Other PPVs CALDWELL'S ROH ASE PPV REPORT 9/18: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of All-Star Extravaganza - Jay Lethal defends two titles, ANX, more
Sep 18, 2015 - 11:00:00 PM
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ROH "All-Star Extravaganza" PPV Report
September 18, 2015
San Antonio, Tex.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino opened the show from ringside in the Shrine Auditorium. After a word from the Spanish announce team atop the arena, Kelly and Corino ran down the PPV line-up. First up is Jay Lethal's first of two title defenses.
In-ring: Bobby Fish was introduced as the TV Title challenger. Big reaction for Fish. Jay Lethal was out next with Truth Martini to start off his double-duty night. As Lethal made his slow entrance, Kelly hyped the long list of opponents who have fallen to Lethal in TV Title matches. Streamers were cleared, formal ring introductions were made, and the opening bell sounded.
1 -- ROH World Hvt. & TV champion JAY LETHAL (w/Truth Martini) vs. BOBBY FISH -- ROH TV Title match
Feeling-out process, then Lethal dipped to the outside to get a word with Martini. The crowd yelled for Fish and against Lethal to try to distract Lethal from the conversation before Lethal returned to the ring. Meanwhile, the announcers talked about the weight of being both ROH Champ and TV champion starting to get to Lethal, even if he won't admit it. Lethal seemed to be wrestling not to lose, which opened him up to an armbar, then the kneebar submission from Fish. Lethal broke via the ropes, then shook his knee.
Martini suddenly got involved from ringside, so Fish stomped his hand. Lethal took advantage by surprising Fish with the Lethal Injection. But, Fish rolled right out of the ring to avoid getting pinned. Lethal angrily followed up on the outside by smashing Fish repeatedly into the guardrail. Lethal tried to get the count-out win, but Fish made it back into the ring at an 18 count.
The match continued, so Lethal teed off on Fish with right hands. Lethal then tried to drain the life from Fish with a sleeperhold. That gave Fish a chance to catch his breath, though, and answer with an exploder suplex in the corner for a two count. Leg whip targeting the knee followed. But, Lethal got a burst of energy after knocking Fish to the outside. Lethal hit consecutive suicide dives, then dragged himself back into the ring to tease a third, but he flipped off the crowd instead. Fish took advantage by scampering back into the ring to clothesline Lethal and nail a top-rope moonsault for a close two count.
At 11:00, they went back and forth trading blows on their feet. Fish won the exchange and put Lethal in a mat submission, but Lethal reached the ropes for a break. This prompted Kelly to question whether Lethal should think about sacrificing the TV Title to preserve the ROH Title. Corino said Lethal and Martini are too egotistical to do that. Lethal and Fish then went back and forth trading blows before Fish dropped Lethal to the mat with the Fish Hook submission. Lethal was inches away from tapping, but he suddenly spun Fish onto his back and hooked the tights for a three count to retain the ROH Title.
Post-match, Fish sold indignation over the finish as Lethal escaped the ring and gloated about one down and one more to go.
WINNER: Lethal at 14:09 to retain the ROH TV Title. Good opening match. Good energy in the building and both wrestlers kicked things off very nicely. Unfortunately, the wrestling audience is pretty numb to the hook-of-the-tights finish to get heat on the heel cheating to win. (***)
2 -- SILAS YOUNG vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys)
Young stalled early on, which led to some comedy action early on. Every time Dalton was in trouble, the boys fanned their fans repeatedly trying to distract SIlas. Silas eventually smashed the boys together when Castle came flying at him, causing Castle to inadvertently wipe out the boys. Silas then tried to use his kneebrace as a weapon, but referee Paul Turner reprimanded Young. One of the boys then picked up the kneebrace, drawing over ref Turner to reprimand him. Young mule-kicked Castle behind the ref's back, then nailed Misery for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Young grabbed the boys and dragged them away from ringside. Young shouted at Castle that it's about time for them to become men. Kevin Kelly wanted to know what Silas had in mind for them. Meanwhile, Castle flipped out about what would happen next for him and his boys.
