“Survival of the Fittest” is a tournament that was born in Essington, PA on June 24, 2004 when Mark Briscoe, Alex Shelley, Colt Cabana, Trent Acid, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, John Walters, Josh Daniels, Homicide, Jay Briscoe, Bryan Danielson, Jack Evans, Samoa Joe, and Matt Stryker battled it out in qualifying matches over the 6 slots in the elimination finals. Mark Briscoe, Cabana, Aries, Homicide, Danielson, and Joe were the men who advanced with Danielson & Aries standing as the last two men battling over a future title shot. Their 20-minute fight, won by Danielson, ultimately accomplished two things: Danielson earned himself a title opportunity and Aries began to establish himself in the top tier of ROH talent.
That first tournament set the tone for the years to come and, with 2008 the only exception, each year since has seen a man fight his way into contention via SOTF. Roderick Strong in 2005, Delirious in 2006, Chris Hero in 2007, Tyler Black in 2009…all of those men made it out of SOTF victorious, but none of them managed to turn the title bout they earned into a championship victory. That “curse” was broken with “SOTF 2010” when Eddie Edwards, fighting through a severely separated shoulder suffered in his qualifying bout against Chris Hero, went on to the finals and eliminated Kenny King to earn the title bout. Then, at “Manhattan Mayhem IV”, with his ROH World Title victory over Roderick Strong, Eddie became to first man to successfully parlay his SOTF win into a championship. The precedent was set, and now, with SOTF 2011 on the horizon, the ROH roster is looking to step up to the plate. But where will it all go down? ROH officials have now determined just that…
The Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, OH has seen many a historic night in ROH history: the first 1 hour classic between Samoa Joe & CM Punk, James Gibson’s ROH title victory, Whitmer vs. Necro in a Barbwire War, and Tyler Black’s breakout match against Bryan Danielson for example. Now on November 18th, when ROH returns to the Fairgrounds, the fans in Dayton can prepare for another of those moments because “Survival of the Fittest 2011” will go down in Dayton, OH! Andy “Right Leg” Ridge has already earned a spot in a qualifying bout with his victory over Grizzly Redwood during the “Death Before Dishonor IX” pre-show, bringing this young man one step closer to achieving his life’s dream.
The rest of the men entered into the tournament, and their respective bouts, will be announced in the coming weeks so keep an eye on ROHWrestling.com for the latest details. Tickets for “Survival of the Fittest 2011” are on sale right here in the ROH Store (http://www.rohstore.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=149), and if you’re a fan in Ohio, make sure you catch the debut of Ring of Honor Wrestling starting this Saturday in that Dayton, Cincinnati, & Columbus areas (http://www.rohwrestling.com/news/looking-for-ring-of-honor-on-sbg-networks/).
Who will be the next athlete to make their impact through Survival of the Fittest? Will they follow in the footsteps of Eddie Edwards and claim the ROH World Title as a result? Only time will tell but the members of the ROH locker room are already preparing…