ROH All Star Extravaganza V Review

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Ring of Honor spared no expense to make this a memorable card. One that had the historical significance of having several first round World Title tournament matches and one second round match that lived up to expectation, if not succeeded it. But I’m going to start with the main event as we got to see a great tag team match between the American Wolves and the Forever Hooligans that also gave us new ROH Tag Team Champions. The hot shotting of the tag titles while the World Title was held up was a major story and despite some fans reservations about it possibly diminishing their prestige, I think it showed that Ring of Honor has established it’s Championships strongly over the years, even if at times they have faltered. All Star Extravaganza was all about the guest talents that were brought in, and a few returning faces mixed with it being held at what formerly was a wrestling venue staple. We got to see Kushida, one half of the Time Splitters in NJPW face Adam Page in the opener and while this wasn’t a barn burner, its basic premise got the crowd off to a decent start, even in the face of one fan’s constant belligerence. This event though may always be marred by the match between BJ Whitmer and Mike Bennett that saw BJ take a botched pile driver on the apron and has severely affected his career. As of this writing he has yet to return to the ring and possibly never will again. It was a good match leading up to the botch and that serves as little consolation and while I do not wish to make light of the situation, I don’t want to dwell on it either. Bennett certainly seems reinvigorated in ROH and no doubt BJ was a great opponent to face in the World Title tournament. We also saw Roderick Strong handily defeat Matt Taven against what seemed like endless interference from the House of Truth. Nigel was forced to get involved at several points and it seems like easy comedy fair whenever we get to see Truth Martini get hurt. The match itself was decent though that’s probably expected whenever Strong is in the ring. We also saw Silas Young versus Tommaso Ciampa which was just there, but was a good match and showed potential for both men. Ciampa won with a semi exciting counter when Young was going for a head scissor take down or possibly a hurricanrana, either way it was a good finish and Young came out looking better in losing to a for sure main event player. There were two anticipated first round matches in Michael Elgin vs Paul London and Kevin Steen vs Brian Kendrick on this card. Let’s talk about Elgin and London first. I don’t think it’s hard to say that this match was good, but it wasn’t great, at least not to me. There were several very obvious clunky transitional spots, and at times it felt like they were really trying to drive home that Elgin had to fight back against London. Perhaps this was by design, perhaps it was because of the Bennett/Whitmer match, who knows. But even though the match was good to probably really good, I felt it had just too many false finishes in the end. I believe this was the match that led into intermission at the show so that was probably easy for the live crowd, but watching it on DVD was a different experience. I’ll admit this is probably just nit-picky stuff as I would still give it near four out of five stars on a rating system. Brian Kendrick vs Kevin Steen was nothing special though it was fun to see two founding fathers of ROH back in the ring again. Steen vs Kendrick was exactly what I thought it would be with a few spurts of offense by Kendrick and Steen as dominate as ever. In between these matches we saw a triple threat tag match with the returning Young Bucks against C & C Wrestle Factory and Adrenaline Rush of ACH and TD Thomas. It was placed perfectly as the post intermission match and had all the high flying and super kicks you could ask for. Fun, fast paced, and entertaining mostly in part by the antics of the Young Bucks, this easily rounded out the card well. Then we come to the two matches that I think made this DVD an easy buy. If you’re main reason is the Tag Title match between the Wolves and Forever Hooligans followed by Elgin vs London, then Jay Lethal vs Adam Cole is the tipping point. It was better than I think most people thought it would be, and that sounds shocking at first given the talent of both men, but I’m talking more anticipatory feelings. This match could have been just an average match before the main event and I don’t think anyone would have complained but both men did a little bit more than I thought they would and at the same time left me wanting more out of them which is probably a good thing. The main event was great and everything you’d expect out of all four men. It was every match you’ve ever seen between Alex Koslov, Rocky Romero, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards if you’ve been around a while, but it was still a great way to end the night and does not stop me from recommending this DVD. A fun event from ROH which historic connotations and a title change, what more could you ask for.

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