Ring of Honor
All-Star Extravaganza VIII
September 30, 2016
Lowell Memorial Auditorium – Lowell, Massachusetts

Watch: FITE TV / Traditional PPV

Meet our previewers:

  • Sean Sedor: Sean has been a fan of ROH, for better or for worse, since 2010. He’s seen a lot of the highs (including the Kevin Steen/El Generico feud, reDRagon vs. The Young Bucks, the return of AJ Styles, etc.) and been through some of the agonizing lows (Charlie Haas using an ether rag to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles, The Guardians of Truth, and babyface stalker Mike Mondo) of ROH over the last six years. If you want to talk to him about wrestling, or anything else, you can follow him on Twitter @SASedor2994. He’s also got a wrestling reviews blog of his own (http://dxvsnwo1994.blogspot.com), where he attempt to review all of the wrestling shows he watches (which is A LOT).
  • John Carroll: John is sad they can’t watch this show live because their friend has a birthday. Please do not tweet @toshanshuinla with spoilers or you will be BLOCKED~! Other blockable offenses: supporting the orange goblin (Hulk or Trump version), saying you’re gonna vote Okada as WOTY for 2016, and thinking Tozawa going to WWE is a good thing. Okay, none of those are real. Except the Trump one.
  • Kelly Harrass: Kelly is super psyched that he’s not writing a preview or a review for a WWE pay per view this week. Tell Kelly which version of Yokai Watch 2 you plan on buying over on Twitter @comicgeekelly.

Adam Page vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Sean Sedor: Adam Page is coming off the best match, and probably the biggest moment, of his (ROH) career, as he scored a clean victory over Jay Briscoe in a No Holds Barred Match back at the last ROH PPV, Death Before Dishonor XIV. Kyle O’Reilly, meanwhile, clearly has his sights set on Adam Cole and the ROH World Title. While I think it’s pretty obvious that this match with The Bullet Club’s “Hangman” is basically a roadblock for O’Reilly to overcome on the way to facing Adam Cole, I still think this could be a good little match. O’Reilly never has anything less that a good match, and I’ve always seen Page as a solid midcard hand. I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t do more with Page following his big win over Jay Briscoe, but other than that, I really don’t have any complaints about this match, as it has a clear purpose. Obviously the winner isn’t in doubt, but this still should be a good match. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

John Carroll: I thought Adam Page vs. Jay Briscoe at the last PPV was an awesome, awesome brawl (I would go as high as ****½, in fact) so obviously Page is going to have a lot to live up to in his next PPV appearance here. I’m not under the impression this match will come anywhere close to that, for a number of reasons (no gimmicks, lesser position on the card, should just be a showcase for O’Reilly as we continue the inevitable build to his World title shot), but Page needs to put in another good performance here to keep his momentum going. Luckily he’s in there with a hell of a good pro wrestler. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Kelly Harrass: At the last ROH PPV, Adam Page had what was quite possibly his best match ever against Jay Briscoe. I would imagine that he’d like to ride that match quality momentum into this match, perhaps making it another standout performance. That being said, there’s no chance that Adam Page wins here. Kyle O’Reilly is getting the next title shot against Adam Cole and Page is the man standing in his way. New and improved beefy O’Reilly will get the definitive win here to propel him into his inevitable title shot. Prediction: Kyle O’Reilly

Kamaitachi vs. Dragon Lee

Sean Sedor: As most people already know, these two are big rivals who have had some incredible matches for CMLL in Mexico. They brought their rivalry to New Japan earlier this year during the annual FantasticaMania Tour in January, and now they’re bringing their rivalry to the United States on ROH PPV. I’m hyped to see this match. If they are given time, this has the chance to be absolutely fantastic. Either guy could realistically win this match (and I really don’t think there’s a wrong answer here, in terms of a prediction), but since this is Dragon Lee’s first appearance in ROH, I’m going to go with him to win. Prediction: Dragon Lee

John Carroll: Last year’s big lucha rivalry comes to American PPV, which is pretty dang cool. I’m glad ROH managed to book this before Kamaitachi heads back to Japan, because US fans who have never seen it before are in for a big treat. Let’s go with Dragon Lee winning just because that’s what he did a lot of in their original rivalry, but really anyone could take this one. Prediction: Dragon Lee

