Some great teams like Age of the Fall, Strong & Aries, Haas & Benjamin, and the All Night Express have been eliminated due to the way this tournament is judged, and now we're going to send four more teams home, home on the range.
The Great Eight
Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs vs CM Punk & Colt Cabana: Well, both of these were solid teams and decent champions. Neither really set the world on fire with anything they did as champions, but while Corino & Jacobs have been closely associated with the top act in ROH, the Second City Saints usually WERE the top act in ROH. I don't think either team really deserves to make the finals when you compare them to some of the other teams that have already been eliminated, but that's the way the randomely drawn matches worked out, and Punk and Cabana were very important players at a crucial time in the company's history, so they will advance.
Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal vs Kevin Steen & El Generico: Yesterday I alluded to the fact that Daniels & Sydal were a solid team who had great matches and beat a few impressive opponents, but were there and gone before you knew it. Steen & Generico were players as a team literally from the beginning, main evented as challengers, main evented as champions, and beat a bunch of great opponents. There's just no comparison here, Steen & Generico are way above Daniels & Sydal and will move on.
Special K (Izzy & Dixie) vs Jay & Mark Briscoe: While Special K have been kind of lost in ROH history and are treated like a joke in hindsight, they were a very big deal in their time and were a better team (the Izzy/Dixie combination, at least) than they get credit for. That said, even though Special K were main eventers and contributed some of the most memorable moments to the early years of ROH, they didn't do it as champions. Frankly, they were lucky to get this far and certainly had the luck of the draw. The Briscoes beat Special K to win their first ROH World Tag Team Title, and they do it again here to advance.
American Wolves vs Kings of Wrestling: I was really hoping these two teams wouldn't be matched up and force me to pick a winner, because they're both excellent teams and are very evenly matched in almost every measurable way. They both main evented many shows, both often stole the spotlight from whoever the ROH World Champion was, both can work a variety of different styles, they both have great chemistry, both were hugely over with the fans, and I consider the first of their two matches against each other in Plymouth, Massachusetts to be the best tag match to ever take place in ROH. You could even make the case that, while Haas & Benjamin were pushed ahead of the Briscoes, both the Wolves and the Kings at times surpassed the Briscoes on their own due to awesome matches and a ton of fan support.
But if I have a gun held on me and I'm forced to pick one, as painful as it is, I have to go with the American Wolves. They came off more like fighting champions than the Kings, who beat some great teams, but not always in title matches. The Kings have the longest tag title reign in ROH history, but they didn't defend the title as much as they probably could have. The Wolves also had stronger competition in title matches, they went to the only time limit draw in the history of the title, and they won Ladder War II. The Wolves were booked to look like they were going to kick your ass, not run away from you, and I think that makes the difference.
* * *
Before I wrap up for today (and since I needed to fill a little space), I just wanted to say that I've gotten some great feedback from people who really enjoy this tournament format. I got one person saying it reminds them of the Olympics because it plays out over several days and gives them something interesting to read each day. A lot of people have asked me if I'm going to do more of these, and I have to say that I really only intended to do this one as part of the upcoming ROH anniversary, but given the overwhelmingly positive response, I think I might change course and make this a semi-regular feature since it's pretty fun to do.
And for those who asked about the ROH Pure Title and the ROH TV Title: I thought about doing those, but neither has enough people who have held it to really give me much to work with. I might do the Pure Title as a one-off, but I figure I'll wait until next year to do the TV Title since it'll hopefully move around a bit between now and then, and give me a few more names to work with.
So yes, the feature will be back, and yes, I will include WWE, WCW, TNA, and other companies. Don't ever expect me to touch the USWA Title, but other than that I think we'll be okay.
* * *
So with that out of the way, here are our four finalists:
Jay & Mark Briscoe
CM Punk & Colt Cabana
Kevin Steen & El Generico
We'll wrap this thing up tomorrow as we present the finals in a four team, round robin format to ensure a fair and just outcome. Until then, please send all feedback along to email@example.com and I'll see you then!