WINNER: Silas Young at 12:25. A needed outcome to allow Castle to branch out on his own for a little while and start a new chapter with the boys's characters.
Up Next: The Briscoes have a mystery opponent on their quest to regain the ROH Tag Titles.
In-ring: Jay & Mark Briscoe were introduced to the ring, then waited to find out who their mystery opponents are. The Decade's music played, which drew groans from the announcers and crowd. The injured Adam Page and B.J. Whitmer hobbled out on crutches. Whitmer popped the crowd saying they're not going to be the Briscoes's opponents tonight. B.J. said he's actually going to be on color commentary. Whitmer ran down Corino as the crowd chanted, "Please Retire."
The Romantic Touch was then introduced. Touch smooched ladies on the front row, taking his sweet time walking around ringside. The Briscoes eventually chucked Touch out of the ring. Suddenly, the lights went down. A-N-X flashed on the screen to a big pop and out came Kenny King and Rhett Titus, re-uniting in ROH for the first time in three years after King bailed to TNA. On commentary, B.J. Whitmer noted that King walked out on ROH, playing up The Decade's deal of heeling on guys coming back to ROH and thinking they deserve a spot.
3 -- THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK BRISCOE) vs. ALL NIGHT EXPRESS (KENNY KING & RHETT TITUS)
Hot start to the match with King selling excitement teaming with Titus again in ROH and resuming a feud with the Briscoes. Both teams traded control, knocking each other out of the ring. The match turned into a Texas Tornado style match, then King kicked Jay Briscoe out of the ring. Titus hoisted Mark onto his shoulders, then King nailed a Blockbuster on an elevated Mark to score a three count. Big surprise victory in ANX's comeback match.
Post-match, as ANX celebrated on the entrance ramp, B.J. Whitmer sent Adam Page into the ring to low-blow Jay Briscoe. Adam went after Mark until ANX ran back into the ring to run off Page. The Briscoes eventually recovered and squared off with ANX, uniting over their dislike for Whitmer and Page.
WINNERS: ANX at 8:32. Nice addition to the tag division to mix in ANX with the Young Bucks, Kingdom, The Addiction, and more teams for some new combinations.
Video Package: Moose vs. Cedric Alexander feud.
4 -- MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER (w/Veda Scott) -- No DQ match
Moose attacked Cedric as soon as he hit the ring, setting off the grudge match. Moose, who wore a helmet to the ring playing up his NFL background, used it as a weapon on the outside. "Moose, Moose!" chants before Moose overhead slammed Cedric into the guardrail. Another side of the ring wanted it, so Moose delivered a second overhead slam into the guardrail. Another section called for it, but Moose instead went under the ring to retrieve a ladder. Moose bashed Cedric, then went for a flip dive from the ring to the outside, but Cedric moved and Moose at the ladder. Cedric then chucked Stokely into the guardrail, prompting Veda to deliver a cowboy boot to Stokely's face.
Moose sold back pain from crashing into the ladder, which Cedric capitalized on. Veda then handed Cedric a chair, but Moose stole it from Alexander. Moose tried to toss it to Cedric to deliver a dropkick, but Cedric moved, then chucked the chair hard into Moose's head. That can't happen. Everyone sold it like a huge deal, but Moose kicked out of a pin.
Cedric, holding the chair, climbed to the top turnbuckle looking for a top-rope move, but Moose hopped to his feet and dropkicked the chair into Cedric, sending Cedric crashing down hard to the floor. Such agility. Moose then splashed Cedric on the outside, wiping out both men.
Back in the ring, Moose went for a bucklebomb into a chair, but Cedric countered, sending Moose face-first into the chair. Cedric followed with an impressive coast-to-coast dropkick, which sent the chair into Moose's face/head, a third chair blow to the head region. Cedric covered, but Moose kicked out. Cedric sold shock, then he and Veda brought a table into the ring. But, Moose recovered and nailed a pop-up lariat for a two count. Moments later, Moose chucked Cedric high into the air, sending him crashing into a ladder. Another nearfall.
