02nd Nov2020

‘Ring of Honor: Pure Tournament – Week 7’ Review

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this review of Ring Of Honor, right here on Nerdly.  I’m Nathan Favel and we have the semi-finals of the Pure Title Tournament to get to, so shut the mouth and watch the match…skoogy.

Match #1: Jonathan Gresham def. Josh Woods (w/ Silas Young) – Block B Final

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

How they got here: Gresham defeated Wheeler Yuta by submission in the first round, and Matt Sydal by submission in the second round; Woods defeated Kenny King by split decision in the first round, and PJ Black by submission in the second round. Woods’ background in mixed martials arts and amateur wrestling has served him well in scoring wins over veterans King and Black, but if anyone can go hold for hold with him it’s Gresham, who is arguably the best technical wrestler in the sport. Woods has the advantage in size and strength, but Gresham is an expert at using leverage and counter moves. In his two tournament victories, Gresham also has proved to be a master of innovation. Gresham has been on a mission to bring pure wrestling to the forefront and was a driving force in the revival of the Pure Championship. “The Octopus” doesn’t just want to win the title; he believes he has to win it. Woods also is strongly motivated to win the tournament. When he didn’t find immediate success after winning the 2017 ROH Top Prospect Tournament, Woods was labeled a disappointment by fans and peers. Although he has silenced many of his critics, Woods knows that winning the Pure Title would prove his doubters wrong once and for all. Having tag partner and mentor Silas Young in his corner is an advantage for Woods. Young has faced Gresham numerous times and knows him very well, so he’s an invaluable resource. Fast facts: Gresham is 3-0 against Woods in one-on-one singles matches. … Gresham has not used a single rope break in the tournament. … Woods has 10 takedowns in the tournament, the most of any competitor. Woods went for a gut-wrench suplex, but Gresham used his first of three allotted rope breaks just 90 seconds into the match. Woods picked up Gresham for a standing suplex, but he got too close to the ropes and both he and Gresham tumbled over the top rope and landed hard on the floor. Woods came up favoring his arm. Later, with Gresham on the top rope, Woods climbed to the middle rope, grabbed Gresham’s arm and suplexed him. Woods hit two gut-wrench suplexes, but his arm gave out on a third attempt. Gresham trapped Woods in an Octopus Stretch and delivered a series of elbow strikes to Woods’ head. Woods used a Samoan Drop to escape. Both men jockeyed for position with a series of inside cradles and reverses. Gresham hit a sunset flip for the win at 12:00.

My Opinion: 4.3 out of 5 – This was damn good. It wasn’t until the third act that these guys started to move away from mat grappling, but they never forgot why they were there. If you wanted to see these guys deliver a match that was all about who could out-shoot each other, then you’ve come to the right place. Every move felt like an attempt to deflect the next attack from the other, which is just too tantalizing a motif for a match. Out of every match in this tournament, this may be the one that feels the most like what folks would probably gather a Pure Title match would like. You could put this technical feast on a banner and people would…eat it? Jesus…just go watch the match. You know it’s good.

Match #2: Tracy Williams def. Jay Lethal – Block A Final

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

How they got here: Lethal defeated Dalton Castle by pinfall in the first round, and David Finlay by pinfall in the block semifinals; Williams defeated Rust Taylor by submission in the first round, and Fred Yehi by submission in the block semifinals. Lethal is halfway to achieving his goal of becoming the first two-time ROH Pure Champion, but he’ll have to beat one of the best pure wrestlers in the sport to reach the tournament final. After narrowly avoiding being upset by Tayor in the first round, Williams scored an impressive victory over a vastly underrated Yehi, his former tag partner. Williams won both of his matches by submission and made a tournament-high 19 submission attempts overall. However, forcing a two-time former ROH World Champion in Lethal to submit is a tall order. It will be interesting to see if Williams alters his game plan to focus more on pinning combinations. As great as Lethal is, he had better be laser-focused on Williams. After Lethal’s win over Finlay in the block semifinals, he confidently predicted that it’ll be him against his ROH World Tag Team championship partner, Jonathan Gresham, in the finals. Lethal never even mentioned Williams in his post-match interview. If Williams needed any additional motivation, Lethal may have inadvertently provided it. Fast facts: Lethal and Williams have never met in a singles match. They’ve been on opposite sides in tag matches three times, with Lethal’s team winning two. … Both of Lethal’s wins in the tournament were by Lethal Injection. … Williams used his allotted three rope breaks in both of his matches. Williams applied a modified ankle lock, but Lethal used his first rope break. Williams locked on the crossface, and Lethal used his second rope break. Lethal went for the figure-four leglock, but Williams used his first rope break. Lethal hit a springboard dropkick, sending Williams to the floor. Lethal set up for a dive, but Williams was ready for it and Lethal slid out of the ring. Williams hit a shotgun dropkick on the floor. Clutching his left shoulder, Williams picked up the Pure Title belt off the ringside table and seemed to derive inspiration from it. Williams got back in the ring, and Lethal immediately targeted his shoulder. Lethal hit a shoulder breaker for a near fall. Lethal applied a Fujiwara Armbar, but Williams used his second rope break. Lethal set up for a superplex, but Williams countered with a DDT onto the turnbuckle. Williams planted Lethal with a piledriver, but Lethal used his final rope break. Williams went for the crossface, but Lethal escaped and hit a cutter. Lethal followed with Lethal Injection, but Williams used his final rope break. Williams blasted Lethal with forearms, and Lethal answered with axe handles to Williams’ shoulder. Lethal hit Hail to the King and attempted Lethal Injection, but Williams blocked it and applied a chokehold. Lethal got the ropes, but he had no ropes breaks left. Lethal managed to shift his weight into a pinning combination for a two count. Williams transitioned into the crossface, and Lethal tapped out at 19:29.

My Opinion: 5 out of 5 – Chris Jericho…shut up! Now this was great. There was no wasted time and every move mattered. This match was a subtle blend of technical and striking that you can shake a baby at until it goes “Wah! Wah! Cut it out, can’t ‘cha?!” I was beyond impressed here. How could you not be? Everything that happened in this match happened in layers, be it the grappling, the striking, the submissions and every-thing in between. I’d wager that this is an instant classic. The fact that Williams won made me happy. Jay was the obvious, yet less desirable choice for the finals. Having Williams move on to fight Gresham ensures that we have a true Pure bout for the finals. I’m excited and high on pan-cake batter at the same time, so BLJKGGYGLKKJHGOGGJHJ Joey…and enjoy this classic in the making.

News Of The Night:

  1. Matt Taven and Vincent were supposed to have a match, but they just brawled instead.
  2. Jonathan Gresham and Tracy Williams fight in the Pure Title Finals, next week.

Final Verdict: 4.6/5

We had another two great matches that will lead to one of the biggest matches of the year, which is coming next week.


Comments are closed.