ROH – Survival Of The Fittest, June 24, 2004, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posted by Andrew Shillinglaw on 10.11.2004
Twelve men do battle to find out who is the fittest…
ROH – Survival of the Fittest, June 24, 2004, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler
BG says: Interesting story about this show. In 2003 ROH made its debut in Maryland. Upon their debut they promised to continue the tradition that MCW had started in many ways. One of the ways was to keep the Shane Shamrock Cup going. In the days leading up to the show, controversy forced ROH to move the show from Maryland to Philadelphia. The MCW association was dropped, but the Shane Shamrock Cup format of the show was kept and renamed Survival of the Fittest. The format is that there are 6 qualifying matches, and the winner of each wrestles in a 6 man elimination match main event. ROH was in a rough spot here and really needed to deliver a good show to make up for the last minute venue change.
Loc starts us off repeating his promo from the end of the last show. He challenges the New and Improved Carnage Crew to a weapons match at Reborn Completion in July, where the loser disbands.
JZ says: Another Loc promo. You know, I think I've said all I ever need to say about my feelings on Loc, so let's just move on.
MATCH #1: Mark Briscoe vs. Alex Shelley
BG says: Shelley grabs a headlock but Mark rolls out and grabs one of his own. Shelley gets a cross arm breaker but Mark gets out and grabs a headlock. Shelley gets a shoulderblock and they trade chops. Mark gets a couple pinfalls for 2. He tries to work the ankle but Shelley gets British to escape. Shelley gets a back heel kick and rebound clothesline. Mark gets a shinbreaker and northern lights suplex and starts pounding Shelley's leg. He slaps on a leglock and hits sort of a dragon screw. Shelley tries to come back but Mark dropkicks the knee. Shelley hits a superkick but his bad leg gives out under him. He gets a neckbreaker and another onto his good leg but his bad leg gives out again. He hits a guillotine legdrop but Mark dropkicks the knee again. Mark gets a fisherman's buster and both men go down. Mark gets up at 6 and hits a really cool dragon screw on Shelley through the ropes. He springboard dropkicks the leg and gets a Texas cloverleaf but Shelley makes the ropes. Shelley nails an enziguiri. Man, nobody sells like Mark Briscoe. Shelley hits diamond dust for 2, called a cross legged Ace cutter by Nulty. Shelley goes for the Shellshock but Mark dropkicks the leg again and goes back to the knee. Shelley misses the enziguiri and Mark hits a German suplex for 2. Shelley gets an Alabama slam and a vertical suplex into the Border City stretch. Mark fights out and puts on the cloverleaf hold to pin Shelley. Really good for the time it was given, and it really made me want to see a match with about 10 more minutes between the two. That decision was pretty surprising too. Its length was the only thing holding it back.
JZ says: Gotta agree with Brad on wanting a longer match between these two. Sadly, no one knows yet when The Briscoes will be back in ROH, and I wish them the best. But that's September news, and this is a June show review. This was a good choice for the opener, but oddly enough Shelley is getting some really strong babyface heat. But so is Mark, so the crowd is really hot for this one. Mark spends the match working on the knee, and Shelley goes after the neck, to set up the Border City Stretch of course. In one of the cooler moves I've seen in a while, Mark gives Shelley a dragon screw while Shelley was caught in the ropes. Awesome stuff. Mark gets the pin at a mere 10:13, and I want more!
MATCH #2: Trent Acid vs. Colt Cabana
BG says: These guys are always friendly on Good Times Great Memories, so this is a sad affair. Lockup to start. Cabana dominates Trent and mocks him with some doe-see-doe action. That was fun. Cabana frustrates Acid in hilarious fashion and decks him with a big punch. Acid fakes a Yakuza kick and goes to the eyes. Cabana is blind and misses some punches but sees Acid enough to push him off the turnbuckle. Cabana teases throwing Acid into the guardrail but puts him back in the ring. He gets a butt bump for 2 and a powerslam for 2. He misses the Colt 45 and Acid hits a springboard tornado DDT. Acid goes for another DDT but Cabana puts him on top. Acid reverses and plants Cabana off the top. He strikes Cabana down and gets a spinning legdrop for 2, but misses a Yakuza kick and gets gutbustered. Cabana ties Acid up and he falls victim to Cabana's new unstoppable finisher, a rollup! Well, it was a cool rollup. Match was solid enough, and gets extra points for being hilarious.
