ROH Death Before Dishonor: Previewing Matt Taven vs Rush match - Sports Illustrated

Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor” pay-per-view takes place later tonight from Las Vegas, and the safe bet is on a new champion being crowned.

The main event is ROH champ Matt Taven defending the title against Rush, who is undefeated thus far in his run with the company. Rush is expected to become the new champion, Sports Illustrated has learned through multiple sources.

Taven’s deal with ROH expires this month, and he is still negotiating a new deal. This keeps the window slightly ajar for Taven to retain the title if he signs a new deal.

Taven has also drawn interest from WWE and AEW, and he has an interesting link to AEW. He is an integral piece behind the scenes to the success of the independent Northeast Wrestling promotion, which has strong ties to AEW. Many of AEW’s stars—including Cody Rhodes, Jon Moxley, SCU, Pentagon, and Fenix—work shows for NEW.

A win by Rush would end a highly underrated title run by Taven that began in April inside the hallowed walls of Madison Square Garden. ROH is hoping that Rush as champion will add a dynamic presence to the top of the card.

ROH has not drawn well in 2019. Recent shows in the Midwest reportedly attracted only 500 or 600 fans each. The loss of the Young Bucks, Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Hangman Page, and SCU’s Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky—all to AEW—severely impacted the company’s reach and popularity.

Death Before Dishonor offers a solid card, with many matches a lock to entertain, such as Jay Lethal-Jonathan Gresham, an encounter likely to be the match of the night.

But the company is also filled with uncertainty on its roster.

In addition to Marty Scurll, whose deal expires in November, ROH also has soon-to-be free agents in PCO, Jeff Cobb and Brody King, all of whom become free agents by the end of the year.

There are whispers that ROH will make Scurll an offer he simply cannot refuse. ROH is offering bigger names more money to stay, and Scurll is one of their top priorities.

Another match at tonight’s pay-per-view with multiple layers is Shane Taylor defending his Television title in a triple threat against Flip Gordon and Tracy Williams. Taylor announced that he , but he is likely staying with the company and running with that storyline. Gordon and Williams will provide a clash of styles to work with the versatile Taylor, who has quietly been putting out the best work of his career.

Elsewhere in the wrestling world

• In other wrestling news, a potential surprise for AEW’s premiere on TNT, Sports Illustrated has learned, is Jake Hager, better known from his WWE run as Jack Swagger. An ardent Trump supporter and legitimate big guy, Hager would fit in nicely as a villain for the promotion. He would also add depth to the card, and his work in Bellator MMA could have crossover appeal for AEW.

• Major League Wrestling has signed AJ Kirsch to join its broadcast team.

MLW CEO Court Bauer wanted to add some youthful exuberance on the headset, and the 36-year-old Kirsch, who was The Rock’s “Rock the Promo” champion in 2016, will bring his brand of enthusiasm to MLW.

The first-ever MLW pay-per-view takes place on November 2, and talented wrestling producer David Sahadi is scheduled to produce the open, which will add an entirely new layer to the show.

MLW will be doing its first event from Mexico next weekend on Saturday, Oct. 5. Crash Heavyweight champ Rey Horus and MLW National Title champ Alex Hammerstone are scheduled to wrestle in a title versus title match, and the Promociones Dorado vs. CONTRA Unit six-man tag will serve as the main event at Auditorio de Tijuana.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.