Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Death Before Dishonor 2019
Date: September 28, 2019
Location: Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
It’s time for a pay per view from Ring of Honor, which means we could be going all over the spectrum with this one. This company feels like it’s running out of ideas in a hurry but this time around we might get a bright spot as Rush is challenging Matt Taven for the World Title. They can’t be that insane……right? Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Jeff Cobb vs. Brody King
They trade the power shoves to start but Cobb can’t get his hand all the way up for a test of strength. Brody is nice enough to lower his hands and they roll around without breaking the grip. An exchange of shoulders goes nowhere so Cobb counters a charge with an overhead belly to belly.
King wins a strike off though and kicks Cobb down for a running backsplash before he just stomps away in the corner. Cobb pops back up for a clothesline though and it’s a double clothesline for a double knockdown. They slug it out from their knees and trade some running shots against the ropes. A Boss Man Slam gives King two but Cobb catches him on top with a dropkick.
That means a stalling superplex for one, followed by a standing moonsault for two. King’s hurricanrana puts Cobb on the floor for the suicide dive, setting up the piledriver for a VERY close two as the announcers aren’t sure about the kickout. They trade snap German suplexes but Cobb is right back with the Tour of the Islands for the pin at 12:59.
Rating: C+. This wasn’t a match that required a lot of thinking and that’s a good idea sometimes. The point of this was to have two monsters in there beating each other up and that is exactly what we got. Cobb is someone who could carry the World Title based on matches like this and King gets to show that he is more than just a tag guy. Good match, but it would have been even better on the main show in front of a warmed up crowd and without with more time. Still though, rather entertaining as Cobb tends to be.
The opening video talks about honor being what matters most and shows clips of the matches. Not exactly thrilling, but the HONOR MATTERS stuff lost its impact years ago.
#1 Contenders Tournament First Round: Marty Scurll vs. Colt Cabana
Marty spins out of a wristlock to start but Cabana headscissors his way out of a headlock and we have a standoff. A test of strength goes to the mat with Scurll not being able to break a bridge. Cabana spins out as well and takes him down by the wrist, giving us another standoff. Some mocking of the bird pose annoys Scurll, who charges into a headscissors to put him on the floor.
Back in and Scurll catches him on top with a superplex, followed by a basement dropkick for two. We hit the crossarm choke for a bit but Cabana is up to knock Scurll out of the air. Scurll sends him outside for a superkick off the apron, only to get pulled down with a backbreaker. Back in and Scurll hits a snap German suplex into an enziguri and powerbomb for two. Cabana starts in with the snap jabs and a bionic elbow for a double knockdown.
They slug it out until Scurll knocks him out of the air and hits a piledriver for two. The chickenwing is countered into a failed Billy Goat’s Curse attempt and Marty pulls him into the full chickenwing. Cabana knocks him down though and hits a moonsault for two, followed by the Billy Goat’s Curse. A rope is grabbed so it’s the Chicago Skyline into the Superman pin for two. Scurll is right back with a clothesline though and the Black Plague finishes Cabana at 14:27.
Rating: C+. This could have been a lot worse but I continue to wonder how in the world Scurll hasn’t been the top star in the company for a long time now. He has all the star power you could want and can back it up in the ring. Having him beat Cabana is fine as Cabana is going to be over for the rest of his life. Of course Scurll isn’t going to win the title because he’s not Matt Taven, but I’m sure ROH knows exactly what they’re doing.
#1 Contenders Tournament First Round: Kenny King vs. PCO
King has a bunch of goons and Amy Rose with him. King hits him once and then bails out to the floor and a single kick to the ribs send him back outside. Back in and PCO hits a pop up powerbomb but….takes his jacket off instead of covering. They head outside with King’s head bouncing off a cinder block that he brought out with him. King gets sent into a table and ladder at ringside as well, setting up a backsplash on the ramp.
The Swanton onto the apron hits King but PCO goes chest first into the edge of the table. PCO sets up some chairs on the floor before loading up the dive, only to go a bit nuts because the electrocution he uses to charge himself up has fried his brain (just go with it). That means he dives to the wrong side of the ring and completely crashes, leaving King to get up and wonder what happened.
King goes after him instead of taking the countout and puts the ladder around PCO’s head for a ram into the post. Here’s another ladder to be laid on top of the other, with King slamming PCO onto the pile. The big corkscrew dive crushes PCO against the ladders and they’re both down. Since it hasn’t gone on long enough, let’s pull the mats back but PCO is back up.
