ROH returns to Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas tonight for the promotion's 17th annual Death Before Dishonor event.
Matt Taven will defend the ROH World Championship in the main event against Rush. The latter hasn't been pinned or submitted since his debut for ROH earlier this year.
In other title matches, Shane Taylor will face Flip Gordon and Tracy Williams in a triple threat match for the Television title, while The Briscoes will defend the ROH Tag Team titles against Bandido & Mark Haskins of LifeBlood. Kelly Klein will put the Women of Honor World Championship on the line against Angelina Love.
Two first-round matches in ROH's number one contender's tournament will also take place. PCO will face Kenny King, while Marty Scurll will take on Colt Cabana. The winner of the tournament will challenge for the ROH World title at Final Battle in December.
Also on tonight's show, Jay Lethal will square off against Jonathan Gresham, and The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser & Brawler Milonas) will face Vinny Marseglia & Silas Young in a barroom brawl. Jeff Cobb vs. Brody King is also set for the pre-show.x
Join us for live coverage starting with the pre-show at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Pre-show: Jeff Cobb defeated Brody King
This is being touted as King's first singles match in ROH. Ian Riccaboni really made sure to put both Cobb and King over as superstars and explained that this was a conscious decision to put these two on first, knowing that the audience "has a choice," in a phrase Riccaboni repeated a few times.
Sam's Town always looks really nice onscreen for these bigger ROH events, small but slick, professional. The 6'5" King took Cobb out midway through this match with a springboard crossbody block, as nimble as anyone half his size. Later they had a chop-off and Riccaboni referred to King's hands as non-regulation size. Cobb came back with a stalling superplex, then a standing moonsault onto King for a two-count. King responded with a tope suicida and then a jumping piledriver for a very close two--almost an accidental three. Things really got heated from here. They traded snap German suplexes, then Cobb planted King with Tour of the Islands. Cobb tossed King around like nothing. This was really good for what it was. They need to wrestle each other in singles more often. They shook hands as the crowd chanted "both these guys."
--Brian Zane, host of popular YouTube show Wrestling With Wregret, made his debut as a backstage interviewer and did a small spot with the Bouncers. They did a serious promo about their Bar Room brawl tonight with Vinny Marseglia and Silas Young. It was short but came off fine. Zane is cut out for this kind of thing and I think this was a smart hire, even if it's temporary.
--Quinn McKay interviewed Dalton Castle in the ring. Castle had a custom teal-and-white microphone. He insisted that the crowd didn't want to see a fight but wanted to see entertainment. Joe Hendry's awesomely bad music then hit and he came down to the ring. Castle unveiled a mimosa made from Ecudorian oranges and French wine, with bubbles put in by shouting monks. Ok. Hendry then grabbed the mic and did a karaoke version of a song that basically craps all over Castle. Someone went to a lot of trouble making the custom karaoke music video. I appreciate the hard work. Once the song was finished, Castle threw his mimosa in Hendry's face and then he stormed out of the ring. This was fine, kind of fun, and seemed to really get over with the live crowd. Having Quinn McKay there seemed to help the segment along, as well.
Marty Scurll defeated Colt Cabana in a Final Battle number one contender's tournament first round match
Scurll is still red-hot with every ROH crowd. Cabana was nearly was popular here. This was a good light technical match, easy to watch. There was a worrisome apron-to-floor spot where it looked like Scurll really ate it, but he didn't show it during the rest of the match.
When Cabana went for a quebrada, Scurll landed a low superkick in mid-air. The crowd was really into this towards the end and in favor of Marty. Cabana did a springboard moonsault for a close two, and later landed the Chicago Skyline for another close nearfall. Scurll rallied back and won with the Black Plague. This was good.
