On Friday night, ROH presented its seventh event under the All Star Extravaganza name. While the focus was on Jay Lethal having to defend both his titles against the members of ReDragon, the tag team titles were also on the line, a new Nr 1 contender for the World Title would be determined and two feuds were getting their PPV pay-ofs. More than enough on paper to keep any wrestling fan happy so let’s see what happened:
Ring of Honor Television Championship: Jay Lethal (c) defeated Bobby Fish in 14:o4 to retain:
Great action and good storytelling here, with Lethal going all out from the start to end this one as quickly as possible, while Fish countered with his submission game. Lethal was very agressive when the action would spill to the outside, evidently going for the count-out victory. The commentary team added to the story by wondering if Lethal should just give up, and so keep his chances intact for the World Title match, whenever Fish had him in a submission hold. Lethal’s desperation seemed to grow as time went past and, in a great finishing stretch, was finally able to capitalize on a slight mistake from fish, who was a little too slow on a heel hook attempt, allowing Lethal to counter with a tights-assisted roll-up. While I was a bit surprised with the result (I expected Lethal to drop the TV title), this was a great way to open the show and add to the intrigue of the main event (Lethal was limping afterwards as a result of Fish’s submission hold).
Silas Young defeated Dalton Castle in 11:02 to gain possession of the Boys:
This was fun, like most of the feud between Castle and Young, but I can’t call this a great match. To their defense, coming after the intense Lethal vs Fish probably hurt this one a bit. But no blame on ROH here, having the Television Championship match as the opener was clearly the right call. Finish saw Silas attempting to hit Castle with his knee brace, one of the boys intervening, distracting the referee, allowing Young to hit a low blow and Misery for the win. Young then left with the Boys. Honestly the match was secondary to the stipulation here, as Young and the Boys should provide some very amusing skits in the coming weeks.
The All-Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus) defeated The Briscoes in 8:36:
The Briscoes had to face a mystery team, and first the Decade came out, to an hostile reaction, teasing being The Briscoe’s opponents, only for BJ Whitmer to join the commentary team. Then someone claiming to be The Romantic Touch (The Briscoe’s stalker in recent weeks) arrived and promptly got his ass kicked. Finally the All Night Express (ANX) made their return to ROH to a great pop from the crowd. More an angle than a match, this was a good way to re-introduce ANX, especially with commentary reminding everyone that ANX actually never lost the tag team titles in the ring (Kenny King left ROH). Doomsday Blockbuster on Mark earned ANX the victory. Post-match The Decade attacked Jay Briscoe, only for ANX to make the save and shake hands with both Briscoe brothers.
No DQ Match: Moose (with Stokely Hathaway) defeated Cedric Alexander (withe Veda Scott) in 13:18:
Very entertaining brawl which featured the use of wrenches and football helmets. Perhaps Scott and Hathaway got a little too involved at times, taking away from the action, but I’m nitpicking because this was fun. Finish came when Alexander accidentally kicked Scott, got blasted in turn by Hathaway and a wrench and finally speared trough a table by Moose. Moose seems to improve every-time I see him and displayed great aestheticism once more. Now this feud seems to be over, I wonder what’s next for Moose. Television Title? Could happen…
Match 3 in Their Best of Five Series: ACH defeated Matt Sydal in 16:33:
Great choice to have this one come after the No DQ match as the slow and methodical start provided a much needed breather after the previous madness. Good stuff from both, as expected, but something did hurt this one. The spend the first half of the match with Sydal working ACH’s legs, only for ACH to completely forget to sell his “injuries” in the second part. That was unfortunate because it would have certainly added to the match as a whole. ACH nailed Sydal with a 450 to win and take a 2-1 lead in their series.
ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Kingdom (Bennett and Taven) defeated The Addiction (Daniels and Kazarian) (c) and The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) in 14:06:
This was one giant cluster-fuck of a match with superkicks and shenanigans and finishers all over and Maria’s “assets” and someone in a KRD mask coming out and pretending to be Chris Sabin then attacking The Addiction and ref bumps… I don’t know, while watching this I could understand why some don’t like The Bucks and The Kingdom. It was just too much. The best part of the match was when The Young Buck and the Addiction went at it, which says it all really. The Kingdom winning doesn’t bother me much as they are getting TONS of heat and putting the titles on them is a good way to use that. But let’s calm down with the shenanigans and concentrate on the wrestling again, people.
Nr 1 Contender Match: AJ Styles defeated Adam Cole, Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong in 14:35:
Crazy, hectic pace for this one, which caused a few problems. Some spots were sloppy and the pace didn’t left much room for storytelling. That aside, this was another very enjoyable match to watch, with Elgin playing his power game at the start and Strong and Styles soon taking over with their always amazing offense. Ending came when Styles pinned Cole after the Styles Clash. A. J. Styles is now the new Number 1 Contender which should prove very interesting.
ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal (c) defeated Kyle O’Reilly in 14:00:
Lethal came out limping, selling his previous match with Fish, which was good. He would continue to sell that well most of the match (with a few exceptions but OK), while O’Reilly was his usual, exceptional self. Both worked well together and assembled a great match… until the finish. Let’s see, Martini interfered, ref bump, Nigel stopped Martini, another ref bump, Lethal tries to use the belt, Bobby Fish interferes, Dijak interferes, Adam Cole comes out and takes out Dijak, then superkicks O’Reilly allowing Lethal to hit the Lethal Injection. I mean who booked this, Vince McMahon? Too bad this was a fantastic match until the ending came. Post-Match, Cole re-joins The Kingdom, fueling speculation about the identity of the masked man in the Tag Team match.
Conclusion: ROH did some good things here, the Castle/Young storyline will provide more fun segments, ANX returned and were immediately repositioned as a force to be reckoned with. The Kingdom must not only contend with The Addiction and The TYoung Bucks, but also with The Briscoes, War Machine and ANX. Interesting times for that division. A.J. Styles is now the nr 1 contender for the World Title, which should give us one hell of a match against Lethal. Moose continues his progression and Lethal stands tall, still holding both titles.
Then again, some matches (Tag team and world title match most notably) were victims of the kind of overbooking one usually associates with WWE or TNA, which is NOT a good evolution for ROH. ROH’s (admittedly niche) success was always based on the fact that they presented some the best wrestling in the world. In recent weeks, shenanigans have taken over. I really do hope this is just a phase, because they might lose a part of their loyal audience with no guarantee at gaining a new one.
Overall a good show, but watch that tendency to overbook things, ROH.
Tags: Adam Cole, AJ Styles, All Star Extravaganza, ANX, Bobby Fish, cedric alexander, Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal, Kenny King, Kyle O'Reilly, Matt Sydal, Michael Elgin, Moose, Rhett TitusACH, Roderick Strong, ROH, silas young, The Addiction, The Briscoes, The Kingdom, The Young Bucks