JZ says: Remember what I said about Loc at the beginning of this review? Well put Trent Acid's name in place of his, and it's still a true statement. So we'll just move along to the match. Good thing Colt Cabana is in here, because he can make Acid look foolish and Acid is willing to go along with it, which results in an entertaining match. It's not great or anything, but Cabana brings the funny for the first few minutes of the match, and I was actually laughing out loud. The man just has so much charisma. Think about it, I've said so many bad things about Trent Acid, and here I am saying nice things about this match. Bauer and Nulty are putting over Colt's new finishing move for the whole match, wondering if maybe it's some kind of neckbreaker or powerbomb, or something off the top rope. And here it comes, get ready for it… a rollup. That is hilarious, and it's a really cool looking rollup to boot. Nulty has some name for it, but I couldn't make it out, but whatever it was, it gets the win for Colt at 7:57. Fun stuff.
ROH Interview Time
BG says: Sugar Sean Price is with the Briscoes backstage. Mark's ready for the survival match. Jay's not afraid of Homicide because he's taken it to Joe, and Joe always dominates Homicide.
JZ says: Hey, Sugar Sean is back. Good for him. The Briscoes talk tough, and they can back it up too. Mark's ready for the main event and Jay's ready for Homicide. Well, then to semi-quote President Merkin Muffley, "then we are all ready."
MATCH #3: Austin Aries vs. John Walters
MATCH #3: Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. John Walters & Josh Daniels
BG says: Austin Aries v. John Walters doesn't happen. Shelley gets on the mic, still selling the knee. Good man. Shelley introduces all of Gen Next one by one again. He tells Walters to step down or get beat down. He opts for the latter and gets pounded and hit with a chain. Shelley assumes Aries gets a bye to the survival match, but Gary Michael Capetta comes out and calls out Josh Daniels to replace John Walters. Daniels sends Nana to the back, which the announcers sell as him leaving the Embassy. That's one civil defection, I'll say that much. Gen Next tries the beat down on Daniels but Walters saves and we get a tag match with the winner of the fall advancing to the survival match. Gen Next start with a sneak attack but Daniels and Walters are ready. Daniels and Walters do sweet submission stuff to Strong, and Aries' assistance doesn't help. Daniels and Walters double team Aries like they've been teaming forever. Daniels gets a back suplex for 2. Walters tags in and gets a clothesline, but Strong saves. Walters gets a Gory special and backslide for 2. Daniels tags in and gets a submission but Strong saves. Aries gets caught in the face corner and gets beaten up pretty badly. Walters tags in but Aries gets the advantage and tags out. Walters gets a backslide for 2 and tags in Daniels. He gets a snap suplex for 2. Walters tags in with a dropkick for 2 and a suplex for 2. Strong hits a neckbreaker and tags out. He pulls Walters out of the ring but gets pounded on the floor. Walters gets hung up trying to get back in the ring and Strong takes care of him outside. Aries gets a springboard senton for 2 back inside. Aries beats on Walters in his corner and tags in Strong. Strong gets a leg lariat and distracts Daniels so he can double team. Walters dares Strong to chop him harder, so he does, really messing him up. He gets 2 but Daniels saves. Aries tags in with a dropkick for 2. Aries counts along with the ref as he chokes Walters. Walters comes back with a huge lariat and tags Daniels but Todd Sinclair is lame and assumes the tag didn't happen... EVEN THOUGH WALTERS WAS STILL IN THE CORNER. He's so inconsistent. Either make him the evil ref or stop letting him ref tag matches. Strong gets a snap suplex for 2. Strong hits the chinlock. Aries tags in and Walters gets the lung blower on both members of Gen Next. Daniels finally gets in and cleans house. He gets an ugly northern lights suplex on Aries and trades chops with Strong. Rolling Germans get blocked so he gets a tiger suplex on Aries, but Strong saves. Strong gets a backbreaker and gutbusters Walters on his way in. Strong powerbombs Daniels and Aries gets the 450 for the pin. Solid and constant action with a really hot ending.