PCO defeated Kenny King in a No DQ Final Battle number one contender's tournament first round match
PCO came out to his new theme music by Jim Johnston and wrestled in a Gary Numan-esque jacket for the first few minutes of this. He used a pop-up power bomb on Kenny King early on, and from here the match spilled to the floor. PCO suplexed King onto the ramp, then a senton. This Vegas barebones crowd was pretty hyped for PCO's debauchery tonight. He did a somersault onto King as King lay on the apron, but since the distance between himself and King was so short that he almost overshot the flip and landed almost-face-first into a table that had been set up. PCO then "short-circuited" again and dove out to the wrong side of the floor, landing face first. King attacked PCO as he was being carried out by officials, suplexing him onto the floor and beating him over the head with a ladder. King then laid PCO on the ladder and did a running tornillo onto the prone monster of Quebecois. I was under the impression that the match was over but it wasn't, because King went for a pin and PCO kicked out; the officials disappeared. Amy Rose later smacked PCO in the face when the match spilled back to the floor. When he went to chase her, King caught PCO on the apron with what I think was supposed to be a sunset flip power bomb to the floor, but someone didn't rotate properly and PCO landed flat onto King's face/head. It looked brutal but King no-sold it and continued the match. The final convoluted spot saw King pour some sort of fluid onto the PCO, the plan apparently being to electrocute him with a cattle prod that Amy Rose passed him, but the electrical current from the fluid "re-shocked" PCO and he chokeslammed King out of nowhere for the win. It sounds crazier than it looked.
Angelina Love (w/ Mandy Leone) defeated Kelly Klein to become the new Women of Honor World champion
Velvet Sky has been absent from a number recent ROH shows. She was not with her Allure partners tonight. They brawled on the floor early on. Love whipped Klein into the barricade and Klein crashed hard into it. Back in the ring Klein used a nice back suplex on Love, but Love returned and locked on a Koji clutch until Klein made it to the ropes. They traded high spots at the end, Klein with a big fall-away slam from the second rope, Love landing a draping cutter from the opposite top turnbuckle. Klein planted Love with K-Power a close two-count. Mandy Leone stood on the apron to distract the ref so Love could spray Klein in the face with perfume. She hit the Botox Injection kick but only got two. They did a few more close nearfall spots until Mandy Leone interfered again and Love hit another Botox Injection to win the title from Klein. This wasn't a bad match compared to some of theirs in the past, and both worked hard to put on a good one; the predictable booking is what hampered the quality. Maria Manic came out and destroyed the new champion, Love, as well as pretty much anyone else who got into the ring. She put a few people into torture racks and screamed a lot. Seemed like people liked that more than the title match.
Jonathan Gresham defeated Jay Lethal via submission
Gresham didn't shake hands with Lethal before the match. They went hold-for-hold over in the first few minutes of this match until Lethal hip toss'd Gresham to the floor. When they came back to the ring they built to bigger and more athletic moves; Gresham at one point landed a surprise quebrada to mute Lethal's offense for a bit.
The middle part of this match was all about the figure four leglock. Lethal did have it locked in at one point, but as he and Gresham jockeyed for leverage they both rolled under the ropes and crashed to the floor. When Gresham went to use a chair, referee Todd Sinclair grabbed it out of Gresham's hands. The crowd started chanting "Todd!" after this. Gresham and Lethal started arguing on the floor after this, after Lethal audibly asked "That's the only way you can beat me?" in reference to the steel chair. Gresham slapped Lethal and began punching away at each other at ringside. Gresham began the double countout until both rolled back into the ring.
The rest of the match was even more back and forth, and the last part of this match ignited the crowd behind babyface Jay Lethal. Gresham finally unloaded a flurry of hard palm strikes, then locked on a varation of the Octopus Hold that got Lethal to tap. The two faced off afterwards and the crowd chanted "shake his hand" at Gresham. After a few moments, Gresham and Lethal embraced. This was a really good match. If this is the end of their program together, it's a shame. These two are always great together.
Bar Room Brawl: The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser and Brawler Milonas) defeated Vinny Marseglia & Silas Young
Beer City Bruiser attacked Marseglia during his entrance. Bruiser did a somersault senton to the floor early on. Marseglia bled early. Bruiser brought out a pool cue. Zip-ties and darts were also involved later on. Yes, darts. Until Marseglia started throwing darts at Bruiser’s pasty back, this match nothing good really going for it. Some of these poor guys were bleeding all over the place for zero applause at times. After given their tweet-able moment of the match, the crowd sounded to wake up, sort of, and chanted things like “TA-BLES” at the wrestlers. They got their wish later, too, when Marseglia did the Redrum senton through a table on the floor. Bruiser did a superplex to Marseglia through two chairs, which looked unpleasant for both wrestlers, then a modified DDT onto a chair for the win. This was pretty bad.
