Ring of Honor
Date: September 16, 2020
Location: UMBC Events Center, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
For the first time in nearly six months, we have a fresh show from Ring of Honor and they are starting with a bang. It’s the return of the Pure Title, a championship which has a special set of rules and hasn’t been around in nearly fifteen years. If nothing else it will be nice to see something other than Best Of lower level wrestlers for a change. Let’s get to it.
There’s a new opening sequence for the first time in years.
The opening video looks at the tournament, which will feature sixteen men and will focus on the principles the company was founded upon.
Quinn McKay gives us a quick history of the title.
We see the sixteen men in the tournament in no particular order:
There are alternates just in case someone can’t wrestle. In Block A, it’s Dak Draper and in Block B it’s Brian Johnson.
We’ve got brackets and it’s single elimination:
We’re not done with the rules.
First round matches have a fifteen minute time limit, second round is twenty, third is thirty and the finals are sixty.
Each match will have three judges in case of a time limit draw.
And now for the actual Pure Rules as they somehow haven’t been mentioned yet.
Each match begins and ends with a handshake.
You have three rope breaks per match. After they are gone, pins and submissions in the ropes count, but they still must take place in the ring.
Closed fist punches to the face are not allowed though open handed strikes are legal. Closed fists to other parts of the body, save for low blows, are legal. One closed fist to the face is a warning and the second is a DQ.
Standard 20 count.
Any interference means you are FIRED FROM THE COMPANY.
Jay Lethal talks about being around ROH for thirteen years and Samoa Joe giving him his first major break. He is the only former Pure Champion in the tournament and wants to be the first ever two time champion. We see some clips of Lethal defending his title against some legends and he isn’t changing anything up because it had gotten here this far. Dalton Castle has beaten him before and that is all that is in his head.
Dalton Castle talks about being a really good wrestler and how good he has been since he was eleven. Then he became the Ring of Honor World Champion and this is the perfect environment for him. No he hasn’t wrestled in five months but he has been wrestling for over twenty three years. You think he can’t just turn it on? The rules are different though and Castle is ready to suplex Lethal a lot. Castle worries that people are forgetting how dangerous he is because of all of the funny stuff he does. He is a dangerous man and he is showing it in the tournament.
Pure Title Tournament First Round: Dalton Castle vs. Jay Lethal
There are now graphics with some stats, including that Castle has won 85% of his matches with the Bang-A-Rang and that Lethal has won 88% of his matches in Baltimore. We also get a graphic showing that the judges (not shown) are Gary Juster, Will Ferrara and Sumie Sakai. There is even a clock on the screen to show the match time.
Castle gets a front facelock to start but Lethal rolls over into the ropes, with a voiceover saying that is his first rope break. They go to the mat again with Castle working on the arm until Lethal spins out to pull on the arm. Castle stacks her up for two and it’s a standoff. Lethal misses a right hand and gets suplexed down and an overhead belly to belly sends Lethal hard into the corner.
Back from a break with Lethal working on the leg, including a shinbreaker. They trade forearms as Coleman talks about how this is real wrestling and not entertainment. The Figure Four is broken up and they’re both down for a bit. Back up and the Bang-A-Rang is countered into the Lethal Combination for two. Hail To The King is broken up and Castle pulls him down for the Bang-A-Rang, with Castle’s leg giving out in the middle. Lethal has to use his second rope break to save himself and comes back with some kicks to the head. The Lethal Injection connects for the pin at 13:11.
Result: Jay Lethal b. Dalton Castle – Lethal Injection (13:11)
Wheeler Yuta has been wrestling for six years now after turning pro at sixteen. He went to college in Philadelphia just so he could train in the city with Drew Gulak. Yuta trained in the Michinoku Pro dojo in Japan and trained in Germany as well. He is going to want to take people apart and find their weaknesses. Yuta praises Jonathan Gresham and knows Gresham isn’t worried about him, so Yuta can win.
Jonathan Gresham talks about being an amateur wrestler because he thought that’s what you had to do to become a pro. He saw Ring of Honor back in 2005 and knew it was where he wanted to go because of everything they combined. Gresham has wrestled around the world and his technique is winning the title. It’s time to reshape this company as the pure wrestlers see it.
Pure Title Tournament First Round: Jonathan Gresham vs. Wheeler Yuta
Gresham’s Tag Team Title is notably absent. They fight over a test of strength to start with the bigger Yuta taking him to the mat. Gresham bridges off the mat but gets caught in a bodyscissors. That is rolled into a rollup for two each but Gresham rolls over into a surfboard. The leg cranking takes us to a break and we come back with an exchange of head fakes until Yuta scores with a dropkick.
Gresham goes right back to the leg with an Indian deathlock (with Yuta’s eyes bugging out in fear). Yuta bails to the ropes for the break and then punches Lethal in the face, earning himself an official warning. Gresham is annoyed so the pace picks up as they slug it out (with legal open hand strikes). A quick arm trap cradle gives Yuta two and a springboard spinning crossbody gets the same.
There’s a high crossbody for the same but Gresham is right back on the leg. The Figure Four goes on but they roll over to the ropes (not announced as a break) and fall to the floor to bang them both up. They both beat the count and trade some rapid fire rollups for two each. Gresham stomps on the knee though and pounds it into the mat to make Yuta tap at 10:25.
Result: Jonathan Gresham b. Wheeler Yuta – Gresham pounded Yuta’s knee into the mat (10:25)
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!