ROH sent out the following today…
Last Saturday at "All Star Extravaganza V" the First Round World Title Tournament match between Michael Bennett and BJ Whitmer ended without a true official decision after Whitmer suffered a serious injury due to an apron pile driver. Whitmer, who had lost feeling in the right side of his body, was unable to continue and was rushed to a local hospital. Now after thinking everything through, and hearing arguments from all sides, Match Maker Nigel McGuinness has decided that since Bennett was the last man standing, he will indeed advance to the Quarter-Finals of the ROH World Championship Tournament to face Tommaso Ciampa on August 17th in NYC.
"Emotions were running high last Saturday." stated Nigel McGuinness, "BJ Whitmer is not only a great competitor that is very important to ROH but he is also a close friend. I have spoken with BJ every day since the incident and he is progressing daily. It could have been much worse as professional wrestling is a very dangerous sport and unfortunately these incredible athletes suffer serious injuries from time to time. After putting my emotions aside for the sake of business, my decision is that Michael Bennett has officially been declared the winner due to BJ not being able to continue and as such, will advance in the tournament to the next round. In addition, to ensure an impartial contest in NYC, Maria Kanellis will be banned from ringside. We all wish BJ a speedy recovery and we will continue to update you on his progress."
When reached for comments Michael Bennett had this to say:
"I never went into the match wanting this to happen." explained Bennett, "I went into this match to win, I went into this match with the ultimate goal of attaining the ROH World Championship. And if I may put my remorse aside, like Maria said to Nigel McGuinness, I was the last man standing therefore I should advance. I am upset that BJ is injured. I feel for him and his family but with all due respect, if he's hurt then he's hurt. I am still standing. I will move on and become the next ROH World Champion."
Per Nigel's decision, at "Manhattan Mayhem V" on 8/17, it will be Michael Bennett versus "The Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa in, not only a Quarter-Final tournament bout, but also in their first one-on-one meeting in Ring of Honor.