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[2004-06-24-ROH-Survival of the Fittest] Bryan Danielson vs Austin Aries vs Homicide vs Mark Briscoe vs Samoa Joe vs Colt Cabana


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  • 1 year later...


2004 Survival of the Fittest Elimination Match

Samoa Joe vs. Colt Cabana vs. Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Austin Aries
I've compared this match before to Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa from June 1990 and Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13, and for good reason. That comparison still holds up today. In the past few years, the closest (but not quite as great) that you'll find to this match is Tyler Black vs. Danielson from Breakout and Chris Hero vs. Akira Tozawa from the 2010 Battle of Los Angeles.
I want to take a quick moment to get the negatives out of the way - the tag issues. My problem with them wasn't that the ref stopped enforcing them. He momentarily just stopped doing so in an inconsistent fashion. This put a small damper on the early eliminations, which should've been just absolute gold based on what they lead to on future shows.
The idea of using this match to make new challengers for both the ROH and Tag Titles was a stroke of genius. Not only just using the winner of this stacked contest to create a top contender to the ROH Title, but using the early eliminations to create new opportunities. This match is also a top highlight of Gabe Sapolsky's booking.
Not only did new challengers become produced from this match, but it furthered the Joe vs. Rottweilers storyline while getting the Briscoes involved against Homicide as well, planting the seeds not only for Joe vs. Homicide (they got into a brawl earlier on the card and Homicide ruined the post-match of Joe vs. CM Punk on the previous event), but for the main event of the next show as well.
This match also had great psychology from the beginning. Mark found himself a target not only on his neck (worked on by Alex Shelley in their qualifier match), but also Danielson starting a new target with his left knee. However, the psychology truly peaked once the little booking intricacies were taken care of.
Those of you who were impressed by the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels and Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho Royal Rumble finishing sequences, you owe to yourself to see what Aries and Danielson did here. For about 20 minutes they beautifully blew the roof of the joint, Danielson first proving that he owned Aries on the mat and in barbarianism. He focused on the back of Aries, which ultimately paid off in the finish.
Aries though, despite his initial hesitation to doing a fair fight against the already established superstar, made a choice in the middle of this epic battle to dig down deep and back up all the shit that Generation Next had been talking. Through sheer guts and determination, he found an opportunity when Danielson's knee got stuck in the ropes, which brought Danielson down a tad bit to even the match out more.
However, this is Bryan Danielson looking to get his first shot at the ROH Title. Despite his knee pain and a mirrored barbaric nature that he brought out of Aries, he ultimately proved himself far too intelligent and focused on this night for his moment to be taken away. Finishing Aries with the exact same back submission as his GeNext teammate Evans, Danielson not only further cemented the legacy he was building as an in-ring performer, but proved that after losses in huge matches against the likes of Homicide, Paul London, and AJ Styles, he deserved to be in the very top mix.
For Aries, this is THE match that turned him into a breakout superstar in ROH and on the indy scene overnight. While he didn't have the character aspect of his career down pat yet, in the ring he could be counted on to one day carry a company. ROH"s rebirth continued in grand fashion here.
This match was so damn close to perfect. But it isn't on the same level of Low Ki vs. Danielson, Paul London vs. Danielson, and Styles vs. London. And that's why in that regard, this match is ROH's version of Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind from Mind Games.
Rating: ****3/4
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  • GSR changed the title to [2004-06-24-ROH-Survival of the Fittest] Bryan Danielson vs Austin Aries vs Homicide vs Mark Briscoe vs Samoa Joe vs Colt Cabana
  • 2 years later...

The final one-on-one showdown between Aries & Danielson covers over half of the match & it's some great stuff. Everything beforehand is rock-solid with stories progressing between participants, but Aries & Danielson take it to another level w/ their battle; I really liked Bryan's work over Aries' back, especially with his bodyslams becoming angrier & angrier as the bout progressed. The finish with the bear-hug sequence ruled too, that vicious finishing submission was a great pay-off to Danielson's focused attack. At 40+ minutes, it's a real lengthy match, but it's a very good one. The action is solid all the way through with the peaks (Danielson vs. Aries) being great. ***3/4

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