The SmarK Rant for ALL IN – 09.01.18
Holy cow, we’re finally here and it’s happening. Can Cody and the Bullet Club pull off their own PPV?
Live from Chicago, IL with roughly FIFTY BILLION Bullet Club shirts. Now their moms have 4 hours to clean the basement in peace!
Sadly, I had no means (legal or otherwise) of watching the Zero Hour pre-game show in Canada.
Justin Roberts is doing ring introductions, and the set is pretty awesome, with WWE style LED boards without being super-derivative. Crowd is not mic’d well at all, though, and they sound really quiet.
Your hosts are Ian Riccaboni, Excaliber and Don Callis.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman v. Matt Cross
Cross is of course better known as Son of Havoc in Lucha Underground, and I’m unfamiliar with MJF. MJF is doing a rich kid gimmick, which is fine. Cross avoids a dropkick by doing a backflip, so MJF offers a handshake and then turns on him. Cross hits the floor and Friedman teases a dive, but Cross recovers and puts him on the floor for a Space Flying Tiger Drop. Back in, MJF uses the ref for distraction and runs Cross into the post before going to work on the arm. Gutwrench powerbomb gets two. MJF takes him to the top and Cross comes back with a top rope rana and a springboard elbow for two. MJF with a package shoulderbreaker for two. They slug it out and Cross puts him down for a double stomp, but he leaves the arm open and MJF puts him in an armbar, forcing Cross to roll him over for two. Cross goes to the apron, but MJF brings him in with a pendulum piledriver through the ropes, for two. That was neat. MJF misses a moonsault and Cross springboards into a cutter, then goes up and finishes with the Shooting star press at 10:06. This was fine, nothing super-hot. **1/2
Meanwhile, Sean Mooney is All In, and his guest is Nick Aldis, who has a date with destiny and she is getting impatient.
Christopher Daniels v. Stephen Amell
Jerry Lynn is now exploring a new career as referee. I mean, I know he’s fallen on hard times in the past, but refereeing is never the answer! Daniels takes him down and offers some dancing, but Amell wants a fight and trades chops with him. So Amell takes him down and offers his own taunting. Daniels charges and hits boot, and Amell gets a dropkick and enzuigiri to put Daniels on the floor. Amell finds a table and tries to slam him off the apron, but Daniels retreats into the ring and comes back with a back suplex to take over. Daniels works the back and tries to suplex Amell through the table, “done in by his own doing” as the announcers note, but Amell recovers and tries for a Crossroads, which Daniels escapes. Amell with a Falcon Arrow instead (nyuk nyuk) for two. Amell puts him into the corner and gets a coast to coast dropkick for two, which is pretty impressive for a guy in his third match. That gets two. Another enzuigiri misses and Daniels hits the BME for two. Back to the apron for another try at putting someone through “Chekhov’s Table”, as Daniels loses a battle and rolls onto the table while selling. Amell tries to follow with an elbowdrop, but it misses and he goes through the table like an explosive arrow. “Broken Arrow” quoth the crowd. Jerry Lynn decides to throw both guys into the ring rather than count, and Daniels is none too happy about that. So Lynn pulls off the ref shirt and offers to throw down, which results in Amell getting a rollup for two. Daniels pounds away on Amell and Lynn keeps breaking them up, so Amell keeps egging Daniels on, and reverses the Angel’s Wings into a bridging pin for two. Daniels with another BME to finish at 11:50. Another totally decent and even surprisingly good match, as Amell looked completely fine out there, although he seemed to blow up a bit by the end. ***
Tessa Blanchard v. Chelsea Green v. Madison Rayne v. Britt Baker
Sorry, that’s Dr. Britt Baker, DMD. Tully and Magnum are both at ringside for Tessa, which is awesome, although Magnum is looking pretty rough. Chelsea’s “hot mess” gimmick from Impact returns here and it’s immediately hilarious. Tessa continues to look like the biggest star of all of them and I still don’t know why she didn’t get a serious push in NXT. Tessa brawls out with Madison while Britt controls the arm on Green, who escapes with a ropewalk takedown. Tessa gets rid of Chelsea and hits Baker with a running elbow in the corner and a codebreaker, but Madison rolls her up for two. Everyone bails, so Tessa presses Rayne onto Baker and Green. Back in, Green hits Baker with a pump kick and follows with a dive onto the other girls, and then Tessa gets her own dive. Back in, Baker runs wild with sling blades on the others and gets two on Green. Rayne with a cutter on Baker for two, but Green hits a Broski boot on Tessa before Baker cuts her off with a side suplex. Chelsea goes up with a missile dropkick on Tessa, and Rayne hits a top rope cutter on Baker that was pretty sloppy, but gets two. Chelsea hits Rayne with the Unprettier but Tessa hits the codebreaker on her and then Baker steals a two count off that. Rayne with a crucifix bomb on Tessa for two, but Baker gets a fisherman’s neckbreaker for two. Green with another Unprettier on Baker for two, and a Canadian Destroyer on Tessa gets two. Can’t say they’re not working hard here! Tessa comes back with a hammerlock DDT for two, but then it turns out to be the pin instead at 12:54. Well that was unfortunately messed up but still it was a show-stealing performance from them despite the sloppiness at times. ***3/4