On the outside, Moose started chucking chairs into the ring. Stokely also recovered and started tossing chairs into the ring. Moose called for the end, but Cedric hoisted Moose into the air for a driver. Cedric followed with four consecutive corner attacks. Veda then handed a wrench to Cedric, but Stokely attacked Cedric from behind. This brought in Veda, who hopped on Stokely's back. Cedric accidentally wiped out Veda, then Moose speared Cedric through a table in the corner. Moose dragged Cedric out of the corner and scored a three count for the win.
WINNER: Moose at 13:08. This had some really good (athleticism, drama, a recognizable issue) and also some really bad. Chair shots/blows to the head and compounding that with a lack of selling was not good. Then, more nearfalls on big weapons-based spots will impact the rest of the show when the audience is slow to react to nearfalls. At the end of the day, the crowd was more into weapons and managerial interference than actually seeing Moose win a "grudge fight" against Cedric. That captures one of pro wrestling's biggest problems right now.
In-ring: A.C.H. returned home to Texas for Match #3 of his Best-of-Five Series against Matt Sydal. A.C.H. was fired up wrestling in San Antonio, then Matt Sydal was introduced to a tepid reaction.
5 -- MATT SYDAL vs. A.C.H. -- Match #3 in Best-of-Five Series -- Currently tied 1-1
After the opening bell sounded, Sydal wanted a Test of Strength, which the crowd popped for. Sydal played games by raising one arm, then another. Eventually A.C.H. grabbed both hands to get the match going. They returned to a face-to-face stand-off, so Sydal tried another Test of Strength. Instead, A.C.H. grabbed Sydal and put him on the mat with an armlock. Meanwhile, the announcers noted that Alexander and Moose are being checked on by the medical staff. Nice continuity following up on the previous match to make it seem like it was more than just a match that happened, it's over, and they move on.
A.C.H. broke an early feeling-out process by tossing Sydal to the outside, then landing a big splash. Back in the ring, A.C.H. scored a nearfall, then began wearing down Sydal. But, A.C.H. sold injuring his left foot/ankle, giving Sydal the opening to nail a standing moonsault for a close two count. Sydal then applied a unique anklebreakin' Mutalock, but A.C.H. kicked free with his good leg.
Sydal continued to slow the pace while A.C.H. sold the effects of the ankle work. A.C.H. suddenly nailed an enziguiri, then ran on his injured ankle to nail a corner attack. A.C.H. followed with a German Suplex for a two count. A.C.H. started limping as he walked to sell the ankle, then he climbed to the top turnbuckle to deliver a double foot stomp to the back of Bourne's head for a nearfall.
At 14:00, A.C.H. and Sydal began trading quick pins. A.C.H. then tried a suplex, but Sydal countered in mid-air with a head scissors that sent A.C.H. reeling to the floor. Sydal followed with a twisting press on the outside, sending A.C.H. crashing into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Sydal landed two knee strikes to the face, then climbed to the top, but missed a Shooting Star Press. A.C.H. tried to capitalize with a 450 Splash from the second rope, but it only got a very close two count.
A.C.H. regrouped, then nailed a brainbuster suplex in the corner. A.C.H. followed right up with his Midnight Star top-rope 450 splash, and it was good for the win. Post-match, A.C.H. waited for Sydal to get up, then he shook his hand while flashing two fingers.
WINNER: A.C.H. at 16:28 to go up 2-1 in the series. Tough spot for the high-flyers having a technical match after the stunt weapons match. Strong finish, though, with A.C.H. impressive in victory. Sydal might need a heel turn out of this to re-invigorate his ROH run.
Video Package: ROH Tag Title match.
6 -- ROH tag champions THE ADDICTION (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & KAZARIAN) vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS (NICK & MATT JACKSON) vs. THE KINGDOM (MATT TAVEN & MIKE BENNETT w/Maria Kanellis) -- three-team ROH Tag Title match
The crowd was hot for the Young Bucks, as expected. As soon as the bell sounded, Kelly shouted out to War Machine watching this match from Japan, where they are wrestling for Pro Wrestling NOAH. Very early superkick from the Bucks to The Addiction, but The Kingdom blocked what was coming to them. Kingdom and the tag champs eventually found themselves on the floor, leading to Nick Jackson wiping everyone out.
