Well, with all the craziness surrounding our beloved indies right now, it’s nice to know that some of them are still chugging along. This Friday, Ring of Honor is back on PPV with All-Star Extravaganza VIII, and this is for each and every one of you that plan to watch the show; this is your PPV preview! Let’s take a look at what’s going down on Friday night, shall we?
Right to the card this time; we’ve got 8 matches on tap for this one, so no time to waste. Here we go!
Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Both are new to ROH from other feds. Kamaitachi is from NJPW, and has been in ROH for a little while. He’s currently aligned with The Addiction, and has interfered in their matches quite a bit. Dragon Lee will be having his debut with Ring of Honor at this PPV, as he is a mainstay of CMLL and will be coming in as part of the talent-sharing agreement the two companies have.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Dragon Lee needed an opponent for his debut match, and he has a history with Kamaitachi, as they traded the CMLL Light Heavyweight title back and forth. It’s a good fit for Dragon’s first ROH appearance.
WHO WINS? – I suspect that the newcomer will be picking up the duke here. Kama is much more likely to affect the outcome of Ladder War than he is to win this match. I expect they’ll tear down the house, and as I’ve never seen Dragon Lee before, I’m very much looking forward to it.
YOUR WINNER – Dragon Lee
Kyle O’Reilly vs “Hangman” Adam Page
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Kyle O’Reilly is one of the finest (in my opinion, the finest) technical wrestlers in the world. A member of reDRagon with Bobby Fish, he has his sights set on Adam Cole and the ROH World title, as the two are former partners and are not done with their feud yet. Adam Page is a former member of the Decade and a current member of the Bullet Club; he carries a noose to the ring with him and occasionally attempts to ‘hang’ his opponents, hence his nickname.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Adam Cole is the current leader of the Bullet Club in North America and is the ROH World champ. O’Reilly wants that title very badly, and more to the point, he wants to beat Cole to take it, while Page is an associate of Cole’s in the Bullet Club, and stands between Kyle and his shot at Cole, so Kyle must go through him to get to Adam Cole.
WHO WINS? – This feels almost like a no-brainer; there’s no sense in beating Kyle right now. With the road to Final Battle looming, Kyle has to be the favorite to pick up the title shot against Cole at ROH’s biggest PPV of the year (unless they offer it to the incoming Cody Rhodes), and him going through Page as part of getting to that point makes complete sense.
YOUR WINNER – Kyle O’Reilly
The All-Night Express vs Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs War Machine vs Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle – 4 Corner Survival match to determine the #1 Contenders to the ROH tag team titles
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – The All-Night Express are Kenny King and Rhett Titus, and they’ve recently formed a heel stable known as the Cabinet with Caprice Coleman. Keith Lee & Shane Taylor are two incredibly agile big men who came in for revenge on Raymond Rowe, one-half of War Machine. War Machine is Ray Rowe and Hanson, two bearded giants who look like vikings. Colt Cabana is, of course, a wrestler from the past of ROH who has recently returned to the fold within the last year; you may remember him as one of the guys the WWE is suing over the CM Punk podcast, as it was his podcast. Dalton Castle is the most flamboyant wrestler in all of ROH, and probably the most universally loved wrestler in the company; he is accompanied by “The Boys”, two young men who fan him off and let themselves be used as his furniture.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – There are basically two separate ones. ANX, in their role as the Cabinet trying to make wrestling great again, has targeted Dalton Castle and the Boys over the last few weeks of ROH TV. Castle went out and found a tag team partner in Cabana, and here we are. Taylor/Lee and War Machine is also a current feud; Shane Taylor has come for revenge on Ray Rowe for Rowe training and then abandoning him while Ray went off with Hanson to become a star, so Taylor found a partner and they’re here to beat up War Machine. The winning team becomes the number one contenders for the ROH Tag Team titles.
WHO WINS? – Well, we can eliminate Cabana and Castle off the jump. They’re basically thrown together for this PPV as a matter of convenience. The rest are all established tag teams, but I’m going to say Taylor and Lee get the duke here. ANX just were the top contenders within the last year, while War Machine are the former champs. Lee and Taylor need the push.
YOUR WINNER – Keith Lee & Shane Taylor
The Briscoes & Toru Yano vs ACH, KUSHIDA, & Jay White – First Round match in a tournament to determine the ROH 6-Man Tag Champions
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Mark and Jay Briscoe have been around Ring of Honor since day one. Real-life redneck brothers, they’re multi-time tag team champs, with Jay having held the ROH World title on two occasions as well. Toru Yano is a comedy wrestler from Japan, who cheats like crazy in almost every match with low blows and other assorted tactics. He is a member of the CHAOS faction in NJPW. ACH is a high-flyer in ROH, and one of the better light heavyweights in the company. Jay White is a graduate of the NJPW Dojo, and made his ROH debut since the last PPV, as he’s part of the ROH/NJPW talent-sharing agreement. Also a part of that is KUSHIDA, the former NJPW light heavyweight champion and one of the very best wrestlers in the entire world.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – This is the first match in a tournament to determine the 6-man tag champs. In addition to that, Jay White fought Jay Briscoe to a 20 minute draw on ROH TV recently, and while Briscoe managed to get revenge in a tag match on a later episode, it still burns him a bit. A win would help.
WHO WINS? – This one looks like it’s going to the Briscoes and Yano, who have teamed before and are established, while the other side just got thrown together for this event. I’m thinking the established team wins this one.
