From San Antonio, Texas
Formally Known As ‘The Cabinet’ – Rhett Titus, Caprice Coleman & Kenny King vs The Tempura Boyz & Misterioso Jr
Sporting a new gimmick, King is referring to themselves as Pulp Fiction and they were just rebelling as The Cabinet, Coleman then takes over and cuts a promo on the local fans, calling certain members of the crowd ‘a dry turkey’.
A nice match where the former Cabinet got the crowd really worked up early on, these three look much better in a more arrogant/aggressive gimmick, personally I wasn’t a fan of the “Let’s Make Wrestling Great Again” deal. If these three continue with this, then they could be in for a great run as the 6 Man Tag Team Champions.
Titus, Coleman and King controlled large parts of these match with some excellent in ring work, I felt a little let down by the team of Tempura Boyz and Misterioso, in particular the latter whom could of easily of serious hurt Kenny King with a powerbomb, but each time the Mexican wrestlers tried for a comeback the Former Cabinet were just too strong. The finish came when King hits a suplex from the top rope for Titus to fly off the top with a frog splash; immediately followed by Coleman with a leg drop from the top for the win.
Mark Briscoe vs Silas Young
I have been saying this for a good few months now but I fully believe that 2016 is the year of “The Last Real man” Silas Young; he’s been a consistent top performer in ROH and has fully deserved the recent World Title match with Adam Cole.
Young declined the Code of Honor handshake prior to the match, as both men had a tremendous match up, Mark Briscoe is a really underrated singles wrestler for me, his brother Jay has had a lot more success but Mark on his own is sensational as well.
While watching this, I was trying to think who Silas has had a bad match against in 2016, he’s faced guys like Cole, Lethal and O’Reilly while having top draw matches with all three. If he continues at this rate then 2017 is going to be a huge year for The Last Real Man.
An excellent back and forth match that was won by Young following his Misery finisher; both men had opportunities to control this match but Young was just too strong for the Number 1 Tag Team Contender Mark Briscoe.
Donovan Dijak vs Hangman Page
Former Top Prospect winner Donovan Dijak faces the ever impressive, Bullet Club member Hangman Page; I’m a big fan of Dijak and personally think that the sky is the limit for this man, being 6’7 and able to fly like a cruiserweight is something very unique, I really hope 2017 will be a major success for Dijak.
ROH has such diverse wrestlers who are able to have excellent matches with different styles of wrestlers – Dijak is a prime example of this, following on from a stiff brawl type match the night before with the highly impressed Jax Dane, to a more technical/high octane match with Hangman Page. Dijak isn’t the only person in ROH that’s able to wrestle various different styles and that’s testament to ROH and its roster. The match had large elements of great selling from both men; Dijak hit a big chokebreaker from the top rope onto the top buckle for a 2 count. The match ended following some stiff back and forth strikes then Dijak attempted Feast Your Eyes as he caught Page spring boarding in from the apron, the Bullet Club member blocked this and managed to his The Right To Passage for the victory.
MCMG came down post match and put over Dijak, Shelley announced that he was unable to wrestle tonight due to injury, he went on to say that MCMG, with help from talents like Dijak, White, Rush or even Gresham, they could complete for the ROH 6 Man Tag Teams Titles.
Colt Cabana vs Chris Sabin
Two excellent veterans faced off in a superb match as you would come to expect from these two, the match was nicely paced with elements for Cabana to display his new heel side. I would like to personally see Chris Sabin in more singles action, I think a Junior Heavyweight division in ROH would be an excellent addition and he’d fit the mould. Cabana managed to pick up the victory with a low blow into Billy Goats Curse for the submission victory. Following the match the former Cabinet attacked MCMG before Dijak attempted to make the save setting up a 6 man Tag Team Match at Final Battle.
Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs War Machine (No Rules match)
The highly impressive tag team of Taylor and Lee have really put ROH on notice since their recent debut, this feud with War Machine has been nothing short of excellent, both teams are incredibly talented and work with a special level of intensity.
I’m a massive fan of both teams and this really didn’t disappoint me at all, again ROH has such a diverse ability to give you different levels of wrestling from high flying to a more technical based match and then into a full out brawl with no rules; ROH truly is the best wrestling on the planet.
War Machine really proved once again what an outstanding tag team they are and why industry greats like Jim Ross rate them so highly. Hanson and Rowe powerbombed Lee through a table at ringside before double teaming the excellent Shane Taylor.
Taylor and Lee were able to make a comeback following War Machine setting another table up at ringside. Hanson tried to fight both men off back in the ring but was quickly put through the table on the outside.
After some more back and forth action, following a massive top rope powerbomb from Rowe as his partner Hanson had Lee in a suplex position, the two continued to beat down Keith Lee before hitting “Fall Out” for a two count. Hanson managed to roll out and get another table to set up inside the ring then Keith Lee managed a comeback and set up his own table inside the ring and attempted a moonsault before Hanson managed to push Lee to the outside and then went up top to fly onto all 3 men. All four men would battle on the outside and into the commentary table when Hanson, who was back in ring, attempted a suicide dive to the outside but Lee ducked and the diving Hanson smashed into the excellent Kevin Kelly.
