With ROH’s 2nd PPV of the AEW era taking place on July 23rd, the month of July saw ROH storylines take place on AEW television. In addition to covering title matches, this post will cover relevant matches leading up to the “Death Before Dishonor” PPV.
On the June 24th episode of AEW Rampage, Tully Blanchard took umbrage with Lee Moriarty challenging Jonathan Gresham to an ROH World Title match. Blanchard believed his men deserve the title more than Moriarty does, as they have better Win-Loss records than Moriarty.
Does Tully mean in AEW or ROH? Why AEW wins-losses would have any effect on ROH championship matches I don’t know. But let’s say it does. Moriarty has a singles record of 6-1. Kaun’s singles record is 0-3, and Liona’s is 0-2. If he’s talking about ROH, are we talking about overall or just since AEW has owned it? If it’s the former, Kaun of course has the best record due to tenure. If it’s the latter, one tag win versus one singles loss isn’t exactly the strongest argument Tully can make. Maybe he means Brian Cage who is 1-0 in ROH, but also has yet to wrestle for AEW in the year 2022. His overall AEW singles record, however, is 30-6. While impressive, that to me shouldn’t correlate to an ROH World Title match. Chuck Taylor being undefeated in PWG for a year didn’t get him an ROH World Title match, for example, and they had an open relationship with ROH as well.
Anyways, all of this led to a tag team match between Blanchard’s men and Gresham and Moriarty on the July 8th episode of Rampage.
Jonathan Gresham & Lee Moriarty vs. Gates of Agony (Kaun & Toa Liona)
AEW Rampage #49 – Rochester, NY – 7.8.2022
Tully Blanchard is in the corner of GoA. Bobby Cruise is the ring announcer and Caprice Coleman is on commentary. GoA attacks before the bell and isolates Moriarty. When Moriarty has a chance to tag out, Gresham is distracted by Blanchard. Moriarty has his midsection worn down. After the commercial break, Moriarty dropkicks Kaun to the floor and drops down the top rope to send Liona outside. When Moriarty dives at Gresham for a tag, Gresham pulls his hand away. He literally turns his back and walks down the steps. Gresham and Blanchard embrace as Kaun blind tags Liona. Liona takes out Moriarty with a discus lariat, and Kaun follows up with a gutbuster for the pin at 7:27. This was far more about the story than the wrestling itself. GoA having a dominant showing is a good thing, and there’s certainly intrigue with Gresham joining Blanchard’s ranks. **
Mercedes Martinez & Serena Deeb vs. Kayla Sparks & Christina Marie
AEW Rampage #49 – Rochester, NY – 7.8.2022
Once again Bobby Cruise is the ring announcer and Caprice Coleman is on commentary. Martinez spent the month of June teaming with Deeb on Dark and Dark Elevation, amassing a 4-0 win streak. Despite their success, the team comes off as tenuous, as there is a clear one-upmanship dynamic between them. This is a total squash, with Deeb submitting Marie to the Serenity Lock at 2:23.
As referee Stephon Smith raises their arms in victory, Deeb eyes the ROH Women’s title in Martinez’s hand and attacks her. She then locks Martinez in the Serenity Lock and holds up the title herself.
Backstage, Tony Schiavone interviews Gresham and Blanchard. Gresham is not happy that he’s been sitting at home since signing his contract back in March. That was until he got a call from Tully Blanchard, who laid out a plan for Gresham. Schiavone informs us that Tony Khan has signed an ROH World Title match between Gresham and Moriarty for next week’s episode of Rampage. Blanchard says there may not be enough left of Moriarty to face Gresham next week.
Lexi Nair is standing by with Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty. Sydal says Gresham’s actions against Moriarty were disrespectful and dishonorable. Moriarty promises Friday night will be a fight, and tells Gresham he will take his title.