JZ says: Though I was looking forward to seeing Austin Aries vs. John Walters in a singles match, I like that they continue to have Gen Next screwing with the scheduled matches, as they did at the previous two shows. That's good attention to detail. Then comes the awesome opening sequence, as Daniels and Walters lock in simultaneous leglocks (kind of like the beginning of an Indian death lock), and push each other down to put pressure on the leg. But it gets more awesome when Aries comes in and tries to break it up by chopping Walters and Daniels, but that just causes them to fall down again and put more pressure on Strong. Wicked. The action in this one moves at a breakneck pace, and all four men have no trouble keeping up. Daniels looked really good here, and it makes me wonder why he's not booked in ROH more often. Does he wrestle more often somewhere else where he can't do ROH? And yes, Todd Sinclair does manage to make an idiot of himself, but I'm getting good at ignoring him. But he does a good job in the Pure Title matches, just keep him out of tag team situations. Anyway, Strong gives a vicious powerbomb to Daniels and Aries follows it up with a 450 splash at 12:47 for the victory, allowing Austin Aries into tonight's main event. Really good tag stuff.
MATCH #4: Jay Briscoe vs. Homicide
BG says: Homicide works the arm and neck to start. They trade chops and Homicide gets a headlock for 2. He gets an armdrag and a dropkick. Both men try and miss dives, and Jay gets a sunset flip back inside for 2. He gets a headlock that Homicide tries to turn over for pins. Homicide rolls out of the headlock but gets clotheslined down and bails. Homicide tries to sneak back in but gets armdragged. They slug it out and Jay gets a back elbow for 2. Snap suplex gets 2 for Jay. Homicide gets a dragon screw and a running knee. Nulty wonders who the number 1 contender is between Homicide and CM Punk, and since Homicide lost his last match and didn't wrestle at the last show, I'd say it's an easy decision. Homicide hits the Rude Awakening for 2. He gets a piledriver for 2. Homicide gets a submission working the neck and arm but Jay makes the ropes. Homicide gets another submission but Jay reverses to a pinfall for 2. Homicide gets a sleeper, but Jay fights out. Jay gets a blue thunder driver and goes up. Homicide tries to cut him off but gets tossed and eats a missile dropkick for 2. Jay gets a German suplex for 2. Homicide goes for the cop killa but Jay gets out. Homicide dodges the German suplex and kicks Jay for 2. They trade Yakuza kicks and knock each other out with them simultaneously. Jay gets a falcon arrow for 2. Jay tries the Jay driller but J-Train cuts it off. Jay hits a superkick and goes up. Smokes cuts Jay off and Homicide hits a top rope Ace crusher and the lariat for 3. Good action, if a little disjointed, but they'd go on to top this match in July. Jay seems injured after the match but Homicide won't give him space. A really awkward looking kid tries to hold Homicide back, and you know how that turns out. Bauer's commentary during this segment was actually really funny, "Oh they're innocent!" Smokes and Homicide say really naughty things to the crowd and leave.
JZ says: Here's the thing about this match. Brad does the play-by-play, and I comment on what I feel I want to comment on. That's one sided, sure, but that's beside the point. I take some notes when I watch the matches, just on stuff I find interesting, and I didn't take one note on this match. That's not to say it's bad or anything, it was just kind of flat. They do fine moves to each other, and despite what some people say, I do like Homicide (in certain situations) and I really like Jay. But sorry to say, this one just didn't do it for me. Homicide gets the win with a lariat (the same finisher as WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield, by the way) at 14:19. The ending of the match gets pretty chaotic, and was probably more entertaining than the match itself. Brad's right, Bauer's commentary rules. And look at that, Homicide is acting like a badass heel and getting over as one. Thank you Philadelphia.
MATCH #5: Jack Evans vs. Bryan Danielson
BG says: This is the Battle of Washington State. They have dance-off to start, and Danielson's Rick Rude impersonation serves Evans. They lock up and immediately Evans seems outclassed and nervous, in a good way. Danielson jaws with a fan after dominating Evans in the ring. Evans gets some offense by reversing a Danielson hold, but isn't strong enough to emulate the move and gets piggy-back dropped. Evans gets all kinds of stretched and never really gains a solid foothold in the match. The match gets kinda gross when Evans shows off his contortionist skills. Danielson gets a pair of backbreakers for 2. Evans gets a dropkick, a spinning heel kick and a shining wizard, sending Danielson outside. Evans gets his nutty dive onto Danielson outside, which along with a spinning headbutt gets 2 inside. Danielson blocks a charge and kills Evans with a European uppercut. Danielson gets a sick sick sick Boston crab like submission and Evans taps. For what it was, this was cool, as Evans was punished for trying to match Danielson in technical wrestling. It lasted too long and got kind of boring, but if you're into seeing someone get stretched, this is the match for you.
