Ring of Honor comes back to pay-per-view this Saturday night with a return to one of the premier tentpole of ROH's calendar: Death Before Dishonor! One of ROH's signature events, DBD has been an essential part of ROH ever since 2003, and save 2020 in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, has not missed a year yet!
The event has been host to history on multiple occasions from jump street when 2003 featured the legendary Dog Collar Match between CM Punk and Raven as well as Paul London's emotional ROH farewell as he tried to take the ROH World Title from Samoa Joe. The 2005 edition was the night Punk turned his back on ROH to begin The Summer of Punk, 2006 put ROH inside the Cage of Death against an ultraviolent onslaught, and 2013 marked the first of three times time Adam Cole would claim the ROH World Title. Last year's event witnessed the birth of the ROH Women's World Title when Rok-C won the tournament to crown the first champion, but it was also the night Jonathan Gresham lost the Pure Title to Josh Woods, bringing an end to his 317 day reign as Pure Champion.
Death Before Dishonor is as integral to Ring of Honor's identity as The Code of Honor, and this Saturday night, it returns with five huge championship matches on par with anything that has come before! The World Title, Pure Title, Women's World Title, TV Title, and World Tag Titles will all be on the line at the Tsongas Center in Lowell with tickets available here or at the box office, and watchable on Bleacher Report, all major TV/satellite providers, as well as FITE TV and PPV.com for the international audience!
ROH World Title Match Jonathan Gresham(c) vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Come Saturday night at Death Before Dishonor 2022, it will have been fourteen years almost to the day since the last time Claudio Castagnoli challenged for the ROH World Title in a one-on-one match. July 26th of 2008, during the New Horizons IPPV event, Claudio challenged Nigel McGuinness for that championship, but after nearly 20 minutes of battling in front of the Detroit faithful, Claudio would come up short against McGuinness. That would not be the final shot Claudio had at the ROH World Title, just his last singles bout to try and claim the belt, his final championship match would come one week later during the Death Before Dishonor VI event at the historic Hammerstein Ballroom.
That night Claudio would comprise one of three challengers to Nigel's title in an Elimination Match. He, Bryan Danielson, and Tyler Black would all ultimately fail to claim the ROH World Title as their own, with “The Swiss Superman” the first man removed from the fight, knocked out by “The American Dragon”, but the history of those two Blackpool Combat Club members is a story for another time.
Claudio's ROH solo career prior to those two nights would see him challenge for the ROH Pure Title in its original incarnation, and his singles career after them would put him in contention for the World TV Title when Christopher Daniels reigned as champion, but a singles championship was never something Double C claimed during his ROH tenure. For nearly a decade he, as part of The Kings of Wrestling with Chris Hero, stood as the longest reigning World Tag Team Champions in ROH history, and may still be if not for ROH's 2020 pandemic hiatus helping to boost the Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham championship reign, but he never once tasted the sweetness of solo success.
The same cannot be said for “The Foundation” Jonathan Gresham; while he and Jay Lethal do hold the record for longest World Tag Title Reign, Gresham has been a singles champion in ROH. Clearly he is the reigning and defending ROH World Champion, has been so for over 220 days, and in the process had racked up seventeen championship defenses across the wrestling landscape. During the months of ROH's post-Final Battle 2021 hiatus, Gresham took the belt to IMPACT, to GCW, to England, to Ireland, and numerous wrestling promotions across the United States, and kept the name of Ring of Honor at the forefront of the wrestling scene. As “The Foundation”, Gresham made it his mission to carry on his vision of what ROH's legacy means, and it has made him an incredibly successful World Champion.
Prior to that, Gresham also reigned as a highly successful Pure Champion, the first such champion in fourteen years after Bryan Danielson unified the title with the ROH World Title in August 2006. Gresham would win the championship on October 30, 2020 in a Tournament Final over Tracy Williams, and hold it for 317 days before falling to Josh Woods at...Death Before Dishonor 2021.
Of the three matches Gresham competed in at DBD events, that would be his only loss, with 2019 showcasing a victory over Jay Lethal and 2018 marking a win over Beer City Bruiser in a dark match available on the ROH YouTube channel, primarily notable because it shows how far Gresham came in that one year.
Claudio, on the other hand, has seven DBD events to his Ring of Honor resume from 2006 through 2010, and with that a 3-4 record end bookended by two of ROH's most classic matches: Cage of Death at DBD IV and a bloody tag team war against The Briscoes at DBD VIII.