ROH World TV championship match: Shane Taylor defeated Tracy Williams, Flip Gordon, and Dragon Lee in a four-corners match
PJ Black was on commentary for this. Shane Taylor had a Floyd Mayweather/TMT-esque entourage with him before the match. Taylor supposed to be the Floyd Mayweather character of ROH now. Dragon Lee came out as the surprise entrant, for what reason I’m not sure. Big spots and big dives from pretty much everyone early on. Taylor did a running somersault senton off the apron. Williams looked really good in this. Taylor pinned Gordon with Greetings From 215 to retain the Television title.
ROH World Tag Team championship match: The Briscoe Brothers (Mark & Jay Briscoe) defeated LifeBlood (Bandido and Mark Haskins) to retain
Haskins wife was at ringside for this. You could hear that the crowd started to tire and stayed quiet during the more technical (but no less impressive) opening part of the bout. Again, it wasn't until the match spilled onto the floor. Bandido dove over the corner and the match turned into a non-stop brawl from here. Haskins chopped Jay really hard win the chest against the barricade. Mark did a wild tope con giro to the floor. The match somehow found its way back inside the ropes where Jay Briscoe slowed things down and worked Bandido over with submissions until Haskins tagged in. In a few moments he and Bandido used some innovative double-team moves, inlcuding once where Haskins did a reverse U-crusher while Bandido superkick'd Mark in the head on his way down. The Briscoes came back quick after this, and as Jay worked Bandido over in the corner the crowd chanted "TA-BLES."
The teams exchanged pin attempts over the last couple minutes, but in the end Jay Briscoe was able to put Haskins away for good after what came to be two Jaydrillers. Really good match that the crowd undersold, unfortunately.
--Bully Ray came out and power bombed both Bandido and Mark Haskins after the match. Tracy Williams came out to make the save, but Flip Gordon attacked Williams with a kendo stick, which happened to move Bully out of harm's way. They did an angle with Vickie Haskins and Bully Ray after that, and Ray referred to her as a "female woman," whatever that means. She slapped Bully and then he put Mark Haskins through a table on the floor. Haskins mouth was still bleeding from a spot in the match before. It made for a good visual.
ROH World Heavyweight Title match: Matt Taven (c) vs. Rush
Taven's vignette was cut off midway through because Rush's entrance music and video started playing early. The crowd sounded to be really excited about Rush tonight. Dragon Lee and Bestia del Ring were in the front row for this. This was sold on commentary as "three years in the making."
They went full-blast at each other from the bell and Rush went for his finish, the Bull's Horns dropkick in the corner, in what had to be less than a minute into the match. Taven slid out of the way and started throwing Rush into the barricades on the floor. Taven got in Bestia del Ring and Dragon Lee's face and they looked to be shooting some sort of angle for the future.
Rush returned by smashing Taven into the guardrails on the other side of the ring. I guess there's no countout in this match. Taven used a stalling suplex hold as he stood on the apron, then dumped Rush to the floor, splat. Taven used a series of dives to the floor to keep Rush out. When the two were back in the ring the crowd still chanted for Rush.
Rush made another comeback and suplexed Taven onto the floor, then unlocked on of the barricades and threw one of them at Taven, then suplexed Taven onto the ring announcer's table. Back in the ring he unloaded on Taven and gave the crowd the tranquilo pose. Rush used a missile dropkick from the apron to the floor, a possible nod to his brother's rival, Hiromu Takahashi. Rush later hit a big Jaydriller, but Taven powered up and landed Just the Tip and the Climax for a very close two-count. The crowd started chanting "that was three" over and over. They started slapping each other really hard in the face. Rush then landed two Bull's Horns and won clean. Rush is your new ROH World Heavyweight champion. Rush and the Munoz family celebrated together in the ring until Taven came back in to shake Rush's hand. Cary Silkin presented the belt to Rush as he celebrated with his family in the ring before the show went off the air.
Final thoughts --
This was a decent show with a handful of very good matches. Matt Taven and Rush had an excellent match that saw Rush win the ROH World Heavyweight title, and the Briscoes vs. LifeBlood and Lethal vs. Gresham were also strong. Tonight's crowd ended up less enthusiastic as previous ones at Sam's Town, and their awkward silences between spots sometimes brought down the intensity levels of the matches. ROH will have their Fallout: Death Before Dishonor TV tapings tomorrow night in Las Vegas, which will most likely expand on whatever the angle they've planned for Rush and his family.