ROH World Championship
Jonathan Gresham vs. Lee Moriarty
AEW Rampage #50; Fyter Fest 2022 Part 2” – Savannah, GA – 7.15.2022
Bobby Cruise is the ring announcer and Caprice Coleman is on commentary. Gresham has been champion since 12.11.2021 and this is his sixteenth defense. Tully Blanchard is in Gresham’s corner, and Matt Sydal is in Moriarty’s corner. Gresham continuously retreats as Moriarty strikes him in the face. Moriarty follows him outside to continue his forearm strikes, and even sends Gresham back first into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Gresham uses a nut tap to end a strike exchange back in the ring and goes after Moriarty’s left arm. During the commercial, Gresham further wore down Moriarty’s arm, with Moriarty using his right arm to strike Gresham in the jaw. Gresham shoved Moriarty to the floor when Moriarty lept to the top turnbuckle. Sydal checked on Moriarty, and Gresham got in his face, which gave Moriarty the chance to attack Gresham from behind. He nursed his arm before getting in the ring, where Gresham immediately kicked his bad shoulder and took him down with an armdrag. Moriarty ducks a lariat and cracks Gresham with a boot to the face. He scores a nearfall with a bridging front suplex after a dropkick. Gresham shoves Moriarty down, stomping the bad arm before pulling him into a crucifix pin for two. Gresham kicks out from both Moriarty’s folding pin and a cradle. Gresham stomps on Moriarty’s foot so he can apply an Octopus Stretch. He wraps his leg around Moriarty’s bad arm and pulls him to the mat, where Moriarty taps out at 9:01. Really strong wrestling from both competitors. Gresham’s arm work paid off, but Moriarty showed his resilience and toughness. ***¼
Tony Schiavone interviews Gresham and Blanchard after the bell. Gresham says he is going to outclass and out wrestle all of our favorites each and every week on TNT. Tully says Gresham is the best today and maybe forever at technical wrestling. They’re interrupted by Claudio Castagnoli who from the stage exchanges words from Gresham that we cannot hear. Shortly after this, a World Title match between Gresham and Claudio was announced for “Death Before Dishonor.”
Christopher Daniels is backstage. He thinks it’s very convenient that Jay Lethal and his crew keep talking trash about his best friend Samoa Joe whenever Joe isn’t in the building. Daniels knows Joe will shut Lethal up at “Death Before Dishonor”, but says maybe he will slap Joe’s name out of their mouths before then.
Daniel Garcia competed in a Pure Rules match on AEW Dark as a warm-up for his Pure Title match at “Death Before Dishonor”:
Pure Rules Match
Daniel Garcia vs. Alan Angels
AEW Dark #153 – Orlando, FL – 7.19.2022
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 30 minute time limit. If the match goes past the time limit, three judges will determine the outcome. They don’t show or name the judges.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.
Garcia pulls Angels into the ropes in a waistlock, which counts as Angels’ first rope break. Angels stops himself from using a closed fist when he backs Garcia to the corner, but hits him with a savate kick and a running back elbow. Garcia digs his knuckle into Angels’s ribs while holding onto his left shoulder. He then sends Angels sternum first into the turnbuckles and rapidly stomps on his chest. He puts Angels in a Boston Crab, and Angels spends his second rope break to escape. Angels swivels to the apron when Garcia comes charging, gamengiri’s Garcia from the apron, and re-enters with a bottom rope springboard dropkick. Angels sends Garcia to the floor with an enzuigiri and follows with a tope suicida. In the ring, Angels gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. Garcia open hand strikes Angels before giving him a Saito suplex. A running facewash kick and 2k1 Bomb get Garcia another two count. They two competitors get into an exchange of open hand strikes. Garcia ends it by turning Angels inside out with a lariat. Angels backslides Garcia after ducking a second lariat and stuffs him with a piledriver. Garcia kicks out. He gets his knees up to block Angels frog splash and locks him in a sleeper hold. Angels falls forward into the ropes to use his third and final rope break. Garcia reapplies the hold. Angels climbs to the second rope with Garcia on his back, perhaps hoping to fall back and come crashing down on Garcia. We’ll never know, as Angels passed out on the second turnbuckle, and Garcia was declared the winner at 9:42. This was really engaging. It was a nice way to remind those that despite being a “sports entertainer”, Garcia is a heck of a technical wrestler. Angels was a perfect match for him in size and competence and it helped pose Garcia as a threat to the Pure title. Like many of these Orlando Dark matches, the quiet crowd hurt the atmosphere, but otherwise this was great. ***
Garcia locks Angels in a sharpshooter after the bell. Wheeler YUTA chases Garcia off, and even wipes him out with a suicide dive as he’s exiting.
