Ring Of Honor
ROH on SBG #474
October 16, 2020
UMBC Event Center
Watch: Honor Club & FITE.TV
In Part 5 of the ROH Pure Title Tournament, we saw ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham punch their tickets to their respective block finals. We got our usual intro from Quinn McKay before going to the post-match comments from both Lethal and Gresham. First up was Lethal, who brings up how he (and everyone else) believes that the finals of this entire tournament will be himself and Jonathan Gresham, noting that they’re both the best wrestlers in the field. He compliments Gresham on his performances on the other side of the bracket, and really doesn’t give any attention to his opponent in the Block A Finals. As for Gresham, who said that it’s a misconception that pure wrestlers like himself go into matches with a strategy. They live in the moment. Gresham then turns his attention to Matt Sydal (who he had just defeated), and questions why Sydal was even in his tournament, given that he’s known as a high flyer. He adds that Sydal took away an opportunity from another, more deserving, pure wrestler. Gresham proclaims that ROH needs to return to its roots, so that it can be a place for pro-wrestling freedom, where they can present their pure wrestling style without being judged or suppressed. He said he doesn’t care who he faces next, and even though he’s got a bum leg, he’s going to keep going because this tournament is too important. Gresham closes by declaring that the Pure Title will come home to The Foundation.
ROH Pure Title Tournament – Block A – Block Semifinals
Tracy Williams def. Fred Yehi
I’m not the first person on this site to say this, but it’s really cool to see wrestling companies like ROH (and others) acknowledge other wrestling outside of their own company, or outside of their respective alliances. A perfect example can be seen with this match. Catch Point was referenced by both Williams and Yehi in their previous interviews/promos, and we got continued references to Catch Point here. Yehi’s stats included the fact that he used to team with Williams as part of Catch Point in EVOLVE, along with his strengths (no ropes breaks used and escaping 83% of his submissions) and his various weaknesses (his back and ribs being targeted, while he only had one takedown and one move counter) from the first round. As for Williams, he had a 3-0 record vs. Yehi in singles matches coming into this tournament (two of those were in EVOLVE). His first round strengths included ten submission attempts (the most out of anyone in the first round), while his one weakness was that he was the only person in the first round to use up all of his rope breaks.
We got the Catch Point handshake between these two before things got started, and from there, they went on to have one of the best matches of the tournament thus far. Really strong wrestling from start to finish between two guys who are both perfectly suited for the Pure Rules, and the general style of wrestling that this tournament is promoting. After the initial exchanges, Yehi ended up burning two of his rope breaks within the first three or four minutes. However, he managed to turn the tables on Williams, and forced him to burn two of his rope breaks before they got to the ten minute mark. The action and intensity picked up in the second half of this bout, and we saw plenty of submission attempts, counters, and even some hard strikes thrown in for good measure. Both men eventually used up their last rope break, and this ultimately played into the finish, as Williams got the win after forcing Yehi to tap with a Dragon Sleeper in the ropes. Williams continues his winning ways against his former Catch Point teammate, and will now face Jay Lethal in the Block A Finals. A really good match, and one of the highlights of the tournament thus far, for sure. ***3/4
Continuing the trend from last week, we’re starting to see more non-tournament wrestlers make appearances on this show, as the tournament gets closer to its conclusion. This week, we got an in-ring promo from the debuting EC3. I’m not going to go over the first part of his promo (it was a bit rambly), but in the second half, he rattles off references to previous ROH legends before bringing up the current crop of ROH stars. He questions whether ROH claiming to have the best wrestling is self-praise, before saying that he’s here to fight, and that he wants competition. EC3 finishes off by saying he wants to put the word “honor” to the test. This leads to a backstage segment where Shane Taylor and his crew (The Soldiers of Savagery) confront him, before The Briscoes enter the scene to even the sides. This seemingly sets up a six-man tag for some point in the future. I’m still curious to see what EC3 even does in ROH (I still see it as a very strange fit), but hopefully, he leaves the cinematic stuff he’s been doing with Moose in Impact.
ROH Pure Title Tournament – Block B – Block Semifinals
Josh Woods (with Silas Young) def. PJ Black (with Brian Johnson)
I know they main evented with the Block B match on the previous episode, but I’m a little surprised that they went with Josh Woods vs. PJ Black as the main event of this episode. Fred Yehi vs. Tracy Williams was easily the bigger match on this particular show. Alas, both Black and Woods are accompanied by their respective seconds in Silas Young (in a suit) and Brian Johnson. Woods had a 1-0 record vs. PJ Black coming into this match. While his first round strengths included getting three takedowns and six counters, his one weakness was that he was the only person to advance out of the first round without a clear victory (he beat Kenny King via judge’s decision). With Black, he’s been 4-2 in all non-tag team matches since August of last year. In terms of first round strengths, he dominated his opponent when it came to submissions and pin attempts. On the other side of things, his weakness was that he used two rope breaks, but was unable to force his opponent to use any rope breaks.
While this was a technically good match, it was easily several notches below Williams vs. Yehi from earlier in the show. The first few minutes featured some solid back and forth exchanges on the mat. We did get some unique counters and pins throughout as well, and the action did pick up a little bit in the second half. Woods forced Black to use two of his rope breaks, and in the end, forced him to submit to a grapevine ankle lock. I honestly don’t have much else to say about this one. It was perfectly fine, but again, it just paled in comparison to the other tournament match on this show. Josh Woods will now face Jonathan Gresham in the Block B Finals. ***
Part Six of the ROH Pure Title Tournament featured a really wide gap in match quality. While Tracy Williams vs. Fred Yehi was easily one of the best matches of the tournament thus far, Josh Woods vs. PJ Black was a pretty solid affair, but not much else. Elsewhere on the show, we saw EC3’s debut, along with the setup for his first match in the company. If you’re a completist who wants to see every match in the tournament, you can watch the whole show, but if you’re pressed for time, you can just watch Williams vs. Yehi.