Ring Of Honor
Death Before Dishonor 2023
July 21, 2023
Cure Insurance Arena
Trenton, New Jersey

Watch: PPV / WatchROH.com / Bleacher Report (US) / FITE (Non-US); Facebook / Twitter / YouTube (Zero Hour)

Meet our reviewers:

Sean Sedor: While the build to this PPV…..hasn’t been great, I’m always up for a Ring Of Honor PPV Review! I just downed some delicious pasta for dinner, and I’m ready to go! You can find me on Twitter @SASedor2994. If you’re interested in some of my other escapades, you can watch me play the Formula 1 games on YouTube (just search my name), and you can also go to the Be The Booker forums if you’d like to check out my EWR Diary, where I play as WCW (started in 1998, currently in January of 2002).

Warren Hayes: This is my first review for VOW, so… don’t be gentle. I’m coming in hoping, deep down in the fathomless abyss of my soul, that this PPV will be good despite the build, because TKROH has always delivered on that front. Let’s find out together, shall we? Otherwise, give me a good ol’ subscription of the Mr. Warren Hayes Show podcast, either on my YouTube channel or your podcast app of choice, where I cover pro wrestling there in my own little way. I’m gone from Twitter, but join me on BlueSky if you’re one of the beautiful people who got an invite. But not Threads. Threads stinks.

Jeri L. Evagood: What am I doing here? Did I take a wrong turn at Albuquerque? Did I even spell that correctly? Anyway, I decided I wanted some wrestling to end my week on, and Ring of Honor is putting on a show tonight, and I’m going to watch it because why the heck not you know? This could be a pretty fun night and I’m looking forward to being entertained. If you want to hear me say more things, for whatever reason, you can always find me on toxic wasteland that is Twitter @TheJerriest_Jer. I must warn you, I speak about things other than wrestling and some of if it (okay, quite a bit of it) is pretty adult orientated. Follow at your own risk.

Zero Hour

Pure Rules Match: Josh Woods def. Tracy Williams

Sean: Starting things off with two veterans of the Pure Division. Mark Sterling does the introduction for Josh Woods as the rest of the Varsity Athletes come out with the former ROH Pure Champion. Some nice action to start before Woods forces Williams to use two rope breaks in quick succession. Woods has introduced some new offense into his game, including a gutwrench suplex off the bottom rope. Williams is finally able to fight back, and manages to hit a piledriver, but Woods uses his first rope break to stop the pin. Eventually, Woods forced Williams to use his final rope break, and after hitting a German Suplex on the apron, locked Williams in a submission hold in the ropes and got the tap out. This was a really solid match. Nice to see Josh Woods pick up a win. I wish Tracy Williams would be used a little better than he currently is, but that’s only a minor complaint. ***1/4

Warren: I relate to Bruce Springsteen, so I guess that makes me mediocre. Williams was forced to use two rope breaks real early because Woods’s grappling game is playing his opponent like a fiddle.But Williams mounts a comeback with a half-hatch right into the buckles. Fantastic package brainbuster by Williams that holds Woods down with a nifty little cravat. Great stuff. A piledriver forces Woods to use a second rope break off a pin attempt, while a gorilla lock forces Williams to use his last rope break. He climbs back into the ring after being taken out with a German suplex on the apron, but Woods is waiting for him. He clasps him in a guillotine-like submission in the ropes. Williams has to tap. Strong no-nonsense technical match, great tan on Woods, too. ***1/2

Jeri: Straightforward, at times hard hitting opening of the show wrestling match. That is not in anyway a knock, I thought this was pretty good. Both men clearly work well together and it made for a nice first match of the evening. Josh Woods, at least to me, was in control for most of it but Williams did enough to continue to stay into it and give himself chances to win. Woods forcing Williams to use up all his rope breaks so he could catch him in the ropes for a submission later on ended up working out well. I thought this was really fun and it went the right amount of time for the action given. No complaints. ***1/4

Action Andretti & Darius Martin def. The WorkHorsemen (Anthony Henry & JD Drake)

Sean: Action Andretti and Darius Martin have been teaming together over the last few months ever since Dante Martin’s leg injury in the last ROH PPV during WrestleMania Weekend. They’re taking on former EVOLVE Tag Team Champions in Anthony Henry and JD Drake, and this ended up being a really entertaining tag team bout. The WorkHorsemen jumped Darius and Andretti to get this one started, and were able to isolate Darius for a number of minutes (which included some cool double team offense from Drake and Henry). Darius is finally able to make the tag to Andretti, who runs wild on the heels. It became a more even affair down the stretch until Andretti and Darius took out Drake with what Ian Riccaboni called a Whirlybird Neckbreaker for the victory. Lots of fun action from start to finish, and the crowd was into it by the end. Not much else to say about this beyond that! Ian would reveal shortly after the match that Andretti and Darius would be wrestling Bullet Club Gold tomorrow on Collision, which should be a good match. ***1/2 

WarrenThere will never be enough WorkHorsemen on my televised wrestling programming. This one starts off fast as Andretti and Martin go after Drake and Henry all fast and furious. Darius is an early babyface in peril, as he eats the brunt of the offense from the WorkHorsemen, who overwhelm him like the seasoned tag team they are. A single leg crab finally gives the opening for Darius to get the hot tag to Andretti who flips off JD Drake’s back for no reason other than he can. Andretti wanted to land a standing shooting star press on both Drake and Henry, but he mostly hit Drake. Moonsault by Drake on Martin. Andretti was supposed to break up the pin attempt by using Henry in a DVD, but his timing was a little off, so the ref had an awkward count delay. A “Whirlybird Neckbreaker” by the babyfaces gets the win. Fine, dynamic, I thought Andretti was a little off, but overall nothing more. ***

