Honor lived tonight in Toronto on iPPV for the first time in almost a year! Welcome to the Voices of Wrestling’s coverage for All Star Extravaganza 6, my name is Warren Taylor and I’ll be breaking down the action from the show.
On paper, this show looked great. reDRagon was set to defend the ROH World Tag Team Championships against The Young Bucks in a rematch from their instant classic back in May. Michael Elgin would try to continue his quest to become a record setting world champion against Jay Briscoe. To top off, a solid undercard IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles was set to do battle with Adam Cole. Without further ado let’s see if the show lived up to the billing.
The show started out the Jay Lethal, in street clothes, and Truth Martini making their way to the ring. Truth runs down Lethal’s scheduled opponent ACH and says that he could not make the show. At one point Truth called ACH “a crack head” which brought Cedric Alexander. Cedric says that he does not have an opponent for tonight either and points out he beat Lethal a few weeks ago on TV, so he wants a title match tonight! Lethal takes the mic and says that Alexander does not deserve a title match to which Cedric responds by questioning Jay’s manhood. Things escalate to a point where Lethal tried to super kick Cedric but instead he nailed #Sparx instead.
Mark Briscoe vs. Hanson: This match was a battle of the beards. It was also Hanson’s first single match since the injury to his tag partner Ray Rowe. Both men came out fighting with Hanson having the advantage early on. Hanson got to show off his freak athleticism with a beautiful dive to the outside and a cartwheel into a vicious lariat.
The man known as Chicken finally got a chance to show off his backwoods martial arts. To Mark’s credit he continues a run of matches where he looks very motivated. Not a lot of comedy but the reckless, albeit in a refined way, style that put “Dem Boys” on the map.
As the match wore on it was a slugfest pure and simple. Hanson would club Briscoe time and time again. In response Mark would introduce Hanson to a few Mongolian Chops. Mark would eventually get the win with the Froggy Bow after Hanson missed a moonsault, yes a moonsault.
I had a lot of fun watching this match. There was not a lot of downtime and an emphasis on action. Neither man got cute with his spots and stuck to the basics which result in a fun and very smartly worked match. Even better Mark made Hanson look like a beast. *** ¼
As Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino broke down the match a suspended Tommaso Ciampa jumped the guard rail and hit the ring. Ciampa deseratly tried to apologize to Kevin Kelly and Bobby Cruze whom he had issues with at ROH’s August show in Chicago Ridge. Matchmaker Nigel McGuiness came out to survey the situation which caused Ciampa to switch gears and start a rant about how there was no room for him on marquee shows. McGuiness had Ciampa’s mic cut off and ordered security to escort him back into the crowd. Ciampa eventually left on his own accord.
Four Corner Tag – R.D. Evans and Moose vs. The Decade (Adam Page and Whitmer) vs. Watananbe and Caprice Coleman vs. Ethan Gabriel Owens & Josh Alexander: A four corner tag match. If the usual tropes are followed one can expect to see a parade of dives, near falls and the match ending due as soon as all hell starts breaking loose. Did this follow this formula to a T? Why yes it did. Did that hurt the match? Not at all!
The dive parade had some fun spots. Caprice Coleman started it off with a nice Arabian Press. R.D. Evans decided to join the fun by balancing himself on Moose’s shoulders and hitting a splash to the outside. Speaking of Moose, he was surprisingly over and looked pretty good for the limited time in the ring. The big man even hit a somersault plancha to the outside.
Owens & Alexander were the real standouts of the match though. There double teams maneuvers are a lot of fun to watch. In one instance Owens spun Alexander around, Alexander hit a Blue Thunder Bomb while Page hit a dive to the outside. They topped themselves a few minutes later. Alexander had an opponent up in a Burning Hammer position, he hoisted the opponent up and somehow Owens was there to hit a power bomb. But, as the match broke down the standouts were going for yet another double team on R.D. Evans who found a way to cradle Owens for the win. **¾
The Addiction vs The Decade (Rodrick Strong and Jimmy Jacobs): For as much love as Christopher Daniels gets from the internet crowd his tag team partner has outperformed him since the team debuted in June. Yes, that’s right Christopher Daniels is the “weak link” of The Addiction. Frankie Kazarian was superb in this match. His face in peril has been and was great in this match. His counter to make the hot tag is one of the most original I have ever seen and is so good I won’t spoil it for anyone who has not watched the show yet.
Everyone else in the match worked their tails as well. The matchup featured some nice double team moves, which was a theme all night. It went a little short and in the end The Addiction picked up the win. I’d like to see a longer match between these two teams at some point down the line. **¾
Adam Cole vs. AJ Styles: ROH wanted this to have the big match feel. They showed a video prior to the match with Cole discussing how he felt like a dangerous man with nothing to lose. We got the long stare down before the match. The Toronto crowd even had loud dueling chant going. Well played ROH, well played.
For as great as his run as ROH World Champion was Adam Cole is proving to be just as good without the belt. He may be the best heel in wrestling today. The little things he does make me believe that to be true. Whether it’s taunting flexes while he was beating down AJ or yelling “That’s my move” after Styles hit him with a neck breaker from a fireman’s carry position Adam Cole knows how to antagonize a crowd.
I was surprised that Cole was booked to dominate the early stages of the match since Styles has been so protected since his return to ROH. Cole kept slamming AJ hard into the mat or the barricade. He worked the leg over several times and locked AJ into a figure four around the ring post twice. To his credit Styles sold the knee injury like a pro. AJ had the match won twice and was not able to cover in time because he banged his knee on the canvas.
As the fight wore on Cole started to get more desperate. He went up top and hit Styles with an Avalanche German Suplex that he transitioned into the Florida Key. The combination netted a close near fall. For the rest of the match both men evenly ducked it out and made their way to the top turnbuckle. AJ got the advantage and won the watch with either a brain buster or a Bloody Sunday.
I loved everything about this match from the big fight feel to excellent psychology regarding Styles knee. The ending was even better. When is the last time a fight over the advantage on the top ring rope actually finished a match? I have no idea either. A sure match of the year contender, ****¾
After intermission the First Couple of ROH, Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennent, were out to the ring for a special announcement and a special unveiling. The announcement turned out to be that Matt Hardy is coming back to the land of honor. (Editor’s Note: They actually said “Matt” is coming back, not specifically Matt Hardy. Given his departure it’s more likely this is Matt Taven or even Matt Sydal)
As far as the unveiling, it was revealed that Maria Kanellis has modified Jay Briscoe’s fake world title belt. Bennent talked Maria into doing it on the belt before Mark Briscoe hit the ring and chased the couple away.
ROH World Television Title – Cedric Alexander vs. Jay Lethal (c): A lot of Jay Lethal’s title defenses are starting to feel the same to me. He starts off with the dives to the outside and then slows the match down. Sometimes to throw the pattern off he will whip his opponent into the barricade. True to form that is what he did to Cedric Alexander early on. Now to Jay’s credit he had a little fun with his challenge. At a point where Alexander was laid out on the ring apron Lethal and Truth Martini took the time to pose for a photo.
Speaking of Alexander he continues to improve and more importantly to get over. That was evidence by the strong chants he got over the course of the match. Cedric had an interesting story over the course of the match. Twice he had Lethal beaten and did not go for the pin and went up top for a flashier way to win his first ROH title. The first time he missed and Lethal reversed into a Koji Clutch. The second time he almost feel victim to another Lethal title defense hallmark, interference. Selyzia Sparx made her way from backstage to aid Lethal but ate a vicious drop kick in the corner. Seizing on the momentum Alexander hit Lethal with a Lumber Check for the nearest of near falls. Following this Lethal made a comeback and hit Matt Taven’s Climax followed by a Lethal Injection for the win.
Despite how formulaic his title matches are starting to be Jay Lethal is still a solid worker and this match was good despite the finish being a foregone conclusion. Cedric Alexander worked well here and his story during the match is not something you see for a face usually. I am conflicted about the obvious continuance of the Lethal/Taven feud. Regardless this one is a solid *** bout.
ROH World Championship – Jay Briscoe vs. Michael Elgin (c): The story going into this match is that Jay Briscoe has not been pinned for over two years and had not been beaten in an ROH Title match. Elgin wants to make his mark in company history and become the greatest world champion in ROH history. Beating the unbeatable Jay Lethal would greatly help his cause. A win for Jay Lethal would continue his single dominance and also give him back the title he feels that he never lost.
Early in the match Elgin dominated Jay on the outside by ramming him hard into the barricades and nailing a few stiff shots to the head. The champ even busted out a somersault leg drop from the second rope while his challenger was draped over the ring ropes. At one point Elgin even had Jay in the sharpshooter. To his credit Jay Briscoe never gave up.
Briscoe kept fighting and won over the partisan Canadian crowd. To overcome the almost superhuman Elgin, Jay had to throw caution to the wind. He tried and succeded in putting the big man through a table. That wouldn’t do it. Jay kept peppering the champ with his trademark jabs. With Eglin finally on the ropes, figuratively, Jay hit a second Jay Driller to win his second ROH World Title.
I was and still am in complete shock that Elgin lost the title this early. Despite the sting of watching my favorite wrestler lose the title I feel like he deserved the big man went out with a good match. The story of this bout was classic underdog taking a beating and finding a way to dethrone the unbeatable champion. Jay sold his beating well and his expression after the match was an even better sell job. A shocking but good match. ***¾
After the match a video aired announcing the return of Matt Sydal to ROH on September 27th.
2 out of 3 Falls Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship – reDRagon (c) vs. The Young Bucks: In May these two teams had what is still my front runner for match of the year in a high octane, hard hitting and innovative spring. To say that the Bucks and reDRagon had a lot to live up to is an understatement, as cliché as that sound it is true.
This match while not as good as their encounter in New York City was definitely a lot of fun and that was mainly in part to Matt and Nick Jackson. Say what you will about them being spot monkey or over using super kicks but the brothers are the best tag team on the planet right now. They always find a way to incorporate the kicks into the match, of which there are several such spots in this match that I won’t ruin. My favorite spot of the match involved them hitting a super kick into a Package Pildriver to win the second fall. Now, the most impressive spot of the night and of the match was a spring board 450 spike tombstone by the Bucks. Yes, you read that right. It will give you chills.
Fish and O’Reilly may not have stolen the show but they were there usually stiff striking and solid selling selves. Fish was part of nasty, I mean nasty table bump in the closing portion of the match. So kudos to him for that. They picked up the win with O’Reilly’s signature cross armbreaker.
I do think that the 2/3 falls stipulation hurt the match. The first fall was slow and had a screwy finish. Things picked up for the last two falls and I am left wondering if this was a single fall match that I may have rated higher. None the less the last bit of the main event was a great spring just like in New York. ****¼
After the match, Tommaso Ciampa jumped the barricade disguised as a fan and eviscerated the Bucks. At one point he tore the ring up to expose the wood underneath. The closing shot of the show featured him destroying one of the Jackson with a neck breaker to the exposed underbelly of the ring.
Earlier this week, I said that ROH is the most consistent promotion in North America. Shows like ASE6 are why I will continue to stand by that statement. The undercard delivered three *** plus matches and a MOTYC in a classic between AJ Styles and Adam Cole. Jay Briscoe’s surprise world title win will be an interesting angle to watch going forward. Of course, in the main event the Bucks and reDRagon delivered yet again. The angle with Tommaso Ciampa is very intriguing as well and I wonder if they are going to build him up as the guy to beat Jay Briscoe at some point down the line. To sum it all up watch this show, ROH is slowly building momentum and is a promotion that is worthy of your time. Especially if you are put out with the products being offered on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Order the VOD replay at http://www.rohwrestling.com/IPPV