Pre-Show: Alex Zayne Won the 16-Man Honor Rumble to Earn a Future ROH World Championship Opportunity
Ring of Honor refers to its pay-per-view pre-shows as "Hour One" because it's free on HonorClub and YouTube, but it's still a pre-show at the end of the day. The Honor Rumble almost took up the entire hour, so I was glad this one got some time and wasn't rushed like previous installments. This was a fairly basic Battle Royal that the crowd was mostly into early into before dying down once Danhausen (who is becoming a massive fan favorite) was eliminated. Flip Gordon coming out to his old entrance music and shaving his heel beard was completely random, but the commentators noted he may be suffering from amnesia after taking that brutal bump at Glory by Honor. Okay, then. Zayne coming as the last entrant and ultimately winning the whole thing was a cool surprise. He was criminally wasted in WWE, but at least he made the most of his appearance on 205 Live before being abruptly released. If he's signed with ROH, he can pick up right where he left off a year or two ago.
Pre-Show: Maria Kanellis-Bennett and ROH World Tag Team Champions La Faccion Ingobernable Addressed the Audience
These were two separate segments, but because they were so short, I figured I'd lump them into one paragraph. Maria came out with Quinn McKay to hype up the finals of the ROH Women's World Championship Tournament later in the night, while Kenny King and Dragon Lee taunted the crowd and mentioned that Rush wouldn't be on the show because he recently underwent surgery. Neither of the segments are worth going out of your way to see on the pre-show, but they effectively killed time before the main card started, if nothing else.
Dalton Castle def. Eli Isom
Castle, Isom and Dak Draper have been involved in angle together for the whole summer. It hasn't done much for me personally, but the hope is that Isom will benefit long-term from working a former ROH World Champion in Castle. They had a well-wrestled opener, and although I could've done without the interference from Draper, it made sense and protected Isom in defeat. It's nice to see Castle pick up some steam again after being booked like a stepping stone for so long after losing the world title.
Taylor Rust def. Jake Atlas
Rust previously worked as Tyler Rust in WWE NXT and Atlas was obviously there under the same name before both were released at the beginning of August. They clearly weren't doing anything with Atlas, but Rust's release surprised me because he was being protected in Diamond Mine. Nonetheless, I was really looking forward to this match knowing what they were capable of and that they were probably going to all out to show WWE what they missed out on. Unfortunately, it never had a chance to leave that first gear before Atlas apparently got hurt. He didn't kick out at one point and that final minute or two was awkward as hell. Hopefully he's okay and they'll be able to run it back one of these days.
Violence Unlimited (Homicide, Chris Dickinson and Tony Deppen) def. Lee Moriarty, LSG and John Walters
Moriarty just signed with AEW last week, so although there was no uncertainty surrounding the outcome, it was a fun six-man tag team affair. It was certainly a random match because there was no build for it on ROH TV, but I'm not complaining because of what we ended up getting. Violence Unlimited are an actual trio and obviously were the right choice to win. I liked the post-match angle with The Foundation coming out and Jay Lethal praising the Pure division. Of everyone he name-dropped, Bryan Danielson wasn't among them, and that's who I want to see make a one-off return to ROH more than anyone to mix it up with the Pure division guys.
The OGK def. The Briscoes
It's been years since we last saw these teams go at it, so it was cool seeing them back in the ring together again. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett haven't missed a beat as a team and this was a very entertaining encounter that didn't feel like it was almost 15 minutes. The OGK are still trying to carve out a spot for themselves in ROH's tag team division, so they needed this win, especially coming off Taven's high-profile loss to Vincent last month. The Briscoes reluctantly smacking their hands (in lieu of a handshake) afterward makes me think a rematch might be on the horizon.
Josh Woods def. Jonathan Gresham in a Pure Rules Match to Win the ROH Pure Championship
The Pure division has been one of the best parts of ROH programming since the relaunch a year ago and that was evident here. This was an excellent match. Gresham has elevated the division over the last year and has had some strong matches with a variety of opponents. I've always been high on Woods and I'm happy ROH is finally getting behind him as a singles star. The two restarts hurt the flow of this bout and weren't necessary, but the rest of this was damn good. I'm all for Gresham being moved up to the main event scene because that's where he belongs at this point and ROH needs fresh faces in that mix.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Shane Taylor Promotions (O'Shay Edwards and Soldiers of Savagery) def. La Faccion Ingobernable (Bestia del Ring and ROH World Tag Team Champions Kenny King and ROH World Television Champion Dragon Lee)
Shane Taylor was originally scheduled to compete for his team, but Kenny King battered him with a chair at ringside beforehand, so Edwards took his place. There wasn't too much about the match that stood out as special, but it was well-worked and they did enough to keep the crowd invested. By hitting King with the chair and costing his team the win, Taylor got his revenge for King not only attacking him here but also costing him the ROH World Championship earlier this year. There was never any follow-up to that at the time, so it's nice they're going back to it after all these months.
Rok-C def. Miranda Alize in the Finals of the ROH Women's World Championship Tournament to Become the First ROH Women's World Champion
I would've been fine with either of these women winning the title as they've both been impressive throughout the tournament and they're both new to ROH. They told the story that Alize has never beaten Rok-C before and that Alize had something to prove to her, which was weird because Rok-C was the babyface. They had a tough time of getting the crowd into the action early on, but I thought they both did a great job and gave it a hell of an effort. Those final few minutes were especially fantastic. Rok-C was put over big time during the tourney and was the logical choice to become champion. Fingers crossed ROH can maintain this momentum with their women's division.
ROH World Champion Bandido def. Brody King, Demonic Flamita and EC3 in a Four-Way Elimination Match
Despite all the talent involved, this felt like a flat main event to me, largely because they didn't pick up the pace until down the stretch. The execution of the EC3 elimination was weak and I never thought Flamita would win the title, but the interaction between Bandido and King was a blast. I just wish they got more time before they quickly went off the air. Post-match, Bandido and Gresham teased facing off eventually (sign me up!) and The Righteous stood on the stage to stare down Bandido, so I liked how they set up two potential challengers for Bandido going forward in addition to Zayne who earned his title shot for ROH TV on the pre-show.
Once again, having crowds back in the building for the ROH shows is a big plus, but can we please start having fans at the television tapings as well please? As for Death Before Dishonor, it was an easy thumbs-up show. The main event was surprisingly one of the weaker matches on the show, but the women killed it, Woods winning the ROH Pure Championship was an awesome moment, and there were a few other above-average matchups sprinkled throughout. It was your usual high-quality ROH event. The only issue is that they need to generate more buzz around the product and I truly believe forming some sort of a working relationship with AEW (or at least another company) would help with that.