Together, these two pinnacles of different ROH generations have an opportunity to come together and create magic for the beginning of a new era of honor. Claudio is one of the most versatile wrestlers the ever grace the squared circle, something he demonstrated by seamlessly going from a wrestling clinic with Zack Sabre Jr. at Forbidden Door to the Blood and Guts Cage just days later against Jericho Appreciation Society. Claudio is the kind of man who tries something once, and becomes a master of that thing. He speaks multiple languages, is quite possibly the strongest wrestler in all of AEW, and can soar through the air with a grace akin to Rey Fenix. He is a true one of a kind athlete, and even with all of Gresham's opponents, with all the worldwide travel he has done in his career, and all he has learned since beginning his wrestling journey seventeen years ago, he has never face a foe like Claudio Castagnoli.
So too will Double C find himself tested by Jonathan Gresham, he's dubbed “The Octopus” for a reason, he earned the moniker of “The Foundation” for a reason, the ROH World Champion is world-class through and through. While he's demonstrated prestigious technical ability, and the wrestling world knows of his ability to tie a foe up in notes, the power of Gresham is something that can go unrecognized until an opponent is locked in his grip. Like Claudio, his strength is scary, the power in Gresham's legs is tremendous, and it will be a fascinating moment to see how it measures up to that of The BCC member this Saturday night.
Castagnoli versus Gresham is the kind of battle modern ROH fans only thought could happen in their fantasy booking, and now it will take place live on pay-per-view as part of Death Before Dishonor 2022! Will we see The Blackpool Combat Club bring another ROH championship into their camp with Claudio crowned the 36th World Champion, or will Gresham's newly formed alliance with Tully Blanchard Enterprises insure his reign as the king of honor lives on as he marches towards the top ten of ROH championship history?
ROH World Tag Title 2 Of 3 Falls Match FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood)(c) vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe
With twenty-two Death Before Dishonor events since July 19, 2003, there has been a veritable who's who of professional wrestling that have participated over the years. With names like CM Punk, Minoru Suzuki, Jeff Hardy, Jay White, Eddie Kingston, and The Young Bucks as just a tiny sampling of competitors who have been involved, it's no wonder DBD has been a tentpole of the ROH calendar for nineteen years.
But only one team, just two men, can lay claim to have been involved in twenty of those events. Jay and Mark Briscoe, every since challenging AJ Styles and Amazing Red in 2003, have fought on DBD every year but 2005 and 2013, and technically speaking, an injured Jay Briscoe was part of the 2013 event as he got superkicked by Adam Cole in the process of handing over the ROH World Title following Cole's tournament victory for the vacant championship. All together, in the twenty-two matches The Briscoes have competed in (singles, tags, and multi) on Death Before Dishonor events, they've amassed a 9-13 record. With seven championship matches in that number, the brothers from Sandy Fork, DE are 2-5; suffice to say Death Before Dishonor has historically not been their friend. All that taken into consideration, that is just one specific event in the Hall of Fame career Jay and Mark have built since day one in ROH. In the big picture, we are talking about Dem Boys here, the 12 time ROH World Tag Team Champions, former ROH Six Man Champs, former NEVER Open weight Six Man champs and IWGP Tag Champs in New Japan, former GHC Jr. Tag Champs in Pro Wrestling NOAH, and in Jay's case, a former 2-Time ROH World Champion.
Jay was part of the first official match in ROH history versus Amazing Red, and from that point on, save 18 months from 08/04-02/06 when both Mark and Jay stepped away from wrestling, they've bled Ring of Honor through-and-through. No men have carried the ROH flag like these two competitors, and there are none more synonymous with those three letters over the last twenty years.
Where as Jay and Mark Briscoe bleed Ring of Honor, Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood just want to make them bleed, and as evidenced since Final Battle 2021: End of an Era when FTR snuck one on Dem Boys, they will do whatever they feel is necessary to insure they are seen as the greatest tag team in pro wrestling today. At this moment, with the AAA Tag Titles, the IWGP Tag Titles, and the ROH Tag Titles in their possession, it is rather hard to argue with FTR's claims to be just that. Their status as the number one ranked team in AEW for fifteen consecutive weeks despite not receiving a shot at the championship during all that time also speaks to their status as the top team. Add in the fact that they invaded Ring of Honor, assaulted Jay and Mark at Final Battle 2021, and then came back to take the ROH World Tag Titles at Supercard of Honor 2022, and FTR's case just keeps getting stronger.
The fans have even taken notice, particularly after that Briscoes bout, and have taken to treating Cash and Dax as heroes to be celebrated rather than villains to be reviled. They've earned the respect of the fans, now they want to beat it into Jay and Mark, and they're so confident in their ability to do so, that FTR actually issued this 2 Of 3 Falls challenge to Dem Boys, possibly without knowing their history with that match stipulation in ROH. Although it's been fifteen years, in 2007 Jay and Mark went undefeated in 2/3 Falls matches, winning four in a row without dropping a single fall, and dropping one fall to the No Remorse Corps team of Rocky Romero and Roderick Strong in that fifth of the year. Four of those matches were also successful championship title defenses it should be noted, and although The Briscoes lost their last 2/3 Falls Match to The Young Bucks in 2017, their overall record in such a stipulation stands at 5-3 since 2004. Jay and Mark were monsters in this match for that five bout streak, and given the stakes of this Saturday's bout, how personal it has become, they are going to be monsters once again.
