Ring of Honor Wrestling presents
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST 2018
Ian Riccobani & Colt Cabana on commentary.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs BEER CITY BRUISER
Nice pop for Daniels, who is accompanied by the now-TV-spoiled new ROH Tag Team Champions SCU. PLEASE. FIX THIS SCHEDULING. Sky does the “Worst Town” shtick. What is this shtick they’re doing? I still am not sure I get it. But it… works? The audience seems to like it, maybe out of sheer raw nerdiness? Bruiser makes his way through the crowd with keg over his shoulder. He’s introduced as “from the bar”, and as such, he actually makes his way down from the bar. You know, I sort of LOVE that.
Bruiser finishes his beer, and Daniels pats his belly to go with the Code of Honor. Bell rings and Bruiser in hot crushing Daniels in the corner and following up with a big cannonball, covers but only 2. Bruiser hits the Vader Bomb Elbow Drop, covers again but still 2. Nice start for Bruiser. Bruiser drops the elbow but Daniels moves and fires back, rocking Bruiser with shots. Bruiser looks for shots of his own but Daniels stays ahead of him, looks for Angels Wings but Bruiser just lifts him and drops all of his weight down on top of him! Cover, but Daniels is out at 2.
Bruiser climbs and looks for the splash but Daniels moves and Bruiser pancakes. Daniels follows up with the BME for the 3 and the WIN!
Christopher Daniels defeats The Beer City Bruiser by pinfall to advance to the Finals in Survival of the Fittest after the Best Moonsault Ever
JAY’S RATING: Not Rated
This was exactly what it needed to be executed quite well, and Bruiser was still able to show off some nice offense, agility and a great entrance idea while Daniels advances. Good.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier
COLIN DELANEY vs HANGMAN PAGE vs DALTON CASTLE
The commentators talk about how Delaney actually was one of Castle’s trainers. Castle has his thigh wrapped heavily. “Hangman’s gonna kill you” chants. Code of Honor all around. The bell rings and Dalton starts talking and some shenanigans, saying he’s got a LOT of testosterone pumping by using Cleve Scene products.
Some quick action to start, with Page going behind Castle but getting dumped, then Castle dumping Delaney on the other side, and teasing the dive before doing the Peacock Strut. Delaney back in and keeps Page down and gets a nice arm drag on Castle, but kips up just to meet a big boot from Page. Page gets Delaney in the corner and stomps the mudhole. Hoists Delaney and just pancakes him in front of him, then gets that bridging pumphandle suplex for 2. Castle in and tries to cover Delaney, but Page pulls him off. This looks like it was a missed spot, where Castle was supposed to pull Page off the cover and try one himself, which then Page would then return the favor by pulling him off. Eh, they… soooort of covered it.
Castle just clocks Page in the mouth and goes for another cover on Delaney, but Delaney kicks out at 2. Delaney dumps Castle and hits a BIG chop on Page, but Page is able to land a HUGE lariat that takes down Delaney. Castle back in and shows off his biceps. They trade chops in the middle, Page gets the advantage and looks to dump Castle but the Boys help Castle stay on the apron! Castle with shots to Page but eats a boot, reverses and delivers one of his own, and they they both move out of the way of a Delaney missle dropkick before Page kicks Castle.
Page looks to stay on Delaney but Delaney hits a version of Stundog Millionaire! Dalton looks to take advantage but Delaney hits a tilt a whirl stunner on Castle! He then gets a stunner like manuever on Castle with his throat across the top rope, then hits a middle rope springboard stunner on Page and covers but only gets 2! Page on the apron, Delaney climbs with him in the corner, Castle back in and they look for a double superplex on Page, but Page fights out of it. Castle gets seated on the middle rope which opens him for a baseball slide German suplex from Delaney, who then eats the shooting star shoulder block from Page at ringside! In the ring, the Boys fan down Castle.
Page brings Delaney back in and hits a corner clothesline on him and Castle, then hits the dropkick-sault combo on Castle and Delaney! Cover, but Delaney out at 2. Page calls for Rite of Passage on Delaney, but Delaney gets out of it but eats a running dropkick in the corner, gets him up for Rite but Castle breaks it up, puts Page in the piledriver position for Delaney and then FLIPS DELANEY INTO A DESTROYER ON PAGE! WHAT?! Castle then gets a Dr. Bomb on Delaney and covers, but only gets 2!
Castle picks up Delaney in a waist lock but Delaney fights out in the corner, looks to climb but Castle counters and hits a knee in the corner and then a running knee on Page, then a low suicide dive on Delaney. Back in with Delaney for a bulldog, covers, but only 2 as Delaney kicks out! Castle looking frustrated, looks for Bangarang but Page counters by going low and hoisting Castle for Rite of Passage (which puts Delaney back on his feet!). Castle rolls through though, all three trade shots, Page superkicks Castle, Delaney dumps Page on the apron, Castle looks for Bangarang but Page hits double Buckshot Lariats! Rite of Passage on Delaney, 3 count and the WIN!
Hangman Page defeats Colin Delaney & Dalton Castle by pinfall to advance to the Finals of Survival of the Fittest after the Rite of Passage
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
A really nice match between these three, with Castle looking good while also easing back, using his persona to great effect there and delivering spots well. Delaney also came off looking great, especially with the Stunner series. Page feels like the right choice, especially to give Dalton a little more time while keeping him present, and he came off looking like, well, a future champion. Also, props to all three for the group counter spots, which were cool and innovative and showed great connection between scene partners, as it were. (The Bangarang-into-Rite of Passage-with-Delaney-back-to-feet was probably my favorite group spot. Just great ring work storytelling.)
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier
TRACY WILLIAMS vs JONATHAN GRESHAM
Ok, full disclosure, this is the opening round match I am most looking forward to, but I also dont know how much time they will have or how it will be chosen to be used. I just feel like these two are CLASSIC ROH in the best way, so I really want it to deliver, even if its short. High hopes here. Code of Honor from both.
Bell rings and Tracy starts fast looking for a kick in the corner but Gresham goes behind and wrestlies him down to the mat. Tracy counters out, they go amateur hold for hold in the middle, trading control until Williams gets Gresham down with an armlock. Gresham with a headscissors, but Williams stays on with an elbow drop to the back and an Indian deathlock variation. Gresham looks to counter by snatching and twisting Williams’ ankle, which works and Gresham gets control of the leg, ankle and knee. Williams with a GREAT escape into a side headlock takeover, and then spins down with a knee crusher to regain control.
Gresham pushes Williams off and looks to leapfrog but Williams catches him into a rollup for 2. Williams spins right out of the kick out and looks for the crossface but Gresham fights out, and the go to the corner for a break. Williams keeps him trapped there for the full 4 count before walking away. They go back to grappling and once again get into the ropes for 4. Williams pushes off Gresham and tempers start flaring. Williams with BIG chops to Gresham while holding his ankle, then sticks a nice Saito suplex. Covers, but Gresham out at 2. THIS IS WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR.
Williams goes back to the arm and keeps Gresham grounded. Gresham reverses by going to the arm, gets a facelock but Williams blocks the suplex but eats a chop. Whip to the ropes but Williams hits a kitchen sink and a great throw, covers but Gresham still gets out at 2. Gresham mounts a comeback, kicks and chops, looks for suplex again but countered again and Gresham holds his back. Williams lays into Gresham in the corner, Gresham however is able to get a middle rope dropkick that sends Williams across the ring.
Gresham with a running chop on Williams, a second chop, but then Williams gets one too, Gresham returns with a BIG one that puts Williams on his knees, looks for another suplex but Williams drops his weight. Gresham however powers through it and gets it on Williams! Cover, but only a 2 count. Gresham kicks Williams in the arm and looks for the Octopus, but Williams fights it off, hits a back elbow and rocks Gresham.
Williams sits up top but Gresham kicks the arm and looks for a superplex. Williams fights back, gets a facelock and just drops Gresham facefirst into the top turnbuckle! Williams then hits a middle rope diving DDT, covers Gresham but only gets 2! Williams hoists Gresham but Gresham gets control with a Jim Breaks Special, looks for a rana but Williams rolls it into a pin for 2, then gets Gresham up and plants him with a DVD and covers but still only gets 2!
Williams looks for a piledriver, but Gresham fights off. Williams lays in an elbow but Gresham absorbs it and takes shots to the arm. They trade blows like this, with Gresham throwing elbows to the face as well. Williams drops Gresham but Gresham fights back, they trade counters, back to slugging it out, they both fire up with each shot, Williams hits a rolling elbow but Gresham kips right up into an enziguri before eating a lariat and a piledriver, Williams covers but Gresham kicks out at 2! Yes this sequence. “This is awesome” chants.
Both men up in opposite corners. Williams gets dumped to ringside, Gresham hits a flying knee off the apron and rolls him back in. Gresham with a crossbody off the top but Williams rolls through it for a 2 count. Backslide by Gresham gets 2 before Gresham goes back to the arm and gets the Octopus locked in! Williams tries to fight but goes down and taps and Gresham takes the WIN!
Jonathan Gresham defeats Tracy Williams by submission to advance to the Finals of Survival of the Fittest after the Octopus Hold
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
I enjoyed the hell out of this match, and as I said at the top had high hopes going in. I knew this likely wouldnt get to 4 stars simply because its a qualifier match and they have a lot to get through still, but I was hoping for something competitive as hell with lots of fire and aggression, great mat work and in-ring storytelling, and thats EXACTLY what was delivered and that leaves me one exceptionally satisfied customer. Love Tracy Williams in this setting, and I hope we see much more of him. Gresham is the future of this company. There’s part of me that is wondering if there is a bit of a “bench re-building” happening lately, with Lethal being the establishment champion (and thats not a bad thing) with an oncoming generation of Gresham, Cobb, Williams and Gordon, and a main-event push readiness of Taven, Page and Scurll. And with the nice anchor of pure wrestling skill in there along with some solid characters, this feels like it has the potential to be a new roster Golden Age here (I mean, ESPECIALLY when you factor in the relationships with NJPW and CMLL!!!). Again, they MUST get their taping/event scheduling/booking issues under control, but this is an exciting time for ROH, and this match showed EXACTLY why. Great work.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier
ANDREW EVERETT vs GUERRERO MAYA JR vs FLIP GORDON
Code of Honor all around. Bell rings and Maya gets the advantage early with power over both Everett and Gordon. Gordon back up but eats a mid kick from Maya before flipping out of it and hitting a dropkick on Maya. Everett in fast but eats a tackle from Gordon, looks to headscissor Gordon down but Gordon handsprings back to his feet. Hand walk from Gordon into a headscissor but Everett flips to his feet. They face off but Maya comes back in and they all go for dropkicks and then face off.
Everett and Gordon then double team Maya, standing shooting star from Gordon, standing moonsault from Everett, and the flyers face off again as Maya rolls out. They trade forearms, with Gordon getting the advantage. Everett evades Gordon and hits a cool standing pele on Gordon, gets a German suplex with a bridge on Gordon but Maya breaks it up by literally stopping Sinclair’s arm and then stomping Everett. The crowd loved it. Flip rolls out as Maya and Everett go fast with Maya showing great speed for his size, hits a BIG springboard back elbow on Everett and covers for 2.
Gordon back in with a springboard dropkick takes down Maya. “Flip” chants. Flip looks for a shot on Maya in the corner but Maya evades and Flip looks like he tweaked the knee. Flip is still able to fight back with flips and kicks, but Everett stops him with a kick and a lionsault for 2 before Maya breaks it up. Everett with chops to Maya, but Maya asks for more. Everett with a series of chops, but Maya dumps him on the apron and then hiptosses him back in for a Falcon Arrow for 2 as Flip is back in. Flip chops Maya and Everett joins in the double team, but Maya uses great speed and agility for an arm drag off the ropes and two tilt a whirl backbreakers for two 2-counts!
Everett and Flip are outside, Maya climbs to the top and hits a HUGE flying crossbody to the floor taking both of them out. Maya throws Flip back in but Flip turns it into a 619 and hits a middle rope moonsault to Maya on the floor! Everett now looks to climb next, and hits a big shooting star press to the floor onto Maya and Flip! Everett throws Maya back in and fires up the crowd, kick to Maya from the apron and looks to climb again, but Flip takes him out with Kinder Surprise, climbs to the top himself… and suddenly someone from the crowd chucks a streamer at Flip to distract him and OF COURSE ITS BULLY RAY. The crowd boos.
Flip hits the 450 but his focus is on Bully, he looks to spring off the top rope into Bully in the crowd but Bully catches him with a forearm coming and knocks him out. Back in the ring Everett climbs, looks for the shooting star but Maya moves and hits the Mayan Sacrifice (a Mexican-Stretch into a neckbreaker across the knee!), covers Everett and gets the 3 count and the WIN!
Guerrero Maya, Jr. defeats Andrew Everett & Flip Gordon by pinfall to advance to the Finals of Suvival of the Fittest after the Mayan Sacrifice
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a really nice three way that played to the strengths of the three very well. I still think I’m hitting my limit with Flip/Bully Ray, but it made sense to have the story continue here, which let the focus at the end match-wise be on Everett and Maya. Flip has enough going on at the moment, this isnt something he needs right now. Maya is a very interesting luchador, and I LOVE how much he talks as it really helps define his characters aggressiveness. This was a great showcase of three great performers.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier
PJ BLACK vs LUCHASAURUS
Code of Honor almost adhered to, but PJ backs off. Bell rings and they take somewhat of a shoot-fighting approach for the first exchange. PJ with a headlock and takes Lucha down with a tackle. Agility from both off the ropes as Lucha uses his long legs to get the advantage back on PJ with pushes and kicks. Chop to PJ in the corner, PJ changes the momentum and dumps Lucha but Lucha back in and PJ on the apron. PJ looks to spring but Lucha cuts him off with a superkick. PJ calls for a timeout but Lucha hops over the top and hits a moonsault to the floor that takes out PJ.
Lucha tosses PJ back in and hits shotgun knees and a big boot in the corner, then hits a spinning roundhouse knee (the “X-Blade”) to a kneeling PJ, covers but only 2! Lucha looks for a chokeslam but PJ spins it into a cradle driver for 2. Shots to Lucha and a springboard standing moonsault off the top, covers Lucha but another 2. PJ climbs and hits a top rope mushroom stomp on Lucha, covers again but still 2. Lucha is down, PJ up top again but Lucha sits up. PJ jumps down but Lucha catches him running into a standing Spanish Fly! Covers, but PJ is out at 2!
Lucha throttles PJ and lifts him back up, but PJ grabs Lucha by the beard. PJ kicks the gut but Lucha reverses with the Tail Whip (jumping side kick to the head), a pop-up knee and a reverse roundhouse to the head! Lucha gets PJ up and plants him with a chokeslam and a standing moonsault into a cover, but PJ is still able to kick out at 2! Chants for both.
Lucha calls for the end, gets a cutthrought torture rack lift but PJ gets out of it and goes for a strike but gets caught by Lucha. Lucha keeps the wrist and hits hard strikes to PJ, PJ gets a kick to Lucha but Lucha able to reverse him and get PJ hung in a tree of woe, picks him up and lands a tombstone piledriver. Lucha doesnt go for the cover and instead hops up to the top rope, and goes for Event Horizon (a shooting star from the big man) but MISSES IT COMPLETELY, PJ hustles over and covers Lucha and gets the 3 count and the WIN!
PJ Black defeats Luchasaurus by pinfall to advance to the Finals of Survival of the Fittest after rolling up Luchasaurus following a missed a shooting star press
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was fine, and I think I’m being a little extra generous in giving it over the halfway mark simply because Luchasaurus interested me as a performer greatly based on this showing. However, PJ still isnt me showing me much that I havent already seen from him before, and as such he’s feeling a little… “yawn” to me right now, which makes his taking the spot over Luchasaurus being part of what hurt this match for me. Based on the match itself, PJ was the less interesting choice.
After the match, Rhett Titus shows up wearing nothing but very small underwear and shoes and oiled to the nines, and poses on the ramp before joining commentary.
Survival of the Fittest Qualifier
SILAS YOUNG vs STUKA JR. vs MARTY SCURLL
Lots of support for Marty, a bit of support for Silas. A bit of a Code of Honor happens and then we get the bell. Silas takes it to Marty first, but Stuka takes it to Silas and then Marty goes after Stuka. Stuka hits a rana and tilt a whirl backbreaker on Marty and Silas respectively, which leads to the ROH guys double teaming Stuka. Stuka however uses the ropes to reverse to a double arm drag, and then suplexs Silas on top of Marty, covering Marty for a 2 count.
Stuka stays on Marty as Silas heads outside. Chops are traded, Stuka runs the ropes but Marty hits a Euro uppercut, Stuka goes outside and Marty hits the apron superkick before Silas takes him down with a jumping lariat. Silas runs the ropes but lands on the apron, Marty and Stuka double team Silas and then send Silas into the railing. Stuka and Marty go back to chop trading, and they take each other down with head kicks and all three are outside as the ref counts. The count gets pretty high, all of them try to stop the other from getting back in but then all three slide in just in time at 19.
They all trade shots in the middle, Stuka gets an advantage and powerbombs Marty onto Silas, covers Marty but only gets 2. Stuka climbs to the top but Marty with a gamengiri cuts him off and looks for a superplex, and hits one off the top rope! “Heavyweight” chants. Covers, but Silas breaks it up at 2. Silas dumps Stuka and hits the backbreaker lariat combo on Marty, but Stuka back in to break it at 2.
Silas and Stuka trade shots and Stuka gets a flipping neckbreaker on Silas. Silas reverses and is able to get the big back rake to Stuka off the middle rope, a big boot and looks for the Plunge but Marty interrupts before getting dumped by Stuka. Stuka climbs and hits a middle rope moonsault on Marty on the floor, then climbs again and hits a big diving splash onto Silas, covers but Silas kicks out at 2!
Marty back in and trades with Stuka again. Marty looks for a backslide and rolls it into a kneeling superkick and Silas follows it with a knee to Stuka, and then a kick to Marty but Marty gets a rolling elbow to Silas but eats a clothesline from Stuka, cover from Stuka but Marty out at 2. Stuka stays on Marty but Marty hits a big lariat and follows it with Graduation and covers for the 3 count and the WIN!
Marty Scurll defeates Stuka Jr & Silas Young by pinfall to advance to the Finals of Survival of the Fittest after Graduation
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was fine, and Marty is the right choice to move on. Stuka Jr also looked GREAT here. But the end felt super abrupt and out of nowhere, and it just never quite pulled me in fully as a match. So all in all… that was fine. Long Live The Villain.
MADISON RAYNE vs DR. BRITT BAKER
We get the Code of Honor and the bell as the commentators mention that Rayne particularly wanted to face Baker. They lock up to start with Rayne getting the advantage, but Baker gets a head scissors, which Rayne bridges out of. Lock up again and Baker gets arm control, snapmares Rayne down and gets a headlock, Rayne reverses but Baker able to keep the pressure on. They get to the corner and break.
Rayne looks for a backslide but only gets 2, both get up and Baker hits a running neckbreaker. Whps Rayne to the ropes but Rayne gets a rollup for 2, another one for another 2, then a sunset flip for another 2. Baker gets Rayne into the corner but Rayne with nice evasions into another rollup and another 2. Baker able to land a big running boot, covers Rayne but only a 2 count.
Baker gets a whip and a clothesline to take down Rayne, shots to the jaw and another whip and clothesline and Rayne is in the corner. Baker lines her up and hits a running knee and a sling blade, covers but Rayne out at 2. Baker gets Rayne into a grounded stretch, and the crowd looks to fire up… one of them? Both? Havent really noticed favoritism. Baker looks for a ripcord forearm but Rayne downs Baker with an enziguri, and Sinclair starts the 10 count.
Both are up and Rayne hits some big strikes, Baker evades a kick and hits a forearm and a swinging fisherman neckbreaker on Rayne, covers but only 2! Baker hoists Rayne and tosses her off but Rayne is able to follow up with Chance of Rayne (a diamond cutter), covers but only 2. Rayne runs the ropes but eats a superkick from Baker, covers but only 2. Baker stays right on her, pumphandle fallaway suplex but Rayne still out at 2.
Rayne looks to fight back and hits a bridging northern lights, but only gets 2 on Baker. Rayne with a running boot, hooks up Baker’s arm and hits a knee to the head, covers and gets the 3 count and the WIN!
Madison Rayne defeats Dr. Britt Baker by pinfall to earn a spot in the Fatal Four Way at Final Battle after Bend The Knee (the name mentioned for the knee strike to the head)
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5
This match was a bit thrown away, to be honest, which is sad because both of these performers are capable of delivering good stuff, and this just felt sleepy. Feels like a missed opportunity, especially since part of the point here was to hype Rayne’s participation at Final Battle. And I’m not walking away feeling much hype there based on this performance. Also, I would submit a recommendation to rethink the finisher for Rayne – at least right now, it takes too much time and lacks the sharpness to make it feel like a FINISH.