Kelly Harrass: Outside of the Ladder War, this is easily my most anticipated match of the show. I’m so happy that ROH decided to bring this show to America. I’m sure this will be the introduction to this feud for a lot of ROH viewers. ROH fans may be hardcore fans, but Lucha is a very hard thing for a lot of people to get into and because of that, they’ll just choose not to watch something out of the fear of not “getting it.” In many ways, this match feels comparable to the first time that Rey Mysterio and Psychosis had a match in ECW. ROH is giving these two the opportunity to expand their fanbases and could open the door to Lucha for a whole new group of people. My parents are ROH fans and I’m incredibly excited for them to see these two for the first time. As far as who wins, it could go either way. But who really cares, it’s going to be awesome. Prediction: Dragon Lee

Jay Lethal vs. Tetsuya Naito

Sean Sedor: So ROH would have you believe that Jay Lethal is the babyface in this situation, but if you watched the breakup between Lethal & LIJ a few weeks ago on ROH TV, you would have clearly seen that Lethal was being a complete dick to Naito & EVIL. They had every right to leave Lethal high and dry in that match against The Bullet Club. Now despite me having absolutely no sympathy for Lethal here, I’m actually pretty excited for this one. For starters, we’re finally getting a ROH vs. New Japan match that actually has a story behind it (a weird dynamic, for sure, but a story nonetheless), as opposed to just being thrown together as a “dream match”. These two did have a good match back in 2015, but that was an entirely different situation, as a heel Lethal was still the ROH World TV Champion, and Naito was still in his babyface “Stardust Genius” character. I think this match will definitely be an improvement over their previous encounter, with Lethal coming off his run with the ROH World Title, and Naito flourishing as the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon. As for the winner, I know logic would dictate that Naito wins here (especially now that he’s the IWGP Intercontinental Champion), but for some reason, I still think Lethal has a reasonable shot to win here. The fact that Lethal will be on New Japan’s King of Pro-Wrestling event in October, opposite of Naito and the rest of LIJ, is another interesting factor to consider as well, since we know the feud will be continuing in some form. Even though I’m probably going to be wrong, I’m picking Lethal to win this match. Prediction: Jay Lethal

John Carroll: Pissed Off De Facto Babyface Jay Lethal is a really neat character, and honestly Seth Rollins/WWE should take notes: THIS is how you do the whole “heel turns face just because he’s pissed without changing much about his actual character” thing. Lethal was mad at Adam Cole for cutting his hair and then at Naito for turning on him against the Bullet Club when he thought LIJ had his back, which are totally understandable character motivations anyone can get behind. “Mommy Steph and Daddy Hunter don’t love me anymore and won’t hand me World Titles on a silver platter”, on the other hand, isn’t. Anyway! This is a neat transition period for the ROH/NJPW relationship, because now we’ve moved away from nothing but “dream matches” that are just booked once a year with no storyline basis to regular storyline involvement and crossover feuds, which is much better. Lethal-Naito was always going to be a good match given that both of these guys are very good professional wrestlers, but now there’s a real storyline reason for it to happen instead of it just being “hey, we know these are two good wrestlers so here you go.” The feud will actually continue into the big King of Pro Wrestling show, where Lethal will team up with the NJPW sekigun against all four members of LIJ. So let’s say Naito gets the win here, maybe with help from EVIL (who will be here and is wrestling on the pre-show for some reason), and This Feud Must Continue™. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

Kelly Harrass: This match is an interesting one because if you missed the episode of ROH TV where Lethal was a dick to Naito, you won’t understand why this match it happening. That being said, it’s very nice to see the NJPW guys being included in story driven matches. The egos of Naito and Lethal finally clashed and LIJ left Lethal to fend for himself against Bullet Club. Look, if Lethal had just been tranquilo this match wouldn’t be happening. Lethal may be the designated face in this match, but Naito is truly the man that was mistreated by his pareja. I hope that Naito gets his comeuppance on the formerly dastardly Jay Lethal. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

For a Shot at The ROH Tag Team Titles
Rhett Titus and Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor and Keith Lee vs. Dalton Castle and Colt Cabana vs. War Machine

