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.
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.