Worth Your Money? ROH "Survival of the Fittest 2016: Night 2"
By James Bullock Feb 26, 2017 - 8:16 AM
Following the model introduced two years, Ring of Honor’s “Survival of the Fittest” tournament was held over the span of two days. Rather than having the qualifying matches and the finale happen all in one night, the men competing for a chance to face the ROH World champion in the near future would be able to not hold back and fight like never before on night one just to see if they had what it took to face five other individuals come night two. ROH World Television champion Bobby Fish, Dalton Castle, CMLL star The Panther, Damian Martinez, Jax Dane & Lio Rush not only qualified, but all make their SOTF finale debuts in the process. Who will be able to survive? Who will be able to thrive? It’s time to review ROH’s “Survival of the Fittest: Night 2” to find out if it’s Worth Your Money!
“Survival of the Fittest: Night 2”; November 4th, 2016; San Antonio, TX
The Rebellion vs. Misterioso Jr. & The Tempura Boyz Taking the microphone from the announcer, Rhett Titus asked for a, “Woof, woof!” in honor of “The Big Dawg” being in the building. Kenny King asked the fans about their hate for The Cabinet gimmick and explaining that it was an incomplete idea based on something everyone is sick of, politics. Caprice Coleman was all kinds of riled up at a particular fan before declaring him to be a jive turkey and calling out their opponents for the evening so he could beat three more jive turkeys. In a very hilarious moment, the ring announcer called The Tempura Boyz “The Yakamura Boyz”. I would love to know who wrote up his information card. King motioned for his team to follow the Code of Honor. The match finally started after Caprice tried to calm his nerves and lock up with Sho. Showing his shoulder blocking and dancing abilities didn’t end well as his follow up saw Coleman take a dropkick topped by a triple team from his opponents culminating in flapjack-dropkick sequence. Reversing an Irish whip from the now legal Yo, Coleman sent his opposition into the wrong part of town for some illegal ground & pound from King. BlessedTO from Coleman set off a chain of attacks topped by Titus’ running splash. Mocking Yo struggling for the tag, Coleman brought in Titus who lost the momentum when he got too close to Misterioso Jr. Countering a sunset flip, Misterioso was going dropkick crazy until he tried to power bomb King. Poor Kenny got dropped on the back of his head when Jr. lost his grip, but refused to keep him down as he knocked Sho into Coleman’s Sky Splitter. Misterioso reentered, actually power bombing Coleman before being dropkicked by Titus. Sho was all alone, getting superplexed into the Big Dawg Splash-guillotine leg drop combo by Rhett & Coleman respectively for a Rebellion pin fall victory. After the bout, King warned everyone they’d be back.
Mark Briscoe vs. Silas Young The feud begins again! “The Last Real Man” grabbed the microphone to mock Mark Briscoe’s entrance antics before reminding him the last time they were in San Antonio it was Young being pinned by Briscoe. Eye poke instead of following the Code of Honor didn’t pay off long term for Silas as Mark gave him a glimpse of the future with some redneck kung fu. Pitching Young to the floor, Mark unleashed that diving dropkick to set up a somersault plancha to the crowd’s approval. Placing a nearby trashcan full of streamers in front of Silas, Briscoe dropkicked the item against Young’s prone body after it hit the steel barricades. Mark was in complete control, raining down punches so the fans could show off their counting skills in both English and Spanish. A third attempt in a different language ended with Young tripping Briscoe and utilizing the springboard clothesline to send Mark to the floor. Silas’ hot shot set up a slingshot double stomp, but no pin. Turning an Irish whip against Young, Briscoe came off the ropes with a karate chop. It was time for some redneck kung fu that proved to be successful. The uranage also worked, but Mark couldn’t keep “The Last Real Man” down. Catching Briscoe running, Young executed that Last Real Combo … to gain a near fall! Briscoe used the Irish whip against Young again, almost pinning him courtesy of a small package. Young got up questioning, walking into the rolling DVD. Young moved at the last second to avoid the Froggy Bow, but Briscoe rolled through the fall. Quickly grabbing Mark, Silas unleashed Misery to pick up the pin.
