Baltimore, MD – 9.10.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman.
With CM Punk returning to pro wrestling for AEW, and since we are on the precipice of this year’s Death Before Dishonor, the September 7th edition of ROH Week By Week featured a replay of CM Punk’s ROH World title victory over Austin Aries at “Death Before Dishonor III.” You can check out my review of that entire show here. You can also check out my review of the Summer of Punk compilation, and the Year Four compilation, both which feature this match.
The September 8th edition of Women’s Division Wednesday provided a dark match from “Glory By Honor XVIII, Night 1” where the two finalists in the Women’s title tournament teamed up:
Miranda Alize & Rok-C vs. Chelsea Green & Sumie Sakai
This is Green’s ROH in-ring debut. Alize’s first use of the ropes for offense goes well, but a flub sees Sakai counter with a powerbomb. After a series of dives from everyone involved in the ring, Alize escapes a leg submission from Sakai and headbutts her away. After trading pin attempts, Green gets angry due to Rok-C’s confidence. Although she is able to get in a ripcord elbow on Rok-C after Rok-C misses Kneecolepsy, Rok-C stops Green with an STO and hits Kneecolepsy for two. Alize dropkicks Green in the corner, but Rok-C misses running double knees. Green gives Alize a back cracker and curbstomps her into the bottom turnbuckle, but Alize grabs the bottom rope to stop the pin. Alize drops Green with a twisting neckbreaker after taking a beating from Green and Sakai. Rok-C gets the tag, wiping out both Sakai and Green with a high crossbody. She also drops them with a DDT/side Russian leg sweep combo. Alize tags in but is popped up by Sakai into a pumping knee from Green. Rok-C sends Green and Sakai into one another. Alize drops Sakai with a ripcord cutter and hits the Drive By for the pin at 8:05. This got off to a rough start but cleaned up real quick. Alize brought a great intensity and charisma, and Rok-C is just unbelievably crisp and concise for a rookie. Her exchange with Green was the highlight of the match, no doubt, and Green deserves kudos for her role in the match too. This was a good match to get a potential new audience acclimated with the two Women’s Division championship tournament finalists. **¾
Now onto this week’s episode!
MexiSquad (Bandido & Rey Horus) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
The Briscoes are currently climbing the tag team ranks, and defeating the world champion in a tag match would certainly help their ascent. Bandido also pinned Jay Briscoe in his first singles main event two years ago. The two of them wrestle to a stalemate, but during the commercial break, the Briscoes gained the advantage on Horus. The Briscoes purposefully take MexiSquad to the floor to beat them both down. Back in the ring, Horus rolls under a double clothesline and tags in Bandido who wipes out the Briscoes with a springboard crossbody. Jay kicks out of a running shooting star press from Bandido. A big boot from Jay turns things back in the Briscoes favor, with Mark assisting in beating down the champion. Bandido slips out of a suplex from Mark and tags Horus back in, who takes down Mark and lands a leg drop for two. Bandido and Horus slam Mark face first and give him a double superkick. Jay breaks the pin and pitches Bandido to the floor. All four knock one another down. Mark gets two on Horus with an Iconoclasm. Horus drop toe holds Mark into the middle turnbuckle and Bandido comes in with a corkscrew crossbody. Bandido pops Mark up into a cutter and dropkicks Jay to the floor. He tags Horus before landing a Fosbury Flop onto Jay. Horus takes down Mark with the Roll of the King and Mark gets his shoulder up right before three. Jay shoves Bandido off the top turnbuckle. He catches Horus on his shoulders and Mark nails the Doomsday Device for the pin at 12:10. This was exciting and intense, and with the Briscoes on the come up in the tag ranks I did not anticipate how close Horus and Bandido would come to beating them. This is one of the best openers on ROH TV since the Pure Rules tournament. ***¼
Josh Woods vs. Will Ferrara
Jonathan Gresham is on commentary, scouting Woods before their Pure Championship bout at “Death Before Dishonor” this Sunday. Woods of course is looking to get in one last study session before the proverbial exam. ROH Dojo student Eric Martin is in Ferrara’s corner.
The Pure Rules are as follows:
*The competitors are to obey the “Code of Honor”, shaking one another’s hand before and after the match.
*Each wrestler has 3 rope breaks to stop submission holds and pinfalls. After a wrestler has used all 3 of their rope breaks, submission and pin attempts on or under the ropes by the opponent are considered legal.
