ROH Death Before Dishonor XIII
Baltimore, Maryland 7/24/15
1.) Donovan Dijak (with The House of Truth) vs. Takaaki Watanabe: **1/2
This match wasn’t on the DVD release, but it is available on ROH’s YouTube page. I thought this was a fine pre-show match. Dijak looked good, as did Watanabe. It was actually right on par with the actual iPPV opener. Towards the end of the match, J. Diesel tried to interfere, but he was thwarted by Watanabe, who gave him a German Suplex on the floor! This, however, would end up costing him, as Donovan Dijak would pick up the win.
1.) Silas Young vs. Will Ferrara: **1/2
This match actually has a bit of a backstory to it. Young faced Ferrara in his first match back in ROH after being on the shelf with injury, and got himself disqualified after kicked Ferrara below the belt. Then, on a recent episode of ROH TV, a distraction from Dalton Castle’s Boys led to Ferrara getting an upset win over Young. Technically, this means that Ferrara is 2-0 against Silas Young. The match gets off to an interesting start, as Young spends (what felt like) the first minute in the match arguing with a fan, but Ferrara have enough of this, and hits a big dive on him. This was a fine match, but I feel like this could have been better. In fact, there first match in Milwaukee was better, even with Young getting himself disqualified. Ferrara put up a good fight, but in the end, Young would pick up the win.
After the match, Dalton Castle’s Boys came to fan Young, seemingly trying to get under his skin. It looks like Young is about to take them out, but The Boys actually fight back a little bit, and end up riding Young like a horse for a second or two. Young runs off, disgusted, while The Boys celebrate in the ring with Ferrara.
2.) Cedric Alexander (with Veda Scott) vs. Moose (with Stokely Hathaway): ***1/2
Back in Toronto, about two months prior, Alexander used a wrench to end the undefeated streak of Moose. Then, at Best In The World 2015, Alexander officially turned heel by attacking both Moose & Stokely Hathaway with a wrench, and aligned himself with Veda Scott. Even though there were a number of shenanigans towards the end, I thought most of the match itself was actually pretty good. There was some good action throughout, and I think these two actually have some solid chemistry. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there were shenanigans. Alexander attacks both Prince Nana (who was on commentary) & Stokely Hathaway. He then goes under the ring, and comes out with a wrench. With Veda Scott distracting the referee, Alexander uses the wrench on Moose and secures the win. A good match, with a finish that, while not that satisfying, does set up a future match.
3.) The Briscoes vs. Roppongi Vice: ****
Now this is a Tag Team Dream Match, of sorts. Even though most people (including myself) were really down on The Forever Hooligans by the end of their run, I’m actually kind of disappointed that we never got The Briscoes vs. The Forever Hooligans. That being said, Roppongi Vice is an upgrade, and I think they had an awesome match here with The Briscoes. There was a ton of cool action from start to finish. Romero & Beretta make such a good tag team, and they worked very well here with The Briscoes. Along with the cool action, there were some funny moments as well, such as Mark Briscoe stealing Beretta’s headband. A great match from start to finish, which sees The Briscoes eventually getting the win.
4.) Adam Cole vs. Dalton Castle: ****
Now this was a random pairing, as far as a match goes, but I was actually pretty excited for it. Cole is great, and Castle is really starting to get his groove in ROH, as he’s settling in, and the fans are now very much into him. Much like the tag team match that preceded it, I thought this match was awesome!! There were a ton of different things to like about this match. From the comedy exchanges at the beginning between the two, to some of the action we saw throughout the match, I really enjoyed this. Cole is just so awesome, and Castle continues to prove that he’s more than just a gimmick. This honestly might have been my favorite match of the night. Eventually, after an awesome exchange towards to end, Cole was able to score the victory.
After the match, Cole shakes hands with Dalton Castle, one again emphasizing the fact that he’s slowly turning face. While this is going on, Silas Young appears, and attacks The Boys from behind, continuing the Castle/Young program.
Before the next match, BJ Whitmer comes out on crutches with Colby Corino. Whitmer says he recently underwent ACL reconstruction, meaning that he’ll be out of action for some time (which gets a positive reaction from the crowd). However, he says he can do more than just wrestle. He can be mentors to Adam Page & Colby Corino, but tonight, he’s going to join Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary. Whitmer says he’s going to show Corino how a real commentator gets in done, and that he just might show him what it means to be a good father.
5.) No DQ Match - ACH vs. Adam Page (with The Decade): ***3/4
These two have been feuding for a few months at this point. ACH doesn’t have Matt Sydal in his corner, as he was taken out by The Decade on a recent episode of ROH TV (I think he had been temporarily written off because he was going to be wrestling in Japan for a month or two). I thought this was a really good hardcore-style match. A variety of weapons were brought out and used, including Tables, Ladders, & Chairs. There was also some pretty cool action in this one as well. I thought ACH hitting a 450 Splash off the apron to the floor was just incredible. The match came to an end when Colby Corino got involved, which distracted ACH long enough for Page to take him out. He does this by hitting ACH with his finisher, Right of Passage, of the apron and through a table on the floor!! That looked really nasty. Page rolls ACH back into the ring and pins him for the win.