Will FTR be the team to represent ROH as we continue moving forward in this new era of honor, or will the ROH originals bring the belts back home to Sandy Fork for the 13th time? Do not miss Death Before Dishonor 2022 to see this rematch of one, if not the, best match of 2022 thus far!
ROH World TV Title Match Samoa Joe(c) vs. Jay Lethal
Eighteen years ago, July 17th of 2004 at Reborn: Completion to be exact, a young wrestler named Hydro was about to enter into a tournament to crown a new ROH Pure Champion. The title had been vacated several months earlier after AJ Styles was pulled away from Ring of Honor competition, and now a pair of Four Corner Survival matches (a staple of ROH match types) would determine the two men to battle for the championship. Hydro, at the time a member of a group of rich kid ravers known as Special K, had been drifting away from the party mentality and getting more serious about his wrestling. He even recognized the Code of Honor after a loss to CM Punk several weeks earlier, and on that night Hydro had his first opportunity to become a singles champion in ROH. He'd had Tag Title bids alongside his Special K cohorts, but this was different, this was serious, this was something real to Hydro, and became even more so when one man stepped to him and challenged him to be better.
That man was ROH World Champion Samoa Joe, and that night, although he lost in the Four Corner Survival, Hydro would fully drop the trappings of Special K, and return to the name that he'd begun his career using, one since made synonymous with ROH as its franchise player: Jay Lethal.
In a mentor-protege relationship, the history-making ROH World Champion took Lethal under his wing and together they went into battle with the likes of The Rottweilers (a group that included Rocky Romero and Homicide), Generation Next, and Prince Nana's Embassy of Alex Shelley and Jimmy Rave. They even unsuccessfully battled BJ Whitmer and Jimmy Jacob over the vacant ROH Tag Team Titles at Best of American Super Juniors, Joe was there when Lethal won his first ROH championship with the Pure Title...
...and it was Joe who ultimately ended Lethal's Pure Title reign at the legendary Manhattan Mayhem event in May 2005. The dynamic between the two was good, strong, but in December 2005 it all fell apart when Lethal challenged Joe for a fight at ROH's Steel Cage Warfare event. It started as Lethal trying to fully step out from Joe's shadow by besting him in battle, and it became Jay using a chair to devastate Joe's knee, before ultimately pinning his former mentor with a Dragon Suplex. It was a statement win by Lethal, one in which he stepped out from under Joe's shadow, but one that opened him up for retaliation from a vengeful Samoan. Joe and Jay's rivalry would expand beyond ROH borders, with battles in IMPACT as well as other independents, but it has been nearly thirteen years since their last collision in the ring.
Throughout those trials and tribulations, Jay has repeatedly said how much of a mentor that Joe was to him throughout his career, in ways seen in front of the curtain, and behind the scenes. As with many such relationships, it had its strains, but it became obvious how strained when Samoa Joe made his shocking return to ROH at Supercard of Honor 2022 to break-up Lethal and Sonjay Dutt's beating on Jonathan Gresham.
With Samoa Joe firmly entrenched in AEW, as well as returning to promotion over which he reigned as World Champion for a likely never to be matched record 645 days, and Jay Lethal also under the umbrella, it was obvious these two would be destined for a clash down the line. In short order, Joe would qualify for the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament, he would defeat Minoru Suzuki to claim the ROH World TV Title and become a Triple Crown ROH Champion in the process, and find himself on the receiving end of beatdowns from Lethal, Dutt, and their newest ally, the massive “One In a Million” Satnam Singh. Joe's arm would be assaulted time and again, still he made it to the finals of The Owen against Adam Cole, working through the injury, but eventually Lethal and company would put Joe on the shelf.
Since then, with the safety of knowing Samoa Joe was not in the house or even cleared to compete, Lethal, Dutt, and Singh have verbally berated, mocked, and challenged Joe to put his TV Title on the line in a fight with Lethal. When Tony Khan made the official announcement following Forbidden Door that ROH would return to pay-per-view on July 23rd with Death Before Dishonor, it seemed inevitable that this would be the location of their clash, and that assumption would be confirmed on July 7th.
