For an easy to navigate archive of all of my Ring of Honor DVD reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!
The Ford Community & Performing Arts Center – Dearborn, Michigan – Friday, November 12, 2010
Kevin Kelly and Dave Prazak are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – Colt Cabana vs. Rhett Titus
This is Titus’s second time in the tournament, and the fourth time for Cabana (who has made it to the finals all three previous times he’s been entered – 2004, 2005, and 2009). Titus eschews the traditional handshake and attacks Cabana with a big boot. Cabana makes the quick comeback and sends Titus reeling to the floor. Back in the ring Cabana uses his unorthodox antics to flummox poor Titus. They trade momentum back and forth, and as usual Cabana holds the crowd in the palm of his hand. Cabana puts some offense together, but Titus is able to grab the ring bell behind the referee’s back. Titus puts the bell on the middle buckle and delivers a drop toehold. He then rolls Cabana up and grabs a handful of tights to get the upset pin at 8:21. That was fine enough and it didn’t overstay its welcome. Titus still had a long way to go at this point and Cabana just did his usual thing.
MATCH #2: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – Claudio Castagnoli vs. Grizzly Redwood
This is the third appearance in Survival of the Fittest for Castagnoli, and Redwood’s first. Castagnoli is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, and he has Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey in his corner. He tries to intimidate Redwood early on, but the plucky lumberjack refuses to oblige. Redwood sends Castagnoli to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Back in the ring Castagnoli catches Redwood with a hard powerslam and he goes to work on his much smaller opponent. Castagnoli legally murders Redwood with a Chokeslam but it only gets two. Redwood uses his speed and agility to get a little bit more offense in, including a sleeper hold. Castagnoli cuts him off with a bicycle kick for two. Redwood makes one last gasp, but Castagnoli ends him for good with a hard European Uppercut and the UFO to get the pin and advance again at 5:05. That was a fine little squash and Redwood got just the right amount of offense in.
MATCH #3: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – Kevin Steen vs. Kyle O’Reilly
This is Steen’s second time in the tournament and O’Reilly’s first. Steen attacks right away and takes it to the newcomer. He brings O’Reilly to the floor and uses his gross-out tactics to disgust the crowd and embarrass his opponent. O’Reilly fights back with kicks and knee strikes that send Steen to the floor. He tries a dive but Steen avoids it. O’Reilly lands on his feet and spits at Corino. When he tries to get back in the ring Steen brings him in the hard way with a DDT. Steen mostly dominates but the plucky O’Reilly fights back with strikes and a suplex. O’Reilly avoids a charge in the corner and Steen rolls to the floor to find a chair to sit in. That’s a pretty obvious setup for O’Reilly to hit the running dropkick off the apron, but the crowd always pops for that move. Back in the ring O’Reilly hits a missile dropkick for two. Steen comes back with the popup powerbomb for a near-fall. O’Reilly targets Steen’s arm and locks on a Cross Armbreaker, but Steen reaches the ropes. Steen catches O’Reilly with a superkick and the F-Cinq. He goes for the Package Piledriver and is able to hit it with just one arm. He covers but lets O’Reilly up at two. Steen puts on El Generico’s mask and hits a Brainbuster to get the pin at 10:19. O’Reilly put up a good showing there but was ultimately overpowered by the maniacal Steen. Good back and forth stuff here.
After the match Steen goes to attack O’Reilly with a chair but Corino talks him out of it, asking Steen to stay focused on El Generico at Final Battle 2010. The crowd antagonizes Steen with “Ole” chants and with one guy wearing a Generico mask. Corino calms Steen down and then calls out Adam Cole for their qualifying match.
MATCH #4: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – Steve Corino vs. Adam Cole
Both men are making their SOTF debut tonight. Corino punches Cole in the face before the bell to start the match. Cole quickly fires back with a flurry that sends Corino to the floor, and he follows him out with a rana off the apron. Back in the ring Cole goes to the top rope but Steen grabs his leg. The persistent Cole goes up top and hits The Cross Body Block That Beat Davey Richards but it only gets two here. Cole goes after the arm, using a Fujiwara Armbar to soften Corino up. Momentum shifts between these two disparate wrestlers while Steen watches on from ringside. Steen gets on the microphone to encourage Corino, who decides to jam his thumb into Cole’s butt. That backfires when Cole turns the abdominal stretch into a cradle to get the pin at 6:46. That wasn’t much of a match, more of a backdrop for Steen and Corino acting crazy. At least they kept it short.
