On Sunday night, Ring of Honor presented the 12th edition of its Survival of the Fittest tournament. 15 men took part, first facing off in either a singles or triple threat qualifying match with those six winners moving on to the finals. At the end of the night, there could only be one winner and after last eliminating Christopher Daniels, that man was Marty Scurll.
The Villain survived and now, he’s guaranteed a future world championship match, something that could happen at ROH’s next big show, the end of year spectacular known as Final Battle.
Final Battle is already shaping up to be a great show as it was announced at the Pittsburgh tapings that Zack Sabre Jr. will be making his ROH debut to face Jonathan Gresham, and tonight, Madison Rayne qualified for a four corners survival match against Sumie Sakai for the Women of Honor Championship. Of course that wasn’t the only big victory on the night. Adding a Scurll/Lethal championship match to Final Battle would no doubt be best for business.
Marty Scurll took part in one of three triple threats on the night for his Survival of the Fittest qualifying match, defeating Silas Young and Stuka Jr. After an action-packed bout, Scurll pinned Stuka Jr. to advance to the six-man elimination finals, where he was joined by PJ Black, Christopher Daniels, Guerrero Maya Jr., Hangman Page and Jonathan Gresham.
From top to bottom, really any of those guys could have made a valid claim for the title, making the final that much more intriguing.
Daniels and Maya Jr. opened the match, before Page and Black tagged in for some offense and then Scurll and Gresham made their way into the match. Maya Jr. was the first one eliminated, courtesy of Black who hit him with a powerbomb for the pinfall. Early on, the Bullet Club buddies, Page and Scurll, worked together, that was until a little miscommunication led to Scurll hitting Page with an errant spear intended for Gresham. But the slight issues between the two didn’t have an effect as Page was able to eliminate Gresham with the Rite of Passage. Two down, four to go.
Black and Daniels began to double team Scurll, both nearly getting the fall several times. Neither could complete the job however, which allowed Scurll and Page the chance to work a double team of their own, ultimately resulting in Scurll eliminating Black with a roll-up. Page and Scurll continued to double team Daniels until Scurll took an opportunity to turn on Page and almost eliminate him. Daniels took advantage of the distraction, eliminating Page with the Best Moonsault Ever. That left things down to just Scurll and Daniels and it didn’t last long after that. Daniels had a near fall but Scurll was the one who came out on top, defeating Daniels with Graduation for the three-count.
Marty Scurll, who made his ROH debut less than two years ago, began to make his mark on the company almost as soon as he walked in the door. In just his third match with the promotion, Scurll won the World Television Championship, defeating longtime rival Will Ospreay. Since then, Scurll has enjoyed experiences in both ROH and its partner promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling where he is a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champion alongside the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson).
Moving from the TV title to the world title scene a few months ago, Scurll won a #1 contendership by defeating Punishment Martinez at ROH’s 16th Anniversary Show. At Supercard of Honor XII, Scurll had a fantastic showcase with then-champion Dalton Castle. He came close but ultimately Castle retained. Marty Scurll received his second opportunity by winning ROH’s third-ever Defy or Deny match. When Scurll’s opportunity came two months later, Cody, who wanted his title rematch, had been entered into the picture. At the time, Bullet Club was pretending to be fine so there was some tension between the two stablemates leading up to and during the match. Ultimately, the clash went down at Best in the World with Castle retaining despite a ton of interference from The Boys, Brandi Rhodes and Nick Aldis on the outside.
Permitting things stay as a singles match this time, this will be just the second singles world title match for Scurll in ROH. It will be his first such title match with Jay Lethal as champion. These two have met just twice before in singles matches with Scurll overcoming Lethal at Revolution Pro Wrestling in 2013 and Lethal emerging with the victory at Final Battle last year. Most recently, Marty Scurll defeated Lethal and Flip Gordon in a triple threat at ROH State of the Art.
This is a great opportunity for the 30-year-old Scurll, who could very well emerge as one of the new faces of Ring of Honor going forward. That is of course if he’s not planning to leave for greener pastures in 2019, like it’s being rumored so many of his fellow Elite are. The fact that Scurll won Survival of the Fittest however, in a field of so many talented competitors, could suggest that he’ll still be around and that ROH is perhaps priming him for a world title run. While there has been no word as to what the others will do, Scurll has reportedly signed a six month extension that keeps him under ROH/NJPW control through April 2019 and the G1 Supercard. That might explain why Scurll is alongside Kazuchika Okada, NJPW’s ace, on the banner poster for the event. If the thought is that these two will be headlining as the two biggest names in each company, then it would make a lot of sense for Scurll to enter this historic show in Madison Square Garden as the Ring of Honor World Champion.