Jeri: I’m a simple girl. I love big breakfasts, I love men who are taller than me so I have to get on my tippy toes to kiss them, and I love me the WorkHorseman. I thought this was entertaining. Nothing HIGH octane, but enough action to keep me invtested. I mean if you have a person in a match with ACTION in their name, that’s better be what I’m getting in it, and I got enough action to keep me happy. Anthony Henry and JD Drake are always a delight as a tag team. That’s not praise enough, they are just great, and they always put their best effort in. Martin and Andretti work well together and did their part throughout this match to make things work. We’re two for two on good matches so far tonight and this has been a good preshow so far. ***1/4

Leyla Hirsch def. Trish Adora

Sean: Leyla Hirsch recently returned after being out for a year plus with a bad knee injury. Meanwhile, Trish Adora is coming off a singles match with STARDOM’s Utami Hayashishita on this week’s edition of ROH TV. After the initial opening exchanges, Hirsch targeted Adora’s arm, and while Adora came close to winning on a couple of occasions, that arm damage was too much to overcome, as she submitted to Hirsch’s armbar. Hirsch would attack Adora after the Code Of Honor, locking in another armbar until Skye Blue made the save. A perfectly fine women’s contest here, but nothing too memorable. While we did get the announcement of Skye Blue vs. Taya Valkyrie for Collision, it looks like we may be getting a feud between Skye Blue and Leyla Hirsch in ROH. **1/2

Warren: Trish Adora has been a favorite prospect of mine for a couple of years now, and her being a part of the Infantry is a good fit for her, and not just because she’s a vet. Good to see Leyla back and back at it, too. Hirsh gets overwhelmed by Adora’s offense so she rolls to the floor to change the tides a little and recuperate. Hirsch avoids a Lariat Tubman (which is a top 5 all time finisher name, let’s be real) and gets a little underhanded to get in control of the fight. Hirsh works the arm, Trish powers out and strings some offense, including a low German suplex with a bridge. Leyla, who is like a cannonball, shotgun dropkicks Adora in the corner not unlike a cannonball would do… if shot from a shotgun… and was a dropkick. That sounded better in my head. Some nearfalls and then an armbar by Hirsch for the win. After the match, Hirsch attacks Adora after the code of honor but don’t worry folks, Skye Blue is here to save the day. I’m happy Hirsch is back but she still feels rusty after all the time off. Adora’s NJPW Dojo strikes felt sharp and meaningful.This could have been better. **3/4

Jeri: I want Leyla to get a funeral parlor gimmick and call herself Leyla Hearse! Anyone? ANYONE? No? Yeah, that was terrible. Any time Trish Adora gets an opportunity to show what she can do is a good day, but I wish the match ended up being better. The first ⅔ of this match had a hard time grasping me and getting me interested, which was a shame as I think both of these ladies are talented, but something wasn’t clicking for me. The final ⅓ though things clicked a bit better and I thought things got pretty good. Sad I didn’t get to see the Lariat Tubman because I think it’s one of my favorite finisher names in wrestling right now. Both ladies worked hard, and the final ⅓ offered some very good stuff, but as a whole I don’t think the match succeeded with me as much as I would’ve wanted it to. Hirsch attacked Adora at the end of the match but Sky Blue makes the save. **3/4

AR Fox def. Shane Taylor

Sean: Shane Taylor recently came up short in the mini-tournament that took place to decide who would challenge Samoa Joe for the ROH World TV Title. As for AR Fox, he’s got a shot at the Orange Cassidy’s AEW International Title coming up next week on Dynamite (hm….I wonder who’s winning this one). It’s a classic battle of power vs. speed here with Taylor just manhandling Fox while the former EVOLVE Champion would utilize his quickness and agility to connect with some big dives to the floor. At one point, after a really cool sequence, Taylor was able to hit Fox with Welcome To The Land, but Fox grabbed the ropes to break up the pin (a great nearfall). A few moments later, Fox was able to get Taylor on shoulders, and hit a Death Valley Driver before following up with a 450 Splash to secure the win. With AR Fox wrestling Orange Cassidy on Wednesday, the result wasn’t unexpected. As for the match itself, I thought it was a blast from start to finish. Super entertaining action throughout, and a great way to finish off Zero Hour. ***3/4

Warren: Taylor locks in a wristlock and Fox tries to escape it by rolling through and flipping. So Taylor interrupts all that by slamming his arm down, forcing Fox to eat mat face first, to a big pop from me. Soon after, Fox gets the crowd up on their feet with some butter smooth dives to the floor. Fox plays stick-and-move against Taylor, using the old tried and true strategy of “the best way to not get hurt is to not get punched” but that only gets him so far as Taylor’s power quickly cuts any offense Fox strings together. Welcome To The Land by Taylor, but Fox is close enough to the ropes to break up the pin. Fox carries Taylor on his shoulders in an impressive feat of strength to land a DVD and then a 450 for the win. Fox is all warmed up for his big match with Orange Cassidy next week. This was a great size/styles clash match worked by two guys who know how to make it work. Great pace, well put together, and both guys got to shine. What’s it going to take to get more Shane Taylor in ROH? ***3/4

