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Athena and Willow Nightingale steal the show in main event of ROH Death Before Dishonor PPV

Ring of Honor put trust in Athena and Willow Nightingale to main event, and they stole the show. The ROH Women’s World Championship bout was amazing to close the Death Before Dishonor PPV (July 21, 2023).

The challenger entered first, and the fans were on their feet for Willow Nightingale. Her energy radiated across the arena. Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman busted out in freestyle to her theme song.

The champion entered next. Athena donned wings of the Fallen Goddess.

The rubber match opened as a spirited affair. The action was back and forth, then Willow hit the pounce.

When fisticuffs spilled outside the ring, intensity increased. Willow landed a crossbody off the apron then powerbombed Athena onto the apron. On a fireman’s carry lift, Athena escaped to dropkick Willow into the ring steps. Athena charged for a running knee, but Willow moved and Athena collided into the steel. Willow followed with a running cannonball to sandwich Athena.

Back in the ring, Athena landed a standing moonsault. Willow cradled Athena in her arms to roll over and rise up for a rolling cutter.

A nifty story within the story was Athena and Willow expanding their offensive arsenal to pull out classic moves to honor the past women of ROH. That rolling cutter is also called the Smash Mouth, which was used by Sumie Sakai. Another example was Athena with Obliteration as homage to MsChif.

In the end, Athena and Willow worked for their tried and true finishers. Athena smashed Willow into the steps outside. The challenger was on ice skates in the ring, and Athena flew for the O-Face stunner. Athena was confident in victory and made an arrogant cover. 1, 2, Willow kicked out!

Athena was in disbelief and argued with the referee. Willow recovered to snatch Athena for a gutwrench powerbomb. 1, 2, Athena kicked out!

Willow took it up a notch working for a super gutwrench powerbomb, but Athena blasted her hard down to the mat. The Fallen Goddess struck with the second O-Face. Instead of a pin, Athena went for a crossface submission. Willow valiantly tried to escape. Athena kept cranking, and Willow was fading. The referee checked Willow’s arm to no reaction. Willow was out, and Athena is still the champ.

The planning of this match was fantastic to lull us into believing Willow was going to win. It was the main event ready for a happy ending to close the show. The fans were fully hard with support for the challenger. Even Willow’s parents were seated front row. She also kicked out of the O-Face. All those dreams came crashing down when Athena applied the crossface submission. Even then, hope burned bright in thinking Willow would escape. Alas, it was not meant to be on this evening. Athena and Willow put on a great fight taking viewers for a roller coaster ride of emotion.

What was your reaction to Athena versus Willow?

Check out full results for Death Before Dishonor here.

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