ROH Death Before Dishonor XVI
September 28th, 2018
9:00 PM EDT
Las Vegas, Nevada
ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (c) vs. Will Ospreay
For a big PPV main event, there really isn’t much of a backstory.
Jay Lethal, the current ROH World Champion, issued an open challenge, and it was answered by Will Ospreay. Beyond that, their only prior interaction was in late 2017, when Ospreay was defeated by Lethal at a ROH TV Taping in Philadelphia. Interestingly enough, that bout was the last time we saw Ospreay in a ROH ring, as his contract expired with the promotion shortly thereafter (much has already been said about Ospreay’s tenure as a contracted ROH talent). Ospreay never said he was completely finished with ROH, however, and now he’s returned in an attempt to capture the company’s top prize. The lack of a story isn’t much of an issue, as the bout speaks for itself. Ospreay is simply a phenomenal performer, while Lethal always delivers in these big match scenarios. While the result isn’t really in any doubt (I fully expect Lethal to retain), this should still be an incredible PPV main event.
Aside from that, I’m intrigued to see if we get some sort of angle immediately afterwards involving a third party (with there being no major storylines behind the top two matches, I have a hunch that we might get an angle of some sort to end the show), but if that doesn’t happen, I’m not going to complain. On paper, this has the potential to be the best ROH match of 2018. Prediction: Jay Lethal
The Bullet Club (NWA World Heavyweight Champion Cody, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, “The Villain” Marty Scurll, & “The Hangman” Adam Page) vs. CHAOS (“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero, Beretta, & Chuckie T)
With New Japan running their “Fighting Spirit Unleashed” event in Long Beach only two days after this event, a lot of their talent will already be on the West Coast for the weekend. Thus, plenty of them were available for this ROH PPV in Las Vegas, as well as the TV Tapings the next night (some of those New Japan names, like Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, EVIL, and SANADA are only working the TV Tapings the next night). The most prominent usage of New Japan names on this PPV card is in (what will presumably be) the semi-main event.
For the first time in two years, Kazuchika Okada is making a stateside appearance with ROH, as he captains a team of his CHAOS stablemates to take on The Bullet Club. Of course, there’s been a ton of speculation surrounding the status of CHAOS following the events that took place at the recent Destruction In Kobe event. With Jay White and Gedo nowhere to be found on this card, I doubt we’ll see anything significant in this match, with regards to that story. As for the bout itself, it should be nothing short of awesome, given the competitors involved. With only seven announced matches as of now, these guys should have all the time they need to put on an absolutely killer ten man tag. The actual result could really go either way. The Bullet Club team seems like a safe bet to take the victory since they’re all ROH regulars. At the same time, however, I could easily see Beretta or Chuckie T getting the win for the CHAOS side to set up a future bout between Best Friends and The Young Bucks for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Ultimately, I decided to go with the former scenario, but this should be an extremely entertaining ten man tag, no matter what the result ends up being. Prediction: The Bullet Club
ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Briscoes (c) vs. The Addiction
While SoCal Uncensored has been gaining a lot of positive attention through the buildup to their respective matches at ALL IN (along with their running gags on Being The Elite), they’re still in the middle of an important storyline in ROH that has their careers hanging in the balance. At the end of 2017, following the group’s formation at Final Battle, SoCal Uncensored started to verbally attack ROH management. This led to a confrontation with ROH COO Joe Koff, who then decreed that SoCal Uncensored would be released from their contracts at the end of 2018 if they weren’t holding titles in ROH. The trio from Southern California seemed to be in the clear after capturing the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles back in March, but they didn’t hold them very long, as they lost them to The Kingdom in May.
With the end of the year quickly approaching, they’ve now turned their attention to the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Of course, the SoCal Uncensored duo of Kazarian & Scorpio Sky picked up a big non-title win over The Briscoes on All In: Zero Hour, but this time, it’ll be The Addiction challenging the current title holders. I don’t see this being the best bout on the show, though when all is said and done, it should still be very good. It might not be the most enticing matchup on paper (in the eyes of some), but these two teams always have really solid matches against each other. I expect this instance to be no different. Unless Christopher Daniels is retiring at the end of the year, I can’t see SoCal Uncensored failing in their quest to capture titles come December. With that being said, I could see them holding off the group’s big win (whether that be for the ROH World Tag Team Titles or the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles) until Final Battle, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if The Briscoes retained here. Regardless of the result, you can count on this to be a strong undercard bout. Prediction: The Briscoes
ROH World TV Title – Punishment Martinez (c) vs. Chris Sabin
With Alex Shelley seemingly done as an in-ring performer, his Motor City Machine Guns partner Chris Sabin is now on his own. It didn’t take Sabin that long to make some strides as a singles performer, as he defeated Silas Young on an episode of ROH TV several weeks back to earn a shot at the ROH World TV Title, which is currently held by Punishment Martinez. Now the result of this match really isn’t in any doubt, as I’m sure most see Sabin as simply a notable challenger for Martinez to get a win over. That being said, I wouldn’t totally sleep on this particular bout. It won’t be anywhere close to the top two matches, in terms of quality, but it should still be a good mid-card title bout. Sabin is certainly banged up after suffering various injuries over the years, but he’s still managed to put on very solid performances in tag team bouts and in one-on-one encounters since coming to ROH a few years ago.
