5 Talking Points From ROH Death Before Dishonor 2022

It’s strange times for ROH currently. Without a TV deal, having to claim moments of space where they can on AEW programming, only a couple of feuds have been allowed to build: it’s not a set-up that suggests a satisfying result on PPV. And yet, Death Before Dishonor 2022 was a major success, a show that saw excellent wrestling from bell to bell and was a completely fun watch throughout. There was drama, title changes, and a hint for a big future feud. The big spots hit hard and there wasn’t a bad match on the show.

Just don’t mention how many predictions I got wrong!

Here are the 5 biggest talking points coming out of Death Before Dishonor 2022.

1. Claudio Castagnoli is the New ROH World Heavyweight Champion

For years, fans have been saying that Claudio Castagnoli deserves to be a World Heavyweight Champion, and rightly so. Well, now we fans have gotten what we wished for, as Claudio Castagnoli beat Jonathan Gresham to claim the ROH World Heavyweight Championship.

It was a beautiful moment; Claudio looked genuinely thrilled as he raced around the ring excitedly with his newly-won belt, and pretended in good humor to trip back up the stairs to the stage. William Regal looked genuinely proud of his charge, which was nice to say.

The match itself was very good, but with a few qualifiers. It was noticeable that Gresham seemed subdued as he made his entrance, which could be a sign he wasn’t happy to drop the belt yet, or it could mean nothing at all. A more curious thing was that the match went on first. Now, I get that FTR are probably the biggest and most popular thing about the current iteration of ROH, and justifiably so, and because of the epic layout and length of that match it made sense for that to headline, but surely, when you want to reestablish your brand, and it’s a big occasion such as Claudio’s first title reign, you would put it on at least in the sem-final position?

Also, the match seemed to finish suddenly at the eleven-minute mark, just when it was starting to get really good. I’m not saying that the match needed to be thirty minutes or anything, when the World Title match was the second shortest match on the main card, something isn’t quite right in the booking.

Still, at the same time, this definitely was very good and Claudio will make a great World Champion. What this means for Jonathan Gresham remains to be seen, but otherwise, congratulations to the new champion.

2. If FTR are the World’s Best Tag Team, The Briscoes are the Second

The Briscoes hoist up a prone Dax Harward at Death Before Dishonor 2022

To my surprise, after the Briscoes were confirmed to have signed a full-time contract with ROH, FTR retained the ROH World Tag Team Champions in a stellar two-out-of-three-falls. There was technical wrestling, wild brawling, big moves, near-falls, blood, and a bat-shit crazy spot involving a back suplex off the apron through a table at ringside. While I possibly preferred their match at Supercard of Honor 2022 a little more, their Death Before Dishonor 2022 battle was a dramatic encounter that will still be in many people’s match of the year lists, and justifiably so. This has perhaps been the feud of the year so far, and that’s because they mainly let the wrestling do the talking.

But the art of wrestling has always been about the art of cooperation. You’re only as good as your opponents allow you to be. And FTR have had excellent dance partners in The Briscoes. Everyone knows how good The Briscoes are and what their reputation has been built on, but the feud with FTR has allowed them to shine too. They were able to match the FTR boys here when it came to mat work, forced Cash and Dax into upping their game into wild brawling, and pushed FTR further into face status by having them be the first to cut off a beaten-down Dax’s comeback by attacking Cash on the apron. They helped FTR to look like a million bucks and looked priceless in the process.

3. Prince Nana Has Bought Out Tully Blanchard Enterprises

Is Tully Blanchard’s AEW contract not being renewed? On the Zero-Hour pre-show, Prince Nana made a surprise appearance, announcing that he had bought, with the assistance of his rich Ghanian family, the entirety of Tully Blanchard Enterprises. No appearance from Tully Blanchard. No explanation as to why Tully would even want to sell. It suggests that Tully might have been dropped, or that something is going on behind the scenes, especially as it was only a couple of weeks ago Tully was there to welcome Jonathan Gresham into the fold when he turned on Lee Moriarty.

Nana would come out with Brian Cage & The Gates of Agony for their victory over Tony Deppen, Alex Zayne, and Blake Christian, as well as coming out part way through Jonathan Gresham’s match with Claudio Castagnoli. Prince Nana is certainly a good addition and he’s a strong mouthpiece, which is something Brian Cage will benefit from. I don’t know what the plans are for the group moving forward or what they’ll be called, but it will be interesting to see where things go from here.

4. Rush Proves That Blood Isn’t Thicker Than Victory

Rush gets presented to the audience at Death Before Dishonor 2022

Rush has recently been seen supporting Andrade in AEW, but it’s good to see him in the ring as his man, doing what he does best: wrestle. It was great to see Dragon Lee appear in Tony Khan’s ROH as well, although it was intriguing seeing the brothers booked to go against each other.

It started on good terms actually, with the brothers turning the Code of Honor handshake into a massive hug. This was to be a friendly match, so it seemed, and so it was for the most point: if you can call a match with a crazy suicide dive through the ropes into a table friendly! Brotherly love and all that, I guess…

That is, until Dragon Lee hit The Incinerator, leaving Rush in a crumpled heap. Dragon Lee, clearly concerned about his brother, went over to check, only to find himself knocked into the corner and hit with The Bulls Horns by Rush for the win! Wow.

A great match, but if Rush is willing to do that to his brother, what will he be willing to do to the rest of the ROH and AEW roster?

5. The Pure and Women’s Championships Put On Two of the Best Matches of the Night

While a lot of focus on ROH is on the main event scene currently, Death Before Dishonor 2022 proved that other parts of the card are just as well catered for. In particular, the Pure Championship match between Wheeler Yuta and Daniel Garcia and the Women’s Championship battle between Mercedes Martinez and Serena Deeb were very, very good matches that put the focus, as you would expect in ROH, on high-quality grappling and to keep the extra-curricular activity to a minimum.

Yuta and Garcia put on a hard-hitting contest that proved that Pure wrestling can appeal to a wider audience if adjusted slightly to make it more dramatic and accessible (me, I love pure wrestling, but if this brings more people over to the cause, then I’m all for it). Mercedes and Serena, meanwhile, put on a great wrestling encounter, with some surprisingly hard-hitting moments that saw women’s wrestling booked much better than its counterpart in AEW. Hopefully, that will continue as ROH moves into its future, whatever that may look like.

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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