ROH returned to PPV with All Star Extravaganza 8 from Lowell, MA on September 30th:
ROH TV Championship
Bobby Fish defeated Donovan Dijak
This was a really great opener. Dijak, in his hometown area was greeted with a fantastic reaction from the crowd. Dijak was accompanied by his trainer Brian Fury and students from the New England Wrestling Academy. With Dijak so over with the crowd, Fish played the heel, something he is so great at. He ran his mouth as he targeted the leg of Dijak. Dijak’s selling was perfect and the crowd popped every time he hit a big shot. This was a mat based match with a simple story of size vs the technician, and veteran vs rookie.
Dijak hit Feat Your Eyes to a huge pop from the crowd, but the knee injury let Fish recover and get a foot on the ropes. The finish here was so well done with Fish trapping Dijak in a choke to counter a second attempt at Feast Your Eyes. The match ended via referee stoppage. Dijak sold this so well. He came off like he had no idea what happened, and not in a goofy way, but in the way you would see an MMA fighter react after they go down to a choke hold. This was the biggest match of Dijak’s career, and he had a fantastic showing.
Dalton Castle & Colt Cabana defeated All Night Express, War Machine and Keith Lee & Shane Taylor
This was a really fun sprint. War Machine vs Lee & Taylor is probably the best feud currently in ROH. They brawled again here. Castle & Cabana make for a really fun team. They’re similar in that they can do comedy, but when they need to get serious they are believable in doing so. The Cabinet thing just isn’t clicking for me, but ANX looked good in the ring here. We had Lee hitting a crazy tope one everyone, followed by Hanson coming off the top with a dive of his own, which had the building shaking. Castle pinned Titus after Bangarang. This was a lot of fun for what it was. Cabana & Castle are now number one contenders for the ROH tag titles.
Dragon Lee defeated Kamaitachi
These two have had a classic feud spanning across CMLL & NJPW over the last year plus, so expectations were high as they brought their series to ROH. This delivered and gave us all the craziness that was expected. Dragon Lee is scarily good for 21 years old. He can fly and he has incredible power for his size. This had everything from Kamaitachi leaping over the guardrail with a dropkick, Lee hitting a rana from the apron to the floor, double stomps, multiple suplexes from both guys. Kamaitachi countered both a back drop and a last ride into a Canadian Destroyer, for two amazing near falls that had Nigel McGuinness on commentary speechless. Lee got the win after hitting a Phoenix Plex, a move that dropped Kamaitachi right on his head. Go out of your way to see this one. It is something completely different and hopefully the first of many matches between these two in ROH. The craziest thing about this match is that it isn’t even the best match they’ve had.
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Hangman Page
These guys were in a tough spot going on after the previous match with the crowd completely spent. This was a really solid match. Page went after the neck of O’Reilly and continues to grow into his role in Bullet Club. O’Reilly has been a machine as of late as he has added size and is moving up the ranks in NJPW. He went after both the leg and arm here, which played into the finish. O’Reilly got the win with an armbar.
After the match Page attacked O’Reilly, wrapping a chair around his arm and driving him into the ring post just before Bobby Fish could run him off. Page softens up O’Reilly for Adam Cole and we could see Page as the next challenger for the TV title.
Six Man Tag Team Tournament
ACH, KUSHIDA & Jay White defeated Toru Yano & The Briscoes
This was a really good start to the six man tag tournament. Yano & The Briscoes have always been an odd team to me, so I was glad to see them eliminated here with the more exciting team advancing. Yano added very little to this match. The Briscoes did most of the work, and used their tag team experience. Team KUSHIDA put together some nice triple team combos. We had dome big dives at times from Jay Briscoe & ACH. White & ACH both looked superb when they were in the ring. White kicked out of Froggy Bow, which was a big moment for him. Yano got a great near fall on White with a roll up. KUSHIDA hit a crazy dive to the floor allowing ACH to pin Yano with a 450 Splash. ACH getting the pin over an NJPW heavyweight was a big moment for him too.
Jay Lethal defeated Tetsuya Naito
One of the big criticisms of the ROH/NJPW partnership has been ROH guys never getting clean wins over the top stars in NJPW. Well that changed here as Lethal scored a major win over the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Unlike many other ROH vs NJPW matches, this wasn’t a cold match. Naito had walked out on Lethal and Lethal wanted revenge. They started brawling when Naito attacked ring announcer Bobby Cruise. There was some fantastic wrestling here. Lethal countered Destino into a cutter, which was beautifully done. There were lots of really good near falls and excellent back and forth wrestling.
EVIL got involved, but Lethal fought off the double team. Naito kicked out of a diving cutter, but Lethal scored the win when he hit the Lethal Injection. This was almost played up like Naito had underestimated Lethal. This was a surprise, but a pleasant surprise. If the ROH/NJPW relationship is to continue, ROH has to be looked at as being on the same level as NJPW, and the only way that can happen is by having a fair balance when it comes to their top stars getting wins. This will likely see Lethal get an IC title shot, most likely at Power Struggle in November.
ROH World Championship
Adam Cole defeated Michael Elgin
This was a fantastic world title match. The knee of Elgin that was injured by Naito was the target of Cole, which was great continuity. Elgin dominated the majority of the match, just manhandling Cole with all sorts of power moves. Cole went after the knee any change he could, but he never had any real momentum. Amazingly, Elgin hit Cole with a Panama Sunrise. Cole hit the same move after a reverse rana for a great near fall. Elgin kicked out of the Last Shot and survived a flurry of kicks and knee strikes. Cole hit a second Last Shot to retain the title. This was a very strong win for Cole, and a win that he needed to establish himself as a viable world champion. Great match.
ROH World Tag Team Championship
Ladder War 6
The Young Bucks defeated The Addiction & The Motor City Machine Guns
This is one of the craziest matches I have ever seen, from any promotion, ever. It might even be the best TLC match I’ve ever seen. This is right up there with any classic TLC or Ladder match for the golden era in WWF. This was one jaw dropping, insane move after another. There were more crazy bumps and broken tables than I can even begin to count. There was amazing innovation and creativity from everyone, particularly Nick Jackson. At one point he was knocked off a ladder, but landed on the top rope and bounced into an Indytaker on the floor. Christopher Daniels, in his late 40’s took some of the most insane bumps I have ever seen one man take in a single match. He was a bloody mess by the end of this and I’d be amazed if he wasn’t seriously injured. There are no words to do this justice, just go and buy the damn replay if you haven’t seen it. It finished with Kazarian being killed with an Indytaker through a table and The Young Bucks grabbing the titles to become the new champions. Hopefully this leads to a length reign for The Bucks. All six of these men deserve hugs respect for what they did here, especially Christopher Daniels. Crazy, crazy stuff.
This was an excellent show from top to bottom. The venue made for a great atmosphere and it looked fantastic on camera. Every match was at least very good, with some really great matches capped off with a classic main event. Buy the replay at ROHWrestling.com.