JZ says: My friend Bob swears he saw this match on WWF Superstars in the 1980s where Hulk Hogan wrestled some random jobber for like the entire show. While I find that claim to be a little dubious, that's what I was thinking about during this match. Danielson is an incredible wrestler, and Evans is getting better all the time, but this is clearly a mismatch. They literally take three minutes to get the match started, as they trade dance moves, and Danielson argues with the audience. Evans gets a few moves and his requisite dive in, but Danielson kills him with sick submission at 11:00. Three of those minutes consisted of no wrestling whatsoever. This was just an extended squash.
MATCH #6: Matt Stryker vs. Samoa Joe
BG says: This is only a qualifying match and not for the ROH title, but I think it's safe to assume Stryker will get a shot if he wins here. The Philly crowd really hates Stryker. Joe pushes him into the corner off a lockup to start. Stryker hits a fireman's carry and an armbar. He works the arm and heels on the crowd. Joe twists and headbutts the arm. Joe laughs with the fans at Stryker's expense and drops him down and works the eyebrow. Joe catches Stryker in the corner with the STO so he bails. Joe hits the suicide dive. Stryker runs from the ole kick and gets back into the ring. Stryker cuts off Joe from getting back in the ring and hits a spike DDT for 2. He goes up and hits a neckbreaker coming off the turnbuckle for 2. Joe gets the jumping enziguiri and a powerbomb for 2. Joe gets the STF right off the kickout but Stryker makes the ropes. Joe kicks the crap out of Stryker but gets caught with a powerslam for 2. He hits the DVD for 2. Tod Stryker, if you're Mark Nulty, puts Joe on top and hits the superplex for 2. Joe gets a big knee and a legsweep into the Island driver for 3. Even though Stryker got more consistent offense in this than he did in Chicago, this felt more like a squash for Joe. Not nearly as good as the match from Reborn stage 2 either, as this was far more disjointed.
After the match, Punk meets Joe on the floor and invites him back into the ring. Punk gives Joe respect for being a great champion and going the distance with him. He wants to know when the rematch is going happen. The lights go out, which brings out Homicide and Joe's stolen belt on a scaffold. Joe goes after him and they brawl to the back.
JZ says: And yet another match where the outcome is so not debatable. But I do like the idea of Samoa Joe having nothing to gain by being in this Survival of the Fittest match, but just wanting to prove that he was the fittest. That's what a good champion would do, and Samoa Joe is a good champion. They do a low-rent version of their match in Chicago, which wasn't spectacular to begin with. Mark Nutly calls Stryker by the wrong name, of course. And he makes some reference to Stryker resembling a wrestler named Curry (NOT Curry Man). I think his brain is a little smudgy. Joe gets the win at 9:36 with an Island Driver. Very anticlimactic, and average in just about every way.
But now that sets the field for the main event at Mark Briscoe, Colt Cabana, Austin Aries, Homicide, Bryan Danielson, and ROH World Champion Samoa Joe. Very good field I must say. CM Punk, almost a full-fledged babyface by this point, comes out to put over Samoa Joe and ask for his rematch (which, as of today, October 6, 2004, has yet to happen). This leads to Joe and Homicide brawling, to build more heat for their big match on July 23. Good after-match segment.
BG says: GMC is backstage during intermission. Jay Briscoe was injured but will be okay.
Joe is backstage and is pissed off. He tells Homicide he has until July to get ready for a war. He couldn't get the job done before and he's going to end it once and for all in July. Great promo.
SSP is with Danielson. He is looking forward to getting in the ring with Homicide. Apparently everyone is calling their match from Reborn: Stage 2 a classic. Well, I'm not. Danielson is also looking forward to getting in the ring with Joe because he's beaten Joe cleanly in ROH before, and thinks the belt should be his.
