15th Oct2020

‘Ring of Honor: Pure Title Tournament – Week 5’ Review

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this week’s Ring Of Honor review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have more from the Pure Title Tournament as well as the return of…somebody. Did you know that if you put your hand in front of your face and the hand is bigger, then you have cancer? Put your hand up to your face. Do it! I’m gonna hit you in the face so hard with your big, dumb stupid hand you dumb, stupid idiot! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! I…wait…is that true? Let me…OW! I hit my own face! Damn it! Ring Of Honor starts now!

Match #1: Jay Lethal def. David Finlay

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

How they got here: Lethal defeated Dalton Castle by pinfall in the first round; Finlay defeated Rocky Romero by pinfall in the first round. Lethal continues his quest to be the first man to regain the Pure Championship. Standing in his way is Finlay, a member of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling roster who wants to prove his promotion’s superiority by beating “The Franchise of ROH.” Lethal and Finlay have never met in a singles match, but they have been on opposite sides twice in tag team competition, with Finlay’s team winning both. While Lethal came through his first-round match healthy, Finlay’s surgically repaired left shoulder was heavily targeted in his first-round bout and could be an issue for him. The winner of this match will advance to the Block A finals against the winner of the semifinal bout between Fred Yehi and Tracy Williams. Fast facts: Lethal threw more strikes in the first round than any other competitor. Finlay also was aggressive in his first-round match, as he applied a submission hold five times and made eight pinfall attempts. With Finlay standing on the apron, Lethal delivered a running kick to Finlay’s left knee that knocked him off. A short time later, Lethal tweaked his left knee executing a cartwheel into a dropkick. Lethal went for Lethal Injection, but Finlay countered with a backbreaker. Lethal Combination halted Finlay’s momentum, but Finlay answered with a spear for a near fall. Finlay applied a leglock, and Lethal had to use the first of his allotted three rope breaks. Lethal hit a springboard dropkick and a suicide dive. He went for the figure-four leglock, but Finlay countered with an inside cradle for a near fall. Lethal caught Finlay with Lethal Injection for the win at 14:57. Lethal advances to the Block A final, where he will face the winner of next week’s semifinal between Fred Yehi and Tracy Williams.

My Opinion: 3.7 out of 5 – This was the least pure match of the Pure Tourney, but it was still an excellent spectacle. Lethal wouldn’t stop flipping around long enough for me to flip him off, but that’s a problem that all of his alleged victims have had as well, so there’s that. Finlay worked hard to keep the match grounded, but Lethal just wanted to do his headstand the whole time. I am complaining about Lethal, but the action, while far removed from the kind of wrestling that this tournament is supposed to embody, was still thrilling. I wonder what caused this to go off the rails, yet stay on the tracks, so to speak? I bet you’ll like this, but it will feel more like a regular ROH-style match, rather than a proper Pure division contest. Well, at least this was good stuff, even if it was the wrong stuff.

Match #2: (Main Event) Jonathan Gresham def. Matt Sydal

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

How they got here: Gresham defeated Wheeler Yuta by submission in the first round; Sydal defeated Delirious by submission in the first round. Despite being two well-traveled veterans, Gresham and Sydal have never faced each other in singles or tag team competition. Gresham showed why he is one of the favorites to win the tournament with his first-round victory over a plucky Yuta, who had defeated him in a previous encounter. “The Octopus” attacked Yuta’s left knee and forced him to submit after repeatedly slamming it onto the mat. Sydal also was impressive in the first round. In his first ROH bout since 2017, Sydal scored a hard-fought victory over longtime friend and rival Delirious in 9:57, the shortest match in the tournament thus far. The winner of this match will advance to the Block B finals against the winner of the semifinal bout between Josh Woods and PJ Black. Fast facts: Gresham did not use a single rope break in the first round, and he made six counters and applied five submission holds. Sydal also did not use any rope breaks in his first-round match, and he had six escapes. Gresham targeted Sydal’s surgically repaired left foot. Sydal answered with a stiff kick to Gresham’s left leg and an ankle lock. Gresham kicked Sydal in the face to force him to release the hold. Gresham caught Sydal in a bow and arrow and turned it into a pinning combination for a near fall. Sydal regained the advantage with a series of chops and kicks. Sydal stunned Gresham with a spinning kick to the head and followed with a modified power slam for a two count. Sydal locked on the Cobra Clutch, the move he used to defeat Delirious in the first round, but Gresham escaped. After Gresham and Sydal exchanged near falls on rollups, Gresham caught Sydal in a surfboard. Gresham dropped Sydal down, keeping Sydal’s left leg hooked while wrenching back on his left arm. Sydal immediately tapped out at 13:27. Gresham advances to the Block B final, where he will face the winner of next week’s semifinal between Josh Woods and PJ Black.

My Opinion: 4.1 out of 5 – Whoo boy! Now this was some great wrestling. You’ve got plenty of smart wrestling holds from start to finish, which is just the beginning of what you will find with this intelligent grapple-fest. I loved the transitions from one hold to another and the way each move was sold as being difficult to endure, but possible to escape from. Everything had meaning and that is something that is often hard to come by in modern wrestling. When this bout got kicked-up to the next level, it was welcomed, because the match was ready for it. That being said, this match never lost sight of what the goal of this tournament was, so the finish, while of a more subdued nature, was appropriate and proper and I loved it. This may have been the best match of this tournament so far.

News Of The Night:

  1. Matt Taven, who is responsible for the Trend vignettes, attacked Vincent after he cut a long, aimless promo in the same vein as Charles Manson and Vince Russo (I’m not kidding).
  2. EC3 had another vignette where he seemed to advertise a cult he has started…or fight club.
  3. Next week’s matches are:
    Block A Semifinal: Fred Yehi vs. Tracy Williams
    Block B Semifinal: Josh Woods vs. PJ Black

Final Verdict: 3.8/5

The first match was not appropriate for the Pure tournament (still good wrestling though) and the Matt Taven/Vincent brawl was out of place on a show that was built around competitive wrestling. Still, the main event was fabulous and was more than worth watching once, if not twice.

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