Jeri: Power versus high flying energy is the name of this match. I don’t think I need to say who brought what. AR Fox would move and groove his way through and around Shane Taylor, while Shane Taylor would try to use his strength and power to plant AR Fox through the mat. In the end AR Fox would show off some power of his own to hit Taylor with a DVD before going for the 450 itself. Fox is ready for his big match with Orange Cassidy after all that, which I think can be a very entertaining match. This match ruled, both men played their roles really way and just clicked with each other. Crowd was into it, I’m into, and if you watch this I guarantee you’ll get into it. There was a few moments where I thought they might pull the rug out form under me and give Taylor the win. I’ve always been big on Taylor, and need more of him in my life, but AR Fox is AR Fox and I’m glad he’ll get his opportunity to rock with Cassidy on Weds. ***3/4

Death Before Dishonor

Gravity def. Komander

Sean: If you’re not aware, Gravity is the brother of former ROH World Champion Bandido. It’s very funny that he’s on the same card as PAC, who was known for many years as “The Man That Gravity Forgot”. This is my first time seeing Gravity, and I did not realize that the man comes out to the ring wearing an orange space suit while doing the slow motion moonwalk. Anyway, these two have a fun opening exchange before Komander connected with the first big dive of the match. Gravity soon responded with a wacky dive of his own over the turnbuckle. At one point, Komander walked all the way across the ropes for a big moonsault, but that only got two. Komander then nailed a super rana off the top, and tried to go for something else, but Gravity just….caught Komander in a cradle, and that was it! This was a good match, though it was rough at points as well. Gravity got to show what he could do, and while the talent is obviously there, he’s far from a polished product. I was confused about why he got the win over an established guy in Komander (who apparently can’t even win in ROH), though the reason was soon revealed, as Gravity will be wrestling PAC on Dynamite this week, which is something else. Again, the action was good here, but rough spots do take it down a notch. ***1/4

Warren: Here’s a joke for ya: “What did Gravity say to PAC? ‘I don’t remember you.’” Don’t worry folks, it can only go up from here!  Like Sean, this is the first time I see Gravity wrestle. Gravity comes out in an astronaut suit, walking slow like he’s in a low-gravity environment. This gimmick is full circle, baby. He and Komander have a fantastic fast-paced series of holds and reversals to open the match. Gravity does the low gravity walk in the ring too! Tremendous SSP by Komander. Gravity does a unique drive over the corner turnbuckle to the floor. Komander lights up the audience with one of his patented multi-springboard dives to the floor as well as the long way ropewalk moonsault. Avalanche rana by Komander, but Gravity rolls him up for the win! What a fun lucha libre match by two super talented guys, but when is Komander going to score a win in the TK-verse? ***1/2

Jeri: “looks up above” Yeah I’m not making the joke. This is my first time seeing Gravity perform, and I really need to see more. Don’t get me wrong, what I saw was entertaining, but I don’t feel like I got enough of it to get a full gage on what he could do. Still what I did see he could do was not bad and was entertaining, so hopefully that’s a nice little taste of what I can be in for in the future. That said Komander was killing it this match, and I absolutedly loved the ropewalk moonsault he did. Good match, one in which I wish I saw more of Gravity’s showcase, but Gravity did get a nice surprise roll up win when Komander looked like he had everything going his way. I thought that was a good ending. ***1/4

ROH World Television Championship: Samoa Joe © def. Dalton Castle

Sean: Personally, I would’ve preferred Shane Taylor (the man who Dalton Castle defeated in the finals of a mini-tournament on ROH TV to earn this title shot) in this spot, just to see two big dudes going at it, but I understand why you’d want to find a spot for Dalton Castle on the PPV. Stokely Hathaway joined Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary for this one. After some brief stalling, we get Castle actually taking the fight to Joe for a big, as he hits a DDT and is able to take Joe down. Joe, however, quickly responds with a running boot and a big senton, and spends the next few minutes firmly in control. With some help from The Boys, Castle is finally able to fight back, nailing a big dive before lifting Joe up for a suplex throw and a german suplex.

Joe then demands Stokely do something about this, and Stokely forces the referee to toss The Boys out from ringside. With the referee preoccupied with Stokely and The Boys, Joe managed to hit a low blow and locked in the Coquina Clutch, causing Castle to pass out. The wrestling was perfectly fine here, but the finish was….meh. I get the idea that Joe is basically bullying Stokely to make rulings in his favor, which I guess is a different take on the authority figure gimmick. Not exactly thrilled with the finish, but whatever. ***

Warren: Dalton Castle in the ring, ROH Board of Directors member Stokely Hathaway on commentary, there may be too much charisma packed into this match. Some stalling from both guys, in what I choose to believe is a tribute to Larry Zbysko. Dalton takes it to Joe, but you know, it takes only a moment for Joe to get dangerous, and next thing you know Castle’s flat on his back eating a senton. Next is a big heat segment like only Joe can deliver with heavy strikes and big power moves. Joe tries throwing Castle to the floor a couple of times, to do undoubtedly evil things, but the boys roll Castle right back in, pissing off the TV champ. So Joe powerslams Castle in the ring as a make-do. Joe nopes a Castle dive, but the boys catch him, avoiding the wipe out. Castle gets his comeback cooking and drops Joe with a German suplex. Joe, retreating to the floor, gets Stokely to force referee Stephon Smith to expel the boys from ringside.

