Thursday, April 30, 2015

PCW & ROH SuperShow of Honor Review (Shows #1, #2, #3 & #4)

Ring of Honor travels to the United Kingdom to put on four big joint shows with Preston City Wrestling!!

The week before Final Battle 2014, Ring of Honor traveled across the pond to put on several joint shows with Preston City Wresting (PCW). It is a promotion that has a unique roster made of both British Talents as well as a mix of American Stars, both big indie names, and former WWE/TNA stars. They also have a pretty unique venue. Combining their roster with the stars of Ring of Honor, and there is a lot of potential on these shows. Lets see what they produced!

I got the box set, which includes all four of these shows. Therefore, I won’t break down each individual match, but I will provide breakdowns of the show overall (similar to how I handley my NJPW G1 Climax reviews). I won’t go too much into some of the angles, but I’ll try to give my best perspective on the matches.

I also want to note that (I believe) Mark Andrews, a top British Talent who I’m sure some of you have heard of, was originally going to be on these shows, but got pulled when he won TNA British Boot Camp, thus earning himself a TNA contract.

PCW/ROH SuperShow of Honor: Show #1
Preston, Lancashire, England 11/28/14

1.) Six-Man Mayhem - Joey Hayes vs. ACH vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Charlie Garrett vs. Dean Allmark vs. El Ligero: ***

2.) “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Brodus Clay: **

3.) Delirious vs. Mad Man Manson: **1/4

4.) Lance Storm vs. Martin Kirby: ***1/2

5.) Dave Mastiff vs. Adam Cole: ****

6.) “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Uhaa Nation: ***3/4

7.) PCW Cruiserweight Champion Bubblegum vs. Paul London: ***1/4

8.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - reDRagon vs. PCW Tag Team Champions Team Single (Rampage Brown & T-Bone) vs. The Briscoes vs. The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Roderick Strong): ***1/2

Overall: 7.5/10

PCW & ROH got off to a solid start with Show #1. Here you had what was easily the best match of the entire weekend with Adam Cole vs. Dave Mastiff. Just a really great match from bell to bell. Mastiff is a big guy, but he’s a really good wrestler and can certainly move in the ring. We also had a great dream match of sorts with Tommaso Ciampa vs. Uhaa Nation. Again, another really great match. We also saw a few other solid singles matches in Lance Storm vs. Martin Kirby and Paul London vs. PCW’s Cruiserweight Champion Bubblegum (can’t believe that’s an actual name of a real wrestler). There was also a pretty interesting comedy match between Delirious and Mad Man Manson (who wrestles with no shows).

The six-way opener was ok, but the worst match on the show was Michael Elgin vs. Tyrus aka Brodus Clay. I never thought in a million years that I would see that match, but it happened, and it wasn’t that good. The main event was a four-way tag team match, where a coin flip by PCW’s General Manager Lionheart (the British wrestler who, earlier in 2014, broke his neck pretty badly after taking a Styles Clash from AJ Styles) decided whether the ROH World Tag Team Titles or PCW Tag Team Titles on the line. The ROH World Tag Team Titles won the toss, that saw reDRagon retain. It’s interesting that Strong & Whitmer were partners, but commentary explained that they had contractually agreed to the match before their breakup in ROH. Things broke down as The Briscoes & Team Single brawled to the back. Dissension amongst Strong & Whitmer allows reDRagon to take advantage and win the match. The Briscoes challenged Team Single for the PCW Tag Team Titles the next night, and they accepted.

PCW/ROH SuperShow of Honor: Show #2
Preston, Lancashire, England 11/29/14

1.) Four-Corner Survival - BJ Whitmer vs. El Ligero vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Uhaa Nation: ***1/4

2.) PCW Champion “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ***

3.) ACH vs. Joey Hayes: ***1/4

4.) Paul London vs. Roderick Strong: ***3/4

5.) Adam Cole vs. Noam Dar: ***3/4

6.) Cedric Alexander vs. Martin Kirby: ***3/4

7.) Six-Man Tag - PCW Tag Team Champions Team Single (Rampage Brown & T-Bone) & PCW Cruiserweight Champion Bubblegum vs. Dave Mastiff, Dave Rayne & Mad Man Manson: N/A (tittie twisters & near-sodomization)

8.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - reDRagon vs. The Briscoes: ***1/2