JZ says: Jay is going to be okay, and why? Because he's a tough bastard and one half of the best tag team in the business today, that's why. He'll get a shot at revenge on July 17 and July 24, in the six-man tag and a one-on-one match with The Notorious 187. Sounds good to me.
Joe cuts another pretty good promo, telling Homicide he has until July to get ready. Joe is one intimidating dude.
Oooooh, Danielson brings up the much-talked about match with Homicide at Reborn: Stage 2, which many are calling the best match in ROH history. Okay, fine then. Danielson is looking forward to the main event tonight.
MARCH #7: Tag Team Scramble – ROH Tag Team Title Match – Outcast Killaz vs. Dunn & Marcos vs. Dixie & Hydro vs. CM Punk & Colt Cabana
BG says: Punk goes it alone so that Cabana can focus on the Survival of the Fittest match, and because he doesn't feel threatened by any of the jobber teams. Punk and Dunn start. Punk goes out before the action starts and Dixie comes in. Dunn gets a 2 count but Dixie gets a back elbow for 2. Dixie and Dunn pull Punk in and everyone goes for pinfalls on him, but nobody gets more than 1. Punk goes out and the Killaz take it to Hydro and get 2. Marcos comes in and takes a Diablo-bomb and northern lights suplex for 2. Marcos hurricanranas the Killaz into the buckle and Dunn hits a Gory Bomb on Oman. Special K come in and double team Dunn. Diablo gets a blockbuster on both members of Special K. Marcos gets a DDT on Diablo, but Oman gets a spinning slam on Marcos. He gets an octopus stretch on Dunn but Punk saves. Things break down until Dunn and Marcos take over on the Killaz. Hydro gets a dragon suplex on Dunn and Marcos simultaneously, but Punk tosses him and steals the pin. That was really lethargic, and to be honest I can't blame those involved. It was a 5 minute match to push the guy who's already the focal point of the promotion that he isn't the world champ of.
Punk gets on the mic and says he expects that when Steamboat answers his challenge at Reborn: Completion that he'll probably bring the same weak challenge as his opponents from the scramble. Hydro challenges Punk to a singles match and Punk eventually accepts. Punk's reaction to Hydro is priceless here.
JZ says: The fans are having trouble pounding along to Punk's music, which he recognizes in a little bit. This would be the first scramble match to be for the ROH Tag Team Titles. Punk thinks he can go it alone, and why wouldn't he? None of these teams are anything but glorified jobbers at this point. Punk (in character) doesn't take the match seriously, and lets the other six men do moves to each other, and frankly none of it is interesting. Because Punk isn't taking the match seriously, so why should any of us watching it? And it's not in a good way, like a cocky heel, but just a "this match is pointless" kind of attitude from Punk, and it was pointless. None of these teams were going to win the belts, so why even book the match? I'm a huge CM Punk fan, but I really don't like this match. But I'm not blaming him, there probably wasn't any way to make this match interesting. Maybe if Cabana stayed out and did comedy, then it would rule. But he didn't, so it doesn't. The only item of note in it is that Xavier was in the corner of the Outcast Killaz with Prince Nana. Speaking of Nana, Nutly makes a tasteless joke about his country of origin. Way to go. Oh, and Punk gets the pin at 4:52. Then Hydro challenges Punk, which he initially blows off, but Hydro is able to goad him into it. Good segment, and makes Hydro look credible. Nicely done.