Rose slaps him in the face and runs away, allowing King to try a running sunset bomb to the floor, but he doesn’t rotate enough and PCO lands on King’s head for a terrifying crash. King is alive enough to come back in for two and even suplex PCO into the corner. And now, let’s pour water over PCO and electrocute him with a cattle prod…..which wakes him up enough to chokeslam King for the pin.
Rating: D. This is the first time where PCO felt ridiculous. This was a bunch of violent brawling with nothing in particular as far as a story or anything tying it together, plus the rather nutty electrocution deal. It’s very out of place in a more realistic company, though I think I’ll take that over the same uninteresting characters over and over.
We recap Angelina Love vs. Kelly Klein for the Women’s Title. Love showed up earlier this year and has been running through various people, albeit with some assistance from the Allure. Tonight she has to beat the champ and prove herself.
Women of Honor Title: Angelina Love vs. Kelly Klein
Klein is defending and Love has Mandy Leon in her corner. They grapple around the ropes to start with Klein taking her to the mat. A neckbreaker gets Love out of trouble but Klein is right back with a side slam. Klein drops her face first onto the buckle and Love needs a breather on the floor.
That means the dive off the apron to take out both Love and Leon but love sends her hard into the barricade. A suplex makes it even worse for Klein but she avoids a charge to get a breather. Back in and Klein hits a belly to back suplex for two, only to have Love hit the Downward Spiral into the Koji Clutch.
The rope is reached so Love gets up, earning herself a super fall away slam right back down. Love’s cutter gets two so it’s time for the slugout. Klein grabs K Power for two but Leon slips in the hairspray for the blinding. The Botox Injection gives Love two so Leon grabs the hairspray, which hits Love by mistake. Klein spears an invading Leon but another Botox Injection gives Love the pin and the title at 9:06.
Rating: D+. It’s just not interesting. I don’t know how many other ways I can say the same thing about the Women of Honor but it’s the same problem it has been for years. They’re trying and the wrestling can be completely competent but it’s more of the same every time: matches and titles come and go with nothing that gets my attention. Having a new version of the Beautiful People, as in a stable from over ten years ago, doesn’t get my interest up and this wasn’t the match to turn things around.
Post match Mandy Leon pulls the title out of Cary Silkin’s hands and hands it to Love. They load up the makeup but the lights go out and it’s Maria Manic appearing for the save. Allure and security are both beaten down.
We recap Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham. They have been friends for a long time but Gresham is getting frustrated and acting heelish so Jay is going to try and straighten him out a bit. Lethal has never lost to Gresham.
Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham
Lethal doesn’t think much of Gresham not offering a handshake but Gresham has to show off what a jerk he has become. They go to the wristlocks (of course) to start with Gresham taking him down and stomping on the arm. That gives us a standoff so Gresham headlocks him down, only to have Lethal shake out for another standoff. Gresham can’t get the Octopus so Lethal rolls him up for two instead.
They hit the mat and it’s another standoff as Gresham can’t outwrestle him yet. The stalemates continue until Lethal sends him to the apron for a baseball slide to take the knee out. Back in and Lethal dropkicks him right back to the floor, setting up the freaking suicide dive. Back in again and it’s Lethal hitting the cartwheel dropkick for two as Gresham is in trouble for the first time.
It’s too early for the Figure Four so Gresham’s knee is fine enough for a standing Lionsault, though the knee is still a little banged up. Gresham takes him down by the arm and cranks back on it while also pulling on the leg for a bonus. A keylock goes on but Lethal drives him into the ropes for another break. Lethal’s arm is banged up but it’s fine enough to hit a powerslam and now the Figure Four goes on.
They roll to the ropes and then out to the floor with the crash being the only thing that breaks the hold. Gresham’s chair is taken away so they stop to yell at each other about who caused their losing streak. The slugout starts on the floor and winds up in the ring with the Lethal Injection being broken up with a kick to the arm. Since the Injection isn’t working, Lethal goes with an RKO for two instead.
The Figure Four goes on again and is broken in another hurry so it’s another Lethal Injection attempt. This time it’s countered into a backslide for two, so Lethal tries it AGAIN, this time to have his arm go out. Lethal counters la majistral into a cradle for two but Gresham unloads with strikes to the head. The Octopus goes on and Gresham cranks WAY back on the arm for the tap at 17:21.
Rating: B+. I REALLY liked this one as Lethal was his usual great self but Gresham was fired up and needed to prove himself. Couple that with giving him a target like the arm and there was almost no way Gresham could lose here. It was a heck of a performance too as Lethal was giving it all he had but fell short in the end. They played a great chess game with Lethal having to protect the arm but going for the win with the Injection but eventually giving out after Gresham worked over the arm as much as he could. This was great and one of the best things I’ve seen from ROH in a long time.
Post match, respect is shown.
We recap Silas Young/Vinny Marseglia vs. the Bouncers, with Young taking the place of an absent TK O’Ryan. The Kingdom has gone after the Bouncers for weeks now, including burning Beer City Bruiser with a cigar and pulling out his tooth. Tonight it’s a Bar Room Brawl, meaning anything goes.
Bouncers vs. Silas Young/Vinny Marseglia
Anything goes and Josh Woods is on commentary. The Bruiser jumps Marseglia from behind during his entrance and we start in a hurry. Milonas comes in to crush Young with a crossbody and Bruiser adds a cannonball off the apron. The Bouncers clean house and it’s Marseglia getting chokeslammed onto the apron. Here’s a pool cue but Bruiser hits the post by mistake, leaving Milonas to get stomped down in the corner.
Milonas gets zip tied to the top rope so Marseglia can hit a cutter on Bruiser as the beatdown is on. A Side Effect puts Bruiser on the floor and it’s already time for a table. Milonas gets sick of waiting and rips the zip tie off and it’s time to crush some villains. Marseglia gets backdropped onto Young and it’s a swinging side slam/running boot to the head to make it even worse.
Just for fun, it’s time to bring in a spare turnbuckle but Marseglia takes it away and hits Milonas in the head to draw some blood. The broken cue is driven into the cut until Bruiser makes a rather late save. Young cuts off what looked to be a Vader Bomb with a crotching….and Marseglia pulls out some darts. Yes DARTS, like you throw at a dart board, which he throws into Bruiser’s back. Milonas is back up with some chair shots, including crushing Young in the corner in said chair.
A Boss Man Slam gets two on Marseglia as we see how crushed the chair really is. It’s Young making the save with a fresh chair and Marseglia Swantons Milonas through a table at ringside in the huge crash. Bruiser Death Valley Drivers Young onto the apron, which is enough to get Woods to carry him to the back. A superplex drives Marseglia through two open chairs for two more and a DDT onto a chair finally puts Marseglia away at 14:24.
Rating: B-. The darts thing aside (seriously, egads man), this was the kind of brawl that it needed to be and the Bouncers getting a big win is the right call. It’s not like the Kingdom lost here so Marseglia losing isn’t that big of a deal. The Bouncers have grown on me by leaps and bounds in recent months and while they have a firm ceiling above them, this was a hard hitting brawl and right up their alley.
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TV Title: Shane Taylor vs. Flip Gordon vs. Tracy Williams vs. Dragon Lee
Taylor is defending, it’s one fall to a finish and PJ Black is on commentary. Lee is a surprise bonus challenger. Gordon and Williams slug it out to start and head to the floor, leaving Lee to bounce off of Shane. A hurricanrana sends Taylor outside so it’s Gordon taking his place, only to get dropkicked back down. Now it’s Williams coming in and getting dropkicked down as well, leaving Lee to hit the Tranquilo pose.
That’s broken up and it’s Gordon vs. Williams all over again. Williams gets the better of it and grabs a dragon sleeper with Shane making a fast save. Lee sends Shane into the corner for a slingshot kick to the face, only to miss a dropkick to Williams’ head. We haven’t had a dive in a bit so Lee takes out Williams and Gordon at the same time with a big crash.
Taylor cannonballs off the apron to take everyone out at once for the big knockdown. Back in and Gordon hits a tornado DDT on Taylor but Williams DDTs Gordon onto the top turnbuckle. Lee comes back in and starts throwing some suplexes but Taylor isn’t about to get taken down with a hurricanrana. Gordon and Williams get in a fight over a chair, allowing Gordon to knock him down. That’s about it though as Gordon walks into Greetings From 216 to retain Shane’s title at 8:26.
Rating: C. They did well enough here, though it wasn’t anything great. The problem here is Shane has been so dominant and there isn’t a feud for him anywhere. It’s just one match after another and while he is kind of awesome, there is only so much that he can do without a reason to watch him. Gordon vs. Williams has been good, but it’s been done to death at this point, which is often a problem around here.
Post match Lee stares Taylor down to set up the next match.
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Tag Team Titles: Lifeblood vs. Briscoes
Mark Haskins/Bandido are challenging for Lifeblood here and there is no need for a recap. Basically Lifeblood won a bunch of matches and they earned a title shot. Works for me. Haskins’ wife is in the front row as well. We get handshakes before the bell and it’s Mark and Haskins (oh that’s going to be annoying) going to the mat to start. Some grappling gives us a standoff which quickly breaks down into a slugout. With that going nowhere, they tag out to bring in Jay and Bandido.
Jay can’t do much so it’s Mark and Mark coming in again instead. Haskins takes him down in a hurry for a basement dropkick but it’s right back to Jay for a heck of a clothesline. Mark dropkicks his brother through the ropes by mistake and everything breaks down in a hurry. Bandido kicks Mark in the face up against the barricade but the Briscoes are right back with stereo kicks to the face.
Haskins gets posted right in front of the post and one of the regular chairs (as in it doesn’t fold) is thrown inside. Even with the different style, it’s fine enough for Mark to hit the big flip dive to take out the other three, including his brother. It’s time to bring out a table but Mark has to suplex Bandido inside instead of through the table. With that out of the way, we actually get back down to the regular tag team stuff, with Jay working on Bandido’s back.
Bandido gets a boot up in the corner though and it’s a double tag to the Marks. A Downward Spiral/DDT combination puts both champs down and it’s a Falcon Arrow into a frog splash for two on Mark. We even get a tag back to Jay for the neckbreaker on Bandido. Jay and Haskins trade running boots to the face and it’s a double knockdown. A brainbuster plants Bandido but it’s Haskins with the Sharpshooter on Mark.
The 21 Plex takes Jay down but the Brothers grab each other for the double save. Bandido superplexes Jay into a top rope double stomp to give Haskins two with Mark making another save. Mark clotheslines the heck out of Haskins for two more and the Jay Driller drops Haskins on his head….but he kicks out anyway. The crowd didn’t even react to the kickout because it was so ridiculous. Bandido breaks up the Doomsday Device so Jay gives him Death Valley Driver. Another Jay Driller to Haskins retains the title at 20:18.
Rating: B. This took some time to get going and the switching from tagging to brawling was a little odd, but at least they had a heck of a fight for a long time. Haskins and Bandido looked great here, but there is only so much that can be done with the Briscoes these days. They have been do ridiculous dominant with the titles that there is nothing left for them to do. That has been the case for about five years now and I don’t see them getting away from the belts anytime soon.
Post match freaking Bully Ray comes out to beat up Bandido and Haskins because we are still doing this. Tracy Williams runs in for the save but Flip Gordon comes in to take him down. Bully goes after Haskins’ wife and gets slapped so Haskins the husband is powerbombed through a table. This went on WAY too long.
We recap Matt Taven vs. Rush for the World Title. Rush is unstoppable but Taven beat him in a big match in Mexico. Then Rush started teasing a run at the World Title over the summer and it’s time for Taven to face another monster after beating several of them.
Ring of Honor World Title: Rush vs. Matt Taven
Taven is defending but Rush one ups him in a white suit. They slug it out at the bell with both of them hitting some hard kicks to the head. It’s already time to go outside with Rush being sent into the barricade and then the timekeeper’s table. A backdrop puts Taven down on the ramp and there’s a whip to even the count of trips into the barricade.
Rush looks over at his family in the front row but gets suplexed over the top and back to the floor for a nasty crash. Taven hits ANOTHER suicide dive (people come on with that already) and the Flight of the Conqueror to really rock Rush. Back in and some strikes to the head give Taven two, followed by a DDT for the same. Rush fights back and pulls off a piece of the barricade to toss into Taven’s….well everything really.
Some fish hooking ensues as Taven is in some sudden trouble. Rush slams him onto the timekeeper’s table, freaking Coleman out in a bad way. Back in and Rush hammers away, setting up Tranquilo to really pop the crowd. A missile dropkick connects, only to have Taven avoid the Swanton.
Rush is fine enough to hit something like a Jay Driller for two but Taven grabs the Climax for two of his own. A German suplex sends Taven into the corner but he’s up with a spear to cut off the Bull’s Horns. Three straight running knees to the head rock Rush so Taven goes up, only to get caught in the Tree of Woe. A pair of Bulls’ Horns gives us a new champion at 16:14.
Rating: B. They did what they needed to do here as Taven died as champion (though he was getting better near the end) and Rush was the hottest thing in the company. He survived Taven’s best here and beat him so what more do you want? This was a solid main event and gave us the ending it needed so I’m rather pleased.
Taven eventually shakes his hand and Rush celebrates with his dad and Dragon Lee (brother) to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. Again: when ROH stops the angles and just gets down to the wrestling, they can have a heck of a show. It would be nice if people came to see them, but at least they can do something like this. What we had here was a slow starts and then a bunch of good stuff in a row, making this one of the better ROH shows I’ve seen in a long time. Above all else I cared about what was going on and I couldn’t begin to tell you the last time that was the case. Heck of a show here and worth seeing if you’re an ROH fan. I’m sure there are some of them left out there.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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