Overall: 7.75/10

Shows #2 & #3 take place on the same day, with the former in the afternoon and the latter in the evening. I think this show was a slight step up from Night 2. All of my matches were *** or better. There really wasn’t a bad match on this show. We started off with a really fun four-way match featuring Uhaa Nation, Tommaso Ciampa, El Ligero & BJ Whitmer. We then had a match between Michael Elgin & PCW’s Champion, Chris Masters. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Masters, and he & Elgin actually had a pretty solid match. Next we had ACH vs. Joey Hayes, which was another solid match. We then hit a really great stretch with three straight matches that were ***¾ with Roderick Strong vs. Paul London (a rematch from their ROH encounter at Glory By Honor XII), Adam Cole vs. Noam Dar, and Cedric Alexander vs. Martin Kirby.

We then had a….really fascinating six-man tag that saw a lot of shenanigans, including a multi-man tittie-twister, which included the referee, as well as Kris Travis (the British wrestler who was stricken with cancer in 2014). There was also a point in the match where Dave Rayne was bound, gagged, and almost sodomized Rayne in the middle of the ring, before Bubblegum (who had run off earlier in the match) came back, with toilet paper on his shoes, and rolled up Manson for the win. The main event saw The Briscoes challenge reDRagon for the ROH World Tag Team Titles. It was a fine main event, but definitely the weakest of their encounters. I believe Team Single cost The Briscoes the match. Afterwords, Kyle O’Reilly said he’s coming for Bubblegum’s PCW Cruiserweight Title on Show #3.

PCW/ROH SuperShow of Honor: Show #3
Preston, Lancashire, England 11/29/14

1.) Six-Man Mayhem Match - ACH vs. Bobby Fish vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Martin Kirby vs. Noam Dar vs. Roderick Strong: **3/4

2.) BJ Whitmer vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ***1/2

3.) El Ligero vs. “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa: ***1/2

4.) Delirious & Paul London vs. Dave Rayne & Mad Man Manson: **1/2

5.) Joey Hayes vs. Lance Storm: ***1/4

6.) PCW Tag Team Titles - Team Single (Rampage Brown & T-Bone) vs. The Briscoes: ***1/2

7.) PCW Cruiserweight Title - Triple Threat Match - Bubblegum vs. Adam Cole vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly: ***3/4

8.) PCW Title - Three-Way Elimination Match - “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters vs. Uhaa Nation vs. Dave Mastiff: ***1/2

Overall: 7.75/10

While not all of the matches from Show #3 were better than ***, we saw a number of matches in the ***½ range. The show kicked off with a six-way match that featured four Ring of Honor talents two PCW talents. It was a good opener, but disappointing when you consider who was involved. Michael Elgin vs. BJ Whitmer had an ROH vs. ROH match that was actually really good. One of the best BJ Whitmer singles matches in recent memory. We followed that up with another really good singles match in Tommaso Ciampa vs. El Ligero. There was then a segment where Lionheart introduced their special guest: Booker T. He cuts a promo with Tyrus aka Brodus Clay, and then did his signature Spinaroonie to the joy of the crowd. After that, we had a comedy tag team match with Delirious & Paul London vs. Dave Rayne & Mad Man Manson. It was as entertaining as all of the comedy matches have been this weekend. Following the match, Mad Man Manson announced his retirement.

We then have a solid match between Joey Hayes & Lance Storm, where Hayes picked up a surprise upset. Team Single then defended their PCW Tag Titles against The Briscoes. They successfully retained their titles. We then have what was definitely the Match of the Night in Bubblegum vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a Three-Way Match for the PCW Cruiserweight Title. It was a really good match that saw Bubblegum retain. Joey Hayes came back out and demanded a title shot. PCW GM Lionheart then comes out. He says Hayes is talented, and enters him into the Road to Glory Tournament (taking place in early 2015), where he can earn a future title shot. They shake hands, but their Lionheart gives Hayes the Rock Bottom! He then announced he’s returning to action (after his devastating neck injury mentioned earlier) in the Road To Glory Tournament. The Main Event was originally supposed to be Chris Masters vs. Uhaa Nation for PCW Title, but Lionheart comes back out and puts Dave Mastiff in the match, making it a three-way elimination match! Masters is out first, guaranteeing a new champion. After a spirited battle, Uhaa Nation puts away Dave Mastiff to win the PCW Title! A challenge is laid out for the Road To Glory Shows in early 2015, that will see Uhaa Nation vs. Chris Masters for the PCW Title, where the loser must leave PCW forever.

