Survival of the Fittest is making its return to Ring of Honor for the first time since 2018. The finals of the tournament will take place at ROH TV #510. The winner of that match will challenge RUSH for the ROH World Championship at Best in the World 2021. Let’s take a look back at the past Survival of the Fittest winners and where they are now.
Survival of the Fittest Winners 2004-2007
2004 Winer: Bryan Danielson
Bryan Danielson (now known as Daniel Bryan) won the inaugural tournament in 2004. He defeated Austin Aries, Colt Cabana, Homicide, Mark Briscoe, and Samoa Joe in the six-way final to win the tournament. Although he was unable to capture the ROH World Title from then-champion Samoa Joe, Danielson did go on to win the ROH World Title in 2005. After his departure from ROH, he headed to WWE where he was part of the first season of NXT, before going onto to partake in notable storylines such as: Team Hell No and his WrestleMania 30 World Title run as part of the “Yes Movement”. Bryan was forced to retire due to injury in 2o15 and became the on-screen general manager for SmackDown. He returned to the ring in 2018 and became WWE Champion before leaving WWE after this year’s WrestleMania.
2005 Winner: Roderick Strong
Next on the list of Survival of the Fittest Winners winners is Roderick Strong. Strong defeated Next Generation teammates Colt Cabana and Austin Aries as well as Christopher Daniels, Jay Lethal and, Samoa Joe in the six-way eliminator final to win the tournament. He was unable to capture the title from Bryan Danielson and did not capture the ROH World Title until 2007. Strong captured the title from Tyler Black (AKA Seth Rollins) at Glory By Honor IX in 2007 for the first and only time. Strong departed Ring of Honor in 2016 and signed with WWE, where he reported to NXT. He was most notably part of the Undisputed Era, where he became a two-time NXT Tag Team Champion and one-time North American Champion as part of the stable.
2006 Winner: Delirious
Delirious won the 2006 edition of the tournament. Delirious defeated Austin Aries, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, and Matt Sydal in the five-way final match. He faced Bryan Danielson for the title but was not able to capture it. Unlike the first two winners of the tournament, Delirious never captured the ROH World Title. The following year he became the head trainer of the ROH Wrestling Academy and the head booker for ROH in 2010. After taking on the role, he has limited his in-ring activity within ROH. In 2018 he also became a trainer at the ROH Baltimore Dojo.
2007 Winner: Chris Hero
Moving down the line of Survival of the Fittest winners, we have Chris Hero. Hero defeated Austin Aries, Claudio Castagnoli (AKA Cesaro), Human Tornado, Rocky Romero, and Roderick Strong in the finals. He challenged then-champion Nigel McGuinness in a match that ended in some controversy. The two squared off for the title at Glory by Honor VI. McGuinness entered the ring with a bicep injury sustained just a week before. Hero forced McGuinness to tap out ending the match, only momentarily. The referee restarted the match after he noticed that McGuinness reached the ropes. McGuiness forced Hero to tap out retaining the belt. Hero never captured the ROH world title before his departure in 2012 and brief return from 2013-2014. He then appeared in WWE in 2016 and competed on NXT and NXT UK. Hero was released from WWE in April of 2020 and has not been active since.
Survival of the Fittest Hiatus and Winners 2009-2010
2009 Winner: Tyler Black
Survival of the Fittest took a brief hiatus in 2008 before returning in 2009. Tyler Black was crowned the winner after defeating Chris Hero, Colt Cabana, Claudio Castagnoli, Delirious, and Roderick Strong in the finals. Black competed against Austin Aries in a match that ended in a 60-minute time limit draw. The two met again at the Eighth Anniversary event where Black successfully won the title for the first and final time. Black held the title for 210 days before leaving the company for WWE. Black, now known as Seth Rollins, has had many memorable moments within WWE.
Rollins was crowned the first-ever NXT champion before moving onto the main roster as part of The Shield. Following his turn heel and dissolution of The Shield, Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 31 to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during the main event. Rollins then feuded with Triple H following his removal from The Authority, before a reunion with The Shield took place. Most recently Rollins has worked with his “Messiah” and “Embrace the Vision” gimmicks in WWE.
2010 Winner: Eddie Edwards
Closing out part one of Survival of the Fittest winners is Eddie Edwards. Eddie defeated Adam Cole, Claudio Castagnoli, Kenny King, Kevin Steen (AKA Kevin Owens), and Rhett Titus in the finals. He went on to defeat Roderick Strong to win the title for the first time. By winning the ROH World Title, Edwards became the first triple-crown champion in the promotion’s history. He went on to reform The American Wolves with Davey Richards in ROH before the team moved to IMPACT Wrestling. The team would eventually break up and feud with each other in IMPACT in 2017. Eddie has become a staple in IMPACT Wrestling and had a notable feud with Sami Callihan through 2018 and 2019. He has captured the IMPACT World Title twice and continues to be a cornerstone of the promotion.
Survival of the Fittest Winners and More
Ring of Honor has the fieldset for this year’s tournament. Flamita, Brian Johnson, Eli Isom, Chris Dickinson, Bandido, and Rhett Titus will square off at ROH TV #510 in the finals. None of these men have ever held the ROH World Title, and Titus is the only one to have made an appearance in the tournament previously. Stay tuned for part two of this series and updates on Survival of the Fittest as they become available.
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