MATCH #8: CM Punk vs. Hydro
BG says: Hydro shakes hands for the first time in ROH, which probably signifies his defection from Special K. The crowd is solidly behind Hydro. Lockup to start and Hydro responds to every cheap shot Punk makes. Punk claims cheating by Hydro, but Hydro gets the advantage with a dropkick and forces Punk to bail with a back elbow. Hydro chases Punk out but gets caught with a powerslam back in the ring. Punk rakes the face and they trade chops. Punk goes to the eyes and hits a backbreaker. Punk gets a toehold on Hydro using his own wife beater so that he can kick Hydro around while he's in the hold. That was cool. Punk gets a stalling vertical suplex. Punk eggs the crowd on as Hydro makes a futile comeback. Punk gets a snap mare into a seated dropkick and chokes him out with his shin. Punk dumps Hydro and beats on him in the entranceway. Back inside Punk cuts Hydro off with a back elbow as the crowd outs a racist among them. Punk gets a knee in the corner and hits Welcome to Chicago. He gets a back suplex and a springboard senton. Punk grabs a sleeper. Hydro elbows out but runs into Punk's knee. Punk goes up for the Pepsi plunge but Hydro fights out and hits the super-duper-plex. Hydro gets some chops and clotheslines and a leg lariat for 2. German suplex by Hydro is reversed to a shining wizard for 2, but Punk lets him up. He hits the mule kick and an enziguiri but gets caught by a Hydro combo for 2. Punk reverses a dragon suplex into a rollup for 2. Hydro gets 2 off of a rollup and hits a big clothesline for 2. Punk hits the spike DDT but picks Hydro up at 2 again. Hydro reverses a supercanrana for 2 and both men trade pin attempts. Hydro finally hits the dragon suplex but it only gets 2. Punk gets a nifty rollup for 3. Oklahoma side roll into a bridge according to Nulty. There was some kind of lesson in there about Punk being too cocky and it biting him in the ass, but there was never really the feeling that Hydro would win. Hydro apparently went to the Test school of selling, putting his hand on the hurt body part in an attempt to sell his injury. I do love that Hydro is getting big singles matches against guys like Shelley and Punk, but this match was on the long side, leaving it empty in many places. Points for building to that dragon suplex however.
JZ says: I also like Hydro getting some high profile matches. I like it even more when Punk points out that the fans have no rhythm. Funny stuff. Nutly starts talking about The Christopher Street Connection for whatever reason. Does he know that Hydro is in Special K, not the CSC? I try to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but geez. The spot where Punk ties up Hydro in his own wife beater is extremely cool. Punk picking Hydro up at 2 once is nice, but doing it a second time makes Hydro look like a jobber. The building to the Dragon Suplex is very nice, and I liked this match for the most part. It drags in spots, Hydro looks good, and Punk is Punk. Punk gets the win with a rollup (was he watching Cabana's match?) at 18:47. Cut three minutes or so off that match and it becomes much better. As is, it's not too shabby. Post match, Punk points to a guy in the audience and says "hey it's Molly Ringwald, I loved you in Sixteen Candles!" Yeah, Punk's over with me.
MATCH #9: Survival of the Fittest – Mark Briscoe vs. ROH Tag Team Champion Colt Cabana vs. Austin Aries vs. Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson vs. ROH World Champion Samoa Joe
BG says: I think it's safe to assume that a winner will get a title shot (if it's not Joe). The crowd has finally caught on and now chants along with Joe's "The Champ is Here" theme music. Joe and Homicide have tension right away. Mark and Homicide start as Mark jumps him in retaliation for what he did to Jay. Homicide knocks him down and tags Cabana in. Cabana gets a rowing surfboard stretch but Mark reverses for 2. He rolls up Cabana for 2 after some shenanigans but gets caught in a crucifix pin for 2. Cabana gets the pendulum and an elbow drop for 2. Danielson tags in and knuckles up with Mark. Danielson gets a wrenching chicken wing submission but Mark tags Aries in. Aries immediately tags Mark back in and they knuckle up again. Danielson gets a half crab but Mark makes the ropes. Danielson tags Joe in who attacks Mark's leg with a spinning toehold. Joe chops Mark into the Cabana tag. Cabana struts around and tags in Homicide. They tease another showdown but Homicide tags Aries in. Aries tries to keep with the tag out pattern but Cabana dodges the tag. Aries dodges Joe's strikes and retreats to the ropes. Joe catches him with some strikes but gets caught in a rollup for 2. Aries gets a crucifix slam, which is a very cool move, but runs into the STO. Joe gets the rolling cradle for 2 and tags in Cabana. The dizzy Aries tags in Homicide, who tags in Mark. Cabana works the arm but gets hit with a back elbow. Mark rolls Cabana up for 2 and Danielson tags him out. Danielson pounds on Cabana's back and wrenches on the neck. Danielson hits the neck wrench suplex and tags Mark in. Cabana tags Homicide in who gets a kick to the back for 2. They chock each other intensely until the ref calls for the break. Homicide hits a crazy 3rd rope DDT for 2. He tags Danielson in who attacks the legs upon entry. Danielson gets an awesome submission that looks painful and simple at the same time, and then tags Aries in. Mark tries a leapfrog but his leg is done so Aries takes over. Mark tags in Joe who gets E. Honda on Aries' ass. Aries bails and Homicide comes in only to get suplexed. The match breaks down as everyone is either outside or diving to the outside.