PCW/ROH SuperShow of Honor: Show #4
Preston, Lancashire, England 11/30/14

1.) No DQ Match - ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. PCW Tag Team Champions Team Single (Rampage Brown & T-Bone): ***1/4

2.) Mark Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong: **3/4

3.) Delirious vs. Paul London: **3/4

4.) No Loud Noises - ACH vs. Cedric Alexander: ***1/4

5.) Adam Cole vs. “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters: **1/2

6.) PCW Title - Uhaa Nation vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ***3/4

7.) ROH World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa: ***3/4

Overall: 7.5/10

The fourth show was very interesting one, as it was essentially an ROH Show. Team Single were the only British Talents that appeared, while Chris Masters & Uhaa Nation were the only other two PCW Talents on this show. We started off with reDRagon defeating Team Single in a fun non-title No DQ Match. Mark Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong was decent, but nowhere near their best match. Delirious vs. Paul London was an entertaining comedy match. By the way, two things about Paul London. Firstly, he looks JACKED. He looks really different from his last ROH appearance. Secondly, his entrances all weekend were long, but on this show, his was, really, really LOOOONG. It seemed like he was trying to high five every single fan, and event went through the bathroom (no kidding). We then had one of my personal favorites out of all four shows: ACH vs. Cedric Alexander in a No Loud Noises Match. Yes, you heard that right. The object was that neither guy could make any loud noises during the match. It was a hilarious match. Absolutely loved it!

Up next was Adam Cole vs. Chris Masters. It was fine while it lasted, but it ended with Masters walking out of the match and Cole winning by countout. Then we had what many people would consider to be a dream match, as Uhaa Nation took on “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin. In a really good match, Uhaa Nation retained his PCW Title. The Main Event saw Jay Briscoe defend his ROH World Title against Tommaso Ciampa. There were some shenanigans in this match. The ref got taken out, and wall he was down, Ciampa had a visual pinfall over Jay Briscoe (that will come into play during ROH storylines later). I believe Adam Cole also came out and interfered. In the end, Jay Briscoe overcame all of this to retain the ROH World Title. Cole cut a promo hyping up their Fight Without Honor the following week at Final Battle 2014. Jay Briscoe responds to Cole, while Tommaso Ciampa reminds Briscoe of the visual pinfall to close the show.

In closing, I found all four of these shows to be really enjoyable. While none of them were amazing shows by any means, they were all entertaining in some form or fashion, and provided some really good wrestling. I thought the commentary did a good job (though some may disagree with me on that) explaining all of the ROH storylines in quick & simple fashion, which was really good to see. The crowd was also really great this whole weekend. They really helped bring these shows up, and made them more entertaining to watch. Plus, it was pretty sweet to see ROH going to back to the UK in a big way. On the whole, I enjoyed these joint shows with PCW, and I hope we see more in the future.

ROH Glory By Honor XIII Review

Hometown Hero ACH challenges Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Title, while RD Evans looks to ride the momentum of The New Streak and capture the World TV Title from Jay Lethal!

ROH Glory By Honor XIII
San Antonio, Texas 11/15/14
1.) "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Romantic Touch: **3/4
Now this should be a really interesting opener. This turned into a comedy match for a bit, and some of what they did was really funny. They did some unintentional sexual poses, Ciampa stuffed roses down The Romantic Touch’s trunks and later smacked him in the ass with the roses. We even saw Ciampa hit Project Ciampa on the roses, but they kick out at two!! Eventually, after the shenanigans, Tommaso Ciampa gets the win his Sicilian Stretch/Rings of Saturn/Rings of Honor submission. A fun little match here. Definitely entertaining. The crowd enjoyed it as well.

2.) Four-Corner Survival - Hanson vs. Mark Briscoe vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Moose (with Veda Scott & Ramon): ***

There are a lot of brawlers in this one. I actually wasn’t sure how this one would turn out, but it actually ended up being pretty solid. Everyone got to interact with each other, and everyone got a chance to shine. After the match broke down into chaos (as these Four-Corner Survival Matches usually do), Hanson was able to catch Mark Briscoe with the Spin Kick of Doom for the win.

