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ROH SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
NOVEMBER 4, 2018
COLUMBUS, OH AT EXPRESS LIVE!
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana
Riccaboni and Cabana talked about the 13-year history behind Survival Of The Fittest as well as the three non-tournament matches also happening on the show. “SCU!” opened the action in the arena. Kaz and Sky wore the ROH tag team titles, even though they haven’t won them on television yet. Daniels spoke about winning tonight’s tournament and becoming world champion again. Bruiser made his way through the crowd with a can of beer in one hand and a keg over his shoulder. His tag partner, Brian Milonas, was not with him.
(1) BEER CITY BRUISER vs. “THE FALLEN ANGEL” CHRISTOPHER DANIELS (w/Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST QUALIFYING MATCH
Bruiser pounced right out of the gate by charging Daniels in the corner. Daniels hit the Best Moonsault Ever very quickly for the win.
WINNER: Christopher Daniels in 1:52.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I was thinking than ten matches was a lot for one show so there we go.)
-The commentators spoke about Colin Delaney’s past work including recent 205 Live appearances against Lio Rush and Hideo Itami. He also helped train one of his opponents here in Dalton Castle. Castle was without his usual robe, instead wearing a t-shirt over his trunks. Cabana pointed out that athletic tape appeared to be peeking out from under the shirt and wondered about Castle’s physical status following his return from injury.
(2) DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys) vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE vs. COLIN DELANEY – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST QUALIFYING MATCH
Castle dumped Page and clotheslined Delaney over the top rope. Page returned to take out both men. Castle and Page both tried to cover Delaney for a pin. Page and Castle traded blows. Page punched him off the apron but the Boys caught him and guided him back into the ring. Delaney tried for a split-leg missile dropkick on both men but they simply sidestepped him. Tilt-a-whirl stunner from Delaney to Castle. Springboard stunner to Page. Page with a running shooting star press off the apron onto Delaney. Dropsault to both opponents. Delaney avoided a Rite Of Passage. Castle saved him from another and hit a powerbomb on Delaney for two and a half. Castle with some running knees on both men. Delaney avoided Bang-A-Rang. Buckshot Lariat to both men. Rite Of Passage to Delaney.
WINNER: Adam Page in 9:50.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Fine match. Delaney didn’t get to show off too much but the other two are the ROH regulars so it makes sense they’re the ones to showcase. Is all the athletic tape on Castle for story purposes or legitimate? Where will the former world champ fit onto the card now that he’s back and we’re heading toward Final Battle?)
(3) “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. “HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST QUALIFYING MATCH
As expected a quickly-paced mix of grappling and holds back and forth between the two. Things got heated up slowly and they evolved into suplexes and kicks. Williams hit a front-facelock DDT from the second rope that drove Gresham into the turnbuckle. Gresham with a hurricanrana. Williams with a death valley driver. They traded strikes at 10:00. Piledriver from Williams but Gresham kicked out at two and a half. “This is awesome.” Gresham dropkicked Williams off the apron. High crossbody. Gresham locked in The Octopus and swatted away at Williams’ head.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 12:19.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Very good match. Apologies if my coverage doesn’t do it justice. I think I find Gresham’s matches the hardest to cover out of anyone on the roster, partly due to the constant transition between holds and maneuvers and partly because I find myself waiting for a breath in the action to type something and suddenly three minutes have passed.)
-Riccaboni spoke of Andrew Everett competing for ROH in the past before he headed to Impact Wrestling for a three-year tenure. CMLL star Guerrero Maya Jr. was out second followed by Flip Gordon, who already won the ROH Sea Of Honor tournament last week aboard Chris Jericho’s cruise.