Eventually the legal men end up back in the ring. Aries dives outside and Cabana comes in. He gets a sunset flip and pins the champion, eliminating him first. Smells like a title match for Cabana. Homicide comes in and gets dominated by Cabana. He goes to the eyes but gets super stunnered for 2. He gets a big lariat, but Mark tags in before he can get the pin and hits the shooting star press on Cabana to eliminate him. Homicide comes back in but gets hit by a springboard dropkick for 2. Mark goes for a German suplex but gets low blowed and piledriven for 2. Homicide goes for the top rope Ace crusher but gets pushed off and bodypressed for 2. They fight for a German suplex, which ends with Mark hitting it. His leg is messed up and he can't hold the bridge so both men's shoulders are counted down leaving Danielson and Aries to finish the match. Homicide and Mark keep fighting outside and brawl all the way to the back as Jay and J-Train jump in.
I don't think anyone predicted Aries being in there at the end of this thing before the show, but here we go. Danielson gets a reverse waist lock but Aries makes the ropes. Danielson gets a snap mare and stretches Aries out. The great thing about Danielson's submissions is that they are applied totally uniquely from the way everyone else does it. He stuns Aries while he's being stretched out. Danielson puts Aries down to the mat and goes for cattle mutilation but settles on a chinlock. Aries picks the ankle but Danielson pulls on his face until the ref calls for the break. Danielson grabs a full nelson but Aires reverses to a front face lock until Danielson makes the ropes. Aries works on him in the corner with strikes. Danielson comes back with strikes in the opposite corner and he hits a double underhook suplex for 2. Aries goes for a springboard elbow but gets caught with a dropkick in an awesome segment. Danielson gets a step over toehold surfboard but it's too close to the ropes. He gets an STF and turns it into a chinlock. Aries bites the hand to get Danielson to let go and drops a knee on his arm. Danielson goes up but Aries hits a springboard dropkick, putting Danielson in a tree of woe outside. Aries gets a SICK dropkick while he's in that position. Aries tosses Danielson into the guardrail and rolls him back into the ring, getting 2. He gets a dropkick in the corner and a seated dropkick for 2, and a pair of elbows for 2. Danielson comes back with headbutts to the gut. He puts Aries in the corner and chops his back. Aries gets knocked to the apron and suplexes Danielson to the outside. He hits the Cactus elbow and gets a shinbreaker into a back suplex back inside. He goes for the 450 but Danielson moves and hits a huge forearm. Danielson had tweaked his leg on the outside and is now limping. He hits some charging forearms and a big lariat for 2. He gets a dragon suplex for 2 and straps on cattle mutilation, but Aries slides out and slaps on the fishhook submission. Danielson pulls out the fishhook so Aries puts on the Rings of Saturn. Danielson makes the ropes. He blocks a pair of brainbusters with knees but eats a hard forearm and can't block a third. It gets 2. Aries goes up for the 450 but hits knees. They trade JYD headbutts and fight it out with forearms. Danielson gets a roaring elbow and a 3 bodyslams but can't hit a fourth, so he hits another roaring elbow instead. It gets 2 but Aries grabs the ropes. Danielson puts Aries up top and hits the super back suplex for 2. Danielson goes back to the bodyslams but gets rolled up for 2. He gets a European uppercut and another bodyslam and slaps on a bear hug. Nice way to play off the bodyslams. Danielson turns it into that sick Boston crab and Aries taps.
Alright, here's the deal with this match. The opening segment made sense, as everyone was constantly trying to stay on the apron because being in the ring meant you could be eliminated. The quick eliminations in the middle portion made sense because of how chaotic the atmosphere of the match had become. The final showdown between Aries and Danielson was some damn fine wrestling. Aries could only get the advantage when Danielson made a mistake, and realizing this went for the cover after every big move. The finish was great, with Danielson destroying Aries back and then getting the win with a sick submission that he'd already proven successful earlier in the night. The only bad thing I could even really think of in this match was that Cabana wasn't the legal man when he pinned Joe. Your new ROH match of the year.
