24th Sep2020

‘Ring of Honor: Pure Title Tournament – Week 2’ Review

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this week’s Ring Of Honor review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have the more from the Pure Title Tournament. Hey, let’s not waste any time.

Match #1: David Finlay def. Rocky Romero

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

This was the third time Finlay and Romero have faced each other in a tournament. The previous meetings took place in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 2015 and 2016. The veteran Romero won both of those matches, but he knows he’ll be facing a different Finlay this time. No longer a young lion, Finlay has established himself as a championship caliber competitor. Finlay is coming off an impressive showing in the New Japan Cup USA tournament last month. The fourth-generation star defeated Chase Owens in the first round and Tama Tonga in the semifinals before falling to KENTA in the finals. Romero is an eight-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, three-time ROH World Tag Team Champion, and one of only three men to have won titles in ROH, NJPW and CMLL. Despite that impressive resume, he said on the latest episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast” that winning a singles championship with the history and prestige of the Pure Title at this stage of his career — 16 years after making his ROH debut — “would mean the world to me.” The winner of this match will advance to the Block A semifinals against Jay Lethal. Fast facts: In ROH, Romero has scored victories over Bryan Danielson, Davey Richards, Claudio Castagnoli and Tomasso Ciampa. … Finlay is a former co-holder of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title and NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Title. It was mentor versus student, as the veteran Romero took on the former New Japan Pro-Wrestling young lion Finlay. Romero applied the Diablo Armbar, which forced Finlay to use his first rope break a little over a minute into the match. Finlay locked on a Camel Clutch and transitioned into a seated Cobra Clutch. Romero escaped and hit a springboard DDT, and then began working over Finlay’s surgically repaired left shoulder. Romero connected on a double stomp off the top rope onto the spine of Finlay, who was draped over the middle rope. Finlay rallied and applied a leglock submission, but Romero used his first rope break. Romero hit standing Sliced Bread for a near fall, but was issued a warning for using a closed fist to the head. Romero locked on the Diablo Armbar, but Finlay again managed to get to the ropes. Romero went for Sliced Bread, but Finlay countered with a backbreaker for a near fall. Finlay followed with Last Shot to score the pin at 13:02.

My Opinion: 3.7 out of 5 – This was another fine addition in the tournament, with Romero giving Finlay as much as he could handle while taking in just as much from him. A lot of this felt more like a guts-and-glory type deal, rather than just pure technical wrestling, but these guys did avoid big spots as well, so it all balanced out. Finlay has come a long way since I first saw him several years ago. Romero definitely was the ring general here for the eventual winner of this match. Nothing went too far ahead of any-thing you could believe, but that doesn’t mean that chances weren’t taken. All in all, this was a dynamite (HA!) way to start the card and continue the tournament.

Match #2: Matt Sydal def. Delirious

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

No first-round opponents have more history than Delirious and Sydal. They broke into the sport together nearly 20 years ago and made their ROH debuts against each other in 2004. They’ve traveled the roads together and been tag partners, and they’ve also been fierce rivals. As their paths cross once again, the stakes will be higher than ever. One man will move a step closer to winning his first singles title in ROH, while the other may never get another championship opportunity. Sydal has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most innovative and spectacular high flyers in pro wrestling, but he isn’t one-dimensional. Sydal has an amateur wrestling background and is adept at delivering punishing kicks. His hybrid style is a perfect fit for pure wrestling. His opponent is undoubtedly the most unorthodox competitor to ever step into an ROH ring. In Delirious’ appearances in ROH in recent years, his focus has been on entertaining the fans. But the masked madman is dead serious about winning the tournament, and he’s gotten himself into the best shape of his life. The winner of this match will advance to the Block B semifinals against Jonathan Gresham. Fast facts: Sydal has won five of seven singles matches against Delirious in ROH. … Delirious defeated Sydal in a five-way elimination match to win 2006 Survival of the Fittest. This match pitted longtime rivals/friends against each other 20 years after they broke into the sport together. Delirious worked over Sydal’s left leg early in the match. Sydal targeted Delirious’ left shoulder, but Delirious used his first rope break to escape an armbar. The masked man grabbed hold of Sydal’s left arm and yanked it as he dropped down off the apron. Sydal applied a half crab, but Delirious used his second rope break. Sydal rocked Delirious with a running knee under his chin. Delirious crumpled to the mat with both his legs pinned underneath him. Sydal covered him for a near fall, then hit a standing Shooting Star Press for another near fall. Sydal continued the assault with stiff kicks to Delirious’ legs and head. Delirious answered with a Cobra Clutch into a back suplex that planted Sydal on his head. Delirious went for the Cobra Clutch again, but Sydal slipped out and applied the same hold to Delirious, who tapped out at 9:56.

My Opinion: 3.7 out of 5 – Same score…different reasons…that’s the way to describe this match in comparison to the opener. Sydal and Delirious had more chemistry than their neighbors in the house next door, so to speak, and were able to wrestle a very intricate match with plenty of spunk as well. This had a bit of a freaky aura to it as well, with both fighters embodying a kind of bizarre intensity. Delirious was very serious here, like a samurai wizard or Mark David Chapman. Both fighters got to show the breadth of their wrestling intellect, but never forgot to keep things lively either. This didn’t even go a full ten minutes, but an awful lot happened during that time to make this worth the time it took to watch this dynamic contest from bell to bell.

News Of The Night:

  1. Next week’s matches are:
    Block A First-Round Match: Silas Young vs. Fred Yehi
    Block B First-Round Match: Kenny King vs. Josh Woods

Final Verdict: 3.7/5

Two 3.7 matches and a show that was promoted and presented simply made for a 3.7 score for the whole thing. I want the matches to go a bit longer, but they’ve been of good length so far, for the most part.


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