Ring Of Honor
Death Before Dishonor XVIII
September 12th, 2021 
2300 Arena
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: PPV, Honor Club, & FITE

Meet our reviewers:

Sean Sedor: You can always count on Sean to be on deck for a ROH PPV review! You can follow me on Twitter @SASedor2994. If you’re interested in some other stuff I do, you can check out my YouTube channel (just search my name) if you’d like to see me play the Formula 1 game, and you can also check out my Extreme Warfare Revenge thread on the Be The Booker forums (if you’re into those kinds of games).

Brandon Gordon:With two prior Ring of Honor PPV reviews under his belt, Brandon is ready for anything ROH can throw at him at this point. Four-Way Elimination main event, the Finals for ROH Women’s Tournament, surprise returns, and everything in-between. Follow him on Twitter at @EstablishWres.

The show began with a 10-bell salute in the memory of Shannon Spruill, aka Daffney.

Honor Rumble – Winner: Alex Zayne

Sean: Brian Johnson was the first entrant, which makes sense, given that he could cut his usual pre-match promo. However, his intro was cut off by the second entrant, Brian Milonas. Unfortunately for Johnson, the third entrant was Beer City Bruiser, so things went from bad to worse for him. He gets double-teamed until Danhausen makes his way out as the fourth entrant, but he gets subsequently beaten up by The Bouncers until Caprice Coleman comes out from commentary as the fifth entrant, and he runs wild. Sledge makes his way out as both Brian Milonas and Caprice Coleman were tossed out. I think Beer City Bruiser was eliminated as well, but the camera’s might’ve missed it. 

PCO is the seventh entrant. They worked together briefly until all three of them came to blows. PJ Black was the eight entrant, and he reunited with Brian Johnson (his sometimes tag team partner) until Dak Draper made his way out as the ninth entrant in the bout. At this point, the ring is starting to fill up. Silas Young was the tenth entrant, and Draper managed to eliminate Sledge as Rey Horus came out as the eleventh entrant. Dante Caballero from the ROH Dojo was the twelve entrant, and he ran wild. It was during this melee that Danhausen got eliminated by Johnson, and then PCO…..malfunctioned and eliminated himself. 

Anyway, Flip Gordon is the thirteen entrant, and the story is that getting dropped head-first on a steel chair gave him amnesia, and he’s back to being….2018 Flip Gordon (I’m not kidding). Joe Keys is out next, and they do a spot where Gordon thinks that Keys and Caballero are The Young Bucks (he asked for a too sweet and got a double superkick). World Famous CB is up next, while Draper manages to eliminate both of the dojo guys. The final entrant ends up being Alex Zayne, who makes his return to ROH after a brief stint in 2020. The ring finally started to thin out, until we get down to the final four of Black, Gordon, Johnson, and Zayne. After Johnson gets tossed, we’re treated to some exciting exchanges with the final three, and eventually, Zayne picks up the win. Great to see Zayne back in ROH, and it actually makes sense, as (believe it or not) Zayne picked up a clean singles win over Bandido in early 2020, before he went to NXT. Not much to say about the match itself. It was a rumble with everyone else who wasn’t already on the show. Alex Zayne back in ROH is definitely exciting. **1/2 

Brandon: The Bouncers wearing the Steelers colors in Philly for the easy, but appreciated heel heat. Caprice Coleman being an entrant was a pretty cool surprise. It doesn’t seem like he missed a step. The Honor Rumble has made good use of the time given. Eliminations are happening fairly quickly, never making it feel too bloated when other competitors enter. 

The competitors know that there are no friends as faces and teammates do not think twice attacking each other. Johnson managed to get the hometown crowd to turn on him by eliminating Danhausen. Number 16, on the other hand, was Ari Sterling Alex Zayne, not wasting time getting bookings. 

Brian Johnson, Zayne, BTE Flip Gordon, and PJ Black as the final four added some adrenaline to the match. Once Johnson was eliminated, these three notable flyers added more excitement. In the end, won the Honor Rumble and immediately shot up the ROH rankings with his #1 Contendership for the World Title.

I love when pre-show matches that don’t involve winning a title still have stakes. The aftermath of the Honor Rumble is no exception. Aside from the result and Zayne’s surprise return to ROH, the match itself was fun and did not overstay its welcome. ***

Dalton Castle def. Eli Isom

Sean: I have to say….the new Dalton Castle entrance is growing on me. Anyway, these guys are the top two in the ROH World TV Title rankings, so the result of this one will have implications. They got after each other straight away, and Isom is able to gain the early edge with a huge dive to the floor. Isom looked impressive in this early portion of the bout, but Castle soon gained the edge after a German Suplex. Castle works Isom over until Isom starts his comeback. This leads to Dak Draper coming down from the commentary table to help Castle, and even though Isom fights back valiantly, he can’t overcome Castle, who hits the Bang-A-Rang for the win. Even though we got Draper getting involved, I do like that the first Bang-A-Rang attempt was countered by Isom into a rollup for a great nearfall. Presumably this sets up Castle for a shot at the ROH World TV Title. A fine opening contest. ***1/4 