JZ says: I had heard so much about this match before watching it, it had a lot to live up to. Many, including Mark Nutly, are calling Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries from this show the Match of the Year. The only problem with that is that it wasn't Danielson vs. Aries, it was an elimination match involving six men, and the whole match counts as one match. There was an obvious breaking point in the match when it got down to those two. To put it in perspective, no one was saying The Rock vs. Steve Austin from Survivor Series 2001 was a Match of the Year were they? Or Ludvig Borga vs. Lex Luger from Survivor Series 1993? Okay, bad example, but I think my point is clear. Also, Nutly refers to a bodyslam as "crotch hold into a slam." What the hell is that? If I were a wrestler, I don't think I'd want anyone holding my crotch.
But that shouldn't take away anything from this match, because no matter how you look at it, it's really pretty awesome. All six of these guys are very good, and there's some good stories going on here. Mark, Danielson, and Joe all have heat with Homicide, so the crowd is jacked when any of those three are in with Homicide. Aries has the underdog aura going, since before this match no one would have considered him in the ROH elite. Cabana is loved by almost all, and can get a good match out of almost any situation, so the dynamics in this one are really something special. The eliminations come fast and furious, it was pretty hard to keep up with. Colt gets the first pin, on Joe at 15:22 with a sunset flip. Big upset, and would lead to a title shot for Colt in July. Colt was next eliminated at 17:07 when Mark drilled him with the shooting star press. Mark and Homicide then pinned each other at 19:04 when Mark hit a German Suplex but couldn't sustain the bridge because of a hurt leg. I didn't care for the rapid-fire eliminations, as it made me feel like they were just thinking "oh shit, better leave time for Danielson vs. Aries." Still, that's a minor quibble, as I really liked this portion of the match.
Then comes Danielson vs. Aries. And it's quite honestly really great. It's a good old fashioned wrestling match, with both guys looking phenomenal. Aries' chin gets busted open hard way, and looks really sick. Danielson works on the back, while Aries works on the knee. They really go at it, and you can see Aries becoming a superstar during the match. The only problem with this part of the match is that near the end, Danielson just stops selling the knee. It's very noticeable, and very annoying. It's the only blemish on an otherwise fantastic match. The crowd is really into both guys, particularly Aries. Maybe because he sells? Danielson gets the win with a Boston Crab type move after 42:35 of great action. I liked this match more the second time I watched it, which is always a good sign.
BG says: Backstage Nana berates the Killaz. Hey, it's Xavier~! He tells Nana that he knew the Killaz were bums. Nana reminds us that Xavier is hurt, and that he's using all his resources to bring in someone big on the next show. Xavier looks upset.
Gen Next is backstage. Alex Shelley says that it's no big deal that they've been losing, because they've been making marks and taking spots. Aries looks messed up.
JZ says: Prince Nana is very upset with the Outcast Killaz. Apparently they didn't get his bathwater hot enough or something. Xavier is hurt, both physically, and then emotionally by Nana. Hard to imagine that Xavier was once the ROH World Champion.
Alex Shelley puts over Generation Next, particularly Austin Aries. That cut on Aries is seriously disgusting. Shelley says they took care of "Captain Charisma" John Walters (which Christian promptly lifted), and the "Neo Dynamite Kid" Josh Daniels. Shelley rules.
BG says: Tough call here, but I'm going to go with Austin Aries for having his breakout match and ending my ROH MOTY so far on a high note.
JZ says: Not a tough call for me, as it's Austin Aries all the way. He became a star in one night, and deservedly so.
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The 411: BG says: Everything on the undercard was solid-really good. There was only one stinker, the scramble, which was kept insanely short and did the job it was supposed to do. The main event is must see for anyone who appreciates either matches that are rich with storytelling, or elimination matches in general. I am an admitted sucker for elimination style matches, so this did the job for me. It was announced that Survival of the Fittest would be an annual show, and much like the first Round Robin Challenge, ROH delivered a great show to get it off the ground.
JZ says: The undercard had some really good stuff on there, the Hydro vs. Punk stuff was good, and the main event ruled. There were two terrible matches on there, but the good stuff outweighed the bad.