(4) FLIP GORDON vs. GUERRERO MAYA JR. vs. “THE APEX OF AGILITY” ANDREW EVERETT – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST QUALIFYING MATCH
All three men looked for dropkicks at the same time to no avail. The Americans decided to team up on Maya temporarily. Everett and Gordon fell into a flip-off competition. Maya prevented Sinclair from counting three on an Everett pinfall attempt on Gordon. Springboard back elbow from Maya to Everett. Gordon with a springboard dropkick right to Maya’s face. Pele kick but Gordon appeared to hurt his knee and Everett went after it. Everett chopped Maya, who asked for more. Tilt-a-whirl backbreakers from Maya to both men. Maya hit a crossbody off the top rope onto both opponents on the floor. Gordon hit a moonsault onto Maya. Everett followed with a top rope shooting star press of his own. Kinder Surprise to Everett. Gordon looked for a 450 on Maya but a big fan in the front row threw a streamer at him. He hit the 450 successfully on Maya but turned his attention to Bully Ray rather than go for the pin. Gordon springboarded off the top rope at Ray but didn’t appear to clear the distance and hit the steel barricade. Ray threw a forearm at him on the way down as well. Everett looked for a second shooting star press but Maya had plenty of time to recover and hit the Mayan Sacrifice on Everett for the win.
WINNER: Guerrero Maya Jr. in 9:21.
-Cabana was completely stunned by what happened with Gordon.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Fun one up until the finish. All signs point to that being a legit misstep as they didn’t replay Flip’s leap and didn’t show him on camera again after the hit. Hopefully we hear an update on his condition by the end of the show. It was hard to get a good look at where and how he hit the steel fencing but Cabana’s comments really sold how scary it was for him and Riccaboni to witness. )
-South African wrestler PJ Black (f/k/a Justin Gabriel in WWE) refused to slap hands with fans on the way to the ring. Half-dinosaur, half-luchador Luchasaurus (f/k/a Vibora in Lucha Underground) was his opponent in a match straight out of the Aztec Temple.
(5) LUCHASAURUS vs. “THE DAREWOLF” PJ BLACK – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST QUALIFYING MATCH
Luchasaurus fended Black off with kicks. Black sent him to the floor with a hurricanrana. Luchasaurus caught him with a superkick off a springboard attempt. Luchasaurus with a moonsault off the apron to Black on the floor. Double knees in the corner. Knee to the face. Black countered a chokeslam into a cradle driver. Springboard moonsault took down the dinosaur. Double stomp for a two-count. Luchasaurus hit a C4. Taekwondo moves from Luchasaurus followed by a chokeslam and standing moonsault for two. Dueling chants for both men. Tombstone piledriver from Luchasaurus. He went up top for Event Horizon but Black moved and pinned Luchasaurus after he splatted on the mat.
WINNER: PJ Black in 6:56.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Black didn’t get to do much and appeared a step off a couple times but maybe he was just conserving himself for the main event later on. Luchasaurus got to look great. The fans seemed a little quiet to start, maybe unfamiliar with LU, but were vocal by the end. I’d love to see both men make return appearances in the future. Black vs. guys like Sabin and Lethal would be a treat and Luchasaurus is like Punishment Martinez’s older brother who got really into whatever you call the dinosaur equivalent of furries.)
-Rhett Titus strutted onto stage in tiny trunks and covered in baby oil. Cabana and Riccaboni made jokes about him being the fittest man in ROH. He joined the commentary booth and posed for the camera.
(6) “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL vs. STUKA JR. vs. “THE LAST REAL MAN” SILAS YOUNG – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST QUALIFYING MATCH
Scurll and Young tried to work together but Stuka bounced off the top ropes into a double armdrag on both men. Young found himself trapped between both opponents on the apron and took a barrage of chops and kicks. Stuka and Scurll took each other out with kicks. Referee Paul Turner started counting out all three men. The men prevented each other from re-entering until Turner hit 19 at which point they all slid in. Stuka powerbombed Scurll onto Young. Scurll with a superplex to Stuka but Young broke up the pin. Super back rake from Young to Stuka. No arms diving splash from Stuka to Young for a big near-fall. Scurll hit Graduation on Stuka for the win.
WINNER: Marty Scurll in 8:30.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another fun one. The CMLL guys are always a blast because their styles and approaches are so different from what we usually see in ROH. #wheresLittleWilly?)
(7) MADISON RAYNE vs. DR. BRITT BAKER, DMD – QUALIFYING MATCH FOR THE WOH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR-CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH AT FINAL BATTLE
Baker hit a running neckbreaker early on. A slingblade earned her a two-count. Swinging neckbreaker for another two. By 5:30 Rayne had got almost zero offense in. Chance Of Rayne got her a two-count. Superkick from Baker. Pumphandle fallaway slam from Baker. Rayne hit a knee to the chin out of nowhere for the pin.
WINNER: Madison Rayne in 7:20.
