ROH All-Star Extravaganza IV
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12/26/08
1.) Kenny Omega vs. Rhett Titus: **1/2
Nothing to flashy here, but a decent opening match for sure. I really like Kenny Omega's finisher, Croyt's Wrath, which he uses to pick up the win.
2.) Erick Stevens vs. Chris Hero (with Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc.): **3/4
Stevens is just one of the many men who have been having issues with Sweet 'n' Sour Inc. in the second half of 2008. Hero is continuing his transformation as "That Young Knockout" Kid. Larry Sweeney, Sara del Rey & Bobby Dempsey accompany Hero to ringside. Another fine match. Like the opener, it wasn't anything overly good, but it was solid. Hero puts his Loaded Elbow Pad on his boot and uses it for the win.
3.) Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Roderick Strong & Brent Albright: ***1/2
I was actually very intrigued to see this match. Both sides have a big power guy (Sasaki & Albright) and a smaller, quicker guy (Nakajima & Strong). Very solid match here. Good wrestling all around and a nice showcase of the styles of power & speed from everyone involved. A lot of stiff action as well. Sasaki & Nakajima pick up the victory.
4.) Takeshi Morishima vs. Go Shiozaki (with Larry Sweeney): ***1/2
Another interesting matchup as we have two NOAH stars going at it. Morishima looks as large as we've ever seen him. Once again, we have a really good match. At one point Go gets thrown through the barricade by Morishima and he gets a gash on his side and back. The dangers of the ROH Guardrails. Overall, as I said, a very enjoyable contest. Morishima picks up the win and the momentum heading into his Fight Without Honor with Bryan Danielson the next night at Final Battle.
5.) Three-Way Elimination Tag Team Match – ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness & Claudio Castagnoli vs. The Briscoes vs. The American Wolves (with Larry Sweeney): ***1/2
Very strange that the first time Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards team up as The American Wolves, they're in a seemingly random Three-Way. This was actually a pretty good match. It was awesome seeing Nigel & Claudio teaming as the "European Union" and The American Wolves had a really good showing. Their end sequence with The Briscoes (who won the match) would be a sign of things to come as 2009 draws ever closer.
6.) Naomichi Marufuji vs. Austin Aries: ****
Leading up to this match, Aries had been showing signs of a potential heel turn, which eventually he would the next night at Final Battle, which would lead to the birth of "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived". Before that, he has an awesome match here with Marufuji. You could tell Aries was changing in this match with his jeering towards the fans. Marufuji would get the win here over A Double. Aries gets a standing ovation on the way out but that quickly turns into boos.
After the match, Prince Nana comes through the crowd and, like at several previous shows before this, begs for his job back before being dragged away by security.
7.) The Necro Butcher, Kevin Steen & El Generico (with Daizee Haze) vs. The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black & Delirious): ***1/4
This is sort of a preview for the next night World Tag Team Title Match between Kevin Steen & El Generico (The Champions) and the Age of the Fall (Delirious & Jimmy Jacobs). Nothing really fancy here, but a very solid six-man tag. At one point Delirious pulls out the spike and was going to use it, but Daizee Haze intervenes and seemingly talks Delirious out of it. It looked like the faces were going to win, but Davey Richards of The American Wolves comes out and attacks Steen's knee with a pipe, leading to his teams defeat.
8.) Bryan Danielson vs. Jerry Lynn: ****
ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness joins the commentators for this one, which is a first time ever meeting between these two. It was an awesome display of technical wrestling that truly showed how great these athletes are. Amazing work from both guys. The match ends in a pinning combination where both are simultaneously pinned (seemingly), but it was revealed that Danielson got his shoulder up at the last second before the three count, and The American Dragon was awarded the match.
This was a very interesting show. While it didn't deliver any truly awesome matches that one might expect from on of Ring of Honor's signature shows, the card was still pretty good. The openers did a fine job, the rest of the undercard was very solid, and you had two of the main matches that definitely delivered. On the whole it was a very consistent show, and it made for a very enjoyable watch.