NWA World title: Nick Aldis v. Cody (Rhodes)
Holy SHIT Brandi Rhodes. I was about to talk about what a smokeshow Tessa is, but Brandi just won the war. Cody has DDP and Tommy Dreamer as his entourage tonight. And GLACIER. Sadly, no Bernard the Business Bear, who you’d think would deserve a payoff for presumably masterminding this. Aldis brings Jeff Jarrett and Shawn Daivari with him, so I’d say Cody wins the seconds battle. As long as Pharoah the Siberian Nightmare doesn’t shit on the floor. Earl Hebner is referee here and sounds like he might drop dead of old age at any moment. Perhaps don’t let him cut any more promos. They do an excellent job of building up the “big fight” feel that WWE is always trying for here. They trade wristlocks as we get the stalemate to start, and they exchange chops before Cody gets the dropkick to put Nick on the floor. Cody follows with the tope but Aldis runs him into the post to take over in the ring. Aldis with a fisherman’s suplex for two and he goes to a chinlock, but Cody fights out and Aldis works the back before slugging him down. Cody makes a comeback and Aldis cuts him off with a lariat. Cody with a superkick and they collide on a crossbody attempt and Aldis bails, then suckers Cody into a dive and hits him with an elbow on the way down. Slick. Sadly, Earl throws up the dreaded X and declares Cody unable to continue, but DDP runs down and delivers some POSITIVITY and possibly some yoga tips, then heads into the ring to deliver a Diamond Cutter to Daivari. This gives Cody a chance to finish gigging himself, and back in Cody is wearing the CRIMSON MASK, although it’s more of a Crimson T-Zone. Come on, Cody, tap the artery! Do the work! Good thing he’s got blond hair and white tights tonight. Cody fights back with a powerslam for two and goes up with a moonsault that misses by a mile. Aldis with a top rope fallaway slam and a flying splash gets two. Cody takes him down with a figure-four, but Aldis makes the ropes. Back to the floor and Cody slams him on the apron, but Aldis hits a powerslam on the floor. Back in, Cody tries the Alabama Slam, but loses Aldis due to the back injury. A second try works and gets two. Disaster kick misses and Aldis gets a nice powerbomb for two and into the cloverleaf. Cody makes the ropes, but Aldis hauls him back in for a piledriver and goes up while Brandi pleads for mercy and puts herself on top of Cody. Nick drops the elbow anyway and Brandi takes one for the team, and Aldis gets two. Cody comes back with the kick and Crossroads for two, however. They slug it out and Cody hooks him in the Vertebreaker, but Aldis escapes that and tries a sunset flip, which Cody counters for the pin and the title at 22:11. I am SHOCKED that a member of the Rhodes family would promote a show where they put themselves over in a World title match. There was a ton of clearly missed spots here and it was kind of a dull mess and not a good representation of what Cody can do at all. **
Chicago Street Fight: Joey Janela v. Hangman Page
I have no idea how Janela is walking around free since he admitted to killing Joey Ryan! Page immediately dumps Janela and follows with a dive, but Janela hits his own and then Page follows with an insane moonsault to the floor of his own. Hangman brings a chair in and suplexes Janela onto that. Back to the floor and an actual Cracker Barrel gets involved, as Janela whips Page into it, then springboards off the barrel and into Page in the front row. Janela rolls the barrel at Page and Hangman jumps like it’s Donkey Kong, then hits a lariat over the railing. Back in, they slug it out on the top rope and Janela runs him into the turnbuckles with a death valley driver, for two. Next up, a ladder gets put onto the barrel, but Janela goes up and gets caught by Page, who follows with a Burning Hammer onto the ladder. Back in, Page tries to suffocate him with a garbage bag, but Janela’s girl Penelope Ford saves him and hits a stunner on Page to put him on the floor, then follows with a dive onto him. BITCHES BE CRAZY, AM I RIGHT? Nah, I’m kidding, she seems nice. Hangman retreats onto the table and Janela puts him through it with a flying elbow. They fight up to the stage and Janela hits him with a hilariously overblown running clothesline, which puts Page out for about 10 minutes while Janela finds yet another table under the stage. Page fights back with a superkick and powerbombs him off the stage and through one of the tables, which looked horribly dangerous in the wrong way. Janela appears to be deader than Sears in Canada and Page hauls him back to the ring to finish him off with the lariat, but Ford makes the save after his piledriver deal. She has a second garbage bag, but it’s got JOEY RYAN’S HAUNTED BOOTS in them and Page is all freaked out. But he superkicks Penelope anyway, because why not, and Janela superkicks him in turn for two. Janela tosses another ladder in and puts Page on a table, but Page finds the telephone that was apparently the murder weapon and chokes Janela out before putting him through the table with the piledriver off the top of the ladder, which gets the pin at 20:15. I SHOULD FUCKING HOPE SO. Jesus. And then the lights go out and a parade of…uh…penises herald the return of FAMOUS DICK WRESTLER Joey Ryan. HE HAS RISEN! His cock has no-sold death itself! So Page goes to attack him and of course we get the Penis Suplex here on PPV, and Joey rolls Page into the Penile pall bearers and off to the back. The crowd chants “REST IN PENIS”. Shut it down, we can’t possibly top this.
