At "Death Before Dishonor IX" in NYC, it was Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards who clashed in the first ever Ringmaster's Challenge. It was a 2/3 Falls match, ultimately won by "Die Hard" in a Sudden Death overtime period, but with some very specific stipulations.
The 1st fall of the challenge could ONLY end via pin and it was Roderick who picked up the victory in that initial fall while the 2nd fall, won by Eddie Edwards, could only be won with a submission. The 3rd and final match of the contest was contested under 15 minute Iron Man rules but when those 15 minutes concluded there was no decisive winner. On the spot, then-Executive Producer Jim Cornette declared there would be a Sudden Death OT and after 40+ minutes of war, Edwards finally picked up the victory.
It has been almost two years since that bout but on September 7th, when ROH debuts in Birmingham at Boutwell Auditorium, the Ringmaster's Challenge will make its return! And what better combatant to make up one-half of the contest than Roderick Strong...
"This is a test of everything a wrestler has to bring to the table." said Roderick to ROHWrestling.com, "It's heart and conditioning, grappling and submissions, and I gotta say that you'd be hard pressed to find a guy in ROH that's in better condition than me. So with everything that's been happening the last couple months between me and a certain Adam Cole...spitting on the Code, and the way he took the countout to beat me at Best in the World, not to mention the way we ended up with a DQ on TV, I think it's safe to say that Cole is afraid he can't hang with Mister ROH. Step up to the plate, kid. How about we set aside the World Title tournament for one night in Alabama and we do this with a Ringmaster's challenge?"
According to Match Maker Nigel McGuinness, Adam Cole has agreed to the bout and the return of the Ringmaster's Challenge will go down on September 7th in Birmingham! As Strong said it's a test of heart, conditioning, and skill and it will put both Roderick and Cole through the wringer! Once again the rules are as follows:
1st fall: Pinfall only
2nd fall: Submission only
3rd Fall (if necessary): 15 minute Iron man w/ Sudden Death OT if necessary