Indiana State Fairgrounds – Indianapolis, Indiana – October 10, 2009
PRELIMINARY MATCH: Bobby Dempsey, Kyle O’Reilly & Ricochet vs. Aaron Scott, Tommy Mercer & Shawn Schultz
Looks like O’Reilly and someone from the other team starting the match. My apologies, but I don’t know who Aaron Scott, Tommy Mercer, and Shawn Schultz are. O’Reilly takes control and makes the tag to Ricochet, who hits a variety of armdrags. The guy who is in the ring for the other team makes a comeback and tags the guy who has “Everybody Knows” on the back of his trunks. Thankfully, Mercer has his name on his tights so I know which one he is. He gets tagged in and continues to pound on Ricochet. The crowd is itching to see Dempsey in action. Eventually Ricochet makes the hot tag to Dempsey and the crowd loves it. Dempsey is a fat house afire, throwing everybody around. The match breaks down to a bit of a brawl, until Dempsey and Everybody Knows are the only two left in the ring. Dempsey hits him with the Death Valley Driver to get the pin at 6:03. That was a fine preshow match.
The video package shows Austin Aries abusing Daizee Haze on his way to retaining the World Title last night, and then briefly shows videos of the past Survival of the Fittest winners. Dave Prazak is once again handling the ring announcing duties.
Jim Cornette Address
He says most of the same things he said last night, about how ROH is great, the other two companies suck, etc. I love how he keeps saying ROH gives the fans what they want. I don’t remember an outpouring of support for Jerry Lynn winning the ROH World Title and they did that anyway. He then turns his attention to Austin Aries and the Austin Aries Lucky Lottery. He talks about the match he made last night between Aries and Delirious, and since Delirious was impressive last night, he has earned himself a bye into the Survival of the Fittest match tonight. I also think it’s funny that right after talking about a guy named Delirious, who wears a mask and speaks gibberish, he says that Ring of Honor isn’t sports entertainment.
Earlier tonight, Claudio Castagnoli put over his own awesomeness, and promises that he will win Survival of the Fittest tonight. He then crushes some popcorn as the promo goes off the rails a little bit. He’s still the best thing going in ROH.
MATCH #1: The Young Bucks vs. House of Truth
Truth Martini gets a little bit of mic time to put over his boys and establish the fact that they are heels. Josh Raymond and Matt start the match. They’re a little cautious early on, feeling each other out to start. Matt explodes with some high flying maneuvers and takes the first advantage. He makes a tag to Nick so Raymond scurries over and tags Christin Able. Nick picks up where his brother left off and the HOT can’t get anything going. Moments later the HOT use some teamwork to take control; Able hits Matt with a nice belly-to-belly suplex. Able takes Matt over to his team’s corner and they isolate on him. After a few minutes Matt shrugs off their beating and starts flipping around with his brother executing double team moves. The Bucks try More Bang for Your Buck on Able but Martini stops Nick on the top rope. Able hits him with the huge Alabama Slam and rolls into a jackknife cradle for two. The HOT works Nick over in their half of the ring. Able pulls the fishnets down, so you know he means business. He hits a spinebuster, and then tags Raymond for a Demolition Decapitation Moonsault. That’s cool. Nick gets dumped to the apron and he comes back with a slingshot X-Factor. He fights off both Raymond and Able and makes the hot tag to his brother. Matt is a house afire, and the match breaks down to a brawl with all four men flying in and out of the ring. The referee gets distracted and Martini comes in the ring to try and hit Matt with his boot, but he misses and hits Raymond instead! Martini then throws his boot down in frustration and hits his own foot, and then stumbles through the ropes and to the floor. That was awesome. That’s also enough to leave Raymond prone to More Bang for Your Buck, and the Bucks get the big win at 12:07. The Bucks get the crowd into it no doubt, but I prefer the House of Truth. That was a good opener, and they should try to do some kind of program with these two teams.
