By Jason Powell
ROH All Star Extravaganza 2016
Aired live on pay-per-view
Lowell, Massachusetts at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium
The event opened with a video package with various wrestlers talking about having the best action, creating and destroying legacies, climbing the ladder to success, and their various goals. They all said they are all-stars, and then Adam Cole said he is the all-star. A narrator chimed in talking about the best athletes in the world and putting over the intensity of the ladder war…
A shot aired of the tag titles hanging above the ring. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino checked in on commentary from a perch away from ringside. They hyped the ladder wars match and some of the other top matches…
1. Bobby Fish vs. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) for the ROH TV Title. Dijak had a group of wrestlers with him who were dressed in warmup gear. One of them carried a Dijak flag and Kelly noted that they are from a training academy that helped prepare him for the match. The crowd was hot and chanted “Dijak” as the Massachusetts native entered the ring. Bobby Fish received a favorable reaction. Bobby Cruise handled the in-ring introductions.
The wrestlers shook hands, but Dijak didn’t let go. Fish stood on the second rope so that he could look down at the taller Dijak, who shoved him when they released the handshake. Dijak controlled the bulk of the early action, yet sold a leg injury.
Dijak hit Feast Your Eyes and struggled to get to Fish to make the cover. Fish put his foot on the ropes at the last moment. Fish avoided a moonsault. They traded shots in mid-ring with the fans cheering for the hometown Dijak. Fish applied a knee bar, but Dijak reached the ropes. Nana distracted Fish briefly. Dijak set up for his finisher again, but Fish turned it into a rear naked choke. Fish released the hold and threw several kicks at the bad leg, then applied the hold again. Dijak was out and the referee stopped the match…
Bobby Fish defeated Donovan Dijak in 11:40 to retain the ROH TV Title.
Powell’s POV: A good match with Fish targeting the knee of the challenger and that playing a big part in the story they told. I really liked the presentation of Dijak with the guys from his training school. It had an MMA feel to it and it worked so much better than the oddball pairing with Nana. I also liked the way Kelly and Corino focussed on the Fish having ten more years of experience than Dijak.
2. Rhett Titus and Kenny King (w/Caprice Coleman, Cabinet sidekicks) vs. Keith Lee and Shane Taylor vs. War Machine vs. Colt Cabana and Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) for a future ROH Tag Title shot. Castle made the last entrance and got the best reaction. Coleman said the Cabinet is protesting the Code of Honor. Titus and King took a knee during the handshakes. He said that he received a letter from Congress stating that if any team attacks them while they protest then they will be disqualified. Coleman then sat in on commentary. Corino ran through random Lowell history and noted that Shawn Michaels lost his smile there.
There was early Cabana and Castle comedy with the two of them teasing dives and not delivering, Cabana striking Castle’s pose, and then the two of them ending up in the ring together and squaring off. War Machine pulled Taylor and Lee off the apron and fought with them briefly. They ended up back in the ring, where Ray Rowe performed a nice suplex on Taylor. Castle performed an impressive suplex on Lee. The first “this is awesome” chant of the night broke out before Lee performed a big dive onto a bunch of opponents on the floor. Hanson followed up with a dive of his own onto the wrestlers on the floor. In the end, Castle hit the Bankarang on Titus and pinned him…
Dalton Castle and Colt Cabana defeated Kenny King & Rhett Titus, War Machine, and Keith Lee & Shane Taylor to earn a future tag title shot.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was into the Castle and Cabana comedy and the rapid fire spots that led to the dives from the big men. The finish occurred a little sooner than expected, but the crowd was happy with Castle and Cabana going over.
Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness joined the broadcast team and spoke about the hesitation of booking the Ladder War…
3. Kamaitachi vs. Dragon Lee. Kelly noted that Lee is just 21 years old. “I might be his father,” Corino said. Kamaitachi blew off the Code of Honor. Lee had his right shoulder heavily taped. Kamaitachi performed a sunset flip powerbomb off the ring apron a couple minutes into the match. Kamaitachi also performed a running leap over the barricade and connected with a kick to Lee.
Back in the ring, Lee came back with a couple of dropkicks and then performed a big dive of his own onto Kamaitachi on the floor. Lee performed a double stomp onto Kamaitachi, whose legs were caught up in the bottom rope. Lee went for another double stop with Kamaitachi caught in the tree of woe, but Kamaitachi laid flat to avoid it.