Sean Sedor: I really like how ROH has been doing these multi-man #1 Contender’s matches on PPV’s lately. It serves as a nice way to get people on the card, and (as we’ve seen in the past with Dalton Castle & Donovan Dijak) could set up challengers for the next big show. While the last few PPV’s have featuring a multi-man match to determine the #1 Contender to the ROH World TV Title, this time around we’re deciding the next challengers for the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Now while I think the quality of this match will be dragged down a little bit, just because there are so many people involved, I still think it has the chance to be a decently good match. I would imagine that, because of their ongoing feud, Keith Lee/Shane Taylor and War Machine will cancel each other out. You could go with ANX here, but I just think that the Dalton Castle/Colt Cabana tag team has so much more potential, and because of that, I’m going with them to win. They just seem like such an entertaining duo, and I think they would be a very good addition to the tag team division. Prediction: Dalton Castle & Colt Cabana

John Carroll: God bless you if you care about this match, but other than lamenting the massive waste of Dalton Castle here I don’t really have much to say about it. I guess Titus & King are getting a tag title shot eventually (otherwise what was the point of this whole stupid Cabinet makeover/push) so let’s just assume they win this. Prediction: All Night Express

Kelly Harrass: If this ended up on the preshow, I wouldn’t be upset. Dalton Castle and Colt Cabana will be a fun tag team. All I can really hope for is that this isn’t a bad match and that it doesn’t stay past its welcome. Prediction: Dalton Castle and Colt Cabana

ROH Six-Man Tag Title Tournament Match
The Briscoes & Toru Yano vs. ACH, Jay White & KUSHIDA

Sean Sedor: ACH is making his return to ROH PPV after an extended tour with Pro-Wrestling NOAH, where he won NOAH’s Jr. Tag League alongside Taiji Ishimori. Meanwhile, Lio Rush was originally going to be in this match, teaming with ACH & Jay White, but the PPV conflicted with the start of his extended European tour, so KUSHIDA is taking his place. I don’t think this late change hurts the match much, because KUSHIDA is awesome (as we all know). It did make me rethink the potential result of this match, because both teams now have a member of the New Japan roster who, depending on New Japan commitments, might not be available to do subsequent tournament matches. I think the match itself has the potential to be really good. I know people might groan over the fact that Toru Yano is in this match, but the other five guys involved are all great, so I don’t think the match will suffer too much. As for the winner, I’m going with the ACH/Jay White/KUSHIDA team to advance to the next round. I wouldn’t be shocked if The Briscoes & Toru Yano win here, but honestly, they really don’t need to. These titles would do so much more for the likes of ACH & Jay White than it would for The Briscoes or Toru Yano, hence my pick. Prediction: ACH, Jay White, & KUSHIDA

John Carroll: I have very mixed feelings on this whole six-man tag title thing. On the one hand, I really love trios titles in pro wrestling and the NJPW one everyone said was gonna be awful has actually been a lot of fun (even if it’s sometimes easy to forget who the champions actually are when they just kind of disappear for months at a time, but that was partially the G1’s fault anyway). On the other hand, as just mentioned ROH’s affiliate promotion that like a good half the roster wrestles for at least semi-regularly now has a six-man tag title already. Look at it this way: the Briscoes are the IWGP heavyweight tag champions and the Young Bucks are the IWGP Jr. tag champions, so you already have three sets of tag champions running around on ROH shows (counting the ROH tag titles, of course). The ROH six-man titles will bring that up to four different tag champions (maybe it will go back down to three if GoD wins back the heavyweight tag titles at KOPW, although they’ve also appeared plenty in ROH this year anyway!), and it’s not like ROH guys don’t challenge for the NEVER six-man titles too. So basically that’s five different sets of tag team champions all kind of within the same little universe here, which seems like kind of overkill, no? I also totally get the criticism that ROH half-heartedly pushes the Women of Honor as a real thing, hypes up a new belt (that everyone kind of assumes is going to be a belt for the WoH to have something to fight for, finally), and then gives us…..this thing. Anyway, regardless of my feelings on these belts, I should probably say something about this actual match, and uh. It will be a match, I guess? Toru Yano (who I kind of can’t believe is getting booked on multiple US shows, but uh, sure okay) will do comedy, the Briscoes will do some high spots, and it will probably be pretty decent. I’m assuming the first-ever NEVER six-man champions pull this out and move on instead of the the thrown-together team. Prediction: Briscoes & Yano