Afterwords, the still-injured Ray Rowe comes out to congratulate his War Machine partner on his victory. Rowe says that when he comes back, they will be World Tag Team Champions. Michael Elgin soons interrupts them, accompanied by a sleazy looking cameraman. He says their success could disappear at the blink of an eye, and accused War Machine of not having his back a few months prior. Elgin tells Rowe to worry about himself, and that Hanson will abandon him if he continues to see great singles success. Elgin’s cameraman then tries to hit War Machine, in an attempt to distract them so Elgin can hit them, but it fails, as Elgin quickly bails, and War Machine laid out the sleazy cameraman.
3.) Roderick Strong vs. Frankie Kazarian: ***½

I want to say that this is a first time ever singles match, but I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, this was a pretty good match. It’s hard for Roderick Strong to have a match that’s not at least good, and he put on a really solid match with Kazarian. During the match, BJ Whitmer & Adam Page came out to observe the match. They later interfered, as they distract Strong, with Page actually landing a shot. Neither Kazarian or the referee saw the interference, and this led to Kazarian getting the win. Again, a pretty solid match, though the finish left some to be desired.
4.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - reDRagon vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis): ***½

Now this is an interesting title match, since both teams are technically heels, although reDRagon get a pretty positive reaction. reDRagon were recently in New Japan, where they won the annual Super Jr. Tag Team Tournament, and defeated The Time Splitters at Power Struggle 2014 the week before to capture the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.

As far as this match goes, I thought this match was pretty good. It went a tad longer than I would have liked, but it was still pretty good. They do a bit of comedy where both teams attempt cheating. The action was relatively good as well. In the end, reDRagon would get the win, and retain their World Tag Team Titles.
5.) Will Ferrara vs. Adam Page (with BJ Whitmer): **1/4
This match was either a late addition from a few days prior, or unadvertised. I’m not sure. Either way, these two were happy a good little match here. Roderick Strong attacks BJ Whitmer at ringside, and that distraction allows Will Ferrara to roll up Page for the win. A brawl breaks out after the match with Strong & Ferrara against Whitmer & Page. The former get the upper hand, causing the latter to retreat. Strong then shook hands with Ferrara.

6.) ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. RD Evans (with Veda Scott & Ramon): ***½

Here we go! It’s the ROH World TV Title up against The New Streak, which is at 173-0. This was another match on this show where I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but in the end, it ended up being pretty good. Lethal continues to play his heel role perfectly, while RD Evans really showed what he’s capable of, and the crowd was really into him, which always helps. There was a lot of solid action in here, and moments where RD Evans came close to winning. The big moment came when (I believe) the referee got taken out. Moose came out and charged at Jay Lethal for the spear, but he stopped. He then turned around and speared RD Evans instead!! Lethal covers Evans to retain the World Title Title, meaning The New Streak was sadly over.

After the match, Ramon comes out with a sign that I think said 173-1, along with “The end of an era”, or “A new era”, or something like that. He says his name is Stokely Hathaway to Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino before leaving with Moose. Veda Scott, meanwhile, stairs at Evans for a bit, before leaving on her own.
7.) Adam Cole vs. "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels: ****1/4
Here’s another dream match for you. I was really looking forward to this match, and it did not disappoint. These two put on an awesome match! Definitely the best match on this show. It had a lot of great action, and they told a good story, with Adam Cole berating Daniels for being an old man, only for Daniels to come back and give him the business (or buz-i-ness, as Daniels & Kazarian like to put it). Great stuff throughout this match. Cole would eventually pick up the win with the Jay Driller, sending a message to Jay Briscoe.

Daniels gets a large ovation as he exits.

8.) ROH World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. ACH: ***¾

It’s time for the Main Event! ACH earned this World Title shot (in his home state, nonetheless) based on his performance in the recent Champions vs. All-Stars match. You would think ACH would do a lot of high flying in this match, but Jay Briscoe had other plans. He forced ACH to fight him in more of a brawling style of match. I thought this was actually pretty good. We go the usual stuff from Jay Briscoe, but ACH showed a lot as well. A lot of solid action throughout this match. ACH fought very hard, but it was not enough to overcome Jay Briscoe, as he retains his World Title with the Jay Driller.