Kamaitachi threw Lee into the corner with a suplex. Moments later, Kamatachi performed a cool senton off the top rope and onto Lee on the floor. Both men returned to the ring as the ref’s count reached 19 (ROH uses a 20 count). Lee performed a cool suplex into a bridge for a two count. Kamaitachi performed a great move off the second rope where he spun himself around before hook the arms of Lee and flipping him into a pin for a nice near fall.
Kamaitachi performed a big suplex into a bridge for a two count. With Kamaitachi standing on the apron, Lee leapt over the top rope and performed a huracanrana onto the floor. There was a brief “fight forever” chant. Kamaitachi caught Lee with a wild Frankensteiner type move for another two count.
Kamaitachi got frustrated over not being able to put Lee away. He picked him up on his shoulder and ran him into the corner. Lee came back with a kick. Lee picked up Kamatachi and locked his fingers behind his head, then performed a wicked suplex and pinned him…
Dragon Lee defeated Kamaitachi in 16:00.
Powell’s POV: This was like a Raw cruiserweight match (only much better) in that the live crowd didn’t really have any incentive to cheer for one guy over the other, so they mostly applauded the spots. I can’t even imagine how insane this crowd would have been if there had been a good storyline between these two coming into the match, as this was really good. ROH uses Kamaitachi regularly, and they need to have him be more than just the third guy in The Addiction act. If he’s on loan from New Japan, then there’s no reason they can’t build him up big and have him do a key loss or two before he goes. Lee is terrific and they work very well together, as I recall watching a great match they had in Mexico at the prompting of Court Bauer prior to a past appearance on the MLW radio show. By the way, props to the ROH production tonight. The building looks good and the production staff was right there with plenty of replays for the wild high spots in this match.
4. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Hangman Page. Page entered to the Bullet Club entrance. The wrestlers did not shake hands prior to the match. Page was in control early. The live crowd sat on their hands, perhaps coming down from the previous match. At 7:15, Page performed a running shooting star press off the ring apron. Page came up holding his knee, and McGuiness was critical of him executing that move and “making minimal contact” when he could have done something that wasn’t so risky.
O’Reilly came back with knees and kicks. At 9:30, O’Reilly applied the armbar and Page had to tap. After the match, Page recovered and ran O’Reilly into the guardrail. Paige wrapped O’Reilly’s arm in a chair and ran him into the ring post (looked soft). Bobby Fish ran to save his tag partner. Page could be heard saying he did what he came to do. Corino questioned if he lost the match on purpose. Ugh. Kelly got Corino back on track…
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Hangman Page in 9:45.
Powell’s POV: The live crowd was really flat during the opening minutes of the match. The wrestlers had the unenviable task of trying to follow the previous match, but this has been a tough crowd at times. There wasn’t much of a build to the finish in that it just sort of came out of nowhere. The post match angle was solid aside from the bad chair/shoulder spot at the end. I really like the new Page persona and it’s cool that he’s gone from being a pushover undercard wrestler to becoming believable as a wrestler who doesn’t have any remorse.
Kelly interviewed Silas Young on the stage about the six-man tag tournament. Young said he and Beer City Bruiser couldn’t find a suitable third partner initially. Young started talking about how he was once just happy to be in ROH, then he realized he earned his spot and his chance to become ROH Champion. Young spoke about winning the Honor Rumble to earn a title shot.
5. Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, and Toru Yano vs. ACH, Jay White, and Kushida in a six-man tag title tournament match. The wrestlers shook hands before the match. At 4:20, Yano cut the turnbuckle pad off again while the referee was distracted. Yano used the turnbuckle pad as a weapon by slamming over the back of White. The pain from being struck with a pad must have been unbearable.
Anyway, Kushida performed some flash offense on Yano and the crowd chanted Kushida’s name. Kushida applied an armbar and McGuinness said he thought Yano tapped out, but the match continued. Late in the match, Mark hit Froggy Bow. The broadcast team acted like the match was over, so it was no surprise when White kicked out.
Yano catapulted White into a double superkick from the Briscoes. White backdropped Mark over the top rope to the floor, then cleared Jay brom the ring. Yano went for a low blow, but Kushida blocked it. Yano rolled up White for two. White came back with a dropkick. Kushida dove onto the Briscoes at ringside, the ACH performed Midnight Star on Yano and pinned him…
ACH, Jay White, and Kushida beat The Briscoes and Toru Yano in 14:00 to advance in the six-man tag title tournament.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was excited to see the Briscoes especially, but they once again ended up sitting back and reacting to bigger moments. In this case, I suspect it’s because everyone in the match was a babyface and the fans had no incentive to really root for one team over the other.
