SoCal Uncensored def. The Briscoes (Zero Hour Pre-show)
SoCal Uncensored have gotten over huge as babyfaces through their stuff on Being the Elite and had tremendous heels to work against in The Briscoes. This started out as any other tag team bout, but once they picked up the pace, the action was above-average and the crowd was hot for it. SoCal Uncensored are already set to challenge for the ROH World Tag Team Championship at Death Before Dishonor later this month, so Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky beating The Briscoes made sense.
Flip Gordon Won the ROH World Championship No. 1 Contender's Over Budget Battle Royal (Zero Hour Pre-show)
Not to crap on WWE, but I can't tell you how many of those Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royals at WrestleMania (and the Battle Royals we see on WWE TV on a regular basis) fall flat because they featuring nothing of note whatsoever until the ending. However, this was the best Battle Royal I have seen in some time with everyone involved getting their time to shine at one point or another. We had everything from Billy Gunn and Tommy Dreamer getting the cheap legends pops to the shocking eliminations with Jordynne Grace dumping Brian Cage to the satisfying conclusion with Gordon emerging victorious. The fans loved Gordon going over after he has worked so hard to be "All In." This was the perfect way to lead into the main show.
Matt Cross def. MJF
I'm not at all familiar with MJF, but he impressed me with his showing and heel work here. Meanwhile, I am very familiar with Cross from the 2011 season of Tough Enough as well as his time spent in Lucha Underground as Son of Havoc. The guy is fantastic, and while this was a well-wrestled matchup, I know Cross is capable of much more. There wasn't a ton of crowd heat for this match, but that might have been because this had zero storyline support whatsoever. That said, it was probably smart to get this over with in the opener because the audience likely would have cared even less if it took place any later in the show.
Christopher Daniels def. Stephen Amell
Amell hasn't wrestled a ton of professional matches, so with that in mind, he did exceptionally well for himself against Daniels. I liked that he was actually positioned as a threat to Daniels, and Daniels deserves a ton of credit for bumping around for him as much as he did. This turned into a fun outing that the crowd was into, especially down the stretch. Amell isn't ready to challenge for a world title tomorrow, but for an actor, he had a hell a performance and I hope he sticks with it.
Tessa Blanchard def. Chelsea Green, Madison Rayne and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. in a Four Corner Survival Match
It would have been very easy for this match to get overshadowed by everything else on this stacked card, but the ladies stood out in a major way and contested the best bout of the night up to this point. All four women worked wonderfully together and put together a terrific four-way where there never seemed to be a dull moment. Baker had the most to gain as the least experienced of the four, but even in defeat, she succeeded in proving she belonged among this elite crop of talent. The fans were on their feet toward the end, so it's a shame it ended on a bit of an underwhelming note with the finish looking slightly botched.
Cody def. Nick Aldis to Win the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship
I had a sinking suspicion this wouldn't be a mat classic knowing their respective in-ring styles, but I was thoroughly entertained for the most part. Yes, it featured more overbooking than I would have preferred with Diamond Dallas Page, Brandi Rhodes and others interfering, but at least they kept the crowd engaged throughout and this undoubtedly had a big fight feel to it. Cody capturing the championship given his dad Dusty's lineage with it was the right call and I'm interested to see what this will mean for his schedule with Ring of Honor going forward and if it will affect anything.
"Hangman" Adam Page def. Joey Janela in a Chicago Street Fight
I haven't seen too many Joey Janela matches before (if any), but I am well aware that he specializes in anything extreme, so this was right up his alley. The same can be said for Page, who has competed in his fair share of Street Fights in Ring of Honor as well. Both of them put forth an excellent effort here, including Janela's girlfriend (?) Penelope Ford. This type of match won't be for everyone, but the live crowd certainly seemed to enjoy it. The post-match stuff with Joey Ryan returning was super over-the-top, but in the best way possible, because that's what Being the Elite (if you follow it) does best.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal def. Flip Gordon
If you've been keeping up with Being the Elite leading up to this event, you'd know that Lethal has had some medical condition that whenever he is tapped on the shoulder, he snaps into "Black Machismo" mode and thinks he's Randy Savage. Yes, it's as silly as it sounds, but it's been a blast and it was cool to see him bring back the character for one night, even with Lanny Poffo in his corner! The crowd ate up everything Lethal did and this turned into a great title match. There was some suspense surrounding the nearfalls in the final few minutes and Gordon looked good in defeat. Bully Ray coming out afterward to lay out the babyfaces only to be attacked by Chicago's own Colt Cabana was well done, too.
Kenny Omega def. Penta El Zero
These two are among the best wrestlers in the world right now and that was quite evident based off their outstanding encounter on this show. The fans in attendance were hyped before the bell even rang knowing they were about to witness a first-time-ever match, and Omega and Penta surely did not disappoint. The entire outing was strong, but the second half was especially exciting. To top it all off, Chris Jericho made a surprise appearance afterward to attack Omega and build toward their clash on the Jericho Cruise next month. Jericho went on the record multiple times in saying All In was basically "beneath" him, so him showing up here made for an awesome moment.
Kazuchika Okada def. Marty Scurll
I questioned positioning this before the main event because I felt Omega vs. Penta was the more must-see match, and it also lasted a little longer than it should have. Those things aside, this was a quality contest with some solid storytelling. Scurll was the underdog against the longest-reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion of all-time, but I thought he held his own nicely. Scurll continues to deliver in big match situations and I'm still stunned he has yet to get a world title run somewhere yet.
The Golden Elite def. Rey Mysterio, Rey Fenix and Bandido
Due to Okada vs. Scurll running long, this had to be cut short, which forced them to get all of their stuff within ten minutes or so. Needless to say, it would have been a better bout with more time, but they made the most of the time they had available to them and put together a terrific match. It was the glorified spot-fest everyone expected from these six stars and it was just a breathtaking spectacle. This will likely be Mysterio's final major independent appearance before he reportedly returns to WWE, and if so, he went out on a high note and showed minimal signs of ring rust.
First and foremost, Ian Riccaboni, Excalibur and Don Callis were phenomenal on commentary and only enhanced my enjoyment of the event. While this wasn't the most newsworthy or amazing event ever, it featured enough memorable matches and moments to be deemed a success. Plus, it's a huge positive for wrestling to be selling out a building filled with 10,000 fans, a sign that independent wrestling is probably in a better place than it's ever been in. The length of the show was a minor nitpick of mine, but nevertheless, All In gets two thumbs up from me and is worth checking out.