Earlier tonight Colt Cabana was backstage talking about how seriously he takes the tournament tonight. He says he’s a big fan of Jonny Fairplay so he brought him here tonight, but turns out it was only Alex Payne. Cabana is the Adam Sandler of ROH.
MATCH #2: Qualifying Match – Kevin Steen vs. Colt Cabana
This is Steen’s first Survival of the Fittest tournament appearance. Cabana made it to the finals in 2004 and 2005, defeating Trent Acid and Ricky Reyes in qualifying matches to get there. Both men are coming off losses last night, although Cabana wasn’t pinned in the four-way match he was in. They stall, and then they hug, and then Cabana focuses his offense on touching Steen’s butt. Cabana then takes it to the mat and grounds Steen with a headlock. Steen recovers and they trade holds as Hero talks about how he beat six men in Survival of the Fittest 2007, but that’s impossible since he definitely did not pin himself. Cabana continues with his usual comedy routine, and Steen comes back with a missile dropkick. Steen seems to have hurt his injured knee again, but he still hits a cannonball in the corner, though not at full strength. He hits a DDT and then climbs to the top rope for a Swanton Bomb. Cabana gets his knees up and actually gets the pin at 6:48. That match was a whole lot of nothing, but it seems like they’re going somewhere with Steen so let’s see what happens.
Earlier tonight Roderick Strong talked about how he’s not been able to win the ROH World Title yet. He promises that he will win the ROH World Title in the near future.
MATCH #3: Qualifying Match – Rhett Titus vs. Roderick Strong
This is Titus’s first Survival of the Fittest appearance. Strong helped Austin Aries qualify in a tag team match in 2004; beat Jerrelle Clark on his way to winning the whole thing in 2005; teamed with Homicide in a losing effort to Jay & Mark Briscoe in 2006; and beat Brent Albright in a qualifying match in 2007. That makes Roderick Strong the only man to appear in every Survival of the Fittest tournament. Titus takes a sucker punch before the bell, and follows up with a body slam and a knee drop for a one-count. Strong comes back with a leg lariat and an early backbreaker for two. Titus drops to the floor to avoid taking a chop. Unfortunately for him he turns his back and gets kicked down. Strong joins Titus on the floor now and lights him up with a chop. Titus uses Giuseppe di Lorento as a shield and then levels Strong with a clothesline. Back in the ring Titus gets a two-count. Titus works Strong over for a bit, effectively cutting off Strong’s comeback attempts. He goes for the Sexy Suplex and Strong counters with an inside cradle for two, and then a schoolboy for two. Titus hits a neckbreaker and goes up top, only to get a midsection full of fist. Strong hits an enziguiri in the corner and both men are down. Back on their feet Strong hits a couple of chops and he’s on fire now with a combination of strikes. Strong hits the big dropkick for a two-count. He goes for the Gutbuster but Titus avoids it and tries the Thrust Buster, but Strong counters that with a Falcon Arrow for two. Strong tries a charge in the corner but Titus gets the boot up, and then hits the Thrust Buster for two. Titus then hits a standing blockbuster for a two-count. Strong then puts himself in position for the Super Sex Factor, which gets two. Titus goes up top and Strong kicks him in the head and then lands a big superplex. Strong hits a running clothesline, enziguiri, gutbuster, and an odd looking Gibson Driver to advance to the finals at 8:29. Titus got to get all his moves in, but no one thought he had a chance of winning. The match was serviceable.