The match settled down back in the ring, where The Addiction took control working over Matt Jackson. Taven then tagged himself in for Kazarian, giving The Kingdom some ring time to wear down Matt. Daniels found himself back in the ring, where he missed the Best Moonsault Ever. Bodies everywhere in the ring as Kelly tried to sort out who was legal. Matt eventually delivered superkicks before tagging in Nick. After a flurry of Young Bucks offense, Daniels took a superkick while hanging upside down in the ropes.
The Young Bucks called for a Superkick Party, but Maria hopped on the ring apron to protest these shenanigans. This allowed The Kingdom to attack the Bucks from behind. Matt shook them off, delivering a springboard X Factor on Taven into a swinging DDT on Bennett on the outside. Suddenly, Daniels flew through the ropes with a suicide dive to opponents on the floor.
At 10:00, a rapid-fire sequence of moves occurred in the ring as Kelly sat back and watched. The occasional "Superkick!" from Corino broke the silence. Eventually, all six men were KO'ed in the ring. Maria was knocked off the ring apron in the second instance of women attacked tonight, then the ref was then bumped. Suddenly, a man in a red mask hit the ring. The announcers presumed it was Chris Sabin, but he landed superkicks, throwing off the announcers. After the masked man disappeared, the Young Bucks dropped Kazarian with a combination spike Tombstone, but Taven had tagged into the match when the Bucks weren't paying attention. Taven then snuck up behind Jackson and scored a quick pin for the win. New tag champs.
WINNERS: The Kingdom at 13:50 to capture the ROH Tag Titles. Just too much going on at the end with an over-booked finish turning the audience into spectators instead of invested fans. Hard to get heat on the heels winning the Tag Titles for a blind tag spot when there was hardly any reinforcement of rules during the match.
Ringside: Nigel McGuinness joined the announcers for the next two big matches.
In-ring: Roderick Strong was out first, followed by Michael Elgin, whose big summer in Japan doesn't seem to have translated to the U.S. based on the tepid crowd reaction. Adam Cole was out third, followed by the Alpha Male of the match, A.J. Styles.
7 -- A.J. STYLES vs. MICHAEL COLE vs. MICHAEL ELGIN vs. RODERICK STRONG -- four-way #1 contender match to the ROH World Title
The four big stars paired off early on, including Styles getting in an early drop down, leap frog, dropkick combination on Cole. They started playing off Elgin's powerhouse offense with guys coming at Elgin's gut while he had another wrestler in the air for a suplex. Styles eventually got knocked out of the ring, then Cole and Strong battled Elgin. No one could secure a three count, then Styles returned to the ring. Eventually all four men knocked each other down to get a round of applause.
After a reset, Styles tried to take Elgin to the top turnbuckle for a high-risk move, but Elgin blocked. Elgin wanted a top-rope powerbomb, but Styles countered with a mid-air head scissors. Styles and Cole then came together for a one-on-one battle. Styles nailed the Pele Kick, then clotheslined a charging Strong. Styles hit the Bloody Sunday on Cole, then wanted the Clash, and he connected. Styles rolled Cole over and pinned him before the pin could be broken up.
Post-match, Styles stood tall as Strong shook his head not believing he didn't get the win. All four men eventually came together in the ring to shake hands and show respect after the match. Even Adam Cole, who Corino said appears to have matured into a respectable person.
WINNER: Styles at 14:30 to become #1 contender to the ROH World Title. Styles vs. Lethal or Styles vs. O'Reilly sound like winning match-ups coming out of this PPV. Overall, a good match once things settled down into one-on-one match-ups utilizing the four big stars in the match. (***1/2)
Video Package: ROH Title match main event. In the video, Adam Cole and Bobby Fish hyped Kyle O'Reilly being the real deal finally getting his shot at the title.