Donovan Dijak vs. Hangman Page The fans enjoyed Page pie-facing his much taller opponent rather than follow the Code of Honor. Dijak kept his composure and simply shoved Page around the ring when they did tie up. Scurrying to the floor didn’t help Page, but yanking him face first against the turnbuckle did rattle Dijak’s senses for a short time. Arguing with the referee cost Page the momentum; resulting in him be release slammed into a twisting senton splash. Dijak wanted to end this one early with Feast Your Eyes when Page gouged his eyes. Pitching Donovan to the floor, Page started whipping Dijak against the barricades; potentially hurting the big man’s left leg. Page almost made a big mistake putting Donovan on the top rope as he was knocked to the mat. But Hangman was ready and able to avoid the moonsault. Showing incredible strength, Page gained a two count off the pumphandle fall away slam. Muscling his way out of a suplex, Dijak tossed Page across the ring not once, but twice to set up the sit-out power bomb. But Dijak’s leg wasn’t giving him the strength to execute his finisher; so Dijak executed the Choke Breaker with his good leg. Page was close enough to the ropes to save himself. Countering a second Choke Breaker, Page swept the big man into a single leg Boston crab. Dijak saved himself courtesy of the ropes. Rolling to the floor, Dijak tried to catch Page with another Choke Breaker, but met the shooting star press off the apron. As if that wasn’t enough, Page pitched Dijak back in to execute his slingshot somersault lariat … to gain a near fall! Page got up mockingly kicking Donovan. This proved to be a terrible idea as Page woke the sleeping giant that had the ability to counter the Rite of Passage. Hoisting Page onto his shoulders, Dijak had Feast Your Eyes in mind. On the way down, Page caught the leg to super kick Donovan’s bum leg. Showing incredible strength, Page dropped Dijak on his head with the Rite of Passage to pick up a pin fall victory. Before Donovan could leave the ring, the Motor City Machine Guns came out to express their gratitude for being a part of the future of Honor. Alex Shelley took the microphone to announce his inability to wrestle tonight. But the future was on their minds and their need to find a third man in hopes of becoming the future Six-Man Tag Team champions. Chris Sabin wanted to switch topics, but got interrupted by Colt Cabana’s music. Cabana took the microphone to give Shelley some advice: ditch Sabin and find some success.
Colt Cabana vs. Chris Sabin w/ Alex Shelley Cabana seemed overly impressed with himself and his ability to outmaneuver his opponent. Luring Sabin into a false sense of security, Cabana refused to break clean when backing Chris into the ropes. Sabin made him pay kick simply punting him in the face. Running through Sabin with the forearm stopped whatever the running Machine Gun had in mind. Positioning himself smartly, Cabana was able to utilize illegal closed fists to the face of his opponent so the referee couldn’t reprimand him. Big body slam by “Boom Boom” was meant to be the set up for that big splash off the ropes, but he spent too much time mocking Shelley and allowed Sabin to recover. Lightning-fast kicks including a super kick put Colt in prime position for the running kick off the apron outside and a missile dropkick in the ring. Though he ran into the flying hip attack, Sabin was able to retaliate with the tornado DDT. Sabin had something big in mind when Cabana clawed his face. The referee got between the two, only for a blind Sabin to pick up the referee for whatever he had in mind for Colt. Cabana took his moment, kicking Sabin low to save the referee and cinch in the Billy Goat’s Curse at the same time for the submission victory. The lights suddenly went out due to an apparent power outage when The Rebellion rushed the ring too attack the Machine Guns. Donovan Dijak hobbled out to stop this mugging, but he was in a bad way and easy prey. Revealing duct tape, The Rebellion tapped Shelley, Sabin and Dijak to the ropes. King grabbed the microphone to blame the fans for The Rebellion’s actions and their want for these fan favorites to be just like Caprice Coleman, Rhett Titus & Kenny King. The Rebellion declared they were granting mercy tonight.
