Seth Rollins

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In September 2009, Black took a hiatus after receiving surgery on his neck. On October 10, Black defeated Kenny King in a first-round match and then Claudio Castagnoli, Colt Cabana, Delirious, Chris Hero and Roderick Strong in the finals to win the 2009 Survival of the Fittest tournament, which earned him a match for the ROH World Championship. On December 19 at Final Battle 2009, ROH's first live pay-per-view, Black wrestled then ROH World Champion Austin Aries to a 60-minute time limit draw. Because of this draw, then ROH commissioner Jim Cornette booked the two in a rematch between February 13, 2010 for the company's Eighth Anniversary Show. The booking saw Cornette set up a judging panel with himself on and one person picked by each competitor, in order for there to be a decisive winner in case of another draw. Aries picked Kenny King while Black picked Roderick Strong, whom he guaranteed an ROH World Championship title shot should he win. At the event, Black pinned Aries to win the ROH World Championship.