All this ringside administrative procedure keeps Smith distracted long enough to avoid seeing Joe low blow Castle and lock in the coquina clutch for the win. A big power showcase for Joe, fun little match, but this is a TV show finishing angle. The finish could have been more decisive even if there’s something endearing about Stoke being coerced into making decisions out of fear for his safety. ***1/4

Jeri: Ehhhhh first off it might be my audio sensory issues but when fans chant Dalton Castle does anyone else hear them say “Daunting Asshole?” instead. Just me? Okay, I’m weird it’s alright. Anyway, this match, it happened, we all know it happened, and I don’t have much to say about it as it wasn’t my cup of tea, coffee, water, whatever. I mean, the wrestling was OKAY (and I wouldn’t get any further than that) but the finish sucked, a lot that happened before it was meaningless and meandering. The reality is, and I know I’m going to get hate about this from certain circles, Dalton Castle just isn’t that good these days, and my low hopes for this match was based on whether or not I thought Samoa Joe could drag some greatness out of Dalton Castle, and he could not. Maybe I’m being harsh, but in the end, that is how it goes for me. **1/2

ROH World Tag Team Championship: Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) def. The Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero Miedo) ©, Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta), & The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett)

Sean: This is the first time we’re seeing Mark Davis since the knee injury that forced Aussie Open to vacate both the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles and the STRONG Openweight Tag Team Titles. The opening moments of the match see The Kingdom pick apart Trent Beretta before Fenix and Kyle Fletcher tag in and go at it. This led Fenix hitting Fletcher with a pop-up cutter off the knee of Mark Davis (that was different). Things then quickly broke down from there as bodies started flying all over the place. A dive from Taven, a dive from The Lucha Brothers, and Beretta hitting Bennett with a superplex off the top rope onto the pile on the floor….it’s all happening in this one!

Back in the ring, The Kingdom isolated Beretta for a bit until Penta got involved. Things quickly broke down again with every team getting the chance to hit double team moves, before all the teams got piledriver happy. We then got a weird moment where Fenix distracted the referee so Penta could use a chair. Eventually, Trent Beretta gets isolated by Aussie Open, and they hit Corealis to capture the ROH World Tag Team Titles! This was just an insane car crash of a match, filled with nonstop action from start to finish, with all four teams getting moments to shine. They just went balls-to-the-wall right from the opening bell, and I loved every second of it. Cool that Aussie Open won a set of tag team titles immediately after Davis returns from injury. Great stuff all around. Easily the Match Of The Night so far. ****1/4 

Warren: I am thrilled to see Mark Davis back from injury. Luckily, it wasn’t too severe. I know it’s cool to be all about Kyle Fletcher, but I’m a Mark Davis guy. The Kingdom and Best Friends open things up, then Fletcher and Rey Fenix light it up. Aussie Open and the Lucha bros exchange moves, superkicks, kicks, and make me wish this was a 2 on 2 instead. Incredible dive by Taven onto the Best Friends, that leads to stereo topes by the Lucha Bros, which all concludes with Trent superplexing Mike Bennett to the floor! Solid double team work by the Kingdom on Trent, who eventually fights back and Penta gets the hot tag. Made in Japan by Penta who gets taken out by Aussie Open. In fact, Aussie Open takes out EVERYBODY. Maria Kannellis tries to distract Chuckie T, but he’s no weak-willed Karl Anderson, he’s not falling for it. We get a piledriver party and superkicks by the Lucha Bros,finishers and nearfalls.

The finishing segment kicks in with the Best Friends landing Storm Zero, the Lucha Bros drag the ref out of the ring, so Penta chair shots Trent, but Taven almost steals the win. Aussie Open are left alone with a bloodied Trent so they land the Coriolis to become new world tag team champions. As I am not a fan of multi-man matches for titles, this one starts off with a couple of strikes against it in my book, but I can’t deny that everyone worked their asses off in this match and filled my need for spots. The Kingdom were solid as usual, Best Friends and the Lucha Bros can continue this feud on AEW TV and I am completely okay with anointing Aussie Open tonight. It’s a hell of a “welcome to America” for them, especially after the Davis scare. We’ve only just begun. Good stuff. ***3/4

Jeri: Welcome back Mark Davis! Happy to see him here! SO MUCH IS HAPPENING. Thank goodness I had long given up PBP recaps, because fuck that for this match. Four Ways can have a bad habit of being incohesive, sloppy and ultimate a mess. This was not that. Everything had purpose, there was precision, there was rhyme and reason to this, and we got a surplus of piledrivers at one point (which ruled because I fucking love piledrivers) Fenix and Penta end up beefing with Best Friends which would eventually cost them both the match, and the Lucha Bros the tag titles? SO WHO DOES HAVE THE TAG TITLES . . .  THE AUSSIE OPEN!! A feel good victory for them that I absolute loved. This was insane, and I loved every second of it. Everyone got time to showcase themselves, we had great interactions, and this was fantastic. Woke me the hell up, I don’t need coffee now . . .I’m still going to drink some though. Watch this, enjoy this, love it. A Four Way done right. ****1/4

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Mogul Embassy (Brian Cage, Bishop Kaun, & Toa Liona) © def. Six Or Nine (Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi) & Leon Ruffin

Sean: Leon Ruffin, Master Wato, and Ryusuke Taguchi are quite the Fire Pro Random Button team here. I do like the fact that we’re getting some usage of some of the New Japan juniors here in the US while the G1 Climax is going on. Taguchi and Wato do get off some early double team offense, but that’s quickly stopped as Brian Cage hoists both Taguchi and Wato for a German Suplex. The three monsters then absolutely beat the crap out of poor Leon Ruffin as they isolate him from his partners. Ruffin eventually fights back and hits Kaun with a DDT before making the tag to Master Wato, who runs wild for a bit. Taguchi then tags in, and uses his usual ass-based offense. We then get a great nearfall spot where Taguchi nearly got Kaun after an exchange of low blows. Leon Ruffin then goes on an offensive flurry before he’s ultimately destroyed by The Mogul Embassy for the win.

