Survival of the Fittest 2012

Baltimore, MD – 9.22.2012

Championship Rundown
ROH World Champion: Kevin Steen
ROH Television Champion: Adam Cole
ROH World Tag Team Champions: S.C.U.M. (Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs)

Commentary is provided by Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness.

The DVD compiles the four episodes ROH TV that encompass this tournament. Full episodes of ROH on SBG 55 through 58 are included. For the sake of ease though, I will be reviewing it as a straight show rather than breaking it down by episode.

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Adam Cole vs. Tadarius Thomas

Cole puts on a headlock after a knuckle lock. He looks for a huracanrana but Thomas lands on his feet. Cole catches him with a Manhattan Drop and gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. He also gets two with a back elbow. Thomas throws a punch and Cole blocks it with a neckbreaker. Thomas sweeps out Cole’s leg and punches him on his way down. He whips Cole to the corner. Cole and Thomas throw kicks until Cole hits a jump-up enzuigiri. Cole gets two with a brainbuster across his knee. Thomas blocks some punches and manipulates his way into an enzuigiri. Thomas sends Cole out with a Slingblade variation. He cartwheels on the apron. He jumps off but is caught by Cole’s superkick. Thomas blocks the Figure Four back in the ring. Cole superkicks him in the head and gets the pin with the Florida Key at 6:42. Thomas has such a unique, athletic style that he stands out amongst everybody else on the roster. These are the kinds of matches he needs to be having in order to break out. Cole is always excellent and helped make Thomas look like he was on his level. A great way to open the tournament. ***

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Fusion DS (Matt Saigon & Damian Dragon)

Rhett Titus comes out and challenges Haas and Benjamin to a match instead of Fusion DS. Haas and Benjamin accept, thinking Titus has no partner. It turns out he does have a partner – BJ Whitmer!

Rhett Titus & BJ Whitmer vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin

Titus takes down Benjamin on the floor while Haas and Whitmer fight it out in the ring. When Benjamin comes back in, Whitmer hits a leg lariat for two. Titus throws Haas into the barricades. Benjamin asks for mercy but gets back suplexed instead. Titus tags in and throws some punches. Benjamin sends him to the apron. Haas trips him and Benjamin knees him in the face. Haas gets in some strikes on the floor before he and Benjamin isolate him in the ring. His window of opportunity opens up when Haas accidentally crotches himself on the ropes. He gives Haas an exploder suplex and Benjamin a spinebuster. Titus throws Haas to the floor and follows with a double axe handle. Benjamin misses a corner splash. Whitmer rolls him up for the pin at 4:45. Although this was short, it established Titus and Whitmer as a cohesive unit and got Whitmer mixed up in Titus’ problems with WGTT, so now it makes sense for them to feud. **1/2

WGTT attack Whitmer and Titus after the match. They pull Whitmer’s crotch into the ring post, which they have done to Jay Briscoe in the past. It’s announced on “Inside ROH” that these teams will meet again at “Glory By Honor XI” in a few weeks.

S.C.U.M. (Kevin Steen, Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs) make their way out to the ring for an interview with Kevin Kelly. Corino however asks Kelly to leave so that he can conduct the interview. Steen requests Michael Elgin come to the ring, as he will be challenging Steen for the title at “Glory By Honor XI.” Michael Elgin and Truth Martini make their way out. Martini begins to spout about hoopla. Elgin cuts him off. Steen says that he doesn’t like Elgin. He notes that both Corino and Jacobs will be by his side during their match while Elgin seems to be down Roderick Strong and Rhino. Elgin says he doesn’t need them. Steen doesn’t like that Elgin stole the show down in Florida when he took on Davey Richards when it’s his job as champion to steal the show. Nevermind that Davey at the time was champion. Steen says that one night Elgin had in Florida is nothing compared to the six years he spent working to get the title. He tells Elgin that he will beat him in his hometown because he is truly unbreakable and the best thing in wrestling today. Elgin responds by throwing strikes at S.C.U.M. Steen clocks him with his title belt. Roderick Strong refuses to help, but Rhino and The Guardians of Truth send S.C.U.M. packing.