So it will be this Saturday night, for the first time inside an ROH ring since 2006, Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal will collide with the ROH World Television Title on the line! Joe may be new to this championship, it did not even exist during his dominant reign over the promotion, but it is a title with which Jay is quite familiar. Over the course of two reigns, Lethal held the title for a total of 798 days, with his second reign holding the record length of 567 days, and featuring a total of 36 successful defenses over men like Kyle O'Reilly, Mark Briscoe, Tetsuya Naito, Matt Sydal, as well as Jushin Liger, and for a time Lethal even simultaneously held the TV and World Titles! Jay truly lived up to “The Franchise of ROH” moniker, one earned through hard work as well as by putting the company on his back much the same way Joe did during his original run as World Champion.
Now at Death Before Dishonor, an event that Joe ushered in when he defeated Paul London in a ROH World Championship bout, and where Lethal tasted his fair of successes and losses, these former allies will go to battle once more. Will it be a fair fight between two of the best to ever step into a ROH ring, or will Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh be lurking at ringside waiting for their opportunity to swing the match in their man's favor?
ROH Women's World Title Match
Mercedes Martinez(c) vs. Serena Deeb
Over the course of ROH's history, there were many women who worked hard to change what it meant to be a female competitor in the sport of professional wrestling. Allison Danger, Alexis Laree (Mickie James), Daphne (as Lucy Furr), Daizee Haze, Lacey, Sara Del Rey; those women, along with an assortment of others in the earliest days, strove to evolve women from mere eye candy at a man's side, from props in the affairs of the male competitors, to athletes, to competitors in their own rights, and though it took years to evolve the perceptions, it was a goal worth striving to achieve, and one that continued over the years with competitors who stepped into the ROH ring, and worked behind the scenes, such as the original ROH Women's World Champion Rok-C, Willow Nightingale, Trish Adora, Quinn McKay, Deonna Purrazzo, Britt Baker, Thunder Rosa, Athena, MsChif, and Maria Kanellis-Bennett.
And while neither may have spent a great deal of their time competing in Ring of Honor, a handful of matches to each of their resumes, Mercedes Martinez and Serena Deeb are another example of two women who have worked tirelessly to continue changing the game for women in professional wrestling. Both women have traveled the landscape, competing anywhere and everywhere to hone their craft, and have even collided with one another in a pair of singles matches that both resulted in victories for Deeb. For a time, Serena even stepped away from active competition, instead focusing on trying to teach the next generation of wrestlers the lessons she had learned, but in time would return to active competition with a renewed fire in her belly, That fire brought her to All Elite Wrestling, it won her the NWA Women's Title, but in time that fire turned from self-motivation into something aimed at the rest of the women around her.
It began with Hikaru Shida, and the feelings of disrespect that swirled around their series of matches, but grew to consume anyone Deeb laid her eyes upon. First it was these Five Minute Rookie Challenges in which “The Professor” seemed intent on humiliating as many competitors as possible, then it became her mission to put Shida on the shelf, a mission which she successfully, albeit temporarily, accomplished. Following that, taking the AEW Women's World Title from Thunder Rosa became the mission, but one that ultimately proved unsuccessful. Coming out of that failed title bid, Deeb seemed to find a vibe with the ROH Women's World Champion as her tag team partner.
Now Mercedes, having won that title in an Interim fashion at Supercard of Honor 2022 before solidifying her position as champ by defeating Deonna Purrazzo on the May 4th edition of Dynamite, spent the weeks following that unification match successfully defending her title against all-comers. Trish Adora, Hyan, Mazzerati, and Viva Van all fell to “The OG Badass” during the month of May, and Martinez has spent the weeks since waiting for some new challenger to step to the challenge. In the wait, that is when she and Serena found their success as partners. That being said, they may have been successful in terms of victories, but they were not so successful in gelling as a pair. They managed to succeed in spite of their inability to operate on the same page, and thus it was of little shock when Serena chose to assault Mercedes following their fifth consecutive victory on the July 8th edition of Rampage.
For Deeb, it was all about the ROH Women's World Title and getting closer to it by getting closer to Mercedes. It appears it was just a matter of Serena waiting for the right moment to slide a knife into the champion's back, and blatantly declaring her intentions to take the championship for herself. In these dawning stages of a new era of honor, each and every match is of utmost importance, and reigning as champion for your division carries an added weight.
Deeb longs to carry championship gold to support her claims as the best woman in wrestling today, and after failing to dethrone AEW Women's World Champion Thunder Rosa, the ROH Women's World Champ has become her target. Mercedes has let her actions as champion speak for her, demonstrating why she is a force to be reckoned with, how she has become such a respected veteran in this industry, and why anyone coming for her hard-earned championship should be very afraid.
Their paths have been intertwined for years, they have paved the roads for those who have come after to follow, and with the future of Ring of Honor beginning now, only one of these women can move forward as the reigning World Champion! Will it be “The Professor of Professional Wrestling” taking her opponent to school, or will the defending “OG Badass” pay her challenger back the recent betrayal?
