the referee's back. Aussie Open took advantage of the adversity to hit a Coreolis on Baretta to win the titles. Very good match and great for the Aussies winning even more gold.


Aussie Open win via pinfall to become Tag Team Champions (17:01)

3.75/5


Mogul Embassy (Brian Cage, Toa Liona & Bishop Kaun) vs Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & Leon Ruffin for the ROH 6-man Tag Team Championships

Don't know much about a feud if there is one. I would guess that Ruffin has been against the Embassy and has recruited a pair of New Japan friends to challenge them. Taguchi is a legend who I find very entertaining. Wato is coming off a great run recently, winning the BOSJ tournament and going on to have a great match against defending champion Hiromu Takahashi.


Good tag action, I would have liked to have seen a bit more from the faces, especially Wato who I don't think we given much time to show just how good he is. The heels dominated Ruffin a lot before Taguchi & Wato could come in to fire up. We saw some nice offence and resiliency from Ruffin too, but the result of this was inevitable. I don't see the Mogul Embassy losing the gold anytime soon. Mainly because the division is about as stacked as a drunk jenga tower.


Mogul Embassy win via pinfall to retain the 6-man Tag Team Championships (12:20)

3/5


Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs Daniel Garcia for the ROH Pure Championship

This match is under Pure Wrestling Rules. Shibata took the title from Yuta at Supercard of Honor. Garcia is a former champion and wants it back. There's your story. There first match was great and so is this one. The first was a lot more of a technical masterclass, but with a rivalry developed this had a lot more of a personal intensity amongst the technical war. Commentary tell a story how Garcia has wrestled plenty Pure Rules matches and has an advantage due to his training. This is of course stiff as Shibata leathers Garcia any chance he gets. I liked the wrestler vs sports entertainer dynamic, Shibata almost trying to bring out the true wrestler from within Garcia. Hopefully Garcia has his personal realisation soon and becomes what he truly is. A wrestler. Great match with little usage of the Pure Rules but it didn't need them. Shibata chokes out Garcia who dances in defiance as he fades. A brutal PK for a Shibata win.


Shibata wins via pinfall to retain the championship (14:36)

4/5


-Aussie Open promo who big themselves up, ready to run the world and win more gold


Dark Order (Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds vs The Righteous (Stu Grayson, Vincent & Dutch), Fight Without Honor

Essentially a no DQ 6-man match. The story is all about Stu Grayson abandoning his allies, especially Uno who he's been teaming with for 20 years. Grayson left AEW for 10 months but made his return in March and has been appearing on ROH. The Righteous returned at Supercard of Honor and took an interest in Grayson. The Dark Order took issue with The Righteous for this, then Stu took issue with the Dark Order speaking for him. Grayson began teaming with the Righteous before decisively leaving the Order to join them. Poor Dark Order. They were at one point the hottest thing on AEW. Unfortunately the death of Brodie Lee derailed plans and Tony has gradually lost interest in them until its convenient. #evilunoforAEWFF seriously how is he NOT in the game.


This is a violent match, they all beat the SHIT out of each other. I think they all end up bleeding. Table spots, thumbtack spots, Barbed Wire bats & tables. Hell they even mixed in Lego pieces with those thumbtacks. Hardcore. The Silver has a thumbtack boot which he used to kick the shit out of Dutch. Grayson takes a horrendously big bump from a HUGE ladder through double tables. A 3 way move puts down Grayson for a Dark Order win. Wow. I loved this.


Dark Order win via pinfall (15:42)

4/5


Claudio Castagnoli vs PAC for the ROH World Championship

Very hyped for this match. The feud is only weeks old but both men are AMAZING. This was scheduled to be Mark Briscoe but he got a serious knee injury that will require surgery. PAC returned from injury to be the 5th man for the Blackpool Combat Club against The Elite in Blood & Guts. I assume to replace an injured Bryan Danielson. During the match, Claudio & PAC butted heads a few times. The Elite had a firm advantage and PAC walked out on the match, resulting in a loss for the BCC. Claudio is mad so challenged him to a match here. I hope you're better soon Mark, but also thank you for providing this match for me. This is their first singles together in 10 years.


Awesome as I expected. It felt really personal, it wasn't fast paced but there always felt like something was happening. Claudio pressing PAC out of the run through tables looked brutal. The crowd got a little smarky during this one chanting "we the people", then during kneeling kicks "no" a la Daniel Bryan. Both men look unbeatable, throwing big moves at each other and retaliating almost instantly. I low key want to take a Claudio uppercut, see how many ribs he would break. I was sure Claudio was winning due to how last minute the match was, however I bit at a few of the nearfalls. The reversal from a Ricola bomb into a brutaliser was slick. Claudio retains with the Ricola bomb thanks to a quick distraction from Wheeler Yuta. We have a Death Triangle reunion as they attack Claudio & Yuta. THEN Best Friends & Orange Cassidy come out to clean house. Quite a few exciting developments there. Also, stop cutting away to backstage wrestlers watching matches on PPV. Those are TV segments. I could tolerate it during the TV title match. Not your world fucking title.


Claudio Castagnoli wins via pinfall to retain the World Championship (18:36)

4.5/5


-Commentary shill the upcoming TV schedule. I don't mind it done like this, but we've heard it so many times tonight.


Athena vs Willow Nightingale for the ROH Women's Championship

The first time ever women are main eventing a ROH PPV. I find it funny that AEW hasn't even done that yet. Tony, YOU OWN BOTH COMPANIES. How are you booking one division better than the other. Probably because he has some outside input for ROH from the likes of Stokely and Jerry Lynn. Anyways, this is a great moment. I'll stop shitting on Tony for a beat. Athena has beaten Willow previously to retain the title. In the Owen Hart Cup, Willow defeated Athena, ending her run of 49 straight victories. This sets up a rubber match, naturally. Willow has been a success story this year. She's the inaugural NJPW Strong Women's Champion and won the aforementioned Owen Hart Cup. She's also just really loveable, she has like NXT Bayley energy but she as an edge of intensity.


What a battle this was. The fans solidly behind Willow, but Athena is in goddess mode. They pulled out all of the stops to try win and it made the title feel more important than it ever has. They pull out some unique moves from past Women's Champions which I thought was a nice touch, again, really selling the importance of this match. This is one of the best women's matches I've seen. Probably the best women's match in ROH history. The callback to exactly how Athena beat Willow, and her kicking out of the O-Face was insane. Has anyone kicked out of that move? If not they have now. After a second O-Face, Athena punishes Willow with a crossfire and she eventually passes out and loses. People may say it's Willows time but I'm happy with the result. Athena has been on fire and Willow has plenty of time to her her moment. This match was a defining piece of art that established Willow as a future star, and Athena as a current star. Awesome match, I wouldn't change a thing. It gets a perfect score.


Athena wins via referee stoppage to retain the championship (20:31)

5/5


Overall- 72.5%

I was a little worried how this show was going to be after the first few matches. But upon finishing, I'm so glad I did not skip this show. The ball finally got rolling with an exhilarating 4-way tag match and the ball never stopped moving after. The last four matches are minimum 4 star ratings, with a perfect 5 star main event. A strong recommendation from me to check out the show.


MOTN- Athena vs Willow Nightingale


Thank you for reading, hmu for any content ideas I've got a couple articles and reviews lined up. Until next time, see ya!


Comments


bottom of page