ROH Tag Team Championship
S.C.U.M. (Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

Coleman knocks down Jacobs with a series of punches. He dropkicks Jacobs for two. Alexander slingshots in with a senton. Coleman does the same. Jacobs gives Coleman a chin breaker and tags in Corino. Coleman immediately gives him an armdrag. Corino puts him in an abdominal stretch, but Alexander dropkicks Corino to break free. Coleman dropkicks Jacobs off the apron before he and Alexander give Corino a legdrop Hart Attack for two. Alexander misses a high crossbody. Jacobs drives his neck into the apron. He stomps on his chest before dropping an elbow. Jacobs and Corino take Alexander down with a tandem backbreaker. Jacobs goes for a senton but Alexander gets his knees up. He rolls to the corner to tag in Coleman. He drops Corino with an STF. Jacobs stomps on him in the corner. Coleman kicks him away. He strings two Northern Lights suplexes together on Jacobs. He then suplexes Corino and Jacobs at the same time for a two count. He tornado DDT’s Corino which sends him out. He springboard dives out onto him! Jacobs comes out and is caught with a 619. Alexander tope con hilo’s onto both of them. C&C hit a full nelson facebuster/diving legdrop combo on Jacobs. Corino breaks the pin. He then takes Total Elimination. Alexander dropkicks Corino and Jacobs in opposite corners. Coleman gives Jacobs a Leap of Faith. Alexander frog splashes Jacobs. Corino blasts Coleman in the face with a roll of coins right in front of the referee, getting them disqualified at 7:10. Even with a DQ ending this was so much better than their match at Death Before Dishonor X. Coleman and Alexander continue to look awesome and are my picks as next champions. ***

Corino and Jacobs continue to attack C&C after the bell. Elgin runs out and saves them all by himself.

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Davey Richards vs. Mike Bennett

Maria Kanellis and “Brutal” Bob Evans are in Bennett’s corner. Bennett charges but Richards catches him with a superkick. He lights up Bennett with kicks in the corner. He strings a running forearm and clothesline together for a two count. Bennett gets the ropes to break an ankle lock. Bennett puts Maria in the way to avoid a kick from Richards. He chases Bennett around ringside only to be caught with a clothesline from Evans. Richards ends up sending Bennett into the barricades and follows him in with a boot to the face. He hip swivels towards Maria after putting Bennett in an Indian Death Lock. Bennett again uses the ropes to escape. He sends Richards to the floor with a back elbow. Bennett avoids being thrown into the ring post and gives Bennett a spine buster on the ring apron! Back in the ring he delivers a clothesline for two. Richards begins to fire up but is cut off with a superkick. Bennett goes to his eyes. Richards clotheslines Bennett to the floor and suicide dives after him. He missile dropkicks Bennett to the corner. He gets two with an enzuigiri. He begins kicking Bennett on the apron but accidentally kicks the ring post. Bennett spears him onto the apron and gets a two count. Bennett applies an ankle lock. Richards rolls through. Evans helps Bennett block an O’Conner Roll. Richards however pulls of a suplex and then kicks Evans in the chest. He reapplies the ankle lock to Bennett. Bennett rolls forward. Maria slaps Richards. Mike Mondo comes out and kisses Maria which distracts Bennett. He limps around ringside chasing Mondo. Mondo disappears. Richards hits the Alarm Clock and a running enzuigiri for the pin at 10:02. Richards seems like a new wrestler compared to how he’s been for the past year or so. It seems like his methodology has changed. He and Bennett had a really good back and forth match that was almost spoiled by Mondo and Maria’s nonsense. Thankfully it didn’t take too much away and the match was able to thrive in spite of it. ***1/4

Tommaso Ciampa was scheduled to face Jay Lethal in a Survival of the Fittest Qualifying match. Ciampa however has a torn up leg and cannot compete. He comes to the ring with Barrister RD Evans. He calls Ciampa a thoroughbred. With that though, he says when a thoroughbred has a broken leg, you shoot him in the head. Evans introduces his new client QT Marshall who will be taking Ciampa’s place. Ciampa seems ready to fight Marshall when Evans nails him in his broken leg with his crutch. Marshall also attacks Ciampa with the crutch.