This wound up being a really good match. I wasn’t sure how the team of Leon Ruffin, Master Wato, and Ryusuke Taguchi would work, but they proved to be a fun challenging team. Both Taguchi and Wato had their moments to shine, while Ruffin played the role of underdog very well. As for the champions, I LOVE this trio of Brian Cage, Bishop Kaun, and Toa Liona. Just three monsters that beat people up. You can never go wrong with that. ***1/2

Warren: Watomania is running wild in Trenton! Cage does short work of the NJPW juniors and he and the Gates of Agony proceed to dismantle all three of their opponents. EVen Prince Nana gets some shots in! Cage does some curls with Ruffin as Big Bill watches from the back! INTERESTING. Ruffin is completely cut off, utterly dominated by Nana’s three goliaths. Ruffin really has a fun evasive spot on Kaun, as he springboards back and forth to finally land a DDT. Wato gets the hot tag! Watomania is running wild in Tr-oh, I’ve done that bit. Wato has a great sequence of running roughshod on the Embassy, using his speed to land lots of impactful moves. After Taguichi comes in and gets some Funky Weapon action in, an exciting sequence follows where everyone gets their shine.

Ruffin flies in and takes on Liona mano-a-mano with a flurry of kicks and strikes, but the monstrous Embassy are too much for him as they throw him up into the air so high for their finisher, I’m not sure he’s landed yet. For a match that felt like random Fire Pro matchmaking, this absolutely ruled. Excellent pace, great use of everyone’s strengths, excellent babyfaces and tremendous, tremendous work. The Embassy is the crown jewel of this era of Ring of Honor. ****

Jeri: “Fall guy” was the first thought when I saw Ruffin, and there was no surprise that’s what he ended up being. That all said, this was fun. It was really good and I was entertained by it. It flowed nicely with everyone playing their roles well, and us getting hte usual Taguchi schtick, which isn’t a complaint. It was also cool seeing Master Wato in ROH doing his stuff. Ruffin, Wato, and Taguchi turned out to be a pretty good and fun tag team, while the the Mogul Embassy is a lot of BEEF that make for a good power trio just tossing and throwing people smaller than them around, which is always entertaining in my book. There was a few “maybe they’ll pull it off” moments in the match for Wato’s team but in the end I don’t think I ever doubted how the match was going to end, and sheesh, did Ruffin get some height on that ending, that couldn’t of been a pleasant landing. Don’t skip this match if you go back to watch this show after reading our review, it’s really good stuff. ***3/4

ROH Pure Championship: Pure Rules Match – Katsuyori Shibata © def. Daniel Garcia

Sean: This has been a match that’s been building for a number of weeks, and part of that build included a Four-Way at Forbidden Door that also included Zack Sabre Jr. and Orange Cassidy. The judges for this one are Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Jacobs (taking the spot of BJ Whitmer, who was frequently used as a judge for these Pure Rules bouts), and Jerry Lynn.

After the opening exchange, Shibata puts a stop to Garcia’s dancing by stomping on his hands. He follows up by locking Garcia in a Figure Four, forcing Garcia to use his first rope break. The action spills out to the floor, and Garcia actually gains the advantage after targeting Shibata’s arm. Garcia then spends a good thirty seconds doing his dance right in Shibata’s face. This only leads to Shibata slapping the crap out of Garcia before nailing his big corner dropkick. The battle continues as the two trade hard strikes and suplexes. Garcia does lock in the Dragontamer, but Shibata is able to fight out of it, and locks in the choke before putting Garcia away with the PK. This was a really good bout, as you would expect, that just reached notebook territory for me. Garcia still did his usual dancing at various points, but Shibata forced him to get serious. Curious to see who Shibata will end up facing next now that Garcia is firmly behind him. This didn’t top the Four-Way Tag for Match Of The Night, but it wasn’t that far off. ****

Warren: It’s The Wrestler vs. The Sports Entertainer. Shibata’s got no time for hip thrusts and goes into a figure-four, which forces Garcia to use his first rope break. Shibata takes this to the floor and wallops Garcia over the barricade. Garcia comes back and plants Shibata into the post and works the arm. Daniel Garcia gyrates around a bemused Shibata who goes so hard I’m afraid he’s gonna dislocate a hip bone. Shibata is unamused. In fact, school is in: he sits and waits for Garcia to sit down and stop being a petulant child.

Shibata with the corner kicks and the basement dropkick. Garcia goes all Young Lion and pulls out the Boston crab. Garcia and Shibata then trade a series of suplexes while staying laced with each other, which gets “this is awesome” chants from the crowd. We get some fighting spirit, with strikes and drops and they collide into each other with lariats and I am INTO IT. Garcia counters some offense and locks in the Dragon Tamer. He leans back to add more pressure ,but Shibata chokes him out of the move! Shabita with a standing choke, Garcia tries to channel HIP THRUST ENERGY but it’s too little too late. A PK puts it away for Shibata who retains the Pure title.