ROH Pure Title Match Wheeler Yuta(c) vs. Daniel Garcia
This championship bout has spiraled out of the bitter rivalry between The Blackpool Combat Club and The Jericho Appreciation Society, but it runs quite a bit deeper than just the issues between the two warring units. For Daniel Garcia and ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta, this is the culmination of two young wrestlers journeys to hone their craft, become the best version of themselves they could hope to be, and how that path has smashed them together once again.
Wheeler Yuta, 25 years old, began his career in 2014, and credits multiple individuals with bringing him to the dance before William Regal and The BCC took Yuta under their wings. Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak, Orange Cassidy, Tracy Williams, & Cheeseburger's Worldwide Dojo have all helped shaped Yuta into the competitor that he's grown to be, tours of Michinoku Pro in Japan and WXW in Germany expanded his horizons very early in his carer, and competing all across the independent wrestling landscape helped young Yuta hone his burgeoning skills. He battled everyone from Homicide to Nick Gage to Tracy Williams to Chuck Taylor in order to improve every aspect of his game, but it wasn't until his reign as IWTV Independent Wrestling Champion that the eyes of the wrestling world truly began to open on Wheeler Yuta's potential, and it was one specific fight with Daniel Garcia that served as a true breakout bout for both individuals.
For Garcia, his was a career that nearly came to an early end before that 8/8/21 night in New Jersey. Having started his career in 2017 at 18 years old, Daniel broke into the Buffalo area under the tutelage of The Blade and Brandon Thurston, but he rapidly spread his wings into Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even into Canada, where he strove to become the best. There was barely a week that went by where Garcia didn't wrestle at least once, if not multiple events, and he was tested against competitors such as Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Matt Cross, and even Hurricane Helms. But one night in January 2019, when traveling from an event in Montreal, the car Daniel Garcia was traveling in with fellow wrestlers Kevin Blackwood, Puf, and Kevin Bennett hit a patch of black ice and spun out, sending the vehicle crashing into the guardrail and, as Garcia recounted on Chris Jericho's podcast, “...basically split the car in half”. Garcia, sleeping in the backseat woke up as the car was spinning out, and recalled Kevin Bennett asking him if he was okay, to which Garcia responded, “Yeah, I'm good. I think I broke my legs though”, and he was correct. Garcia would suffer a broken femur in his right leg, as well as a broken fibula and tibia in his left shin/ankle.
It was a collection of injuries that easily could've brought an early end to a promising career, but for Garcia it proved motivation to heal up, get back in fighting shape, and dive straight back into competition less than six months after the accident. Not only did “Red Death” return to competition, but he went at it harder than ever before; it wasn't just wrestling once a week, it was sometimes wrestling multiple matches in a single day for several different promotions. On 8/8/19 for example, barely seven months from suffering two broken legs, Garcia worked three matches in one day for two different wrestling promotions!
He was fighting like a man possessed with purpose, and it would first bring him to AEW in September 2020 for a pair of tag team bouts on AEW Dark alongside his Buffalo Brothers mate, and fellow accident survivor, Kevin Blackwood. He would return to AEW in May 2021 for a pair of singles matches on Dark, all the while working his way around the independents and continuing to improve every step of the way to the point many touted his name as an early candidate for the Independent Wrestler of the Year thanks to bouts like his Limitless Title fights with Lee Moriarity, JD Drake, and Jake Something.
Then came the most important seven days of Daniel Garcia's professional career, the week of August 4, 2021 through August 11th changed the direction of his life and brought him to where he is today as a proud member of The Jericho Appreciation Society. It began on the August 4th Dynamite: Homecoming 2021 broadcast when Jeff Parker and Matt Lee selected Garcia to be their third man in a fight with Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, and Darby Allin. That 2pointTrio may have lost, but it heralded the arrival of all three man onto the scene in All Elite Wrestling, and was just the beginning of this seven day journey. It continued on 8/6 with Garcia's entry into the Scenic City Invitational Tournament where he went nearly 16 minutes in the first round, then followed that up on 8/7 with two more matches that tacked on another 27 minutes of ring time to his total on the week.
The next day Garcia trekked up from Tennessee to New Jersey where he would clash in that career changing battle with Wheeler Yuta over the IWTV Title. For sixty minutes, the two young men threw everything that had at one another to no avail. Neither would give it up, neither would relent, and in the end, when the one hour time limit expired, both men had demonstrated why they were the future of professional wrestling. And yet Garcia's week wasn't done yet, he still had another date on Dynamite, this time in Pittsburgh, and now in a one-on-one battle with Darby Allin. That one week, the frantic pace of matches, that's just who Garcia is and who he continues to be to this day, this is a man who fought in 13 matches during the month of January, three of them all on the same day as part of PWG's Battle of Los Angeles tournament! It's only the physical toll of being PWG World Champion, being a member of The J.A.S, and competing in matches like Anarchy in the Arena and Blood & Guts that has slowed his schedule down the last couple months, but it doesn't mean Garcia is any less hungry.