After the match, Jay Briscoe & ACH showed each other respect post-match, and Jay Briscoe is in the middle of cutting a promo when Adam Cole interrupts. He vows to win the ROH World Title and issues a challenge to make their World Title Match at Final Battle 2014 a Fight Without Honor. Jay Briscoe has no issues with accepting this challenge, but Matt Taven & Michael Bennett jump him & ACH from behind. Mark Briscoe & Hanson come out to make the save, and while everyone is brawling on the outside, ACH hits a big dive onto everyone. Jay Briscoe is able to escape the dive and is alone back in the ring. Michael Elgin comes out and stares down Jay Briscoe, but then Tommaso Ciampa comes out. Elgin bails, and then Ciampa gets into it with Jay Briscoe! The show ends with a giant, chaotic brawl still going on.
Overall: 8.0/10

San Antonio has really become a fun stop on the Ring of Honor calendar. The crowds are always really into the show, and this was no exception. This was a really good show. Maybe it doesn’t quite live up to some of past Glory By Honor shows, but it still had it’s fair share of great matches. Adam Cole vs. Christopher Daniels was easily Match of the Night, while Jay Briscoe vs. ACH had a really good World Title Match in the Main Event. The rest of the undercard was pretty solid, and there really wasn’t a bad match to speak of. On the whole, another enjoyable show from Ring of Honor, adding to list of really good to great shows they’ve put on in 2014.

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2014: Night 2 Review

The Briscoes & The Addiction meet for the first time and the 2014 Survival of the Fittest Winner is decided!

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2014: Night 2
Toledo, Ohio 11/8/14

I should note that a lot of these matches, obviously, weren’t known until the end of Night 1, because they depended on the results for that show.

The show starts off with ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal & Truth Martini. He says that, while he’s disappointed that he lost to Hanson, the winner of Survival of the Fittest gets an ROH World Title shot, and he notes that his title, the ROH World TV Title, is the one people care about more. He teases putting the title on the line against Cedric Alexander, but it was a swerve, as he says that Alexander hadn’t earned a World TV Title shot.
1.) Non-Title Match - ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal vs. Cedric Alexander: ***¼

These two had an impromptu World TV Title match back at All-Star Extravaganza VI (impromptu because ACH, the original challenger, missed his flight). It was a fine match, but not as good as that previous match. Truth Martini tried interfering once, but didn’t for the rest of the match. Lethal would end up getting the win with the Lethal Injection.
2.) The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer) vs. RD Evans & Moose (with Veda Scott & Ramon): **1/2
During Night 1, these two teams got into a brawl, which helped lead into this match. Beforehand, Jacobs cut a promo telling Moose to get away from the goof that was RD Evans, and once again offered him a spot as one of The Decade’s “young boys”. He added that those who hang around him become a star (he namedropped Tyler Black aka Seth Rollins).

The match itself was ok. The Decade spend most of the match working over RD Evans until he made the tag to Moose. The most notable thing about this match actually occurred on the outside of the ring. Towards the end of the match, Adam Page tried to interfere on behalf of The Decade, but Roderick Strong came out to stop him. This caused Jacobs to leave the ring so he could break the two up, which left BJ Whitmer alone in the ring to get speared by Moose and pinned by Evans. The New Streak extends to 173-0!!

3.) Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis) vs. Will Ferrara: **1/4
Really wasn’t expecting much out of this going into it. The match could have been decent, but shenanigans ruined it. Maria Kanellis interfered on a number of occasions, and at one point, got accidentally speared by Bennett. Ferrara got a good amount of offense in, but Bennett would get the win, using a piledriver after Matt Taven came out and pulled the referee so he didn’t see Bennett use the piledriver (since he had been banned from using it after losing to Kevin Steen at Final Battle 2013). I really didn’t like the booking of this match. It took a ton of interference for Michael Bennett, one of the top heels in the company, to beat Will Ferrara, a guy who only just made his main roster a debut a few months prior. It was borderline ridiculous.

I should note that, I believe after the match, Michael Bennett took Maria, who was still knocked out from the spear, and sat her at the announce table next to Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino. They couldn’t stop talking about her, and it took away from the next match.

Speaking of which, The Kingdom attacked Will Ferrara post-match until ACH makes the save, and the next match starts off right away!