YOUR WINNER – The Briscoe Brothers & Toru Yano
Jay Lethal vs Tetsuya Naito
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Jay Lethal is the former ROH World Champion, having dropped the title to Adam Cole at Death Before Dishonor after a year + long reign. He is one of the most decorated stars in ROH history, as he also holds most of the records associated with the ROH TV title as well. Tetsuya Naito is the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, a former IWGP World Champion, and the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, a heel stable in NJPW.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Lethal lost the ROH World title to Adam Cole at the last ROH PPV, Death Before Dishonor, and remains obsessed with getting it back; to counter Adam Cole’s Bullet Club teammates, he called in Naito and Los Ingos, who he formed an alliance with during the Honor Rising events in Japan last year. During a six-man tag match on ROH TV, Jay was so obsessed with Cole that he and Naito couldn’t get on the same page, and Naito walked out on Jay, leaving him 1 on 3 against the Bullet Club. Lethal survived with a little help from O’Reilly and Michael Elgin, and immediately challenged Naito to a match at the PPV.
WHO WINS? – Without a doubt, this is the hardest call for me on the card. Lethal needs a win after his loss to Cole to help him rebuild, but Naito is also in a position where he really shouldn’t be losing after winning the IWGP IC title from Elgin within just the last few weeks. Neither guy can seemingly afford a loss here, so I’ll just go with my gut…
YOUR WINNER – Tetsuya Naito
Ring of Honor World TV title match – Bobby Fish (c) vs Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana)
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Bobby Fish is one-half of the tag team reDRagon with Kyle O’Reilly, and has been the TV champ since winning the title via pass-out from Tomohiro Ishii. Donovan Dijak is a former winner of the annual ROH Top Prospect tournament. He is managed by Prince Nana, one of ROH’s oldest managers, and is almost legit 7 feet tall. He’s green as grass and still needs a LOT of work in the ring, but he’s come a long way and keeps getting programmed against better wrestlers, which has improved his work quite a bit.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – At Death Before Dishonor, Dijak won a fatal 4-way match to determine the #1 Contender to Fish’s TV title; he’s cashing in that title shot at this PPV, simple as that. It’s all about the title.
WHO WINS? – While he certainly has improved, I don’t think the world is ready for TV champ Donovan Dijak, and with O’Reilly probably occupied with the World title scene here in the upcoming months, Fish may be in for a nice long reign with that belt. I expect him to retain here; really, the belt should have been around Dalton Castle’s waist awhile ago, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
YOUR WINNER – and STILL your TV Champion, Bobby Fish!
Ring of Honor Tag team title match – The Addiction (c) vs The Young Bucks vs The Motor City Machine Guns – Ladder War 6
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – The Addiction is Christoper Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, formerly known as Bad Influence in TNA. They are the current tag team champions in ROH. The Motor City Machine Guns are Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, also formerly of TNA and Japan. And, of course, the Young Bucks are Matt and Nick Jackson, brothers and one of the most polarizing tag teams in the world today.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – There are a few scattered here and there, but principally it is this; on a recent episode of ROH TV, Daniels and Kazarian cut a promo in which they claimed that they had already beaten all the tag teams in ROH and there was no one left for them. As a result, Nigel McGuinness, the ROH matchmaker, took that as a challenge and decided that the best way for the Addiction to prove that they were the best was to set up Ladder War; in the entire history of Ring of Honor, there have been a previous total of only 5 Ladder matches, hence why this one is called Ladder War 6.
WHO WINS? – While I hate to admit it, I suspect that the long chase of the tag titles by the Bucks is finally coming to a close here, as I think they’ll be holding the belts aloft at the end of the match. The Machine Guns are a long shot to be sure, and while I’ll kind of be rooting for Daniels after the TREMENDOUS promo that he cut on ROH TV this week (I embedded it in my recap, go watch it. It’s great.), this is the last hurrah for the Bucks, as their contracts expire near the end of the year and if they want the straps, this is likely to be their last real shot at them. I expect this match to have very little wrestling and be filled with crazy spots involving the ladders all over the ring, as each of these guys has worked this style of match before and can certainly put on a show on those ladders if they get the chance.
YOUR WINNER – and NEW ROH Tag Team champions, The Young Bucks!
Ring of Honor World Championship match – Adam Cole (c) vs Michael Elgin
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Adam Cole is the current ROH World champion, enjoying his second reign with the title after winning it from Jay Lethal at Death Before Dishonor. He is the North American leader of the Bullet Club, a Japanese heel faction. Michael Elgin is a former ROH World champ and a former IWGP Intercontinental champ, and has reinvented himself in Japan as a big power wrestler.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Elgin was next in line for a title shot when Cole beat Lethal for the strap, hence him getting his shot here against Cole. There’s also a slight layer of subtext here, as Adam Cole’s first reign as ROH World champion was ended by none other than one Michael Elgin. Cole has itched for revenge for years, and now he finally has the chance to defend the title against Elgin again, and has promised that he will win this time.
WHO WINS? – I have very much enjoyed Elgin’s work since the G-1 Climax last year, and I think he’d make a fine ROH world champ; but that’s not going to happen here. Cole is on a collision course with Kyle O’Reilly one way or the other, and he’s not dropping the title before then, especially not in his first defense. It would be an absolutely jaw-dropping upset if Elgin somehow pulled this off, and my jaw is going to remain firmly in place, at least according to my thought process.
YOUR WINNER – and STILL your ROH World Champ, Adam Cole Bay-Bay!
That does it! 8 matches on the card, and it’s stacked up and down. I’ll be back at the end of the weekend with a review of the show, and our very own Brian Bayless will be LIVE at the show, so look out for his posts. All in all, it’s going to be a fun night to watch some wrestling.
As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter