ROH Death Before Dishonor XIV (8/19/2016)- Las Vegas, NV
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL ROH TV TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Kamaitachi vs. Jay White vs. Lio Rush vs. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana)- 6.75/10
A strong start to the PPV. It was definitely spotty, but there was some story in here as well, with the focus being on the two smaller feuds that made up this match, and Rush and Dijak did a spot that played off of the finish of their recent TV match. Everyone worked hard, and Dijak took what looked like quite the nasty bump on his head taking a poisonrana on the floor.
That being said, I don’t like the booking here with Dijak going on over, and especially by having him pin Rush. First of all, it feels like it completely negates the finish of their recent TV match where Rush pinned Dijak (although that already feels negated simply by both men being in this match). Secondly, if you wanted to give Dijak a TV Title shot, all you had to do was say that he is cashing in the TV Title shot that he earned for winning last year’s Top Prospect Tournament. Surely his not choosing to use the title shot against Lethal last year in exchange for joining the House of Truth doesn’t mean he legally has to forfeit the title shot. This is ROH. If he earned the shot, then he earned it. Furthermore, shouldn’t Dijak still be feuding with Jay Lethal? They had a match on TV in which he got screwed by interference from the Young Bucks, and then the feud just ends? Continuing this feud during Lethal’s babyface turn is just about the only thing that makes Dijak’s otherwise completely random heel turn make any sense. And if you weren’t going to continue the feud, why not let ROH World Champion Jay Lethal get a clean win on TV and just have the Bullet Club attack AFTER the match?
Anyway, the point is that I think that everyone involved as well as the TV Title would have been better off with someone else picking up the win because as long as Dijak isn’t pinned, you wind up with two deserving challengers instead of one.
SILAS YOUNG PROMO- You’d think they would have shown this at some point ON TV to help sell people on this otherwise completely disappointing match announcement for Shibata.
Anyway, Silas said some… interesting things. Basically, he bitched that every time there is a PPV, the New Japan guys come in and take the ROH guys’ spots. I say that this is interesting because this is essentially the kayfabe way of saying that the New Japan guys have been used as a crutch to book these PPVs, relying solely on their names to draw for the PPV, even going so far as to throw them in completely uninteresting matches against random ROH midcarders as opposed the dream matches people would like to see (and this match is a perfect example of that) - and even perhaps more to the point, instead of spending effort building up matches for the ROH guys or doing anything to allow any characters to actually develop. And this is the exact accusation that fans have been throwing at ROH’s booking pretty much all year. Silas, as you’ll recall, is the grumpy old man character with a narrow view of what wrestling should be who is always behind the times and wrong on every issue. Some editorializing coming from Delirious?
KATSUYORI SHIBATA vs. SILAS YOUNG- 3.75/10
They do nothing for a while. Then we get the spot where Shibata just sits there and lets the other guy hit him in the head and doesn’t sell it at all… and I can’t help but wish that Silas would just shoot kick him in the head as hard as possible and knock this moron out. IT’S A KAYFABE FIGHT! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE TRYING TO WIN! Sitting there with your legs crossed and letting the other guy hit you in the face as hard as he wants is the exact opposite of that, and you not even selling it makes it even worse. If I had a mind-control ray and a time machine, I would go back in time and make Dave Meltzer give that stupid Ishii-Shibata G1 match from 2013 a negative rating, and professional wrestling would be MUCH better off.
So Shibata gets his one or two spots in, then lets Silas beat him up for a bit, kicking out of all of Silas’ moves (which had no suspense whatsoever because no one thought Silas had a snowball’s chance of winning), then wins with a sleeper hold and the penalty kick. The match went less than ten minutes in which Shibata didn’t sell a good half of Silas’ offense, meanwhile, the few moves that Shibata needed to hit to put Silas down for, Silas bumped all over for him. There was a point right after Shibata finished his big spot where he no-sold a million of Silas’ forearms where he then got up and gave Silas ONE forearm which Silas sold by stumbling back about a quarter of the way across the ring and falling on his butt in the corner. This would be the same Silas Young who we just saw defeat ACH in a Last Man Standing match that went over twenty. I would 100% not blame Silas if after this match he had just quit and gone to TNA (also… Silas vs. the current X-Division undercard would be AWESOME).
After the match, Silas offers a handshake but Shibata responds by slapping him in the face. Silas responds in kind, and then they shake hands because fighting spirit. F*ck that sh*t. Does anyone really think that Silas Young’s character would shake a man’s hand after having his attempt at sportsmanship rebuffed via slap across the face?
CHAOS (Toru Yano & Roppongi Vice) vs. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & the Guerrillas of Destiny)- -1/10 (yes, negative).
There’s a fan in a Bullet Club shirt trying to high-five Trent Beretta. What an idiot. Have some respect for kayfabe, dude.
Caprice Coleman did guest commentary on this match. He proceeded to complain that these guys, who are all New Japan guys (and undercard scrubs at that) were getting a match on this ROH PPV while he and his stablemates in the Cabinet were not. Well… that just seems to prove Silas’ point now doesn’t it. It’s never a good sign when your heels’ kayfabe criticism of the booking reflects how a large portion of the fanbase feels.
WOW! And speaking of fan criticisms being echoed by the heel, Caprice went on a fantastic little rant about how they keep “rebuilding” Bullet Club with all of these “second-rate” guys when in reality it has been a “dead horse” for a long time. Preach on, Brother Caprice! (And if you don’t think this is true, ask yourselves why Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks have put so much effort into rebranding themselves and themselves alone as “The Elite” instead of just being Bullet Club.)
And while we’re on the subject of Caprice’s commentary... if he and ANX are doing the Trump gimmick and Caprice is complaining that the Cabinet isn’t on the card but these New Japan guys are, how do you not have him say one single word about ROH taking jobs from hard-working Americans and replacing them with foreign labor? We’ve got a match that includes two Tongans, two Japanese dudes, and a Cuban, on a card that also includes a bunch more Japanese dudes, a New Zealander, and a Canadian… and Caprice says not one word about this. If you’re going to do the Trump gimmick, you might as well be clever with it.
Now on to the disaster that was this match:
The first spot in the match is Trent and Yano running out of the ring so that Rocky Romero has to start the match, even though he doesn’t want to. The guys we’re supposed to be cheering are cowards, which is apparently supposed to be funny. This just makes me want to root for Bullet Club.
Comedy ensues. Then, after a few minutes of normal wrestling, Yano starts doing his usual bullsh*t. He goes to take off the turnbuckle pad but he can’t, so Rocky Romero gets him something from under the ring to cut the pad with. All of this is happening right in front of Nigel McGuinness, who says absolutely nothing. Nigel’s excuse, when Caprice finally goaded him into saying something, was that the referee is the guy in charge so it’s up to him to stop them from cheating… which is technically true, but it’d be nice if the babyface authority figure didn’t come off like he was turning a blind eye to blatant cheating simply because the babyfaces are doing it.
They then proceed to use the PAD as a weapon, and actually sell for this thing like it’s any other weapon. If it is such a devastating weapon, you’d think the referee wouldn’t let them use it, but he does. After more dumb comedy with Yano being so obsessed with hitting people with a f*cking pad that he almost clobbers his own teammates, Bullet Club get the pad and proceed to use it as a weapon as well. Yano eventually gets the win via low blow and cradle and on Yujiro, so not only do we have the babyfaces winning via cheating, but we also have Bullet Club, who are supposed to be the top heel stable, losing a completely pointless match to undercard losers in a foreign stable that isn’t involved in any ROH storylines at all.
This match was everything wrong with ROH right now, from its conception to the booking to the execution in the ring. First and foremost, it shouldn’t have even happened at all. It’s a completely pointless match on a PPV. There was no build whatsoever going into it, and even if there was it still wasn’t going to draw a dime. It was done solely to get more New Japan guys on the show, and as a result, it did nothing but eat up time that other matches on the card could have used. You’d think Delirious would have learned his lesson after only giving “the biggest rematch in ROH history” world title match main event a mere thirteen minutes on the last PPV, but apparently not. This was a pointless undercard match that you can see about five times a month on New Japan World, but ROH decided to put it on a three-hour show that they are asking people to pay three and a half times as much to see.
Then we get to the booking. If Bullet Club are supposed to be your top heels, there was absolutely no reason for them to lose here. None whatsoever. Roppongi Vice have some value as a unit, but they just jobbed to the Bucks on TV so they lose nothing from losing this match, and Yano has no value whatsoever, so why the hell didn’t you have Bullet Club beat them? Giving the Bullet Club B Team a solid win is a good idea, and would almost justify having this on the PPV (although I’d still argue it would be better to do it as a dark match and release it on the DVD). To have them lose, though- and especially with Yano getting the pin- is just totally asinine.
Then we get to the actual execution. First of all, you should NEVER waste PPV time with bullsh*t comedy, which is what this was. Secondly, ROH shouldn’t be doing comedy on TV or PPV (and rarely at house shows) because they’re freakin’ Ring of Honor. Something else that shouldn’t be happening in ROH is rampant cheating like this, especially by babyfaces, and especially with the babyface announcers not selling it as problematic. Now, when a heel cheats, what makes that any worse than Yano here? And yet the babyface announcers are going to crow about how horrible and terrible it is that this heel cheated despite their total silence here, so they’re going to come off as complete and total hypocrites.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- yes, it continues. Bullet Club attacks Yano after the match and we get a brawl. If Bullet Club was going to beat him up after the match anyway, why not let them win? Right now I really can’t blame them for beating Yano up because he cheated them out of a victory. Adam Page comes out to try to hang Yano with his noose, but unfortunately Jay Briscoe comes out to make the save to set up their match… but they didn’t even use this to get off to a hot start. As soon as Briscoe showed up, Page bailed to the outside to pace around while Briscoe with his IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title belt, essentially defeating any purpose to this. Delirious’ time-management skills are worse than a stoned college student on the weekend of the big game.
NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH: Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Page- 8.5/10
They start off by going forehead to forehead and shouting at each other. Right. Because it’s not like Adam Page has stabbed Jay in the back and attempted to murder his brother in the past three months.
Kevin Kelly said, almost word for word, that the reason that Adam Page joined the Bullet Club and became “the hangman” is because he lost a No DQ’s match to Jay Briscoe last September and he’s still sore about it. WHAT THE F*CK?! How does that make ANY sense? Putting aside, for the moment, the extremely important fact that Page spent the seven months after that match turning babyface and feuding with BJ Whitmer (for equally clumsily booked reasons), are we supposed to believe that Page was so angry at Jay Briscoe for beating him back in September that he went and joined Bullet Club and started hanging people… and yet despite having just laid out Jay Briscoe when he turned, the first person he went to try to murder was CHRIS SABIN?
Do you know who HASN’T given us an explanation for why Adam Page joined Bullet Club? Adam Page. Instead we’ve got Kevin Kelly spouting completely nonsensical bullsh*t like this. This is not the first time Kevin has said something this f*cking stupid, and yet he has remained at the announcers’ table the whole time. The fact that he has not been replaced despite saying things like this on an almost weekly basis shows that the people in charge either don’t care enough about the product to ensure that the announcer isn’t saying moronic sh*t that contradicts storylines, or shows that they’re not smart enough to realize that this contradicts storylines. In either case, that means that they, too, need to be replaced.
Why did the referee untie Jay Briscoe’s hands? If he thinks Jay can’t defend himself, he should declare Page the winner. If he doesn’t, he shouldn’t be doing things to affect the outcome of the match. Even worse, when Jay tied Page in a similar predicament later on, the referee just stood there and let Jay beat the sh*t out of him. None of Page’s Bullet Club buddies came out to help him, either, even though this is a No Holds Barred match, because they’re really only a unit when the script calls for it.
Those few problems aside, this was quite the violent match, with lots of weapon use and both guys winding up with extremely nasty cuts from a table bump (Page looked to have a chunk taken out of his knee). These two definitely delivered here, and made good use of the storyline elements of both the noose and the Right of Passage off the apron through the table.
Most notably and- for the long term- most importantly, Page won, and he did so completely cleanly. The booking of Jay Briscoe over the past few years (but especially since he lost the world title for the second time) has been absurd. He has been booked more strongly than most of the champions have been. This was only the four time he has been pinned or made to submit since losing the world title last June (and is actually thus the fourth time he has been pinned or made to submit since March 1st of 2013). Page, meanwhile, was turned babyface for no reason, defeated BJ Whitmer, then immediately turned heel again and since joining the Bullet Club has done the job in almost every single match he has been in. In fact, I believe this is his first win in ROH since his big turn. So you can see why I was concerned that he was going to do the job here as well, but thankfully Delirious made the right decision for once and put Page over clean.
DALTON CASTLE PROMO- pretty good. I laughed my ass off when Dalton demanded to know who gave the Boys the Okada dollars, and each boy immediately pointed at the other.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys)- 6.5/10
They were having a fine professional wrestling match. Then they interrupted it to do some dumb crap where the Boys got into the ring and started obeying Okada’s instructions to pose with him and they even high-fived him. During the entire minute that the Boys were in the ring, the referee did not once tell them to leave, or even seem to notice that they were there… and all for what? For a comedy pop in the middle of a serious wrestling match? For a spot where Dalton’s supposedly loyal Boys will cheer for his opponent if instructed to (this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, either)? If they’re willing to do cheer for Dalton’s opponent for no reason other than the opponent told them to, then quite frankly they’re not good enough for Dalton Castle. Dalton deserves servants who are more loyal to him.
At the finish, when Dalton took a Tombstone Piledriver, the Boys did the whole “Oh! I can’t watch!” deal and covered their eyes with their fans… which, again, is f*cking ridiculous when you consider that they were content to stand there and cheer while he ate a diving elbow drop. Then, after Okada hit the Rainmaker, one of the Boys was actually jumping excitedly along with the count, as if he was happy that Dalton was about to lose. So much frustration that would be avoided if they could just resist the urge to do random comedy spots in the middle of a match. At this point it seems pretty clear that Dalton is also to blame. It’s a shame because he’s a great wrestler, but he doesn’t seem to have any idea how to play this character without going back to comedy (and Delirious not booking to actually do anything hasn’t helped, either).
BRISCOE-FISH VIDEO PACKAGE- wow. It would have been a million times better let Bobby Fish cut this promo on TV and let Mark cut a promo reacting to it than to do the atrocious Fish Tank/Chicken Shack segment they did on TV two weeks ago.
ROH TV TITLE MATCH: Bobby Fish(c) vs. Mark Briscoe- 7.5/10
Fish worked over both Mark’s knee and back. Mark showed a lot of heart fighting through the pain to try to win the title.
ADDICTION PROMO- good
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Addiction(c) vs. Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & EVIL)- 6.5/10
This was one of those “everybody get your sh*t in” three ways that was fun and exciting, but nothing particularly great. The closest thing we had to a story was what has been the unfortunate portrayal of the Addiction for this entire year: bumbling dunderheads who wind up looking like fools and bumping into each other every third time that they try something, and are completely undeserving champions. There are some companies in which that would work for a short period of time, but ROH is not one of them, and even if it was, you can’t do it when one of the guys involved is Christopher Daniels, who ROH spent the first fourteen years of its existence treating like a legend.
In this match, Addiction escaped with the belts when Daniels blindly tagged Tanahashi in right before Tanahashi hit EVIL with a High Fly Flow, then did a jackknife pin using both his own body weight and that of the confused Tanahashi to hold EVIL down. I found this finish frustrating not just for the continued weak portrayal of the Addiction but also because they had spent the whole match ignoring the need for tags, and then it suddenly became extremely important and the finish. It was at the point where even Nigel McGuinness and Matt Taven were calling it out on commentary during the match.
Speaking of Taven, he did guest commentary for this match. He added nothing whatsoever. It felt like he was trying to get himself over at the expense of the match, which is what he has done pretty much every time he has been on commentary since the middle of the spring. I really hope they didn’t fly him all the way out to Vegas for this weekend just so he can bury people on commentary and not doing anything that will actually lead to something for when he is ready to return. They brought Taven back WAY too early. They brought him back to do commentary in March, knowing that his prognosis was to return in the fall. It’s the middle of August and I’m already very well sick of him, as he hasn’t said anything constructive since the middle of May.
There were also too many points during this match where they would cut a replay (which was a full-screen feature) and as a result we would miss an important spot. Can we please get a split-screen instant replay like every other company has?
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Jay Lethal(c) vs. Adam Cole- 8/10
The story of the match was that Lethal would dominate the match but then would get so angry at Cole that he would make a mistake, which Cole would capitalize on. Both men also worked over their opponent’s head. I can see some people really disliking Lethal kicking out of so many of Cole’s finishers (especially chain together). I didn’t like it, but it didn’t bother me that much. Based on the clock I figured this match had a good four or five minutes left, so I was shocked when it ended so early.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- infuriating.
Cole celebrates. No one from Bullet Club comes out to join him. The reason no one came out to join him was so that Kyle O’Reilly could run down the ramp and take Cole out after Cary handed Cole the belt. I didn’t like this on two levels. Firstly, this means that they had Kyle O’Reilly in the building, but didn’t book him on their PPV (the pointless six-man and the Silas vs. Shibata match went a combined twenty minutes (plus the time between them). If you had cut those matches you could have had a twenty-five minute blow-away Shibata vs. O’Reilly match which probably would have sold more PPVs than any match on this card!
But instead they kept Kyle off of the card, all so that they could do this “surprise” segment at the end of the show… which leads me to my second point: there was no point in doing this tonight. There was nothing accomplished by doing this segment here that couldn’t have been accomplished by doing this segment at tomorrow’s TV tapings, and by doing it here, all you do is take time away from your main event.
(Oh. And of course the same fans who had been cheering Cole a second ago all popped when Kyle O’Reilly laid Adam Cole out.)
This PPV was really more like two shows. There was the ROH PPV, which consisted of the opener, the Briscoe vs. Page match, the TV Title match, and the world title match, and then there was the random ROH/New Japan house show in the middle of it, with a bunch of pointless, disappointing matches with no build whatsoever that no one wanted to see in the first place that dragged the card down. The ROH side of the show was awesome. The ROH/New Japan side was the perfect example of what a PPV shouldn’t be.
One would hope that Delirious will learn from such an experience and save his PPV spots for either important ROH matches or ROH vs. New Japan dream matches… but seeing as how this is already the second time he’s made this mistake this year, I seriously doubt that he will. The good news is that this show was timed out a lot better than previous ROH PPVs have been this year, although the six-man getting more time than Silas vs. Shibata or the opener was ridiculous (and, even more so when you realize that we could have had over twenty minutes of Kyle vs. Shibata but got two pointless ten minute matches that no one cared about instead).
One other thing I have to touch on is the crowd. Tonight’s crowd sucked. They spent too much time doing stupid sh*t like chanting for the Boys when their attention should be on Okada vs. Castle, chanting “man down!” after Page took a hard bump on the ramp, or trying to get over stupid chants like “Peacock City” after Dalton did ONE lone singular suplex. The “LET’S GO CHICKEN!”-“LET’S GO FISH!” dueling chant was infuriating, and even more so when they tried to start it up again and it was the same voices trying to start both chants. This was a classic example of a crowd trying to get themselves over.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. When Caprice Coleman complained about ANX/The Cabinet not being booked on a second straight PPV, Kevin Kelly suggested that the problem was within themselves.
They’re 6-2 in their last eight matches, with their only losses coming to teams that were getting tag title shots!
Look… I don’t expect Kevin Kelly to have these things memorized. I didn’t have them memorized, either… but I was spurred on to do the research based on my recollection of them winning a bunch of matches on TV recently. The real problem is that this angle is so nebulous and so directionless that Kevin Kelly has no recourse but to respond by saying crap like this that turns out to be untrue and results in the babyface play-by-play guy ignoring the importance of wins and losses (which should never happen), because if he doesn’t, then the alternative answer is to admit that babyface commissioner Nigel McGuinness is ignoring wins and losses, which is arguably worse.
2. Kevin Kelly wonders if Mark Briscoe cutting his hair before the last PPV has signaled a transition to a more serious nature.
Did you not see the segment of the TV showed designed to build up this very match where he alleged that Bobby Fish was a Communist agent and asked if Fish had “married an Ethiopian midget” during ROH’s last trip to Vegas?
3. After both Bobby Fish and Mark Briscoe hit a signature Roderick Strong move soon after the other, Nigel McGuinness told us that these two guys were “good friends” of Roderick’s. These would be the last two guys who Roddy feuded with in ROH, and who he spent the first half of the year being a dick to.