Kelly Harrass: We know what one of these teams brings to the table. The Briscoe Brothers and Yano have teamed together before and have actually held trios gold together in New Japan. If they work like they have in the past, the Briscoe’s will bust their butts and Yano will be the comic relief. The real point of interest in this match is the team they’re facing. I wouldn’t have thought to put ACH, Jay White, and KUSHIDA together, but damn am I glad that someone did it. As ACH proved with Taiji Ishimori, he’s a fantastic tag team wrestler that can find chemistry with his partners very quickly. Jay White is one of the best young wrestlers in the world right now and he’s a great tag team wrestler in his own right, as we’ve seen when he teamed with David Finlay in New Japan. Then there’s KUSHIDA. I’m sure you know this, but KUSHIDA is just awesome. He’s one of the best junior heavyweights in the game and he’s another great tag team wrestler. By all accounts this trio should be an incredible team. I really hope that this isn’t the lone time that we get to see them team together, but I fear that the Briscoes and Yano have the advantage as the former NEVER Trios Champions. Prediction: Briscoes and Yano

ROH TV Title Match
Bobby Fish (c) vs. Donovan Dijak

Sean Sedor: So Donovan Dijak has been have a run of a really good singles matches on ROH TV as of late, against the likes of Jason Kincaid, Moose, and Lio Rush. He even challenged Michael Elgin for the IWGP Intercontinental Title at Field of Honor in Brooklyn last month. Now he’s challenging Bobby Fish for the World TV Title. I’m really intrigued to see how these two mesh together in the ring, from a stylistic standpoint. If everything turns out well, then I think this has the potential to be a very good match. You can always count on Fish to deliver solid performances, while Dijak, who has really grown on me over the last year, will surely be looking to impress in front of what is (basically) a hometown crowd for him. As for the result, I think this is a match that can really go either way. Fish retaining his title wouldn’t surprise me at all, but I think now might be a good time to go with Dijak. If he’s around for the long haul, then Dijak is someone who I could see becoming a top star in ROH down the line, or at least a guy who is in that top echelon. A run with the World TV Title would be a good test for Dijak, and if there was ever a time and place to potentially put this title on him, it would be on this PPV in his native Massachusetts. Prediction: Donovan Dijak

John Carroll: Donovan Dijak has put together a pretty nice 2016 in ROH, and if you’re one of those “anyone over 6’5 is Bad” people you should check yourself (before you WRECK YOURSELF) and give him another shot. I got to see him have an excellent power battle with Michael Elgin over the IWGP IC title in Brooklyn which was cool, but Dijak is at his best in ROH when he’s throwing small dudes around. Bobby Fish meanwhile is a ***½ special kind of guy; rarely do his matches blow you away, but he almost always puts in a good performance. This should be a damn good TV title match as a result. It doesn’t feel like the right time for Fish to lose his belt, even though I could see an argument for a title change here. Prediction: Bobby Fish

Kelly Harrass: More often than not when I’m watching Donovan Dijak, I feel like I’m watching a work in progress. Recently, it seems like he’s started to put the pieces together. He’s evolving from the top prospect into a seasoned wrestler. Putting him into a TV Title match against a guy like Bobby Fish is a very smart move. It’s one of the highest profile singles matches of Dijak’s career and Fish is one of the most solid guys on the roster. Dijak will be looking to put in a good performance and Fish will be as great as he always is. While I wouldn’t call Fish small, he’s the right size for Dijak to toss his around, which is really what he’s best at. I don’t know if Dijak is ready to hold a championship in this company yet, but I have a strong feeling that we’ll find out. Prediction: Donovan Dijak

ROH World Title Match
Adam Cole (c) vs. Michael Elgin

Sean Sedor: It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over two years since these two headlined Best In The World 2014 (ROH’s first live PPV). Now they’re facing off again, under almost the exact same circumstances, with Cole coming in as the heel champion, with Elgin as the babyface challenger. Of course, a lot has changed since then, as Cole is now a member of The Bullet Club, while Elgin has had a career renaissance in New Japan since his debut last year. These two have had really good matches in the past, and I’m sure this one will be no different. Of course, the result is pretty much a foregone conclusion, and I think that speaks to a larger issue with Cole’s current run as ROH World Champion. We know that he’s destined for a clash with Kyle O’Reilly (who will likely be the next ROH World Champion) and because of that, it pretty much makes all of Cole’s title defenses until that inevitable match with O’Reilly (including this one with Elgin), incredibly predictable. Now, I’ve never really had any issues with predictability in title matches, or wrestling in general. As long as the matches are good, I don’t really care that much, and that’s the case with this match. Adam Cole is definitely winning here, but as long as the match is really good, the predictable outcome doesn’t bother me. Prediction: Adam Cole