And this war between The BCC and The J.A.S, if anything that has only made him hungrier, and for Yuta it has only served to pull out this violent soul that existed deep inside the body of the technical wrestling marvel. Since coming under Regal's tutelage, Yuta has successfully defended the Pure Title on two occassions, traveled to NJPW for the Super Juniors, and found the crowd rallying behind his every move. It's generated a confidence, a self-belief, that despite Yuta's great successes prior to AEW, had perhaps been hidden behind self-doubt and a small impostor syndrome issue. It took Yuta leaving his trainers behind to really find himself as a wrestler in AEW, whereas Garcia already knew who he was, The J.A.S just gave him a place to fully vent the violence in his heart.
Now this Saturday night, for just the fifth time in its existence, and the second since the championship was resurrected, the ROH Pure Title will be at stake on a Death Before Dishonor event! History shows that, with this event, the odds are in the champion's favor, as only in 2021, when Josh Woods defeated Jonathan Gresham, has the Pure Title changed hands at a DBD event. Doug Williams retained it on both 2004 events, Samoa Joe did the same in 2005, and Nigel McGuinness retained as well in 2006, one of his last defenses before the World Title unification.
Will Wheeler Yuta maintain that championship dominance this Saturday night when he meets Daniel Garcia inside the squared circle? Or will “Red Death” make 2022's event a repeat of 2021's and give fans another new Pure Champion at Death Before Dishonor 2022?
ROH WORLD SIX MAN TITLE MATCH
The Righteous (Bateman, Dutch, & Vincent) vs. Dalton Castle & The Boys (Boy #1 & Boy #2)
At Final Battle 2021: End of An Era, The Righteous of Vincent, Bateman, and Dutch captured the ROH World Six Man Titles from the Shane Taylor Promotions trio of Kaun, Moses, and Shane Taylor. For Vincent, it marked his fourth time earning that championship, but it was a first for his Righteous cohorts. Now wince ROH's hiatus began following that December event, The Righteous have been remained active around the independent circuit, Vincent in particular with IMPACT Wrestling, but the Six Man Titles have sat idle while the landscape of Ring of Honor has transformed over the last seven months.
With this Saturday night, they will be idle no longer...
As part of the Death Before Dishonor PPV extravaganza, the Six Man Titles return to the forefront as The Righteous defend make their first defense of the championships against a three individuals who themselves are former Six Man Champions: Dalton Castle and The Boys. It was 6/23/17 at the Municipal Auditorium in Lowell, MA when Dalton and his Boys upset The Briscoes and Bully Ray to become the 3rd ROH World Six Man Champions, and although they were only champions for less than sixty days, Dalton and The Boys were the first champions to defend the titles outside the United States, and did so in London against the legendary Jushin Liger, Mistico, and Delirious. The reign may have ended two days later in a collision with the BULLET CLUB trio of The Young Bucks and Hangman Page, but Dalton and The Boys made it a historic two months.
As for Vincent, his hold over the Six Man Titles has been a dominant one in the near six year history of the championship. Of the twelve title reigns in their existence, Vincent has been a part of four of them, the previous three with The Kingdom unit of himself, Matt Taven, and TK O'Ryan, and in total that's over 525 days spent as part of a championship trio. This Six Man division has belonged to Vincent in one form or another, and with The Righteous finally returning home to ROH after seven months away, he, Bateman, and Dutch are not about to let the titles slip away, let alone at one of ROH's tentpole events like Death Before Dishonor.
Now in the history books of ROH, Vincent is quite familiar with the antics of Dalton and his Boys. As part of The Kingdom, before Vincent stabbed Matt Taven in the back to form The Righteous, he helped to successfully defend the Six Man Titles against Dalton's trio on three different occasions, and even beat the all-star trio of Castle, Jay Letha, and Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the belts. Suffice to say, Vincent has thrived in this realm, and this Saturday, with the eyes of the wrestling world on Lowell, MA and ROH, he and his devilish trio aim to continue that trend.
It will be an amazing clash of personalities, that is for sure, with one side being the flamboyantly extravagant presentation of Dalton Castle and The Boys, and the other this cult-like, foreboding atmosphere created by The Righteous. Under the bright lights of ROH's return to pay-per-view, which trio will step out of the Tsongas Center decorated in championships?
BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS Rush vs. Dragon Lee
This is unprecedented in the careers of Rush and Dragon Lee; never before have the two competitors faced in a singles bout, and perhaps ten times in their wrestling lives have they ever been on opposite sides of the ring. That's not to say they haven't fought over the years, given that Rush is the older brother of Dragon Lee, it's good chance they've had their share of fights over the years, but in the wrestling world, as ROH's incarnation of La Faccion Ingobernable with their father La Bestia Del Ring, Kenny King, and Amy Rose, they both achieved great success.
