ROH Death Before Dishonor XV Review

ROH isn’t great on the picture front, but I found this one at least. Credit: ROH

On a weekend stuffed with wrestling, Ring Of Honor’s latest IPPV came and went without much fanfare. Outside of Minoru Suzuki returning to America for the first time in 25 years, this show and hype had never met. Despite that, the card was decent, and there is always a chance that ROH delivers a classic. Let’s dish out those stars.

Bully Ray and The Briscoes (Mark and Jay Briscoe) defeated The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia)

This was a classic six-man tag. These matches rarely tell much of a story, but whether it’s New Japan or ROH, they tend to be fun. The Kingdom, in particular, shone with some nice double team moves. I also got a chuckle out of TK O’Ryan teasing the dive that broke his leg several months ago, before giving the finger to the crowd instead. It went a bit longer than expected, however, the reasons for that became clear later in the night.

Verdict: Three Stars

Marty Scurll defeated Chuckie T

This had points in the plus column before it started as it generated one of the Tweets of the year when Chuck Taylor discovered he was to be Chuckie T in ROH.

As with all modern ROH shows, The Bullet Club fans were out in force, and Scurll and Taylor did a great job of getting the reactions they wanted out of them. In fact, they did a great job full stop. This was well worked as the combination of comedy and serious wrestling synced up nicely. The near fall off the Awful Waffle was a lovely moment and having Marty sneak out with the win because of his villainous ways made perfect sense. It gives Taylor something to chase if he plans to stick around in ROH. Both of these men have been floundering on Ring Of Honor TV, and a long-term feud could be perfect for their careers.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Punishment Martinez defeated Jay White in a Street Fight

Jay White and Punishment Martinez had a bit of a 1-2-3 Kid and Razor Ramon thing coming into this. White has sneaked a couple of victories over the much bigger man and Martinez wasn’t happy about it. So, they swung weapons at each other for a bit.

I really like Jay White, and I’d much rather see him in a proper match than in this kind of garbage brawl. However, he kind of excelled in this environment. He bounced around like a madman for Punishment and those bumps onto the chairs were brutal.

Martinez, meanwhile,  improves every time I see him, and the second Vince gets a peek at him I imagine he’ll get the call. That dive over the turnbuckle is a thing of devastating beauty and a guy that size should not be able to pull it off. The weapons also allowed us to see him being put on the backfoot and he did a good job of selling White’s offence.

All things said, this was the kind of performance that makes careers and both men will be rightly proud of their efforts.

Verdict: Four Stars

The Bullet Club (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and Adam Page) defeated The Briscoes (Mark and Jay Briscoe) and Bully Ray

This was more of an angle than a match and explained why they didn’t keep the opening contest short. I’m not sure how much I care about the Briscoe and Bully implosion, we’ll have to see where it goes. It’s also worth saying that Page’s moonsault was a thing of beauty.

Verdict: Two Stars

Kenny King defeated KUSHIDA to win the ROH TV Title

Kenny King is getting a push because he was on The Bachelorette, and I don’t really know what that is because I don’t believe it’s a thing in the UK. Good for him, though. He’s always been a talented wrestler and he should use everything he can to show that.

KUSHIDA flourishes in this environment. His ability to switch from high-flying to submission offence allows him to dictate how a match flows. Here, he started hot before slowing things down and grounding King as he worked over the arm. It wasn’t only an effective kayfabe gameplan, but it pushed the crowd into cheering for their hometown boy in this babyface vs. babyface encounter.

As it went on, the action picked up, and KUSHIDA’s big dive in front of his mum was cool. Both of these wrestlers are ridiculously smooth and the transitions between moves were beautiful.  In the end, it descended into a fight before King was able to use his strength to hit the Royal Flush. An impressive showing from two talented wrestlers.

Verdict: Four Stars

Silas Young defeated Jay Lethal in a Last Man Standing Match

Last Man Standing matches suck, can we just accept that and ditch this stupid stipulation. Throw in the fact that I was at the show where they had the Street Fight and most of the crowd left before it was over, and I wasn’t exactly confident coming into this one.

Even with those lowered expectations, this wasn’t good. While White vs. Martinez was fast and frantic, this was slow and plodding. Chair shots and whippings might hurt, but they’re dull to watch. Particularly when you’ve already a seen massive men fly over the turnbuckle. The fall through the table was a nice visual (although I’m not sure what the point of the zip-tie was), yet it wasn’t enough to save this from mediocrity.

Verdict: Two Stars

Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) defeated The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) to win the ROH Tag Team Titles

The Young Bucks and Motor City Machine Guns’ ongoing feud is everything I want from wrestling. It’s a style I love and I could watch it all day. It’s a long time since their classic matches in TNA, but this showed that they haven’t lost a step and they still work faster than nearly anyone in the game. Trying to call a match like this must be impossible because by the time you’ve described one move they are two more down the line.

I was a bit worried when The Addiction interference hit, as it looked to be ruining what was becoming a fantastic fight. Thankfully, it actually led to a cool moment as the two teams combined to deal with them. We then got a fun finishing sequence, with the reversal of More Bang For Your Buck being a particular highlight. MCMGs are well deserving of a Tag Title run and I’m glad to see them get it.

Verdict: Four Stars

Cody defeated Minoru Suzuki to retain the ROH World Championship

Suzuki biting Cody’s fingers was the perfect start to this. Sadly, after that, this descended into a Cody special. A whole lot of stalling followed by an average match with a sudden finish. It’s probably unfair to blame it all on Cody, though, as Suzuki really didn’t look like he cared. He was going through the motions, and you can bet if he’d had the option Suzuki-gun would have been interfering in this from start to finish.

There was some fun to be had. Suzuki slapping pretty boy Cody was always going to be entertaining, but it was hard not to feel short-changed. You expect wrestling excellence from the ROH Title and Cody isn’t capable of delivering that. He seems like a nice guy, and there’s no denying he’s a star, he’s just not a brilliant wrestler.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Overall Show

This was a great show with a disappointing main event. Martinez vs. White, KUSHIDA vs. King and MCMG vs. The Bucks were fantastic matches while Taylor vs. Scurll is definitely worth a watch too. On top of that, Colt Cabana and Ian Riccaboni are developing into one of the world’s better commentary teams. Considering this PPV had no hype at all, it delivered a show that you should probably go out of your way to see.


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