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Jay Lethal vs. QT Marshall

Lethal superkicks Marshall and clotheslines him to the floor. He sends Marshall into the barricades with a suicide dive. Marshall knee Lethal in the stomach. Back in the ring Lethal back body drops Marshall after a chop exchange. Evans grabs his leg. Lethal stomps on his hand and throws Marshall out. Marshall comes back in quickly and catches Lethal with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Evans chokes Lethal behind the referee’s back. Marshall arrogantly steps on Lethal’s face. Lethal spears him in the corner. He misses the second time around. Marshall tries using the ropes for a pin and gets caught. Lethal crossbody’s off the second rope. He then hits a back handspring elbow. He calls for the Lethal Injection. Marshall blocks with a flapjack and a lariat. Lethal comes back with the Lethal Combination. Evans stops him from hitting a top rope elbow. Prince Nana runs out and attacks Evans! Lethal back flips into the Lethal Injection for the win at 6:25. The interference didn’t ruin anything, but having it in back-to-back matches is no good either. Lethal is on a roll while Marshall just kind of exists. **1/2

ROH World Championship
Kevin Steen vs. Rhett Titus

Steve Corino joins the commentary team for this bout. BJ Whitmer is in Titus’ corner while Jimmy Jacobs is in Steen’s. Titus attacks Steen in the entrance way. He throws Steen into the barricades a couple of times. In the ring Steen stomps on Titus’ chest. Titus dropkicks him to the floor. He tope con hilo’s onto both Steen and Jacobs. Titus gets two with the Thrust Buster. Steen catches him with a dangling DDT. He hangs Titus in a tree of woe and delivers a cannonball senton. Titus boots Steen to block a corner attack. He kicks Steen twice and knocks him down with a rolling clothesline. He hits the IED for two. Steen drags Titus to the floor. He tries for a powerbomb on the apron. Titus fights out and also punches Jacobs when he comes after him. Steen pops up Titus to powerbomb him on the ring apron. Titus kicks out of the pin attempt. Steen misses a moonsault. Whitmer stops Jacobs from interfering with his spike. The spike ends up in the ring. Titus picks it up. Referee Todd Sinclair stops him from using it. Steen superkicks Sinclair and hits the F-Cinq for the pin at 6:43. They tried really hard, but it was impossible to accept Titus as a threat at any time. Everybody played their role really well but it’s too soon for Titus to be getting a title shot, especially with no real build. **3/4

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Homicide vs. Roderick Strong

Truth Martini is in Strong’s corner. They take things to the mat. Homicide puts on a hammerlock in the ropes. He takes Strong down with a headscissors and a back elbow. He throws Strong into the barricades and chokes him with some cables. Strong boots Homicide and sends him into the barricades. Back in the ring he boots Homicide when Homicide comes charging at him. He gets two with a backbreaker. Homicide goes for the Three Amigos. Midway through Strong tosses him chest first onto the top rope. He puts on a bear hug. Homicide claps Strong’s ears to escape. He gets two with a roll up. He overhead suplexes Strong to the corner. He goes for a monkey flip. Strong turns him around, but Homicide still is able to hit a knee strike from the second rope. He also gets in a knee strike. Strong delivers an enzuigiri in the corner before getting two with another backbreaker. He goes for the Tiger Driver. Homicide backdrops his way free. He huracanrana’s Strong off the top rope for two. He gives Strong an exploder suplex. Strong gives him Snake Eyes. The Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick get him a two count. The Tiger Driver puts Homicide away at 10:22. They had some threads of storytelling in here, but for the most part it was just a bunch of moves that never got the crowd energized. Considering what these guys usually are able to do I found myself to be disappointed with this contest. **1/2

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Mike Mondo vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Mondo wrenches on a side headlock. Davey Richards takes a seat ringside to watch his former protégé. O’Reilly shoulder blocks Mondo to the mat. They jockey for control but end up in a stalemate. They engage in a double knuckle lock which sees both men monkey flip the other while still locking hands. O’Reilly breaks it and drops a knee across Mondo’s forehead. O’Reilly comes off the apron and dropkicks Mondo into the barricades. He maintains control back in the ring. Mondo tries to whip O’Reilly but gets kneed in the stomach. O’Reilly gets two with a cravat suplex. Mondo turns things around with a superplex. He gives O’Reilly a snapmare driver for two. O’Reilly throws some kicks. Mondo evades a leg sweep and stomps O’Reilly’s head into the mat. Mondo goes for the butterfly DDT. O’Reilly blocks it and gets rolled up for two. They exchange strikes ending with Mondo sending O’Reilly to the apron with a knee lift. O’Reilly knee strikes Mondo. After evading each others’ strikes, O’Reilly takes Mondo down with a reverse huracanrana. He hits a Regalplex but Mondo kicks out. O’Reilly tries for the cross armbreaker. Mondo turns it into his own Kondo Clutch. O’Reilly taps out at 10:43. This was good back and forth action. The finish with O’Reilly was weird because he grabbed the referee’s shirt and tapped his back and the match ended. Even Richards looked confused. Semi-awkward finish aside, but guys had a really good showing. ***

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Michael Elgin vs. Rhino

Truth Martini comes out with both men. He objects to the match happening and feels that they were purposefully put against each other in a conspiracy. Neither guy is willing to step down from the match. A flurry of punches kicks things off. Rhino throws Elgin to the apron. Elgin boots him and comes back in with a slingshot back elbow. Rhino throws him into the barricades. Roderick Strong emerges from the back. Elgin sends Rhino to the barricades. Martini is displeased to see Strong. Elgin flies back into the ring with a shoulder tackle from the top rope. Rhino delivers a belly-to-belly suplex. He sets up for the Gore. Elgin dodges it and rolls up Rhino for two. Rhino lands a spinebuster. He gets two with a short-arm clothesline. Elgin ducks another clothesline and hits an enzuigiri. Elgin blocks Rhino’s punches while throwing some of his own. He bicycle kicks Rhino before giving him the Boss Man Slam. Rhino kicks out. Elgin gets two with a German suplex. Rhino rams his shoulder into Elgin’s mid-section. He TKO’s Elgin but only gets two. Strong gets on the apron to complain about it only being a three count. Martini comes in and begs Rhino not to Gore Elgin. Rhino positions him on the top rope. Elgin hits his own Gore! Martini is now hanging upside down in the corner. Elgin hits the spinning powerbomb for the pin at 7:50. It was fun watching these two huge teammates fight one another. Martini and Strong added an interesting dynamic that made Elgin’s win seem like an even bigger deal. **3/4

The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Bravado Bros. (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado)

Mark takes Harlem down with a boot. The Briscoes hit the Sidewinder for two. Jay then gets two with a back elbow. Lancelot grabs Mark’s boot when he hits the ropes. The momentary distraction allows Harlem to deliver a bicycle kick. The Bravados drop stereo elbows. Jay runs in to break the count but Mark kicks out anywhow. Mark hops over Harlem in the corner and throws some Redneck Kung-Fu at him. Jay tags in and throws some punches at Lancelot. Mark sends Harlem to the floor while Mark gives Lancelot a Falcon Arrow. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device. Harlem sends Mark to the floor. Lancelot gives Jay a Code Breaker. Harlem gives Jay the Diamond Dust before flying onto Mark with double knees. Harlem comes back in with a Blockbuster to Jay. Mark breaks Lancelot’s cover. The Bravado’s Gentlemen’s Agreement goes awry. Mark takes out Harlem on the floor. The Briscoes put Lancelot away with the Doomsday Device at 5:25. This was an effective way to get The Briscoes some momentum for a title shot against S.C.U.M., but did they need it? Frankly I think The Bravado Bros. need and deserve a real push and wins against teams like The Briscoes would get them going in that direction. **

The Guardians of Truth come out. They have disassociated themselves with Truth Martini. They reveal that they are The Headbangers, which if you have spent three minutes on the internet would have known this whole time. Thrasher wants to know if the Briscoes are going to Man Up and accept their challenge. The Briscoes not only accept but say that in their minds, none of what The Headbangers have done in the past matters.

We get a great video package looking back at all the past Survival of the Fittest winners: Bryan Danielson (2004), Roderick Strong (2005), Delirious (2006), Chris Hero (2007), Tyler Black (2009), Eddie Edwards (2010), and Michael Elgin (2011). You can watch that video here.

2012 Survival of the Fittest Elimination Match
Adam Cole vs. Davey Richards vs. Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong vs. Mike Mondo vs. Michael Elgin

The winner of this match gets an ROH World Title match on demand. This year’s Survival of the Fittest has: 2 former ROH World Champions (Strong, Richards), the current Television champion (Cole), 2 former Television champions (Strong, Lethal), 1 former Pure champion (Lethal), 2 former ROH Tag Team champions (Strong, Richards), and 2 previous Survival of the Fittest winners (Strong, Elgin).

Richards and Strong start off. Lethal avoids being put into submission. Elgin blind tags in and Strong hits the floor right away. Mondo tags in. He’s not scared of Elgin, but still gets caught with a powerslam. Mondo headbutts him in the stomach until they make it to the corner. Richards dropkicks both Mondo and Elgin to the floor. He kicks Elgin from the apron. Strong however gives Richards a back breaker on the apron. Cole pescado’s onto Strong and Lethal suicide dives onto Cole. Mondo moonsaults onto everyone. He brings Richards back into the ring for a two count. Cole tags in and throws some punches at Mondo. Mondo looks for his butterfly suplex. Strong blind tags in and Sick Kicks Mondo for the first elimination at 4:49. Strong and Cole exchange strikes. Strong enzuigiri’s him for a two count. He arrogantly knocks Richards off the apron. Cole takes Death by Roderick but kicks out. Elgin backfists Strong into a superkick from Cole, eliminating Strong at 6:41. Richards puts Cole in an ankle lock right away. Cole kicks him away and gives Richards a neckbreaker across his knee. Elgin looks for the Chaos Theory. Cole blocks with a cradle, then hits an enzuigiri. Elgin blocks his running knee and powerbombs him into the corner. He pins Cole with the Spinning Powerbomb at 7:43. Lethal dropkicks Elgin. Elgin puts Lethal on his shoulders. Richards comes in. Elgin Samoan Drops Lethal while simultaneously throwing Richards in a fallaway slam. Elgin goes to the top rope. Strong shoves Elgin back into the ring! Richards suplexes Elgin onto the ringside table which dents inward! Richard and Lethal come to blows while Elgin recovers. They stop when they notice Elgin crawling back into the ring. He blocks the oncoming kicks. Richards enzuigiri’s Elgin into Lethal’s DDT. Richards double stomps onto Elgin, followed by Lethal hitting Hail to the King. Elgin kicks out even though both guys pin him simultaneously! He blasts Richards with a back elbow. Richards and Lethal throw kicks at his head, ending with double superkicks to take him out at 13:08. The locker room surrounds the ring as we are now down to Richards and Lethal. Richards asks for a handshake. Lethal pulls him into an Ace Crusher! He hits the Hail to the King for two. Richards slips off Lethal’s shoulders and gives him the Alarm Clock. Lethal comes back with two Lethal Combinations. Richards kicks out, so Lethal puts him in a Koji Clutch. Richards turns that into an ankle lock. Lethal reverses it while also putting Richards in a parachute stretch. Richards grabs the ropes to escape. Richards suplexes Lethal on the apron. In the ring he hits a double stomp. Lethal kicks out at one! Richards throws some kicks at his head and only gets a two count. Lethal throws a couple superkicks to block Richards’s running enzuigiri. He goes for the Lethal Injection. Richards blocks. He goes for the ankle lock but gets kicked away. Richards superplexes Lethal, then follows through with a brainbuster. Lethal kicks out again. Richards’ Sliding Enzuigiri has the same result. Back to the ankle lock he goes. Lethal rolls out. He sends Richards to the corner with a German suplex. He gets two with a Dragon suplex. Lethal puts Richards down with the Lethal Injection, winning the 2012 Survival of the Fittest tournament at 20:51. I thought the order of eliminations was perfect, Strong attacking Elgin ended up making him look stronger, and Richards and Lethal carried things in an exciting final stretch. It seems like they burnt out the crowd just a little bit by the end, but overall this was a worthy inclusion in the Survival of the Fittest lineage. ***3/4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s