*Closed-fist punches to the face are not permitted. Punches to other parts of the body are permitted, excluding low blows. The first use of a closed fist results in a warning, a second will be a disqualification.
*This match has a 15 minute time limit. If the match goes past the time limit, three judges will determine the outcome.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.
Woods tosses Ferrara around, asserting his size advantage. Ferrara uses his first rope break to escape a gutwrench. Ferrara goes after Woods’ left wrist. He drops a knee on Woods’ arm. Woods pulls Ferrara forward into the Gorilla Lock, and Ferrara uses his second rope break quickly to escape. Woods throws Ferrara around in gutwrench suplexes, but Ferrara shuts him down with a Code Breaker onto his arm. Ferrara locks Woods in a short-arm scissors. Woods avoids using the ropes, eventually muscling Ferrara up into a one-armed electric chair drop. Ferrara uses his third and final rope break to escape a waistlock and brings down Woods into a one-armed DDT. Woods kick out of a Magistral cradle. He decks Ferrara with a forearm strike and hits the Chaos Theory for the pin at 6:18. Woods mauling a smaller competitor sends a clear message to Gresham. I also love the wrinkle of Woods using the finisher of the 2nd Pure Champion of the original lineage, Doug Williams, to win the match, as he just may become the 2nd Pure Champion of this lineage. This was very well structured and paced, fitting a lot of story into a relatively short time frame. Gresham greets Woods in the aisleway with a handshake. **¾
We’re shown clips of last week’s episode where Miranda Alize and Rok-C punched their ticket to the finals of the women’s championship tournament. The finals take place this Sunday at “Death Before Dishonor.”
ROH World Tag Team Championship
VLNCE UNLTD (Chris Dickinson & Homicide) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (Dragon Lee & Kenny King)
VLNCE UNLTD have been champions since 7.11.2021 and this is their first defense. Shane Taylor is on commentary, scouting LFI who he defends the Six Man Tag Team Titles against at “Death Before Dishonor.” Homicide grows frustrated by how competent King’s control over his left arm is, but he finds himself backed into his own corner where Dickinson can tag himself in. Dickinson and Lee pick up the pace, with Dickinson shutting down Lee via shoulder blocks. Dickinson and Homicide give Lee a variation of the Dream Sequence, with Homicide biting Lee’s fingers after the fact. King knees Homicide from the apron and Lee shoulder blocks him down. LFI beat down Homicide until King misses a corner splash and springboard leg drop. Dickinson gets the tag and suplexes Lee for two, transitioning into a cross armbreaker. Lee gives him a rebound German suplex, but Dickinson catches him coming off the ropes with a Death Valley Driver for two. Homicide drops King with an Ace Crusher, and Lee shoves Dickinson onto them to break the count. King also gets two on Homicide with a Tiger Driver. Homicide gets himself trapped in a tree of woe. Lee double stomps him out of it, then lands a suicide dive onto Dickinson. King drops Dickinson with the Royal Flush and Lee pins him for two. Lee nails Dickinson with a knee strike. Dickinson blocks the Incinerator Knee with a dragon screw leg whip. Lee shuts him down with a second knee strike for two. The Incinerator Knee connects, giving Lee the pin and LFI the titles at 14:08. This took a little bit to get going but the last few minutes were excellent. Part of that has to do with Homicide, who just has not produced in the ring since returning, and wrestled a huge chunk of this match. It is also that reason I am not disappointed whatsoever to see VLNCE UNLTD lose the titles so quickly, especially since King and Lee never had much of a chance to get many defenses when they were champions the first time around. Lee also has the chance to be the first person to hold three ROH simultaneous titles if he wins the Six Man Tag Titles with King and Bestia del Ring this Sunday, which would be fun. ***
The show ends with a run-down of the Death Before Dishonor card.
Overall: This is the first time ROH has posted the pre-PPV episode of television ahead of the PPV on their website, and thank goodness, because this is very clearly intended to be watched before “Death Before Dishonor.” We got three good and distinct matches plus a title change, along with some last minute momentum for two title challengers heading into the show as well. If you’re planning to watch “Death Before Dishonor”, you should definitely watch this episode. Even if you’re not, there’s plenty of meat on the bone to give this a whirl.