So yeah, that was…something. It certainly wasn’t boring. Call it ***1/2 for the whole thing.
ROH World title: Jay Lethal v. Flip Gordan
Flip’s platonic best friend Brandi Rhodes is with him, and Jay Lethal brings LANNY POFFO as he resurrects his Macho Man impression. Jay offers the MEGAPOWER HANDSHAKE to Flip before the match and then hauls Brandi to his corner to really sell the gimmick. Back in, Flip gets some armdrags and Lethal tosses him, but Flip skins the cat and Lethal clotheslines him back out. Brandi tries to save Flip and Lethal chases her off again and then picks her up for the Elizabeth spot, but a slap from Brandi finally makes him snap out of it. Flip heads back in with a low kick into a standing moonsault for two, then he flips away from Lethal to frustrate him and hits him with a dive into the railing. Back in with a Twisted Bliss for two. They trade suplex attempts and Flip rolls him up for two, but Lethal gets a rollup for two and a backslide for two. They trade more near-falls and slug it out on the apron, but Flip kicks Lethal down and then misses a splash. Lethal hits a neckbreaker combo for two off that. Gordan blocks the Lethal Injection with a rollup for two and follows with a Falcon Arrow for two. Lethal catches him with a torture rack into a Regal roll, but Lanny tells him to go all Macho again and slaps him to reawaken the Madness. Lethal goes up and drops the big elbow, then a second one, then he hits it not once, not twice, but THRICE, and that gets two. This prompts Flip to FLIP UP as we get increasingly silly, and the big boot and Pele set up the slingblade. Flip goes up and misses a stomp, but hits a shooting star press and goes up with a corkscrew splash for two. They head up and Flip tries a rana, but Lethal blocks him and brings him down with a cutter and Lethal Injection to retain at 14:24. Well Flip was literally just happy to be there so that’s a win for him. Wacky and fun. ***1/4 Bully Ray heads down to attack both guys and takes out Lanny Poffo for good measure, but Colt Cabana makes the save and all three put him through a table. So yeah, Bully Ray is looking more like Bubba Ray in retirement.
Kenny Omega v. Pentagon
Penta kicks him out of the ring right away and fires away in the corner, then takes him down with a backstabber and Kenny bails for a breather. Back in, Omega snaps off a rana and follows with the dive attempt, but Penta cuts him off with a sling blade, dumps him, and hits his own dive. Penta beats on him by the railing and back in for the chops, but Kenny fires back with his own and follows with the moonsault, which Penta blocks with the knees. Omega keeps coming with the tornado DDT and heads up with the missile dropkick to the shoulder, and a package neckbreaker gets two. Omega sets up for the knee, but Penta superkicks him to escape, so Omega hits him with an elbow and follows with the snapdragon suplex. Penta counters out of the One Winged angel into a backstabber for two, but Kenny gets a death valley driver to put Penta into the corner and follows with the V-Trigger knee. They head up and Kenny wants a brainbuster, but Penta escapes and hits him with the double stomp off the top for two. Kenny escapes the piledriver and hits a V-Trigger, but Penta shows ZERO FEAR and wants more. Kenny with the powerbomb and another V-Trigger for two off that. One Winged Angel, but Penta spins out and hits a crazy pumphandle powerbomb and drops Kenny on his head for two. To the apron, where Omega kicks him in the face a few times and Penta gives him the trash talk in Spanish and then PILEDRIVES HIM ON THE APRON. Back in, the double stomp gets two. Kenny comes back with a crazy spinning piledriver and follows with the V-Trigger and ONE WINGED ANGEL , but Penta escapes again and breaks the arm! Package Piledriver gets two. They had me! They fucking had me! Penta tries a superkick, but Kenny catches the boot and hits the V-Trigger, followed by the reverse rana for two. Another V-Trigger sets up the One Winged Angel, and there’s no escape this time at 17:11. Best match of the show thus far. ****1/4
And then, it’s LIGHTS OUT and Penta revives and lays Kenny out, then unmasks as CHRIS JERICHO. Oh, Vince isn’t gonna like that. Now we need a backstage cameo from drunken Shawn Michaels where he asks why they turned him into Pentagon. An awesome match with an AWESOME post-match angle.