Steen and Corino attack Cole after the match and El Generico (dressed in all black) runs out to make the save. Generico takes Corino out with a half nelson suplex and then drills Steen with the running Yakuza Kick. He goes for the top-rope Brainbuster but Corino breaks it up, and Steen is able to deliver a Michinoku Driver through the ringside table!
MATCH #5: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – Chris Hero vs. Eddie Edwards
This is Hero’s third appearance in Survival of the Fittest, and he’s been to the finals twice, even winning it all in 2007. Edwards is making his SOTF debut. Hero is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, and he has Shane Hagadorn and Sara Del Rey in his corner. Edwards is the current ROH World Television Champion. They begin with some chain wrestling, going back and forth with each other on the mat. Momentum shifts multiple times between these pretty evenly matched competitors, so Hagadorn interferes to give Hero control. Hero goes to work, wearing Edwards down with a variety of holds and strikes. Edwards tries to fight back but Hero just clobbers him back down, almost knocking him out. They take the fight up to the top rope and Edwards brings Hero down with a rana. Edwards knocks Hero to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive, separating his shoulder in the process. They make it back to the ring and Edwards quickly finishes the match with the Achilles Lock at 13:40. Obviously they had to go home quickly there, but they had a decent match going before that.
MATCH #6: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – El Generico vs. Kenny King
Generico is making his SOTF debut while King is appearing in his second tournament. King has the pretty obvious advantage here after the beating Generico took from Steen and Corino earlier in the evening. Even so, Generico shows lots of heart in fighting back, but he’s very clearly just not at 100%. King focuses on the injured rib area, which will continue to make it hard for Generico to get the oxygen he needs. Generico fights back and turns it into a slug fest. He hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall. A Michinoku Driver gets another two-count. Generico goes up top but leaps right into a spin kick to the ribs. King hits the Shotgun Knees and that’s enough to keep Generico down for the count at 7:53. That was on the short side, but given Generico’s injuries they worked the right match, and King looks wise for focusing on the injury until Generico couldn’t take any more.
MATCH #7: Trial Series Match No. 3 – Andy Ridge vs. Homicide
They start off slowly in this first-time ever matchup. Ridge tries wearing Homicide down with armbars and headlocks in the opening minutes. Homicide fights back and sends Ridge to the floor, which is where Homicide does his best work. He throws Ridge around ringside, and then brings him back in the ring for more punishment. Ridge makes a comeback with a series of strikes but he misses a charge in the corner. Homicide hits a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. He tries the Cop Killa but Ridge escapes and boots him in the face. Ridge goes for a superkick but Homicide catches it and hits the Ace Crusher. Homicide follows with the big Lariat to get the pin at 9:51. Ridge looked okay here but there was only so much that could be done with Homicide at this point. The Trial Series on its own is not a bad idea, but it became pretty obvious as soon as it was over that they had no plans for Ridge so the whole thing was pretty pointless.