After the match, The Twisted Sisters (Thunder Rosa and Holidead) jump Rayne and Baker from behind and beat them down. Holidead hits the Go Home Driver on Baker, and Rosa hits the pumphandle driver on Rayne. I dig their energy a LOT.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship
THE KINGDOM vs THE ELITE (Cody & The Young Bucks) (c)
Commentary fills us in on how, given that the illegal man was pinned with The Kingdom lost the 6-man titles to BC, ROH management has agreed to provide 2 referees for this rematch for the titles. No Brandi or anyone else from the circus with Cody tonight. “Elite” chants. Matt Taven seems to be arguing with young girls in the front row. “Young Bucks” chants now. Cody poses and we get “Cody” chants. This is what being “over” means.
We get the bell with Nick and Vinny starting us off. Lockup, headlock from Nick to start. Whip to the ropes and Nick takes down Vinny, then takes out the Kingdrom. Matt tags in and elevates Nick into a dropkick on Vinny. TK in and the Bucks hit a rope hung neckbreaker/senton combo. They then get the triple team uppercut/flapjuck cutter combo on Taven, and hit triple dives on the Kingdom at ringside. BC back in the ring as The Kingdom regroups.
Vinny back in with Matt. Nick says “tag in Cody”, and Cody comes in. Vinny tries to start fast, but Cody counters and hits a big stalling groudbuster. Vinny is able to get a sharp knee shot and tags in Taven, and they looks to double team. Cody tries to fight back but Taven is able to hit a NICE knee strike on Cody, and then mounts him and lays in punches to Cody. Taven pulls Cody to his corner and tags in TK.
TK keeps Cody away from the Bucks and sends him into boots in the Kingdom corner, then hits a Euro uppercut and covers for 2. TK stays on Cody with a headlock, but Cody fights back. TK looks for a suplex but Cody flips out of it, but TK spins around with a left hand to keep Cody down and allowing The Kingdom to stomp Cody down. Tag to Vinny as Taven sends Cody into the railing, before Vinny sends him into it on the other side. Vinny screams “whos a nightmare now?” in Cody’s face. “Let’s go Cody” chants as Vinny takes Cody back in.
Cody looks to fight off Vinny, TK gets the tag and hits a big spinebuster, Vinny follows with a diving headbutt and TK covers for 2 before Nick breaks it up and spits at TK. Kick to Cody sends him into the Kingdom’s corner and Taven tags in and beats down Cody. Triple team in the corner, but the 2nd ref (Sinclair to Paul Turner in the ring) tries to break it up. Vinny keeps the pressure on Cody but Cody fires up to try to fight back and get the tag but Vinny pushes him back. Vinny looks for a suplex and hits it, floats to cover, but only 2.
Tag to TK who stays on Cody, quick tag to Vinny and they try to throw him back to Taven but Cody knocks down Taven, leapfrogs TK and powerslams Vinny onto TK in the corner! Cody looks for it and gets the hot tag to Matt who takes it to the Kingdom. Cannonball to TK, jumping double clothesline to Taven and Vinny, wrecking ball dropkick to Taven skinning the cat into a standing shiranui on Vinny, calls for a superkick to TK but Taven breaks it up and TK/Vinny double team Matt. Cover on Matt but only 2.
Vinny whips Matt to the corner but Matt fights off the Kingdom, Vinny misses Samhain but hits a knee to back up Matt, but Matt sits Vinny on the middle rope and tags in Nick who hits the double stomp on TK and rolls into the backstabber on Vinny. Bucks reverse The Kingdom and get double sharpshooter, and Cody gets one on Taven as well! The crowd chants “tap” but Vinny gets to the ropes. BC looks to triple team Vinny in the corner, ending with a triple superkick, covers but Taven and TK break it up at 2.
Cody takes TK out at ringside with a springboard body press, and Nick looks to PK Taven, BUT HE HITS SINCLAIR AT RINGSIDE! Matt with the wrecking ball on Taven but Vinny hits a sloppy looking Dudley Dog on Matt. Cody gets Vinny in Cross Rhodes, Taven looks for a springboard roundhouse but takes out Turner! Cody gets Cross Rhodes on Taven and covers, but theres no one to count as TK gets a shot in on Cody with a baseball bat! Bat shot to the Bucks, both refs are down, “you suck” chants from the crowd.
The Kingdom hits Rockstar Supernova on Cody but theres no ref to count the cover, until a female ref comes sliding in, counts to 2, BUT ITS BRANDI and she flips off The Kingdom! “Brandi” chants as Taven looms over her, but BC are back in and hit superkicks! Cross Rhodes on TK, cover and Brandi counts the 3, and we get a bell ring and the music plays. The champs retain!
OR DO THEY?
