This Friday, Ring of Honor presents the 15th edition of the Death Before Dishonor PPV, and it’s my job to try to convince you all to give it a watch. Regardless of whether you watch the show on a weekly basis or not, ROH normally brings the goods on PPV, so let’s run down this card, shall we?
Quick note: a little over two weeks ago, I severely sprained my wrist and have pretty much been unable to do more than tweet or type a few sentences without pain since. Doc gave me a soft brace and told me to take it easy, so I have been; hence, you’ve been without the glory that is me.
Hopefully, I’ll be back to recaps by next week, but I can at least type enough that I think I can get out a PPV Preview here for Friday. Let’s get started!
As stated above, this is the 15th time that Ring of Honor will present Death Before Dishonor, making it one of their oldest and most important PPVs. Just a sampling of the guys who have been in the main event of this show is astounding: Samoa Joe, CM Punk, The Briscoes, Kevin Steen (Kevin Owens), El Generico (Sami Zayn), Austin Aries, Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro), Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), Chris Hero, Adam Cole, Michael Elgin…..it’s a who’s who of talent that has been at the tops of the indy scene and, in some cases, the WWE and NJPW over the years.
Speaking of NJPW, they’ll be playing a part in this event, although not quite as large as in past PPVs. Still, we’ll get to them. We’ve got 8 matches on the card, so let’s get started!
“The Kentucky Gentleman” Chuck Taylor vs “The Villain” Marty Scurll
Who are these guys? – Chuck Taylor is the current PWG World champion, having defeated Zack Sabre Jr. for the strap at Pushin Forward Back in July. Taylor has been an indy mainstay since his debut in Chikara in 2006, and has wrestled all over the world for a ton of promotions since; he made his Ring of Honor debut to help out his friend Trent Baretta, forming a team called the ‘Best Friends’; they unsuccessfully challenged for the tag team titles against the Young Bucks and War Machine at Best in the World. Marty Scurll is one of the most renowned independent wrestlers in the world. “The Villain” is known for his shortcuts, incredible charisma, command of his character, and technical ability. Scurll comes from the outstanding British wrestling circuit, where he debuted in 2005. He came to Ring of Honor in November of 2016, winning the TV title in one of his first matches with the company. He is a member of the Bullet Club.
What’s the issue here? – Scurll dropped the TV title to KUSHIDA back in May and was unsuccessful in recapturing it. Since, he’s been directionless in ROH, but his presence is most welcomed here. As Taylor also had nothing to do, this match was signed. No personal issue beyond that as it pertains to ROH.
Who wins? – This is more difficult than it sounds. I expect that ROH is more invested in Scurll than they are in Taylor, as he’s undoubtedly a bigger star and has stronger upside. I was very much on the train that it should have been Marty who got the ROH World title and not Cody, but I understand why the decision to go with Cody was made. As for Taylor, he seems to be continuing on the indy scene and still has commitments to both EVOLVE and PWG; this makes me think that Scurll is getting set up for a win here, to keep him strong and possibly in title contention for the future.
Your winner: “The Villain” Marty Scurll
Jay White vs Punishment Martinez – Las Vegas Street Fight
Who are these guys? – Jay White is a Young Lion from NJPW who is on excursion to Ring of Honor, having been in ROH since June of 2016. He is an excellent wrestler who tore the house down with Will Ospreay at War of the Worlds, and has been teaming with Jonathan Gresham & The Motor City Machine Guns as a group known as ‘Search and Destroy’, a mix of veterans and young talent. Punishment Martinez is a big ol’ boy. 6 feet 7 inches tall, he’s freakishly athletic and can do topes over the ringpost if he feels like it. He is a former disciple of Kevin Sullivan who first appeared in ROH during the 2016 Top Prospect tournament, losing to Lio Rush in the semifinals.
What’s the issue here? – Jay White seems to have Martinez’ number. He’s defeated the larger Martinez twice, once in a dark match and once on ROH TV, and that seems to have rankled Punishment just a bit. He’s been attacking White from behind ever since, demanding another match and continually laying him out with chokeslams after matches. This match was signed to end the feud.
Who wins? – Ring of Honor’s booking problems are on full display here. Jay White was given a long (6+ month) undefeated streak in ROH, but nothing really was done with him. Then, after that ended, he and Will Ospreay completely stole the show at War of the Worlds in a ****+ match, and still, nothing outside of teaming him with Gresham and the Guns. There is no reason on earth that he shouldn’t have been in the TV title mix with guys like Scurll and KUSHIDA, but they seem to have decided that White is at a certain level and will go no higher. This, of course, makes absolutely zero sense; Ring of Honor has always been a place where young talent is pushed to the moon to showcase their skills, but White remains mired in crap like this. Martinez is green but has tons of potential, much like my former nemesis Donovan Dijak; he’ll probably win this match, if only because he’s already jobbed twice to Jay.