Brandon: Maybe it’s just me, but this was the best Dalton Castle has looked in a while. He and Isom were tearing it up in the ring to the point where the crowd started to get invested. I don’t understand the Dalton/Dak partnership though. Draper should be just as weary of him like Isom is yet he helps him beat Isom. The match was pretty decent and Castle needs to stay “busy” if it allows him to wrestle like he did here. The interference by Dak at the end annoyed me but everything else was solid. ***1/2

Taylor Rust def. Jake Atlas

Sean: It’s time for our NXT offer match!! Seriously though, it was pretty cool to see Ian Riccaboni bring up the accolades of both of these men outside of ROH (including notable accomplishments on NXT). Again….love how companies like AEW and ROH actually acknowledge the wilder wrestling world. Rust seemed to get the better of the opening exchange, and he continued to have the advantage as he started to work over the arm of Atlas. Rust would continue to work over Atlas, and eventually, Rust would score the submission victory. A solid singles match between these two, though not exactly a super memorable bout. I was a little surprised to see Rust get the win, but it seemed like Atlas got knocked loopy, so maybe they called an audible, which I totally understand (have to put the health of the wrestler first). It was confirmed afterwards by the announce team that both men would be appearing on ROH TV in the future. I don’t know if these guys will get signed, but they would make very good additions to the ROH roster. ***

Brandon: I watched the start of this match and wondered what WWE was thinking when they let them go. Atlas and Rust knew they needed to make a statement post-NXT. The way the match was shaping up, it looked like they were on their way to doing so. From what I did see, the match was good. Atlas looked like he had his bell rung so the match was cut short. Here’s hoping Atlas is okay. ***

Violence Unlimited (Chris Dickinson, Homicide, & Tony Deppen) def. John Walters, LSG, & Lee Moriarty

Sean: I didn’t get the chance to watch ROH TV this weekend, so I guess I missed Chris Dickinson and Homicide losing the ROH World Tag Team Titles to LFI’s Dragon Lee and Kenny King. Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman not only acknowledged the recent news regarding Lee Moriarity, but commended him for making the right move for his career and family. Homicide and Walters took us back to 2004 as they started the match off, and it wasn’t long before we saw the other four competitors getting involved. Walters gets in a double submission before getting his head kicked in by Dickinson, though we would see Walters get some payback later in the form of a double Muta Lock on both Dickinson and Homicide. The action picked up a bit down the stretch, and Violence Unlimited ultimately picked up the win after a series of moves on Lee Moriarity. It was interesting to see the AEW guy take the pin there, but as a whole, this was a pretty entertaining Six-Man Tag while it lasted. All six men got moments to shine, and it served as a nice rebound win for Violence Unlimited. This was followed up by a segment where the rest of The Foundation (sans Jonathan Gresham) comes out, and Jay Lethal cuts a promo essentially putting over the Pure Division and pure wrestling (rattling off various names from the past). A very impassioned promo from the former multi-time ROH World Champion. ***1/2 

Brandon: I’m glad Moriarity is able and willing to meet his previous commitments after news of his signing to AEW. This match maintained a quick pace with every competitor getting an opportunity to shine. Violence Unlimited always does great in the multi-man tags. LSG doesn’t nearly get enough spots like this to perform and he looked good. Walters kept pace with and had some great offense. I loved that upside-down, double choke submission from him. Moriarty performed great as well but took the pin here. This was a competitive contest that was a blast to watch. The Jay Lethal promo afterwards was remarkable. The Pure Division being on the stage for it and the crowd getting behind it added to it’s aura. ***3/4

The OGK (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) def. The Briscoes

Sean: Jay Briscoe is making his return after missing the last set of shows due to being in COVID protocols. The two teams started off brawling in the ring straight away. Even once they restored order, the action was still pretty intense. At one point, Mark Briscoe nailed the Froggy Bow, and nearly got the win, but Bennett broke up the pin. Then The Briscoes introduced a chair, and they were going to do a move onto the chair for some reason (it would’ve gotten them DQ’d), but again, Bennett stopped it. After Bennett got wiped out on the outside by a dive by Mark, Taven managed to catch Jay in the ring with a tight small package for the win. So The Briscoes encountered their first roadblock on their ascent back to the ROH World Tag Team Titles. The last minute or so got a little wonky with the questionable introduction of the steel chair (have no idea what The Briscoes thought was going to happen had they hit Taven with that move onto the chair), but for the most part, this was a very strong tag team bout. The action from start to finish was really solid, and you definitely got the sense that these two teams have a better match in them. The fact that The OGK got the win here makes me think that we’re getting a rematch at some point. ***3/4 