Turner and Sinclair are awake now and are talking to the ring announcer about the call. In the meantime, Taven gets a shot at Cody that takes down Brandi, as we hear that the match is getting restarted since Brandi isnt a ref. Brandi is down, and Cody picks her up but Taven hits The Climax on Cody while Brandi is in his arms! Matt looks for a superkick but Vinny catches it, he hoists Matt and he and TK hit House of a Thousand Horses! Cover, and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
The Kingdom defeats The Elite by pinfall to WIN the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles for the 3rd time after House of a Thousand Horses
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a nice title match by two really strong stables and teams within ROH, that had a little bit too much crammed into the end. I actually dont mind the ref spots, the Conspiracy idea is built into The Kingdom so thats part of the storytelling. But then Brandi, and then the false finish, and the match restart, and Taven taking out Brandi “accidentally”, then taking out Cody with Brandi on purpose… its just a lot. It didnt completely wreck my enjoyment here as I am particularly loving the rise of The Kingdom and Taven becoming a World Title threat. But its just, come on yall. Look at that list just above. Thats what is meant by “over-booking”. Less can be more. The in-ring work saved it for me though, as Kingdom played smart tag team wrestling and everyone got a chance to get some good stuff in, and I welcome new champs in The Kingdom. (Though of course, this also adds to the intrigue around the “what’s next” question for The Elite.)
After the match, TK takes the mic and talks about how the Conspiracy is Dead. They are 3 time champs. “You still suck” chants from the crowd.
Kenny King then emerges and applauds Matt Taven as he joins the commentary booth.
SO-CAL UNCENSORED (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs JAY LETHAL & JEFF COBB
This could be great – 4 champs (Tag, TV and World) all going at it. Code of Honor all around.
Bell rings and Kaz and Lethal start off. Lockup, Kaz with a headlock and tackles on Lethal, but only get half counts on Lethal as Lethal looks for an arm drag and Kaz avoids. They face off again, and we get competing chants for Lethal and SCU. Lethal gets the arm but Kaz flips out of it, picks the leg but Lethal pushes him off, but Kaz kips right back up. Love how explosive Kaz is with his offense.
Cobb and Sky tag in and face off. Cobb gets Sky’s wrist, Sky looks to escape but Cobb uses his power to maintain control. Headlock by Sky and they meet in a tackle, with Cobb showing more stability. They run the ropes, Cobb leapfrogs but eats a dropkick from Sky before kipping back up. Running rana from Sky but COBB CARTWHEELS OUT and hits a big dropkick! HOLY CRAP COBB. Tag to Lethal who chops Sky in the corner and hits a big elbow off the ropes for a 2 count, and then grounds him with a headlock.
Sky fights back, chop to Lethal and Kaz tags himself in, Lethal fights back but eats a spinning kick from Kaz for 2. Whip Lethal to the ropes and hits the hiptoss neckbreaker, covers but still 2. Lethal fights back, Sky in but Lethal fights both off, double boots to Lethal and they get that unique double team leg trap roll through slam. Kaz picks up Lethal and puts him in the corner, hits a running side Russian legsweep and covers but only gets 2. Kaz lifts Lethal back up and locks in a front facelock as the crowd fires up.
Lethal fights back, hits the ropes but Kaz hits a calf kick and covers for 2. Kaz sends Lethal into his corner and I think Lethal actually smashed face first into the buckle pad harder than he meant to, as the match slows down as Lethal takes a moment outside. Sky and Lethal able to pick it back up with Lethal scooting in and looking to tag but Sky intercepting with a big backbreaker and stretch. Well recovered there by all, the crowd stayed in it.
Sky brings Lethal into the SCU corner, Lethal tries to fight out, knocks down Kaz and evades a Sky elbow, goes outside and hits a cutter to Kaz on the floor. Lethal back in and looks for Cobb, Sky grabs the ankle but he makes it and tags Cobb who comes in hot. BIG belly to belly throw to Sky. BIG. Jawbreaker by Sky but Cobb hits a big back suplex and a standing moonsault, covers but only 2. Cobb picks up Sky, but chops him right back down. Jay is still holding his nose at ringside as Cobb hits Sky in their corner, and asks if Lethal is ok before hoisting Sky up into a stalling suplex, then tags Lethal in and hands him off to Lethal who holds the stall before dropping him down. Nice crowd pop for that. Lethal covers, but Sky is out at 2.
Lethal stays on Sky with a chinlock but Sky gets to the ropes. Tag to Cobb who hits a big headbutt, Sky fights back but Cobb maintains control and hits a Sidewinder Suplex, covers but only 2 counts on Sky. Cobb with a rear bearhug on Sky, keeping the action grounded. Sky fights back but Cobb just lifts him and runs him into his corner, tags Lethal who gets a back suplex on Sky which Kaz breaks up immediately, and Lethal goes right back to the headlock.
Lethal whips Sky to the corners, but Sky is able to get a neckbreaker to down Lethal. Lethal interrupts Sky’s tag attempt to tag, they trade shots and Sky hits a jumping knee, Lethal with a big boot and enziguri, but Sky stops the action with a heavy clothesline. Sky looks again and gets the tag to Kaz, who takes a shot at Cobb on the apron, John Woo to Lethal, Jerry Lynn legdrop to Cobb, corner seated dropkick to Lethal and a kip-up. Cobb in and looks to suplex Kaz, but Kaz reverses into a DDT/Stunner combo on Lethal and Cobb, covers Lethal but only 2.