Your winner: Punishment Martinez
Jay Lethal vs Silas Young – Last Man Standing match
Who are these guys? – Jay Lethal is a former Ring of Honor World champion and former TV champion. You may remember him from TNA and his gimmicks like Black Machismo, but don’t; Lethal’s last 3 years in ROH have seen him putting on top level matches and becoming a main eventer. Silas Young bills himself as wrestling’s ‘Last Real Man’. He’s a mustachioed brawler who can wrestle when the spirit moves him, and he teams with the Beer City Bruiser.
What’s the issue here? – Silas Young must have a provision in his contract that says that his feuds must go on FOREVER, because first it happened with Dalton Castle and now with Jay Lethal. This has been going on for months. Okay, here’s the deal, because the feud hasn’t been BADLY built or anything, it’s just been going on way too long: Young thinks that Lethal gets too much credit for what Jay has accomplished, and that he gets special treatment from ROH management because of it, especially since Young had defeated Lethal at ROH Unauthorized back in April; Silas thinks that he deserves the opportunities that Lethal gets. They had a match at Best in the World 2017, which was won by Lethal. Young, upset with the ref, attacked Lethal post-match with the Bruiser, putting him through a table and injuring Lethal’s ribs. Young took credit for Lethal’s injury causing him to lose in the NJPW US title tournament and started mocking Lethal on television until Jay made his return and it’s time to finally blow this thing off.
Who wins? – As I said, this thing has gone on for almost 5 months now, which is a really long time for guys to feud without a title at stake. I have a theory, and it’s that Lethal is probably going to end up as the challenger for the World title at Final Battle and they needed to keep him away from the main event scene until then. Still, they could have moved on and haven’t, and while I don’t hate Young, he’s not my favorite wrestler in the world either. He’s an above-average worker at best. Lethal all the way here to end this thing once and for all.
Your winner: Jay Lethal
The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, & Vinny Marseglia) vs The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) & Bully Ray – Winner gets a shot at the ROH 6-Man tag team titles later in the show
Who are these guys? – The Kingdom is comprised of Matt Taven, who is a former ROH TV champ and former ROH tag champ. Joining him are TK O’Ryan, who will be making his first appearance on ROH PPV since shattering both his shins on a moonsault spot at the 15th Anniversary show; and Vinny Marseglia, who dresses like a horror movie villain in a hockey mask and carries an ax. I hate him, and I can’t figure out why. But I do. The Briscoes are ROH royalty, with Jay having been around since the very first ROH show and Mark showing up later; the real-life brothers are 8-time former ROH tag champs. Bully Ray is the former Bubba Ray Dudley, and with the Briscoes, is a former holder of the ROH 6-Man tag titles.
What’s the issue here? – The issue is two-fold; first, the titles. The Kingdom are former champs as well, having won the inaugural tournament to crown champions, but after O’Ryan’s injury, they borrowed Silas Young for a match and dropped the titles…..to the Briscoes and Bully Ray. So, not only are both teams former champs, but there’s revenge on the mind of the Kingdom, who believe that they never would have lost the belts had O’Ryan been healthy. Meanwhile, there’s been dissension over in Briscoe-land, as Jay has begun to get more aggressive and angry, alienating Mark and Bully.
Who wins? – I believe that if they’re going to turn Jay, they’ve found the time to do it. And they should. Jay NEEDS a heel turn desperately to give his character new feuds, and him turning on Bully or Mark after a frustrating loss is just the right way to do it. A heel Jay Briscoe would be a very interesting World title contender if they do it right. Meanwhile, the Kingdom probably wouldn’t have ever lost those titles if they didn’t have the injury, so it’s time for them to get some vengeance.
Your winner: The Kingdom
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) – Ring of Honor World Tag Team title match
Who are these guys? – The Young Bucks are Matt and Nick Jackson, real-life brothers who specialize in intricate double-teams and superkicks. They are an incredibly polarizing tag team; ask Jim Cornette or Dave Meltzer for their opinion on the Bucks, and you’ll get some wildly different answers to be sure. The Motor City Machine Guns are former TNA tag champs who have never held the ROH tag team titles; in addition, Sabin is a former TNA champion. They’ve been teaming together since 2006.
What’s the issue here? – On a recent episode of ROH TV, the Guns got the opportunity to challenge the Bucks for the titles, but their shot was ruined by interference from Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, and this is a make-up match from that. The two teams do have a history from TNA, where the Bucks were known as Generation Me and feuded with the Guns; they also have history in ROH, as they participated with Daniels & Kazarian in an excellent 3-Way ladder match at All-Star Extravaganza 8.
Who wins? – Nobody. This match is tailor-made for interference from Daniels and Kaz, who are angry with ROH fans for choosing the Bullet Club over Daniels when it came to Daniels’ World title run, and have promised to destroy everything that ROH fans love as a result. The match will probably be pretty good, as these teams tend to work well together, but I have almost no hope for a clean finish here – we’re heading towards another 3-way, I think.
Your winner: Double-DQ, interference from Kaz & Daniels
The Hung Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, & Adam Page) (c) vs TBD – Ring of Honor World Six-Man Tag Team title match
Who are these guys? – No, seriously, that’s the team’s name. See, Adam Page is known as the ‘Hangman’, and he’s teaming with the Bucks, so…..yeah. Page is a young wrestler who finally, FINALLY, showcased his true potential in a non-garbage match with Cody Rhodes against War Machine for the IWGP tag team titles. Page has been on the cusp for years now, but as a member of the Bullet Club he has finally won gold in ROH with the Bucks.
See above for the Bucks.
What’s the issue here? – The Bucks are pulling double-duty on this PPV, so the challengers to their titles have to do the same – we don’t know who that will be.
Who wins? – My guess is the Kingdom, but if they want to go with the Briscoes/Bully Ray and then turn Jay here, I’d be fine with that. Either way, I suspect that if it’s the Kingdom, they’re winning, and if it’s the Briscoes, the (sigh) Hung Bucks are retaining. I’ll go with the Kingdom, though – they have actually use for the 6-Man titles, and neither other team does right now.
Your winner: The Kingdom
KUSHIDA (c) vs Kenny King – Ring of Honor World TV title match
Who are these guys? – KUSHIDA! The current Ring of Honor TV champ and the current IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champ, he’s one of the best workers in all of NJPW. He won the title from Marty Scurll and has defended it since against a variety of challengers, including King recently. More on that in a minute. Kenny King is a former ROH tag team champ with Rhett Titus and a former TNA light heavyweight champ. He was also recently on the TV show ‘The Bachelorette’, which has caused a change in his attitude and character since splitting up The Rebellion, his former heel stable.
What’s the issue here? – King became #1 contender to the title and challenged KUSHIDA on ROH TV, but interference from the Bullet Club, Marty Scurll specifically, led to a double-DQ. This is the rematch.
Who wins? – King is interesting here. He did a great interview on ROH TV recently, bringing up his time on reality TV as a wakeup call for what he wanted to be known for and how he wanted to achieve it. This led to a babyface turn for him; but I wonder if it lasts here. I expect KUSHIDA to retain and wonder if that will lead to King turning back to the dark side, so to speak. Regardless, the match should be excellent; KUSHIDA is one of the best wrestlers, any weight class, in the world, and King can more than keep up with him when given the chance. I’m looking forward to this one hopefully stealing the show.
Your winner: KUSHIDA
Cody Rhodes (c) vs Minoru Suzuki – Ring of Honor World title match
Who are these guys? – Cody is, of course, the son of Dusty Rhodes and the former Stardust in the WWE. He went back to the indys to reclaim his career and has done so in spectacular fashion, participating in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles for PWG, joining the Bullet Club as the ‘American Nightmare’, and dethroning Christopher Daniels to become the ROH World champ while still working with several different companies. Minoru Suzuki is a legend in Japan. A striker and wrestler, he has a mixed martial arts background in addition to a sadistic streak that causes young wrestlers to run in terror. He is the current IWGP NEVER openweight champ, but that title is not on the line here. He is the leader of Suzuki-Gun, a heel stable in NJPW, and this will be his first match in the United States in 25 years. And I know it’s heresy and all, but I still think that he and Okada had the best match in this year’s G-1 Climax, a 30 minute draw with an insane strike battle at the end that made me damn near jump out of my chair.
What’s the issue here? – Cody started mouthing off about all the guys he had beaten and said that he would give anyone a shot at the title – that open challenge was answered by Minoru, who wants to add the ROH World title to his belt collection. Cody freaked out, but calmed down enough to say that he isn’t afraid of Suzuki (*cough* Bullshit *cough*) and will retain the strap.
Who wins? – I expect that this will be a celebration of the career of Suzuki in many ways, as ROH landing him for his first US match in more than two decades is very much a coup for them. As for him winning the match, though, I don’t see it. I expect a LOT of Bullet Club interference – no way is Cody going over clean. Regardless of that, though, I expect Cody to retain here. I won’t be shocked if he ends up getting too big for his britches and challenges Suzuki for the NEVER title in NJPW and ends up getting bitch-slapped into next week as a result, though.
Your winner: Cody Rhodes
That’s about it! Ring of Honor PPVs are normally excellent, and there are more than a few standout matches here that should be a good time. I’ll be back on either Monday or Tuesday, hopefully, with a review of the show. Enjoy!
As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter