I’m back everybody. Sorry it’s been so long, but life gets to you sometimes, but I am back with another edition of ROH Ringside. This week I’m going to be talking about a type of match that ROH has usually every show, and that tends to showcase lower class and top class talent. However, before I go onto the topic at hand, I would like to give a second update on an issue I’ve been commenting on the past couple of articles with regards to my ROH DVD Collection. As you all know (if you are regular readers of my articles) I was stuck on getting the show “Dragon Gate Invasion” which was impossible to get. However after my last article I finally found a second sale of the show on eBay which I obtained. The only inconvenience was that shipping and handling was twenty dollars American. This is too high compared to my transactions in the past and speaking to the guy he said he had more ROH shows, but he was asking twenty dollars shipping per DVD despite being able to stick all the DVD’s in one single box. So I said, forget it, I’ll just take the “Dragon Gate Invasion” show.
Once I received the DVD I started searching for the next ROH DVD’s and in thankfully in this case, it was easily available from a buyer I’ve bought from a lot. I know this seller charges less for shipping and handling in general plus a discount for various articles at once. So I bought all the DVD’s in a row I could from this seller, which turned out to be seven. The shows I got were “Glory by Honor IV”, “Survival of the Fittest 2005”, “Joe vs. Kobashi” (which I will talk about in a future), “Unforgettable”, “Enter The Dragon”, “Buffalo Stampede” and finally “This Means War”. Since I bought all these DVD’s I have watched all of them and I’m about a quarter into the last show “This Means WAR”. Talk about fast.
Going to the issue I wanted to talk about, while I was watching “Unforgettable” I realized something that I haven’t talked about in my articles and that I would like to bring up in this article. It’s a match type that has become a staple of ROH. That match is the “Four Corner Survival Match”. This is one of my favorite types of matches because apart from being entertaining to watch, it can also help display and get into the spotlight the lesser known wrestlers, and Ring of Honor is the only place I have seen this type of match. However, before we get into the likes and pro and cons and all that, I will briefly explain the outlay and rules of the match.
The four corner survival match is a four-way match, meaning there are four competitors. However it’s not like in the WWE where all four men start in the ring and wrestle at the same time. The difference here is that only two men start out inside the ring to wrestle while the other two are in separate corners outside the ring (like in a tag match). The two men inside the ring start to wrestle. The other two wrestlers outside the ring can substitute any of the other two wrestlers in the ring (like in a tag match) in one of two ways. The first being tagged in and second if one of the competitors inside the ring goes to the outside. The way to win the match is to either by pinning one of the other three opponents or by making them submit. This is not an elimination match. Therefore, the first man to get the pin or submission is the winner giving the wrestlers a need to be strategic however way they can.
Usually these matches start out plain and simple, with the two initial competitors squaring off and making the tag to who they see fit. If two wrestlers are in the middle of a feud and in the middle of the ring, one of the competitors will tag in another so he doesn’t have to face who’s in the ring with him. They’ll build it up slowly with mind games, small holds, etc. As the match progresses, then the tags will become less frequent because the wrestlers tend to get out of the ring more. Then the moment for the big moves come into play with all four men fighting all over the place without caring who the “legal” man is. The action gets intense and usually the match itself is great.
I like these types of matches for various reasons, which I will go into detail.
First of all most of these matches are really entertaining by themselves. Good psychology, good action, good mat wrestling, good spots, etc. Although it is true that ROH has good action no matter what type of match is at hand, this match is unique and entertaining.
Second of all it can help enhance rivalries without hurting the wrestlers involved. Although this type of match doesn’t tend to have too many wrestlers involved in feuds occasional it will. Both men can face each but both men can avoid being pinned by each other or by another opponent.
Lastly (although there can be many more reasons) I think it helps showcase the newer guys that come into the promotion. When the promotion first started the ROH fans, including myself, would be into seeing how all the “new guys” wrestled and we would be captivated by their talent in the ring alone. That’s how I got to know most of the big stars from the 2005 era (where the current DVD’s that I’m watching take place). However, I notice a trend lately in 2005 where the fans are kind of leaning to pay attention to the better known wrestlers with more charisma. The example that pops into my mind (although there are more) is Davey Andrews who is a graduate of the first Ring of Honor class. He’s very green at the time of the show I’m watching, and he has no charisma and the fans don’t really react to him. So the first time he debuts in a Ring of Honor ring you would go, “Who is this guy?” “Boring”. “Get me someone else”. “This will be a squash match”, etc. However, if you put him in a Four Corner Survival with say Delirious, Matt Sydal and Chad Collyer, for example, you got three guys who the fans know and respect, then you get a new guy that even if the fans don’t have interest in, you can have him showcased against better known talent and not have the aspect of a jobber.
This being said, I think people can get an idea of what makes these ROH staple matches so unique and fun to watch. Even though in the future I might go into depth with the matches I am going to name below, here’s a list of the four survival matches between 2002 and October 2005 that I think people should check out.
- Paul London vs. B.J. Whitmer vs. Colt Cabana vs. Homicide from “Revenge on the Prophecy”
- J. Whitmer vs. Colt Cabana vs. Dan Maff vs. Homicide from “Death Before Dishonor I”
- Nigel McGuiness vs. Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Rocky Romero from “Reborn: Stage Two”
- Izzy vs. Fast Eddie vs. Jack Evans vs. Trent Acid from “Weekend of Thunder – Day 2”
- Jack Evans vs. Delirious vs. Eberato vs. Samoa Joe from “The Final Showdown”
- Austin Aries vs. Homicide vs. James Gibson vs. Samoa Joe from “Sign of Dishonor”
- Jay Lethal vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Davey Andrews vs. Nigel McGuiness from “Unforgettable”
— Jose Perez, ROH columnist