-Twisted Sisterz (Holidead & Thunder Rosa) hit the ring and beat down both women.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It pains me to say that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything by Rayne that really stood out to me. Just in the past few months I watched her at All In, in the Mae Young Classic, and competing against Sumie Sakai for the WOH title and I don’t remember much about her involvement in any of those. Luckily I’m very high on Rosa and Holidead so the post-match there is very exciting! Both women competed at the start of this year in the tournament to crown the inaugural WOH Champion but this is the first we’ve seen of them as a duo in ROH. If they’re going to be regulars going forward that alone will make them stand out from the other singles acts in the division.)
-The Kingdom entered first for their six-man title rematch. They lost the titles due to the illegal man being pinned so they demanded two referees for this one. The Young Bucks came out together and then Cody separately with no Brandi or Burnard.
(8a) THE ELITE (Cody, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) vs. THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, & TK O’Ryan) – ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Marseglia and Nick started. Paul Turner was the referee inside the ring while Todd Sinclair was at ringside. The Elite hit a flurry of signature offense in the early minutes. Cody with a delayed vertical suplex to Marseglia. Taven tagged in and renewed his long feud with Cody. The Kingdom isolated Cody and double-teamed him while both referees were busy on the other side of the ring. They ran him into the guardrail. The Kingdom continued to tag in and out as they worked over Cody. Hot tag to Matt at 8:30. Triple sharpshooters to all three Kingdom members at 10:50. Sinclair got taken out by a stray kick at ringside. CrossRhodes to Marseglia. Taven looked for a springboard kick on Cody but he ducked and Turner went down too. CrossRhodes to Taven. O’Ryan with a baseball bat to The Elite. “You suck” chant. Rockstar Supernova to Cody. A short referee in a baseball cap ran out and counted two before stopping. Brandi Rhodes pulled off her hat and gave Taven the finger. They cornered her but The Elite returned and Cody hit CrossRhodes on O’Ryan. Brandi counted three and called for the bell. After a pause it rang and Cody’s music hit.
WINNERS: The Elite in 14:13 to retain the six-man titles?
-Turner, Sinclair, and the ring announcer consulted. The music cut out. As they huddled in the corner Taven went after Cody and Brandi was knocked down in the process. The real referees clarified that Brandi was not a legal official so the match must be restarted.
(8b) THE ELITE (Cody, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, & TK O’Ryan) – ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Cody lifted Brandi to carry her out of the ring but Taven hit Climax on him with his wife in his arms. The Kingdom cleared Cody and Nick and hit House Of A Thousand Horses on Matt for the win.
WINNERS: The Kingdom in 14:47 to capture the six-man titles.
-O’Ryan took a mic. He declared them three-time six-man champions and said The Kingdom conspiracy is dead. “You still suck” chant from the crowd.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It’s hilariously dumb how fragile the women instantly become the second men are around. Brandi is a professional wrestler who competes in full-length matches but one little jostle here and she’s dead to the world. If you ever thought ROH might actually be open to intergender wrestling look no further. As to all the shenanigans, I don’t mind them when they’re used sparingly. This was the first screwy finish of the night and probably the last. The story here is likely less about The Kingdom winning the titles again and more about getting the gold off The Elite in lieu of an impending departure from ROH.)
-Kenny King joined the commentary booth. He was scouting the world champion.
(9) ROH WORLD CHAMPION JAY LETHAL & ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION JEFF COBB vs. ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS SOCAL UNCENSORED (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) – NON-TITLE MATCH
Kaz and Lethal started things off. Cobb tagged in briefly early on to no-sell some offense from Sky but things quickly wound up with Lethal being isolated by the tag champs. He came back with a cutter to Kaz on the floor at 7:50. Hot tag to Cobb. He hurled Sky with a belly to belly suplex. Back suplex. Standing moonsault. Cobb lifted Sky for a delayed vertical suplex. With Sky upside down Lethal tagged in and Cobb handed Sky to him. Lethal continued to hold Sky upside down before finally dropping him. Roles reversed with Sky now being isolated from his partner. He put up a bit of a fight at 13:30 with Sky and Lethal both ending up down on the mat. Tag to Kaz. He fired up on Lethal. Cobb dragged Lethal to their corner and tagged himself in. Cobb with a bridging German suplex to Kaz but he kicked out. Things broke down when The Briscoes walked out onto the stage. They threw a steel chair at Sky. Kaz took a Tour Of The Islands from Cobb.