Kaz stays on Lethal but Lethal gets a chop, Kaz up and over, backstabber/knee strike combo from SCU followed by an Unprettier, cover but Cobb breaks it at 2. Cobb DRAGS LETHAL TO THE CORNER and tags himself in, shots to SCU but Sky gets a stomp to Cobb’s back. SCU with corner offense and Kaz with a running flipping neckbreaker on Cobb, then lifts Lethal to the top rope. Kaz climbs but Lethal fights him off, Sky tries to climb but Lethal fights again, now both SCU members look for a double superplex. Cobb interrupts and hits DOUBLE PUMPHANDLE SUPLEXES ON BOTH SCU MEMBERS. WHAT. Lethal follows with Hail to the King on Kaz and a suicide dive on Sky. Cobb gets a deadlift German suplex on Kaz into a bridge, BUT KAZ IS OUT AT 2. “This is Awesome” chants.
Cobb with a running uppercut on Kaz in the corner, climbs to the middle but Sky gets a leaping rana on Cobb as Kaz gets the slingshot cutter to bring Lethal back in. SCU with stereo dives (Kaz’s being a rana on Cobb), but suddenly The Briscoes come out and throw a chair at Sky from the rampway. Kaz gets distracted, Cobb looks for Tour of the Islands but Kaz counters it into a rollup for 2, they go back and forth until Cobb is able to catch Kaz coming in Tour of the Islands, covers and that’s 3 and the WIN.
Jeff Cobb & Jay Lethal defeat SCU by pinfall after interference from The Briscoes and Tour of the Islands
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a really nice outing, and a good example of story-driven interference that was executed with clarity and focus, and which keeps the Briscoe/SCU feud advancing forward. The ring-work here was outstanding, and Jeff Cobb is further establishing himself as one to watch for ROH’s future. I am still salivating at the potential of Cobb/Gresham here. Just, give me more Cobb.
After the match, all four champs shake hands and raise their belts.
We hear about Rush from CMLL coming to ROH after Final Battle.
Survival of the Fittest Finals – 6-Person Elimination Match
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs HANGMAN PAGE vs JONATHAN GRESHAM
GUERRERO MAYA, JR. vs PJ BLACK vs MARTY SCURLL
Code of Honor showed by many, not Marty or PJ it looks like. Marty does shake hands with Page. Daniels and Maya looks to start us off. Bell rings, and we get a shake between Daniels and Maya.
They start quick, Maya to the apron ut pulls down Daniels, and Maya takes him down with a nice springboard twisting shoulder block for 1. Maya tags in Page, who works over Daniels, but Daniels gets the tag to PJ who gets a headlock on Page. PJ takes down Page with a tackle, both show agility, PJ with an arm drag and trip for 1, Page trips and covers for 1, double dropkick and a standoff.
Tag to “Heavyweight” Marty. Gresham in opposite. Gresham looks to start fast, lots of counters to start, rollup attempts, Gresham finding an ankle lock brilliantly before getting dumped. Marty looks for a superkick but Gresham evades, they find themselves perched on the corner but Daniels in to join*, and we get a tower of doom attempt but Page undoes it and saves Marty and pulls him down off the top!
*Sidebar as this was a great improvised moment where Gresham was perched in superplex offense position to the left of the turnbuckle, but instead of Daniels joining on the right, he instead goes further to the left of Gresham and hooks Gresham instead of Marty (who is in defense position), and its awkward, and Gresham can be heard audibly saying “are you helping me or what?!” It was great.
Great pop for this sequence as Maya climbs and hits both with a double missle dropkick. Two tilt a whirl backbreakers to follow, machine gun punches on PJ, PJ looks to fight back but Maya with a top rope arm drag and cover for 2. PJ gets caught in a snap powerslam by Maya for another 2. Maya fires up the crowd, but PJ catches him off the ropes with a pop-up powerbomb, stacks him up and covers him for the 3 count and the ELIMINATION of Maya Jr.
Gresham now in with PJ who shows the strength advantage, but Gresham uses his quickness to stay ahead until Page tags himself in and takes him down. Fast exchanges from both with Gresham hitting a nice hurricanrana, then a fake out strike sequence capped with a nice dropkick to take down Page. People talk about Gresham’s technical ability but his speed and agility are both ON POINT. Marty in, but Gresham reverses the whip, Marty holds on and Gresham is able to outsmart Marty into taking out Page. Stunner and enziguri on Marty followed by a German suplex, but he turns around into a Buckshot Lariat by Page, follows up with Rite of Passage and covers for 3 and Jonathan Gresham is ELIMINATED. And we are down to 4.
Marty and Page seem to petition PJ to come over to their side, but PJ and Daniels chat and this looks like theyve created a tag format for the next stretch. Marty in for The Elite, opposite Daniels. Lockup, headlock by Marty, Daniels with a headscissors reverse, Marty looks to hop and headstand out of it which he does and then POSES. “Heavyweight” chants and Marty pats Daniels on his head. Daniels comes him but Marty kicks him in the gut, hits the ropes but PJ hits a knee to the back and Daniels is able to take control and whips Marty hard to the corner.
Daniels with a tag to PJ, double team legdrop and PJ stays on with a rollthrough suplex into a butterfly-ish submission. Marty powers out but PJ trips him down for a cover attempt and 2 count. PJ stomps the hand, which feels appropriate, before tagging Daniels. Daniels with a calf kick takes down Marty, covers but only 2. Daniels keeps Marty down, snapmare, tag to PJ, over the top elbow and PJ follows with a stomp and playful cover attempt. PJ then looks for Cubs Win and then goes for the rocking horse into the bottom turnbuckle/Daniels’ boots, and Daniels back in.
