ROH All Star Extravaganza VIII Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
As the days wind down to Ring Of Honor’s biggest show of the year, Final Battle, at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Dec. 2, we could see pieces begin to take shape.
ROH World Champion Adam Cole was on a tear.
While he had foes like Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly on his tail, he seemed destined to go to war with the two of them eventually.
On a show remembered best for some great headline matches, the first thought that’ll come about is the Ladder VI main event that was for the ROH World Tag Team Championships between Champions The Addiction, The Young Bucks and The Motor City Machine Guns.
Lowell, Massachussets was in for a treat.
– The opening video was your generic video package that stuck together various talent as they built up to the words “All Star” to fit in with the show’s namesake. Nothing flashy from a production standpoint, but we liked that the talent spoke as a bright light in a dark room. Think Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” music video. Also liked how extensively hyped Ladder War VI was, as it dominated the package’s latter half. We also learned it’d be the actual main event. How sweet.
– A number of factors made the ROH World Television Championship match between Donovan Dijak and Champion Bobby Fish more than regular. We had the environment, as Dijak trained in the area and had folks from his wrestling school at ringside, the most noteworthy one being Brian Fury. Dijak had beaten Lio Rush at Death Before Dishonor to get to this point, while Fish put down man after man in pursuit of his Title. The commentary team put a big emphasis on Fish’s experience advantage while Dijak held the height/weight advantage. Nevertheless, the “story” involved Fish’s target of Dijak’s legs as he also went out of the ring to bide for time when he needed to, even if it wasn’t popular with the fans. Dijak sold his knee injury well and it helped when he hit his Feast Your Eyes finisher for a near-fall when Fish put his foot on the rope at a two-count. The knee pain was too great for Dijak as it took him longer than usual to get his moonsault going and he missed it. Dijak initially got out of the kneebar attempt by Fish when Prince Nana helped him out indirectly. He tried to hit FYE again and was caught by Fish in a chokehold that he couldn’t hold on any longer. The Referee ended the match by stoppage as Fish retained his belt. The crowd wasn’t thrilled at the result, but this was a fine story of ring psychology. Kind of liked how Fish played to some of his most vocal critics after the bell.
– The ROH World Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Four-Corner Survival match between The All Night Express, War Machine, Shane Taylor/Keith Lee and Colt Cabana/Dalton Castle gave us a nice glimpse into some experimentation as far as the Tag Team Division. We had the “blood feud” between WM and Taylor/Lee worked in, as well as the new duo of Cabana/Castle, who just fit like peanut butter and jelly. Caprice Coleman was more annoying than anything on commentary as he brandished a “letter from congress” that protested the Code Of Honor. Interesting spot early where Rhett Titus tagged in Castle to make him face off against his own partner. ANX had a shoving contest with Cabana/Castle while WM-Taylor/Lee continued their rivalry on the outside. Some highlights included Rowe and Castle separately lifting the heavyset Lee/Taylor duo above their heads. The big bad men even flew, as Lee did a crazy Tope Con Hilo. In pleasant fashion, it was Castle who got the pinfall on Titus with the Bangarang to win the bout for the newbies.
– The Kamaitachi-Dragon Lee match was definitely a “sleeper” contest if there ever was one. Came out of left field, as commentary mentioned how this was a feud that stemmed from CMLL. It was even the reason that Kamaitachi lost his mask, as he refused to shake Lee’s hand before the match, yet encouraged the fans to cheer for him. Some insane highlights as the two won the crowd over quickly. Kamaitachi performed a killer sunset flip powerbomb that started in the ring and ended on the floor. To add insult to injury, he tossed Lee over the barricade where they began to brawl. Great mix of high-flying and stiff spots. Lee wrestled momentum back as he performed a double stomp that began on the top rope and ended on the floor outside. The two went back-and-forth to take the other out. Kamaitachi hit a super senton on the outside, while Lee did a hurcanarana that took Kamaitachi from the apron to the floor. Kamaitachi hit two destroyers for near-falls before Lee hit a Phoenix plex to get the victory. That made us want to go back and see their CMLL matches.