Rush claimed the ROH World Title on two separate occasions, his second reign officially coming to an at the Best in the World 2021 event last July after 498 days, making his run the third longest in company history behind Samoa Joe's nigh-untouchable 645 days and Nigel McGuinness' 545 days at the top of ROH.
While his brother was finding that success as ROH World Champion, Dragon Lee was finding his own in the ranks of tag team wrestling with Kenny King, and as a solo competitor in the World TV Title division. Twice he and King reigned as the champions of tag team wrestling, and on two occasion Dragon Lee claimed the ROH World TV Title which he would hold for a combined total of 600 days, putting him in second place behind Jay Lethal for both overall length, as well as the length of a single run with the championship. Lee clocked in at 469, while Lethal set the record at 567 days, but both did something few men in ROH ever accomplished; holding two championships at the same time. For Dragon Lee it was the TV and Tag while Jay managed too claim the TV and World and the simultaneously.
All that history being stated, in the present Rush has reconnected with Ingobernable original Andrade El Idolo in All Elite Wrestling, and thus become embroiled in a bitter rivalry with The Lucha Brothers that's seen LFI strip both Penta Oscuro and Rey Fenix of their masks. Dragon Lee, in 2022, has spent a great deal of time teaming with he and Rush's other brother Dralistico across Mexico, even unsuccessfully challenging FTR for the AAA World Tag Titles back in March.
Now this Saturday night, for the first time in their careers, Dragon Lee and Rush will return to the ROH stage to go one-on-one with each other! This is going to be one explosive outing as no one fights harder than family!
ROH: ZERO HOUR Allysin Kay vs. Willow Nightingale
Willow Nightingale has been an impressive athlete since her entrance onto the AEW stage, but prior to that, Willow was impressing ROH audiences since her Ring of Honor debut just over a year ago. As part of the revamped Women's Division, Willow jumped right into the fire with a match against Alex Gracia, and never looked back in her pursuit of one day becoming the ROH Women's World Champion.
Jumping ahead to today, Willow has had that opportunity on three occasions, but back in August 2021, when the Women's World Title was in its infancy, Nightingale was just one of fifteen women competing to become the first. Her entry into the tournament started on August 4th, and was summarily ended that same night by none other than “The AK-47” Allysin Kay.
It has been nearly two years since All Elite Wrestling last saw Kay, when she battled Serena Deeb for the NWA Women's Title at Full Gear 2020, but “The AK-47” last graced the ROH ring during the Final Battle 2021: Hour One pre-show as part of a Six Woman Tag. Since then, Kay has stayed in consistent competition across the wrestling landscape, even capturing multiple tag titles with her partner in The Hex, Marti Belle. Suffice to say both she and Willow, who over 2022 has shared the ring, as partners or foes, Athena, TBS Champion Jade Cargill, Red Velvet, Mercedes Martinez, and even Allysin Kay. Now, with both women looking to make their mark on this new era of honor, Willow Nightingale and Allysin Kay will once more do battle in the ROH ring, and it's a safe assumption that both have aspirations of facing the ROH Women's World Champion down the line. To even begin that thought process, a win on the Zero Hour is an absolute necessity! Join us as we kick off Death Before Dishonor 2022 with the Zero Hour pre-show absolutely free on the official ROH YouTube channel, the home for twenty years of the greatest pro wrestling on the planet!
SIX MAN TAG Tully Blanchard Enterprises (Brian Cage, Kaun, & Toa Liona) vs. Alex Zayne, Blake Christian, and Tony Deppen
At Supercard of Honor 2022, fans witnessed Tully Blanchard pull together a new enterprise around his name. Between The Gates of Agony and “The Machine” Brian Cage, Blanchard had quite the impressive trio, and with the recent addition of ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham, it's safe to say Blanchard represnts the most formidable collection of talent in ROH.
Now, for the first time, three of his charges will be in trios action together during Zero Hour as they unite to take on another nascent trio consisting of former ROH World TV Champion Tony Deppen, Alex Zayne, and Blake Christian! Christian made his debut for ROH at SoH '22 in a bout with Colt Cabana, while Zayne returned to ROH competition to face Swerve Strickland that same night. Deppen, as a former TV Champion and member of VLNCE UNLTD alongside Brody King, Homicide, and Chris Dickinson, has seen more ROH ring time than his partners, or anyone else in this match save Kaun, a former ROH Six Man Champion in his own right. It's going to be a tremendous test of all six athletes, but one they've all demonstrated they're ready for over the course of their impressive careers. Will Deppen, Zayne, and Christian show and prove against Tully's men, or will this be a statement victory for TBE in their first outing together? This will trios battle is just a taste of what this new era of honor has to offer, and fans will be able to experience it absolutely free as part of the Zero Hour, available live on the ROH YouTube account starting at 7pm EDT!