Shibata worked this match as if he was the sensei, trying to get something out of Garcia, as if to challenge a headstrong pupil to develop into the best version of himself. But Garcia, still defiant, still completely entranced by the sheen of sports entertainment, will not conform, and refuses to show respect to Shibata. This was a great, great, great pro wrestling match that was equal parts violent and beautiful, as Garcia was pushed to re-enter a territory he’d convinced himself he left behind. Right in my wheelhouse. Highlight of the show so far. ****1/2

Jeri: I don’t care how many times it’s been now since he’s returned, everytime I see Shibata back in the ring a smile creeps onto my face and I don’t think that’ll ever change. So let just get this out of the way before I say anything else….. “AHEM”… THIS….FUCKING…. RULED. Shibata retains in a match which was entertaining, hard hitting, excellent wrestling, and was what I wanted out of a pure title match. Garcia would do his dancing and silliness and Shibata would not have any of it, and eventually Garcia would get down and serious and they would try to absolutely kill each other, which I absolutely loved by the way. Shibata keeps demanding Garcia show what he can do, and he gets it, he gets it and it’s great, and both men worked really hard to matck this match rule. Part of me at one point did wonder if maybe Garcia would get the win, but it wasn’t mean to be and there’s somethings you can’t dance your way out of. Watch this as well, watch it and soak it all in. ****1/4

Fight Without Honor: The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds & John Silver) def. The Righteous (Vincent & Dutch) & Stu Grayson

Sean: One of the notable storylines in ROH as of late was Stu Grayson leaving The Dark Order to pair up with The Righteous. A brawl breaks out immediately, with the focus being on Evil Uno and Stu Grayson going at it. This leads to a table spot in almost record time as Stu spears Uno off the apron and through a table on the floor. John Silver and Dutch then go at it with a normal 2×4 and a 2×4 wrapped in barbed wire. We are not even five minutes in and people are already bleeding. Alex Reynolds gets some barbed wire in the face while John Silver gets slammed on a pile of thumbtacks.

It looks to be over as The Righteous are about to put Evil Uno away, but John Silver makes the save, and The Dark Order start making a comeback. LEGOS are introduced, but it’s Evil Uno who gets powerbombed on them twice by Dutch. Everything is happening at this point. Dutch takes a bump off the stage through a barbed wire table, Jon Silver gets a kick pad with thumbtacks on it and kicks Vincent with it, and Stu takes a HUGE bump off a ladder through a set of tables on the floor. The Dark Order then gets Stu in the ring and finish him off to pick up the win. Much like the Four-Way Tag earlier, this was also an insane car crash….but in a completely different way. These guys just went to war and took so many hellacious bumps. Cannot knock those guys for the effort they put forth in this one. Absolute hardcore brutality, and right up there with that aforementioned Four-Way Tag for Match Of The Night. ****1/4

Warren: This is one of the only matches of the card that actually had a build. Wait the good guys are in black and the bad guys are in white? WHAT A REVERSAL. Uno and Stu start off first and we shortly get our first table spot of the evening, as Stu spears Uno off the apron through the floor. John Silver has a 2×4, but Dutch as a barbed wire 2×4! Advantage: Dutch. That is, until Silver slashes Dutch open with the wire. Advantage: Hungee. Reynolds bleeds next, Silver brings in the tacks… we are not wasting time here, are we? Dutch Bossman Slams Silver onto the tacks. Hell of a bump. Vincent tears at the mask of Evil Uno and he’s busted open, too. The Beaver Boys land their combination offense and Uno plants the barbed wire 2×4 on everyone. Lego pieces are introduced and it’s Evil Uno who eats two powerbombs on the Legos and tacks. Meanwhile, Silver eats a splash from Vincent from the top on a table on the floor AND THE TABLE DOESN’T BREAK. So Stu dives immediately after onto Silver, breaking the table this time. They fight up the ramp and Dutch gets thrown off the stage onto a barbed wire table. Silver suddenly shows off his KICKPAD FILLED WITH TACKS and he unloads on Vincent.

So right now you may be wondering “Something’s missing here. Tables, 2x4s, razor wire, tacks, Legos… what’s missing?” Stu goes “A ladder, of course.” He sets up one of those really, really tall ladders in the ring to dive onto Uno who is laying on tables, but Uno jumps up and pushes him off the ladder! A tremendous bump. The Dark Order pull Stu back into the ring to finish him off for the win.

That was a brutal, vicious war that had all the great elements of awesome plunder and hardcore fights. Juxtaposed to the Pure title match made this feel even more special. A real deal blast. ****

Jeri: Tables, thumbtacks, and legos OH MY! Oh, there was also ladders and chairs, and barbwire, and oh shit, just so much abuse. This was a lot of violence going on all at once, people bleed, people had thumbtacks and legos sticking out of their back, there was good old fashion HATTEEEEEEEE, and it all went into a cauldron and mixed together to make a highly fun affair. Good guys and bad guys was well established, everyone got to get a bit of the old ultraviolence in, just so much went on in this match and things continued to escalate and escalate more and more until it reached a crescendo with The Dark Order finally getting a measure of sweet sweet revenge. This was war, and no one left the ring without some new scars, bruises, or marks on their body. Kudos to all six men willing to throw caution to the wind and give us this affair which was bloody, violent, fun, and worth your time to watch. I loved this, and I appreciate it had actual build to it that made the violence and physicality mean shit. That definitely helped out a lot! ****1/4

ROH World Championship: Claudio Castagnoli © def. PAC

Sean: Of course, this was a late change after Mark Briscoe was forced to pull out due to a knee injury. PAC walked out on the Blackpool Combat Club during the Blood & Guts Match this past Wednesday on Dynamite, so this is a continuation of the story that started there. The bell rings and Claudio goes right after PAC with a European Uppercut. PAC rolls out to the floor, but Claudio sends him right back in and hits a popup European Uppercut. Claudio is clearly in control at this point, and extends that control on the floor, as he does the Giant Swing to PAC on the stage.