– The O’Reilly-Hangman Page match was one about missions, on both sides of the coin. O’Reilly was hellbent to get to World Title contention, while Page went all out to keep him away. Given this story, we figured there’d be more intensity, but the match began rather slow. Nevertheless, we liked the little touches they gave on some spots, as Page removed O’Reilly’s mouthpiece before a direct hit there. O’Reilly worked over Page’s knee throughout as he eventually made him tap out to the armbar. Designed to be an impressive win for O’Reilly, we suppose that went over okay, but things got better with the post-match angle when Page immediately attacked O’Reilly and jammed his shoulder in a chair and rammed him into the post. If only O’Reilly had actually crashed harder into it. Sigh. The idea was there though, but it was too melodramatic. Fish ran off Page as he came down too late. We didn’t mind commentary asking if Page purposely lost the match so he could catch O’Reilly off-guard. It made Page seem more smart and that his sole purpose there was to take O’Reilly out for Bullet Club.
– Silas Young’s onstage promo set forth his perspective for a possible World Title push. It’s about time. He hasn’t lost a step, as he even blamed the company for closing the window on a chance to qualify for the Six-Man Tag Team Tournament when he and Beer City Bruiser couldn’t find a third partner. He spoke of his transition from someone who was happy to be there to someone who felt he earned his way to the top. He put over his Honor Rumble win and made a claim that come Oct. 22 in Florida, he’d be World Champion headed into Final Battle. It’s a long shot, but that’d be a cool change.
– The Six-Man Tag team Tournament Round 1 match between The Briscoe Brothers/Toru Yano and Super ACH/Kushida/Jay White was a good start to the tourney that didn’t outlast our expectations. Commentary gave Briscoes/Yano credibility with a mention of their past experience as Six-Man Tag Champions in Japan while on the other side, they focused on ACH’s addition of “Super” to the name to get over that he was a more pumped man. Yano was up to his old tricks, ACH did his usual aerials, White impressed yet again as he kicked out of the Froggy Bow and Jay Briscoe brought the most intensity. Nothing groundbreaking, but a cool finish as we saw Kushida take out the Briscoes with a senton to the floor below, which set up ACH’s 450 splash on Yano to finish him off. It did feel like an upset, as most probably would’ve picked Briscoes/Yano based off their past success, but this was a nice change of pace.
– Jay Lethal was out for revenge from the moment his allies in Los Ingobernables de Japon of Tetsuya Naito and Evil betrayed him when they joined him in a battle against Bullet Club. With Lethal on a road to an inevitable rematch with Cole, he needed somebody to keep him busy, yet strong and this was a perfect way to accomplish that. It does feel like Lethal lost some steam as a babyface character-wise, but he has kept things the same more or less. As far as the “grudge match” labeling, that might’ve been a stretch. Naito was always a threat to the media, fans and employees and he furthered up on that as he laid out Ring Announcer Bobby Cruise when he introduced Lethal. That was different. Lethal ran down to the ring and we were off with a fast pace. They seemed familiar in the ring together, but we knew that this was a match for Lethal to win, but the way they got there was cool to see happen. Naito tried to use Evil in his back pocket, but even that didn’t work, before Lethal overcame the duo to deliver a ruthless Lethal Injection to pin Naito and put the conflict to rest. Seemingly.
– In another line of predictable matches, the ROH World Championship match between Champion Cole and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin was a good effort on both ends as they made the most of things, but this was just there for us. With Lethal and O’Reilly in Cole’s near future, it wouldn’t make sense to take the belt off Cole at this point yet. You need the World Title there since it’s significant to Cole’s rivalries with both men. However, that wasn’t to count out Elgin, who finally had his time to shine in the World title picture. It also helped that he carried Championship gold in other companies to sell his credibility as someone who was still capable. They played off the New Japan Pro Wrestling storyline where Naito/Evil injured Elgin’s knee, so Cole continued to expose the injury while Elgin mocked the Champ’s “Bay Bay” catchphrase. This was more about Elgin’s ability to hold on than anything else, but we knew he was on borrowed time, so everybody practically waited for the Last Shot to end it all. If it helped, Cole went all out in the final minute as he pushed the Referee in front of him, hit two superkicks and then two shining wizards to the front and back before he hit his finisher. Now that Elgin’s out of the way, we’re one step closer to Cole’s truest threats.
