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Claudio Castagnoli beats PAC with help from Wheeler Yuta to retain ROH World Championship

Claudio Castagnoli had a formidable foe in PAC challenging for the ROH World Championship at Death Before Dishonor (July 21, 2023), and it took a little help from Wheeler Yuta to retain the title.

Claudio was miffed that PAC walked out on the Blackpool Combat Club during Blood & Guts, and his early aggressive showed it. Claudio exploded with furious European uppercuts right at the opening bell. PAC rolled out of the ring to catch a break, but Claudio kept coming with more uppercuts. Claudio tried to finish early with the Neutralizer, however, PAC was still too fresh and escaped the move. Claudio switched it up to go for the giant swing. PAC escaped again and exited the ring to safety. Claudio gave chase and did the swing on stage. Not just once. Claudio did a second giant swing on stage.

When Claudio tried for the Neutralizer on stage, PAC countered for a back body drop. Claudio tweaked his knee on the landing, and that slowed down his fiery start. PAC landed a moonsault to the outside. PAC set up a table only for Claudio to unleash an uppercut sending him tumbling through the air over the table.

The match progressed with PAC executing a super brainbuster.

Claudio came back with a gorilla press to launch PAC over the ropes crashing through the table. That was indeed a holy shit moment.

Claudio showed urgency to roll PAC back into the ring and follow for a flying elbow drop. PAC kicked out, so Claudio hammered elbows. Claudio went for the Neutralizer again, but PAC escaped. In the next sequence, Claudio finally hit the Neutralizer, and the setup was amazing. He caught PAC in the air to counter for a flapjack and transitioned to the Neutralizer. Claudio didn’t hit his move perfectly crisp, so PAC didn’t taste the full power and kicked out.

The match continued with exchanges of strikes and suplexes. Claudio almost had PAC for a super Ricola bomb, but the Bastard countered for a super rana. PAC went to close on the Black Arrow, however, he missed the mark. Claudio crushed him with a lariat. As Claudio lifted his opponent onto his shoulders, PAC surprised him with the Brutalizer submission. Claudio was fading down to the mat then powered up to slam PAC backward. PAC released the hold for a few seconds upon impact, then he snatched Claudio again in the Brutalizer. Claudio was in serious trouble. The champ dug deep to climb the turnbuckles with PAC still on his back to execute an avalanche Air Raid Crash. Claudio was finally free of the submission. That was an incredible display of intestinal fortitude.

PAC rose to his feet first to plot his next move. That’s when Wheeler Yuta ran down to cause a distraction. Claudio took advantage to hit the Ricola bomb for victory.

Business picked up in the aftermath. Fenix and Pentagon ran down to side with PAC and stand together as Death Triangle. They attacked Claudio and Yuta. The Best Friends ran out wanting a piece of the Lucha Bros in beef that occurred in the tag title match earlier in the evening. Orange Cassidy entered the scene to land a superman punch to PAC. An exhausted Claudio hid behind Yuta. Cassidy threw another superman punch, Yuta dodged, and OC’s fist connected on Claudio’s chin.

Claudio and PAC put on a heck of a match. It highlighted aggression, intensity, and the iron will to win. Too bad the Yuta interference was like a turd in the punch bowl. It was a totally flat cop-out finish after such great effort from Claudio and PAC.

What’s your take on the world title match between Claudio and PAC?

Get full results for Death Before Dishonor here.

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