4.) ACH vs. Matt Taven: **¾

This is a match that I think would have been really good, but it just never reached that potential. It had some solid action, but it was mired by a ton of interference from Michael Bennett. Despite this, ACH was able to mount a comeback and score the victory.

After the match, The Kingdom attacked ACH and, when they were done, Bennett carried Maria to the back. By the way, she was out for a LOOOONG time. I find it really hard to believe that Maria would be out for that long after taking a spear.
5.) The Romantic Touch vs. TaDarius Thomas: *3/4
Now this is a match that absolutely nobody cared about. Even Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino spent most of the time talking about wrestling from the 80’s. That speaks volumes. Thomas would get the win in what was the definition of a throwaway match.

6.) The Addiction ("The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. The Briscoes: ***3/4
Finally we’re getting to something that should be pretty great, and it definitely delivered in that regard. This was a first time ever encounter, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Lots of great tag team action throughout this one, with a lot of really good counters as well. After trying on a number of occasions to hit the Doomsday Device, The Briscoes were finally able to hit it, thus sealing the victory for Dem Boyz! There were signs of respect shown following the match.

7.) 2014 Survival of the Fittest Finals - "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Roderick Strong vs. Adam Page vs. Adam Cole vs. Hanson vs. Matt Sydal: ***½

So here we are. The finals of the 2014 edition of Survival of the Fittest. The winner of this match will get their World Title match at Final Battle 2014. I’ll go through the eliminations first before talking about my thoughts on the match itself.

The first to be eliminated came when BJ Whitmer came out to distract Roderick Strong while Strong had Adam Page in the Strong Hold. This distraction allowed Page to roll up Strong for the elimination. After this, all hell broke loose, with everyone brawling at ringside.This led to Adam Page getting elimination after a flurry of offense from both Tommaso Ciampa & Matt Sydal. During all of this, Truth Martini came out to ringside, apparently to “scout” Matt Sydal. At this point, Michael Elgin showed up through the crowd. He took the mic, and said you can’t have Survival of the Fittest without Michael Elgin. He then sits with the commentary team and starts making disparaging remarks at everyone in the match. Eventually he draws the attention of Tommaso Ciampa, and those two start brawling. He throws Ciampa into one of the barricades and puts him threw a table. He also takes out Hanson before being dragged out by security & other wrestlers. Ciampa gets taken to the back and is, presumably, out of the match. The Kingdom then comes out and starts to interfere on Adam Cole’s behalf. Then Tommaso Ciampa comes back out and starts cleaning house on everyone, eventually eliminating Matt Sydal with a Project Ciampa. Michael Elgin soon comes back out and nails Ciampa with a chair, allowing Cole to eliminating him. This means it’s down to Adam Cole & Hanson. These put together a really good final part of this match, but Adam Cole was finally able to put Hanson away to score the win. He is the Survival of the Fittest 2014 Winner, and will challenge for the ROH World Title at Final Battle 2014.

I feel like that this match would fit perfectly in the Attitude Era, because this match was essentially a car crash. Though it was car crash in some negative ways (interference from The Kingdom), there were some good elements to in. The Michael Elgin stuff was pretty fun, as he just beat the crap out of everyone that was in front of him. They advanced the storylines of Strong vs. Page, as well as Tommaso Ciampa. The match itself still had a lot of really solid action (including the final bit with Cole vs. Hanson), though at the same time, it was nowhere close to some of the Survival of the Fittest Finals of the past.

Overall: 6.75/10

While Night 1 was a really good show, Night 2 was definitely a disappointment. Come to think of it, this was probably one of the most disappointing shows from Ring of Honor in 2014. It started out with a good opener, but then was bogged down with either matches that involved tons of overbooking with The Kingdom, or matches that served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. The Survival of the Fittest Finals, while still a relatively good match, was a car crash of a Main Event (in both positive & negative ways) that I’m sure will take people back to the days of the Attitude Era. The only real compliment that I can give to this show was that The Briscoes vs. The Addiction was a really good tag team match. Definitely the match of the night. While 2014 had mostly been a year of highs for Ring of Honor, this was certainly one of their biggest lows.

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2014: Night 1 Review

The Briscoes battle The Kingdom in a No DQ Match and Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Matches take place!