As for Martinez, he’s rough around the edges for sure, but there’s no denying that he’s incredibly talented for a guy of his size (he’s also a better version of Baron Corbin, but that’s a discussion for another time). Sabin will put up a good fight, but ultimately, I fully expect Punishment Martinez to retain the ROH World TV Title. Prediction: Punishment Martinez
Women Of Honor Title – Sumie Sakai (c) vs. Tenille Dashwood
Back at Best In The World this past June, the Women Of Honor made their official debut on ROH PPV. While that bout was an eight-women tag, Death Before Dishonor XVI will be the first time that the Women Of Honor Title has been defended on ROH PPV. Sumie Sakai became the inaugural champion at Supercard Of Honor XII back in April, as has successfully defended the title several times since then.
On this particular PPV, Tenille Dashwood will be stepping up to the plate to challenge Sakai. What’s interesting about this match is that Sakai scored a huge upset win over Dashwood in the semi-finals of the Women Of Honor Title Tournament. Coming into this rematch, there’s no question that Dashwood will be looking to avenge that loss. In the end, I believe she will. Sumie Sakai has done a fine job as the first Women Of Honor Champion, but at this point, it’s time to move on from her. Tenille Dashwood is the biggest name in the Women Of Honor division at the moment, and right now, she seems like the perfect person to hold that title next.
This match should be pretty decent, and while I don’t want to say the result of this one is an absolute lock (given the way the Women Of Honor Title Tournament turned out, nothing would shock me), the chances of Sakai retaining her title here are very, very low. Prediction: Tenille Dashwood
Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Kenny King
Even though he isn’t getting any younger, it’s always fun to see Jushin “Thunder” Liger make ROH appearances. He’s insanely over every time he comes to ROH, and you can always count on him to put on a really solid match. Liger will take on Kenny King here in what should be a fun little undercard singles bout. I’m not expecting it to be incredible by any means, but for a match that’s going to be happening earlier in the card, I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Kenny King doesn’t have a ton of fans (I don’t think he’s as bad as some claim he is), but I have full confidence that he’ll deliver in this spot. Speaking of which, I’m fully anticipating King to win here in his hometown, possibly via nefarious means (part of King’s current story is that his former mentor Austin Aries has encouraged him to use more heelish tactics to gain victories). Even if heelish tactics weren’t a potential option, I would still go with Kenny King to win this one, since Liger has never had any issues putting over ROH talents whenever he comes over. Prediction: Kenny King
Tables Match – Bully Ray & Silas Young vs. Colt Cabana & Flip Gordon
Look, we’re all sick of seeing Bully Ray in ROH at this point, even though he’s done relatively well in his current role as a heel (based on crowd reactions). Following Supercard Of Honor XII, Bully Ray primarily targeted Flip Gordon, which led to a singles bout at Best In The World between the two. Bully Ray got himself disqualified after getting dominated by Gordon for the most of the match, and was about to put him through a table when Colt Cabana ran out from the commentary booth to make the save. Since then, both Cabana and Gordon got some payback on Bully Ray at All In, while Silas Young later became involved on Bully Ray’s side.
Those events have led up to this Tag Team Tables Match (for the record, I haven’t heard any specifics on whether the match ends when one person goes through a table, or if both members of a team need to go through separate tables before the match could end). It seems like that we’ve been getting at least one hardcore match, of some kind, on every ROH PPV as of late. Honestly, I don’t have a ton of issues with that, as it adds some variety to these PPVs. There’s probably not a ton of interest in this particular bout, but I’m sure it’ll be perfectly fine. This stipulation fits right in with Bully Ray’s strengths in 2018 (for better or for worse).
As for the other three competitors, I have full confidence in all three of them to deliver in this scenario. My hope is that the babyface side will get the win here, and finally put Bully Ray behind them. I could see the team of Colt Cabana and Flip Gordon just beating the heel side outright, but at the same time, it wouldn’t shock me if the heel side loses via miscommunication, leading to a potential Bully Ray/Silas Young feud (that doesn’t sound very intriguing, but if ROH is going to continue to use Bully Ray, his role should be to put other people over). Regardless, I’m really pulling for Cabana and Gordon, just so they can both move on from this feud. Prediction: Colt Cabana & Flip Gordon