Marty fights back but Daniels keeps him corners, snapmare, runs the ropes and drops into a headlock and keeps Marty grounded. Marty fights up and hits a chop, they both run the ropes and take each other down with clotheslines. PJ gets the tag but Marty pushes him up and gets the tag to Page who dropkicks Daniels to the floor and knocks down Black. Big lariat takes down PJ and he follows with a suicide dive to Daniels at ringside. Page throws Daniels back in and Page hits some Forever Clotheslines, hoists up PJ and it looks like the drop-sault combo, but this time hits it from the other side of PJ’s body and STILL HITS IT. Cover, but only 2.
Black mounts a comeback but tries for a springboard and eats a boot from Page that stops him cold. “Hangman” chants. Page looks to climb but goes slow waiting for Marty, this allows for a reversal but Page fights off both PJ and Daniels and hits a top rope standing moonsault and a discus lariat on PJ… but DANIELS SAVES PJ? HMMM…. Colt: “Interesting decision!” Daniels is outside and eats an apron superkick and a shooting star shoulder block in sequence. PJ in the ring with Marty though and rolls him up, but only 2. PJ and Marty trade rollup attempts, 2 counts, but Marty is able to sit down deep on one and gets the 3 count on PJ who is now ELIMINATED! “Nah nah nah nah, Goodbye” chants from the crowd.
Its The Elite vs Christopher Daniels here, and we get Daniels fighting both as expected. Marty cuts him off with an uppercut, Page with a rolling elbow, Marty to the hand and Page with a low superkick for a GREAT sequence. The double team continues, and Page holds Daniels for Marty. Marty dumps Daniels and follows, sending him to the rail. Page sends him again on the other side. They throw Daniels in but then get into it with the crowd before heading back in and putting boots to Daniels.
Marty then tells Page to take out Daniels, but Marty rolls up Page for a 2 count and Page gets in Marty’s face! Page is pissed, and Marty shoves him. Daniels takes advantage with double clotheslines, takes the fight to both, looks for Last Rites on Marty but catches Page coming in and turns it into a uranage on top of Marty! GREAT spot for Daniels. Daniels stays on Page, Marty comes in but hits Page, Daniels rolls up for 2. Marty looks to fight back again but gets caught in a Blue Thunder Bomb for another 2 count.
Daniels and Marty trade shots, Daniels looks for a backslide but ends up hitting Marty with a hard shot to the face, looks for Angels Wings but Page looks for Buckshot. Daniels sees it coming and moves and Page ends up leveling Marty with it! Uranage on Page from Daniels is followed by the BME and Daniels gets the 3 count on Page, who is now ELIMINATED! And we have our final 2!
Marty hits a low superkick on Daniels, then hoists him in a package-style variation and dumps him on his neck, covers but only 2. Marty calls for the Chicken Wing and gets the crowd fired up! Goes for it but Daniels counters with a rollup for 2, but then eats more superkicks from Marty who then lands him with Graduation, covers and we have THE FITTEST: MARTY SCURLL! LONG LIVE THE VILLIAN!
Marty Scurll defeats Christopher Daniels, Hangman Page, PJ Black, Jonathan Gresham & Guerrero Maya, Jr. to WIN the 2018 Ring of Honor Survival of the Fittest Tournament, earning a shot at the ROH World Championship
JAY’S RATING: 3.8 out of 5
This was a fun and feisty tournament final that was ALMOST great save for some sluggishness and flatness that found its way in. But the alliances angle was compelling, the action when it was moving was well done, Daniels fought hard as the veteran who can still go and go hard, Gresham continues to look like the future even though he was out early and Marty winning was SO the right call. PJ definitely felt the most out of place – the way Gresham or Cobb feel so utterly MOTIVATED by this setting, its just not the same feeling that comes across from PJ. It was hard to tell if the heat PJ was getting was actual heel heat, or if it was the crowd feeiing like there was a difference like the one described – I’m actually tempted to believe the latter. But ultimately this was a fun way to end the event, and Marty continues to rise as a threat in ROH which is a very good thing.
This was a fine event, not one that feels particularly “must see” as a whole (I dont feel like any matches cracked 4/5), but it sort of felt like a solid TV special. Which I think works just fine – not every event can or should be WrestleMania. But I also feel like this event could be so much more, if the competitiveness factor was even more focused on. How can that main event be booked to feel more like a 4+ star occasion? There needs to be a status elevation of this thing. I always think back to King of the RIng, not only around the Austin era but even the Edge era – that was a GREAT tournament and it really felt like was what first gave Edge that singles spotlight for the first time. Brock Lesnar the following year comes to mind, with him going on from there to win the world title. The G1 feels similarly – whether it goes to new or established, it gives a particular kind of nod to talent. If I were in the room with ROH management, I would ask “how can this event feel more like that in terms of its status?” ROH doesnt have a G1, a Royal Rumble, something that can be used to really crown the next wave of contenders. Top Prospect is for people early on, Honor Rumble doesnt have the hype, and thats about it – and SOTF makes the most sense with its mix of experience levels, and with putting folks like Scurll over the potential and necessary roots for the idea is there. It just doesnt FEEL like it yet – the feeling of those stakes arent there. Nonetheless, this was solid as solid can be, with Gresham/Williams and the main event topping the card for me personally. Please keep Williams around – with Gresham and Cobb now in deep, there is a cool opportunity to go back to roots here with ROH that could be VERY exciting, and which Williams would contribute IMMENSELY to.