WINNERS: Cobb & Lethal in 18:14.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was our first glimpse of Cobb in something other than a squash match in ROH. He is without a doubt someone they could build their entire promotion around with the sole problem being that he’s so good and so strong and so quick that it’s almost tough to buy anyone as a credible threat to him. You should have anticipated a screwy finish to this one so that no champion would have to be pinned clean. We don’t yet know how SCU won the titles from the Briscoes but it’s clear their feud will continue as we head toward Final Battle.)
-Riccaboni announced that huge CMLL star Rush will be making his ROH debut at the TV tapings the night after Final Battle.
(10) “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL vs. “THE DAREWOLF” PJ BLACK vs. GUERRERO MAYA JR. vs. “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE vs. “THE FALLEN ANGEL” CHRISTOPHER DANIELS – 2018 SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
This was an elimination match with the last man left standing earning a future world title match. Daniels and Maya started things off with the other four men in the four respective corners. Anyone could tag in or out to anyone else. Gresham wrestled circles around Scurll. Scurll wound up perched at the top of a tower of doom situation but Page saved him. Maya hit some rapid throat strikes to Black. Black with a powerbomb to Maya for the pin.
Guerrero Maya Jr. was eliminated by pinfall at 5:18.
Gresham entered to lock up with Black. Black tagged to Page. Gresham with a hurricanrana. He disposed of Page and Scurll as well. Buckshot lariat to Gresham. Rite Of Passage.
Jonathan Gresham was eliminated by pinfall at 7:20.
Daniels and Black talked strategy of teaming up against The Elite. Scurll and Daniels ended up being legal. Black hit a knee to the back as Scurll ran the ropes. Black tagged and lifted Daniels for a legdrop. Black with a submission stretch on Scurll. Another tag to Daniels as he and Black worked well together. Daniels with a chinlock. Scurll with the hot tag to Page. Suicide dive to Daniels. Dropsault on Daniels and Black. Page with a top rope moonsault onto Black and Daniels in the ring. Daniels broke up the pin, rather than letting Black be eliminated. Cabana assumed Daniels was afraid to be left alone with the two Elite members. Black and Scurll traded pin attempts. Scurll caught him.
PJ Black was eliminated by pinfall at 17:46.
Daniels looked at Page and Scurll hugging in the ring and rubbed his forehead in consternation. They went to town on him with kicks. Daniels whipped into the guardrail. Riccaboni pointed out that this heelish approach was reminiscent of what they did to Hurricane at Glory By Honor. The Elite even went so far as to yell at some fans. Scurll tried for a schoolboy on Page, who kicked out. Page was incensed, shoving him into the corner. Daniels with a double clothesline. Right hands to both men. Ura nage on Page into an inverted DDT on Scurll. Blue thunder to Scurll but he kicked out. Buckshot lariat to Scurll. Judo throw. Best moonsault ever to Page.
Adam Page was eliminated by pinfall at 23:30.
Scurll with a cradle driver but Daniels kicked out. Scurll called for the chicken-wing. Daniels blocked but took two kicks and Graduation.
WINNER: Marty Scurll in 24:31 to win the 2018 Survival Of The Fittest tournament.
-Pyro shot off on stage as Scurll posed on the turnbuckle.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The first seven minutes there were a lot of fun. Gresham looked so good at one point that I actually thought he might win the whole thing but he was of course eliminated about twelve seconds later. After his elimination things went downhill quickly as it just turned into a slow, basic tag match. I like that Daniels and Black were able to work together and didn’t end up turning on each other and things did finally pick up again after Black’s elimination but that long, slow stretch of ten minutes there really brought the energy down needlessly. Scurll winning isn’t all that exciting seeing as how he’s already challenged for the world title multiple titles and is established as a main eventer (a clean pinfall loss to Hurricane notwithstanding). I had called Page going in but, as we saw with the six-man titles, there’s a definite vibe in the air that Cody, Page, and the Bucks are not long for the company. Scurll is around until April at least and undeniably one of the most popular names with the live crowds so it makes sense to get the most out of him that they can for the next five months. I suspect he doesn’t get his title shot until sometime in January or February, though.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch Livecast “Talking Honor.”