– Now to easily the best part of the show, the best for last – Ladder War VI for the ROH Tag Team Champions with Champions The Addiction, The Young Bucks and The Motor City Machine Guns. The heavy hype indeed paid off by the time it was all said and done. This was almost like a throwback to all the classic WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches with some new twists. They all had a story headed in. The Addiction were eager to hold on to their belts, especially if you heard Christopher Daniels’ epic promo. YB had always been thrillers as they came close to the gold, but just short. With Bullet Club on top of most things pro wrestling, this was their biggest chance. MCMG were probably the dark horse, but you could never sleep on them. Daniels inadvertently became the match’s biggest story when he got his face busted open from a ladder shot early on and preceded to become a crimson mask. YB used the barricades to create a makeshift table. A big highlight were the four table spots in less than a minute. Nick Jackson stood alone on a ladder after the other four men fell off and they hoisted his ladder up and tipped it over until he landed on a table outside. MCMG’s biggest spot was where they sandwiched Daniels in a standing ladder. As if Daniels couldn’t land worse luck, the YB superkicked him off the apron so he fell onto the barricade contraption. YB continued to innovate as Nick Jackson was tipped off a ladder like the spot before but this time caught the other half of the Indy Taker on the outside on Alex Shelley. Just when it appeared YB would win, we saw Kamaitachi come out and defend The Addiction, until he was taken out by White through a table. Daniels’ stiffest bump had to be when he was back dropped by Nick Jackson off a ladder onto another below. At this point, the YB stood in the clear except for one person, Frankie Kazarian. They took care of that with a sick Indy Taker where where Nick briefly chose the spot over the belts and eliminated Kazarian through a table below. That set upon YB to take the belts down and bam, we had new Champions. We love that the Ladder War novelty isn’t attached to many matches and this felt worthy of the Title. Now, some people called this the best ladder match in history. That’s a bit of a stretch. We can’t say they weren’t influenced by the early TLC matches, but they did enough to build off it and give this generation of fans something to be proud of. As it was, absolutely crazy and the best was saved for last.
- ROH World Television Championship – Bobby Fish (Champion) def. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) via Referee Stoppage to retain
- ROH World Tag Team Championships #1 Contender’s Four-Corner Survival – Dalton Castle (w/The Boys)/Colt Cabana def. War Machine, Shane Taylor/Keith Lee and The All Night Express (w/Caprice Coleman) via pinfall
- Dragon Lee def. Kamaitachi via pinfall
- Kyle O’Reilly def. Hangman Page via submission
- Six-Man Tag Team Tournament – Round 1 – Super ACH/Kushida/Jay White def. The Briscoe Brothers/Toru Yano via pinfall to advance
- Jay Lethal def. Tetsuya Naito (w/Evil) via pinfall
- ROH World Championship – Adam Cole (Champion) def. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin via pinfall to retain
- Ladder War VI – ROH World Tag Team Championships – The Young Bucks def. The Addiction (Champions) and The Motor City Machine Guns to become new Champions
Posted on November 25, 2016, in ROH and tagged Adam Cole, All Star Extravaganza, Bobby Fish, Brian Fury, Caprice Coleman, Colt Cabana, Dalton Castle, Donovan Dijak, Dragon Lee, Evil, Hangman Page, Jay Lethal, Jay White, Kamaitachi, Keith Lee, Kevin Kelly, Kushida, Kyle O'Reilly, Michael Elgin, Nigel McGuinness, Prince Nana, Ring Of Honor, Shane Taylor, Silas Young, Steve Corino, Super ACH, Tetsuya Naito, The Addiction, The All Night Express, The Boys, The Briscoe Brothers, The Motor City Machine Guns, The Young Bucks, Toru Yano, War Machine. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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