Necro rates Ring of Honor : Survival of the Fittest 2004
1. SOTF Qualifier #1: Mark Briscoe vs. Alex Shelley - *** - Some nice psychology on here, with Briscoe working over Shelley's leg/knee and Shelley working over Briscoe's neck. Told a nice, short story.
2. SOTF Qualifier #2: Colt Cabana vs. Trent Acid - * - Comedy match.
3. SOTF Qualifier #3: Aries/Strong vs. Daniels/Walters - **3/4
4. SOTF Qualifier #4: Homicide vs. Jay Briscoe - **1/2
5. SOTF Qualifier #5: Bryan Danielson vs. Jack Evans - **1/4 - Such a brutal, one-sided match with Danielson stretching the shit out of flippy McGuillicutty Evans. Kickin ass, takin namez. DBD picks up the victory with a fucking sick boston crab-like move. (It's like, a liontamer with the waist clutched instead of the legs, with the opponent being bent to an even more ridiculous angle. Nasty!)
6. SOTF Qualifier #6: Samoa Joe vs. Matt Stryker - ** - Exactly what you'd expect tbh.
7. ROH Tag Team Championship: Punk/Cabana (c) vs. Dunn/Marcos vs. Outkast Killaz vs. Special K - 3/4* - A nothing match. Punk goes it alone and ends up sneaking a victory a few minutes into the match... after Hydro does a double dragon suplex to the Ring Crew Express.
8. CM Punk vs. Hydro - *** - Good match, pretty much serving as a showcase of the Special K member Hydro's skills before he became Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe's protege. Punk (fresh off his first one-hour draw against Joe) dominated the match, but Hydro came out of it all looking like he had a lot of heart/fighting spirit. Good booking.
9. Survival of the Fittest Finals - **** - I think everyone got a sequence with each other during the first fifteen minutes, including most people getting their shit in and a few different stories overlapping. (Mark's neck, blind tags, everyone hates batshit insane Homicide) Cabana then surprisingly pins the world champion! Then he gets pinned himself shortly afterwards. At the twenty minute mark, Briscoe gives Homicide a bridging german suplex which leads to a double-pin, since he couldn't get his shoulders off the mat with his duff neck. All this is pretty nice stuff so far.
Down to the final two with Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries, which eats up more than half of the match's length of ~45 minutes and is fucking awesome. Outmatched by Bryan's technical prowess in the beginning, Aries resorts to some kneework and heelish tactics and to even the playing field somewhat and gain control of the match. Soon it turns into a pretty back-and-forth match with cool submissions, (that make sense) highflying maneuevers, reversals and near-falls etc. The crowd is super into the whole thing, too. It goes home at the right time too, before it begins to get ridiculous with too many finisher kick-outs and RARR FIGHTING SPIRIT spots, (a large problem with today's product) with Dickbutt picking up the win with that SICK bawston crab.
This is a truly star making performance for Aries as the relative newbie realistically takes Danielson to the limit, even if he does come up short at the end.... looking strong before he would go on to end Joe's streak by the end of the year.