A video package recapped Jay Lethal and Tetsuya Naito’s issues…
6. Jay Lethal vs. Tetsuya Naito (w/Evil). Kelly called Naito one of the great performers of 2016 and said he’s having one of the best years any pro wrestlers has ever had. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise started to introduce Lethal, but Naito kicked Cruise and put the boots to him. Lethal rushed to the ring and the match got started.
At 4:30, Lethal performed the Lethal Combination. They replayed footage of Naito kicking Cruise. Corino was giddy. At 7:00, Lethal went for a handstand into the ropes, but Naito caught him with a dropkick to the gut. Naito followed up with a huracanrana from the top rope for a two count.
There were dueling chants for the wrestlers around 8:15. Lethal caught Naito with a Cutter at 8:30. Naito came back with a kick and then threw a couple more to knock Naito down. Lehtan came and and stomped the hands of Evil at ringside. Naito used the distraction to regain control briefly.
At 10:05, Lethal applied a Crossface. Evil pulled the referee to the floor and then put the boots to Lethal while the ref acted hurt on the floor. Lethal came back with a cutter and the referee returned to count the near fall. In the end, Lethal hit the Lethal Injection and pinned Naito clean…
Jay Lethal defeated Tetsuya Naito in 12:45.
Powell’s POV: A good match with a pleasantly surprising clean finish in that it a top ROH wrestler pinning a top NJPW wrestler. I was worried Evil’s interference was going to be the end of the match, so that’s one case of being happy to see a ref bump.
Kelly set up a promo from Adam Cole and Michael Elgin to hype the ROH Title match. Cole spoke about how he once respected Elgin until he beat him for the championship. Cole said Elgin showed the world what a coward he was and said he failed. He said Elgin held the title for a cup of coffee and then left for Japan, while he scratched and clawed his way back and won the title…
Ring entrances for title match took place. As Elgin entered, Kelly defended Elgin by saying he went to Japan to take on all comers. Cole received the better reaction of the two entrances…
7. Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin for the ROH Title. Cruise survived the kick and handled the in-ring introductions for the title match. There was no Code of Honor. They opened up with a quick pace with Elgin scoring a near fall just over a minute into the match. A few minutes into the match, Cole kicked the knee of Elgin, who was standing on the second rope. Kelly recalled Naito and Evil working over the knee of Elgin recently. Cole slammed the bad left knee into the ring post a few times.
Elgin came back with clotheslines, yet still sold the knee. Cole eventually cut him off with a running knee to the side to the head and got a two count. Elgin came back with a German suplex that drove Cole’s head into the top turnbuckle.
At 8:15, Elgin went up top, but Cole tripped him up. Cole put the boots to the knee of Elgin as he was tied up in the tree of woe, then applied the figure four at 8:50. Elgin reached the ropes to break the hold. Elgin came back with a destroyer. At 10:50, Cole hit a destroyer of his own for a two count, then acted shocked he didn’t get the three count.
Cole connected with a pair of superkicks, then ran into a big clothesline that turned him inside out. Cole hit the Last Shot for a two count. Fans looked pretty stone faced as McGuinness tried to claim they were stunned. Cole applied the figure four, which drew the usual wooos.
Cole pulled the referee in front of him to block an Elgin strike. Elgin stopped short of hitting the ref. Cole kicked Elgin’s bad knee, then hit a series superkicks, shining wizards, and the Last Shot for the win…
Adam Cole beat Michael Elgin in 14:10 to retain the ROH Title.
Powell’s POV: A good match with Cole working the knee consistently throughout the match. I never really bought into the idea that Elgin was going to win, but the match was still entertaining and seemed to keep the crowd’s interest. If anyone uses the usual excuse that the crowd was loud all night and was just mic’d poorly, then they’ll need to explain why you can see so many fans sitting down with their mouths shut and half interested looks on their faces.
A video package aired to promote the Ladder War main event and featured comments from the tag champions… Kelly said the broadcast team was not at ringside for this show because of the danger of the ladder war…
Ring entrances for the main event took place. The Motor City Machine Guns were out first. They still point at their hands, but they have cool t-shirts. The Young Bucks were out next to a big ovation. Kelly called them the most marketable team in the world. The Addiction were out last. The fans were on their feet for the entrances…
8. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian vs. Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley in a Ladder War for the ROH Tag Titles. The fans chanted “Young Bucks” loudly. Kelly worked in at least his second plug for NJPW on AXS. The Addiction brought chairs in early, but the Bucks superkicked them into their faces. The Addiction tried to bring a ladder in, but Nick Jackson kicked it into them. The Addiction tried to throw a ladder at Nick, who moved, and the ladder crashed into the barricade. Shelley dove onto the tag champs.
