Ring of Honor presented the first night of their annual Survival of the Fittest tournament on a show Thursday night in Arlington, TX.
Besides the company's debut in Dallas during WrestleMania weekend, this was the first ROH show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to really test the waters of them running in the North Texas market.
VIP Champion Keith Lee defeated Lou Gotti Sterrett to retain his title
Lee was defending the championship of a local promotion that helped in promoting this show. Lee won via pinfall after pop-up sit-out powerbomb.
The Panther defeated Will Ferrara, Yo, and Silas Young in a four corner survival match
This was the first of many SOTF qualifying matches. Most folks in attendance seemingly didn't know Panther was a legit luchador from Mexico. In winning and advancing in the tournament, Panther pinned Ferrara after a springboard missile dropkick.
Jax Dane defeated Donovan Dijak
In another SOTF qualifying match, Dane won in somewhat of an upset over a ROH regular. Dane speared Dijak for the pin.
Chris Sabin addressed the crowd, telling them his tag partner, Alex Shelley, was not there. Sabin claimed Shelley was “injured” after being allegedly attacked backstage by unnamed assailants. Sabin claimed Shelley was in a nearby hospital. Few believed him, mainly because he botched the name of closest hospital that was mere blocks away.
Punishment Martinez defeated Cheeseburger and Colt Cabana in a triple threat match
This was another SOTF qualifier. Now a heel after splitting from Dalton Castle, Cabana cut a promo before the match running down Castle. The match itself had some comedy mixed with seriousness. The fans loved them some Cheeseburger. Unfortunately, Martinez gave him a chokeslam before pinning him to advance in the tournament.
ROH World TV Champion Bobby Fish defeated Kenny King (w/ Caprice Coleman) in a non-title match
The Cabinet has apparently shifted to a militant group. Dressed like a Black Panther, Coleman cut a promo on Fish with the punchline being Coleman calling him a “jive turkey” before the match itself began.
For the finish, Fish executed a falcon arrow. As King kicked out at two, Fish transitioned into heel hook and King subsequently tapped out. The current TV champion, Fish, advanced in the tournament as this was non-title match in being a SOTF qualifier.
Dalton Castle (w/ local boys) defeated Rhett Titus (w/ Coleman) and Chris Sabin in a triple threat match
Castle was over huge with this crowd. Though he had local boys for his entrance, they left and did not stay at ringside. Coleman did stay around so he could insult fans at ringside. Castle pinned Titus after delivering the bang-a-rang. Afterwards, Castle did a promo talking about his split with Cabana. He went on to make vow about someday winning the ROH title.
Lio Rush defeated Sho, Hangman Page, Lio Rush, and Misterioso Jr. in a four corner survival match
Lots and lots of high flying in this SOTF qualifier. Rush especially shined with his dives and flying. Rush pinned Sho with a powerslam tilt-a-whirl into a scorpion drop. That was all one fluid move that wowed the crowd.
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Christopher Daniels (w/ Frankie Kazarian)
Arguably the best pure wrestling match on the show, these two took the crowd on a ride with psychology. Kazarian joined Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly on commentary. The finish was similar in some ways to the submission in Fish's match, and it also resembled some spots in O’Reilly/Kushida matches.
O'Reilly teased it during the match, catching Daniels in a armbar. Daniels would go on to escape. Later on, Daniels went for his Best Moonsault Ever. He leapt right into an armbar applied by O’Reilly. Daniels fought until O’Reilly hooked a leg along with the arm, and Daniels tapped out.
The Briscoes defeated War Machine and Keith Lee & Shane Taylor in triple threat street fight
This was a wild brawl from start to finish. They all brawled in the ring. They brawled around ringside. They then hopped the guardrail and fought around the building like they were in the ECW Arena, or maybe a concession stand in Tupelo.
Mark climbed atop a Sinclair Broadcasting cargo truck that was parked inside the venue. Mark leapt off the truck New Jack style. He landed on several wrestlers. Back in the ring, Mark jumped off the top rope to deliver a froggy-bow on Shane Taylor. Both Briscoes then covered him for the pin.
After the match, War Machine cut promos on Lee and Taylor that hyped up their no rules match in San Antonio on Friday night.