Jay Lethal really doesn't like Ring of Honor TV Champion Samoa Joe. He doesn't like that he ended his streak, that he left ROH for WWE, or that he's been notably absent from the AEW television due to his previous Hollywood commitments.
And yet, in his hatred of Joe, Lethal has lost what made him Ring of Honor's franchise guy; he stopped being a respectable babyface, enlisted the help of Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh, complaining about opportunities he feels he's owed, and even trying to Pillman-ize his foe with a steel chair. Fans have come to hate the pride of New Jersey, and yet, he doesn't seem to care – all he cares about is getting that strap.
So, when Lethal attacked Joe before he even entered the ring for the penultimate match of Death Before Dishonor, it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise for the fans to rain down boos on the promotion's former franchise performer as he attacked the Samoan Submission Machine at every turn.
Did this bother Lethal? Maybe for a little bit, but if it did, it was only for a moment, as the insertion of Singh into the pre-match antics swiftly turned what should have been a battle between long-term friends into a cold, un-personal war over a piece of metal attached to a leather strap.
A history of bad blood just rising to the surface between Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal! Order #ROHDBD #ROH #DeathBeforeDishonor PPV right now on @BleacherReport, @PPV_com, @FiteTV, cable & satellite! pic.twitter.com/20Q3woyQKf
— ROH – Ring of Honor Wrestling (@ringofhonor) July 24, 2022
When the match actually began between Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal, albeit, nearly 10 minutes after they both made their way down to the ring, Lethal was largely in control, most likely hoping that his pre-match antics would give him the advantage needed to stay on top once pins became a possibility. Considering how intimidating Joe can be in the ring, that was probably a good idea. And yet, even after the arrival of Dutt, who tried to slow down Joe in time for Lethal's in-ring takedown attempt, wasn't enough to keep the “Samoan Submission Machine” away from the pay window, as after a successful Jawbreaker, the Jay got a little too cocky, and a suplex attempt was turned into a Rear Naked Choke that submitted Ric Flair's soon-to-be final opponent for the 1-2-3.