In-ring: Kyle O'Reilly came to the ring with Bobby Fish as the challenger for the ROH Title. Jay Lethal, favoring his leg after the opening match, was out next with Truth Martini. Bobby Cruise handled formal ring introductions, then the opening bell sounded.
8 -- ROH World Hvt. & TV champion JAY LETHAL (w/Truth Martini) vs. KYLE O'REILLY -- ROH World Title match
Fish was gone from ringside, per Nigel McGuinness's pre-show instructions, but Martini remained ringside in Lethal's corner. The bell sounded and Lethal went for an early slap to the face to try to intimidate O'Reilly, who no-sold. O'Reilly took control early on with armbars, but Lethal shook him off and slowed the pace trying to conserve himself in his second match of the night.
O'Reilly suddenly caught Lethal with a knee to the chin, then he tossed Lethal around the ring for a two count. O'Reilly followed with a standing guillotine choke right in the middle of the ring. But, Lethal switched it around to the Koji Clutch. O'Reilly escaped, then blocked a Lethal Injection attempt with an armbar. But, Lethal broke free before O'Reilly could fully apply it. Again, Lethal blocked the hold.
O'Reilly reset looking for kick strikes to knock down Lethal, but Lethal answered with chops. O'Reilly responded with big kick strikes to the gut, then knees to the chin. Big kick battle, then O'Reilly nailed a rebound lariat in the middle of the ring. O'Reilly nailed a brainbuster suplex, but Lethal rolled a shoulder, which gave O'Reilly an opening to stomp Lethal repeatedly in the head. O'Reilly kicked Martini off the ring apron, then he went back to stomping away on Lethal's face. O'Reilly followed with a triangle choke, but Martini pulled referee Sinclair out of the ring. Nigel jumped off the headsets to eject Truth from ringside, physically dragging him away from ringside.
The match continued with the announcers selling certain victory for O'Reilly, but O'Reilly accidentally wiped out ref Sinclair with a kick. Lethal then nailed the Lethal Injection, but Sinclair was down. Lethal wanted to use the ROH Title belt as a weapon, but Bobby Fish ran in to stop that. Donovan Dijak ran out, turning this into a four-person situation. Suddenly, Adam Cole ran down from backstage. Cole knocked out Dijak, then he told O'Reilly to set up for Future Shock, but Cole superkicked O'Reilly, turning on his old partner after teasing an alliance for a few months. Lethal then covered O'Reilly and the ref woke up to count the three count.
Post-match, Cole offered a smug, heelish grin as Lethal clutched his titles ringside, having survived tonight's round of title defenses. Suddenly, new ROH tag champs The Kingdom walked down to ringside. Mike Bennett and Matt Taven hopped into the ring to re-join Adam Cole, then all three put a beat down on O'Reilly while Maria directed traffic. All four posed in the ring as O'Reilly sold the effects of the loss and post-match beating. Meanwhile, Kelly mustered indignation wondering why Cole did what he did, and whether they had been played all this time with The Kingdom seemingly divided. The PPV signed off.
WINNER: Lethal at 14:00 to retain the ROH World Title. Pretty good title match, but another over-booked finish on this show and now part of a pattern for ROH. Not every match is going to have a clean finish or have the babyface go over, as some feuds are at Chapter 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 at the same time. But, you have to look at your main event, see what the finish is going to be to enhance the main-eventers, and work backwards to make sure there's balance throughout the card, while also weighing that with that paying customers have seen in the recent past. There's just too much over-booking for an ROH product that prides itself on in-ring wrestling. NXT just ran an eight-match house show last night with all clean finishes, no outside interference, no ref bumps, and straightforward wrestling. That used to be ROH. When asking people to pay $35 SD and $45 HD for a PPV event in the over-saturated wrestling market, there has to be a greater awareness of presenting a cleaner product than trying to win an imaginary award for the most creative twists & turns that loses or frustrates the audience.
The PPV closed with a plug for ROH's "Final Battle" event live on PPV on December 18 from Philadelphia.
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