MATCH #8: Six Man Tag Team Match – Christopher Daniels & The Briscoes vs. The House of Truth
Tonight the House of Truth is represented by ROH World Champion Roderick Strong, Michael Elgin, and Zach Gowen. Elgin and Gowen have made sporadic appearances in ROH in the past. They have Truth Martini in their corner of course. Daniels and Strong start the match, but Strong decides to let Elgin get in there instead. Elgin uses his power to battle Daniels and the Briscoes, and multiple tags are made on both sides in the early going as both teams try to set the tone. The HOT focus on Daniels for a bit, and the Daniels team responds by going after Elgin. While Jay is working on Elgin, Strong surprises him with a suplex on the edge of the ring frame to give his team the advantage once again. Strong, Gowen, and Elgin isolate Jay in their half of the ring and keep control. After several minutes Mark gets the hot tag and he is a redneck aflame. Mark takes out everyone and then tags Daniels, who picks up where Mark left off. Strong comes back with a low superkick on Daniels for two, and then locks him in the Stronghold. Daniels reaches the ropes. They trade chops and Strong wins. Strong goes up top but Daniels catches him with a palm strike and the Fall From Grace. The HOT breaks up the cover and the referee loses control. The brawl goes to the floor and Mark takes everyone out with a moonsault from the top rope. Mark goes after Truth, but Elgin cuts him off. The action migrates back to the ring and the referee still has little control of the match and the brawling continues. The Briscoes try the Doomsday Device on Elgin but he fights it off. Elgin picks up both Briscoes and hits a Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam combo. Daniels goes after Elgin, and he’s helped by Gowen accidentally hitting his own partner with a missile dropkick. That gives Daniels the opportunity to hit Gowen with the uranage slam and then the Best Moonsault Ever to score the pin for his team at 20:57. Elgin looked great here, but he was an unknown commodity and Gowen has never had a strong presence in Ring of Honor (sadly), so there seemed to be little doubt that the Daniels and Briscoes team would triumph. Especially since Daniels was scheduled for a title shot the following night in Mississauga. Still, they worked a fun six-man tag and kept the action going, so it was good just not particularly memorable.
MATCH #9: Survival of the Fittest 2010 Final Match – Rhett Titus vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Kevin Steen vs. Adam Cole vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Kenny King
Castagnoli is one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions, and he has Sara Del Rey and Shane Hagadorn in his corner. Steen has Steve Corino with him. However, before the match can begin, El Generico comes out to attack Steen and Corino! Generico has to be dragged away by security and the job squad. The match officially starts and Castagnoli drills Steen with a bicycle kick to the face and Steen gets eliminated at 0:10! That’s by far the fastest elimination ever.
We’re down to five men now, and two of them – King and Titus, are a regular tag team so they work together on Castagnoli. Cole gets a tag and he takes on the task of fighting off both members of the ANX and he does a pretty good job of it. The numbers advantage takes over though, as the ANX isolates Cole to wear him down. Edwards comes in to wrestle Cole for a bit, but it’s very obvious that he’s a one-armed man here. We go back to the ANX and they resume their beat down on Cole, the youngest man in the match. Cole fights back with a superkick on Titus and both men are down. Castagnoli feigns trying to tag Cole, but drops off the apron instead. He then tags himself in and clobbers Cole with a lariat to score the elimination at 9:18. Both members of the ANX come in to battle the Tag Team Champion, and they double-team him right away. That works for a short time, but Castagnoli is able to create some separation and he drills Titus with Swiss Death to get the pin at 12:17. Edwards comes in and Castagnoli quickly sends him retreating to the floor due to his injured shoulder. The medical staff sends Edwards backstage to deal with his injury. Castagnoli has his back turned and is waving goodbye, and that gives King the opening to hit a springboard Blockbuster for a two-count. King follows up with a spinebuster for another two-count. He tries another springboard but this time Castagnoli catches him and starts suplexing him around the ring. Castagnoli hits a European Uppercut and then tries a bicycle kick but King catches him in a cradle suplex for two. King tries a spin kick but Castagnoli ducks and executes the UFO for a near-fall. On the next try King hits the spin kick but Castagnoli responds with an immediate lariat for a two-count. Edwards makes his way back out just as King hits the Coronation on Castagnoli to get the pin at 17:49. Now we’re down to King versus Edwards. They trade strikes and kicks, and Edwards uses repeated headbutts to win that battle. Edwards tries a knockout kick but King catches it and puts on a half crab, which Edwards escapes out of and puts on the Achilles Lock! King taps out at 19:48, and Eddie Edwards is the 2010 Survival of the Fittest winner. Obviously Edwards was really gutting it out there so I think this match had be truncated somewhat, but even so everything about it just fell flat. It seemed like the best time to put Castagnoli over but they didn’t for whatever reason, and the final showdown between Edwards and King was (understandably) underwhelming. This is quite clearly the worst Survival of the Fittest match and event.
Tags: Claudio Castagnoli, Eddie Edwards, Kenny King, Ring of Honor, Survival of the Fittest