PAC backdropped Claudio on the stage after Claudio tried for the Neutralizer, and finally started to get some offense in. PAC sets up a table on the outside after a moonsault to the floor, and follows up with a super brainbuster off the top after they returned to the ring. Claudio responds by just pressed PAC over his head and threw him through the table that was on the floor. Claudio finally hit the Neutralizer after a very cool counter of a PAC springboard attempt. More back-and-forth exchanges in the ring. They eventually end back up on the turnbuckle, and we get a big rana counter from PAC which leads to a Black Arrow attempt, but Claudio avoids it. Ricola Bomb countered into The Brutalizer, and Claudio struggles to survive. He ultimately gets out of it by climbing the turnbuckle and hitting a super Air Raid Crash. This is an incredible World Title Match thus far, and just as I say that, Wheeler Yuta runs out to provide the timely distraction that allows Claudio to hit the Ricola Bomb for the win.

That finish takes a bit of the shine off this one, but this was still a fantastic match. These two just worked their asses off in this match. Claudio and PAC are both just absolute freaks of nature, and did some incredible things in this World Title bout. They truly went above and beyond, given the circumstances of this title match changing a couple of different times. Interesting that, despite the BCC/Elite truce, the BCC still seem to be firmly heels. We get a big brawl in the post match, as The Lucha Brothers reform Death Triangle with PAC and go after the BCC, while Best Friends and Orange Cassidy also get involved. Should be some interesting matches coming out of this. ****1/4

Warren: Claudio spamming the power move button to kick this one off. PAC flips off the apron but Claudio catches him. You know, no big deal. PAC gets guillotined on the barricades and Claudio is now calmly in control. Big swing at the top of the stage. The crowd asks for one more time, and Claudio obliges. Fighting back to the ring, PAC moonsaults to the floor! He pulls out a table, which is a peculiar decision considering what we just watched. Gravity is watching the match backstage, pointing at the screen, saying to himself: “I know that guy from somewhere…” Okay, that was the last one.

PAC lands a sequence of offense, until Claudio catches him up into a gorilla press and tosses him over the top rope through a table! Incredibly risky but awesome bump. PAC avoids the Neutralizer. Claudio catches him off a rana and hoists him into an overhead throw! He does not release the hold and stands up into the Neutralizer, lands it, but PAC kicks out! PAC can’t stay down, no matter how much Claudio throws at him. And vice-versa, really. On the turnbuckles, Claudio teases an avalanche Ricola bomb but PAC blocks it and counters with an avalanche rana. PAC’s Black Arrow is avoided, so Claudio follows through with a Ricola bomb attempt, but PAC reverses into a standing Brutalizer. He wears Claudio down, who slumps down to his back. But then suddenly, Claudio stands up, PAC still firmly latched to his back, and Claudio climbs up the second turnbuckle. Yes, with PAC on his back. He then hits an Air Raid Crash. Just completely inhuman stuff by Claudio. This guy is not like us.

Bit of an unfortunate finish as Yuta runs in to distract PAC which allows Claudio to hit the Ricola bomb for the win. After the match, the rest of Death Triangle run in and they take out the BCC members. Then Best Friends come in, along with Orange Cassidy. And Cassidy Orange Punches Claudio.

Not sure I would have ended it like this, what with the Yuta interference and then all the angles at the end. Feels like a great match like we just had should have allowed the end to breathe more, but I cannot allow this to take away from what we saw. Two inhuman wrestlers who put on a match showcasing how incredible they are. I’d call them freaks, but I’m terrified they’ll come after me. ****1/4

Jeri: I’ve been really enjoying myself so far tonight, and I had high hopes for this match going into it. Both men really brought it this match. At one point Claudio gorilla press slammed PAC through two tables to the outside and it made me HOLY SHIT out really loud and wake my cat up for a dead sleep. Yes, this is information you needed to know. Yuta distracting PAC for the finish wasn’t my cup of tea, but it doesn’t take away from the rest of the body of work in this match which was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. PAC is fantastic and Claudio is un-freaking-real. Both men went toe to toe with amazing feats of strength, insane action, and fantastic wrestling. Neither man have an ass now from how much they worked them off to deliver us a worthwhile ROH world title match. They went back and forth, toe to toe, and there was times when I thought maybe PAC could pull it off and give us a new champion, but that was not meant to be. At the end of the match Death Triangle ran in to take out the BCC. Best Friends came in as well and Orange Cassidy punched Claudio, which is a match I would absolutely love to see. Again, the ending was a bit of the blemish, but everything else, beautiful. ****1/2

ROH Women’s World Championship: Athena © def. Willow Nightingale

Sean: I believe this is the first that women have main event a major ROH show. Athena has been on an absolute tear since this heel turn last fall, and has easily been the most dominant ROH Women’s World Champion in history. Meanwhile, Willow Nightingale is coming off winning the Owen Hart Cup on Collision last weekend. These two have wrestled each other twice already this year, and are 1-1 (Willow’s win over Athena came in the semi-final round of the aforementioned Owen Hart Cup).

We got some solid back and forth in the opening minutes of the bout, but then Athena gains control after a big back suplex on the ring apron. Willow would respond a few moments later with a pounce and a spinebuster. They end up back on the apron, and Willow connects with a big crossbody to the floor before hitting a cannonball on Athena, who was leaning against the stairs. We then start getting some callbacks to former women’s stars from ROH’s past. Willow busts out the finishing moves that were used by both Sara Del Rey and Sumie Sakai. Meanwhile, Athena busts out the finishers once used by Daizee Haze and MsChif. Willow fights back with a Death Valley Driver off the second rope, which gets a close nearfall. Athena destroyed Willow on the floor and hit the O Face, but Willow kicked out and the crowd went nuts! Doctor Bomb only gets two, and Willow tries to go for a Super Doctor Bomb. Athena avoids that and hits the O Face again. She then locks in a Crossface, and Willow did the best she could to fight out of it, but it wasn’t enough. Willow passes out, and Athena retains!

