Before I get into predictions for Death Before Dishonor XIV, I really must say that Ring of Honor, over the course of the past 24 months, has really gone out of its way to change perceptions. I’ve heard people argue that the promotion only hires “vanilla midgets”, but stars such as Michael Elgin, Moose and several others of different sizes, shapes and colors have made that statement false. Some have stated “the lack of promos/vignettes make the show inaccessible to casual wrestling fans”, however the All Night Express’ Make Wrestling Great vignettes have been pure gold and Chicken Shack segment with Mark Briscoe and Bobby Fish has topped any Miz TV segment I’ve ever seen. The biggest complaint about ROH has always been its production values. But Sinclair Broadcasting has really stepped up with financing a nicer set, stage, entrance ramp with a huge monitor for entrance videos, better lighting and an almost respectable looking announcers’ table (though I wish they’d mic the crowd better). In all, ROH looks like a true competing number three (or possibly number two) promotion in the United States. One of the things that ROH has always been great at is making big grudge matches and championship bouts mean something. And Friday night’s Death Before Dishonor card is stacked from top to bottom.
Here are a few of my predictions for the match card.
LIO RUSH vs. KAMAITACHI vs. DONOVAN DIJAK vs. JAY WHITE (#1 CONTENDER’S MATCH for the ROH TV TITLE): This match could wind up turning into a fustercluck quite fast. But the real focus I believe is going to be on Donovan Dijak. Ever since Michael Elgin has faded from the top of the card and Moose departed to TNA, Dijak is their one last monstrous big guy on the roster. I see him walking away as the number one contender because he would make a great foil for the winner of the next match.
MARK BRISCOE vs. BOBBY FISH (ROH TV TITLE): I do not hesitate in saying that Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, as ReDragon, has become one of my favorite tag teams in the 30 years I’ve been watching professional wrestling. They’ve won championship gold as a team and own their own as singles competitors. Fish has had quite the reign as TV Champ. However, Mark Briscoe is, dare I say, a total package wrestler. He is great in the ring, he can sell like no one’s business, has a look that’s as unique as it gets and every time he’s on the microphone, he provides pure entertainment gold. Mark has been with Ring of Honor for several years and it’s high time he broke from his brother, Jay’s, shadow. Briscoe is definitely walking away with the TV Title.
JAY BRISCOE vs. HANGMAN PAGE: Since turning on long time friend Colt Cabana and joining the Bullet Club, Adam Page has become a force to be reckoned with. The ever looming presence of the “Biz Cliz” may stack the deck beyond even the ability of the bad ass from Sandy Fork, By God, Delaware. However, the main event of the evening makes me believe that Bullet Club is not going to be given a clean sweep and this may be their one loss of the evening as Jay Briscoe emerges victorious.
SILAS YOUNG vs. KATSUYORI SHIBATA: “Pro Wrestling’s Last Real Man has quite the challenge in front of him in the form of the two time NEVER Openweight and former IWGP Tag Team Champion. Though Young is as tough as nails and always seems to have a backup plan for his backup plans, to quote JBL, everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. Shibata has probably the stiffest kicks of any athlete in New Japan Pro Wrestling or Ring of Honor. Silas Young will take Shibata to the limit, but I think the devastating and hard hitting offense of the former MMA star will allow Shibata to gain the pin fall, or quite possibly the knock out.
CHAOS (TORU YANO, ROCKY ROMERO & BERETTA) vs. BULLET CLUB (TAMA TONGA, TANGA LOA & YUJIRO): Bullet Club will likely be so deep in the arena that anyone caught in their crosshairs may be victim of a gang beat down. However, Yano, Romero and Beretta will not be the only Chaos members in the house. Okada will be in the building, which means Gedo will be there with him. I wouldn’t be surprised to also see the Stone Pitbull himself, Tomohiro Ishii, show up to help even the odds. Though Yano is one of the sneakiest players in the business today, the numbers may just be too much in the Bullet Club’s favor, so I think Chaos may suffer defeat in this instance.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. DALTON CASTLE: The Glam Rock-esque Castle has his toughest challenge to date in the IWGP Champion, Okada. The Rainmaker has been known to be quite generous in these cross promotional matches. However, as the champion of New Japan Pro Wrestling, he needs to be booked as strong as possible. Castle needs a big win to elevate him into main event status. If this was a title match, no question that Okada would walk away with the win. However, it seems that ROH is banking on Castle being a mega star in the near future, so I think, via interference by The Boys, Castle uses the distraction to get a quick roll up pin fall.
MICHAEL ELGIN & HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. TETSUYA NAITO & EVIL vs. THE ADDICTION (ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP): This is a tough one as I am a huge fan of all involved in this match. Elgin and Tanahashi are great competitors, but I don’t think that they have enough experience together to take this one. I’m a huge mark for Naito, and Evil is just as intimidating of a presence as it gets. But Daniels & Kazarian have been at this a long time, especially in tag team settings. They also know each other as well as they know themselves. I think the Addiction walk out of this match, retaining the ROH tag team titles.
ADAM COLE vs. JAY LETHAL (ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP): No doubt, this is the best feud on television right now. I normally loathe someone losing their hair in an angle unless it’s a stipulation in a pay-per-view match. But Adam Cole’s savage shaving of Lethal’s hair not only showed he’s willing to cross any line to get the ban lifted from him competing for the ROH World Title, but it brought out an inner rage that I didn’t know Lethal possessed. Lethal has had an impressive reign as World Champion. However, it is Adam Cole’s time. When I see him, I am reminded of Triple H circa 1999. He is the complete package, he is in the main event and he is hungry. I see Adam Cole walking away as the new Ring of Honor World Champion.
Do you agree or disagree with these predictions? And do you feel Death Before Dishonor will rank as one of the best pay-per-views of 2016?