Nick dove onto the champions and Sabin on the floor. The Bucks tried to set up a ladder, but Shelley leapt onto it to drive their fingers between it and the mat. Matt made the first play for the title belts, but Daniels stopped him. Kazarian raced up the ladder, but Nick stopped him and then Shelley sprayed water into his eyes. The Guns also slammed a ladder onto Kazarian.
Daniels was cut around the left eye somehow. Matt powerbombed him onto a ladder, then Nick performed a moonsault onto Daniels and the ladder that led to “holy shit” chants. The Bucks set up a pice of the barricade outside the ring. God help them all.
Kazarian made a play for the ladder and ended up performing a cutter on Matt. Shelley whipped Matt into a ladder that was set up in the corner. Sabin accidentally kicked Shelley when Matt moved. Shelly slammed Kazarian through a table. Matt Jackson went through a table, then Daniels drove Shelley through a table.
Kazarian was bleeding and lying on a table. Nick performed a move off the top rope to put him through it. Daniels was a bloody mess. The fans chanted “this is awesome.” Funny, no trouble hearing them here or at other ROH shows when they are excited.
The wrestlers set up three ladders under the tag title belts and the fans chanted “please don’t die.” All six wrestlers stood on the ladders and traded punches while fans chanted “please don’t die.” Nick was the last man standing and fumbled around with the title belts until his opponents tipped his ladder over and he went crashing through a table at ringside. Good lord.
Shelly drove Kazarian face first into a ladder in the corner. Sabin ran Daniels into the same ladder. Kazarian rolled to ringside. The Guns put Daniels inside the ladder and stood it up upside down. Kazarian tried to save Daniels with a chair and instead hit the ladder he was inside of. Shelley suplexed Kazarian into the ladder with Daniels inside of it.
Kelly said the point of the ladder caught Daniels early on, which is why he was so bloody. They slammed the ladder to the mat and Daniels rolled out of it. Corino pointed out that all the fans were on their feet, which is true. The Bucks returned to the ring at 15:40 and superkicked their opponents.
At 16:25, Daniels was double superkicked by the Bucks onto the piece of barricade that was stacked at ringside. Corino said it was the craziest match he’s ever called. There was an insane spot with Nick being pushed off the ladder, yet falling into an Indy Taker spot with his brother on the floor. The Bucks set up the ladder as the fans chanted “too sweet.
Kamaitachi came out and pushed over the ladder to prevent the Bucks from winning. Jay White came out and shoved Kamaitachi off the top rope and through a table on the floor. Daniels low blowed White. Kazarian gave White a cutter through another table on the floor.
Daniels performed the Best Moonsault Ever on Matt Jackson. Kelly said Daniels was bloody, battered, but defiant. The fans chanted Fallen Angel for Daniels. Kelly said it was out of respect for the career of Daniels. Kelly said Daniels is 46 and never complains and is the ultimate pro wrestler.
Daniels and Nick fought on top of the ladder. Nick backdropped Daniels onto another ladder that was propped up on the main ladder and the ropes, which led to another holy shit chant. A short time later, Nick had a chance to take the titles down, but he noticed that his brother was waiting, and they performed an Indy Taker that drove Kazarian through a table. The Bucks pulled the tag titles down and won the match.
The Young Bucks defeated The Addiction and The Motor City Machine Guns in 24:00 in a Ladder War to win the ROH Tag Titles.
An ad aired for ROH Final Battle on Friday, December 2 from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City…
Powell’s POV: That more than lived up to the insanity that ROH promised for Ladder War. Corino rightfully poured it on thick afterward by talking about what the six wrestlers put themselves through. The live crowd was hot for that match from start to finish. This isn’t something I want to see on a regular basis, so I love that ROH has only done it six times and part of the hype includes the broadcast team saying the company doesn’t hold them more often because they are so dangerous. That was truly insane and one can only hope that everyone involved will walk out in one piece.
Overall, this was an enjoyable pay-per-view. There were a couple early finishes that felt like they came out of nowhere, and the live crowd was tougher than most until the final match, but the in-ring action was entertaining, the broadcast team was effective, and the main event was just as crazy as they promised. A good show and you should definitely go out of your way to see the main event if that’s your style of match. I will have more to say in the members’ exclusive audio review later tonight.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Mike McMahon of PWTorch.com discussing his background and podcast work, plus a long chat regarding Impact Wrestling coming out of Slammiversary, including a breakdown of the notable additions to the roster, and more...