Putting this match on last was a bold move, and given everything they came before it, they had a tough task in front of them. Not only did this match deliver, but it exceeded expectations. This was an awesome match that was easily the match of the night, which is saying something given some of the crazy bouts we got on this card. These two worked incredibly hard, and we got some great back-and-forth action throughout. The closing stretch was particularly strong, with the callbacks to some of the women from ROH’s past, and some amazing nearfalls that the crowd went nuts for. There were a couple of times where this match could’ve easily ended, but they gave a few more twists and turns before we eventually got to the finish. What really added to the drama was the belief (that myself, everyone in the crowd, and pretty much everyone watching at home had) that this was Willow’s night, and she was going to definitely put an end to Athena’s reign.

However, Athena persevered and once again walked away as champion. She may not be as visible because of where ROH TV lives, but make no mistake….Athena is one of the best women’s wrestlers in America right now….maybe the very best. That heel turn did wonders for her, and she’s having an awesome title run that continues beyond this night. Will Willow finally get that big moment where she wins either this ROH Women’s World Title or the AEW Women’s World Title? Time will tell on that front, though it can’t be denied that her and Athena have incredible chemistry, and they produced one hell of a main event tonight. ****1/2

Warren: Well, well, well. Look at who’s main eventing this show. Amidst all the criticism that ROH gets, if there is one thing it’s done perfectly is rehabilitate Athena’s image. From a middling babyface to an uncompromising, spiteful brawler, from somewhat of a geek to an authentic, classic badass. We didn’t know she had it in her. Crazy what happenstance can do for a wrestler. Same could be said about Willow and her 2023 so far, to some degree.

Good exchange from the start, with both showcasing their stuff. Athena grinds Willow down, but Willow suddenly lands a pounce and drives her into the mat with one of those nasty spinebusters. Athena goes back to doing what she does best: beating people up. She lifts Athena up into a Stormbreaker-like move onto her knees. Pretty damn impressive. On the floor, Willow cannonballs onto Athena against the steps. Back in the ring, Athena lands a standing moonsault but Athena rolls through, picks her up, and lands a Sumi Sakai tribute spot. And then Sara Del Rey’s Royal Butterfly. We’re not done! Athena lands MsChif’s Obliteration (which has always been a great finisher).

Athena wears her down, hits the O Face, but Willow kicks out and generates one of the biggest reactions of the night. Babe With The Powerbomb lands but now it’s Athena’s turn to kick out! They go up top, Willow tries the gutwrench but Athena shoves her off. O Face again! Athera then rolls through into a crossface. Willow struggles valiantly, but can’t withstand it. Athena wins!

Some would say “Bold move, TK” ending the show with the Women’s World Championship. Considering everything else that happened on the show, whatever that went on last would have been a “bold move” regardless. No matter who ended up in the position to main event this great card, they had a tremendous hill to climb to make it something special and memorable. But the “bold move” claim here felt more palpable. Maybe it’s because it’s two unproven main event commodities that has folks saying “bold move.” Maybe it’s because it’s women. Maybe it’s a combination of both? Regardless of the expectations, Athena and Willow went out there with two missions in mind: To pay tribute to the women of professional wrestling and to tear the goddamned house down. Both were achieved in dramatic, hard working, precision form. A story of determination, courage, and heartbreak. We love ourselves a good villain and a better underdog.

You could look at the result and decide to buy a blue checkmark on Twitter to have enough characters to direct your disgust at Tony Khan or you could look at this as the continuation in a trilogy of matches between two world class talents, telling a long run story where Willow has to dig deep to get the win over the woman she is unable to take down. The dudes get those all the time. Why not one of those for the women? Especially these two? I’m already stoked for Athena/Nightingale III. My Match of the Night. ****1/2

Jeri: Athena and Willow Nightingale main eventing the show tonight, you love to see it. Well, I love to see it, I hope you love to see it also. In fact, if you don’t love to see it, I sincerely want to shake you and ask what is wrong with you, but that wouldn’t be nice of me. I was so hyped for this match coming in and I had no doubt in my mind it would deliver.

Well that absolutely fucking ruled………… . . . . . . .oh, don’t worry about that sound you heard at the end of this match by the way, that was my heartbreaking. Been awhile since I was really really really was invested in a wrestler winning a championship, and my heart completely shattered when Willow came up short. However, that’s the power of amazing pro-wrestling isn’t it? It’s an incredible power to feel wash over you, even when it’s not in favor of what you desired. I sincerely thought this was Willow’s moment and Athena was able to be nasty and evil enough to keep it from happening. This was incredible, a journey that took us through twists and turns and then shatter our emotions and threw them on the floor and stomp on them in the end. A reminder not all endings are going to be happy, not all endings will be what we dream of, but Willow will get another day and that day will be a day of celebration. This was outstanding, both women were put in a main event spot, AS THEY RIGHTFULLY DESERVED, and there shouldn’ve been ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION that they were up to delivering.

Both women have been growing more and more, from already good to great beginnings, and both have been the perfect opponents for each other. The work in this match made it clear that along with the story they deserved the main event spot. There was callbacks and throwbacks, and back and forth, and moments of dominance. The crowd got into it, and we all sank deeper and deeper into our emotions and then…. They shattered into pieces for the janitorial staff to clean up at the end of the show. “Whew” . . . .This wasn’t womens’ wrestling done right, this was Professional Wrestling done right. I am so glad I got to watch this tonight, and even though the match broke my heart, it also made me feel so happy just to know it got the spotlight it deserved, the time to deserve, and both competitors kicked ass and delivered. I love pro-wrestling… even when it hurts me. ****1/2