The match culminated as Rowe hit an amazing fall away slam on Shane Taylor into a table on the turnbuckle, Taylor after recovering begged with Rowe to stop and that the war is over before cheap shotting him for Keith Lee to deliver a massive pop up powerbomb through the second table in the ring. What an amazing match this was and easily the match of Survival Of The Fittest So Far.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Frankie Kazarian
Alex Shelley joined Steve Corino on commentary following the previous match, O’Reilly who is set to face the reigning ROH World Champion Adam Cole as Final Battle picked up the victory in a nice match between two excellent in ring workers. I was a little flat for this and not because of the match itself but because of how amazing the previous match was; I’m a big Kyle O’Reilly guy and he once again proved that Main Event status is where he fully deserves to be, will Final Battle though, be his defining moment?
Post match Christopher Daniels came down and wished O’Reilly the best at Final Battle and hoped to see the reDRagon member win so when they next face off it will be for the ROH World Championship. Daniels continued to put over their Ladder Wars match, The Addiction wanted Final Battle as a three way but ROH wouldn’t allow this. Daniels called out Jay Briscoe saying that he’s still the original main event player in ROH and he’s going to prove it once again.
Christopher Daniels vs Jay Briscoe
Similar to Silas Young I feel that 2016 has been a stand out year for Christopher Daniels whether it be in singles action or with Frankie Kazarian in The Addiction, while I’m a big fan of the tag team, I’d really like to see Daniel in one final final single ROH World Title run/feud as he deserves this following a highly impressive 2016.
The match was as you have come to expect from two ROH originals, nice gritty pro wrestling with stiff blows and a high pace, the match finished as Jay Briscoe picked up the win as a Jay Driller, after the former 2 time ROH World Champion firmly took over the match.
2016 Survival Of The Fittest Elimination Match
The Panther vs “Godzilla” Jax Dane vs “Punishment” Damian Martinez vs Bobby Fish vs Lio Rush vs Dalton Castle
As Dalton Castle made his away to the ring Colt Cabana attacked him from behind, the fan favourite Castle managed to escape and continue his way to the ring, this match is the cap off a successful two day event to crown the 2016 Survival Of The Fittest, the winner gets a ROH World Title Shot against either Adam Cole or Kyle O’Reilly.
This has a nice mixture of experience ROH wrestlers in Castle, Fish and to some extent Lio Rush while highlighting fresh up and comers like The Panther, Martinez and Jax Dane, at time the high flying ability of Lio Rush was fully displayed, though he went too far with a suicide dive onto Punishment on the outside, before Martinez hit a huge last ride powerbomb onto the ring apron.
Castle looks a superstar in this and is fully cementing himself as someone to consider as a major contender in ROH, Godzilla intensity is something to really admire, he looks a million bucks and has such ability that ROH surely signs him to a permanent deal. Castle was surprisingly eliminated following a distraction from Colt Cabana at ringside, this continues their feud heading into Final Battle.
Lio Rush really took a beating throughout the match, on the outside Bobby Fish was attacked by Hangman Page before his tag team partner Kyle O’Reilly made the save. Back in the ring Godzilla showed his freakiest strength by dominating the highly impressive Punishment Martinez, Lio Rush managed to tag in during this and hit Godzilla with a frog splash for the three count. Martinez and Rush continued where they left off during the Top Prospect tournament earlier in the year and displayed why both are excellent additions to the ROH roster, Lio Rush again hits a big frog splash but Martinez managed to counter for a choke slam, but the incredible Rush somehow reversed this into a roll up pin, Martinez following his elimination sat at ringside in front of Steve Corino to continue the rivalry between them two and Kevin Sullivan and BJ Whitmer.
The final two men were Bobby Fish and Lio Rush, the TV Champion controlled large parts of this with Lio Rush acting as the typical underdog. Not long before the 2016 Top Prospect winner attempted several comebacks and earn himself another ROH World Title Match, the 2016 Survival Of The Fittest was crowned as both men went toe to toe was stiff leg and palm strikes as Bobby Fish connected with Falcon Arrow for a two count, as Lio kicked out the TV Champion transitioned into a knee bar for the win.
An excellent two day event highlighted for me by the outstanding tag team match between War Machine and Taylor/Lee, I will continue to state this but ROH needs to have some sort of Junior Heavyweight division to capitalize on talents like Lio Rush, this guy is simply stunning and should be put into matches with other talent with similar styles while competing for gold.
I’d love to see Jax Dane signed to a full ROH contract, the company doesn’t have anyone like him, he has excellent in ring ability with a great look and has the ability to cut a very powerful promo as seen with the announcement of him entering Survival Of The Fittest 2016, I hope to see more of Jax in 2017.
Until next time