Brandon: There’s always that extra bit of viciousness whenever the Briscoes work a tag team match. In this match, there were dives to the outside, teases towards using weaponry and Taven doing the rare Moonsault. For all the craziness, this match ironically ended with a surprise roll-up from Taven to Jay Briscoe. You would be hard pressed to find a tag team who has been as consistent as the Briscoes in ROH. This match was another notch in their belt. OGK more than held their own, making this match entertaining. ***3/4

ROH Pure Title – Josh Woods def. Jonathan Gresham ©

Sean: Of course, Gresham has been undefeated in Pure Rules bouts since the start of the Pure Title Tournament when ROH returned from the COVID lockdowns. There were a few moments early on where they had a couple of “neutral” rope breaks moments where the referee didn’t count the rope breaks, since they were both sending each other into the ropes. When Gresham and Woods did this a third time, the referee had enough, and took away a rope break from both of them. We got some more exchanges before, once again, they got a neutral rope break. I don’t know why the referee didn’t remove a rope break for both there when they took away a rope break from both already. This is rectified moments later when they get in the ropes again, and both lose their second rope break.

The two men continue to go back and forth, and eventually we get a double pin. The match was originally ruled as a draw, but Gresham insists that the match continue, as he doesn’t want this draw on his record. We get another instance of both men going into the ropes, and now they’re both out of rope breaks. The two continue to exchange holds and such, with Gresham failing to put away Woods with moves and holds that’ve won Gresham matches in the past. Eventually, Woods nailed this wild move that I can only describe as a German Suplex from the Tombstone Piledriver position, and captured the ROH Pure Title. I can’t knock the effort at all, but the match layout fell completely flat. I give them credit for trying something different, with the neutral rope breaks, and the story of both men frustrating the referee, but this layout simply didn’t work in front of this crowd. The right guy won, as it felt like the right time to change the title. However, it’s a real shame that Woods winning the Pure Title (after losing his father due to COVID) came off as very flat. This gets the Gentleman’s Three from me, as I thought the actual wrestling was still solid enough, even with a match layout that totally flopped. ***

Brandon: At this point, Gresham is the definition of a Pure Wrestler in the company. To his credit, Josh Woods showed that he had the goods when it came to the Pure Division once ROH came back after the hiatus due to COVID. These guys put on a clinic not just for their technical prowess, but for the rule bending moments by both guys. Gresham has a bit of a vicious streak in these matches as displayed by getting under the skin of Rhett Titus at Glory By Honor and repeatedly slamming Wheeler Yuta’s knee in the Pure Title Tournament. 

Once the match ended and was restarted, and Gresham and Woods lost all their rope breaks, this match became much more tense. As Gresham’s viciousness increased, Woods did everything he could to stay in the match. They put everything they’ve had in this match but in the end Josh Woods ends up winning the match. Then Gresham puts the belt on his waist! Awesome! This has to be the match of Josh Woods’ ROH tenure. I thoroughly enjoyed this match and I’m hoping for a re-match. ****

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles – Shane Taylor Promotions (O’Shay Edwards & Soldiers of Savagery) © def. LFI (ROH World TV Champion Dragon Lee, Kenny King, & La Bestia del Ring)

Sean: Of course, RUSH was being replaced by his father in this match due to his recent “knee surgery”. Before this match could even get going, Kenny King attacked Shane Taylor with a chair, taking him out of the match. With Taylor unable to compete, fellow Shane Taylor Promotions member O’Shay Edwards volunteered to step up and take Taylor’s place. The two trios go back and forth with offense, as neither seemed to really gain the advantage (the fact that this was under Lucha Rules probably played a part in that). The pace picked up a bit after a series of dives to the outside. Eventually, it came down to King and Moses in the ring, and with the referee dealing with the other guys on the floor, Shane Taylor returned to level King with a chair shot. Moses took advantage and scored the pin for STP to retain their titles. A solid match for what it was, but I don’t think I’d call it spectacular by any means. Taylor got his revenge on King tonight, though I feel like we’re going to see a singles bout at some point between those guys. ***1/4 

Brandon: Kenny King is still pouring gasoline on his rivalry with Shane Taylor by taking him out. This is a decent opportunity for O’Shay Edwards, even if it came at the cost of Taylor’s participation. SOS and Edwards kept on slamming Lee and King like they were trying to break them in half. The series of dives to the outside was good and popped the crowd. Taylor got his revenge on King and ensured STP were victorious. The match was fine, there were some good spots and it furthered the feud between Taylor and King. ***

ROH Women’s World Title: Quest For Gold Tournament Finals – Rok-C def. Miranda Alize

