Anytime a major wrestling promotion, from AEW to WWE, NJPW, Ring of Honor, and Impact, holds a Pay-Per-View – or, as The Fed calls it, a “Premium Live Event” – fans wait eagerly for Dave Meltzer, the proprietor of The Wrestling Observer, to release his star ratings and officially etch the quality of every match into the annals of grappling history.
Now granted, Metzer's opinions are by no means official, and his star ratings, given on a -5 through 5 scale, are routinely critiqued, challenged, and questioned by fans who don't agree – see this particular interaction between Meltzer and a fan about the Orange Cassidy-Will Ospreay match here – but much like Roger Ebert with the film industry, “Uncle Dave” has earned a reputation for his wealth of wrestling knowledge and his ability to contextualize a match both historically and within a card/promotion, and thus his reviews are considered notable nonetheless.
So naturally, when Meltzer released his review of Death Before Dishonor, the second-ever Ring of Honor Pay-Per-View under the watchful eye of Tony Khan, fans wanted to see how each match compared to each other, and overall historically.
Unfortunately for fans of the show – which seemed at the time like most people – Meltzer mustn't have been feeling the show last night, as he handed out more than a few less-than-great reviews for matches on the card.
Dalton Castle and the Boys taking care of business – and The Righteous – for the ROH World Six-Man Titles? 2.75 stars. The Embassy, Brian Cage, and The Gates of Agony? 2.5 stars. The Shinobi Death Squad, Cheeseburger and Eli Isom, versus the Trustbuster duo of Ari Daivari and Slim J? 1.75-stars, and goodness, Willow Nightingale and Allysin Kay only earned 1.25-stars despite being a more than effective Zero Hour showcase. Heck, even Claudio Castagnoli and Jonathan Gresham, the bout for the Ring of Honor World Championship that surprisingly opened the main card, only earned a 3.25-star rating despite being widely considered a premier showcase of technical wrestling prowess.
Fortunately, one match on the show did live up to expectations and ultimately earned Meltzer's top honors, a 5-star rating – yes, technically, he can and has gone over 5 stars before, marks – and instantly became one of the cornerstone matches of Ring of Honor 2.0; a match many are calling the best bout of the year so far: FTR-Briscoes II.
FTR-Briscoes II earned a rating worthy of its execution in a Ring of Honor ring.
When FTR and The Briscoe Brothers, Jay and Mark, were booked to wrestle at Supercard of Honor, it felt like a pretty big freaking deal; the tag teams had been linked together for years as two of the best tag teams in professional wrestling today – or ever – and after politics, the pandemic, and Ring of Honor's decision to cease operation kept them apart, the match was finally booked for SuperCard of Honor.
*spoiler alert* it went over swimmingly.
The two teams took the ring near – but not at – the end of the card, and unfortunately, the crowd's momentum was never quite able to recover, even after watching a fantastic match between Bandido and the eventual unified champion, Jonathan Gresham.
Tony Khan, to his credit, took notes on the outcome, not to mention the fact that Dave Meltzer gave the match ROH 2.0's first ever 5-star rating, and he decided to pull a Best Friends and give the people what they wanted, aka FTR-Briscoes II as the main event. The buildup was great, with an interview moderated by Caprice Coleman and some back and forths online, and when the show officially opened up in Lowell, Massachusetts, fans were locked in to see what they hoped would be another all-timer.
For one reason or another, likely to differentiate the match for FTR-Briscoes I, TK booked the match as a Two out of Three Falls match, which, in turn, guaranteed that the main event bout would be a longie but a goodie (read a full breakdown here). After exchanging pins first by the Briscoes and then by FTR, the two teams signed to long-term deals wrestled like a couple of hungry rookies fighting for the promotor's last hot dog and handshake, hitting signature moves both inside and out of the ring, and destroying a commentary table while the duo of Coleman and Ian Riccaboni feared for their lives.
#AndStill!!! #FTR (@DaxFTR & @CashWheelerFTR) are still your #ROH World Tag Team Champions after an absolute WAR against #TheBriscoes. Order #ROHDBD #ROH #DeathBeforeDishonor PPV right now on @BleacherReport, @PPV_com, @FiteTV, cable & satellite! pic.twitter.com/qtIT8XpLTC
— ROH – Ring of Honor Wrestling (@ringofhonor) July 24, 2022
Was this a 5-star match? Oh goodness yes, if anything, one could argue that it actually deserved more than 5-stars by hey, for the rest of time, FTR and The Briscoes can add another 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer to their resume, marking the second time such a rating was hit in Tony Khan's edition of Ring of Honor. In this writer's humble opinion, that's pretty darn cool, even if it came at the expense of Dax Harwood's shoulder.