ROH Survival of the Fittest 2014: Night 1
Columbus, Ohio 11/7/14
For anyone who’s familiar with Survival of the Fittest, you would that it was always a one-night tournament, with qualifying matches & the six-way finals taking place in the same night. In 2014, ROH decided to change things up. Instead, they decided to split the tournament across two nights, with the qualifying matches taking place on Night 1, and the finals taking place on Night 2. It’s a very interesting decision. Personally, I didn’t mind it, as I thought it would give the qualifying matches more time, as in the past, they were usually shorter matches since the winners had to wrestle in the finals later in the night. Let’s see how this change in format worked out for them.

1.) Jay Diesel & Jake Dirden (with Truth Martini) vs. RD Evans & Moose (with Veda Scott): **

This is an interesting match, as RD Evans & Moose vs. The House of Truth. It’s somewhat building up the Jay Lethal vs. RD Evans World TV Title Match the following weekend in San Antonio, Texas for Glory By Honor XIII. Before the match Truth Martini cuts a promo, expressing his interest in Matt Sydal, as a potential new of The House of Truth. He then turns his attention to RD Evans, but is interrupted by “Streak” chants (referencing The New Streak). He then tells Jake Dirden that this is his opportunity to show what he can do, and calls out RD Evans.

The match itself was ok. With the big title match coming the following week, it did serve a purpose. Decent action in this one. Truth Martini got involved at one point, but got scared off by Moose. In the end, Moose tossed RD Evans into a speak on Dirden to score the win for their team. Evans, Moose & Veda Scott do the “Streak” Taunt & Chant to close the pre-show.
Main Show
1.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match - "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Will Ferrara: **3/4
This was originally scheduled to be Tommaso Ciampa vs. Caprice Coleman, but Coleman had a family emergency and was unable to make the show. Will Ferrera was announced as his replacement a few days before the show. I thought this was a pretty solid opener. Ciampa got to do his stuff, while Ferrara continues to use these opportunities to showcase what he could do. In the end, however, it would Ciampa getting the win. He advances to the Survival of the Fittest Finals.

Following the match, it looked like Ciampa was going to hit the Project Ciampa on Ferrara, but instead he just threw him back down and shook his hand in a sarcastic manner.

2.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match - Roderick Strong vs. TaDarius Thomas: ***

I have to say that I was looking forward to this match. These two have met in multi-man matches in the past (Four-Corner Survival, Six-Man Tags, etc.), but I think this is their first singles encounter. It was a good match, with some solid action throughout. Was it below the usual Roderick Strong standard? Yeah, but it’s really hard to have a match with Roderick Strong that goes below ***. Strong would end up scoring the win. He advances to the Survival of the Fittest Finals.

3.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match - Adam Page (with BJ Whitmer) vs. Cedric Alexander: ***½

There’s a lot of backstory behind this match, as Adam Page turned his back on Cedric Alexander at Raising The Bar: Night 1 to join The Decade as their “young boy”. These two had a really good match. Lots of really solid back & forth action. We know how good Cedric Alexander is, but it was nice to see Adam Page get the chance to showcase himself in a singles environment, something he really hasn’t done since joining The Decade. In what most saw as a surprise, Adam Page was able to get the win, punching his ticket to the Survival of the Fittest Finals.
4.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match - Adam Cole vs. Delirious: ***1/4
This is a rematch from the first Future of Honor Show, where Cole, then ROH World Champion, retained his title against Delirious in the Main Event. Now, Cole is without his World Title, and is looking to get back in the hunt. Delirious is no stranger to Survival of the Fittest, as he won the tournament in 2006. This was a fine match, though it wasn’t quite as good as their previous match. Part of that had to do with the length. The match went just over 20 minutes which a lot longer than it needed to be. It ended when Cole shoved Delirious off of the top rope to the floor, and then locked in the Figure Four on the outside until the count was near 20 before getting back in the ring. Delirious, with his injured legs, couldn’t answer the count. Cole advances to the Survival of the Fittest Finals.

5.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match - ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. Hanson: ***1/2
Hanson continues his foray into singles competition, but if he wants to advance to the Survival of the Fittest Finals, he needs to defeat the ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal. This was another really good match. Lethal continues to be an awesome heel, while Hanson continued to show what he’s capable of. The match told a really good story as well, where Hanson got the initial advance, forcing Lethal to resort to dirty tricks to take control. He eventually got overconfident, allowing Hanson to fight back. At one point, we even saw Hanson hit a Handspring Back Elbow, which wowed the crowd! After a few more minutes of back & forth action, Hanson hits the Spin Kick of Doom for the upset victory over Jay Lethal. He advances to the Survival of the Fittest Finals. Another very good match on this card. The crowd was really into this one. I really enjoyed.

