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September 8, 2021

ROH Death Before Dishonor 2021 HOT TAKE

Noun - a state of shame or disgrace.
Verb - to bring shame or disgrace on.

Since the day Ring of Honor was forged in February 2002, the word Honor has not been a buzzy marketing term or a vain attempt to galvanize the audience. It has been, indeed, a way of life for the men and women who step forth weekly in their pursuit of being the best professional wrestlers on Planet Earth, seeking victory and all the financial rewards, championship gold and infinite glory that comes with it.

Like all sports populated by alpha athletes and strong-willed, dominating personalities, tempers flare in professional wrestling, forging dislikes into blood feuds as disagreements and losses fester jealousy, anger and outright rage.

In a promotion where Honor is priced above all, naturally, dishonor comes forth from within, the rage that comes forth when one is pushed too far or perhaps feels the other competitor deserves to be pushed off their perch.

Death Before Dishonor has become one of the signature moments in the Ring of Honor calendar for a reason. It is the night where the spiking temperature explodes, where the blood pressure hits its apex, where scores are settled. It is the night where all the blood and bile steps forth as competitors wait for that anticipated moment where the bell rings and they can finally take their most hated rival down a notch. It's the moment where legacies are cast in stone forever and the time capsule of what truly exemplifies ROH has yet another chapter written in blood, sweat and tears.

This Sunday, Ring of Honor fittingly brings Death Before Dishonor to the infamous 2300 Arena in beautiful, rustic South Philadelphia, presenting one of their most important events before the city of Brotherly Love for the first time in eight years.


Death Before Dishonor will be headlined by an explosive elimination match with the Ring of Honor World Championship hanging in the balance. Bandido shocked the world when he captured the World Championship from Rush at Best in the World but now finds himself a king without a country to defend him when he steps into the ring in Philadelphia. Indeed, Bandido will have to go it alone against three of the most formidable fighters in ROH. EC3 has burst through Ring of Honor, seeking to prove what true honor is, bringing forth not just incredible might in the ring but also a four- dimensional chess level of psychological warfare. Demonic Flamita knows Bandido better than anyone as they have fought alongside each other countless times across the globe before falling out. Flamita's evil streak has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of Bandido's past and now, it may be something Bandido needs to contend with despite all else the champion is facing. Even worse for Bandido, Brody King has torn through Ring of Honor like Godzilla through Tokyo in pursuit of the ROH title he believes he would have won months ago had it not been for Rush's allies. Rush may be out of the picture, but Bandido now holds the prize one of ROH's most fiercest fighters covets the most. For Bandido to survive, much less thrive, he will have to eliminate all four of the most dangerous foes, on the same evening, in the same match.


Over the course of this past summer, Ring of Honor's Maria Kanellis-Bennett assembled some of the world's greatest female competitors to vy for the Ring of Honor Women's World Championship. As fans witnessed every Monday evening on FITE, the tournament action was fast and furious as competitors strove to prove they were the best in the world. All roads lead to Philadelphia and this Sunday, live on FITE, the final two competitors will prove themselves one last time to earn the historical chance to be forever known as the first ROH Women's World Champion. Rok-C, a 19-year old star who has burst into the hearts and minds of fans worldwide since graduating from WWE Hall of Famer Booker T's school in Texas stands on one side of the ring. On the other side stands someone Rok-C knows very well indeed, Miranda Alize. Another graduate from Booker T's Reality of Wrestling school, Alize has competed in the Mae Young Classic tournament and holds the age advantage at 27 years old. While these competitors have squared off in the past, never before have they grappled on such a major stage with such an important prize at stake. Their most emotional battle will break down live at Death Before Dishonor, as FITE fans watch as a star, a champion is born.


Pure professional wrestling has been one of the cornerstones that have built Ring of Honor, brick by brick, from its foundations at the fabled Murphy Rec Center into the global powerhouse it is today. If there is one man who exudes all aspects of that in his very being, it is The Octopus Jonathan Gresham, who has brought the sanctity and the spirit of true professional wrestling to a level that transcends beyond any cliched description. While Gresham has built an incredible series of successful championship defenses that will be studied for generations to come, the competition continues to rise to greater levels of difficulty and this Sunday at Death Before Dishonor is no exception. Since breaking away from former mentor Silas Young, Woods has been a demon possessed, ripping through ROH competition. Now, he rises from the darkness to challenge Gresham, seeking to avenge his loss in the Pure Title Tournament, a win that set Gresham on the path to glory. Woods has seen how Gresham is celebrated and at Death Before Dishonor, he is seeking to end Gresham's accolades and take the glory, the gold and the satisfaction for himself.


Shane Taylor has always been a man with a chip on his shoulder, but with good reason. He's had to fight to over-achieve everything in his life. Over the last several years of his professional career, whether he's held the ROH World Television Championship or built Shane Taylor Promotions into one of ROH's most ferocious fighting forces, Taylor is the type of alpha-male personality that forces everyone else in the galaxy to orbit around his sun. Since capturing the World Six Man Tag Team Championship, Shane Taylor Promotions have stood strong and unstoppable. If there was one force that could prove to be the most formidable adversaries for their might, however, it could prove to be La Faccion Ingobernables. Already enraged by their lead Rush being out of action for the rest of the year, La Faccion's Kenny King, Bestia del Ring and Dragon Lee are seeking to enforce their will and regain their place in ROH's power structure by snatching the championship gold for themselves. If there is one bout that epitomizes the phrase Death Before Dishonor, it is this war, which is guaranteed that no one will be safe from the danger that comes with a battle that promises such unbridled fury.


Since Violence Unlimited has invaded Ring of Honor like insurgents seeking to conquer over all, they have taken the ROH World Tag Team Championships for themselves and have devastated all competition. Declaring that violence is the answer, Chris Dickinson, Homicide, Tony Deppen and Brody King have placed their targets on everyone in their path and at Death Before Dishonor, Violence Unlimited have called out any ROH Pure Wrestlers, seeking to yet again prove that their way is the right way. Coming together like The Avengers to answer the call are ROH Pure Wrestling practitioners from across the generations of ROH history. John Walters was one of the first pioneering Pure Champions. Lee Moriarity has proven his mettle across the world and now seeks to prove himself in defense of ROH. LSG has left his heart and soul in ROH rings in recent years and may very well be the centerpiece of this dream time. It's going to be finesse vs. violence, strategy vs. brutality, hope vs. darkness in a tale that can only be told live as it happens, unfolding live on FITE.

As if all of this was not enough, the dream team attraction of ROH's forefathers, Mark and Jay Briscoe against The OGK, Mike Bennett and Matt Taven is set for Death Before Dishonor this Sunday, promising a heartstrings pulling battle among four of Ring of Honor's most celebrated and beloved fighters. Dalton Castle will bring his eclectic style as he clashes with rival Eli Isom in a grudge match that has been simmering for months after Castle shattered the Code of Honor with a low blow that neither Isom nor fans have forgotten. Isom is now in the pole position, poised to finally enact his revenge.

All of this will stream live as it happens for FITE viewers, but don't forget hour one, featuring an Honor Rumble, free for all viewers as ROH's best battle it out inside the squared circle, looking to secure victory and the guaranteed Ring of Honor World Championship opportunity that comes with it. With surprise competitors and no way of knowing who will be the next to enter the fray, there is no way for ROH's finest to truly be prepared for the chaos and the shifting landscape that comes with the Honor Rumble. This Sunday, Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor promises to forever change the trajectory of ROH as they charge towards their 20th anniversary next year. There is only one place to witness all of the electric action and shocking moments that will play out before your eyes, FITE!

Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.