As noted on last week’s Rampage, Christopher Daniels did indeed get his chance to try and shut up Jay Lethal before he faced Samoa Joe the next night at “Death Before Dishonor:”
Christopher Daniels vs. Jay Lethal
AEW Rampage #51; Fyter Fest 2022 Part 4” – Duluth, GA – 7.22.2022
Bobby Cruise is the ring announcer and Caprice Coleman is on commentary. Satnam Singh and Sonjay Dutt are in Lethal’s corner. Lethal tries to sneak attack Daniels before the bell. It doesn’t go as planned, but he still gets the advantage with an enzuigiri. Daniels slams Lethal into a slingshot elbow drop for two. Lethal rakes Daniels eyes when Daniels tries to send him face first into the opposite turnbuckles. Daniels sends Lethal outside with a leg lariat. Lethal avoids a pescado, dropkicks Daniels through the ropes and sends the back of Daniels head into the barricades with two suicide dives. Dutt gets in a few stomps himself while he’s at it. Lethal mocks Joe’s snapmare/back chop/front kick/knee drop combo, even doing his hand sign and chanting Joe. Lethal locks to mock Joe further with a Muscle Buster. Daniels avoids it, but Lethal takes him down with a superkick. Daniels knees Lethal in the temple to avoid a hip toss. Daniels drops Lethal with an STO and then a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Lethal halts Daniels with the Lethal Combination. Daniels cradles Lethal for two after blocking a Hail To The King, and Lethal shuts him down again with a kick to the head. Daniels ducks the Lethal Injection and goes for Angels Wings. Lethal backdrops his way free, and as Daniels rises to his feet, Lethal catches him with the Lethal Injection for the pin at 9:23. I liked the story of this match a lot, with Lethal mocking Joe as he obliterated his best friend en route to their title match. There’s fewer better ways for Lethal to gain momentum than by beating a fellow Grand Slam champion and one of ROH’s founding fathers. Lethal makes Daniels pass out after the bell in the Coquina Clutch to add more fuel to the fire. This achieved exactly what it needed to. ***
The next night was the “Death Before Dishonor” PPV. You can read my review of both the Zero Hour and PPV here.
If this encounter between Stokely Hathaway and Wheeler YUTA counts as a match, it gets seven and three-quarter stars.
On the July 29th episode of AEW Rampage, Tony Shchiavone introduces new ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli. Claudio thanks the fans for always having his back, and says it’s an “honor” to stand in front of them as the ROH Champion. He promises us it’s always the beginning, and then introduces his fellow Blackpool Combat Club teammate and Pure champion Wheeler YUTA. Before YUTA can speak, Chris Jericho gets up from the commentary table, unhappy to hear the love the crowd is giving the Blackpool Combat Club. He reiterates that sports entertainers beat pro wrestlers every time, but YUTA tells Jericho to shut up and reminds him that he beat Jericho Appreciation Society Member Daniel Garcia on Saturday. YUTA says that win gave him confidence, and he’s confident he can beat Jericho too. Jericho says YUTA can’t beat him, ever. Regal, Claudio, and the crowd agree with YUTA that he can beat Chris Jericho. This gets under Jericho’s skin and leads to Jericho challenging YUTA to a match on Dynamite Wednesday. He’s also so sure he can beat YUTA, he puts his World Title shot against Moxley at “Quake on the Lake” on the line, and YUTA accepts. That’s right – an ROH World Title celebration set up an AEW Dynamite match with AEW title implications. Sounds about right.