REVIEW: ROH – Death Before Dishonor XVIII (2021)

P Pay-Per-View event by Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH)

I run hot and cold with Ring of Honor (ROH) Wrestling. I’ve actually seen them live a handful of times, and they really know how to pull of a solid live show, but their TV stuff has had it’s ups and downs (for me at least). The Covid-19 Global Pandemic caused a lot of wrestling companies to really re-think how they produce content and what they are, and ROH used that time to basically re-invent themselves. With an emphasis on the Pure Title being basically equal to, if not surpassing their World Heavyweight Title, ROH felt like it had a breath of fresh air it was sorely lacking for a bit. I think this was my first Pay-per-view event for them in a LONG time, and truthfully I was pleasantly surprised.

ROH has always had issues trying to be somewhere between a pure work rate company and having entertainment in the mix. at times, this can either go one direction causing it to become a boring scripted “sport”, or the other to where old out-of-touch has-beens try to re-capture what worked 40 years ago, nearly destroying the company in the process. For the longest time, I felt that ROH was nothing more than NJPW developmental, having no unique character for itself, then it started to slowly happen. Young stars like Danhausen, Johnathan Gresham, Rush, and Dragon Lee breathed new life into the roster. Established legends like PCO, La Bestia, and even Bully Ray helped train these guys to be way better wrestlers, and now it’s a new beginning for them – something I am excited for.

The Card:

  • 1P Alex Zayne won by last eliminating PJ Black 16-man Honor Rumble for an ROH World Championship match 32:07
  • 2 Dalton Castle defeated Eli Isom by pinfall Singles match 9:16
  • 3 Taylor Rust defeated Jake Atlas by submission Singles match 6:55
  • 4 Violence Unlimited (Homicide, Chris Dickinson, and Tony Deppen) defeated John Walters, LSG, and Lee Moriarty by pinfall Six-man tag team match 10:58
  • 5 The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) defeated The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe) by pinfall Tag team match 13:07
  • 6 Josh Woods defeated Jonathan Gresham (c) by pinfall Pure Rules match for the ROH Pure Championship 20:01
  • 7 Shane Taylor Promotions (Jasper Kaun, Moses Maddox, and O’Shay Edwards) (c) defeated La Faccion Ingobernable (Dragon Lee, Kenny King, and La Bestia del Ring) by pinfall Six-man tag team match for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship 11:27
  • 8 Rok-C defeated Miranda Alize by pinfall Tournament final to become the inaugural ROH Women’s World Champion 18:13
  • 9 Bandido (c) defeated Brody King and Demonic Flamita and EC3 Four-Way Elimination match for the ROH World Championship 17:09

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star rating or anything. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

Danhausen is always my favorite:

I don’t care what he’s doing – Danhausen is probably my favorite guy in ROH right now. He took part in a Battle Royale to determine one of the next contenders for Bandido’s ROH World Heavyweight Title. I knew going into this that he was nowhere close to being “the guy” to get the title shot, bit it was cool to see him try. When some of his allies like PCO came out and started fighting amongst themselves, I was cracking up – making the entire Battle Royale really fun. This match is free on YouTube, and I have linked it below if you want to bask in all the silliness.

Jake Atlas vs Taylor Rust:

Hot off the heels of yet another string of WWE firings, we knew that two un-announced wrestlers from NXT were likely to show up, but the question was – who? The answer was Jake Atlas and Taylor Rust, listed as a special exhibition match of sorts. I’m not sure if either one has officially signed with ROH, but they put on a hell of a match here, and I hope they did. While it sucks being witness to WWE screwing guys like this over, it’s also cool to see where they land afterwards, and what sort of impact they have on their new company.

Nice Send Off for Lee Moriarty / Pure Division speech:

Lee Moriarty has signed with AEW, but was allowed to finish up some commitments beforehand, one being this PPV, and another being an upcoming MLW show. After the tag match he was in, Jay lethal came out and delivered an impassioned speech about the Pure Division and what it means both to wrestling, and to the fans that may not be used to anything like it. He also talked about his sadness in letting Moriarty go, and that he wished him the best of luck. I’ve seen stuff like this result in the person leaving getting boo’d or treated badly, so to see the respect of the fans and ROH itself was awesome. Fingers crossed AEW treats him right!

Gresham vs Woods:

I’m not too familiar with Josh Woods, but I LOVE Jonathan Gresham in ROH. This was easily the MOTN for me, and goes to show just how different a Pure Title match can be. Ending in a double pin, it seemed these two were perfectly matched, but Woods was able to edge a win out, dethroning Gresham’s LOOOONG run as champ. Woods was made to look like a million bucks here, can’t wait to see who he wrestles next.

First ROH Women’s Champ Crowned:

I’m glad ROH FINALLY has a women’s championship – I was always baffled that every other company, no matter how small, had one but not them. Rok-C and Miranda Alize put on a hell of a match, and were awarded a full 30 minute timeslot. It was cool to see Alize get time to show what she can actually do, I usually just see her doing AEW Dark marches where she isn’t allowed to show off too much.

The Main Event:

I didn’t realize Bandido had become champion prior to this, which is really cool. He’s one of those guys that ROH really needed to build up and nurture, and I’m excited he’s been given that chance. That said, my favorite competitor here was EC3, and his path of destruction continuing through ROH as he gets ready for Free The Narrative II. Getting himself purposefully disqualified was interesting, and I wonder where that is going to lead him. Bandido pulled it out once again, making a perfect cap to an already solid show.

Conclusion:

I enjoyed this show a lot, and while not perfect it exceeded my expectations. There were some guys on the card that I am not a fan of in the slightest bit (I won’t upset anyone, so I’ll keep that to myself!), but all-in-all pretty much everyone did a solid job, and the whole thing felt BIG. I think that’s the biggest hurdle for ROH as they have had the rug pulled out from under them more times than I care to count, and they need to regain some of their ground. If you haven’t already watched this, it’s highly recommended.

The First hour of the show was posted for free on YouTube

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