Up next, we take a break from the qualifying matches as RD Evans comes out with Moose & Veda Scott to hype up his World TV Title Match with Jay Lethal the following week at Glory By Honor XIII. We saw a different side of RD Evans in this promo, as he dropped his usual comedy shtick and got serious about his upcoming title match. It was a pretty good promo, and a nice change of pace for Evans. You really got the sense that this match was extremely important to him.

Unfortunately, his promo is interrupted by The Decade. For those who missed it, at the recent TV Tapings in Lakeland, Florida, there was a major implosion within The Decade, and Strong left the group after getting into with BJ Whitmer & Adam Page (Jacobs wasn’t there). Jacobs mentions what a travesty that situation was, and when RD Evans tried to interrupt, Jacobs demanding that they get our of their ring. He then offered Moose a spot as a new young boy in The Decade, saying he was a “washed up football player pretending to be a wrestler” (I should mention that these two teams have a match the next night). A brawl breaks out, and The Decade takes advance (with help from Adam Page) until The Addiction came to the rescue. Kazarian distracted them on the mic, allowing Daniels to surprise them with a diving crossbody off the top rope to the floor to kick off the next match!

6.) The Addiction ("The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer with Adam Page): ***1/4

The Addiction have faced The Decade before, but this is the first time that they’re facing the BJ Whitmer/Jimmy Jacobs combination. A pretty solid tag team match. Adam Page tried to get involved on a few occasion, but Moose came out and speared him, taking him out of the equation. Daniels & Kazarian would eventually score the win with their new tag team finisher, called Celebrity Rehab.

7.) Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match - ACH vs. Matt Sydal: ****1/4
Up next we have our Final Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match of the night, and it’s a big dream match. As you would expect, this was a pretty awesome match! It definitely lived up to the hype. What was interesting is that, for a bit, Sydal started acting like a heel, which led to ACH having to fight from underneath (which is a role he’s great at playing). The match told a good story, had a lot of great action, and the crowd was really into it. It’s everything you want in a wrestling match. Sydal would eventually pick up the win with the Shooting Sydal Press, becoming the final man to advance to the Survival of the Fittest Finals. I believe they shook hands after the match, showing respect to one another, and they would eventually go on to form a tag team, but more on that in future reviews.

So the 2014 Survival of the Fittest Finals are set. It will be “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Roderick Strong vs. Adam Page vs. Adam Cole vs. Hanson vs. Matt Sydal.

8.) No DQ Match - The Briscoes vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis): ***1/4
Our Main Event is a continuation of the feud between The Briscoes & The Kingdom, but this time, there are No Disqualifications. This was a pretty solid match. As you would expect, there was a fair deal of brawling & plunder. Chairs, barricades, the steel entrance ramp, tables, and what looked like stripper poles (yes, you heard that right) were all used as various points of the match. We saw some crazy moments in this match, including Mark Briscoe diving off the top rope to put Taven through a Table, and Jay Briscoe hitting Bennett with a Death Valley Driver off the ring apron onto the entrance ramp (which I think they dragged out to ringside. Despite this, The Kingdom was able to comeback, hitting a tandem Spike Piledriver onto Mark Briscoe through several standings chairs. Maria had Jay Briscoe tied up in the ropes, which prevented him from breaking up the pin.

After the match, Adam Cole came out, and joined his stablemates in beating up The Briscoes. It ended when Cole, Taven & Bennett hit a triple superkick on Jay Briscoe, which closed out the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was a really good show from Ring of Honor. I’m sure some were skeptical about splitting the Survival of the Fittest Tournament across two nights, but on the first night, at least, it worked pretty well. I liked how the show was laid out, with six Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Matches and two tag team matches. It reminded me of how the first two nights of the 2014 edition of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles Tournament, and that worked out really well. For the most part, the qualifying matches were good to great, with Page vs. Alexander, Hanson vs. Lethal & ACH vs. Sydal being the highlights. The tag team matches were both entertaining, and it think, on the whole, it was a really entertaining show.