John Carroll: Michael Elgin is just coming off losing the IWGP Intercontinental title to Tetsuya Naito in a fantastic ****½ main event at Destruction in Kobe this past weekend, but he has a chance to get right back to holding gold here. Okay, granted, he doesn’t have a very good chance, but he has a chance! The build-up for this match was a little weird- it was just suddenly sort of declared that Elgin was getting this title shot on this show about a month or so back, without much storyline reason for it except Elgin basically asking. But putting that aside, this has all the potential in the world to be a really good match. Elgin is having an awesome 2016 and Cole has looked revitalized as World champion, as one might expect him to be. One assumes he’ll continue his march on to Final Battle (and losing the belt to Kyle O’Reilly) with a strong win over a former champion here. Prediction: Adam Cole

Kelly Harrass: ROH has a history of throwing together title matches with little to no storyline reason. In this case, I’m fine with it because the Ladder War is clearly the main event here. Putting Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly on this show would bury that title match. Michael Elgin is essentially a placeholder here. I feel like he has no chance to win this match, BUT he was put in this place because the ROH matchmakers knew that he and Cole would put on a very good match. These two are both in the middle of some of the best work of their careers and as we’ve seen in the past they have very strong chemistry. I’m looking forward to this match, but the end result is already set in stone. Prediction: Adam Cole

ROH Tag Team Title Ladder War
The Addiction (c) vs. The Young Bucks vs. The Motor City Machine Guns

Sean Sedor: Although this is Ladder War VI, this is the first time that the ROH World Tag Team Titles have been on the line in this match since Ladder War II in 2009. Given the teams involved, this is definitely going to be a crazy match with bodies flying all over the place. We know what The Young Bucks are capable of doing in Ladder Matches (as we’ve seen in PWG), and I’m sure that The Addiction and The Motor City Machine Guns will be doing insane stuff as well. The recent promo from Christopher Daniels was absolutely fantastic, and it really adds a lot of intrigue to this match. The winner of this match is honestly a toss up. I think most would think that a title change is happening here, but I wouldn’t count out The Addiction. As much as I would hate to see them continue as ROH World Tag Team Champions (they really need to lose the titles at this point), it wouldn’t shock me at all if something screwy happens that leads to The Addiction retaining. After all, Daniels basically said in his promo that he was going to do whatever it takes to remain champion, and “whatever it takes” could mean A LOT of things. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen though, as I’m going with The Young Bucks to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles here. Prediction: The Young Bucks

John Carroll: LADDER WAR has always sounded like a weird name to me. I mean, does that not make it sound like we’re watching a war between various ladders, or nations representing the ladders of the world? Anyway. This is obviously going to be extremely good, barring some kind of freak injury or something. Everyone will do a million spots that will make you gawk and cringe and such, and at the end of it there will probably be new tag team champions. I’m gonna give the nod to the Young Bucks here, simply because they’re due to finally have a run with these titles (did you know they’ve only been champions once, it was over two years ago, and it was only for 70 days??? Seems kinda unbelievable right?). Prediction: The Young Bucks

Kelly Harrass: The Ladder War stipulation carries a dangerous precedent. This is a match that is rarely brought out due to its career threatening nature. While WWE may throw ladder matches around like they’re candy and the fans are at a parade, ROH only uses this stipulation in very rare instances. The first Ladder War between the Briscoe Brothers and Kevin Steen and El Generico is one of my favorite matches. I say all this to illustrate the fact that the three teams in this Ladder War have a lot of live up to. I have no doubt that these teams can do that. Earlier this week, Christopher Daniels added some more gravity to this match with a promo stating that he would do anything to win this. The ROH Tag Titles are more important to him than anything else and he’s willing to go through hell to hold onto them. The Addiction has had a strong title run, in my opinion, and standing in their way are two of the greatest tag teams of the modern era. The Machine Guns and the Bucks are both strong candidates to become the next champions, but I believe that Daniels will do whatever it takes to make sure that he and Kazarian continue their reign. Look for this to not only be the match of the night, but to also be a match of the year candidate. Prediction: The Addiction