No Disqualification: Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs. War Machine Of course there was no waiting around for this one to start once the participants entered the building. The barricades’ toughness was being tested as the bodies of Lee & Taylor collided with the steel over and over again. War Machine battered Shane Taylor with a trashcan before power bombing Keith Lee off the apron, through a table when Lee wanted to asai moonsault on his opponents. Hanson broncobuster in the corner of the guardrails on Taylor allowed War machine to bring Shane into the ring for some more of a beating including Ray Rowe slamming his own partner across Taylor’s prone body and a further cracking of his skull courtesy of a destroyed trashcan. Grabbing another table, War Machine set it up beside the ring for something. Lee saved his partner, kicking Rowe down before joining his partner in hopes of taking out “War Beard”. Flair turnbuckle bump didn’t save Hanson as Taylor came running and shoulder tackled him off the apron to send him through the table! Rowe, furious, ran in, but met that double team spine buster … that gave Lee & Taylor a near fall! Taylor & Lee decided they wanted to bludgeon Rowe with the trashcan as Hanson attempted to rise. Spotting Hanson at ringside, the pair almost broke Hanson in half across the barricade. Lee & Taylor reentered with Rowe kneeing Keith and hitting the superman punch on Taylor. Shane was still on his feet, but not for long as Hanson returned to not only hit the cartwheel clothesline, but also that standing broncobuster. Hanson scaled the ropes, only to be caught by Lee. Rowe attempted to save his partner, but ended up causing a tower of doom scenario. Hanson recovered quickly, helping his partner with the shotgun knees-broncobuster combo. After seeing Keith get power bombed by his partner, Hanson unleashed a moonsault on Lee that didn’t end this one. War Machine called for and executed the Fallout on Lee … to gain a near fall thanks to Shane’s interference! Shaking off the disbelief, Hanson pulled out a pair of tables to set one up beside the ropes. Lee stopped Hanson from put him through the table, executing that Death Valley jackhammer. Before Lee could follow up with something even more brutal that would’ve seen him drive “War Beard” through the other table, Hanson shoved him over the top rope in preparation for a somersault plancha that laid out everyone. When all four men got up fighting, Lee avoided the tope from Hanson; causing “War Beard” to wipe out Kevin Kelly as the commentator tried to avoid the carnage. Returning to the action in the ring, Rowe utilized an exploder suplex to drive Taylor through a table in the corner! Placing a table in the ring’s middle, Rowe declared this one was going to end. Taylor began begging off, calling an end to this war in a peaceful manner. Ray, apparently letting his protégé off the hook, left himself open to be hit with a sneaky head-butt by the once groveling Taylor. Rowe stumbled into Lee’s pop-up power bomb through the table to give Keith the three count for his team.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Frankie Kazarian After freeing himself from the vice-like side headlock (welcome to “Headlock City”), Kazarian found himself on the receiving end of a noogie to the crowd’s delight. Kazarian hated being insulted, backing O’Reilly into the ropes to not break clean. O’Reilly was having too much fun with the headlock when he stopped Kazarian’s clubbing forearms, taking the hold to the floor where he could slap hands with the fans. Kazarian freed himself from the headlock, pushing O’Reilly shoulder first against the steel ring post. Rather than stick with the arm, Frankie spiked Kyle with that slingshot DDT topped by a variety of neck breakers. Lung blower-tornado DDT combo allowed “The Heavy Metal Rebel” to pick up a two count and cinch in that abdominal stretch. Freeing himself from the hold, O’Reilly was thinking cross body while Kazarian had the same in mind. The midair collision practically reset this match and allowed O’Reilly to come at his opponent with the Killer Kick Combo.
It was all Kyle as he prepared to go after the arms and legs of his opposition. Countering a knee bar, Kazarian uniquely got the sharpshooter on the Canadian. Thankfully for O’Reilly, he was close enough to the ropes to save himself. The ropes also helped Kazarian stop the Armageddon arm bar counter O’Reilly used to stop another slingshot DDT. The action was moving to the floor after Kazarian got his arm wrenched across the top rope where O’Reilly unleashed that running knee off the apron. Taking too much time after rolling Frankie back in, O’Reilly inadvertently put himself in position for that slingshot ace crusher. O’Reilly kicked out before the two count, initiating a strike exchange that he won courtesy of a knee strike after the leg kick dropped Kazarian to his knees. O’Reilly wanted to choke Frankie out for the brain buster, and succeeded before pinning “The Heavy Metal Rebel”. Dressed in his entrance attire, Christopher Daniels came out to tell Kyle how much he wants to see O’Reilly win the World title at “Final Battle”. Daniels turned his attention to Frankie Kazarian to ask why his friend was putting himself in matches when he’s not 100%. Daniels changed the focus by stating he’ll get his team back in the title hunt by beating Jay Briscoe tonight.
Jay Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels Unlike O’Reilly, Daniels couldn’t take Briscoe to “Headlock City” both in and out of the ring, so he opted to come off the ropes with a shoulder block. Briscoe easily survived what Daniels had in mind, unleashing a hurricarana topped by the forearm smash. Daniels seemed infuriated with the apparent disrespect. So Briscoe just pitched him to the floor in an attempt to dive. Kazarian appeared to be on the verge of interfering, but Briscoe refused to let that happen. The minor “distraction” gave Daniels all the time he needed to recover and send Briscoe to the floor to succeed in hitting that Arabian press. Both out of the ring and in as Briscoe found himself on the wrong end of several maneuvers including the slingshot elbow drop, a rear waist lock and dreaded kitchen sink. Backing Briscoe into the corner proved detrimental for “The General” as he got popped in the mouth courtesy of those Delaware jabs, a dropkick, and the super kick. Briscoe’s follow up attempt at a cross body block cost him as Daniels moved and followed up with the blue thunder bomb. Stopping a running attack, Briscoe almost ended this one courtesy of his Death Valley driver. Pantsing Briscoe to stop his approach didn’t help Daniels as he felt that yelping neck breaker, but he did block the Jay Driller soon after. With the fans behind the former World champion, Briscoe had to avoid the Best Moonsault Ever after being slammed courtesy of an uranage. The Jay Driller followed immediately after to give Briscoe the three count.
Survival of the Fittest Finale: ROH World Television champion Bobby Fish vs. Dalton Castle w/ The Boys vs. The Panther vs. Lio Rush vs. Damian Martinez vs. Jax Dane Rush had his face painted in the colors of the shamrock to apparently promise a win similar to him winning the Shamrock Cup the year prior. During Castle’s entrance, Cabana attacked him from behind and stole his cape. The Boys prevented him from following and missing out on his chance to win this match. It was Lio Rush and The Panther and Rush’s paint was coming off fast. The masked man easily tripped Rush and locked him in the surfboard for an early pin attempt off the submission. Using the honorable handshake to his advantage, Rush tripped his opponent to set off a chain of quick reversals including a modified 619 from Panther that knocked down the cameraman at ringside. Dalton Castle tagged himself in as Bobby Fish did the same. The loud confrontation featuring champion and former challenger was only topped by another handshake between the two. Castle used the handshake to pull Fish into a side headlock that was topped by “The Peacock” posing. Jax Dane grew tired of the hilarious antics, clotheslining both men. Fish rolled to the corner holding “Punishment” Martinez as the fans wanted someone to be deleted. It was the irresistible force meeting the immovable object in Martinez and Dane respectively. Dane was the first to stumble, but Martinez was the first to touch the canvas thanks to an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Martinez rolled out, bringing in Rush. Lio got caught, but Martinez saved him by yanking Dane to the floor. Things were breaking down as Panther ducked a Fish clothesline to dive on his floored opponents. Fish followed courtesy of Castle’s suplex that put him over the top rope and gave Dalton a chance to pose. Rush’s dive actually put him in the crowd before he met Dalton in the ring. Ducking a clothesline, Rush went to tope Martinez. Instead, Rush met the ring apron via a Last Ride power bomb. Castle smartly left the ring when Martinez and Dane sandwiched him. Both Martinez and Dane were thinking cross bodies and collided in midair before exiting the ring to allow “The Peacock” and The Panther to collide. Slam in the caperana couldn’t put Castle. Dalton was ready, avoiding that springboard dropkick that helped him win the night before; executing the Bang-a-Rang to pin and eliminate The Panther. Castle found himself fighting off Fish, Martinez and Dane; somehow dropping all three with the suplex. Just when it seemed Caste was on the verge of getting another elimination when Cabana returned to distract and tear apart Castle’s cape. “Punishment” ran in, hitting that sit-out choke slam to put Castle’s shoulders to the mat for another elimination. Martinez immediately got a running start to dive over the top rope a la The Undertaker to take out Dane on the floor before reentering to encounter Fish. The TV champion held his own, pitching Rush into Martinez before Dane pulled him to the floor. Adam Page suddenly ran out to attack Fish and slam him abdomen first against the steel ring post. As O’Reilly chased Page out of the building, Dane Samoan dropped Martinez in preparation for the spear. Rush blind tagged himself as Martinez choke slammed Dane. Rush quickly came off the top with that frog splash to shockingly pin the much larger Dane. Rush got up throwing strikes and avoiding everything Martinez had coming at him. As Corino reminded everyone that Rush bested Martinez in the Top Prospect Tournament, Rush elbowed his opponent in position for the frog splash. Martinez muscled through the pain in an attempt to go for that choke slam yet again. Rush countered, rolling “Punishment” up for the fourth elimination. Martinez was infuriated, choke slamming Rush before he could get up and finishing him off with the curb stomp. Martinez refused to leave, taking a seat in front of Steve Corino. “The Infamous” finally made it to his feet, confused over what happened to Rush. Lio refused to stay down as the fans split their support for both men. Using Fish’s momentum against him during a running attack, Rush pitched Fish to the floor for another dive. Throwing the champ back in, Rush missed the frog splash, but not Rush Hour … to gain a near fall! Fish used the kick out to roll Lio into a rear naked choke. Rush had enough room between the forearm and his throat to make it to the ropes without succumbing to unconsciousness. Rush was still down and unable to stop the onslaught of offense including that slingshot senton a la Eddie Guerrero and a variety of suplexes. Somehow, Rush ducked a roundhouse kick to utilize that tornado DDT. Though Fish kicked out, he was in bad shape off the attack that became Rush’s chance to fight back with strikes of his own. Fish stopped Rush’s springboard attack by kicking his legs from underneath him. Rush couldn’t prevent a falcon arrow. Rush, barely able to kick out before the three count, put himself in position for the knee bar that forced a submission in Fish’s favor.
Is It Worth Your Money: Unlike the year before, “SotF: Night 1” wasn’t a tough act to follow. One night later, with a more prototypical card not full of multi-man matches, the stars of ROH were able to flourish. Look no further than the matches leading up to the main event as there were not only two exceptional bouts featuring both members of The Addiction in losing efforts, and, arguably, the best match in the Lee & Taylor-War Machine’s feud. The main event, while very good, didn’t reach the heights of greatness seen in previous tournaments. The closing moments, though, produced an atmosphere rarely seen between an established star and a potential main eventer of the future. While “Night 1” was simply a solid show, “Night 2” proved to be a memorable offering on the strength of two of its most heavily anticipated matches and a second-half of highly entertaining clashes. ROH “Survival of the Fittest: Night 2” is Worth Your Money.