Sean: Nice to see Lenny Leonard join the commentary team for this match. I mentioned this in my PPV preview, but this was not the tournament final that I was expecting. Both women have their respective families at ringside. Rok-C gained the edge early with a bridging hammerlock, but then the two got into a quick exchange of holds that led to a stalemate. The crowd seemed to be somewhat split, though I’d say the lion’s share of the cheers were for Rok-C. Alize managed to gain control, and worked Rok-C over until she’s able to mount a comeback. Alize would continue to dish out trash talk, but this only managed to fire up Rok-C. Alize locked in her crossface, and had it in for a fair amount of time before Rok-C managed to get to the ropes. This led to both women connecting with dives, and a very New Japan-esque countout tease. Once they got back to their feet, Alize got the crossface back in, but Rok-C countered with a crossface of her own. Rok-C avoided Alize’s shining wizard, and managed to connect with her version of the Code Red to win the ROH Women’s World Title. Maybe it’s because I had zero expectations coming in, but I thought these two women put together a really good match that had a lot of drama. At least for me, a big factor in the drama is that I had no read on who was going to come out on top. It could’ve gone either way, but they went with Rok-C in the end. She celebrated with her parents in a cool moment following the match. ***1/2 

Brandon: I’ve been following the tournament since it began at the tail end of July. It’s interesting to see ROH take a chance and have both finalists be less established wrestlers. Alize angering Rok-C to throw her off her game was a smart move after clearly getting outmatched before. Once Alize gained control of the match, she maintained it for several minutes. While Alize held her at bay with her unique move set, Rok-C kept in the fight with her athleticism. Rok-C managed to fight off Alize and.hit her with the Code Red to win the match. Post-match Rok-C’s family celebrates with her. Belting her up was the right choice. I feel she was a solid competitor throughout the tournament. Best of luck to her on her title reign. Rok-C and Alize put a lot of effort into making this match feel like a big deal. Not every spot or attack landed with me but it was good nonetheless. ***1/2

ROH World Title: Four-Way Elimination Match – Bandido © def. Brody King, Demonic Flamita, & EC3

Sean: Bandido and Demonic Flamita immediately bow out to the floor and allow Brody King and EC3 to start this one off. The two men send each other to the floor, and the two luchadores then enter the ring for a fast-paced opening exchange. Bandido then hits a series of dives, including one that saw him fly into the front row! That man truly gives no fucks. The match kinda slowed down a bit at this point, but EC3 was the guy in control, so that really wasn’t surprising. Demonic Flamita hit EC3 with a chair, but EC3 felt nothing, and returned the favor with a chair shot of his own. The referee must’ve been attending to Brody King on the floor, because he didn’t see the first chair shot, but saw the second one. EC3 was eliminated via DQ, and the dude just slowly walked to the back.

Demonic Flamita successfully convinced Bandido to work together with him, and the two nailed a series of double-team moves on Brody King. This eventually led to both luchadores teaming up to give Brody a super Canadian Destroyer (or I guess a Mexican Destroyer in this case). The pace definitely picked up at this stage, and Brody managed to eliminate Demonic Flamita. Thus, Bandido and Brody King were the final two, and the action from this point on was fast and furious. Both men traded big offense, but neither could seemingly keep the other down. Bandido eventually caught King with a wacky lucha cradle to score the victory to retain his title. This would’ve been a much better match if they just cut out EC3 entirely, because once they got him out of there, this match really picked up. The final sequence with Bandido and Brody King was easily the best part of the bout. The Foundation came out to congratulate Bandido, which was highlighted by Gresham staring down Bandido. The Righteous came out on the stage as well (all dressed in white) and they gave their applause, while also serving as a reminder that Vincent has an upcoming title shot as well. So Jonathan Gresham and Vincent seem to be next on deck for Bandido. ***1/2 

Brandon: It didn’t take long after the match had started for Bandido to show how giftedly agile he was. He flew so far he briefly disappeared into the front row. It seemed like EC3 was trying to incorporate enough of the ROH style so he could work quickly when he needed to. But that doesn’t mean he won’t take his time in spots where he has control. EC3 falling for the old Eddie Guerrero spot by Flamita got him DQ’d and eliminated. The brief Mexis Squad team-up on Brody King was pretty awesome. Whatever that Doomsday Device style move they did on King was, it kicked ass. Of course, Flamit turned on Bandido as soon as he could.

King eliminated Demonic Flamita with the All Seeing Eye and it was one-on-one. Despite some great brutality from King, Bandido picked up the victory over the massive opponent. The Foundation and the Righteous applauding Bandido’s victory without any extra issues was a nice touch. Of course Vincent and Gresham (who was staring a hole through the ROH title) are going to be the next challengers. A fun match, but it would have been better if it was just one opponent. ***3/4