ONE-ON-ONE Colt Cabana vs. Anthony Henry (w/ JD Drake)
A bit of the legacy and a bit of the new era; as with his bout at Supercard of Honor 2022, this Saturday night during the Death Before Dishonor: Zero Hour pre-show, Colt Cabana will welcome a brand new face into the ROH ring. While Anthony Henry is quite familiar to AEW audiences, as well as followers of the independent landscape, due his escapades solo, as well as those with JD Drake as part of The WorkHorsemen, he has never set foot in side Ring of Honor's squared circle.
Colt Cabana, on the other hand, has been part of the ROH family since making a surprise arrival during the Unscripted event back in September 2002, and going on to compete in some of the most memorable matches in ROH's twenty year history. A former multi-time ROH Tag Team Champion, Cabana helped establish Ring of Honor in its infancy, and throughout its history has been one of the featured players both in the ring, as well as in the commentary booth.
With this first time match-up, Henry has an opportunity to make a big impact in his ROH debut, but facing such a well-traveled versatile veteran as Colt is a large mountain to climb. Blake Christian tried it at Supercard of Honor 2022, and although he impressed, Cabana proved to much for the debuting athlete. Can Henry succeed where Christian did not? Death Before Dishonor has not historically been kind to Colt as his 2-8 record on the event shows, so perhaps this will be the night Henry rises up!
TAG TEAM BOUT Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger & Eli Isom) vs. Trustbusters (Ari Daivari & Slim J)
There's a lot of ROH history right here; Cheeseburger is part of the lineage of the ROH Dojo that first began in 2004 and eventually spawned the Worldwide Dojo that Burger operates out of the old ROH offices in Bristol, PA. It's the spot where athletes like ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta and Leyla Hirsch honed their craft, being tutored by the ten year student of the game who himself was trained by Delirious and Daizee Haze, as well as being taken under the wing of the legendary Jushin “Thunder” Liger. For a decade Burger has traveled the wrestling roads, learning everything he can about every style he can, and finding his niche in the Pure Wrestling Division that evolved in ROH over 2020 and 2021. He also found a gift for training, and one of those men who sings CB's praises as a trainer is the very man he unites with this Saturday, Eli Isom. With five years under his belt, “Infinite” Eli Isom cut his teeth fighting for survival against The Briscoes, The Kingdom, Kenny King, and Silas Young, with perhaps the biggest moment in his career coming a year ago when he battled Dragon Lee for the ROH World TV Title. Together, as The Shinobi Shadow Squad, Cheeseburger and Eli did their best to survive The Gates of Agony at Supercard of Honor 2022, and now they return to ROH competition to face another new pairing in The TrustBusters!
Ari Daivari and Slim J, collectively known as The TrustBusters, are two men with a bit of history in Ring of Honor. Slim J, a 21 year veteran of the sport, has ROH roots dating back to 2002 when he was a member of the Special K faction, of which Jay Lethal claimed membership at the time, and although he would go in a different path early in 2004, Slim J would return for several matches between 2015-2019, including teaming with a very young Griff Garrison, now of AEW's Varsity Blonds. His wild, high-flying style of the team endeared him to fans despite his association with the rich kid ravers, and with another decade-plus under his belt since those initial ROH days, Slim J has only gotten better. As for Ari Daivari, his ROH history is brief, just two matches in 2015 in which he was tested by Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish, but his wrestling roots run deep. Having been in active competition since 2006 after training by his brother Shawn and Arik Cannon, Ari has been in the ring with the best around throughout his career, and over the last 10 months has really pushed himself into competition. He's been seen on AEW programming, on NJPW Strong, and in the NWA, as well as putting in work across the indie wrestling world in places like Glory Pro and F1RST.
Now, Ari and Slim J will unite for the first time this Saturday night during the Zero Hour to show the world what The TrustBusters are all about! We got our first tease of this on AEW Rampage Friday night, and now it will all come together on the free pre-show prior to Death Before Dishonor 2022! Can the more seasoned, as a team, Shinobi Shadow Squad find victory after their SoH '22 mauling by The Gates of Agony, or will The TrustBusters find early success in this new era of honor?
Saturday marks Ring of Honor's return to pay-per-view with Death Before Dishonor 2022 live on Bleacher Report, FITE TV, PPV.com, and all traditional PPV providers! With six huge championship matches on tap, the Tsongas Center is going to be rocking all night long! Join us as the foundation of pro wrestling returns to action with one of its longest running, most historic events, this Saturday night starting at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT, with the free Zero Hour pre-show kicking it off on the official ROH YouTube Channel at 7pm EDT!