The only criticism I have of this feud (and it’s a big one) is that ACH didn’t get a single victory throughout the entire feud. I was definitely one-sided, with Page getting the best of ACH at pretty much every turn. It also pretty much validated everything Page said about ACH in the lead-up to the feud. I think that was a big mistake. If you wanted Page to win the feud in the end, that’s fine, but ACH needed to get the win at some point during this feud, and he just didn’t. This was easily one of the bigger booking blunders by ROH in 2015.
6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - Four-Corner Survival - The Addiction vs. War Machine vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. reDRagon: ***3/4
Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino really put over the fact that the odds are stacked against The Addiction. Adam Cole comes out right at the start of the match to join commentary, and notes that he doesn’t know what The Kingdom’s plan is for this match, as he was unable to find them all day. I thought this was a really good ROH World Tag Team Title Match. These four-ways always tend to breakdown and get a little crazy, and that’s exactly what happened here. The action was fast & furious in this one. Things especially got crazy towards in the second half of the match, with bodies flying everywhere. The crowd was certainly into it. Towards the end of the match, Daniels tries to use one of the title belts as a weapon but this backfires. On commentary, Cole says that he has a plan….and then just leaves (that was weird). Eventually, The Addiction somehow fought through the chaos, and just squeaked out still the ROH World Tag Team Champions.
7.) ROH World Title - Jay Lethal (with The House of Truth) vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2
Roderick Strong earned this title opportunity after defeating Michael Elgin & Moose in a Triple Threat Match at Best In The World 2015. These two also have a bit of a history. Strong, back in March 2012, ended Lethal’s first reign as ROH World TV Champion, and at that point, Strong was still a member of The House of Truth. Now, as far as the match goes, it eventually ended in a 60 Minute Time Limit Draw, meaning that Lethal retains the ROH World Title. There was a lot of controversy about this match when it happened, mainly surrounding the fact that the match did end in a Time Limit Draw. I’ve seen some people really crapping on this match, saying it was horrible. In my opinion, when looking strictly at the match itself, it was far from being a bad match. It was actually relatively good. These two are incredible performers, and it hard for them to have a bad match under any circumstances.
For me, the issue with this match lies with how hit was worked. This might be just me, but I feel like these Time Limit Draw, whether they’re thirty minutes or an hour, need to build up to a crescendo. They need to continually build and build until, by the end, things are at a fever pitch. This match didn’t do that. There were flurries of action, but there were also a fair amount of lulls in the action. Basically, this match had a lot of peaks and troughs, if that makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with having spurts of action in the build to the eventual crescendo (it can keep the crowd invested in the match), but in this case, the match just felt like they were stuck in one gear, and would go back & forth between gears, but they never once really got into that higher gear. This isn’t the first time this has happened in recent ROH history, as a similar thing happened in the first Michael Elgin/AJ Styles match, which went to a 30 Minute Time Limit Draw. Much like that match, there was no true sense of urgency, and it felt like they were just exchanging moves, waiting for time to run out. Nobody made a serious attempt to actually win the match. The Time Limit Draw that Jay Lethal had with ACH the previous summer in Philadelphia (for the ROH World TV Title), was a great match, and a very good example of how this match should have been booked.
The other big issue is that, at no point, were we notified how far into the match they were. When the 60 Minute Time Limit came, the match just kind of ended. Now, I can get what they were going for, as they may have wanted the ending to be a surprise. However, I think having how much time is left known, both on commentary and by the ring announcer saying how much time is left, adds to the intensity level in the match, and to the excitement in the crowd, as the match is drawing closer to that 60 Minute mark. I think that would have really helped this match, but alas, they didn’t do it.
There were a few other minor things as well. The fact that Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel were allowed to stay at ringside throughout the entire match, even after attacking Strong a couple of times, is absurd. It’s even crazier when you consider that they were thrown out right at the beginning of the Jay Briscoe/Jay Lethal match at Best In The World. Then, there was the fact that Kevin Kelly was screaming at the top of his lungs in the immediate aftermath that this was the “greatest World Title Match in ROH history” which is the most absurd thing Kelly’s ever said. There were people in the crowd giving out “Match of the Year” Chants (which were pretty loud), and that’s understandable, since it’s coming from the live crowd, but to call this the greatest ROH World Title Match in history is just ludicrous, and a flat out lie. Even the most devoted ROH fans would disagree with this.
This wasn't a blow-away show, but aside from the opener, every match, for me, was *** or higher (though nothing went above ****). I thoroughly enjoyed both The Briscoes vs. Roppongi Vice & Adam Cole vs. Dalton Castle. Those two matches were easily the best matches of the night. I enjoyed the Alexander/Moose match, even with the interference at the end. The No DQ Match had some really cool stuff in it, and the ROH World Tag Team Title Match was, for the most part, really fun. As far as the Main Event goes, it wasn't horrible by any means (I saw somebody give it **1/2 and I don't think it warrants that low of a rating at all). Like I’ve already said, the wrestling was good, even great in spots (Lethal & Strong are fantastic), but it definitely had its issues. Overall, this was a very solid outing from ROH, with a lot of really good to great stuff, but nothing truly amazing.