MATCH #4: Qualifying Match – Tyler Black vs. Kenny King
This is the first Survival of the Fittest appearance for both men. Hero makes me laugh for the first time in his ROH commentary career when he says “Unfortunately it [the fireball thrown by Austin Aries] did not burn off the entire face of Tyler Black, otherwise he would have something else to be sad about.” Black starts the match with a running kick to the face and then stomps away in the corner. King quickly bails to regain his composure, but Black will have none of it as he hits a slingshot cross body to the floor, and then whips King into the barricade. Black tries to whip King in for a third time but King reverses it and throws Black to the steel instead. King bangs Black’s head against the guardrail a few times, and then brings the match back in the ring. Black fights back with a lariat and then hits a knee to the face for two. He hits a series of forearms for another two. He follows up with a stomp to the face, and then gouges at his face. He winds up for presumably a big lariat but King pulls referee Paul Turner into the way and takes a cheap shot to take control. That doesn’t last too long before Black hits a slingshot spin kick and goes for the running forearm in the corner but King cuts him off with a spin kick. King is firmly in control and goes right after Black’s neck. The battle spills to the floor and King rams Black’s head into a chair. Back in the ring King continues attacking the neck, but Black comes back with a flying clothesline and the F-5. Black hits a quebrada for two. That’s amazing: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Black match where he hits the quebrada instead of flipping out of it and hitting a standing shooting star press instead. King fights back with a spin kick to the head. He goes for the Coronation and can’t hit it, but he can hit a spinebuster for a solid two-count. Black rolls out of the way of a charge in the corner and clotheslines King’s neck off the top rope, Randy Savage style. He goes for a springboard something, but King catches him and hits the Royal Flush for a near-fall! They fight back to their feet and trade hands in the middle of the ring. Then they trade kicks to the head and both men are down. King gets up first and goes for a Cradle Piledriver but Black backdrops his way out of it. Black goes for the Buckle Bomb and King avoids it, and then Black avoids the shotgun knees in the corner. King gets to his knees and Black lands a superkick right to the jaw to get the pin at 12:32. That was a good showing for Kenny King – I’m sure there will be more Tyler Black versus Kenny King matches in our future.
Earlier tonight, Petey Williams was exercising whilst bemoaning the fact that Claudio Castagnoli has hosed him the last two times they’ve been in the ring together. He promises that he will get his revenge on Claudio, win the Survival of the Fittest match, and become the next ROH World Champion.
MATCH #5: Qualifying Match – Petey Williams vs. Claudio Castagnoli
This is Williams’ Survival of the Fittest debut. Castagnoli got by Davey Richards in 2007 on his way to the finals. He is accompanied by Mr. Ernesto Osiris. First things first, they engage in a test of strength, which Castagnoli wins easily. Williams comes back with his agility and hits a flying mare and they stand off. He asks for another test of strength and this time comes out of it with an armbar. Castagnoli overpowers Williams and holds him on the mat for a series of two-counts. Williams comes back with a sunset flip for two, and then the dropkick to the back of the head. He hits a running forearm in the corner and tries a bulldog, but Castagnoli blocks it and hits a dead lift release German suplex. Castagnoli hits a fallaway slam, which according to Hero is a “Blockbuster Suplex.” Williams tires a leapfrog but Castagnoli catches him with a backbreaker, and I can’t even decipher what Hero calls that. Finally Williams comes back with a headscissors, a 619 armdrag, and a low bridge to send Castagnoli to the floor. Williams follows him out with a slingshot into a Frankensteiner. Back in the ring Williams hits a high cross body off the top rope and the double knees. Williams tries a kick but Castagnoli blocks it and hits a European Uppercut for two. Castagnoli goes for the UFO but Williams counters with a Victory Roll for two. This time Castagnoli lands a bicycle kick and then executes the UFO for a close near-fall. Williams comes back and tries the Canadian Legsweep, which Castagnoli initially blocks, but then Williams is able to hit one while Castagnoli is on his knees! A step-up enziguiri to the face gets another two-count for Williams. Williams tries the Canadian Destroyer again but Castagnoli blocks it and hits a European Uppercut for two. Castagnoli tries the Ricola Bomb but Williams counters with another enziguiri. Williams goes for the Canadian Destroyer, but Castagnoli grabs the referee’s leg, and causes him to fall. With the referee’s back turned Castagnoli lands a low blow and a European Uppercut for the win at 9:48. That was a solid big man versus little man match, and I love how Claudio keeps winning matches by cheating, because it doesn’t feel like he’s doing it because he thinks he has to, but he’s doing it because he’s good at it and he can. That’s the quality that makes him a good, credible heel.
MATCH #6: Qualifying Match – Chris Hero vs. Kenny Omega
This is the Survival of the Fittest debut for Kenny Omega. Hero beat Karl Anderson to make it to the 2007 finals, where he eliminated Roderick Strong, Rocky Romero, Austin Aries, Claudio Castagnoli, and Human Tornado to win the tournament and be the only man to eliminate all five of his opponents in the match. Eric Santamaria joins Prazak on commentary while Hero wrestles. Hero is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. He scores the first takedown and immediately goes to work on Omega’s leg. Omega quickly turns the tables as they trade holds back and forth. Hero resumes going after the leg, but Omega is able to keep pace and winds up sending Hero to the floor. Omega joins Hero on the floor and goes to work on him. He maintains control, and back in the ring hits a quick armdrag. Hero blocks the next armdrag attempt and resumes control. Omega fights back with a spin kick and a bodyslam. He hits a running dropkick to the side of the head for two. He whips Hero into the corner and when he charges Hero catches him with a tailbone drop and pitches him to the floor. Hero follows him out with a baseball slide dropkick. He drops Omega face-first on the ring apron. Back in the ring Hero stomps away. He boots Omega in the head a couple of times and gets a two-count. He hits a big elbow to the head but Omega kicks out at two! He hits another one in the corner, and then ignores the stop sign to hit another one. Omega is persistent and finally hits the stupid stop sign enziguiri. He hits a frog cross body off the top rope and goes for a Northern Lights suplex, which Hero reverses to a Liger Bomb attempt, which Omega actually reverses to the Northern Lights suplex this time for a two-count. Hero reverses a whip to the corner and winds up nailing Omega with a rolling elbow to get the pin at 12:49. That was solid and all I’m just not sure what they were going for in terms of a story.
MATCH #7: Special Tag Team Challenge – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Davey Richards & Austin Aries
Richards is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, and is also accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Aries is the current ROH World Champion. He gets on the mic to remind everyone that he got out of defending his title against Richards tonight by offering to replace the injured Eddie Edwards in this Dream Match of Dream Matches. Richards and Mark start the match. The ROH World Tag Team Title history in this match is astounding: the Briscoes have held them five times; Richards has held them twice with two different partners (Rocky Romero and currently with Edwards); and Aries was part of the longest title reign along with Roderick Strong. Mark takes Davey down to the mat and locks on a headlock, but Richards quickly escapes, and Mark quickly re-counters. I expect a lot of that in this match. Mark attacks Richards’s arm, causing Richards to roll to the floor and throw a fit. They do a choreographed looking exchange and then an Indy standoff. I thought we were past those. Mark makes the tag to Jay and Richards makes the tag to Aries. Jay gets the upper hand and Aries quickly tags Richards back in. The Briscoes take control of Richards and tag in and out, working him over. Richards recovers and tags Aries. The Briscoes control for a bit, but Richards and Aries use some shady double-teaming to take control. Despite Richards being after Aries’ title, they’re working very well together as a team. Aries and Richards play a little “Can You Top This,” allowing Jay to recover and make the hot tag to Mark. The younger Briscoe is a house afire, setting Richards up on the top rope and hitting an Ace Crusher off the second rope for two. The match breaks down to a brawl. Aries tries the IED but gets kicked in the face and clotheslined to the floor. The Briscoes go for the Doomsday Device on Richards, but Aries breaks it up. With both Briscoes on the floor, Aries hits the Heat Seeking Missile to wipe both of them out. Back in the ring Richards hits Jay with a missile dropkick, the Alarm Clock, a lariat, and a bridging German suplex for two. Aries tags himself in and tries another IED, but Jay catches him with a Death Valley Driver. Richards saves Aries, who then hits a brainbuster for two. Mark and Richards wind up in the ring and Richards hits a handspring spin kick. Aries responds with a handspring elbow. The team of champions argues some more and some miscommunication leads to Aries hitting the IED on Richards. Aries grabs his title and walks toward the back, but Mark wipes him out with a dive over the top rope. Back in the ring Jay hits Richards with a falcon arrow for two. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device again and this time they hit it for the win at 18:31. That was a pretty exciting tag team match with an interesting subplot with Richards and Aries.
MATCH #8: Survival of the Fittest Finals – Delirious vs. Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Black vs. Colt Cabana vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chris Hero
Survival of the Fittest matches have taken place in Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland (I was in attendance), and Las Vegas. Castagnoli is accompanied by Mr. Ernesto Osiris. Hero is accompanied by Shane Hagadorn. Good thing both of those guys trained to be wrestlers. Delirious is accompanied by Daizee Haze. I have to admit that I’ve missed this match and I’m glad ROH brought it back. Strong, Delirious, and Hero have all won this match in the past. Delirious freaks out at the sound of the bell, and when he’s calmed down Black joins him in the ring to start the match proper. They exchange holds for a bit before Cabana gets tagged in and he chain wrestles with Delirious. Strong gets tagged by Delirious, and Castagnoli tags Strong before any contact can be made. Cabana tags to Hero, and now it’s the Kings of Wrestling facing off. They lock up and trade holds, including the full nelson. Castagnoli tenaciously goes for the full nelson, and Hero breaks by going to the ropes. Hero takes Castagnoli down and goes after his legs. Moments later they both make tags, to Delirious and Cabana, respectively. Cabana gets the advantage, so Delirious tags out to Strong. In a move I wouldn’t advise, Cabana hits a chop, but successfully avoids Strong returning the favor, but only briefly. Cabana misses the Flying Apple and Strong hits a kick to the side of the head for two, so Cabana goes over and tags Hero. Strong traps Hero in a quick victory roll for two. Hero gains control and drags Strong over to Castagnoli’s corner and tags him. Well, Hero and Castagnoli are former ROH World Tag Team Champions. The Kings work over Strong’s hand, and then Hero makes the tag to Delirious, who executes a spinning toehold and seems to be targeting the leg instead. Delirious makes the tag to Black, who continues the leg work. Strong drives Black to the corner, and Castagnoli makes the tag. Black slugs away at Castagnoli, but Castagnoli cuts him off with a stiff European Uppercut. Castagnoli makes the tag to Hero, who goes after Black’s neck. The Kings hit a double boot to the chest but Black won’t stay pinned for longer than two seconds. Castagnoli knocks Cabana and Strong down before going for another cover. Now I think that’s stupid because the guys Castagnoli kicked down also want to win the match, and it wouldn’t it be to their benefit if Castagnoli just went ahead and eliminated the guy? So why would he bother to knock them off the apron when he could have gone right for the cover? The Kings hit the Giant Swing/Dropkick combination for a two-count on Black. Hero and Black trade small packages, and then Hero reverses a God’s Last Gift attempt into a vertical suplex for two. Castagnoli tags back in Black quickly tags Delirious. The masked man gets the advantage and goes for Roots clotheslines, but Hero breaks that up. Sadly for Hero he winds up taking the clotheslines, while Cabana comes in to deliver the elbow version. They toss the Kings to the floor and they both follow them out with baseball slide dropkicks. Black and Strong then follow everyone out with dives over the top rope and everyone is down. That was cool. Back in the ring Delirious hits a leaping lariat on Castagnoli for two. Delirious tries the Cobra Suplex but Castagnoli blocks it and hits a bicycle kick for two. The Kings of Wrestling work together on Delirious. Castagnoli hits a super hip toss but can’t get a three-count. After several minutes of abuse Delirious comes back and is able to tag Cabana into the match. Cabana outmaneuvers both Kings of Wrestling and is able to bait Hero into nailing Castagnoli with a rolling elbow and Cabana backslides him to eliminate Castagnoli at 22:59. Delirious comes in the ring and instantly schoolboys Cabana to then eliminate him at 23:05!
Strong comes in the ring and Delirious traps him in the Cobra Stretch, and then pulls him up for a Cobra Suplex. Delirious goes for the Panic Attack but Hero kicks him in the face instead. Hero follows up with another elbow, this one for Delirious, and it gets a two-count. Delirious comes back with a headscissors off the top rope. Black tags himself into the match and kicks Delirious in the head and goes for the springboard lariat, but Delirious headbutts him in the midsection. Hero goes for another rolling elbow but Delirious headbutts him as well, and both Hero and Black are down in the same corner. Delirious hits a double Panic Attack, but turns around right into a running kick to the face by Strong and that’s enough to eliminate the 2006 Survival of the Fittest winner at 24:59. Hero quickly hits Strong with a rolling elbow but Strong is able to grab the bottom rope before the three-count. A Liger Bomb gets another two-count for Hero. Back on their feet a chop war ensues, and just guess who wins that one. Hero counters with an elbow instead, and then throws Strong to the floor. Black lands a kick to the head from the apron and then schoolboys Hero for two. Hero hits a couple of elbows for a two-count. Strong reenters the ring and goes right after Hero. He hits a backbreaker for two. Hero comes back with the rip cord elbow for two! Strong rolls to the apron. Hero hits some elbow strikes but Black comes back with a superkick, a Buckle Bomb, and God’s Last Gift to eliminate Hero at 28:37.
Strong and Black waste no time tearing into each other with chops. Black lands the first big shot when he hits Paroxysm for two. He slams Strong down and hits the Savage Elbow. A series of counters ends with Black hitting the F-5 for another two-count. Black tries the standing shooting star press but Strong moves and hits a kick to the face. Strong follows up with a uranage backbreaker for two. Another backbreaker gets another two-count. Strong locks on the Stronghold and Black reaches the ropes. They fight out to the ring apron and then to the floor. Black dropkicks Strong into the barricade, and then hits a Bryan Danielson dive into the crowd. They make it back to the ring and Black lands a kick to the head and the springboard lariat. Black does the stomps to fire himself up and Strong makes him pay for wasting time with a brutal kick to the face for two. Strong hits the gutbuster and goes for the Gibson Driver but Black reverses it to the Buckle Bomb. Black tries the superkick but Strong counters with the Stronghold. When Black tries to escape the hold, Strong sits down for a two-count. Black counters with a couple of nasty kicks to the head, and hits God’s Last Gift but Strong kicks out! He goes up for the Phoenix Splash and Strong knocks him down. Strong hits a brutal enziguiri and hits a backbreaker on the turnbuckle! Black rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Strong gets a two-count. The crowd is pretty much universally in support of Roderick Strong, honestly. Strong hits a boot, a gutbuster, a backbreaker, and another running boot to the face but Black kicks out! He goes for the Gibson Driver, which Black counters with a jackknife pin for two. Black hits the Buckle Bomb and three superkicks, but Strong still kicks out! He lands another superkick and this time referee Paul Turner barely counts three, right before Strong kicks out at 39:55. The crowd boos. This was a really well put together match, and the final sequence between Black and Strong was ridiculous. This is the best Survival of the Fittest match since the first one.
Black cuts a promo thanking Strong for the match, and that the future is now in Ring of Honor. He also tells the crowd they’re as much a part of the “ROH Revolution” as anyone. Before walking to the back he admits that he owes Roderick Strong a rematch.
Tags: Chris Hero, Roderick Strong, ROH, Survival of the Fittest, Tyler Black