Marty Scurll v. Kazuchika Okada
It’s the Rainmaker v. The Umbrella! How meta. Amazingly, they brought Tiger Hattori to referee. We can only hope Red Shoes gets the main event. Scurll offers some power posing and takes him down with a hammerlock and into a rollup for two. They trade shoulderblocks and Okada wins that battle, but Scurll chops him in the corner and tells off Tiger. Okada misses a charge and Marty tries a suplex, but Okada reverses into his own. Scurll puts him on the floor and follows with a tope into the railing and stops to offer a Too Sweet salute to Macauley Calkin. Back in, Scurll goes to work on the arm, but Okada comes back with a flapjack and neckbreaker for two. They head out and Okada DDTs him on the floor (“Not sure if the top knot cushioned the blow” notes one of the announcers) and back in Okada calmly ignores some chops from Marty before pounding him down and wrapping him out in a straitjacket hold. Scurll powers out of it and reverses into a backstabber. Okada puts him down with the big boot, but Scurll takes out the knee to continue his theme of joint manipulation on the bigger man. Tornado DDT out of the corner gets two. Scurll stops to gloat, but Okada puts him down with an elbow and follows with his own DDT for two. Marty with a sunset flip for two, but Okada boots him in the face and then walks into the brainbuster. Scurll tries a piledriver, but again takes too long and Okada fights out. So he tries again, and this time Okada takes him down with the Air Raid Crash for two. Okada goes up and they slug it out on top, but Okada can’t knock him down and Scurll gets the superplex. They trade forearms and near-falls and Scurll nearly pulls it out, and then follows with a powerbomb and stacked up pin for two. Okada dropkicks him into the turnbuckles with MUSTARD on it and goes up for the missile dropkick which gets two. Scurll tries a tombstone and Okada gets his own, which gives us the RAINMAKER ZOOM OUT and Okada goes with a 205 Live joke, but Marty counters the “five” and snaps the finger! Okada hits the dropkick, however, but Scurll reverses the Rainmaker into the chickenwing. He didn’t even call the move! He means business, baby! Okada powers out of that and slams out of it, but Scurll reapplies the hold and Okada fights out and bumps the ref. Scurll finally lets his villain out again and grabs the umbrella to counter the rainmaker, and then hits his own Rainmaker for two. Scurll wants another chickenwing, but THE RAINMAKER puts him down instead. Marty wants him to bring it on, and Okada is happy to do so with forearms to the face. Scurll still wants more and tries to break the finger again, but RAINMAKER finishes at 26:05. Okada is pretty damn amazing at the pro wrestlings and this built like a good Strong Style New Japan main event and Okada just kept getting better, making Scurll look like a top level star. ****
And then we rush right to the main event with time presumably short.
The Young Bucks & Kota Ibushi v. Bandido, Rey Mysterio & Rey Fenix
Bandido chases Matt to the floor and follows with a dive, but the Bucks hit him with a double dropkick. Fenix comes in and flips all over the ring, but Nick gets the high kick before walking into a cutter that gets two. So then we get Ibushi v. Mysterio and the crowd loses their mind before they even touch. Rey with a rana, but Ibushi counters out of another one and it’s a stalemate. Ibushi kicks him down, but Matt comes in and Rey gets the tornado DDT. Over to Fenix and Matt hits a facebuster on him as we hear a producer yelling that they need to go home NOW. Ibushi hits Fenix and Bandido with a double Pele kick and makes a hot tag to Nick Jackson, who hits everyone with kicks and dives onto Fenix, following by Ibushi. Mysterio dives onto everyone and we get the big car crash series of dives. Back in, the Bucks double-team Bandido with a buckle bomb into an Ibushi german suplex for two. Triple superkick misses and Bandido manages to hit all three with a rana at the same time and it’s hot tag Rey Rey. 619 for Matt, but he catches it and they set up the finish, which Fenix breaks up. Rey gets the 619 on the second try and Bandido hits Matt with the reverse rana, into Mysterio’s frog splash for two. Everyone fights to the top and Matt fights off a pair of luchadors, but Bandido takes him down with a backflip blockbuster off the top for two. The Bucks recover with a SUPERKICK PARTY and then three moonsaults on Bandido for two. Meltzer Driver finishes at 11:42 and they BARELY go home in time as we are DESPERATELY OUT OF TIME and this time they mean it. An insane spotfest. ****
Everything after the street fight was balls out great, and nothing was bad, so that’s a major thumbs up from here. It’ll be up on New Japan shortly to watch and it’s well worth your four hours of time with a little something for everyone and a great atmosphere. Hopefully they go All In again next year!